NW Digital Radio Blog

DRAWS is Shipping!

The first batch arrived yesterday and we will begin shipping tomorrow after we finish testing today. We should have all 142 orders complete next week before the Thanksgiving Holiday.

We have 48 units left, so we are extending the early adopters sale to these boards as well. A few orders slipped in this month that will receive a $20 refund.

We are very excited about this product and want to thank all of our Early Adopters for their support.

REMINDER: Make sure you ordered the Antenna, if you want to use the GPS/Stratum 1 Time Source. They will ship together, and we will refund the separate shipping charge for the Antenna.

What is DRAWS

A few questions have come up about DRAWS.

WHAT IS DRAWS

Digital Radio Amateur WorkStation Board

 

 DRAWS is a platform with multiple components.

First, it is a Raspberry Pi HAT.  This is a purely hardware solution that puts several components that are useful for amateur radio projects on a single board; namely a high-performance sound chip (CODEC), a GPS with pulse per second (PPS) that includes an embedded battery backed real-time clock (RTC), and a 12VDC power circuit to power the onboard devices and the Raspberry Pi from a single power supply.  It has two mini DIN-6 audio sockets that match the ‘TNC’ specification found on many radios designed for amateur radio, an SMA connector for a powered GPS LNA antenna, power connection socket, and a small GPIO array for additional I/O.

Secondly, the DRAWS Workstation, which is the HAT plus an SD Card, Raspberry Pi, and an optional metal case, which creates a self-contained unit.  The Raspberry Pi provides the computing power for the workstation to run the drivers for the HAT components and applications to provide various functions.  Those functions are mostly in the realm of packet radio (Direwolf modem, AX.25, APRS, etc.), other digital modes (fldigi, WSJT-X, etc.), and digital voice (D-STAR, etc.), and ancillary utilities and applications such as a Stratum 1 timeserver, GPS location, and so forth.

Is there a prebuilt image for DRAWS?

The short answer is Yes.

Starting with delivery of the DRAWS HAT, a downloadable image will be available to run the DRAWS workstation.  It will contain the current version of Raspbian (Stretch) including preloaded DRAWS HAT driver and a selection of applications that have been compiled for and tested on the DRAWS platform.

The image is known as Compass Linux, however, except for the driver, application selection, and some configuration parameters, it is plain old Raspbian.  After booting the image, Raspbian repositories are used for updates of the operating system.

What technical support is provided for DRAWS?

NW Digital Radio supports the DRAWS HAT hardware and its driver software.  All other applications are provided on an ‘as is’ basis, with support for configuration and operation of those applications provided by the authors and user community for those applications.  NW Digital Radio’s DRAWS HAT driver and configuration is Open Source Software and is free for amateur radio use.

Can I just use Raspbian or another distribution?

Yes. However, you will need to add the Compass Linux repository to install the DRAWS HAT driver and to access pre-built applications for the DRAWS Workstation.

Creating your own image using Raspbian or other components assumes that you are familiar with the creation and administration of such a system. NW Digital Radio cannot provide support or technical assistance for images created independently of the Compass Linux distribution.

Can I use another single board computer in place of the Raspberry Pi?

NW Digital Radio will provide schematics and pin out information for the DRAWS HAT and the driver is open source software.  Experimenters are free to use this documentation to try other platforms but do so at their own risk and NW Digital Radio is under no obligation to provide advice or engineering support.

We like experimentation, and wish to encourage amateurs to ‘put the amateur back in amateur radio’, however we do have limited resources and must focus them on our supported configurations.

Why is there a distinction between the DRAWS HAT and DRAWS Workstation?

In the design phase of the DRAWS platform we recognized we have two primary communities we need to offer products to:

First the DYI community.  They like to get under the hood and understand the various parts of a solution. They like building/assembling projects, experimenting, and sometimes save a little on the upfront cost.  These are candidates for the DRAWS HAT.  They can purchase other components as needed.

Secondly, there are those who want to buy a pre-assembled solution, connect it to their radio(s), power up, configure, and operate.  These are candidates for the DRAWS Workstation.

In either case, their solution may be dedicated to one configuration or they may want to explore additional modes and configurations using a single piece of hardware.

Is my application or mode supported by DRAWS?

We get the question “Does DRAWS do ‘XYZ’?”  The answer to that is, “Is there and application that does ‘XYZ’” already ported to the Raspberry Pi which uses a soundcard and configurable GPIO, USB, or network (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth) for control and access.  If the answer is yes, then it should work with the DRAWS platform.

A list of pre-installed applications will be included with the release of the image, and more will be added over time.  Some early known applications include: Direwolf, AX.25 tools, Fldigi, dstarrepeater/ircddbgateway, WSJT-X, and more.

I have an application that I would like to add to the DRAWS platform, how do I get it added?

If you are the author of an application or a builder/integrator of an open source project, then contact support@nwdigitalradio.com and we will discuss access to engineering and other resources to get your project on DRAWS.

Software projects work best if the source tree includes all of the resources to build a Debian package.

Who do I contact about orders, delivery, and warranty issues?

All standard ordering should be done at the website at https://nwdigitalradio.com/shop/

Once your order is shipped, you will receive a tracking number for the shipment.  Use it to follow your package’s progress to its destination. NW Digital Radio does not have any additional information than what is presented by the tracking service.

If you wish to enquire about large quantity orders, need a formal quote for a special purchase, warranty follow-up, etc. contact sales@nwdigitalradio.com

Where is the best place to discuss questions and ideas for the DRAWS platform?

 Join the forum at https://nw-digital-radio.groups.io/g/udrc

DRAWS™ Digital Radio Amateur Workstation Early Adopter Sale

We are Now Shipping Orders for DRAWS™ !

Early adopters can purchase the DRAWS board for $129.95, a $20 discount, along with the companion GPS/LNA Antenna for $9.95, a $5 discount.

Here’s the Brochure:

DRAWSBrochure

Digital Radio Amateur WorkStation

What is DRAWS

ThumbDV Clearance SALE

The current stock of ThumbDVs will be on sale for $99.95, a $20 Discount, until existing stock is gone. We are making an updated version with component changes to facilitate assembly.

THERE IS NO FUNCTIONAL DIFFERENCE IN THE NEW VERSION!

So get yours now before the price returns to $119.95!

ThumbDV Sale has been extended thru August!

We are please to announce that the $99.95 sale price has been extended thru the end of August. Get yours now!

ThumbDV July Sale!

The ThumbDV is on sale now thru the end of July for $99.95!

If you have questions about a recent order, please email to orders@nwdigitalradio.com

Thanks,
Bryan K7UDR

XC-3006 Full Build

The production run arrives this week as well as cases and power connectors. We will ship next week once the units have passed test.

You will need to provide a 12V nominal PS (9-15V will work).

The cases will require modification to access the power and USB.

After shipping existing orders we will have a few additional units for sale.

This is a custom build for the XLX team, using their design found at https://github.com/LX3JL/usb-3006 and we will warrant the hardware from defects for 90 days.

All software and configuration support is from the XLX team at https://github.com/LX3JL/xlxd and community at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/xlxd-star/info

XC-3006 Passes Initial Test

First article was received and John succesfully tested the units over the weekend. The full build is in process and we will ship next week after Dayton Hamvention.

Bryan K7UDR

G4KLX creates new FM Repeater Controller software with UDRC Support

From the repository at https://github.com/g4klx/FMRepeater

“These are the source files for building the FMRepeater. This is a simplified version of the old Analogue Repeater that has existed on the OpenDV GitHub repository for many years. It has the following features:

  • Seperate id and beacon texts.
  • Timeout can be one of three styles, or no timeout.
  • Optional callsign at repeater open or close, or both.
  • Id may be suppressed if too close in time to a previous id.
  • Optional kerchunk timer.
  • Selectable acknowledgement style.
  • All ids and acknowledgements have selectable frequency and speed.
  • Minimum talk time before an acknowledgement is sent.
  • Built-in string audio bandpass filter.
  • Repeater control via an Arduino or a UDRC.
  • Audio I/O via any supported sound system, including the UDRC.

It builds on 32-bit and 64-bit Linux as well as on Windows using Visual Studio 2017 on x86 and x64.page on the LCDproc website for more info.”

G4KLX adds UDRC support to MMDVM

From the repository at https://github.com/g4klx/MMDVM-UDRC

“This is the source code of the MMDVM program/daemon that supports D-Star, DMR, System Fusion, P25, and NXDN modes via the UDRC Pi interface.

It will provide all of these modes in simplex mode, and all bar DMR in duplex mode. It is not possible to get DMR to operate in duplex mode via the UDRC. If you want full duplex in all modes then you will need to run a full MMDVM system including hardware.”

See the announcement at https://nw-digital-radio.groups.io/g/main/topic/mmdvm_udrc/18176410