ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ Resource Page

NW Digital Radio provides two AMBE-3000 based solutions for converting between voice and AMBE.

The ThumbDV™ is the currently recommend device for use with all computers having a USB port.

The PiDV™ can be used with GPIO on the Raspberry Pi or Odroid C1 single board computers.

PiDV™ is currently out of production, due to low demand.  If you wish to purchase a bulk quantity of PiDV™, contact about a manufacturing run.

An older but excellent guide is provided by Mike Morneau, VE3MIC, please obtain it at


NW Digital Radio is in the process of setting up various community groups at

Please create a personal account at Join the main NW Digital group by sending an email from your registered email account to and then send an email to Please use the group for questions and to share your experiences, so that all ThumbDV™, PiDV™, AMBEserver users can benefit from the replies.


Application Support

Applications to use the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ with your computer are distributed and supported by independent software developers. These applications are not distributed by NW Digital Radio. Support for these applications is provided by the respective authors.


Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 Users

Please visit the Wiki for instructions on installing Compass Linux and the AMBEserver.


Windows Users (ThumbDV™)

When you plug in the ThumbDV it should appear as a new serial port under Device Manager, note which COM port it is on, and remember new ThumbDV™ are at 460800 baud (older models are at 230400). There is a very simple test program for verifying operation under Windows.  It can be found at  — it is called ThumbTest.exe

Execute it from the command prompt. Windows will warn you that it was downloaded from the net and give you the opportunity to override its block.  Make sure no other program is trying to access the ThumbDV™ and the program will prompt you for the COM port (e.g. COM3), which you should be able to discover in Device Manager, and baud rate 460800.  It should then return 3 lines:
Available Ports:
Enter COM port value (Default: COM1): COM8
Baud Rate(default:9600): 460800
a 9
a 0AMBE3000R
a 1 1V120.E100.XXXX.C106.G514.R009.B0010411.C0020208
If you are getting these 3 lines (the version number might be slightly different), then the computer is talking to the ThumbDV.

FTDI Driver

Windows should automatically install the FTDI driver, but if it doesn’t see:

BlueDV by PA7LIM

Recommended for Windows users — be sure to get the newer version that supports theThumbDV™ — David is active on the message list at if you have any questions or support needs.


DUTCH*Star WinDV/DV Node

Use Device Manager on Windows to see which USB serial COM port the ThumbDV™ is using.

This software works with the ThumbDV™, please visit for up to date information. Please make a donation to DUTCH*Star if you find this package useful.  (AMBEserverWin is not needed when using WinDV.)

You will need to create an account on the DUTCH*Star site and login to obtain the current WinDV software.

WinDV Configuration

G4KLX software

Join Yahoo! Group ircDDBGateway and retrieve from “Files” -> “Beta”:
ircDDBGateway-20140602.exe or newer

Join Yahoo! Group pcrepeatercontroller and retrieve from “Files” -> “Beta”:
DummyRepeater-20150209.exe or newer.

Android Users (ThumbDV™ and AMBEserver)

Contact PA7LIM for BlueDV for Android.  It works with AMBEserver or tethered to a USB port (including OTG with adapter).

Linux Users (PiDV™ and ThumbDV™)

Raspberry Pi is an experimenter’s platform which can run the DV3000 with AMBEserver, ircDDBGateway, and the ALSA version of DummyRepeater.  DummyRepeater and its GUI is usable but not optimal due to mediocre audio performance on the Raspberry Pi. Alternatively you may find running DummyRepeater on another, network attached machine, to be a good choice. AMBEserver + ircDDBGateway on the Raspberry Pi makes a good network service.  If you want to run everything on one board, we recommend the Raspberry Pi 2 or Odroid C1.

DummyRepeater now supports PiDV™/ThumbDV™ directly as a serial device.  Select DV3000 Serial and set the serial/COM port where the PiDV™/ThumbDV™ is located.  Support for AMBEserver is still available for network access.  You may run AMBEserver or Serial but not both at the same time.

At this time we recommend using DummyRepeater with AMBEserver for best performance and reliability.


Setup for ircDDBGateway and DummyRepeater is the same for both devices as documented in this article.

Mac OS® Users

We recommend Buster, a native Mac OS® (10.9 and above) application, by Jeremy McDermond (NH6Z), which can be found at

Buster works with the native FTDI driver supplied by Apple. DO NOT INSTALL THE DRIVER FROM FTDI!

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

Jeremy has made the source code  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.

Source Code

Source for all G4KLX programs used with these devices can be found on GitHub.  DummyRepeater for Linux now uses ALSA audio for better performance.

Source is available to build and install the AMBEserver at ambeserver-install on Github.   It likely could be built or easily ported to other operating systems.

Technical Support for the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™

NW Digital Radio will gladly help you verify that the ThumbDV™ or PiDV™ is communicating with your computer. If you are unable to verify communication via the Python scripts or, please use the community support at

As we are not the authors of the software packages, we encourage you to use their respective support contacts for software support.

Note: ThumbDV dongles shipping from 13 July 2015 forward run at 460800 baud rather than 230400 baud.  A new version of AMBEserver may be built from the GitHub repository which implements a -n parameter to support the new speed.

Note: The Odroid C1 will mate with the PiDV™ and you do not need to reconfigure boot.txt.  The PiDV™ will be at /dev/ttyS2