I gave a talk to the Norfolk Amateur Radio Club ( recently on the Raspberry Pi and applications for Amateur Radio and attempted to demonstrate packet radio and APRS – that didn’t work out quite as planned; this is what should have happened.


Further to an ealier post about packet radio on a Raspberry Pi, I have been presuaded to give a talk to my local Amateur Radio Club on the Rasperry Pi and radio so I’m pulling my finger out and getting things sorted. If I can get it working the final demo is hoped to be using packet to pass messages to a Pi controlling an electric wheelchair that I’ve been tinkering with for far too long.

TNC-PiSomeone pointed me in the direction of the TNC-Pi project which looked superb, so I had to go and buy one. After a relatively straightforward build, it worked first time, although it was slightly uncomfortable not being able to follow my normal ‘baby steps’ approach to testing – you had to go for broke and hook up a radio and try and start decoding packets – I couldn’t find a way to get any responses from the TNC otherwise. Is this because it runs KISS rather than traditional TNC firmware as my Tiny-2 does?

Incidentally, I did almost choke when reading through the TNC-Pi instructions and came to the bit about xastir and found I’d got a namecheck for another post!

Anyway, so far it does exactly what it says on the tin, and I had my first QSO (with myself) at the weekend between two Pis – one with the TNC-Pi the other with a Tiny-2. I also managed to get a shell login over packet which was neat (too geeky for me) but that might be running before I can walk.

I have a week left to complete my presentation – will hopefully post something here when it’s done, I’m now reading up on the finer points of AX.25, and getting stuff worked out in a nice ordely progression.

I picked up an Icom IC-F3GS VHF handheld transceiver at the NARC tabletop sale on Wednesday – a lovely little radio but it did make me think ‘why do I need another handie’?

Well I suppose it’s as much for the challenge of ‘taking control’ of the thing – I’ve had a great bit of fun researching programming software and cables, and I’ve just managed to reprogram it away from Norfolk / Suffolk ambulance channels onto Amateur 2m frequencies.

And it was a bargain, and it’s a nice radio, and you can never have too many handies?

If push comes to shove I’ll just punt it on to someone else at the next sale, having had my fun.