Portable Hot Stop with Battery Pack

The new OpenSpot3 has come out with an internal battery. You might ask why? Well there is two common issues that is mostly raised with almost all hot spots. One is the range – I have addressed this in my BlueDV post if you want to make your own long range hotspot. However the other issue is it isn’t very portable.

I have two OpenSpot2 hotspots and enjoy them very much. I can cross modes easily all by using the one radio. You used to have to get one radio per band which was a lot more expensive. Anyway I can take the OpenSpot2 in the car and plug it into the car battery and run it via my mobile phone which works well. However what if I want to go for a bike ride or walk without the car?

The main issue is not having the battery of the car when you walk or ride your bike. This is perhaps one reason why the OpenSpot3 has an internal battery. For the rest of us, you can still do it.

Below is a picture of my setup. I took this picture in outback South Australia. At the top of the picture is a small pocket size battery which actually has two USB plugs, so I could plug in my HotSpot and my mobile phone. It even has a torch on it and has a lot of charge (15,000 mAh 2.4 Amp) so it wasn’t the cheapest one available. I could have gone a lot cheaper however we also used this battery pack for other things while we were in remote Australia for several days.

To the left of the photo is my GD-77, my hotspot and my phone. With this setup, I was able to talk the world!

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Updating Firmware

Updating the firmware on the GD-77 can be daunting, as you can easily “brick” your radio. So be extremely careful.

Make sure you understand why you are updating your firmware first. Since there is the option of “Bricking” your radio, and I only have the one digital radio, I decided not to update the firmware unless I had the need and then was sure it was a stable version. Remember, don’t fix something that isn’t broken. Once it is broken, you can’t fix it if it becomes a brick.

At the time of writing this, I was told version 3.1.8 was the latest most stable version. Clearly this will change, so do your own current research. So the first step is to download that version, and the software to download it onto the radio.

Download latest firmware updater software from https://www.radioddity.com/pages/radioddity-download and save it on your PC.

Then after extracting the downloaded file, go into the Update Software folder and into the English folder and run the Update.exe file.

Browse to find the firmware you have chosen to download to the radio. It will be a .sgl file.

Firmware downloader

Then, plug in the radio via the USB cable and before turning on the radio, press both buttons at the same time bellow the PTT button, then turn radio on. Only the green light should turn on with a blank display.

Make sure you have selected the correct port on the update software. Then press download to update the firmware on the radio.

Once download has completed, turn radio off, disconnect and turn it back on to check it works.

Other Reads

Here are some other posts I have done on a similar topic

My Radio Diddity GD-77

Starting in digital can be a little overwhelming to start with, no matter how many years you have had your licence. I even had a digital scanner for many years prior to starting in the digital world of Amateur Radio.

After working out what digital radio is, what you can do on it and how it worked, I then started researching what equipment was required.

According to other reviews at the time I was looking, many people claimed that the RadioDitty GD-77 was the best value for money.

My Radioditty GD-77 while on holidays
My Radioditty GD-77 while on holidays

After a month or so of using the RadioDitty GD-77 through repeaters, I purchased an OpenSpot2. I did a lot of research prior to this, and had settled on the OpenSpot1, however when I went to purchase it, only the OpenSpot2 details. It happened to be the week it was launched, so there were no reviews available at the time.

Currently my digital setup is very simple, it just has:

  • One hand held radio, the Radio Ditty GD-77, this came with charger, USB cable and remote microphone
  • OpenSpot2 Hotspot. This came with a power cable.

With this simple setup I am able to talk the world via

  • The BrandMeister network
  • The Australian VK-DMR network
  • Other DMR networks around the world, eg New Zealand, Canada etc
  • YSF Reflectors
  • C4FM
  • NXDN Reflectors
  • SharkRF servers

The above is just to name a few networks. Each of the above networks range from a few Talk Groups, to thousands upon thousands of them from all over the world.

In 2019, my family went for a huge five week trip through outback Australia. We went to some of the most remote parts of the world. We had to carry a lot of water, food and supplies. We also had to carry extra battery power to charge fridges etc. I would have liked to have taken a HF radio with us given the outback probably didn’t have a lot of interference, however we simply didn’t have enough room, or power.

Instead we took a very simple setup, my GD-77, my openspot2 and a small battery back that ran my openspot and mobile phone. Even without power, I was able to talk the world with a little mobile reception or wifi.

Many people have many radio’s for different networks, making it hard to keep updated, and obviously cost a lot. My digital setup costed far less than it costed me to get on 2m/70cm many years ago. And did I mention, this radio also does analogue, so yes, you can use this radio on 2m and 70cm simplex or via the repeaters and no one will know you are actually talking on a digital radio.

The only down site is it is a little hard to program and navigate the channels. The radio is built for commercial operations, and not really for amateur radio, however it can be done. Commercial operations usually have a small number of talk groups or repeaters/frequencies, where as amateur radio uses a lot. However once you nut it out, it isn’t really that hard.

Other things to read

Here are some other posts I have done on similar topics