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Workbench: What's On Mine?
Multiple projects are in process so stay tuned for more
I have a new Anytone AT-D878UV II Plus radio and a hotspot. Unfortunately, it is set up for the Brandmeister network. I’ve got a code plug (also spelled as codeplug) that is known to work in the Pacific Northwest where I live, work, and play, but I haven’t tried installing it yet. Up here in the PNW, a lot of DMR traffic goes through the network of repeaters in the PNWDigital.Net system. I joined PNWDigital in June 2020 and have just been slow to enter this aspect of amateur radio.
I also need to decide whether to keep the existing hotspot on the Brandmeister network (might be a good idea when I travel out of the area) or reprogram it. I am leaning toward building a second hotspot and installing Pi-Star on it. Right now I’m grappling with simplex vs. duplex hotspots. The cost differences are significant and I’m wondering what more capability and enjoyment I might gain with a duplex hotspot.
I guarantee there will be a lot of learning involved as I make these changes. First, I need to reset my brain to understand the digital radio programming structure. The paradigm is different than for analog radio, at least to me. Second, I may need to do some export/import work to bring codeplugs in and to modify my hotspot.
More tiny and thin nodes
(Update 3/31/2023: The first 5070 arrived. It’s a beast compared to the diminutive 3040. I’ll get it booted up this weekend and see how it performs!)
A radio-based node
I also have a TYT TH-9000D radio on the way. To bridge that radio to an AllStar node, I ordered the RIM-Alinco device and a special connector cable. I’m betting that I can build a node on a Dell Wyse 5070, mated to the TYT radio. My prediction is that this will be a relatively easy build that yields a radio-based AllStar node.
(Update 3/31/2023: The RIM-Lite device arrived. Looks pretty simple. Waiting on the TYT radio.)
(I spent some time digging around to find used 220 MHz or 440 MHz Alinco radios but they have become rare. Thus, for this build, I’m going to use a fairly inexpensive new radio. I’ve not used one of these TYT units before so my fingers are crossed that the audio quality and reliability are both good. I will note in passing that the TYT + RIM device + adapter cable is roughly the same price as an Alinco DR-135T from HRO + RIM device; even though the Alinco is more expensive, it doesn’t require the special cable that the TYT needs.)
A radio-like node
As mentioned in a previous post, I have almost all the parts for a microphone-to-node interface. Basically, it is a project box that connects an Alinco hand microphone (the EMS-57 DTMF hand mic) to the USB port of an AllStar node. This is intended to be a desktop node that feels more like a traditional radio because you use the hand mic to transmit.
I have not given up on trying to load Linux on an old Chromebox. The primary purpose for this would be to get an AllStar node running on this platform. Chromeboxes are solid little computers and inexpensive, used devices are still readily available.
The techniques to do this as published by MrChromebox have not worked for me. My next attempt will involve replacing the SSD in the Chromebox with a new, blank SSD. I’m hoping this will cause the system to force a boot from a USB port.
Maybe I can trick the system into letting me replace ChromeOS with Linux! If doing it this way works, then I can get an adapter that lets me wipe the SSDs that come in Chromeboxes and repurpose more than one to serve as Linux computers or AllStar nodes.
If any of these projects appeal to you, or if you just want to share some of what you are working on, please post a comment!