Friday, February 15, 2019

Pi-Star hotspot getting started

The hotspot board I ordered via eBay for AU$60 arrived (I note the price has increased recently). It turns out to be labeled a Jumbo Spot rev 1.6. I already had the Raspberry Pi Zero but the other parts came as shown here.

The metal box is very solid, the board is good quality and the OLED display was already soldered in place. There was some soldering in that the pin headers for attaching to the Pi had to be soldered on to the Pi Zero board.

The Pi-Star software was downloaded from here and copied to the microSD card using Etcher on macOS.

Because I hadn't read enough documentation, I fired it up connected to a monitor and keyboard and attempted to get it on to my Wifi via the command line. (Don't do this).

The right way to get started is to let it boot and after a minute or so it creates a Wifi network called "pi-star-setup". On a computer, join that wifi network and go to http://pi-star.local and you log in with username pi-star and password raspberry to do the configuration via a web interface. Here you can tell it about your wifi network and then let it join. After that, go back to your own network and again visit it via http://pi-star.local.

Jumbo Spot isn't in the radio/modem type popup so I used MMDVM_HS_Hat (DB9MAT & DF2ET) for Pi GPIO and that appears to work.

DMR Master is set to DMR+_IPSC2-AUS-2 with options "TS2_1=505;TS2_2=3802;TS2_3=3803;TS2_4=3804;TS1_1=13;TS1_2=113;TS1_3=123". These settings derived from VK7HSE in the Pi-Star forum. I am seeing traffic and can see myself transmit.

There's a good tutorial on setting up Pi-Star configuration on Amateur Radio Notes here.

All boxed up now and it looks like a solid bit of gear.

I set it to the frequency which was already in a code plug I used in my TYT MD-380. I can see a bit of activity on the web interface.

Range seems excellent, it certainly covers the house without any problems. I'm still figuring this thing out but so far it seems good.

I've had a few brief contacts on talk group 505 slot 2 but often can see that a station is there but not hear them.

Updated firmware to 1.4.14

Following the instructions from I've just updated the Jumbo Spot firmware from v1.3.3 to 1.4.14. So far so good and very easy to update.

Here's a VK4 talking to a VK3. I'm in VK2 via this Jumbo Spot.

There is a page for the IPSC2-AUS-2 network which my hot spot is connected to here.

There's a big list of all the BrandMeister talk groups and you can listen live.

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