Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mini DV4 on Raspberry PI - Mini Howto

Mini DV4 on Raspberry PI - Mini Howto

Write it to an SD card (on Ubuntu - extract it - right click and choose “Open with Disk Image Writer)

Boot the PI and run “Raspi-Config” - Choose “Internationalization Options” and set the locality / timezone / keyboard settings.  Choose “enable SSH”. Then Choose “Expand File System” and re-boot.

Note: Don’t bang your head running the version that comes with the image.  

do “sudo su” and delete everything in the /root directory. - should just be a bunch of .cfg files.

Go back to on your main pc (because there is no web browser on the PI image) and download the current software to it’s own directory.  Then SSH to pi@ipaddress (pw is raspberry) and sftp the new software into the dv4mini directory.

Now on the pi insert the dongle and run the software.  You will probably need to go to the “expert settings” tab and select fixed IP.  Put in  

It will probably load a weird default config but you should be able to edit it to your own settings.  

Close the software and then re-start it to make sure it actually saved your config.

MiniDV4 for Fusion (C4FM) on Ubuntu 14.04 - Mini howto

MiniDV4 for Fusion (C4FM) on Ubuntu 14.04 Mini howto.

Download software from and stick it in it’s own directory.  cd to that directory.  Then do sudo apt-get install mono-complete and go get a cup of coffee…

... welcome back.  Do a chmod +x dv_serial

Insert the stick and run mono dv4mini.exe

The first thing you will need to do is input your DMR user number. If you don’t have a DMR user number you will need to go to and register for a DMR number becase the DMR/Dstar world doesn’t understand that hams (and Fusion users) use these weird things called call signs…

The software won’t connect to anything until you do this.  Also - be aware once you register it takes like 3 or 4 days for the US database to sync to the EU database - which is where the software looks to validate you.  Nowhere in any of the documentation is this mentioned…

The software should find the dongle, but if not make sure you ran the chmod command and that dv_serial is marked executable.  The .net UI will launch this executable that is actually a Linux executable and is the true guts of the software.  I understand that you can just run this with the generated .cfg file (that will be in your home directory) and it will work.

If the software still just loops and says “searching for dv4 minis” you can force the issue by going to the “expert settings” tab and telling the software to connect to a fixed IP of

This will probably load a weird default config but you should be able to make changes.  Then restart the software to be sure it saved your settings.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sainsonic AP510

Just got done configuring one of these:

It's a Sainsonic AP510 APRS tracker.  Not bad overall.  It's Chinese made. Costs a about $125us and seems to do the job.

In a nutshell it's a 1w transmitter with a Sirfstar 4 GPS, Bluetooth and SD card support.  The hardware will even report battery voltage and temperature in it's packets.  The SD card is for storing a GPS log in KML format

It's really nasty to setup.  If you aren't quite computer savy DO NOT BUY ONE.  It requires the normal horseplay to get prolific USB drivers working in Windows. (yes windows only - it won't go in WINE) and then getting the software to run requires registering at least one DLL with Windows XP.  Several folks have reported that they cannot get it to work with newer releases.

I've also heard reports that Chirp has some support for these devices.  I have not yet gone down that road but I will update when I do.

Configuring it is odd.  But I got it done in about an hour - including horsing around with Windows.  I used an XP virtual appliance and the USB pass-through worked fine.

My main use for this is as a tracker in a local marathon.  We normally equip bicycle riders that accompany the race leaders with trackers so that we are able to tell where the leaders are and project a status at the race finish line. It should work well for this sort of thing as it's roughly the size of a pack of cards - maybe smaller and seems to put out a nice signal.

Upon finishing the configuration it quickly got a GPS lock even inside of my house and began to track.  Even more surprising was that many of the packets it was sending were being digipeated by a digi that is about 8 miles away and known (at this time) to be quite deaf.

The main issue with this device is that there is almost no documentation - in fact mine arrived in a padded envelope with no manual or cd.  It was up to me to track down everything about it.  So here is what you will need to get started:

This Youtube will help more than anything else:  The author of the video has a link on the Youtube page to most of the files you will need.
Also there is a Yahoo group (yuck) that has few subscribers but a lot of info and files:

Finally, I purchased one from Radioddity - not sure if I can really recommend them or not.  I ordered mine from them when their site said they were in stock.  A month later I emailed to ask about the order and was informed that they would be back in stock in a little more than a week.  Right on schedule I was informed that a shipping label had been created.  However nothing moved for about a week.  Finally I checked and it was in route.  When the unit arrived it was in a padded manila evelope with a bit of padding around the main unit.  Just the unit. Cable and antenna. Not even a receipt.   If you choose to purchase from them I have heard similar stories.  They seem to fulfill orders but are really bad at communicating with their customers.  Also their page has a link to the programming software and a .pdf file of the manual that contains just thumbnails.  You will need to get the manual (such as it is) from the yahoo group or the gentleman with the Youtube link.

At this time I understand that the device works well as a KISS mode TNC with APRSdroid over bluetooth and that it's even possible to do some programming of the unit with commands over bluetooth.  Also I have not tried this as yet but I'm betting that it works well with APRSdroid as I am tremendously impressed with that program and have another bluetooth TNC that works extremely well with it.


Tried making some simple changes today using the daily builds of Chirp.  MUCH simpler than the factory software.  I assume you will want to make sure that your firmware is at the latest rev.  Also if you are a Windows user (why o why) you will still need to do the prolific USB driver dance.  Linux users - unless you are running something ancient - the drivers are already in the Kernel.  Not sure how it works for Apple.

Back Again (and other drivel)

I'm Back!  

For some reason the itch to write has come back.  The blog will probably lean toward ham radio and other geek tendencies as that's where I'm at right now.  If you were here for my brilliant political opinions, sorry.  I'm trying to keep my blood pressure down.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to make the Griffin Powermate (USB) version control audio volume in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

How to make the Griffin Powermate (USB) version control audio volume in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Create an admin group called “powermate” and add yourself to it:

sudo addgroup --system powermate
sudo usermod -a -G powermate user

Log out and back in.

Create the udev entry that will notice the powermate when you plug it in. Create /etc/udev/rules.d/powermate.rules with the following content:

SUBSYSTEM=="input", ATTRS{idVendor}=="077d", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0410", SYMLINK+="powermate", MODE="660", GROUP="powermate"

sudo restart udev

Install evrouter from

Create $HOME/.evrouterrc with the following content:

Window ""
"Griffin PowerMate" "" any key/256 "XKey/XF86AudioMute"
"Griffin PowerMate" "" any rel/7/1 "XKey/XF86AudioRaiseVolume"
"Griffin PowerMate" "" any rel/7/-1 "XKey/XF86AudioLowerVolume"

Start it with:

evrouter -c $HOME/.evrouterrc /dev/powermate

Set it to start automatically by adding it to startup programs ({superkey}+”startup”).

Smile every time you change the volume!  And yes I know it's been a year since I've posted. Just had to get this out while it's fresh in my mind.  Deal with it.  The writing itch is coming back...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Banking Sucks

Banks are stuck in the 1950's.

That's it.  Period.  They are going to die.

Over the last few years I've done battle with the banking industry.  Trying in vain to send money to my son - same day.  The only way is to pay for a wire transfer.  That takes about 30 physically at the bank and costs a minimum of $20.

Then I try to make a purchase online with my debit card and have it declined.  Try to use my debit card with Google play and have it declined.  WTF!  I understand that hackers are a PITA but seriously, Google play?  And calling every time I leave town... ridiculous!

How about this US banking industry - come into the fucking 1990s and implement a technology that cant be stolen at the local McDonalds.  Time to do away with mag stripe cards and embrace pin and chip - move to NFC payments for crissake!

If the tech is so compromised that I can't use it to make a purchase or send money IT'S FUCKING USELESS!

Change or die!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Pepsi Should Step Up

Pepsi should step up and release the same ad.  Beautiful Coke. Beautiful.  The only thing that would have made this better was a segment or two from native Americans.  Maybe a forthcoming ad?

Monday, January 06, 2014

I Feel the Need...

...The need to run my mouth - again.  Assuming this post is properly published, look out, "the Guac" just might be back in bidness!