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.

Launched in 2020, the main website for Treehouse is found off David’s web site. This project is a YSF reflector with multiple rooms.

Dashboard

You can see the dashboard via this link http://europelink.pa7lim.nl/ it is a very similar layout to the Peanut one.

If you open the above dashboard, you will see down the left side in the Room Control section, a message stating your hotspot is not logged in to this reflector.

There are several ways you can connect, but here are a few in no particular order.

BlueDV

A friend of mine, Chris, put this video together. He uses BlueDV to get onto it.

YSF – via your hotspot

As I use an Openspot2, my instructions will show you how I do it, however I am sure you can apply similar to your hotspot should you have a different one.

First you need to connect to the YSF reflector called EUROPELINK, and according to the YSD reflector register, this has an ID number of 00007. If you don’t know how I found this, go to the YSF Reflector Registry page and type in EUROPELINK in the search box, and you can see the ID number of 0007.

Back to the Openspot2, I select Quick Setup, then I select DMR, as I am using a DMR radio, then select YSFReflector then in the Server box, I type in 00007 or EUROPELINK, to select that reflector. Doing this will connect my DMR radio to the YSF system.

Almost instantly, the Room Control section of the dashboard has updated to my call sign and I now have a drop-down list where I can select which room I want to connect to. You can then select the room you want.

As you transmit, you will see your call in the Active QSO’s screen.

While this is not connected to the Peanut Dashboard, there will be rooms that go across to each other. The Online Stations section of the Dashboard has the time stations connected.

There is a new AU-NZ room which is good and was quickly made after it was requested to David. Some rooms link just to themselves, like the English room and so on, while others connect beyond the internet. Remember this reflector will get busier as time goes on.

Also, this setup is still very new, and like Peanut, it took a little while to become popular.  Having said that, Peanut took off quickly and given the success of that, and a lot of people at home during the 2020 Pandemic, I believe this will take off quickly also.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Please remember to follow this blog by putting in your email address so you get posts as soon as they are posted.

Want to see other projects that are similar?

Here are some other posts we have done that are similar:

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 to your mobile phone. The best thing is there no cost either.

While not all networks and not all radio’s support sending SMS’s. Some hotspots do and some done also just to make it even more confusing. While I don’t plan to list all networks available, as they there are more all the time, and the settings change also. However, at the time of writing this (2020), the VK-DMR network does not support GPS or SMS (you must turn it off to use the system), but the BrandMeister one does. So, I will talk from here on about the BrandMeister network. If you use a different network, then check with that network first.

BrandMeister Setup

First you need to setup your BrandMeister account to send and receive SMS. From the BrandMeister page, login at the right of the screen. Then under Services on the left side, select selfcare. I usually set the radio brand to either ETSI or Motorola, however this will depend on the radio you have. While you are here, you might want to turn on or off your GPS location and check everything looks good.

Radio Setup

Would you believe most digital radios allow you to send and receive messages right from the screen easily. However not all. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this (2020), the OpenGD-77 does not support text messaging as yet. However, it is on the job list. I do understand that since text messaging isn’t the most used option in digital radio, probably leaving this setup until last is fair enough. However, I have done it on the original GD-77 firmware, and seen it done on other radio’s also.

If your fortunate enough, you may have a hotspot that can do it anyway.

Hotspot Sending

I am not going to talk about every hotspot available, mainly because I don’t own every hotspot available. But I will talk about the OpenSpot as I have a couple of them myself, and I know they work.

From a PC, the menu on the right side has DMR SMS chat that will bring up a box much like the picture below.

DMR SMS Chat in OpenSpot

262993 GPS and Weather

If you send the message help to destination ID 262993 you will get a prompt much like above. It may take a little while to reply. As I live in Melbourne, you can see above I then sent a private message to 262993 again and typed in the message wx Melbourne, AU. You can see above the message on the left I received. Remember, the reply’s do take a while to come back and usually arrive just as you have given up waiting!

You could also send the message gps help to the same number, 262993, to get an overview of all the GPS commands which includes setting your home position, and so on. If you have transmitted your GPS location with the same callsign you set up in the selfcare then it will reply with your last location sent. If you want to save that as your home location, send GPS SET and it will save your last location as your home location. Then you will get from now on your home location and your last transmitted location.

If you send RSSI to 262993 it will reply with the repeater and connected talk group you were last using. If you send a message INFO *callsign where *callsign is replaced with your call sign you will get a reply when you last spoke. If you have two digital ID numbers, then it will send both of them back to you.

262994 Repeater, POCSAG and dapnet

If you send RPT SMS to 262994 you will get a reply of what static talk groups you are currently connected to.

You can also send a message to a call sign using this 262994 number. For example, if you want to send a message to me, send VK3TBS followed by your message to number 262994. However, I couldn’t get this to work – maybe because I was messaging myself! If you get it to work, please let me know what I did wrong.

262995 SMSC – SMS-ing to a mobile phone

This is taking SMS-ing to the next level. I was even able to SMS my wife who doesn’t have a licence.

To do this, send the following message SMSGTE @[phone number] [message] to 262995. where [phone number] is your country number (e.g. 61 for Australia) followed by the mobile number. Remember to remove the first 0 if you’re in Australia.

There is more information on sending messages to and from your radio to mobile phones on the smsgte.org web site. There is heaps of information under the User Guide menu.

UPDATE – Before I finish, I discovered the hard way that when you send a message from a mobile phone to a radio, I got a bill. I am not sure if it was because I am in Australia, or my phone carrier saw the oppertunity, but I think with a few tests it was only $1 or so.

APRS Chat

APRS is almost a bit easier and can quickly send messages to and from a mobile phone. Once you have done the above setup, I selected APRS chat in my OpenSpot2 dashboard. Then I sent a message with the destination callsign of SMSGTE then the message was @[phone number] [message] there [phone number] is your country number (e.g. 61 for Australia) followed by the mobile number. Remember to remove the first 0 if you’re in Australia.

You can see in the picture below I sent a message Test from hotspot to my phone which appeared instantly. I then sent one back from my phone saying This is from my mobile phone which then appeared instantly. It worked really well.

Other Reads

Hope you enjoyed the above post. Below are some other reads I think you may also enjoy.

  • 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.…
  • 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…
  • 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 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.…

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.

My Radio Diddity GD-77

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other things to read

Here are some other posts I have done on similar topics

  • 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.…
  • DROID-Star
    After talking to a friend just to the north of…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
    One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that…
  • Portable Hot Stop with Battery Pack
    The new OpenSpot3 has come out with an internal battery.…
  • 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.…
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more…
  • 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.…
  • 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.…