PiDV

Check out the Wikis

Check out the Wiki pages for the newest documentation.

AMBE Wiki for information on the ThumbDV™, PiDV™, and AMBEserver

UDRC Wiki for information on using the UDRC™ for applications such as APRS™, dstarrepeater, direwolf, fldigi, and Xastir.

We have more information coming for application users, developers, and experimenters.

Putting AMBEserver on the Internet

If you have a low latency and responsive Internet connection, you can place an AMBEserver directly on the Internet and access it remotely through Buster, DummyRepeater, or any other program that provides AMBEserver connectivity.

Raspberry Pi with PiDV and ThumbDV

Raspberry Pi with PiDV and ThumbDV

The first step is to connect a PiDV™ to the GPIO of a Raspberry Pi or a ThumbDV™ to the USB port of a computer which will run the AMBEserver.  A Raspberry Pi is more than sufficient for this task and provides an economical platform for AMBEserver, however, the choice of computer is up to you.  Follow the directions on this page for a Raspberry Pi build and configuration.

Once you have built your AMBEserver, verify that it is working with the included Python scripts, ‘ambesocktest.py’ will test the UDP socket, it returns the AMBE-3000 model number repetitively until killed (with control-C) if the daemon is functioning properly on port 2460.

On your local network, configure Buster or DummyRepeater to access the AMBEserver on the LAN IP address of your AMBEserver. When you have a working AMBEserver, then it is time to make it available outside your LAN.

Picture of Buster Preferences

Buster Preferences for AMBEserver

DummyRepeater Select AMBEserver

DummyRepeater Preferences for AMBEserver

Since there are a variety of routers/firewalls/modems that connect you to your ISP it is beyond the scope of this article to provide specific instructions, but all that is required is to forward an external port (default 2460) on your public IP to the LAN IP address of your AMBEserver (e.g. 192.168.0.5) at the designated port (default 2460).  You may want to choose a different UDP port in your AMBEserver and for your public facing IP address.  If you use the same port for both, then you most likely can configure Buster or DummyRepeater once for use at home and away by using your public IP address (replace the LAN IP address or Localhost IP Address).

Now take your Buster or DummyRepeater system to a remote location and test accessing AMBEserver over the Internet using your public IP address.

Native MacOS Application for ThumbDV™ and PiDV™

 

 

Buster on App Store

 

Jeremy McDermond, NH6Z, undertook writing a native application for Mac OS® and it is now available on the  Mac App Store.

Buster is not a product of NW Digital Radio and support requests should go directly to Jeremy.

Jeremy has stated that the source code will be made publicly available via GitHub and he is open to collaboration for future versions.

It works with a ThumbDV™ on a Mac OS® USB port and with AMBEserver™, locally or over a network.  AMBEserver can support either the ThumbDV™ or PiDV™.

This application has been in beta for several months and is both stable and feature rich.  It takes advantage of several Mac OS® specific services.  For example, it will use Apple Core Location service to determine your current location and reports it via D-STAR.  It also provides mapping of remote stations who are reporting position.

There is one known issue:  The way that Mac OS® powers USB ports during its sleep state may cause communication issues with the the ThumbDV™ upon wake up.  Most casual users will not experience this condition. The condition is resolved by removing and re-inserting the ThumbDV™ into the USB port.  Linux and Microsoft Windows sleep state does not exhibit this condition.  Since FTDI USB drivers are not written by NW Digital Radio, buyers of the ThumbDV™ should consider this when making a purchase decision.

All trademarks, service marks, trade names, trade dress, product names and logos appearing on the site are the property of their respective owners, including in some instances NW Digital Radio. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.

 

John Speaks on DV Modes at MicroHams

DMR / D-STAR Gateway

The Germans have done it again!

From the folks that brought us the ircDDB network, we hear from Hans-Jürgen Barthen, DL5DI, that there is now a gateway between D-STAR (DCS Gateways) and Hytera DMR Repeaters using the AMBEServer with either the PiDV™ or ThumbDV™.  This gateway is in use at a handful of DMR repeaters in Germany and Austria with systems soon to be implemented in Sweden and Switzerland.

You can download executables for the gateway and combine with the AMBEServer to create your own gateway. The software does D-STAR callsign to DMR radio ID mapping and transports audio between networks using the Hytera API.

Another step toward Universal Digital Radio from the community of amateur radio developers using products from NW Digital Radio.

 

Manufacturing Reliability Data

We have now shipped over 300 PiDV™, and the ThumbDV™ will soon pass it for units delivered. There are currently 200 more units in process.

Out of the Box MFG, our local assembly house in Renton WA, does a great job on their SMT line which includes automated optical inspection or AOI. We physically tested all of the first 100 units and found 1 failure, which was attributed to a bad AMBE3000 IC, probably due to hot plugging the board during test.

At this point we stopped functional testing and now rely on AOI to flag any assembly issues for operator inspection or remedy. We have had one working unit returned as suspect but it turned out to be a failed R-Pi and the PiDV™ was returned to service with no charge to the customer.

I want to thank Chad, Paul, Brian and all of the people at Out of the Box for their hi-quality and reasonable cost assembly services.

Bryan – K7UDR

Statement of Origin:

The PiDV™ and ThumbDV™ are assembled in the USA by Out of the Box from globally manufactured components obtained thru Dig-Key and Mouser. The PCB Fabs are made in China.

 

Do the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ Sound Better Than the DV Dongle?

A number of customers have reported anecdotally that the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ (formerly DV3000) have good audio, but is that just perception or is there some truth to it? I spoke with Rich Kovars, Applications Engineer at DVSI, who talked about the ThumbDV™/PiDV™ AMBE-3000 chip vs the Dongle’s1 AMBE-2020.

From the DVSI Website:

“DVSI’s AMBE-2020™ and AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chips, are both DSTAR compatible. iCOM originally introduced the DSTAR system based on the AMBE-2020™ Vocoder chip that utilizes DVSI’s AMBE+ technology. Since that time, DVSI has developed and produced the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip that implements DVSI’s latest generation AMBE+2 technology and is fully interoperable with the the AMBE-2020™ vocoder chip used for DSTAR. The enhancements of AMBE+2™ technology in the AMBE-3000™ vocoder chip can provide superior voice quality in some circumstances. The highest level of voice quality can be achieved when the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip (or equivalent software2) is incorporated into the equipment used on both ends of the radio link.”

So the answer is a definite maybe.

1 The DV Dongle is manufactured by Internet Labs.
2 Current ICOM D-STAR products use a software vocoder that incorporates the 3000 advancements.

ThumbDV™ vs PiDV™

We have received a few inquiries about the functional difference between the DV3000 and ThumbDV™.

The ThumbDV™ is a thumb or dongle type DV (digital voice) device for connection to a computer (PC, Laptop, Tablet, Raspberry Pi, Odroid, etc.) to provide access to AMBE encoding and decoding.  It is the more portable of the two devices in that you can plug it into any USB (2.0 or greater) port on a computer and access it as a serial port via appropriate software to get into the D-STAR system.

AMBE USB 3000 ThumbDV™

ThumbDV™

The PiDV™ is designed to use the GPIO UART pins on a Raspberry Pi (including Raspberry Pi 2 and compatible devices such as the Odroid C1)  to provide access to AMBE encoding and decoding.  It can be adapted to other similar devices using jumper wires to connect the UART, but only maps to Raspberry Pi GPIO pins.

PiDV™

PiDV™

From a software point of view they are equivalent and are accessed as serial ports (COMx under Windows,  tty? under Linux/Mac OS X, UDRx) at 230.4 kbps.  Software for using these devices includes G4KLX’s DummyRepeater,  DUTCH*Star’s Node DV (WinDV), and modified versions of DSD (developers have modified for use with the ThumbDV™/PiDV™ for monitoring DMR, Fusion, P25 Phase 2, etc. — contact the developers for more information).

Visit the resource page for additional information.

 

Budd Churchward, WB7FHC, explains the PiDV™ on Raspberry Pi

PiDV™ featured on Amateur Logic TV

AmateurLogic.TV highlights thePiDV™ (previously named DV3000) on the their videocast!  The segment starts at minute 51.

The referenced guide is at http://www.amateurlogic.com/downloads/DV3000.pdf thanks to VE3MIC.

One update: The latest G4KLX DummyRepeater gives the option of using AMBEserverGPIO or accessing the DV3000 directly as a serial device and directly supports ALSA audio.