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UDRC™ and Raspberry Pi 3 Compatibility

 

Some users have encountered reliability issues when the UDRC™ is used with a Raspberry Pi 3.

NW Digital Radio has duplicated the problem and isolated its root cause.

Our team looked at different options and after consideration, we recommend the following simple change on the Raspberry Pi. The change can be applied to both the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.

Edit /boot/config.txt adding the following to the file and saving the change:

force_turbo=1

This will take effect upon rebooting of the Raspberry Pi.

Additional details are available on the UDRC Wiki

Shipping Shutdown

Shipping will be shutdown starting June 22nd. Orders placed after that will ship when we re-open on July 10th.

Cables and Connectors

From the US Tech License Question Pool:

T4A01

Which of the following is true concerning the microphone connectors on amateur transceivers?
A. All transceivers use the same microphone connector type
B. Some connectors include push-to-talk and voltages for powering the microphone
C. All transceivers using the same connector type are wired identically
D. Un-keyed connectors allow any microphone to be connected

The UDRC™ has a “standard” 6 pin Mini DIN that works with the Data Port on many radios from Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu. Of course there are a variety of connectors and pinouts on both Amateur and Commercial radios.

We’ve found an excellent resource for cost-effective custom cables, right here in the Pacific Northwest. We’re currently having the following mini DIN-6 Cables made for our own use:

  • DE-09M, for the Alinco x35 radios
  • DE-15M, for the new Bridgecom 220 radio

If you need a cable for your radio; contact Randy, W7TUT, directly at:

www.qsl.net/w7tut/

UDRC™ Documentation

Thanks to all who have ordered the UDRC™ and those who are considering it for a future project.

We’re working with our DR1-X Beta sites, finalizing software, settings and documentation. Before we ship your unit in a couple of weeks we will release:

  • Schematic in PDF
  • Electrical Interface Guide
  • SW Setup Guide
  • Free downloadable iso image

All of the software is open-source. Source code is available from the authors.

 

UDRC™ is now available for ORDER

The UDRC™ has been released to production. We will have stock at Dayton Hamvention, booth EH0515. $90 no shipping and we pay the sales tax.

For those of you who are interested, you may place an order now for delivery when we return from Dayton or come see us at SeaPAC in June.

Units will ship with EITHER the Mini DIN-6 OR HD-15 Cable, not both as indicated earlier.

Universal Digital Radio Controller

Universal Digital Radio Controller

UDRC Status

The UDRC Rev 2 is now operating in the field with our Beta sites. Rev 3 pilot run should be completed this week and, pending confirmation, we will release it to production next week and start accepting orders.

We’ll be demoing the various modes at Dayton Hamvention. Stop by and see us at Booth EH0515 right around the corner from Yaesu.

UDRX does Raspberry Pi 2

We have moved from our custom linux SBC to the Raspberry Pi 2. This has a number of advantages:

  • Higher Performance
  • Lower Cost
  • Better Software Support
  • Easier for Developers to migrate SW to the UDRX
  • Future processor migration path, assuming header pinout compatibility

Of course nothing comes for free and there has been additional SW work migrating from a 3.x to 4.x kernel. Packaging has also been affected, but the overall package is simpler and better for final assembly. We are testing now using our existing RF Deck and a 40 pin adapter cable.

Existing SBC

Existing SBC

 

SBC VS R Pi 2

SBC VS R Pi 2

 

40 Pin Remapping Header

40 Pin Remapping Header

 

Test Configuration with Optional Paper Clip

Test Configuration

We are engaging with a Contract Manufacturer for Turn-Key Production, including custom extrusions. Engineering is moving forward towards a pilot run, once the Pi2+RF Deck is qualified at full power.

Expect the next update in January

Jeremy McDermond joins NW Digital Radio

Jeremy McDermond, NH6Z, has joined our team.  Jeremy is Vice President and a member of the board of directors of TAPR (www.tapr.org) and well known in the amateur community for his work with Software Defined Radio (SDR). He is author of Heterodyne, a software defined radio application for MacOS X and iOS devices supporting the OpenHPSDR (www.openhpsdr.org) project hardware.  Jeremy’s latest creation is Buster, a recently released application supporting the ThumbDV and PiDV on MacOS X.

You may have seen Jeremy speak at a variety of conferences including Dayton Hamvention, MicroHAMS digital conference and TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference.  He has been active in the Summits on the Air (www.sota.org.uk) hiking to the tops of many mountains in the Northwest United States to make QSOs with his trusty KX3.  He also operates the T2OREGON APRS-IS server.

When not immersed in ham radio, Jeremy serves as Network Engineer for a small web hosting provider in Corvallis, OR and has been a UNIX systems engineer for nearly 20 years.  He is also a member of the Oregon State Bar Association and practices law in a variety of fields.

We are excited about adding Jeremy’s skills to the team and look forward to his contribution to the UDRX and other products.

WinDV Configuration

When you run WinDV (DV Node for Windows), for the first time you need to configure it for the ThumbDV. Make sure you have the latest version from DutchStar with support for the ThumbDV.

Select Tools-Options

Screenshot 2015-05-22 13.58.43

 

  • Select ThumbDV as your “RF Device”
  • Select the COM Port that the ThumbDV is connected to
    • Check Device Manager for “USB Serial Port”
  • Baud Rate must be 230400 for original ThumbDV, 460800 for Model A
  • Enter your Callsign
    • Callsign is used for connection to gateways. An A,B, or C is required to connect to DExtra  Reflectors (XRFxxx)
    • Auth Call is used with US Trust Registration to connect to DPLUS Reflectors (REFxxx)
    • Callsign / is used for ID
  • Configure the Sound Card to use your desired input and output
  • Select a Callsign Server.  DUTCH*Star and Free*Star provide additional reflectors.  If the server is down select another.

The default Tools-Settings will provide basic operation and don’t require any changes.

Close then restart WinDV

WinDV

The ThumbDV Status should be RUNNING and the Version is read from the AMBE3000 chip on the ThumbDV. If both of these are correct your ThumbDV is working properly.

Press XMIT, even if you are not connected to a Gateway, and the RED/GREEN LEDs on the ThumbDV will flash.

The ThumbDV is not connected to your network or sound system. If you are having difficulties with either of them, you need to trouble-shoot those as Windows System issues.

If you like WinDV make sure to donate to Fred!

UDRX Update

Dayton Hamvention 2015
Dennis recently completed the Software Defined Receiver for the UDRX-440.  It now goes to Basil for integration with our framework.

This is a complete general purpose software defined receiver with a socket interface to support multiple protocols.   AGC is implemented in hardware as there is no conventional FM limiter which would prevent us from implementing other modulations. The MSK receiver utilizes dual software PLLs to implement Mark and Space separately allowing us to track not only carrier error but frequency shift as well. Lock times for a 100Hz frequency error are on the order of 15 mSec or about one and a half characters at 9600, reducing training time for TX/RX switching. There is a separate debug socket for reporting modem state suitable for advanced diagnostics. The fixed point DSP receiver uses less than 10% of available CPU cycles.

When combined with the previously implemented software designed transmitter, we now have a complete SDR transceiver.

The transmitter PA is now running at full power and initial thermal evaluation shows that we have met our goal of 100% duty cycle in a 20C shack without a fan. A separate temp-controlled fan kit will be available for high ambient temperature, continuous duty applications. Spurious emissions are less than -60 dBc.

These are the last significant milestones for the UDRX. Once integration and characterization are complete we will move the UDRX into Pilot Production on the full manufacturing line for field testing.

If you are at Hamvention, please come by our booth (EH0515) and visit with Bryan and John — we are thrilled to have reached this point.