Discussion in 'RFinderPi - Open Source radio interface based on R' started by KJ6OJL, Mar 18, 2015.
pi still in the box. Costs just seem to add up as much as buying a pre built. Dongle etc
Dumb question here--please forgive me.
What does the dongle actually do? I've seen one that is an "Access Point". To me it looks like a wi-fi router. Not sure what that is for--and it is $200 or so. There's another dongle that's about half as much and I'm not sure what the difference is.
I am interested in using the RPi for D-Star and those other new modes--I'd not mind using the RPi to do it, but not sure how well that works in Win7. I can dual boot off a USB in Ubuntu, if that works better.
The Access point just accepts the transmission from a D-Star enabled radio and acts like a D-Star Gateway. Low power so only has range of your house and yard. Creates your own repeater link to the internet. Saves the main repeater in the area when you are near your computer. The DV Dongle does not have the radio but does have the A/D convertor to allow you to use the mike and speakers of the computer to talk on the D-Star network. NW Digital Radio has a unit that does the Dongle part and also will work with the other digital radio protocols when the software is available as they all use the same convertor chip with different software driving it. At the moment only software for the D-Star is available and free. http://nwdigitalradio.com
The Raspberry Pi /DV Mega combo is worth every penny. Do it! (You'll also need a D-Star capable radio. HT is fine.) It puts out 10 mW and I have it going into a vertical antenna over the roof of the house. Believe it or not, .01 watts actually has a usuable range of about 1 mile. I walk the dog all over the neighborhood with my HT and listen to QSOs all over the world with perfect clarity.
In fact, after fiddling with it for a week, I bought a second Pi/Mega setup and it stays in the truck. Tethers to my iPhone and I listen to it all the time while on the road.
To be clear, a D-Star 'dongle' typically plugs into a USB port and uses the computer speakers and computer microphone. No RF transmission actually takes place. It's cheap and simple, but you have to be sitting in front of your computer to use it. You will note that it has no antenna connector.
The DVAP, DV4Mini, and anything else with a stubby 2" antenna sticking out of it receives the D-Star signal and retransmits it at QRP power levels. You interact with it using your own D-Star capable radio. It's a lot more flexible option, and most people prefer the idea of actually talking into their radio so that some RF is involved somewhere.
The DVAP is more expensive but seems to get higher reviews for being easier to setup.
The DV4Mini is less money, but seems to be a little more finicky.
The DVMega is a less expensive option, but requires a Raspberry Pi. There's no option to use it with a PC.
There are also a half dozen other new options that have sprung up recently, mostly from a bunch of small companies in Europe. Most get good reviews.
All of the options with USB ports seem to work well with minimal PC setups. They don't require much hardware or speed. You'll be fine with Win7. Actually you'd probably be fine with an XP dinosaur.
What system in Houston do you want to get into ?
What node ?
hopefully something close to Conroe with a 2meter public local there. W5KTT is a good friend of mine and would like to be able to link up and rag chew locally on his end
I've been seriously considering it.
I have to still set up my rigs since moving. Has been a matter of logistics and just trying to clear and dedicate a spot for radios. I have a dstar mobile base with GPS. I just haven't set it up. I signed up with dstar on a local group. I have to look that all up. Its been some time. Work has just kept me from doing anything I've wanted to!.. 283 hours a month equal to min wage.. But its work. Honestly I really need to refresh myself on dstar a lot I was very up on it and haven't used it.. Aka dont use it you loose it..
Dvap it probably will be so I'm not stuck in front of computer but can use my mobile base. I really like the thought of networking it and all. I have a icom ht but never used the netlink I think it was called? Hopefully can get up here on dstar.. Need to work on my general too.
Your forgiven lol! I am still way learning. And as of now have forgotten a lot of the dstar stuff I learned.. I have a dual band dual antenna mobile base. I'm yet to set up and will need to get some antennas set up for.
Dstar seems to be a whole new beast on it self, wish I was able to use it before I've really forgotten it..
Lots and lots of reading and research.