Upgrading the Pi-Star

I have had a MMDVM Hotspot (also called a Pi-Star) that I have been using to access YSFGateway with my Yaesu FT5DR HT. I purchased the Pi-Star hotspot about two years ago. The device came with a 16 GB microSD card that contained the OS that ran the Pi-Star. When I attempted to update the software, I received an error that there was no more storage space.

I had a 128 GB microSD card from an unstarted project (an Allstar node, I believe). Repurposing the card, I found where I could download the lastest software to run a Pi-Star.

I tracked down the hardware information for my Pi-Star:

MMDVM Display Type: OLED
Radio/Modem Type: STM32-DVM/MMDVM_HS – Raspberry Pi Hat(GPIO)

To upgrade I downloaded Pi-Star_RPi_V4.2.1_17-Feb-2024.zip. The download included the image I would need to flash the new microSD card.

Then I downloaded a utility that allowed me to take the image and load it on the card: https://www.raspberrypi.com/documentation/computers/getting-started.html

Using the command sudo yum install rpi-imager, I installed the utility and ran it using the command sudo rpi-imager. The utility did the job. I put the freshly imaged microSD card into the Pi-Star, booted it up, and then went to the configuration page.

I used screenshots from my previous configuration to make sure I had every set up properly.

Synton Amateur Radio Club

My oldest daughter is headed to her freshman year at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) in the late summer. Like most major universities they have a ham radio organization: the Synton Amateur Radio Club (W9YH).

Their website had been unused since January 2016 until a recent post in April 2024. It looks like the club is trying to revive itself.

In digging around for more information I found Sean Kutzko, KX9X, who got his radio amateur start at the Synton Amateur Radio Club… not as a student, but as the the child of a staff member. He captured his generally fond memories of gaining experience with the university hams in a post on the DX Engineering blog: On All Bands.

The club’s origins back to 1925. There must be quite a bit of history concerning the club but none to find on their website.

Champaign Urbana has a Groups.io. There is also the Twin City Amateur Radio Club that hosts a 2m repeater (K9CU, 146.760, – offset, tone 162.2) and a D-Star repeater (W9YR, 443.48125). It would appear that the 2m repeater hosts an Echolink connection: node 8231, although I am not sure if it is functional.

The 2m repeater has Broadcastify.

We will see if my daughter ends up participating in the club, I hope it provides some opportunities to explore the hobby.

Field Day approaches

In the past the ARRL has often had a physical pullout section in QST with all the rules for field day. Not this year. I am assuming it is part of their austerity measures. I could download the pdf file from ARRL’s website, but with whatever kind of cyber troubles the ARRL HQ is undergoing, the download link is broken. This is also true for Log of the World (LoTW) as well as the QST archive.

The ARRL does have the rules online and I pulled the sections that will apply to my mobile operation:

(Class C) Mobile: Stations in vehicles capable of operating while in motion and normally operated in this manner. This includes maritime and aeronautical mobile. If the Class C station is being powered from a car battery or alternator, it qualifies for emergency power but does not qualify for the multiplier of 5, as the alternator/battery system constitutes a motor-driven generating system.

Stations in ARRL / RAC sections will exchange their Field Day operating Class and ARRL / RAC section. Example: a three transmitter Class A station in Connecticut which also has a GOTA station and the extra VHF station would send “3A CT” on CW or Digital, or “3 Alpha Connecticut” on Phone.