Hotspot farm

I have waffled back and forth on my hotspot strategy. I initially wanted to monitor multiple digital voice reflectors (or talk groups, or whatever). So I thought having a radio for each mode and multiple home-built Pi-Star hotspots was the way to go.

Then I discovered the idea of cross-mode operation. Pi-Star was never very good at that. But with the openSPOT3, cross-mode operation became quite viable. So I bought one. I eventually accumulated four of these. This allowed me to monitor various modes all at once… just by putting my radio on scan… and all with one radio.

But the Pi-Star still had attraction. There is some really fun software written by Tom Early (N7TAE) that one can use as an alternative to Pi-Star. Of course this software will not run on the openSPOT.

When the openSPOT4 came out… I sold all my openSPOT3 devices. My intent was to go back to different radios for different modes. And I did this for awhile.

For my Raspberry Pi hotspots… I went with the Pi 400. Because all the other Raspberry Pi were impossible to get. The Pi 400 is essentially a Raspberry Pi 4 built into a keyboard. I simply zip-tied six of these units together into pairs because I used them headless with no need to access the keyboards. Then… I had six ZUMspot-USB devices. One of these plugged into each of the six Pi 400 units and I had six Raspberry Pi hotspots ready to rock. This was a happy solution for a while.

Then… SharkRF went and had a sale. Their prices were very reasonable. That’s when I decided two things.

  1. It was time to divest myself of my Yaesu equipment.
  2. It was time to go back to the openSPOT.

So I sold all four of my Yaesu radios and bought six of the openSPOT4 Pro devices.

So once again I’m able to do all the digital voice modes with one radio. And I can park on six different things at once. Add in two Allstar nodes and that makes eight.

Update 3/27/2023: In addition to my six openSPOT4 Pro… I am now running my six Raspberry Pi hotspots as well. I use the six openSPOT4 Pro to cross mode to DMR and YSF from D-Star. And I use the six Raspberry Pi hotspots to run native D-Star. If you count my two Allstar nodes… this makes 14 different local nodes I am typically scanning at any given time. Still a Yaesu-free shack.

For my Raspberry Pi hotspots I am using the Raspberry Pi 400. Each one uses a ZUMspot-USB stick. The Raspberry Pi 400 is basically a Raspberry Pi 4 built into a keyboard. When I bought these, the normal Raspberry Pi were unobtainium.