New Fusion reflector and dashboard

G6NJM - Chris Digital Modes

David, PA7LIM has worked on a new Fusion reflector. The new EUROLINK reflector has the following features:

  • Multi room Fusion reflector
  • Switch rooms via dashboard
  • Switch rooms via DGID in radio (BlueDV and Openspot only)
  • Supports DN and VW mode
  • Return in room last connected room
  • See radio model in screen (when GPS is on)
  • User friendly dashboard

Start by connecting to YSF reflector EUROLINK and then controlling via the dashboard or radio. Visit the dashboard http://europelink.pa7lim.nl

Thank you David for developing this for the amateur radio community.

DX Commander HF Multi-Band Vertical Antenna

G6NJM - Chris Amateur Radio

Recently, I’ve been looking at multi-band verticals with a view to portable/holiday, and temporary home use too. I have purchased the DX Commander Premium Build – HF Multi-Band Vertical Antenna System from Callum, M0MCX. I enjoyed building the kit and it works well.

I would like to thank Callum (M0MCX) for his prompt and helpful replies to questions leading up to my purchase decision.  Callum hosts a DX Commander YouTube channel with very frequent new videos for the amateur radio community aimed at encouranging experimentation, explaining all things antenna related and much more… you have to check it out.

I watched all the DX Commander contruction videos and highly recommend them if you are considering an HF multi-band vertical antenna.  There are three main parts and other related videos. Use an internet site search with “Building a multi-band Vertical ham radio antenna DX Commander Part 1” and you’re sure to find it.

DVMEGA & BlueStack-Micro+ Boards

G6NJM - Chris Digital Modes

These are the circuit boards that comprise a DVMEGA BlueStack (Android) or iBlueStack (iOS). Either of these BlueStack-Micro+ boards can be paired with either of the DVMEGA radios – the single band or dual band.

These hotspots can operate in two modes:

  • ‘push button out’ for Bluetooth to Android (BlueStack-Micro+) or iOS (new iBlueStack-Micro+) using BlueDV software
  • ‘push button in’ for connection to Raspberry Pi 2/3 or PC using BlueDV, MMDVM, Pi-Star (check availability)

Here is a photo of the dual-band 2m/70cm DVMEGA on BlueStack-Micro+ board connected via cable to USB port on Raspberry Pi 2. This configuration can run BlueDV (Linux), Pi-Star or other MMDVM options.

The software you decide to use will be based on how you prefer to operate in the different modes supported.

With BlueDV software:
Android/Windows PC – DMR/DSTAR/FUSION
iOS – DMR/FUSION (DSTAR not supported due to technical limitations). This version supports background operation for DMR which is an excellent feature.

DVMEGA BlueStack units operating in Bluetooth mode need no computer and run on battery packs for extended periods. Perfect for use with Android and iOS phones/tablets (check versions of phones/tablets for compatibility).

In the UK, these products are available from Karl Powell and now also ML&S. In the Netherlands, from Combitronics.

Pi-Star for Raspberry Pi

G6NJM - Chris Digital Modes

Wanting to try out MMDVM on the Pi, I came across a distribution called Pi-Star that is excellent and extremely simple to set up. Brilliant work by Andy Taylor, with responsive Facebook support group.

Have used with a Pi2 and Pi3 in combination with DVMega BlueStack connected via USB for several weeks now.

I have added a Nextion 2.4″ screen that I purchased a while ago but was still sat in its box. Using these instructions, I was up and running displaying modes and callsigns in less than 30 minutes! It connects via the Pi2/Pi3 IO pins. Brilliant.

Update: Pi-Star supports DVMega boards plugged onto Pi2/Pi3 IO pins OR via a BlueStack configuration. If using the DVMega board on the Pi, the Nextion screen will need to connect via USB using this USB 2.0 to TTL Module Serial Converter adapter. If using USB to connect the screen, follow the same instructions above but replace /dev/ttyAMA0 with /dev/ttyUSB0 in the Nextion Port setting of the initialisation file.

Note: The Nextion 2.4″ screen is now available (since July 2017) in the UK from ML&S.

Latest Pixel image with 3.5″ screen

G6NJM - Chris Digital Modes

The DV4Mini now working extremely well with firmware 1.77.

Created a new build for the Raspberry Pi2 consisting of:
Take either of the latest Pixel images for DV4Mini from:
EA7IYR: http://dv4.es/index.php/2017/03/05/dv4mini-pixel-img-raspberry/
K2DLS: http://www.k2dls.net/blog/2017/03/12/new-raspberry-pi-23-dv4mini-image/

Thanks to EA7IYR and K2DLS for making these images available.

Add the BM XTG from http://www.k2dls.net/blog/2017/04/20/bmxtg-1-2-released/ if not using the K2DLS image.

This system uses the Waveshare/Makibes 320×480 LCD screen:
http://www.waveshare.com/3.5inch-rpi-lcd-a.htm
originally purchased from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Makibes-Screen-320×480-Designed-Raspberry/dp/B00UV78E9Q/
For Waveshare 3.5″ screen support, I used LCD-show-170309.tar.gz from http://www.waveshare.com/wiki/3.5inch_RPi_LCD_(A).

Connect Systems CS750 DMR Handheld

G6NJM - Chris Digital Modes

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Connect Systems, Inc. (in Agoura Hills, CA 91301) a couple of times over the last 12 months and found them to be extremely helpful and knowledgable about their Amateur Radio DMR radios.

I visited this week to catch up on the latest information on their new CS580 and CS760. I ended up with the purchase of a Connect Systems CS750 DMR handheld.

On first impressions, there is a lot to like about the CS750, the build quality, the backlit display and keyboard, front panel programming and the entire contact database in the radio. More feedback once I’ve had hands-on experience with the radio.

Hotspots for DMR, Fusion and DSTAR

G6NJM - Chris Digital Modes

I really enjoy these modes via the hotspot and having owned the DV4mini for a year, wanted one that was even more portable so recently purchased a dual band DVMEGA and BlueStack Micro+ combination in a 3D printed custom case. This primarily uses the BlueDV Android or Windows software. Coincidentally I also had a SharkRF OpenSpot on backorder which has now turned up so I will be comparing all three units in the different modes over the coming months. The interface to the OpenSpot is any web browser.