August & September 2018
Greetings all, this has been a CRAZY couple of months so we are going to revisit in part a couple of writings from last year. I have had a lot of questions about AllStar for ham radio, so I want to look back at a previous article and include it again for informational purposes.
As you may know now we have a new AllStar remote base that ties into the 449.450 HUGE area coverage repeater in Denver. It has now become our main base of operations both locally and thru AllStar. It connects on command to the 46079 AllStar Skyhub system so that other AllStar nodes can connect into the hub and come out on 449.450 locally here in Denver. There is a web interface that I will share with you if you want to connect to use here in Denver. We are affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Radio League and I want to thank Dunnigan, K1DUN President and repeater trustee for allowing us to set up the Remote Base connection to 449.450.
Setting up a portable AllStar node for being able to get back into the Denver K1DUN 449.450 repeater and the Denver AllStar Skyhub (Skyler, KDØWHB) is something I have had a as a project for this summer. Skyler has been so instrumental is setting up AllStar systems for myself and other folks here in Denver and we really appreciate the time and expertise of this fine young engineer. Skyler has spent a lot of time experimenting and perfecting the software setup and hardware to make all of this work. So one day he and I got together after I had gathered all the parts and he helped me to get my portable simplex node going. I gathered up a Raspberry Pi3, a Syba USB CMedia CM119 Sound adapter, and a Yaesu VX-170, to use as a portable AllStar node (46372) for connecting to the AllStar systems via WiFi. I am planning on using this when on the road thru my iPad hotspot, or in the hotel rooms I stay in thru their WiFi or Ethernet. There are a lot of directions on how to do this available, but Skyler has figured out how to use these ($5 on Amazon) Syba sound cards instead of buying some of the $50 or more interfaces available. Very simply done too. The Raspberry Pi3 has on board WiFi so it can connect to the internet. The soundcard is the interface to the radio for the transmit and receive audio, and the PTT to the radio. The VX-170 I had on hand had a proper 4 conductor mini plug along with the interface wiring from an earlier data project. The same line off the radio for mic audio had a capacitor and resistor already attached for the PTT thru the resistor and passing the audio down the line. This speaker mic cable by the way, like just about everything else can be obtained thru Amazon. Many other radios are usable and adaptable to this system. Here soon it will be my intention to do a full “how to” write up on how we setup my node.
This is my schematic for the pinout on the waterproof cable for the Yaesu VX-170. As you can see in the schematic below, I had already installed a capacitor and resistor on the cable from an earlier project for data in and out of the radio, so we incorporated that into the schematic for the Syba USB soundcard interface. Skyler showed me how he had wired up the soundcard for past projects and he did a beautiful job putting the components in and getting them to fit into the case of the Syba as the pictures will show.
The Schematic for interfacing to the VX-170. This interface should work for most radios, the cap/resistor upper right is for the VX-170 combined mic/PTT line from the radio:
$5.00 soundcard from Amazon. Must be the CM108 or 119 Chip
One of the connections to the Syba USB soundcard, takes a little bit of care in soldering to the pins on the chip
The final component layout all connected to the soundcard and plugged into the Raspberry Pi3
Another view of the soundcard and Pi3
Since the Yaesu VX-170 is a 2 meter radio only, I am using a 2 meter frequency
coordinated for using as a simplex repeater node. This also makes powering the easy as you can put 12 volts directly into the battery charging port. I will be including pictures of the setup into a carry case in a later edition of “The Hamshack”.
The testing setup, using a Baofeng radio to test into the VX-170
Testing the node on the network at home
Another way to connect into the AllStar system is thru your cell phone! It is a portal that will connect into whatever AllStar node/repeater you want to dial into. Just think of it as a remote audio link to your radio, repeater, or connection into the AllStar system. I have used this thru my motorcycle helmet blue tooth communicator into my iPhone to connect into the local Denver repeater or Skyler’s Skyhub. Jeremy, N5JER showed me how to set up an automated dialer contact in my phone to one button dial like a regular phone number. When you dial into the phone portal you must tell it what node you wish to connect to, your personal PIN number (given to you when you register with AllStar) and whether or not you want to use VOX or a command to “PTT”. You can program this into your cell phone contacts.
My cellphone dialed into the KDØWHB AllStar hub (Node 46079). You can see part of the automated dialing process, (my pin blocked out) easily done on a cell phone. Once again, just think of it as a “long mic cord” to a radio system!
And below you can see the AllStar connection chart with the phone connected:
To use the phone portal, you must register with AllStar (https://allstarlink.org/). You don’t have to setup a node or do anything other than register if you want. Then even where there is no coverage by radio, repeater, or AllStar repeater you can get into whatever node you wish. VERY COOL SYSTEM!
Thanks again Skyler!
And another radio prop from the FX series “The Americans”, A Hallicrafters receiver used by the “Russian” consulate in the series. COOL PROP!
Thanks to Rich W9BNO for spotting this in Colorado during the VHF contest weekend! Looks like this guy is ready to mountain top for sure!
The KEØVH 6 meter beam and dual band 2m/440 J-pole down for maintenance while the QTH gets new siding and painting. Unfortunately this occurred during the VHF contest weekend. It does provide though a good chance to maintenance the antenna as it hasn’t been down in a few years. Maybe almost 10! All looks good as it will go back up when the siding and painting of the house is done in September.
Take a look at this. Robert KC8GPD, who is a low power Part 15 enthusiast, has this beautiful little AM station on the air from his home in the Denver area. Robert is a great radio engineer and assists me in the area that I work in, and really has the understanding of the FCC rules for low power unlicenced operation according to the FCC Part 15 rules for unlicensed stations. More hobby than anything, many regular broadcast stations would be envious of his well appointed setup!
Roberts “control room” for his Part 15 AM, WOW!
Garden House AM and KC8GPD, Robert
The transmitting antenna and transmitter, plus official rules box at bottom of the support pole. The part 15 station SOUNDS GREAT!
As seen ONLY in Wyoming! Or maybe Nebraska! J
And finally, thanks to Jim KCØRPS
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Don’t forget the SBE Chapter 73’ Of the Air
AllStar (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING
At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both
Broadcast engineering and amateur radio.
Details on how to join us are at
You will be able to join us and share your engineering and
73’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!