I'll take a Raspberry Pi to go





I don't know about you, but I think Raspberry Pi is sweeeeeet! Ever since my first exposure to computers with the advent of the Commodore 64 and Vic 20, I have been enamored with computers. I even started my own software company before there was much available on the Commodore brand of mini-computers and taught my self how to program in basic producing a couple of hot selling packages in my local area. It wasn't long before we had ham radio commodore user groups meeting to consider the ways in which we could utilize this powerful new medium in our daily radio lives. A lot has transpired since those days and my interest in computers has not waned a bit. I have seen computers continue to grow in power and size until, in recent years, we have seen the power continue to grow inversely proportionate to their size. The smaller the better seems to be the trend.


Enter...the Raspberry Pi3 and similar fare. This fully equipped little computer mother board has taken ham radio by storm with its teensy yet roomy microSD card as interchangeable RAM that can run multiple versions of free Linux systems, can accomplish most anything we could imagine in the amateur radio world of communications. Small size, low power consumption, affordability and versatility make this a fun playground for those of who want to stretch and grow in our radio skills and opportunities.


Since purchasing my first Raspberry Pi (the RPi2, as it is commonly referred), I have been exposed to the geeky and challenging world of command line syntax and protocol. It definitely is not for the faint of heart. Thankfully, there are many out here who are truly geeks in their real jobs that kindly make themselves available to assist by there presence in Facebook groups, Team View sessions and on the air. I was blessed to have met a couple of these talented and patient folks that have taught me much.


My first project was to build an Allstar Link node for a repeater. It took me over a month to comprehend what that was all about and now I have two repeaters running Allstar and can move around in it comfortably and freely. I have a full-duplex UHF repeater and a private simplex node. My UHF AllstarLink.Echolink repeater is now my DigiCommCafe machine as a member of TheGuild (the World Wide Amateur Radio Guild of the IRN). That's two RPis now. But, that's for another time.


My third Raspberry pi is an RPi3 with a DVMega board running Pi-Star. It's primary use is for DMR but it has the capacity to run D-Star and Fusion(C4FM) and others. What you see in the photo above is a number of my hotspots and Raspberry Pi setups. The one in the front left is my Pi-Star hotspot that is pretty much a base unit but is capable of being taken on the go. I highly recommend this combination especially running the Pi-Star image. Andrew, author of the Pi-Star image is continually upgrading it adding new features and modes.


Would you like to know more? Jump into the DigiCommCafe on Orion and Let's Talk!