Raspberry Pi Node--Where do I start?

Discussion in 'RFinderPi - Open Source radio interface based on R' started by KK4PP, Jan 25, 2015.

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  1. KK4PP

    KK4PP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm thinking of building a Raspberry Pi IRLP node. Honestly, I don't even really have a specific use for it, but I want an amateur radio learning project. It would be kinda nice to listen to the WIN system and be able to transmit into it walking around the house with an HT at low power. I would also be cool to connect to repeaters worldwide and show off to my non-ham friends--maybe get them interested in the hobby. My Linux knowledge is limited, but I think I can muddle through it. I do have a couple questions though that I haven't been able to specifically answer via Google and YouTube. Here are some random thoughts/newbie questions...



    Firstly, I know what IRLP does and I know what Echolink does. Is the any hardware difference between an RPi IRLP node and and RPi Echolink/IRLP node? I gather that the two can coexist peacefully. What are the additional requirements to add Echolink capabilities to an RPi IRLP node?



    I see that the majority of the the hardware needed can be purchased at http://www.irlp.net/pi/. I also know the a savvy shopper could purchase these items for a bit less elsewhere. I don't mind spending a few dollars more to get the tech support of someone who knows the exact setup I have purchased, but I'm thinking of purchasing some items here and some elsewhere:

    Raspberry Pi: $80 seems a bit steep. I can pick one up for $35 and I'm sure I have an AC adapter w/ USB cable laying around here somewhere. This one seems to be a no brainer to pick up elsewhere?

    IRLP board: $110 seems reasonable for a modified IRLP board. I have seen a few videos showing the modification of the board for 3.3v. I am almost embarrassed to ask such a simple question, but what voltage does the unmodified board operate at? I assume USB voltage is 5v. Why is 3.3v the magic number?

    Modified cable: $35 seems reasonable. I could pick one up for a few dollars less, but there seems to be a fair amount of cutting/splicing/soldiering involved. I don't mind spending a few dollars to have someone who is proficient handle this task.

    SD card: $60 for an SD card--not gonna happen. They are a dime a dozen.

    USB sound card: $30 is a bit steep. $10 on eBay/amazon.

    I'd appreciate any input on picking up the IRLP board and cable from someone who is more knowledgeable than I and then getting the RPi, power supply, SD card and sound card from the lowest bidder?



    Finally, I am looking for at a cheap option for a radio to sacrifice to the RPi project. I have gathered that a UV5R is an option, but it requires a some disassembling of the radio/soldering. Is there a plug-n-play option with a different radio? I'd like to simply plug a cable into from the IRLP board to the radio and have it work. Then I'd have a useable backup HT for other uses. Is that too good to be true?


    Any input would be appreciated. I am really green at this, but I think I am up for the challenge...
     
  2. KK4YWN

    KK4YWN Ham Member QRZ Page

    It doesn't sound like the kind of project you're willing to invest time or money into. However, if you're interested in shifting focus a little bit: svxlink runs on a raspberry pi and will allow you to build a repeater, echolink node, or any number of combinations. You can also setup a local-radio with svxlink in such a way that it will act as an echolink node AND your base station at the same time. When you grab your microphone, the radio still functions as it should and your echolink stations are still in the loop. You can basically share operation of your station.

    You could add a second radio to act as your in-home repeater as well.

    svxlink is very very flexible but you're going to have to invest some effort in understanding it.

    I had a echolink node running on 2m ssb using svxlink. I built the interface out of junk-box parts. It was a lot of fun and attracted a lot of echolink users. I had to shut it down while I upgrade some parts of the station, but I plan to put it back up when I'm finished with the upgrades.
     
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