DRAWS

WHAT IS DRAWS?

Digital Radio Amateur WorkStation Board

Digital Radio Amateur WorkStation Board

DRAWSBrochure 

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