The best VALUE hotspot on the market today

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by W4EAE, Jan 21, 2020.

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  1. W4EAE

    W4EAE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Since the original OpenSpot came out, through the release of the OpenSpot2, SharkRF products have been a great and easy to setup and use option for an amateur radio hotspot--but also much more expensive than the alternatives. With the release of the OpenSpot3, the calculus has changed.

    The OpenSpot3 is far and away the best value for money available today at $276US.

    This does require some explanation though. It has everything to do with both the capability of the OpenSpot3, as well as what is included in a single package. For example, a true 1 to 1 price comparison with the very popular and relatively inexpensive ZumSpot looks like this:

    Zum Radio board - $99.95
    Raspberry Pi 3B+ - $35.00
    MicroSD card - $7.00

    Total so far is $141.95. You can buy a package from HRO for $119.95 any get a tiny LCD screen as well; but it comes with a Pi Zero W which will not work to match the OpenSpot3 as you will see.

    You also need a case unless you plan on never moving it without extreme care. Add another $10 at minimum. That takes us to $151.95

    This price still looks quite favorable to the OpenSpot3 price-wise, but we are not done including all of the hardware that is in the OpenSpot3. You still need more hardware to match it.

    Enter two NW Digital ThumbDV sticks at $119.95 per piece. This is also why you needed the Pi 3B+: the ThumbDVs require two USB ports to plug them into. That takes total cost in dollars all the way up to $391.85.

    We've now spent all of the money we needed to to get the same functionality, but now we much invest the time, energy and expertise to write software which will tie all of the components together neatly (it does not currently exist).

    (I know I left off the battery, but there just are not any 1 to 1 comparisons in capacity for any external battery, and I think that the point is made without mentioning the battery).

    By now, it should obvious why $276 is an absolute bargain.:)

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