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Hamming It Up In the Living Room

I’m not leaving my shack behind, but I am improving how I operate digital modes. I’ve recently moved a computer around the house, freeing up an old Raspberry Pi 3B+ that I had been using as a Kodi media display in the kitchen. Also, the temperature in my garage has been swinging wildly from cold in the mornings to super hot at 5pm when I get off from work, making for an unhappy experience. Also, I love to hang out with my kiddo and listen to the things that make her laugh, so why not operate in using the wonderful, ergonomic workstation space I have for work, just using my personal laptop! 

Ham-Pi to the rescue, seen here to the left of Gumby.The Raspberry Pi controlled Ham shack

I followed the directions laid out by DL1GKK for installing amateur radio apps on a Raspberry Pi, and it worked great. I did have to do it twice, as my first time around I used the ‘current’ version of RaspOS, “Bullseye”, but all of the ham software is still targeting “Badger”, so I used a spare micro-SD card to re-do my work and it turned out great. 

I have the Pi connected to gigabit Ethernet and via USB to Serial adaptor to the Kenwood TS-140S’s aftermarket IF-10C serial card, which provides me CAT control. I use hamlib’s daemon server to provide my local network with CAT control ability. Also connected is the SigmaLink USB soundcard, which is itself connected to the radio via the Kenwood’s ACC2 port. This provides PTT and audio to the Pi, giving me (almost) everything I need to fully operate the radio without being close to the equipment!

GridTracker Map on the Left Screen

So that’s what my two monitors look like when I use digital modes. On the left I have GridTracker, grabbing all the contact and spot info from WSJT-X on the left. The GridTracker roster is also on the left. Both the CQ roster and the waterfall are pinned to the top, which makes getting other things dont easy. 

Part of the beauty of this system is that is is very low power when just receiving, so I can leave it all almost all the time, catching traffic from my home with very little intervention. 

My next phase of remote operation would be to be able to use my Zoom & Teams enabled audio equipment to send single over the network to the Pi to do seamless SSB voice communications. It might even allow me to process the audio post-radio on the PC, something I’ve been really wanting to try. The 5 year old laptops business often sell after they fall out of ‘business life’ are powerful enough to run lost of DSP processing of audio signals.

I’m excited by the idea of AI post-processing of radio-filtered human speech, I wonder what might be next for ham radio!