OpenSpot from the Start

I have spoken to a few people who have felt a bit overwhelmed setting up their OpenSpot from the start. In saying that, I have always been surprised how many people are on digital, some of them have no computer experience at all.  It only takes one tickbox to be selected wrongly and you are off the air totally.  So clearly there are a lot of helpful Amateurs out there.  This website is my way of helping, as I can’t be all over the world to help.  I have put things of interest as I find them on my site.  If you find it interesting, please subscribe or let me know.

In saying that, OpenSpot has been setup to be as easy as possible with a lot of thought behind it.  While I am not claiming this is the best hotspot, I am saying I have two of them and found them great to use at home, mobile, and portable.

This is what I do with my openspot2.

Starting from the beginning

Plug your OpenSpot2 in

Turn your mobile phone wifi (or could use a tablet or laptop with wifi) on and connect to your openSPOT2 AP

If the popup page does not show up (it may take a while to load), type in openspot2.local in a web browser

A welcome screen will ask you to select your country

Scan or manually select your home wifi

Press connect and type in your password for your home wifi

After pressing ok, you will get a message saying this hotspot is going to connect to the wifi now instead of directly connecting to your phone

You can then connect to it via your phone or device that is connected to the home wifi.  I recommend you do this via a pc as you get more functions on screen, however you can do it via a mobile phone with a smaller screen. To connect, go to openspot2.local in a web browser.  However, if you have two openspot2’s on your network, as I do, you will need to log into your network modem and check the actual ip address of your openspot.

If you can not find it on your network, then I suggest you go back to your phone and see if you can connect to your openspot again via wifi.  If it is not there, you may need to unplug the power cord and plug it back in a minute or so later, or press the button next to the power cord until the light goes white to reset it and start again.

Once you connect via the wifi network to your Openspot for the first time you will get a Quick Setup Screen.

Put in your call sign and the DMR ID will auto populate.  You can put in your NXDN ID also.

Select the type of radio you will be using to connect to the OpenSpot.

Type in the frequency you want to use while using the Openspot.  Make sure it is a different frequency to all other hotspots so you don’t get hotspot feedback. Keep colour code as 1. Then select the network you want to connect to.

Enjoyed the read? Don’t forget to subscribe. Below are some other interesting reads:

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.

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  • Updating GD-77 Firmware
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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
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  • Australian DMR Repeaters
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  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
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  • OpenSpot from the Start
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  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
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  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
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  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
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  • The History of Ham Radio
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  • The Radio Box
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  • Treehouse
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  • Updating GD-77 Firmware
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  • 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.…
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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
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  • DROID-Star
    After talking to a friend just to the north of me, he told me about the app DROID-Star for Android. As I only have apple…
  • DudeStar
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  • Easy Radio Rack
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  • GD-77 Won’t connect to PC
    I have been using my Radioddity now for some years and love it.  Though upgrading this to the OpenGD77 opened a whole new world and…
  • Hotspot Fixing Packet Loss with AutoCal
    The thing with digital communications, it can be extremely complicated. It only takes one tick box to be ticked incorrectly to take your station off…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • M17
    So what is the new digital mode M17? It sounds like a gun at first, however I am sure you if you google M17 Ham…
  • 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.…
  • OpenSpot from the Start
    I have spoken to a few people who have felt a bit overwhelmed setting up their OpenSpot from the start. In saying that, I have…
  • 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…
  • Treehouse
    An unusual name, but a catchy name no less, just like Peanut that was written by the same person, David PA7LIM. If you like Peanut, then you will like this project also. This project, like Peanut, includes some amazing coding and thinking.…
  • Updating GD-77 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…
  • Welle.io
    Welle.io is a DAB and DAB+ software defined radio (SDR). It runs on Windows, Linux and embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.…
  • 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

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.

Anyway, if you go to the following website, there are several programs available.

https://www.proscan.org/

There are three software options available via the above link.

  • ProScan
  • ProScan Client
  • RadioFeed

Details on the above three are below. Please remember, this is not an instruction manual, more of a review and should help you get started.

ProScan

Installing

Installing is very simple. Simply go to the above web site and download the latest version. Then open the file. If using Windows 10, Windows will give you a Windows Defender SmartScreen warning. Simply select More Info then Run anyway. I am using version 15.4 for this review.

Installing takes seconds, and does not require a re-boot. If you have a license key then put it in, if not, you have 30 days to access the software which I think is very reasonable. A lot of Apps these days you don’t get the opportunity to check it is what you want or not.

Connecting to the Scanner

First select the scanner you are connecting to via the drop-down list. Then from the Comm Port dialog box, either select the Port, or click on the red Auto Detect button where you can then see the scanner on the list. If you don’t, then make sure the scanner is on, connected and been connected to Windows for a while. You can also press the Windows Device Manager option to make sure Windows see’s the scanner connected.

After selecting the scanner and port, press Set Selected Available Port so the port number is updated at the top of the screen. Then after setting the baud rate, select the red set box. The highest Baud Rate the scanner supports, the better reliability. After selecting set select close to continue.

It will then ask if you want to create a new database. If it is your first time, then you will want to select yes. I usually create a file with the date in the file name and the scanner model. If I ever make a mistake, then I can go back to the original file.

Once you have done this, you will get a graphical display of your scanner at the top of the screen and it will pick up where your scanner is up to. If you are using a hand held scanner, it will come up with a remote head version of the scanner. For example, my 396xt scanner looks like the UBC-RH96 remote screen. Check that your scanner model is listed at the top of the display, if not you will want to adjust your scanner model via the Scanner Type menu.

Display

There are two parts of the screen, the top graphical part (highlighted by my yellow line below), then the tab data area below (shown in red). Also, above the graphical part is the menus which go across top.

Menus

The menus available across the top of the display include:

  • Database – here you can start a new, save a current or open an old database, or scanner setup. You can also import a data base from a current file, or via a selected few web sites. Another option is to export or print the database. Last option is to exit and close the software.
    • Export / Print – this option is very customisable, where you can export to csv, HTML or Sentinel HPE file. You can also print to your printer also. You can select which systems are to be included and what information is to be included in the export or print.
  • Options – This brings up a large dialog box which looks a little overwhelming at first, but after a closer look, is actually very well laid out. The dialog box has the following tabs:
    • Start Up – simple settings are available here such as if the software is to load up the current database or not at start-up? Checking for latest version, logging history and so on.
    • General – general settings such as colours, date and time format, and other settings are available here.
    • Logging – This tab is broken up into three areas where History Grid settings are available, UID Grid settings are available, and FTO Grid settings are available.
    • Recorder – this tab allows you to customise what is recorded and what is not. Settings such as transmissions < 2 seconds can be turned off. You can set the maximum recording time, and auto delete recordings after a period of time.
    • Scanner Specific – this tab allows you to change specific details according to the scanner selected such as colours etc. Depending on the model selected, depends on what is available to change and what is not.
    • Recording Text Tags – You can select the file output and title, artist etc for each recording made.
  • Scanner Type – this menu allows you to change the scanner type should you not have the correct one selected.
  • Comm Port – you can change the comm port settings if you are having trouble connecting to your scanner. From the Comm Port dialog box, either select the Port, or click on the red Auto Detect button where you can then see the scanner on the list. If you don’t, then make sure the scanner is on, connected and been connected to Windows for a while. You can also press the Windows Device Manager option to make sure Windows see’s the scanner connected. After selecting the scanner and port, press Set Selected Available Port so the port number is updated at the top of the screen. Then after setting the baud rate, select the red set box. The highest Baud Rate the scanner supports, the better reliability. After selecting set select close to continue.
  • View – You can change how and what you want to display. You may want a small display or a normal display depending on how much screen space you have. You can also select to always be on top if required.
  • Tools – There are four options available on this menu item
    • Google Maps & Lookup – this will allow you to look up locations using Google Maps. There are a lot of settings available here, and some great things you can display or not display on the map. This includes a range map etc.
    • FCC Callsign Lookup – Here you can put in a call sign and look it up. These don’t work very well outside of USA.
    • Location Converter – Here you can convert positions to other formats
    • Remove Activation – use this to transfer your licence to another PC
  • Support – There are four options available on this menu
    • Manual – a searchable PDF manual which is a great help and well written
    • ProScan Home Page
    • Check for newest version
    • About

Download from Scanner

If you already have a scanner setup, you may want to press the download from scanner button from the Database tab then Systems tab. If the window below says database locked, then you may want to start a new one via the Database menu. Select all systems and configuration and download from the scanner. This is a good starting point to make sure the scanner and ProScan software are the same.

This post is not intended to replace the manual, it is more about getting you started and reviewing the software. The above is enough to get anyone started, so here are some things I have liked in this program.

History Logging

Under the History Logging tab is a great feature if you want to just scan a set of programmed frequencies and see how often you receive them, and what their signal was like. This is good if you want to just let the scanner just tick away. I find this option as one of the better parts to the software that other software seems to lack. For example, you could have a set of frequencies scanning for a few days, and then see how often the scanner stopped on that frequency, when the first and last time it was, and the total duration it spent on that frequency. Some frequencies are hardly used, where others like freight and transport services are more used which this report highlights.

Each column is sortable which is fantastic. So you can sort in order of Frequency, RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) or time first or last time the scanner heard a transmission on that frequency. You can tick the box for Each Transmission New Row, or as I do just have that un-ticked so each frequency is only listed once, so you can see how often each frequency was heard. If you tick the Active Row In View the displayed list will always include the current active frequency on screen.

However, the best part is you can copy or move any selected rows, or all rows, to a database or another file such as a text file that can easily be imported into Excel. Now you can have a spreadsheet with all your frequencies, and next to them have data such as when you last heard it talk, what the RSSI was and so on. Frequencies change all the time, so this is a very handy feature if you are not sure if the one you are interested in is still in use or not.

You can also adjust how it is logged, via the Options menu at the top of the screen and go to the Logging tab. Here you can state the file you want to save your logs to, if you only want to log frequencies that have a signal for longer than 2 seconds and so on.

Recording Tab

This sometimes can be hard to set up in some software packages, however in ProScan, I found it very easy. You will first need to set up the settings on the Audio Control tab which has a fantastic graphical display of the usually hard to understand settings.

Database Tab

This by far is the busiest tab, and has 15 tabs within it. It is here that all your frequencies and how they are stored is saved. This page will not go into how to save and store frequencies, and how systems and groups work, as this page is more about the ProScan software.

The Systems tab is where all your frequency data is stored and is set out in a very easy way to understand. Along the top of this tab though is some options in red. While most of them are obvious by how they are named, the Get Clipboard is something that needs to seen. Here you can copy from an excel file or database, and import it easily into the ProScan software. You can set special ignorer’s etc, it is well worth spending some time here.

The Statistics option will make sure you don’t overload your scanners memory.

Source Client Tab

This is a great tab if you want to easily connect your scanner to some on-line broadcasting services such as Broadcastify, Icecast2 and SHOUTcast.

Remote Scanner Over IP

This tab is where you can be a server or client to the rest of the world. You can allow others access to your scanner if you choose to, or you can select others who have shared theirs via client mode. If you just want to use the software as a client, then you might as well get the client software which is free and just has this part of the software as part of the insulation.

Audio Control

This tab will help you set up your recording and sound into you PC from your scanner and from your PC. The settings are very well laid out in a graphical display making it very easy to setup. The last tab, Audio Scope allows you to check the audio levels also. I routed my microphone to it and could then check base and tone levels which was an added bonus.

Band Scope

The Band Scope tab is one of the best parts of this software. Simply press the start sweep red button and the software will take over your scanner by sweeping across the bands drawing a graphical display on received signal levels. This not only graphically shows you where the signals are, but also shows the amount of notice on each different band also and how much noise you may be receiving in a range of frequencies.

Band Scope Display

You can see on the above picture, the frequencies in the 53 Mhz area have a low noise level of reception, but above that the next band scanned has more. Move the graph my sliding the Window marker, then move the Marker slider to change the frequency. Press Stop Sweep to stop sweeping. You can save the data to a file also, or open one. It is a shame you can’t just press on the graph to update the frequency on the scanner, but this really isn’t a big deal.

If you want to adjust the frequencies scanned, press the Get / Set Custom Search In the Scanner button and adjust.

Updates

Under the Options menu if you go to the Startup tab there is an option to Check For Newest Version Upon Start Up And Once A Day which is a great feature as often I just leave it on for days or weeks. However, when an update is found, a pop up window as shown below will be displayed while the program continues to work as per normal until you click on next.

ProScan Update Screen

The screen has a list of what the update includes which is great. You can either install the update by pressing next or run with the current version by pressing close. If you select next if will close the program, download the update, then all you have to do is run the downloaded software and it will automatically install and pick up from where you were as if nothing has happened. Very easy for anyone.

Costs

At the time of writing this, the cost of this software is $50 which can be used on two different computers. You can deactivate it on a PC to activate it on another PC. This can be done via the Tools menu. You can use it free with all functions for 30 days though. More information is available here: https://www.proscan.org/purchase_info.html

Features

Occording to the ProScan website, the ProScan Features include:

  • Scanner Support – Supports 18 different Uniden models
  • Scanner Programming – Upload and download data to and from scanner.
  • Database – Full featured database with Find & Replace, Find Duplicates, Export and Imports data from ProScan database files, Uniden UASD database files, and RadioReference Web Service.
  • Source Client – Streams real time audio to Broadcastify, Icecast, and ShoutCast servers.  Source Client can replace Edcast/Oddcast and SimpleCast types of programs.  If you are a Broadcastify stream provider then the Source Client can be configured automatically.
  • Web Server – Servers a web page and serves real time audio and folders / files.  Audio and folders / files can be password protected.
  • Logger – Extensive logging with many options.
  • Remote Control Scanner Over IP – Control scanner remotely with streaming audio.
  • Recorder – No loss audio recorder.  Stereo or Mono.
  • Audio Flow Diagram – Shows audio flow along with the volume controls and level meters.
  • Band Scope – Great for testing antenna’s and interference tracking
  • Control Channel Data Monitoring – Monitor the trunking control channel data.  Works with XT series scanners only.
  • Sessions Manager – Manages multiple instances of ProScan running on same computer.
  • Virtual Display – With keypad and knobs emulates the scanner front panel.
  • Serial Port – Auto Detect.
  • Test Tab – Bonus items such as sending commands to the scanner and viewing returned data from scanner.
  • Tabbed layout – For easy navigation.  Each tab contains a major feature.

Model Support

According to the ProScan website at the time of writing this, the following models are supported:

  • BCT15,
  • BCT15X,
  • BC250D,
  • BC296D,
  • BR330T,
  • BC346XT,
  • BC346XTC,
  • BCD325P2,
  • BCD396T,
  • BCD396XT,
  • BCD436HP,
  • BCD536HP,
  • BC780XLT,
  • BC785D,
  • BC796D,
  • BCD996T,
  • BCD996XT,
  • BCD996P2,
  • SDS100, SDS200,
  • SDS100E,
  • SDS200E,
  • UBCD3600XLT, &
  • USDS100 scanners

ProScan is available via the above link. You can see some screen shots of the software via this link also.

Please note – we will soon be posting a review on this software.

ProScan Client

If you don’t have a scanner and are thinking about getting one, then this is for you.

This is a stripped down version of ProScan for connecting to ProScan RSOIP (Remote Server Over IP) Servers in Monitor Client mode only. Basically it is a list of peoples scanners who have chosen to share them online allowing you access to listen in to what they here at their location. The Audio Recordings and Logging features are enabled, so you can even record what you hear at your location if you want to.

You may want to share your own scanner and then you can listen to is when you are out and about and don’t have a scanner with you.

ProScan Client is available via the above link.

How to use the ProScan Client software

Once downloading and installing the software, click on the Remote Scanner Over IP tab. Select the Update button to generate a list of available published servers in the box below. You can sort the service in the box according to country and region if required by clicking on the headings. If you widen the software, or move across this box, you can see the description and type of scanner and further details of each server. All headings can be sorted.

Once you find the server you want to listen to, click on it so it appears in the boxes on the left side, then select the Start box. The server you selected may not work, details will be in the box down the bottom right. In this case select another server or try again later. When selecting a new server, make sure the server ID updates on the left side.

Once connected, the display of the scanner will update to the type of scanner you have selected.

When the scanner stops on signal, you can see it listed on the History Logging tab. You can select to list each transmission in a new row (which could end up being a lot of rows), or just list each different Talk Group ID/Frequency. The Fire Tone-Out Logging tab is interesting also if the correct frequency / scanner is compliant.

You can record via the Recorder tab. Select the Recorder button and then it will list all the recordings. Select Colors Defined to see what the colours mean. Once this is on, you can then play each recording on demand. You can adjust the Column headings by click and dragging them as required.

When you have finished with a server, select Stop to disconnect.

RadioFeed

This program will stream the audio from your scanner to Broadcastify, Icecast and Shoutcast servers. I think you can create your own web server also.

I have not used this program as yet.

RadioFeed is available via the above link.

Summary

So, what is your experience with these three software packages? Is it great for you? What would you like to see changed in the software? How long have you been using it? Do you agree with our comments? Please leave your comments below.

Other Apps and Software

  • Orion Push to Talk
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  • WizNet DMR
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  • WizNet DMR
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  • 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…
  • 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…

Apple Apps

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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.

Anyway, if you go to the following website, there are several programs available.

https://www.proscan.org/

There are three software options available via the above link.

  • ProScan
  • ProScan Client
  • RadioFeed

Details on the above three are below.

ProScan

Costs

At the time of writing this, the cost of this software is $50 which can be used on two different computers. You can deactivate it on a PC to activate it on another PC. You can use it free with all functions for 30 days though.

Features

Occording to the ProScan website, the ProScan Features include:

  • Scanner Support – Supports 18 different Uniden models
  • Scanner Programming – Upload and download data to and from scanner.
  • Database – Full featured database with Find & Replace, Find Duplicates, Export and Imports data from ProScan database files, Uniden UASD database files, and RadioReference Web Service.
  • Source Client – Streams real time audio to Broadcastify, Icecast, and ShoutCast servers.  Source Client can replace Edcast/Oddcast and SimpleCast types of programs.  If you are a Broadcastify stream provider then the Source Client can be configured automatically.
  • Web Server – Servers a web page and serves real time audio and folders / files.  Audio and folders / files can be password protected.
  • Logger – Extensive logging with many options.
  • Remote Control Scanner Over IP – Control scanner remotely with streaming audio.
  • Recorder – No loss audio recorder.  Stereo or Mono.
  • Audio Flow Diagram – Shows audio flow along with the volume controls and level meters.
  • Band Scope – Great for testing antenna’s and interference tracking
  • Control Channel Data Monitoring – Monitor the trunking control channel data.  Works with XT series scanners only.
  • Sessions Manager – Manages multiple instances of ProScan running on same computer.
  • Virtual Display – With keypad and knobs emulates the scanner front panel.
  • Serial Port – Auto Detect.
  • Test Tab – Bonus items such as sending commands to the scanner and viewing returned data from scanner.
  • Tabbed layout – For easy navigation.  Each tab contains a major feature.

Model Support

According to the ProScan website at the time of writing this, the following models are supported:

  • BCT15,
  • BCT15X,
  • BC250D,
  • BC296D,
  • BR330T,
  • BC346XT,
  • BC346XTC,
  • BCD325P2,
  • BCD396T,
  • BCD396XT,
  • BCD436HP,
  • BCD536HP,
  • BC780XLT,
  • BC785D,
  • BC796D,
  • BCD996T,
  • BCD996XT,
  • BCD996P2,
  • SDS100, SDS200,
  • SDS100E,
  • SDS200E,
  • UBCD3600XLT, &
  • USDS100 scanners

ProScan is avaialble via the above link. You can see some screen shots of the software via this link also.

Please note – we will soon be posting a review on this software.

ProScan Client

If you don’t have a scanner and are thinking about getting one, then this is for you.

This is a stripped down version of ProScan for connecting to ProScan RSOIP (Remote Server Over IP) Servers in Monitor Client mode only. Basicilly it is a list of peoples scanners who have chosen to share them online allowing you access to listen in to what they here at their location. The Audio Recordings and Logging features are enabled, so you can even record what you hear at your location if you want to.

You may want to share your own scanner and then you can listen to is when you are out and about and don’t have a scanner with you.

ProScan Client is avaialble via the above link.

How to use the ProScan Client software

Once downloading and installing the software, click on the Remote Scanner Over IP tab. Select the Update button to generate a list of avaliable published servers in the box below. You can sort the service in the box according to country and region if required by clicking on the headings. If you widen the software, or move across this box, you can see the description and type of scanner and further details of each server. All headings can be sorted.

Once you find the server you want to listen to, click on it so it appears in the boxes on the left side, then select the Start box. The server you selected may not work, details will be in the box down the bottom right. In this case select another server or try again later. When selecting a new server, make sure the server ID updates on the left side.

Once connected, the display of the scanner will update to the type of scanner you have selected.

When the scanner stops on signal, you can see it listed on the History Logging tab. You can select to list each transmission in a new row (which could end up being a lot of rows), or just list each different Talk Group ID/Frequency. The Fire Tone-Out Logging tab is interesting also if the correct frequency / scanner is complient.

You can record via the Recorder tab. Select the Recorder button and then it will list all the recordings. Select Colors Defined to see what the colours mean. Once this is on, you can then play each recording on demand. You can adjust the Column headings by click and dragging them as required.

When you have finished with a server, select Stop to disconnect.

RadioFeed

This program will stream the audio from your scanner to Broadcastify, Icecast and Shoutcast servers. I think you can create your own web server also.

I have not used this program as yet.

RadioFeed is avaialble via the above link.

Summary

So what is your experience with these three software packages? Is it great for you? What would you like to see changed in the software? How long have you been using it? Do you agree with our comments? Please leave your comments below.

Other Apps and Software

  • Chirp
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  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
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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…
  • 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…

Android Apps

  • DROID-Star
    After talking to a friend just to the north of me, he told me about the app DROID-Star for Android. As I only have apple devices, 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 a licence…
  • 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…
  • 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…

Apple Apps

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:

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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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 want to purchase another phone, just to get a few apps, but I did hear of an alternative.

A friend of mine in Canada, Martin VE3KLR, gave me the idea of using an Android TV box and actually using it as a radio! He had already done it and believes it could end up doing a lot more than what I have posted below. With the amount of apps now available, you can talk on almost all networks now via Android. You sure get some funny replies when you say your on a TV box.

I had to do it as more and more people were talking about Android apps.

Not knowing much about Android at all, this project started to quickly become overwhelming, so I ended up putting it on hold for some time.

However I later decided to get back on this project. It just seemed to easy. So this is what I did.

The Box

I purchased a cheap Android TV Box, mine was worth $40.99 including postage. You could almost purchase any Android box, but I decided to get one with at least two USB ports, and blue tooth. Blue tooth will allow me to connect other things like keyboards, microphones and mouses as I want to. It also has wifi, which means less cords.

At first, I was using this TV Box with out old CRT TV, and it worked well, the writing was a little hard to read, but it still worked. I then plugged it into a HDMI monitor, and it worked very well, very clear and easy to use.

As this little box plugs into a nice TV screen, you could easily use this as a small computer by installing a word processor. Social media, YouTube and web browsing are easy also.

Once connected, I connected it to my Wifi. On my box, you can plug in a Ethernet cable which is handy if your shack is far from your router, but I chose not to at this stage.

When you get one, make sure yours comes with the correct AC plug for your country. You may want to think about if you want HDMI, Blue tooth and how many USB ports does it have. Remember, these boxes are meant to store and play video, so they usually come with a lot of hard drive space and grunt for what we are going to us it for.

Below are some pictures of the one I got, however I am not necessarily recommending it. There are heaps of options available, so do a bit or research first, but remember most reviews will be about how well they play movies, which is not why I got mine.

As I mentioned earlier, there are heaps of Amateur Radio apps now available, and new ones all the time, so you could install these on the same device.

I started with some of the basic apps, like Echolink, Peanut, Teamspeak and Zello. These also have the echo function where you can test sound also.

The Monitor

You probably don’t need to get a monitor, but you may want to when you see what I got. I purchased a small 9 inch monitor that runs off 12 volts. I was going to get a 5 inch one, but it ran of 8 volts, and the one I got is just that little bit bigger for my eyes. This monitor has several different input options so I could future proof this handy little monitor. It also had speakers inbuilt, so when using HDMI, everything sound and video is taken care of.

You can get larger monitors ones, or smaller ones, but I thought this one would sit well on my desk. It also came with a nice stand. You can see in the video how well it sits on my desk in front of my PC monitors.

What other things do you need?

For me, I found a mouse most useful. You can use the remote, but if you plug in a mouse, you almost don’t need a remote anymore.

A microphone is something else you should invest in. You can purchase these for almost $1 delivered, but I often think you get what you pay for, and the microphone is very important. Having said that, as you are going to use the microphone on digital talk groups only, some would argue it isn’t as important as analog.

A keyboard would be great. You could plug it in via USB, or connect in via Bluetooth. I haven’t done this as yet, but plan to.

You can plug in a USB Bluetooth dongle also should you not need to.

Other Uses

Another use for this is to put your electronic QSL cards on it. It makes a great slideshow for the radio shack! They usually come with large hard drives so lots of space for these.

As I mentioned earlier, it could be used for gaming, watching videos,

Mobile

The screen is 12 volts, so this could easily go in the car also, and the Android TV Box could be secured on the back of it. The box runs off 5 volts, so this could easily be also run in the car if your cleaver enough to drop 12 volts to 5 volts.

The TV box can uses wifi, so you should be able to connect it to your mobile phone.

I hope that helps get a few more onto the digital bands. It is a lot of fun on digital. I have made good friends all over the world over digital. Having this Android TV Box not only allows me access to Android Apps, but pretty much gives me a new radio so I can now receive and transmit on a different talk groups while using my current setup to work other talk groups at the same time.

Update: since writing this post, I have updated and changed my android TV box as I suddenly had sound issues. The one I ended up getting had a later version on android and more memory etc.

Other Reads

Below are some other posts I have done on similar topics