AllStar Info Up

The Pi-Star page is no more.

It has now been upgraded to the Pi-Star/ASL Nodes page! You can now see both my Pi-Star dashboard and AllScan’s status of node 59408. It’s all a gross hack of CSS, so it might look funky or bad on your particular screen. I’ve tried to make it look better with dynamic width CSS code; but I can only do so much. Proper solutions use Javascript, which I can’t get to work and am trying to avoid, probably because my own browser tends to block it.

At some point I’m going to pull my picture off the sidebar and expand the status section to include quick-glance information about both. I have a script to display talkgroup information from Pi-Star and will work on one for AllScan soon. My ASL node is usually connected to my club’s network, however if you want to connect to my mode and say hello, that shouldn’t be an issue. Our repeater mostly sits idle and if our conversation goes long, I can always disconnect it.

VAQP Plaque

Well, our club had our hamfest/tailgate yesterday and SPARC did their VAQP awards. I now have something to hang on the wall.

Post-Script On Hotspots

So it turns out the Libre Computer will boot standard RPi images…it’s just it doesn’t boot like a RPi. Unlike ARMBoot or whatever it uses; the Le Potato actually uses a custom bootloader and EFI boot…it actually has a boot screen. You boot it without card and you get a nice screen telling you the OS can’t be found, unlike an RPi that does nothing.

I dug around and found Libre had a github repository and a script to convert Raspbian images to boot. It required an existing RPi to do the work for you. So I flashed a new Pi-Star image, ran the script, found out I needed more space on the /boot partition, fixed that problem, converted the image, fixed the filesystem mount points, and it booted.

So…Pi-Star itself actually works on the Le Potato. There was additional work in enabling the UART on the header, but so far it does seem to work. However I think there are some additional issues with something as the load never drops below 1, which I don’t recall it doing on a Pi3. It does however have an additional 3 cores to work with, so that’s fine in my book for now. I’ve been running it a few days and other than the TYTMD380, both of my DMR radios work just fine. The SHARI Pi-Hat has been running hamvoip for ASL with no issues. I checked in to the local net and have had a few conversations with people who only commented at how clean my signal was “in to the repeater”.

I also figured out, after digging deeper in to things after I had stuff working; all the stuff I needed was pretty much built in to ASL. The simple-usb utility is what sets the sound card up to provide PTT on it’s GPIO to the SA818. So in reality…there wasn’t anything too special, the documentation is just…lacking. But that doesn’t change the fact I couldn’t compile anything on it. I was told this was likely due to app_rpt never having been updated for 64-bit. Maybe. Whatever arch it wanted to use to compile wasn’t in my kernel sources…which could have been a bad config on the Libre provided image or the fact I needed a 32-bit OS which they didn’t provide.

The sad part is the Pi-Star staff. When I shared this information on their forum, it was immediately removed without any discussion with me. The only discussion was one admin saying “no” and removing it. This is not the first time I’ve had issues with them outright deleting things I’ve written over there. I mean you base your project on an open-source operating system but don’t seem to want users doing anything they don’t want done.

I’ll be ditching actual Pi-Star soon. I’ve been talking with W0CHP who forked Pi-Star and makes an improved version. They are actually planning on supporting Le Potato natively…so I offered to both beta-test and provide help.

In the meantime, if you want to boot Pi-Star on Le Potato…I’ve put the information in one place the Pi-Star admins can’t remove it….my Git repository!

Pi-Star Back Up - AllStar Soon

The Pi-Star Dashboard has returned. Here is the current saga with the AllStarNode:

I got the SHARI kit built and the node online. I decided after a little thinking it would be easier to get the SHARI hat running on the alternative SBC I bought. The only pins it requires on the GPIO header are an exact match; power and UART. The MMDVM also only requires UART, but it does use additional lines (pins 38 and 40) on the RPi’s header for firmware update.

The current issue is that despite claiming software compatibility, it doesn’t have any. There’s no easy way I’ve found…yet, of getting it to boot existing Pi images. I don’t think. Let me go jam this thing in the board….

And no. They said it was Raspbian compatible; what they didn’t tell you is they use a custom image.

The alternative is to install ASL via repos on a Debian image. This in itself is easier than trying to build a MMDVM hotspot from scratch. The only downside to that is forums claim the stability of ASL with this thing is poor compared to hamvoip.

Dammit. This is why I’m done with Pi. It’s no more open than any other PC platform and they’re doing a cash grab.

PiStar Delayed

I’ve been delayed in getting the hotspot back online. I don’t DMR a whole lot these days, so its absence isn’t that noticeable.

I also acquired a SHARI PiHat from Don/WA2SWX over the weekend. It’s a RPi hat that contains a USB codec and a small transceiver with the appropriate filtering.

I am, however, not a fan of the Pi right now. I don’t believe them about why they’re still overpriced and out of stock 3 years on. It is now a product that is securely in the hands of scalpers. It will be years, if ever, before consumers will be able to buy them.

Anyway….my attempts to figure out how to make it work outside of Pi world is confusing. In theory its simple, however it uses a GPIO on the codec for PTT.

I can probably figure it out later, but I kind of just to play with it.

I did however buy a $35 Libre SBC that claims to be Pi compatible and PiStar supposedly works on it.