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D-Star on the road

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio' started by K9TXS, Feb 11, 2018.

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  1. K9TXS

    K9TXS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use a 5100 in my jeep. Even though the 5100 is setup for D-Star, there are many times I'm not in range of a repeater.

    Is there a good hotspot to use for D-Star when traveling?
  2. KB3UGL

    KB3UGL Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. K9TXS

    K9TXS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I’m surprised that no one responded to my D-Star question. This is what I came up with and it works very well.

    Parts required;
    SharkRF openSpot – purchased from Giga Parts - $249.00

    GL iNet GL-AR300M mini travel router purchased from Amazon - $35.00

    Anker 20000 mAh portable battery purchased from Amazon - $39.99

    Carrying case to make portability easy – Free already had one

    WiFi device; wifi hotspots, iPhone, Android phone, etc. I used my iPhone

    SharkRF openSpot

    The SharkRF openSpot is a very popular device for D-Star, DMR, Fusion, etc. The SharkRF requires a computer to initially set it up for the type of system you want to use it on, D-Star etc. There are many different YouTube videos on the SharkRF and setting it up for the system you want to use. There are also online instructions from SharkRF that are very straightforward and easy to follow. The SharkRF was very surprising to me how easy it was to setup and took less than 10 minutes.

    GL iNet GL-AR300M mini travel router
    One of the most popular mini routers I found were several made by TP-Link. Just before I was going to buy one, another SharkRF user told me he went with the GL-AR300M since he could not get his iPhone to work on the TP-Link router. Looking over at the SharkRF forum, it appears several folks had the same issue. So, I opted to go with the GL-AR300M as well. The GL-AR300M comes with a built in antenna or there is another version that comes with twin mini antennas. I’m using the built in antenna and it works great and makes it just a little more compact.

    While setting this up, I found where multiple wifi systems can be added to the system. A check is placed in the box next to the system you choose for it to connect to. I added 3 different wifi systems, my home system, my iPhone and a system where I have lunch on occasions and put a check mark in each box next to the system. More on how this worked later.

    Again, a computer is required to do the initial setup. Very easy to setup and it took less than 10 minutes to do so.

    Anker battery
    I used a battery but you could also plug the USB cable for the SharkRF and GL router into your cars system. I wanted a battery to make it a totally portable and contained unit.

    Carrying case
    I used a case I already had, but you could easily hard mount it in your console or glove compartment. Small pieces of Velcro on the bottom of the SharkRF and GL router keep the two in place inside the case. Wires neatly coiled up keeps the spaghetti mess down. The battery is secure in the case and does not have Velcro on it. See my setup below.

    How it worked?
    Absolutely great! I turned on the system by plugging in the two USB cords to the battery and it immediately started looking for the home wifi system. In about 2 or 3 minutes, it was up and running. When I got in my Jeep, I turned on the hotspot device on the iPhone. I programmed my Icom 5100 to DV simplex mode and made immediate contact using D-Star with a fellow ham in Pennsylvania.

    I drove slowly out of my drive and onto the street. Just as I was passing my neighbor house, I saw my home system dropped off. Again in about 2 or 3 minutes, it picked up my iPhone without having to do anything else and I continued on. Arriving at the restaurant, I turned off the hotspot on the iPhone and went inside. By the time I ordered and sat down, I had a connection on the restaurants wifi system.

    Overall, I’m very pleased with the way this worked out. If I purchase an HT in the future, I can use it with this setup.

    I hope this helps someone else that is looking for a portable system.

  4. W5PFG

    W5PFG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    An MMDVM pi hat and a Raspberry Pi Zero W is the most versitile and compact. HRO carries the Zumspot but any MMDVM will work. Much cheaper than an OpenSpot.
  5. KB1PVH

    KB1PVH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    20180201_080238.jpg I agree with W5PFG. I think I have less than $100 invested in an MMDVM HS_HAT and Pi zero.

  6. K9TXS

    K9TXS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Where were y'all on Feb 11th?
  7. W5PFG

    W5PFG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sorry, I honestly missed the thread or I would have replied. I don't get why there is not better promotion of the MMDVM's. There are a few companies/places offering them, all around $100 USD. You can get the Raspberry Pi Zero W's for about $5-10. Hard to beat that solution. Nothing against the OpenSpot, but they were a higher-dollar solution in a time when there were several companies competing to design multimode digital voice modems.
  8. KB1PVH

    KB1PVH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's not to late to ditch the OpenSpot and get an MMDVM


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