New DV4home Coming To Dayton

For those of us who take and interest in digital radio or have been experimenting with the DV4Mini, Wireless Holdings recently announced their new DV4 system called DV4home .

According to Wireless Holdings, the DV4home is going to include the following features:

  • Can be used with or without a DV4mini for DStar/C4FM/DMR/dPMR/P25
  • Use your radio or connect a microphone and speaker to the DV4home
  • No Linux experience is required
  • Simple set up with navigation on display
  • Improved shielding with metal case
  • Extended temperature range (-40C – +85C) for mobile use
  • Works with 12 V power supply

Wireless Holdings states that the finished product  will be on display at the Dayton Hamvention.

Quick Review – New 2016 Baofeng UV-3R

Recently I picked up a new car and decided that I am done with installing mobile radios, cables and antennas as I had over the past 30 years. I don’t commute any longer and just don’t spend that much time in the car so my thoughts turned to the idea of grabbing a cheap HT to throw in the glove box.

 

2016 UV-3R

After owning the original UV-3R, I was skeptical about grabbing the new Dual Display UV-3R 2016 version. Remembering back to my original UV-3R, it’s problem was rejection of unwanted signals.

The area around my QTH is densely packed with radio signals. However, the advantage of signal density  is that there are plenty of 2/70 cm analog repeaters to choose from. As a result the 2 watt limitation of the new UV-3R presents no problem for me.

 

Specs:

Go here if you want detailed Tech Specs. Basically, for around $30, it’s a 99 channel dual band, dual display 2/70cm HT in a small ‘credit card sized’ form factor with a 3.7 volt 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery.

Operating:

The Dual Band Screen of the new UV-3R is an asset. Manually programming the radio is pretty easy but if you are going to add tons of repeaters or fire/ems frequencies, grab a programming cable and use the free CHIRP software.

Navigation:

The radio has a couple of basic issues. There is no keypad so it takes extra effort to program the radio and to navigate around to change simple settings like the squelch level. The FM Radio has poor reception. But who buys an HT to listen to FM Radio anyway.

Audio:

The on-board speaker is loud with no distortion. If you plan to use earbuds you will notice that the audio is muffled and the gain is somewhat reduced .

Antenna:

In general, any rubber duck is nothing more than a Dummy Load but at my QTH hitting the local repeaters presents no problem with the stock antenna.

Just a word on HT antennas, there are tons of knock off rubber duck antennas on the market. Buyer beware when looking for a replacement because you may end up with an antenna that performs worse than the original!

Scanning:

The UV-3R scans EMS and Fire frequencies fairly well. Using CHIRP, you can easily select which frequencies to scan.

Battery: 

No complaints. With normal use the HT ran for a full day.

Manual:

Go here to grab your copy.

Summary:

IMHO, for around $30, how can you go wrong? This little GEM is a great little grab-n-go HT.

Install DV4Mini Console On Raspberry PI

DV4mini Console SoftwareAs a retired ‘NIX Systems Admin I still have to find out what makes things tick.

So I decided to build a Raspberry Pi 2 model B using a 32Gb Micro USB Card and the vanilla copy of Raspian Jessie 8 into a fully working DV4mini Console.

I used Putty with the DHCP provided IP address to run raspi-config expanding the file system and to change default localization settings.

Then it was on to installing x11vnc so I could work from my Windoze desktop using Tightvnc. Next it was getting the Edimax Wireless card online. From there I installed Mono 4.0 (Note: an 8GB Micro USB Card will run out of space while installing Mono 4.0) and finally the DV4Mini Console.

Since I created a series of crib sheets, I put a home-brew forum together as a central repository for my notes.

For those interested, go straight to my work-in-progress forum at KE2YK’s Ham Radio and Systems Forum. BTW, You don’t need to register to poke around its contents.

72 and 73,
Gary KE2YK Email me for additional help!

Portsmouth Radio Club Hamfest – April 2nd

Event Date: Saturday April 2nd,2016 8AM to 1PM
Event Title: Portsmouth Radio Club Hamfest
Location: FKA Ohio National Guard Armory
2313 17th Street
Portsmouth,Ohio
Website:
Talk In: 145.390Mhz PL Tone 136.5Hz or 444.600Mhz No PL Tone
Public Contact Info: WX8G Gary Caldwell
Pubic Contact Phone: 740-778-2119 or 740-250-4955
Public Contact Email: garcaldwell@yahoo.com

DV4Mini Dongle

DV4mini HotspotLook! In the Shack! It’s a Memory Stick, it’s a Wireless Card. NO it’s SUPERDONGLE! Yes SUPERDONGLE, able to leap huge RF gaps, more powerful than a 10 KW Amp, faster than….

Okay Okay, so it’s just a dongle but it’s sure packed with features!

The DV4mini is a very small but also very capable USB Stick that can expand any system running Windows or LINUX into a Hotspot for the D-STAR, DMR, C4FM and APCO P25 modes.

The DVmini is a powerful 32 bit micro controller, a complete 70 cm transceiver and a modulator/demodulator for GMSK and 4FSK and a USB interface.

One nice feature of the DV4mini is that it does not require external power. The unit gets powered from the USB interface. For some of us that means less complicated portable use.

Another feature is the included software package which is easy to use and easily links with DSTAR, DMR+, P25 and Fusion reflectors.

There are many Hams who have DV radios but are out of range of the nearest DV repeater. DV4mini to the rescue! The DV4mini creates a hotspot with minimal resources and provides access to many DV networks.

The Code Plug:

Assuming you have your associated Channel and Zone set up in your radio to operate the DV4mini hotspot, you should be ready to go with setting up the DV4mini software.

For DMR+.  My Hytera PD-362 DMR HT is set up at 436.000 tx and rx (default for DMR+ in the software), Talk Group 9, low power and TX Admit set to always allow.

HYTERA PD362 Channel For DV4mini

 

Setting Up The Mini:

My Dv4mini was up in running in a matter of minutes. Yes, I did scan through the manual first.

Presently I am only working the DMR+ systems. Some may ask, what is DMR+ as opposed to DMR?Simply put DMR+ is the Hytera network (more widely used in Europe but growing rapidly in the US). DMR is the TRBO-DMR network. To my knowledge the two networks are incompatible for a number of reasons. Hytera DMR+ is more ham radio friendly in that repeaters can directly interconnect without expensive bridging equipment.

Once again, my old Windows 7 Lenovo T60 Laptop came in handy.

The first thing to understand is that the DV4mini software is no longer supported on XP. Since XP is also no longer supported by Microsoft, security vulnerabilities would not be something I’d want in my shack anyway. However, if you insist on using XP it is recommended that you flash your stick with the older version 1.4 firmware. Read the manual to find out how to flash your stick….

As the software download Web page states, the first software package you need to install is VS2013 redistributable package from the Microsoft Web site. This is nothing more than a run time version of Visual C++. The 32 bit version is required even if you are using a 64 bit Windows O/S.

Now download the Windows software and perform a normal windows style install. A desktop icon will be created as part of the install process.

Next, connect the antenna, insert the unit into the USB port and start the software. In the status window you should see that your DV4mini was found.

Configuring The DV4Mini Software:

On the DV CONTROL PANEL, for DMR+ I entered my DMR id, call, grid square and location. DMR+ as my DV option and reflector 4639 USA-Nationwide.

DV4mini DV Control Panel

Now to the expert panel where I checked the auto-connect option and set my DMR Master to USA-EAST. Select the DMR Master closest to your QTH.

There are two other settings to pay attention to on the EXPERT PAGE.

QRG which is the offset in HZ between your radio and the DV4mini transceiver. Depending on the radio you use, you may have to adjust the QRG and ask for a few radio checks to insure your packet loss has been minimized.

The transmit buffer size is dependent on your network. I have had success with this set at .25 since I have a high speed network here.

DV4MINI EXPERT PANEL

Final Thoughts:

The Dv4mini is an excellent way to get on the DV networks. It is reliable, easy to upgrade and operate. There are a number of additional features that you will discover as you work with the unit. Again, I am only working DMR+ so I am sure you will learn more than I have when you explore the other DV’s.

My experience shows that you need to operate a distance from the DV4mini so that you don’t overdrive it. One ham I spoke to used foil to shield the unit.

Interested in getting one?

In the USA, visit Wireless Hold

Videos about the DV4Mini and links to the manual and software can be obtained at the bottom of the Wireless Hold home page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revolutionary 2 Way Radio For SmartPhones

For us radio enthusiasts, it looks like our Smartphones may just get a bit smarter. I have seen write ups on this tecno-marriage before. In the past it seemed that the marriage was more of a dream than a reality.

A startup company called Fantom Dynamics has reintroduced their vision of the radio / smartphone combo.

Perhaps this time the dream will become reality…

N6T at Rocklin Maker Faire

Public Contact Email: kp4md@arrl.org
Website: http://makerfairerocklin.com/attend/
Location: Sierra College, 5000 Rocklin Rd, Rocklin, CA 95677
Event Date: 10/3/2015
Event Title: N6T at Rocklin Maker Faire
Talk In: N6NA/R 145.250 MHz, – offset, PL 162.2
Public Contact Info: Special Event Station N6T will be active from the ‪‎ARRL‬ booth #49 at the Rocklin ‪Maker Faire‬ at Sierra College 1700-2200 UTC on 10-40 meters HF and 2 meter FM.  Frequencies will be posted on www.facebook.com/ARRLSacramentoValley
Pubic Contact Phone: (916) 782-3786

Stone Mountain Amateur Radio Awareness Day W4BOC

W4BOC is a special event in Stone Mountain, Ga. Event from 1pm to 5pm. A special QSL card is available from KK4KHS. Send a SADE to Mike Smith KK4KHS 5191 La Paloma Dr. SW. 30047

Public Contact Email: kk4khs@arrl.net
Pubic Contact Phone: 404.509.3104
Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AMRC.TOTR/events/
Location: Stone Mountain Ga. Near the Welcome Center and City Hall
Event Date: September 19th, 2015
Event Title: Stone Mountain Amateur Radio Awareness Day W4BOC
Talk In: 145.450 – Pl 107.2
Public Contact Info: W4BOC, Celebrating the first 43 years of Alford Memorial Radio Club http://totr-radio.org/,
Stone Mountain Amateur Radio Awareness Day and Preparedness Month, we will be taking amateur radio to the street, downtown, featuring Emergency Power

Amateur Radio Awareness Day activities typically focus on increasing public awareness. According to DHS, National Preparedness Month is aimed at encouraging Americans to prepare for emergencies and to raise public awareness about the importance of being prepared.

This Stone Mountain Amateur Radio Awareness Day, September 19, the Alford Memorial Radio Club, will sponsor a 5-hour Emergency Power Operating Event for stations operating off the grid. “It is not a contest,” “It is simply a demonstration of what we amateurs can do without having to rely on the, internet or commercial mains, and what we will do whenever the need arises.”

There is no set exchange; contacts may be casual, but operators are encouraged to share information on their emergency power sources in addition to the traditional signal report, name and location. GOTA station maybe up and running so encouraging comments for newbies is always helpful.

 

FCC Universal Licensing System Down for Maintenance

Federal Communications SystemARRL Bulletin:

FCC Universal Licensing System, Other Applications to be Down for Maintenance

In early September the FCC USL will take the ULS, and other filing systems offline for more than 5 days beginning at 2200 UTC on Wednesday, September 2, and continue through the Labor Day weekend.

The FCC states that the systems should be back online on or about 1200 UTC on Tuesday, September 8. During the outage, Amateur Radio applications will be unavailable.

Most of the related resources will also be unavailable. Some of those resources include; all electronic filing and dockets.

The exceptions will be the Network Outage Reporting System, the Consumer Help Center and the Disaster Reporting System.

The FCC’s main Web site will be UP but with limited functionality. Other FCC functions like voicemail and email will also be offline.

Due to the outage, filing dates will be extended. FCC comments on public notices will also be extended.

For more detailed information visit ARRL News

FCC Eliminating Vanity Call Sign Fee

The FCC is dropping the regulatory fee to apply for an Amateur Radio vanity call sign. The change will not go into effect, however, until required congressional notice has been given. This will take at least 90 days. As the Commission explained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, and Order (MD Docket 14-92and others), released May 21, it’s a matter of simple economics.

“The Commission spends more resources on processing the regulatory fees and issuing refunds than the amount of the regulatory fee payment,” the FCC said. “As our costs now exceed the regulatory fee, we are eliminating this regulatory fee category.” The current vanity call sign regulatory fee is $21.40, the highest in several years. The FCC reported there were 11,500 “payment units” in FY 2014 and estimated that it would collect nearly $246,100.

In its 2014 Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) regarding the assessment and collection of regulatory fees for FY 2014, the FCC had sought comment on eliminating several smaller regulatory fee categories, such as those for vanity call signs and GMRS. It concluded in the subsequent Report and Order (R&O) last summer, however, that it did not have “adequate support to determine whether the cost of recovery and burden on small entities outweighed the collected revenue or whether eliminating the fee would adversely affect the licensing process.”

The FCC said it has since had an opportunity to obtain and analyze support concerning the collection of the regulatory fees for Amateur Vanity and GMRS, which the FCC said comprise, on average, more than 20,000 licenses that are newly obtained or renewed, every 10 and 5 years, respectively.

“The Commission often receives multiple applications for the same vanity call sign, but only one applicant can be issued that call sign,” the FCC explained. “In such cases, the Commission issues refunds for all the remaining applicants. In addition to staff and computer time to process payments and issue refunds, there is an additional expense to issue checks for the applicants who cannot be refunded electronically.”

The Commission said that after it provides the required congressional notification, Amateur Radio vanity program applicants “will no longer be financially burdened with such payments, and the Commission will no longer incur these administrative costs that exceed the fee payments. The revenue that the Commission would otherwise collect from these regulatory fee categories will be proportionally assessed on other wireless fee categories.”

The FCC said it would not issue refunds to licensees who paid the regulatory fee prior to its elimination.