How to Create a Multi-Mode XReflector

JerryNet is so named because one bored commute home, KG6HQD Jerry went on his DStar radio and connected to REF012A to see if anyone wanted to talk. This became a regular thing and JerryNet™ was born. Later when we started talking about how to include other digital voice modes such as DMR and Fusion. A cross-mode reflector is what we needed so we ended up on the QuadNet Array on REF757A. Someone from JerryNet threw out the idea of setting up our own multi-dv reflector like Quadnet’s. When I first heard this idea, I immediately thought it would be an impossibly daunting task. I had impressions of expensive hardware and… Read More

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Build Your Own DMR/DStar/Fusion Hotspot for CHEAP

In an effort to get more people on digital ham radio easily, I posted a video about how to put together your own multi-mode digital voice hotspot device very inexpensively, and with little effort. I have put together several of these and the work pretty well. Kind of like an oil change, almost anyone can do it. I admit, I used to have a purist mindset about ham radio. All these Internet-dependent modes such as Echolink, IRLP, and even analog repeater inter-linking over the Internet had me thinking “but what happens when the grid goes down?” I’ve experienced some pretty bad fails as a systems & software engineer, and also as… Read More

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APRS iGate

Last night I set up an Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) iGate to listen on 144.390 MHz for packets and report them to APRS Internet Service (APRS-IS). This is like a listening station that will improve my area APRS coverage. This can be done relatively inexpensively with a Raspberry Pi (~$35), a RTL-SDR receiver (~$26), and some opensource linux software available online. The latest RTL-SDR v3 is a capable little Software Defined Radio (SDR) receiver that can even receive to HF frequencies. For much cheaper than a standalone HF receiver, you can get the kit that includes a whip dipole, extension SMA cables, and mounting hardware. I lengthened the whips to 2m… Read More

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Learning Morse Code

I’ve found that learning CW is hindered by my preconceptions I’ve had about Morse code. When initially starting on the Koch Method using HamMorse, I would turn the sound I heard into a mental picture of dots and dashes, then I’d do an internal lookup of what that picture in my mind was against the alphabet. As you can imagine, this takes way too long, and takes too much concentration to effectively work in real-time CW translation. After many hours of trying and listening, I realize now what others have said all along about Morse: Just relax, and let the sounds come in on their own. The sounds need to… Read More

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