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Hotspots

Discussion in 'Echolink/IRLP Tech Board' started by VE7JUA, Oct 9, 2018.

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  1. VE7JUA

    VE7JUA QRZ Member

    There are numerous hotspots available in the market today such as zumspot, jumbospot, ruggedspot and others. Which one is the most cost effective, easiest to set up and configure and operate? Which has the best user interface and features?
     
  2. KI7YWE

    KI7YWE Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's really hard to answer all those questions, because there are a lot of variables to consider. Are you comfortable working with or configuring Raspberry Pi's? If not there will be a learning curve associated with learning the hardware. What is your idea of cost effective? Do you want to learn how to get the jumbospot to work? Do you not want to spend time fiddling with the hotspot, and just want it to work? I ordered a hotspot off of eBay for $50. It came with the board, case, antenna, and oled display (minus the Raspberry Pi). It didn't work...I spent hours screwing around with it until I found a Facebook group that supported MMDVM. I found a post about cheap Chinese boards having the wrong TXCO chip. I had no clue what that was, but I ordered a new one and swapped it out. BINGO the board worked, but it took some moderate soldering skills. The seller refunded 50% of my money, so I was happy I got a working board for $25 (plus labor and the $7 for the parts). I enjoyed learning how to fix it, so I thought it was cost effective. Many people would rightfully not enjoy having to mess with a new item.
    I see a few hams buying, building, and testing these hotspots, and reselling them with a bit of a profit built in. I think that's a good mix of cost/time spent. You can also buy a commercial unit like the Zumspot for about $120, or the soon to be released Openspot (I don't know the price). The cost is higher, but you'll spend less time fiddling with them. Most of the Pi based boards use Pi-star which has good Youtube video support.
     
  3. KD8DVR

    KD8DVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've ordered and put online 2 of the Chinese JumboSpots. Both included the PiZero and case. Cost under $100 from USA sellers. I did my homework first and was able to get them up and running quickly. I dodn't have the TCXO (Temperature Controlled Xtal Oscillator) issue. I ordered from the USA, so as to not have a return hassle if things went backwards. Pretty much any hotspot requires some sort of knowledge on how the things work. Some configuration is always needed by the user. The Pi-Star interface used by the JumboSpots is pretty nice; but again, there is a minor "geek factor" that comes into play.
     

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