Playing with Pi-Star: Revisions

CC BY-SA

April 22, 2019

Revised General Configuration > Node Type

Node Type – Determines whether radios with callsigns (D-STAR, YSF), CCS7 IDs (DMR, P25), or NXDN IDs other than what is entered in the Pi-Star General Configuration Node Callsign, CCS7/DMR ID, and NXDN ID can access the hotspot. When selecting this, keep in mind the regulations in your country pertaining to the control operator function. For a personal hotspot in the U.S., you can set this to Public, but unless you actually intend to allow radios with other callsigns, CCS7 IDs, or NXDN IDs to access the hotspot, it may be best to leave it set to Private. See also Hotspot best practices.
Note: Controls each mode's SelfOnly setting in Expert Editor > MMDVMHost.

April 20, 2019

Revised General Configuration > Node Type

Node Type – Determines whether radios with callsigns (D-STAR) or CCS7 IDs (DMR) other than the Pi-Star General Configuration Node Callsign or CCS7/DMR ID can access the hotspot. When selecting this, keep in mind the regulations in your country pertaining to the control operator function. For a personal hotspot in the U.S., you can set this to Public, but unless you actually intend to allow radios with other callsigns or CCS7 IDs to access the hotspot, it's may be best to leave it set to Private.

April 9, 2019

Revised section 6 note about regulations and best practices

Important! The regulations and best practices that apply to amateur radio—including use of frequencies, control of our stations, and on-air courtesy—also apply to our use of personal, low-power hotspots. It's our responsibility to understand and adhere to those regulations and best practices. My personal practice is that I power on my personal, low-power hotspots only when I'm monitoring and in control of them, adhere to my local band and frequency use plans, and leave adequate pauses between transmissions. For more about this, see Hotspot best practices.

April 8, 2019

Revised 5d) DMR Configuration > DMR EmbeddedLCOnly

DMR EmbeddedLCOnly – The default is off. Per Andy Taylor in the Pi-Star Users Support Group: "this feature relates to some of the data passed in/out from some radios…. Some radios are affected by this (Connect Systems, for example) and some are not (Motorola). Most of us can take the default [off]."

Note: Apparently, different stations and radios encode and decode Talker Alias data in different ways. One way this variance manifests is that some radios can experience audio drop-outs when receiving from some stations (I've heard of this affecting various models of radios and even one model of Motorola radio). If you are experiencing audio drop-outs from some stations, you might want to try turning this option on.

Revised 5d) DMR Configuration > DMR DumpTAData

DMR DumpTAData – The default is on, which enables "Talker Alias" information to be received by radios that support this feature.

Note: Apparently, this option controls whether Talker Alias data is logged in the /var/log/pi-star/MMDVM-YYYY-MM-DD file. If you're not using Talker Alias, you can turn this option off.

April 5, 2019

Revised 5c General Configuration > Hostname notes

Added a hint to the end of 5k) Wireless Configuration

Hint: If you have one or more WiFi networks set up and choose to use an Ethernet connection instead of WiFi in location where both are available, you can temporarily turn off WiFi if you're running Pi-Star 4.x. Log into Pi-Star via SSH and then run: sudo rfkill block wifi. To re-enable WiFi, simply reboot Pi-Star, or run: sudo rfkill unblock wifi. Thanks to Tom, PA2TSL, for this hint.

Revised 5d) DMR Configuration > DMR DumpTAData

DMR DumpTAData – The default is on, which enables "Talker Alias" information to be received by radios that support this feature.
Note: I've heard that this feature has caused problems with some radios including the AnyTone AT-D878UV and one of the Motorola radios.

April 2, 2019

Revised 5c) General Configuration > Node Type text

Node Type – Determines whether radios with callsigns other than the Pi-Star General Configuration Node Callsign can access the hotspot. When selecting this, keep in mind the regulations in your country pertaining to the control operator function. For a personal hotspot in the U.S., you can set this to Public, but unless you actually intend to allow radios with other callsigns to access the hotspot, it's may be best to leave it set to Private.

Revised section 6 note about regulations and best practices

Important! Be aware that the regulations and best practices that apply to amateur radio—including use of frequencies, control of your station, and on-air etiquette—also apply to your use of a personal, low-power hotspot. It's your responsibility to understand and adhere to those regulations and best practices. My personal practice is that I power on my personal, low-power hotspots only when I'm monitoring and in control of them, adhere to my local band and frequency use plans, and leave adequate pauses between transmissions. For more info, see the regulations governing amateur radio in your country, for example, in the U.S., see CFR Title 47: Part 97 – Amateur Radio Service. See also your country's band plan and your local frequency use plan, for example, in the U.S. State of Colorado: U.S. Band Plan and Colorado Frequency Use Plans.

Added a note to section 6 about the Src (source)

Note 2: For Src (source), you'll see "RF" when you transmit from your radio to the hotspot, which your hotspot will then send out over the internet as data. You'll see "Net" when your hotspot receives a transmission as data from the internet, which it will then retransmit over RF so you can receive it with your radio.

Revised the section 8 Automated overnight updates text

Automated overnight updates – This type of update runs every night as long as your hotspot is on and connected to the internet. It uses standard Raspbian tools to update the radio binaries (MMDVMHost and DStarRepeater), gateways (DMRGateway, ircDDBGateway, etc.), hostfiles, and dashboard. If you are going to leave your hotspot on overnight, remember that you must adhere to the regulations that apply to amateur radio, including control operator rules.

March 24, 2019

Revised disclaimer re: focus on personal, low-power hotspots

Disclaimer:  These are my personal notes based on setting up and using Pi-Star hotspots as a non-technical user figuring things out as I go along, as well as by learning from what others are sharing. These notes are focused on personal, low-power hotspots, not repeaters. I'm not affiliated with the Pi-Star project, except as an enthusiastic user. If anything needs correcting, please let me know.

March 23, 2019

Added note to section 6 about regulations and best practices

Important! Be aware that the regulations and best practices that apply to amateur radio—including use of frequencies, on-air etiquette, and control of your station—also apply to your use of a personal, low-power hotspot. It's your responsibility to understand and adhere to those regulations and best practices. My personal practice is that I power on my personal, low-power hotspots only when I'm using them, adhere to my local band plan, and leave adequate pauses between transmissions. For more info, see the regulations governing amateur radio in your country, for example, in the U.S., see CFR Title 47: Part 97 – Amateur Radio Service. See also your country's band plan and your local frequency use plan, for example, in the U.S. State of Colorado: U.S. Band Plan and Colorado Frequency Use Plans.