Last month, I got involved in DSTAR digital voice radio. Because signals are transferred via the internet, you can talk all over and normally find someone to talk to. I have been impressed and enjoying it but it is not without some issues.
First are the repeaters, I have 2 sets near me but I cannot hear from the closest and I am on the fringe of the Pembroke one. I am able to make contacts from Pembroke and participate in Nets. The other issue is the process to change to various reflectors (like talk channels) on the repeater. The 1st thing I did was get a DV3K Dongle, plugs into the computer and provides easy access to Reflectors as you are using the Internet Direct and not passing through the repeaters. It worked well and I could hear and talk to stations all over (Japan, Korea, S Afrika, Europe, UK and more).
Ok, I was hooked on DStar…. the only issue now, I do not usually take my laptop along and do not have a dstar mobile in my truck. Also, if I did and there was no repeater near by, I was still out of luck.
They make DV Access points (plug in the computer and become a Hotspot) that you can connect to via your radio. I have the Dstar handheld but still not “portable”. Enter the Raspberry Pi $35 dollar mini computer board. With the PI, special Dstar software to run the PI (Free download) and a battery pack, I would be completely portable and self sufficient! C
I assembled the prototype and tested it both stationary and in the truck. It will default to my home wi-fi and if not found, will look for my Verizon phone’s wi-fi hotspot. I then ordered the battery pack and put the fully portable kit together. I also configured it to be controlled by an android app in addition to programming my radio to change reflectors etc.
This battery setup all tested out and lasted 22 hours in testing! I was very pleased. Getting some Velcro, I wrapped up the project and also backed up the operating system.
Here is a Video in operation of the FINAL setup… fellow talking id from the UK!!!