Sunday, December 18, 2022

New Silver Star Weather RADAR Station

Canadian RADAR gets a big upgrade

Digital Writers - The Weather Network

Canadian Western Steel - Timelapse RADAR Tower Build

MMDVM Pi-Star Hotspot - Quick Replacement of the SD Card (Repair Notes)


In recent months the web server in my MMDVM Pi-Star hotspot has been failing during operation. The TX/RX from the hotspot continued to work, but any opportunity to interact with the device using the web server resulted in the pages not loading.

Yesterday I decided to entirely rebuild the unit's SD card using the following process. These notes are as much for me if I need to repeat the process again in the future.

Failure of SD cards is very common after continued use, especially in devices like this that run 24/7. The entire card might not fail, but sectors on the card can easily fail.


  • Rebooted the hotspot and got access to the web interface temporarily.
  • Took a current backup of my settings and downloaded/saved the file on my laptop.
  • Note, this method requires Wi-Fi so a laptop or desktop with Wi-Fi capability is required.
  • Slow formatted a replacement SD card to verify that all sectors are good.
  • Downloaded the latest Pi-Star image from Pi-Star Downloads -
  • Flashed the new image to the new SD card using the Raspberry Pi Imager app Raspberry Pi OS – Raspberry Pi
  • Power down the MMDVM hotspot, full out the old SD card and replace with the new SD card
  • Boot the MMDVM hotspot off the new SD card, leaving LOTS of time for initial boot steps to occur and the setup Wi-Fi access point to load (SSID = Pi-Star-Setup)
  • Connect the laptop to the new temp SSID and load the start-up pages for Pi-Star
  • Go straight to Configuration > Backup/Restore
  • Load the backup file from step 2 and upload the file and Restore.
  • Go back to Configuration and change the Wi-Fi settings to the stored settings from your home network (settings were stored in the backup and just need to be selected and applied.
  • Reboot the MMDVM hotspot and everything should come up just like before the new card was installed.

High Bit Rate Error Tweaking

My particular MMDVM hotspot came with a sticker indicating the frequency offset preferences for TX and RX. In the case of my unit that was an adjustment of -475 for each.

When receiving from the Parrot Reflector I noticed that the bit rate error was as high as 4% and adjustment was required. I found a good instruction from someone and followed it to make quick work of the problem. Like tuning an antenna you make some broad adjustments, then when you find the range where it's working better you begin to dial in the better settings by making smaller changes in either direction.

These edits are made at Configuration > Expert > MMDVM

Here is a short summary of my adjustments and how they were working.

-475 = 4% BER (not good)
-575 (broad change of 100) = .5% BER (very good)
-675 (broad change of 100) = 1.2% BER (trending worse)
-625 (medium change of 50) = 1.1% BER (trending better)
-575 (medium change of 50) = .8% BER (very good)
-525 (medium change of 50) = 1% BER (trending worse)

You won't get identical readings on each transmission, but you can see that at -575 RX Offset I received the lower settings of .5% - .8%. After two readings below 1% BER, this was the setting that I left it on for RX. TX remained at -475 as per the manufacturers' sticker.

Monday, February 28, 2022

IARU Note On Radio Communications from Ukraine

Feb 27, 2022 · HF · Tom, DF5JL

“Any radio amateur currently transmitting from Ukraine is risking his or her life. If you hear a Ukrainian station, do not broadcast its callsign, location or frequency — whether on the band, in a cluster or on social media. You may be putting lives at risk.”

Source: DARC HF Committee via facebook

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Annual RAC Renewal

Thank you! Your Radio Amateurs of Canada account has been updated.

Radio Amateurs of Canada

Thank You Aaren Jensen for renewing your RAC membership with the Radio Amateurs of Canada.

Your membership expires on:   March 3, 2023

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Drake UL68 Communications Headphones

Copied from

UL68 Drake Headphones
The Drake Headphones are monaural and terminate to a 1/4 inch phone plug. There is nothing particularly noteworthy about these headphones other than the Drake logo on the left earpiece and right earpiece. Not stellar headphones, but a rare find for the Drake collector. [06/14]

I really enjoyed this short description/review. I guess I'll need to test them out for myself. 

If anyone has any more technical information on these that would be greatly appreciated. I collect headphones and headsets for various purposes including Audiophile, Gaming, and Radio Communications.

With a mono 1/4 inch phone plug these are squarely in the Communications category, with Drake being an old amateur radio brand still popular with collectors.

Took me some time on the web to even find an actual model number (UL68), and it didn't help that a popular modern Canadian recording artist (Drake) dominated the search results about what headphones he personally uses when in the studio recording. Also strange that Beats by Dr. Dre also dominated the Drake Headphone searches since Drake the artist never sponsored any Beats headphones that I'm aware of?

Anyhow, another set of 'cans' for the wall.