Nov 02 2015

Code Plug Repository

We’ve finally found a good file management system for use on our website. The Crossroads DMR Codeplug Repository is now live:

We’re going to take a different approach to how code plugs are provided. Instead of providing a single code plug with what we think you might want or arranged how we want, we’re going to provide multiple examples by various hams. If you’d like to submit your code plug, please email it to us at Please name it in this format: “Callsign – Radio”

The hope is that by being able to review various examples and methods of arranging code plug information you’ll find something that you like or perhaps even improve on an existing method. If you do, please submit your improved codeplug so that others may benefit. The added benefit of examining various methods is that you might learn something in the process, I know I have!


Nov 02 2015

New Talk Groups

As word continues to spread about the proper use of the wide-area calling talk groups (Worldwide, Worldwide English, North America, etc.) utilization of the PTT activated talk groups have increased. The idea is to make your contact on one of the wide-area TG’s then move off to a PTT activated talkgroup in order to carry out your QSO but tie up as few repeaters as possible. TAC-310 has traditionally been the go-to TG as well as TAC-311. DMR-MARC has also added the UA-English 1 & 2. Since TAC-310/311 are now seeing increased use, DCI has added TAC-312, which has now been added to our c-Bridge. This is nothing more than another option to use to take your QSO off of a wide-area talk group. Currently the talk group has only been added to the c-Bridge, but will we be rolling it out to repeaters as trustees ask for it.


Talkgroup #4639 has been added to the NF9K Indy Repeater. This TG is part of the Hytera DMR-Plus MotoBridge and connects TG #9 up to the Nationwide Hytera reflector. I’ve also updated the MotoBridge configuration so that TG #4639 is the default TG. Should you wish to connect to the Georgia or Texas Reflectors, you can key those TG’s up and then switch back to TG #9 for the voice traffic. Remember at the Hytera implementation is similar to DSTAR in that the 4000 series TG’s are control only and all voice traffic takes place on TG #9.

Nov 02 2015

NF9K Technical Specialist Report – October 2015

Well, there went October….

I continued my work with the various DSTAR Raspberry Pi images and have settled on the Maryland DSTAR Image as they are the only ones who support the dual-band DVMega board out of the box.  While dual-band, the board shares it’s serial interface, so only one band is usable at a given time.  There are some plans in place for a true dual-band board at some point, however.  I seem to have resolved my lock up issues with my DSTAR Hotspot and the culprit was a bad Pi 2.

In the DMR world, I installed a Henry Amplifier on my main DMR machine in Indy along with a different set of duplexers.  The difference was amazing.  while the coverage area hasn’t increased that much, penetration has.  Doing some research on a pre-amp based upon the recommendation of a fellow Ham in Tennessee.  If this continues to work well, I will look to replicate these changes on my Monrovia machine.

Received a call from a fellow Ham asking for some help in programming his new Tytera MD-380.  After sending him a code plug and answering some of his questions, he was off to the races.

Took a quick look at the SmartPTT DMR solution, not so much for it’s c-Bridge like capabilities, but for it’s dispatch console feature.  I’m still gathering information at this point, but it looks like it might be possible to use the dispatch console and a PC with an audio device as a “DMR hot spot.”  I didn’t get too deep into it, but hope to continue my experimentation in November.

Sent one of my Connect Systems CS700’s back for the upgrade to a CS750.  I’m pretty happy with the results, especially the large number of contacts that the radio can hold as well the ease by which they can be imported.  At this point, I’m planning to spend the $60 to upgrade my other CS700, which is currently loaned out.

Formalized my plans to attend the Ft. Wayne Ham Fest.  I’m looking forward to that as it’s been a good time.  Unsure at this point if we’ll have a table or not.

Made a few changes to a c-Bridge manager at the request of the trustee and began building out a new manager for an existing trustee.  Slowly but surely hammering out the latter while balance work and life.

Added a control talk group for the Hytera Nationwide reflector to my Indy machine.  They seem to be making improvements in that slowly but surely.  I think it’s pretty cool toy see Hams finding ways to bring dissimilar technologies together.

One of my long time projects finally saw the light to day this past month.  I’ve been wanting to build an APRS IGate/Digirepeater for quite some time now.  I stumbled across an update notice to the Dire Wolf linux package and that got the creative juices flowing.  Initially I had some trouble with the audio interface and since I was bringing several different pieces of puzzle together, I needed to establish a baseline.  To that end, I pulled my audio interface and replaced it with one of my SignaLink boxes.  That was what I needed to finalize the Pi 2 configuration and it’s currently running on my bench connected to a dummy load.  Given my proximity to several high-profile Digis, I will likely cut it back to IGate only functionality down the road, but it’s been a learning experience and a lot of fun.  Now that I have it running and know that the Pi 2 config is good, I can start working with the other components to get them figured out.

Until next month….  Let’s remember our Veterans on November 11th and may you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving Holiday.

Bill Atkinson, NF9K
ARRL Technical Specialist
Laurel VE
PODXS 070 Club #1595
30MDG #6014

Oct 15 2015

Repeater Upgrade

This evening the following upgrades were installed to the NF9K Indianapolis DMR Repeater:

  • Installation of a Henry Amplifier for 100W output with 20W drive
  • Changed out duplexers
  • Swapped out the Verizon internet hardware




repeater upgrade before


repeater upgrade after

Sep 24 2015

DSTAR Hotspot

I’ve done some experimentation in the past with a DVAP DSTAR Hotspot running on a Raspberry Pi.  Prior to my latest vacation in the Gatlinburg, TN area, I wanted to play around with another setup.  I borrowed a hotspot setup still based around the Raspberry Pi, but using the DV Mega Board instead of the DVAP.  This is a much cleaner installation as it doesn’t have the extra cables, etc., that come along with the DVAP.

The one thing that is missing for either setup is a nice case to keep it all contained and neat.  A fellow ham in TN, turned me on to Hardened Power Systems who makes a 3D printed case for a DSTAR Hotspot using either the DV Mega Board or the DVAP USB Adapter.  They call it the DHAP or Digital Ham Access Point.  Note that the link I provided goes to the DV Mega version.  If you have a DVAP, make sure and order the proper one.

Noticing that the company was in TN, I reached out with hopes to be able to pick on up in person, but alas they were ~2 hours away from Gatlinburg.  After talking to them, they said I could order one online and have it in a couple of days so well before I left.  An important note, the DHAP is designed for use with the Raspberry Pi B+ or the Raspberry Pi 2.  It does not work with the original A or B models, which of course is what I had on the trip.  Enter Amazon Prime and I had a new Pi 2 the next day well ahead of the arrival of my DHAP.

The DHAP has a DC/DC Buck Convertor in it able to take input voltages from 5VDC to 36VDC and also includes a built in battery case for four 18650 LiPo cells.  There is no transition between power options so plugging in an external power supply cuts the batteries.  The batteries must be removed and charged external to the DHAP.  I ran on two LiPo batteries for a few hours before they went dead.  Obviously your mileage may vary given TX duty cycle, etc.

Here are some pictures of my setup utilizing the single band (70 cm) DV Mega Board:

dhap-1 dhap-2a dhap-2 dhap-3

I’ve followed 3D printing with mild interest, but obviously wondered what one could seriously do with it.  The folks at Hardened Power Systems have showed me exactly what some good engineering can turn out.

As these are 3D printed and very rugged, the finer parts are a bit brittle due to the 3D printing process.  I ended up stripping out one of the screw holes that anchors the Pi to the case and there is a small piece of printed plastic that serves as a wire guide which I snapped off accidentally as well.  I was being careful and not torquing things down, etc., and still had these minor issues.  Perhaps in time, the product will evolve and reduce the possibilities of incidents like I had.  The have already evolved to use rare earth magnets as a closer mechanism vs. plastic tabs on the earlier versions.

The one thing that I really felt was missing from the package was a 90 degree SMA adapter, which I obtained from Amazon for ~$5.

The DHAP sells for $99 and is available direct or from GigaParts.  In fact, the latter sells complete DHAP setups including the DV Mega Board and Pi.  It is a really nice setup especially if you plan to travel with your hotspot.

Aug 06 2015

NF9K Indianapolis Repeater Update

This evening the following tasks were accomplished:

1). Firmware upgrade to R02.40.12
2). Installation of EID (license) for OTAP (over-the-air-programming)
3). Frequency change from 441.025 to 442.450
4). Retuning of the duplexers
5). Identified and remediated a bad hardline connector that was causing SWR issues.

Repeater is back up and running! More on OTAP coming soon….

Aug 05 2015

New Frequency – NF9K Repeater, Indianapolis

The Indianapolis NF9K Repeater will be changing frequencies. We received the official coordination from the IRC at the end of June. Due to my trip to Spain as well as the need to coordinate on-site resources, we’re just now getting this done.

Old Frequency: 441.025+
New Frequency: 442.450+

All other aspects (color code, talk groups and time slot configuration) will remain the same.

This change is scheduled to take place Thursday evening, August 6th, 2016. The work will commence around 15:30 and we anticipate completion by 17:30.

If you require assistance with reprogramming, let us know!

Jul 25 2015


Apologies for the lack of updates over the last few weeks.  I’ve spent two weeks in Madrid, Spain for work, came back to work on standing up the Monrovia DMR repeater, which of course facilitated code plug updates, etc.  Here’s a short update on what’s cooking, with more to follow.


  1. I picked up a Tytera MD-380 DMR HT.  Still playing with it and working with firmware updates, but so far, I like it better than my CS-700.  I will try and get an official review shortly.
  2. Starting working on the new streaming solution, which will be based around an XPR4350 driving by a Raspberry Pi to allow the channel to be changed remotely.  I’ll also be integrating a webcam so that the remote user can see what channel the radio is on.  Step on will be to just get the radio streaming on the feed again, which I plan to work on this weekend.
  3. Going to try and utilize the DMRLinks project to make announcements over a given DMR talkgroup.  The uses for this are numerous from weather alerts to even announcements, etc.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, but that’s what’s on top of my head.  I’ll get back to updating this page regularly.  As always, if you”re interested in anything I’m working on or if you have any questions or think I can help, shoot me an email.

Jul 15 2015

New DMR Repeater – Monrovia, IN

The Repeater Page has been updated to include information on my newest DMR repeater.  We’ve been working on this for a few weeks now and are happy that everything is finally complete.


Hendricks County is a bit of an RF enigma due to the terrain.  There are parts of the county, around Mooresville for instance, that are RF shadowed.  This presents a challenge for coverage except from an extremely high location.  On the analog side, the issue is remediated by remote receivers, but that isn’t an option with DMR.  We are looking at alternative locations to increase the footprint, but that process is still beginning and could take some time.


In the meantime, coverage reports are welcome.


coverage - monrovia

Jul 10 2015

NF9K Monrovia DMR Repeater Talkgroup Configuration

Time Slot 1 Talkgroups

Talkgroup Name Talkgroup ID Status PTT-On Timer Hold-off Timer Notes


3777215 Full-Time N/A 3 Open wide-area talkgroup


3181 Full-Time N/A 5 True local talkgroup

Midwest Regional

3169 PTT-Activated 15 3 Midwest US Calling Talkgroup

North America

3 FT N/A 3 North America Calling Talkgroup


9998 PTT-Activated 1 0 DMRLink's Echo Server for testing your audio

UA English 1

113 PTT-Activated 15 3 User Activated talkgroup for North America (English Only)

USA 1776

1776 Full-Time N/A 3 The Spirit of 1776!  International english-only talkgroup

Time Slot 2 Talkgroups

Talkgroup Name Talkgroup ID Status PTT-On Timer Hold-off Timer Notes

Audio Test

9999 PTT-Activated 1 0 NorCal's VU Meter (only works in Chrome) talkgroup for testing user audio


3100 Full-Time N/A 3 Wide-area inter-network tie for c-Bridges


3777216 PTT-Activated 15 3 Open wide-area talkgroup


8710 Full-time N/A 3 Crossroads DMR Statewide Talkgroup


3166 Full-Time N/A 5 True local talkgroup


310 PTT-Activated 15 4 TAC 310 is a North America English language talkgroup


311 PTT-Activated 15 3 TAC 311 is a North America English language talkgroup

UA English 2

123 PTT-Activated 15 3 UA English 2 is a North America English language talkgroup


1 PTT-Activated 15 3 Worldwide all language Calling Talkgroup

Worldwide English

13 PTT-Activated 15 3 Worldwide English Only Calling Talkgroup

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