Category Archives: Radio

TGIF Network On WPSD Digital Mobile Radio Software

TGIF Network On WPSD Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)

I’ve been using Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) for a few years now.  Essentially, DMR uses the backbone of the internet to communicate.   You can enter that network by using a radio to local DMR repeater connection.  Additionally, most people enter the DMR network by a Hotspot device connected to their own WiFi or Ethernet home network.   The most popular DMR service is the BrandMeister Network, but over time a couple other networks have sprung up.   Today I’ll be discussing how to connect to the TGIF Network.  While TGIF has been around a bit, yours truly just discovered it.  Connecting to it wasn’t as easy as I anticipated so I thought I’d write a few pointers in this blog to hopefully help others.
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Quansheng UV-K6 Radio Review

Quansheng UV-K6 Radio Review

Quansheng UV-K6

Quansheng UV-K6

I own several handheld VHF/UHF radios. Some are for Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) but all do analog or simplex frequencies.  I think just about all of us cut our teeth on the Baofeng UV-5R.  I’m no exception.  I think I have 2 or 3 around the house here somewhere.  On a whim I decided to buy a Quansheng UV-K6 radio which also is designated as UV-K5(8).  FCC ID information can be found here.

I recently purchased a Wouxun KG-Q10H which I really feel is the best handheld I’ve owned so far.

The only reason I picked up this Quansheng UV-K6 was for its ability to flash open source firmware onto it.  Additionally, the radio can be unlocked to transmit on a whole slew of bands.

The bad news here is that of course is against FCC Regulations.  Secondly, because the radio is a VHF/UHF radio, transmitting on any band other than those will be done in milliwatts.  So not only are you breaking the FCC rules, you aren’t really doing anything but spraying out weak transmissions with tons of 2nd and 3rd order harmonics.  In fact I’d recommend NOT unlocking the all the frequencies.  There is a difference between unlocking the radio and unlocking all frequencies.  Those are two separate actions or steps.  Don’t unlock the transmit frequencies so you don’t accidentally do anything illegal. 

Despite all this the radio is SOOOOOO hackable as to be almost irresistible to a guy like me.
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Wouxun KG-Q10H Review

Wouxun KG-Q10H Review

On February 22nd a massive cell phone outage was realized by AT&T and others.  Yesterday on Super Tuesday there was a large scale cyber attack most prominently targeting Facebook and Instagram.  If you dig a bit deeper the attack hit a lot of other prominent sites as well.  Also, a couple of months ago I woke up in the middle of the night and there was no Verizon cellular service and I had no internet with Spectrum.   Clearly it is time to bust out the Amateur Radio Equipment and even to add a new radio to the stable.  Today I’ll be reviewing the Wouxun KG-Q10H Quad Band Radio ($219).

Wouxun KG-Q10H

Wouxun KG-Q10H

Wouxun (pronounced OCEAN) is a Chinese Radio brand sold by “Buy Two Way Radios“.  While most of us amateur radio operators tend to think of Chinese hand held radios as junk, the reality is that the Wouxun KG-Q10H has been tested to death on-line and the results are pretty favorable.

Good power, good audio, and the radio passes all the FCC tests regarding spurious emissions.  Think 2nd and 3rd harmonics.   Conversely, it doesn’t spew RF all over the place like a lot of cheap radios do.
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Using A Computer With No Internet Connection

Using A Computer With No Internet Connection

What if you woke up and there was no internet connection?

No Wifi Area Sign 2315098 Vector Art at VecteezyI have written similar blogs a couple of times in the past but like to keep it up to date as technology cruises forward or if I discover new hardware.  Just what would you do if you woke up and there was no internet connection?  This could be due to a massive telecom hack, or natural disaster, or an act of war.

Surprisingly, your computer can do quite a lot without a network connection, even if you can’t picture in your mind how that could be.  Let’s explore how we can use a computer with no internet connection.

What Can We Do With No Internet Connection?

Quite a bit actually.  Let me make a quick list:

  • GPS
  • Radio (AM, FM, shortwave, weather, air band, etc.)
  • Television
  • Monitor Emergency Communications (Police, Fire, EMS, Military, etc.)
  • Establish Emergency Communications between computer using Long Range Radio  (LoRa)
  • Track Weather Satellites and download weather data
  • Program Radios with CHIRP
  • Files such as manuals
  • Entertainment such as books, magazines, music, and movies

Let’s build our SHTF machine, shall we?
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Weather Radios and Shit

Okay, the first Tropical Depression of 2020 is upon us a few weeks early and literally the only place in the US it is going to hit is HERE.  Eastern NC.  Shit.

Probably the best source for emergency weather, even better than your local news station is the National Weather Service (NWS) or NOAA Weather Radio station in your local area.   The frequencies they transmit on are:


To receive these broadcasts though you need a specialized radio that covers Very High Frequencies or VHF.  Your FM radio only goes to about 108 MHz.  A hardwire police scanner can probably be programmed, or a marine radio, or definitely an RTL-SDR software defined radio will work.

I have several radios I use for weather and one of my favorites is the CCrane 2E radio which is pretty expensive as far as radios go. I never really gave it much of a thought or a concern but the last major weather event in New Bern, NC was a fast moving storm replete with Tornados.  And for good measure it hit near midnight.

Turns out the storm wasn’t as bad as predicted but there were a couple tornados and a couple of systems producing tornados.  Every time there was movement or an event we’d get an NWS alert (loud tone) followed by voice.  Most of the alerts WERE FROM ADJACENT COUNTIES NOWHERE NEAR US.  Once most of the danger passed we were still getting CONSTANT alerts which were keeping us on edge and keeping us awake.

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It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – I Feel Fine

This last week or two has been one of the most bizarre in my 57 years however the chaos all seems confined to Social Media and Media in general.  People are still nice, commerce is still chugging along.  If we didn’t own TV’s and computers we’d never know much was up.

In an attempt to get the REAL story I’ve been creeping on the Police Scanner and the State medical communications.  It’s not been very interesting.  Boring in fact.  If there is a coverup, the people with the radios are covering up their coverup.

Anyway, like REM says, “I Feel Fine”.  Not just figuratively but literally as well.  I’m ready for the whole of humanity to let the crazy out.  I have ample food, a gun with bullets, clean water, communication devices, and alternative power. And most importantly it would seem……..toilet paper.

Bring it on!
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Best Tech of 2019?

So here it is, New Years Eve…….I’m up at 1 AM and reading “Best Tech of The Year” articles.  Either one of two things has happened.  Either nothing tremendously wonderful happened in Tech this year or the imagination and writing skills of journalists are now nearly non-existent.

Every list shows the latest cell phones or drones, or gaming device or newest TV offering.  I’m sorry, but that just isn’t that inspiring to me.   I may be a dinosaur but newer is not always better.  Case in point.  Look up the home entertainment category and most lists have some SONOS player.  That’s a networked streaming audio system.

I’ve been using Logitechmediaserver so many years it isn’t funny.  It streams Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn, Pandora (I dropped my Pandora subscription) and many, many more services.

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How To Add an OLED To A Zumspot DMR Hotspot

I got the distinct honor of speaking at the local Amateur Radio Club last night and it caused me to dust the, errrrrrr, dust off of my DMR Hotspots.    After the club meeting I came back and updated the OS’s (PiStar) on my Zumspot and JumboSpot and updated the firmware as well.

The JumboSpot has one distinct advantage over the Zumpsot I have.  It has a cool OLED display.

That got me to thinking.  I could probably add an OLED to my Zumspot.   I could. Here’s how you do that:

Zumspot OLED (click to enlarge)

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Why Is Radio So Important To Me?

Thought I’d do some philosophical stuff today instead of technical stuff today.  Beware.

One of the things that first fascinated me as a little kid (besides baseball and before women) was radio.  Specifically short wave radio.  We had a world band radio in the house and it had the TV audio band.  I used to think that was so cool.  Then along came Citizens Band (CB) radio.  Oh God how I loved that.   I really find that odd because now at my advanced age of 57, and the fact I’m a licensed Ham, I really don’t care to talk.

But oh how I love to listen.  I almost don’t care what I’m listening to as long as I’m LISTENING.

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One of my favorite hobbies of course is radio.  I own a few.

I think the most interesting “radios” are RTL-SDR devices.  The RTL stands for Realtek (which is the chipset) and SDR stands for Software Defined Radio.

They only cost a few bucks for a “generic” one and there are more sensitive and selective ones that cost bigger bucks.

Essentially if it is a radio signal of some kind, with a $20 USB Software Defined Radio you can listen to or decode a multitude of radio traffic/chatter.  In fact it seems darn near illegal, and sometimes it is.  I have other blog pages with this information but I’m just going to re-hash what I’ve been up to this week.

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