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!

Some other reads you may enjoy

BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77

I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.

Someone once asked me after reading this page, why would you want to do this? So I have added this paragraph to try and explain. One reason is to extend your hotspot range. For example, if you use a normal regular hotspot, it will only have a small range around or in the house. If you want to go for a walk or dig in the garden, you either have to take a battery pack to plug your hotspot in and your mobile plus your radio. This is something I have done many time, especially while camping and in outback Australia – I have added a photo of it below. However if you have a spare digital radio, then you can plug in your GD77 into an external antenna and via BlueDV as explained below, and then almost run your own 5W repeater into the talk group you want. I have done this and been able to walk several kms from home and still have full access yet only taking my GD77 radio with me. The other reason you can do this is because you can. To make your own repeater is a bit of fun.

Hotspot with battery pack and mobile phone on a park bench.

Before you read on, it should be noted that the Open GD-77 firmware and software is changing all the time, so some of the steps below may change. I will do my best to keep this page up to date, however please message me or leave a comment if you have any suggestions.

First install the Open GD-77 firmware and comm driver. There are instructions on my other post here.

Then once complete, make sure your GD77 is plugged into your USB on your PC. Then type in Device manager in the Windows 10 search box to open the Device Manager. Go to Ports and there you should see OpenGD77 followed by a COM number. If you do not, then you need to install the Comm Driver again. Take note of this Com number.

Now open the GD-77 CPS Community Edition and once loaded make sure it has an Extras menu between the View and Language menus. Click on the Extras menu and select OpenGD77 support. Click on Read codeplug and make sure that works. Obviously you need the radio plugged in and turned on to do this.

Now download the latest BlueDV install file from the following web site. Make sure you select the Windows version. There may be beta versions available if you want to try them.

Download and then install the msi file inside the zip file.

Keep the radio plugged into the USB port on your PC. Turn on the radio and press the green button to go into the OpenGD77 menu. Scroll down to options and then go up to Hotspot and when on hotspot press the right button until it changes to BlueDv. Press the green button to save.

Next open BlueDV and once opened, click on Menu then Setup. Put in your callsign, then change the serial port radio to the Com port noted earlier. Tick on RX/TX Colors, enter in the Frequency you wish to use, enter your DMR ID in both boxes, then select the Brandmeister DMR Master server you want to connect to and put in your password. Select Save to save these settings and close the setup box.

Now turn on Serial (top left under menu) by pressing the slide switch to the left, and DMR in the BlueDV interface. If you can not turn on DMR then you have the same problem I did, then you have not turned your radio on correctly or turned the hotspot mode on. If you have not turned on the hotspot, see two paragraphs above. Then, make sure the radio is in VFO mode by pressing the red button, you should see two lines of frequencies. Make sure they are both the frequency you are using in BlueDV. Turn your radio off, connect the cable and plug it into the PC, then hold down the small black button above the blue button and PTT button, and while holding the button, turn the radio on. The radio should say Hotspot along the top of the screen.

It should now work. Adjust your power level on this radio and plug into a nice antenna, then you can use another DMR radio on the same frequency and you now have your own hotspot that will cover an area that your GD77 will cover.

If you put in the DStar or Fusion settings, you can cross mode across to these networks also if you use the latest BlueDV version.

For more information, here is a video I found that got me going with this project. If you look at this video from 6:34 you can see how to do it without BlueDV and using MMDVMHost instead.

I hope you have found this useful. Please see below some other similar articles I have written that might be of interest. Please leave me some feedback if this has been of some help.

Australian DMR Repeaters

There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country and is for Australian residents only.

It can often be hard to find which DMR repeaters are online, offline and where they are, especially if you travel a bit like me.

Here is a few links that may be of some use. Please let me know if these links no longer work.

A map of all DMR repeaters around Australia is available here.

If you want to check the status of these above repeaters, have a look at this page. It shows which ones are currently online, or offline.

Online repeater map is a great page showing all repeaters around Australia. It is well worth the look at if you are traveling or are going to be in Australia. https://www.onlinerepeatermap.com/

Another way is via the DMR database. If you put the start of the repeater call sign in the middle repeater section it will list the repeaters in your area. For example, all repeaters in my area start with VK3, so I put in VK3 in the middle callsign box and selected begins with and got a list of registered repeaters. This will work all over the world. https://www.radioid.net/database/search#!

Further Reading

Enjoyed what you read, here is some more interesting articles on this site you may enjoy.

  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
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  • Portable Hot Stop with Battery Pack
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  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…
  • Amateur Radio Nets
    A list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.…
  • The Radio Box
    How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk…
  • WizNet DMR
    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have…
  • Mini Keyboard Options
    I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does not come with batteries, but come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.…
  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment,…
  • Welcome to the site
    Hi there from Down Under, Melbourne Australia. Thank you for visiting my radio web site. Below is what items by category is available on this…
  • Power without Power
    In 2019 my family and I went on a five week trip through outback Australia to some of the remotest parts. We had no access…
  • Chirp
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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…
  • 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.…

Basic Antenna Fundamentals

A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.

Topics include:

  • What is an antenna
  • Antennas types and general usage
  • Video of Antenna Propagation
  • The Antenna Mechanism
  • Antenna Resonance & Bandwidth
  • “Q” factor
  • Directional patterns of antennas
  • Video of Antenna Directivity
  • Gain of Antennas
  • Impedance matching
  • Vertical & Horizontal Polarization
  • Balun basics, Unun & Ugly Balun
  • SWR and Video
  • Coaxial cables and feed lines
  • The Velocity factor
  • Plugs and Connectors

Open the PDF document here:

So what did you think of this document? Please leave your comments below.

Mike also wrote a document that has the full history of Amateur Radio. You can read that here.

Want to read something similar:

If you enjoyed that read, here is some more posts we have on this site.

  • Amateur Radio Nets
    A list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.…
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country…
  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Chirp
    CHIRP is a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • Mini Keyboard Options
    I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does not come with batteries, but come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.…
  • 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.…
  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your…
  • 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…
  • Power without Power
    In 2019 my family and I went on a five week trip through outback Australia to some of the remotest parts. We had no access…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
    One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that comes with some digital networks is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. You…
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The Radio Box
    How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk…
  • 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…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment,…
  • Welcome to the site
    Hi there from Down Under, Melbourne Australia. Thank you for visiting my radio web site. Below is what items by category is available on this…
  • WizNet DMR
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Antenna fun

The History of Ham Radio

A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.

Topics include:

  • What is Ham Radio
  • Introduction Video
  • The Circuits
  • The Components
  • The Early Pioneers
  • Who Invented the first radio
  • The Amplifier
  • Modulation
  • Introduction to SSB
  • Pre-WWI
  • Between the Wars
  • During WWII
  • Post War
  • Licensing
  • Call Signs
  • Types of Radios

Open the PDF document here:

Ham Radio History

What did you think of this document. Please leave a comment below.

Mike also wrote a document Antenna’s which is also a fantastic read. You can read that here.

Other Reads

If you enjoyed that read, here is some more posts we have on this site.

  • Amateur Radio Nets
    A list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.…
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country…
  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Chirp
    CHIRP is a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • Mini Keyboard Options
    I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does not come with batteries, but come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.…
  • 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.…
  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your…
  • 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…
  • Power without Power
    In 2019 my family and I went on a five week trip through outback Australia to some of the remotest parts. We had no access…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
    One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that comes with some digital networks is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. You…
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The Radio Box
    How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk…
  • 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…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment,…
  • Welcome to the site
    Hi there from Down Under, Melbourne Australia. Thank you for visiting my radio web site. Below is what items by category is available on this…
  • WizNet DMR
    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have…
Ham Radio History

USB Device Error PL2303HXA

I like to program my radio or scanner via the computer. You can see more, import more and adjust things quickly. One thing you can do on the PC is adjust which channels are in the scan or not, something unfortunatley you can not do on the radio (bit funny).

This all worked fine, however after a windows update, I could no longer connect. Something happened.

I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.

PL2303HXA PHASED OUT SINCE 2012. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SUPPLIER.
PL2303HXA PHASED OUT SINCE 2012. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SUPPLIER. Error

While this is all very informative, it really didn’t help me. However I found a solution.

What windows have done, is for the older chips, Window’s has dropped driver support for them. However you go to http://wp.brodzinski.net/hardware/fake-pl2303-how-to-install/ you can download an old driver version, then install the old driver version.

Once downloaded, open the zip file and run the exe file and install. Unplug the USB cable, and plug it in again.

Then, go back to the Device Manager, right click on the above line, select properties, go to Driver tab, select Update Driver, select Browse my computer for driver software, then navigate to the downloaded file, then select Let Me Pick, then you get a selection as per the picture below.  Select the older 2008 version as shown below.

Driver Update

Press Next and let it install. Once complete, click on Close, and Close again, and the Device Manager should now be changed to:

Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COM?)

You should be able to communicate with the radio fine now.  You many have to re-do the above steps if you re-boot the PC or do a windows update.

Option 2

I came acrross this other way to do it also, using a different driver. Both options work for me, however it depends on which cord I am using. So if the first option doesn’t work, you may want to try option two below.

I hope this helps you. This took a while to put together, so please let me know what you thought by adding a comment below. Don’t forget to follow our page also for more updates. There are more hints on this web site also.

  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • ProScan and ProScan Client
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…

Amateur Radio Nets

Below is a list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.

Clearly nets change all the time, so please let me know if there is anything you notice as potentially being wrong, needing to be updated, not clear of if you would like to add one you know.

You can then sync this calendar to your device so you have all the nets available just by clicking on the Add to Google Calendar button down the bottom. It will update as we are notified of changes.

I suggest you click on the weekly or daily view of the calendar below to see it correctly.

If you found something missing, or incorrect, or just have some suggestions, please send us a message via the form below. It will be great to hear from you.

While you are here, there is lots of other useful information on this site:

  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is still a lot of Analogue transmissions today, even a lot still on AM especially when it comes to Aviation, however most have gone to digital. There are several reasons for…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
    One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that comes with some digital networks is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. You can send it fairly easily to another radio, but did you know you can also receive a weather report, see where your last GPS transmitted location is, and send messages…
  • 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…
  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country and is for Australian residents only. It can often be hard to find which DMR repeaters are online, offline and where they are, especially if you travel a bit like…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…
  • Amateur Radio Nets
    A list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.…
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    How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk between overs or while you are waiting for someone to call you? Some radio’s don’t stand very well on their own, or can fall over easily if the bench is…
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    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details,…
  • Mini Keyboard Options
    I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does not come with batteries, but come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.…
  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment, and therefore miss out on a lot of the testing apps that are only available on Android. There seem to be more and more there all the time! I don’t…
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The Radio Box

How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk between overs or while you are waiting for someone to call you? Some radio’s don’t stand very well on their own, or can fall over easily if the bench is bumped.

Have you ever tried my box method?

I use a stand-up desk most of the time and I found my hand held radio would sometimes topple over and hit the floor hard. The radio hit the floor hard and broke a clip on the battery. It could have been a lot worse, but also could have been avoided also. My box idea has stopped anymore falls.

Wooden box stops hand held radio's from being damaged
Wooden box stops hand held radio’s from being damaged

For my box, I simply just cut 4 small scrap pieces of wood at 45 degrees angles, screwed and glued them together, and there we have it. It doesn’t need a bottom it is so simple. It will look a heap better when I pain or stain it.

A simple wooden box stops my radio from falling over or off the desk
A simple wooden box stops my radio from falling over or off the desk

You could easily make a box like I did, or make several boxes joined together so you get a row. Make sure you build them so you can swap radio’s between boxes should you wish to change the order of them, or should you change or upgrade your radio in the future.

You could also use a speaker mic and keep the radio in the box, this way you can still see the screen, and will not knock you radio over or off the desk.

Here is a short video that shows a bit more detail.

Feel free to follow this web site by putting in your email address so you get notified of future posts. If you have any comments regarding this concept, please let me know – I always appreciate feedback.

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WizNet DMR

The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details, and a password. Once approved, you will get an email with a link and log in details that will tell you how to install.

I understand this app is currently only available on android devices at this time, however there are plans to extend this to Apple.

Installing on Android, you will need to make sure you turn on the feature where you download sources from anyone. Once installed, put in your callsign, and your password as per the email and your in.

The first thing you will need to do is click on the settings menu right down the bottom left of the screen. In there you will have your call sign already populated, but you will need to put in your DMR ID number. If you have two Wiznet apps on different devices, you can use two different DMR ID numbers. You can on this same settings screen you can adjust your mic gain also.

Over the left side is five menu options.

The first item at the top on the left side expands out the menu’s so you can see the text for each item and not just the icon.

Talk Groups

By default you should land Talk Groups page which has the icon of a person and paper next to the person.

On this list you can see available talk groups. The scan ones will scan talk groups on that network, and will continue to scan until someone is talking.

Talk Group

When you click on a talk group, you will go to a new screen, the Talk Group screen, where you can see yourself in that talk group, and whoever else is in that talk group that is also using the same app.

If you go into a dynamic one, you can put in the Talk Group number at the top of the screen and select set to join that group. If the dynamic talk group is on the TGIF network, then you can select talk groups on that network to join, however it is on the BrandMeister network, you can select talk groups on that network.

When you switch the dynamic talk group to another talk group, you take everyone already logged into that group with you, so it is usually best to ask to see if anyone else is using it first.

Down the bottom of the screen is the button you press to transmit – you have to hold it unfortunately but I guess this stops accidents.

At the top of the screen is a chat window also. Just select the background and type.

2020 Update

Since writing this review, this software no longer seems to be available. Thank you for the many people who have contacted me to let me know they couldn’t download it. I am not sure what happened, but while it was working it worked very well. Hopefully it will return or turn into something similar soon.


Other Apps and Software

Hope that was helpful. Below are some other apps I have looked at also:

  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…
  • WizNet DMR
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Android Apps

  • Mini Keyboard Options
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  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…
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  • WizNet DMR
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Apple Apps

  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…

Mini Keyboard Options

I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.

Setup

Setup couldn’t be easier. Make sure it has batteries installed, some come with a rechargeable, mine required triple A batteries. Make sure the switch on the top side of the keyboard it to the left position for it to turn on – it should light up when you do this. Then in the battery compartment will be the USB dongle. Just plug in the USB dongle before powering up (if it is into an Android box), then it will connect and work fine straight away. If your model came with the battery, there may be a cord to charge the unit also.

Touch Pad

The top part of the keyboard in the touch pad area controls your mouse position. Using two fingers will scroll up and down the scroll bars. Unfortunately two finger zooming does not work. Right click can be done by a simultaneous two finger tap. You can turn the touch pad on or off by pressing Fn + F8.

Changing the Touch Pad Tracking Speed

All you have to do is press the blue Fn (function) button down the bottom left corner, then press the space bar.

Shortcuts

The keyboard comes with the following shortcuts at the top of the keyboard.

Far left Shortcuts

Over the far left side are media buttons, including volume up and down, pause and play, next track

Middle shortcuts

Either side of the touch pad are shortcuts, then are the following from top to bottom in order

Left Side of Touch PadRight Side of Touch Pad
1. Open Music Player App1. Open Google Search
2. Open Email App2. Go home button
3. Mute button3. Internet Browser
4. Mouse left button ( this is also on the far left of the letters below on the top)4. Mouse right button (this is also on the far left of the letters below on the bottom)

Far right Shortcuts

Over the right side at the top are directional buttons with an OK button in the middle.

Sleep Mode

The Keyboard will auto sleep and wake-up to save the battery. When the keyboard is idle for 3 minutes, it will go into auto sleep mode, and all LED indicators will turn off.

Keyboard Glowing Colours

Some keyboards glow at night. Unfortunately mine foes not, but if yours does, you just press blue the Fn key down the bottom left and the F2 key to change the colours. Press Fn-F2 again to change to the next colour and so on. This will give you the three standard colours. However, if your feeling nerdy, you can press and hold down the Fn key, then using your thumb on the touch pad, move it left and right to get all the other colours. There are 7 different colours in total.

If you want to be a geek of all the nerds, you can do the RGB spectrum, but pressing and holding F2 and then scrolling your thumb across left to right on the touch pad, then let go. It will scroll through all the colours automatically. You can still use the touch pad as normal while it automatically changes colours. I guess not having this saves some power also, however it does turn off every 30 or so seconds. There is a switch up the top right on the side of the keyboard that will turn it off also.

Fuction Keys

Apart from what I have already mentioned, you can do the following functions using the blue function key (Fn) found down the bottom left corner.

  • Fn + Fn = Enter into pair mode
  • Fn + F7 = take a screen shot
  • Fn + F8 = turn on or off the touch pad
  • Fn + F9 = F11 key
  • Fn + F10 = F12 key
  • Fn + Back = Delete
  • Fn + Page Up = Home

Other Keyboards

Here is a review on several other keyboards of similar size. This is not my video, but thought it gave a good quick overview of several models available.

Conclusion

The size of the keyboard is just right, not to small so you can’t find it or use it easily, but not to big so it takes over the desk or armchair. It works well with my Android TV device, but understand it does work on other devices such as windows, Raspberry Pi etc.

If I was going to buy it again, I may get the one with the inbuilt battery installed that can be re-charged, however once the batter goes, you almost have to replace it. My model could be loaded up with rechargeable batteries you can buy from anywhere.

Before I was using this Keyboard, I used a USB mouse, and while in some ways that is easier than a touch pad, to have a full keyboard and the touch pad all cordless with a good range is fantastic.

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