Field Day 2019: Visit by Commissioner Weinroth

On June 22 2019, Commissioner Weinroth visited with members of the Boca Raton Amateur Radio Association at their annual Amateur Radio “Field Day” at the West Delray Regional Park as part of the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise. Field Day is a showcase for how amateur radio (also known has ham radio) works reliably under any conditions from almost any location to create an independent communications network. Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio.

Jerry.Z W4BFL, Bruce KO4XL, Commissioner Weinroth, Michael Siegel W2RT

DMR: Pi-Star Firmware upgrade for mmdvm HS hat flash by Al Af4FA

If you have a different modem board you need to adjust the commands to those for your particular board using the list at the bottom.

– open your pi-star admin dashboard in a web browser
– go to configuration
– go to expert
– go to SSH-Access
– log on (user pi-star + your password)
– type “sudo service mmdvmhost stop” press enter
– type “sudo pistar-mmdvmhshatflash hs_hat” press enter
– confirm by pressing any key (last chance to back out by pressing CTRL-C here)
– wait till you get the message that flashing is complete, then press any key to reboot
– open your pi-star dashboard in a web browser again
– go to configuration and scroll down and see if the Modem connected. If yes you are done. If no continue.
– go to expert
– go to SSH-Access
– log on (user pi-star + your password)
– type “sudo service mmdvmhost start” press enter
– type “exit” press enter
– done
– If Modem still does not connect then
– open your pi-star dashboard in a web browser
– click on Admin
– go to configuration and at the bottom click on configure wifi and if the ssid shown is correct click on save(and connect) and exit.

The modem should connect and the IP address should show on the screen and the status should show interface is up in green.

You have completed the upgrade.

ZUMspot board connected to GPIO:
sudo pistar-zumspotflash rpi
MMDVM_HS_Hat board with 14.7456 MHz TCXO connected to GPIO:
sudo pistar-mmdvmhshatflash hs_hat
MMDVM_HS_Hat board with 12.288 MHz TCXO connected to GPIO:
sudo pistar-mmdvmhshatflash hs_hat-12mhz
MMDVM_HS_DUAL_Hat board with 14.7456 TCXO connected to GPIO:
sudo pistar-mmdvmhshatflash hs_dual_hat
MMDVM_HS_DUAL_Hat board with 12.288 TCXO connected to GPIO:
sudo pistar-mmdvmhshatflash hs_dual_hat-12mhz
Nano Hat board connected to GPIO:
sudo pistar-vyehsflash nano_hs
HS_DUAL_HAT (VR2VYE) connected to GPIO:
pistar-vyehsflash hs_dual_hat
NanoDV NPi board:
sudo pistar-nanodvflash pi
NanoDV USB board:
sudo pistar-nanodvflash usb
BD7KLE/BG3MDO devices:
sudo pistar-mdoflash
ZUMspot duplex board connected to GPIO:
sudo pistar-zumspotflash rpi_duplex
ZUMspot USB key:
sudo pistar-zumspotflash usb
USB-connected Libre Modem:
sudo pistar-zumspotflash libre

DMR: Adjusting the offset by Al AF4FA

Most of the boards lately have required adjusting the offset to function properly on DMR. Many boards are shipped with a sticker on the bottom with the required offset.

These are usually pretty close. There is however a way to get this more exact and specific to your radio. Luckily there is a utility built in to Pi Star that enables you to tune your offset.

MMDVMcal
All it requires is pen and paper, a calculator and a little time.

Step one is to gain ssh access to your Pi. The easiest way to do this is go to “Configuration” then click “Expert” then “SSH Access” and log in with pistar and your password.

First, set your radio to 433.000mHz Talk Group 1 and Color Code 1 TS 1.

Next, use the command in SSH to start mmdvmcal “sudo pistar-mmdvmcal” then press “b” to start the BER tuning program.

1.Press the PTT on your radio for about 1 second. Then unkey.
2.If no BER response or a high response press the “F” key to raise the frequency and repeat step 1 until you get the smallest BER you can.

If you get to more than 1.5kc from the starting frequency without seeing a BER response or if the BER keeps increasing press “Q” and start the program over and press “f” instead of “F” and repeat steps 1 and 2 lowering the frequency until you get the smallest BER you can achieve.

At this point you can change the frequency step to a lower increment by using the “Z’ key and entering a lower step (50 or 25 or 10) and go back to step 1 to see how much lower you can get by using the “F” and/or “f” keys.

When you are satisfied with the BER then do the following.

However far off you are from the starting frequency of 433mHz is what your RXOffset should be set to plus or minus.

DMR: Fix BER procedure by Al AF4FA

Most of the boards lately have required adjusting the offset to function properly on DMR. Many boards are shipped with a sticker on the bottom with the required offset.

These are usually pretty close. There is however a way to get this more exact and specific to your radio. Luckily there is a utility built in to Pi Star that enables you to tune your offset.

MMDVMcal
All it requires is pen and paper, a calculator and a little time.

Step one is to gain ssh access to your Pi. The easiest way to do this is go to “Configuration” then click “Expert” then “SSH Access” and log in with pistar and your password.

First, set your radio to 433.000mHz Talk Group 1 and Color Code 1 TS 1.

Next, use the command in SSH to start mmdvmcal “sudo pistar-mmdvmcal” then press “b” to start the BER tuning program.

1.Press the PTT on your radio for about 1 second. Then unkey.
2.If no BER response or a high response press the “F” key to raise the frequency and repeat step 1 until you get the smallest BER you can.

If you get to more than 1.5kc from the starting frequency without seeing a BER response or if the BER keeps increasing press “Q” and start the program over and press “f” instead of “F” and repeat steps 1 and 2 lowering the frequency until you get the smallest BER you can achieve.

At this point you can change the frequency step to a lower increment by using the “Z’ key and entering a lower step (50 or 25 or 10) and go back to step 1 to see how much lower you can get by using the “F” and/or “f” keys.

When you are satisfied with the BER then do the following.

However far off you are from the starting frequency of 433mHz is what your RXOffset should be set to plus or minus.

DMR: Gateway Rules by Al AF4FA

DMR Gateway will only pass traffic to the different networks if it’s referenced in a rewrite rule in the .ini file.

TGRewrite

TGRewrite allows you to translate one talk group ID to another, and to alter the time slot.

TGRewrite can also be used to route a talk group and slot combination to a particular network.

‘from’ applies to DMR frames entering the Gateway via MMDVMHost (RF), and ‘to’ is where they are routed on the network side (Net). The rules apply to DMR frames traversing the gateway in both directions.

Syntax
TGRewrite=fromSlot,fromTG,toSlot,toTG,range

Examples
The rule below will translate a group call to talk group talk group 8 to talk group 9 on DMR Network 1.

[DMR Network 1]
# Reflector TG on to slot 2 TG8
TGRewrite=2,8,2,9,1

The rules below will route a group call to 9990 on time slot 1 to DMR Network 1, and a group call to 9990 on time slot 2 to DMR Network 2.

[DMR Network 1]
# Echo on slot 1 TG9990
TGRewrite=1,9990,2,9990,1
[DMR Network 2]
# Echo on slot 2 TG9990
TGRewrite=2,9990,2,9990,1

PCRewrite

This is almost identical to the TGRewrite except it only operates on private calls. PCRewrite can be used to add a prefix on a private call to a reflector to ‘steer’ them to a particular network. The prefix will then be removed before being routed to the DMR network. ~~The rules apply to DMR frames traversing the gateway in both directions.~~~ This rule only works on DMR frames apassing from the RF side to the network.

Typically used to remap reflector control calls to a different local range to avoid clashes, and for permitting GPS position reports and private calls to a particular network.

Syntax
PCRewrite=fromSlot,fromId,toSlot,toId,range

Examples
The rules below will route any private calls on time slot 2 in the range 94000 – 95000 to 4000 –
5000 on DMR Network 1, and the range 84000 – 85000 to 4000 – 5000 on DMR Network 2.

[DMR Network 1]
# Reflector control command slot 2 94000->4000 to 95000->5000
PCRewrite=2,94000,2,4000,1001

[DMR Network 2]
# Reflector control command slot 2 84000->4000 to 85000->5000
PCRewrite=2,84000,2,4000,1001

SrcRewrite

SrcRewrite will rewrite the source/from Talk Group ID to another ID.

Syntax
SrcRewrite=fromSlot,fromId,toSlot,toTG,range

Examples
The rule below will rewrite calls from 4000-5000 on DMR Network 1, to talk group 9 on slot 2. This is useful for ensuring reflector announcements are heard on talk group 9. This rule only works on DMR frames passing from the network side to the RF side.

[DMR Network 1]
# Reflector status returns
SrcRewrite=2,4000,2,9,1001

TypeRewrite

TypeRewrite maps a group call to a private call. This rule only works on DMR frames passing from the RF side to the network side.

Syntax
TypeRewrite==fromSlot,fromId,toSlot,toId

Example
The rules below translate a group call to 9990 on slot 1, to a private call on DMR Network 1. The SrcRewrite rule then allows the reply to traverse the gateway. This could be used for converting Brandmeister’s private call echo service to a group call method like DMR+, to make the usage more uniform across the networks.

[DMR Network 1]
# Echo on RF slot 1 TG9990 to network slot 1 9990
TypeRewrite=1,9990,1,9990
SrcRewrite=1,9990,1,9990,1

PassAllTG

Passes all talk groups without specific matching rules, and can only be used on a single DMR network. The rules apply to DMR frames traversing the gateway in both directions.

Syntax
PassAllTG=Slot

Example
The rules below allow group calls to traverse from DMR network 2 to either time slot on the RF side.

[DMR Network 2]
# Pass all of the other talk group traffic on slot 1 and slot 2
PassAllTG=1
PassAllTG=2

PassAllPC

Passes all private calls without specific rules, and can only be used on a single DMR network. The rules apply to DMR frames traversing the gateway in both directions.

Syntax
PassAllPC=Slot

Example
The rules below allow private calls to traverse from DMR network 2 to either time slot on the RF side.

[DMR Network 2]
# Pass all of the other private traffic on slot 1 and slot 2
PassAllPC=1
PassAllPC=2

DMR: Diagnosing system errors during bootup by Al AF4FA

SSH in to the PI-STAR system and use these 2 commands to display all the kernel messages from the booting up of the system and if there is a file system error displayed at the end of dmesg then run the fsck utility to correct it. Dmesg is useful in determining and aiding in the fixing of any errors that occurred during the bootup.

sudo dmesg (Display message or driver message) is a command which will show Kernel ring buffers. These messages contain valuable information about device drivers loaded into the kernel at the time of booting as well as when we connect a hardware device to the system on the fly. In other words dmesg will give us details about hardware drivers connected to, disconnected from a machine and any errors when the hardware driver is loaded into the kernel. These messages are helpful in diagnosing or debugging hardware and device driver issues.

The above command will give us all the hardware drivers loaded in to the kernel,their status of success or failed and even the error message as to why they failed. If there is a file system error noted at the end of the list the run fsck. sudo fsck The system utility fsck (file system consistency check) is a tool for checking the consistency of a file system in Unix and Unix-like operating systems and fixing the error(s) if possible.

The exit code returned by fsck is a unique number representing the sum of the following condition values:

0 – No errors
1 – Filesystem errors corrected
2 – System should be rebooted
4 – Filesystem errors left uncorrected
8 – Operational error
16 – Usage or syntax error
32 – Fsck canceled by user request
128 – Shared-library error

BIO: Michael Siegel W2RT

Mike Siegel, W2RT, obtained his first amateur licensed in 1962 while still in high school, and later upgraded to Extra Class. He also holds a First Class Commercial License with radar endorsement. While in engineering school he worked in Aerospace under a DOD contract. For a short time after college he worked for the Ferrari North American Racing team on gearing, traction, and race timing.

Later on he worked for the ABC Television Network.  His responsibilities there included Video Tape Technical Support, Post Production Special Effects Editing,  and RF Engineering.  During his tenure with ABC he was honored by receiving many awards for his work.  Some of the honors he received were a  Gold Hugo award for editing, a Dupont award in television, a Peabody award in Journalism, various Film Writer awards for some of his projects, and a collection of 9 National Emmy awards.

His work consisted of News and Documentaries, Sports, 3 Olympics games, and even some Soap Operas.  Upon retirement from ABC he was offered a position teaching engineering subjects at a local technical school.  Within a couple of months he became the head of the schools competition robotics team. Eventually he elevated the team from novices to a nationally ranked team.  He was hired by F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to be their Senior mentor in New York.  Mike is now recognized as the F.I.R.S.T. Senior Mentor Emeritus of the F.I.R.S.T. organization.

Over his many years he has been in Whose Who in America three times in two different industries.  Along with his wife, Elaine, they are both accredited ARRL Volunteer Examiners.  Mike is both a Lifetime member of the A.R.R.L. and AMSAT.

Today he enjoys his long term activity in  Amateur Radio and is the proud member of an all Ham family.

DMR: Pi-Star Firmware upgrade for mmdvm HS hat flash by Al AF4FA

If you have a different modem board you need to adjust the commands to those for your  particular board
– open your pi-star admin dashboard in a web browser
– go to configuration
– go to expert
– go to SSH-Access
– log on (user pi-star + your password)
– type “sudo service mmdvmhost stop” press enter
– type “sudo pistar-mmdvmhshatflash hs_hat” press enter
– confirm by pressing any key (last chance to back out by pressing CTRL-C here)
– wait till you get the message that flashing is complete, then press any key to reboot
– open your pi-star dashboard in a web browser again
– go to configuration
– See if the Modem connected. If yes you are done. If no continue.
– go to expert
– go to SSH-Access
– log on (user pi-star + your password)
– type “sudo service mmdvmhost start” press enter
– type “exit” press enter
– done
– If Modem still does not connect then
– open your pi-star dashboard in a web browser
– click on Admin
– go to configuration and at the bottom click on configure wifi and if the ssid shown is correct click on save (and connect) and exit.

The modem should connect and the IP address should show on the screen and the status should show interface is up in green.

You have completed the upgrade.

DMR: New configuration is fairly substantial by Al AF4FA

A new configuration pushed is a fairly substantial change to the way the DMR ID is handled by the Pi-Star Config page.

In short – the reasoning behind this is that the way DMR IDs are handled by the networks needs to be understood to get the best out of them.

Brand Meister:

This network uses either your bare CCS7/DMR ID (7 digits) *OR* an extended ID, your 7 digit ID, with a 2 digit suffix (between 01 and 99).

Specifically BM does *NOT* accept 8 digit IDs. These have worked in the past, but BM sees 8 digits as a base ID, technically speaking BM DMR IDs are 24 bits, when expressed as an unsigned integer (programming term for a positive only number) this provides a range of IDs from 0 (0000000) to 16777215.

DMR Plus:

Information here is a little sketchy, but it seems that DMR Plus supports CCS7 / DMR ID (7 digits) on all of their masters, and 8 digit (extended) DMR IDs on at least some of their masters (your 7 digit CCS7 ID, plus 1 digit, 1-9).

TGIF:

I believe that they support 7 or 9 digits in a similar way to BM. (I’m going to reach out to the admins there today to make sure).

So why the change – well it’s been on the cards for a while to better support extended IDs when using DMRGateway, AND specifically 8 digit IDs to NOT work on BrandMeister when using hotspot security, so this change helps enforce the use of 7 or 9 digit IDs but not 8 digits on BM.

DMR: GIT Update Error Fix by Al AF4FA

If you get error issues with git failing to update your pistar system files, it will always be that the checksum of a file/s has changed in either

/usr/local/bin or /usr/local/sbin   or   /var/www/dashboard

It is caused by the file system having been put back into read/write (rpi-rw) and your pi suffers a loss of power while a file is being accessed or if you happen to edit files in those directories.

Here is how to resolve this problem.

Log into SSH.  You will need to change to the directory that is having the issue (one of the three mentioned above)

example:    cd /usr/local/bin

Then type in:

rpi-rw
sudo git stash

If you have to tell git (CLICK FOR DEFINITION) who you are. the syntax for doing this is printed on the screen so copy and paste with your name and email, once done you repeat the sudo git stash.

You’ll see some text printed on screen.

Then you can:
sudo git pull

This will pull down the current commit and update it, it wouldn’t hurt to run an update once you have fixed the git conflict just to ensure that you have actually fixed it!