Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Building an HF-VHF Go Box

I've been wanting to build a go box with HF and VHF capabilities. I wanted something that I could use on a daily basis, but then pack and go quickly if I needed too.

After lots of research, I settled on a design similar to KC6TYD's design (which is very popular!) and got a TON of inspiration from this guy. I went with a Gator case with space 6-U.

I've decided to include a power supply but eventually will build a separate "power box" with options for battery, solar, and commercial mains.

I've included my FT-991 and FTM-400xDE (yes, the European version which I bought from a silent key). Also included a Jetstream power supply and an MFJ tuner along with a Wires-X controller. I put a 1-U drawer at the bottom and a Power-Pole distribution strip in the back.

Still tweaking but it works well and I am enjoying it!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Compiling new version of Flmsg

When using the built-in repositories, the newest Flmsg on Ubuntu was 2.0..something. I needed at least 4.0.6 so I had to build it from the source. I followed the instructions included in the README.txt file with a couple of additions.

1. sudo apt-get install fltk1.3 - I needed the fast light kit 1.3. Some was already installed, but additional files were needed.

2. sudo apt-get install libsamplerate0 - But this was already the newest version, so I was good.

After the make and sudo make install, Flmsg worked!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New APRS Node up!

So I've finally deployed the APRS node for full time use at the local Sheriff's department. The node was built on a RaspberryPi 3 connected to my Icom 8000 with a Signalink Interface. It's running Direwolf 1.4 for both digipeater and iGate functions.

I sent some time getting it configured to pass traffic back and forth between the RF channel and the Internet. I used a couple of local filters to only pass items within an 80km radius of downtown Henderson.  I let the unit run 24/7 at my house for about a month just to make sure it was stable and reliable. I had good results with it.

The whole unit was going to the SO, so I wanted a package that was compact and neat looking. The Pi also including the Adafruit 2.8 touch screen which I picked up from Fry's about a year ago for $35. A trip to Lowes led me to an $11 outdoor junction box. I cut a whole for the screen and mounted the Signalink and the Pi inside so they wouldn't move around. I routed the cables through a hole I drilled in the back.

I mounted the radio on top using the stock mounting bracket. I left a USB keyboard dongle in the Pi so I can used a miniature keyboard (made for use with a TV set-top box) as an input.

The biggest hurdle was trying to find a way to log into the Pi once it was deployed. It would be behind a firewall on a guest Wifi network. I eventually found ngrok (thanks to my brother-in-law). Ngrok is a small program that facilitates the tunneling of a variety of services to ngrok's servers. Then I can connect to ngrok and track back to my Pi. The basic level of service is free and plenty for my needs.

I deployed the unit and its been working great. From my home or office I can log in, update, restart or reconfigure it as needed!