Configure a Hotspot

In this section, I will walk you through configuring your jumbospot hotspot for DMR. There are, of course, other modes you can use. You don’t have to use DMR or you can use DMR in addition to other modes. But, this is a basic configuration. If you configure it like this then want to enable another mode, all you have to do is turn the modes on in configuration, turn off the modes you don’t want, click apply then configure whatever small set of options pop up on the configuration screen for that mode.

You’re going to need an SD card for this section. Some SD cards don’t work that great with a raspberry pi, but many do. The SD card I’ve had great success with is the Kingston Canvas Select 16GB. Once you get your SD card, you’re going to go to the pi-star homepage. In downloads you are going to select the one for RPi. Use rufus or Balena Etcher to flash that image onto your SD card. Once you do that, you’re going to go to the Pi-Star wifi builder, enter in your network information and get a file to put in the boot folder on that SD card. Then, eject the SD card, plug it into your hotspot and then apply power to your hotspot.

If all goes well, within a minute or so you will get a scrolling MMDVM screen on your hotspot. If that does not happen, you might have to flash the sd card again and move that file to the boot folder again. Uppercase and lowercase in the network name (SSID) and password matter. Make sure you get that right.

Now, go to http://pi-star or http://pi-star.local in your web browser on a computer or phone on the same wifi network as the hotspot. You should see a dashboard. Click configuration. It will ask for a username and password. The username is pi-star and the password is raspberry. Don’t forget the p in raspberry ha. You will see the following screen:

config screen

Make sure all your selections are the same as they are there. If you have to change anything, click “Apply Changes” and wait until the screen reloads before you continue. Updating everything is going to be the biggest pain on this. But, after this first update, you don’t ever have to do it again if it’s working for you. Click Expert at the top and you will see the following screen:

expert screen

Select “SSH access”. The username here is pi-star and the password is raspberry. Type the following command exactly as you see it and press enter:

sudo pistar-mmdvmhshatflash hs_hat

This will take a while and you’ll have to hit enter a couple of times. Eventually, your hotspot will reboot and you will see “Connect” pop up on the screen. Wait until you see MMDVM start scrolling on the hotspot and click to go to dashboard. Click configuration again and go back into configuration. Click update. This will tell you when it’s done and you’ll be able to go back to configuration.

Now, you’re all updated. You’ve gotten through the hardest part. Scroll down in configuration until you see the following screen:

general config

Leave hostname as pi-star. If you change this, you will go to http://thatname or http://thatname.local instead of pi-star to get to your dashboard. The Node Callsign is your callsign. You put your DMR or CCS7 ID in the next box. If you don’t have one and you’re in the US, you go to this website and register to get your DMR/CCS7 ID. The next box is radio frequency. Do not just put anything here. You will burn out your jumbospot. It has to be between 430-440 for UHF or 144-146 for VHF. If you’re on a satellite frequency, it will not work. I recommend 438.800. The latitude and longitude are your house. Brandmeister and other services may use this to show you on a map. For town, I just put city,st. URL I never change, but you can put your own there. Make sure radio modem type matches what I have here. If you have node type set to private, only you using your callsign and dmr id can talk through this hotspot. If it’s public, your friends can use it as well. I’ve noticed sometimes setting it to private causes things not to work right even for me, so you might want to keep it on public. Of course, you want to set your timezone. Just make the DMR section match what I have there. Scroll down to this:

wifi config

Make sure your firewall configuration matches mine. Make sure you click “Apply Changes” and let the page reload if you’ve made any changes to anything. Below that, you’ll see Wireless configuration. You’re obviously connected to wifi at this point, so you don’t have to change anything if you’re not putting it on another wifi network. But, if you are, click Configure Wifi there. You will see the following screen:

wifi 2

Make sure you have your country selected at the top. You can add multiple networks here by just putting the SSID and password in. You can get more boxes by clicking “add network”. Once you have all your networks in, click “Save (and connect)” Wait until you see “Wifi settings successfully saved” below the Scan for Networks button before you continue.

Now, go back to the dashboard (scroll up to the link at top) but make sure you’ve applied all changes first. First, make sure your radio is using 1 watt or less. You don’t want to have done all this work just to burn out your jumbospot because you’re using too much power. On the daskboard, place a private call to parrot (TG 9990). Talk for a few seconds and then let up the button. After a couple of seconds, you should hear your message repeated back to you. Look at your BER. It should be .3 or less if you’re near it. If not, go to configuration and expert. Select MMDVMHost. Scroll down to the following section:

mmdvmhost

In RXoffset there, you’re going to change that number. If you bought it at one of the links I gave you, an offset of -300 or -475 should give you that good BER. If not, Try -500 to 500 by 50 at a time. You change it. Click apply, wait for it to reload the page, then go back to dashboard, do parrot again, and check your BER. If you’re at .1 -.3 near it, then that’s good.

You’re done. Your hotspot is tested and configured. Enjoy