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.

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.

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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.

Here are some other latest posts:

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