Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by W4WVW, Jan 10, 2020.
And are you happy with it?
I have a few different hot spots, two of them allow C4FM, both are running Pi-Star.
The Pi-Star software is incredible.
The MMDVM Hotspot (like this one from a UK vendor: https://wires-x.uk/product/mmdvm-hotspot-1/ ) is simple and available from multiple sources, or you can assemble it yourself from parts bought for cheap on ebay or the like.
It works great, but bear in mind that you really only get access to reflectors that have been manually connected to Wires-X rooms by other people, if you want full access to the Wires-X network, you need to direct connect with a Fusion radio via PDN or create a room with the HRI-200.
I use QnetGateway with MMDVMHost. This setup has no 'dashboard,' and hence no gui for control of the hotspot. Configuration of the of the software is done from the terminal in on a Raspberry Pi, and day to day control is done from the radio. Hardware-wise, it is a Raspberry Pi Zero W with an N5BOC MMDVM Duplex board.
The exact same hardware setup can run Pi-Star. It is more 'user friendly' than my setup; but do not expect to get what I would consider full use out of it without a certain understanding of Linux and the Pi-Star image.
The first thing that I would recommend for someone who does no intend to use D-Star is the OpenSpot2. The 2 is now only $165, and it just works. Setup is nothing compared with Pi-Star, and it boots and connects in 3 seconds. (The only reason I would not recommend the OpenSpot2 for D-Star is that it has limited D-Star implementation.)
For Pi-Star or QnetGateway, the absolute best options are the N5BOC Simplex or Duplex boards. They produce an incredibly clean signal that blows the myriad of imported radio boards out of the water. Buy the Raspberry Pi, buy the N5BOC board, and flash a Pi-Star image. Forget about JumboSpot, Zumspot, and the rest.
Why a duplex for C4FM? Simple. You can change reflectors if you ever get stuck listening to a couple of long-winded, quick-keying guys.
Thanks for that tip! I’m still learning about this newfangled hotspot stuff.
I was gifted a ZUMspot last year. Setting it up for YSF was a breeze, but I gave up trying to get DMR working with a TYT handheld—I just turned on the YSF2DMR cross-mode if I need to hook into a DMR talkgroup with my FT2D.
All this hotspot stuff has awakened my interest in Raspberry Pi and other micro controllers. I stopped playing with computers as a hobby about 25 years ago (when that hobby suddenly became a career!) so it feels like a throwback to my early Apple II and Mac days. Now I’m starting to think about other ways to use these devices in the shack.
DMR is workable, but it can be a beast when you have problems--even if you know everything about DMR. There are so many factors that must perfectly match on both sides. If you make a simple error, it can take forever to find it.
DMR is really good for static situations, but changing things on the fly is C4FM or D-Star are remarkably better.
My OpenSpot2 is arriving tomorrow.
Hmmm.... Maybe true for DMR, and YSF is certainly the easiest... But my experience with D-zast-Star is miserable. Really difficult to get anything to work. And then it will quit working for no reason.í
I can completely understand why D-Star would have been difficult back when you had to register and had to put in all of the callsign information manually; but even then, it was conceptually much, much more simple than even a basic DMR setup is today.
Today's D-Star radios are completely different. 'DR Mode' is included in every modern Icom D-Star radio, as well as the D74. With DR mode and built-in GPS, you can automatically find the repeaters closest to you and start talking. On this count, it is more simple than YSF. I use all three modes, and switching reflectors with my D-Star radios is accomplished in fewer steps than switching YSF reflectors or Wires-X rooms on my Yaesu radios. D-Star does get more complex the deeper you go; but it terms of what it can do, it is more capable than either DMR or YSF.
The real fact is which mode you choose to operate matters less and less every day. Multi-mode reflectors proliferate, and the OpenSpot3 will have an AMBE transcoder built in. With one of those, you can use any radio you like to connect to any reflector system you like.
The thing with DMR, it's from the commercial radio world; we hams don't use 96% of the features, we can safely ignore them. It's not more complicated than programming any other radio for repeaters, just the additional parameter of talk group.
EMcommies may want to use a couple of the features, they can provide code plugs for that and training for the users.
My issues with D-zast-Star were related to the pustar hotspot and the DR repeater list in my D74. I'm not impressed, Maybe it's just the Kenwood implementation...