OpenSPOT Setup and Review: D-STAR and DMR

Today, I have received my OpenSPOT from SHARK RF.  Shipping from GigaParts was quick and painless. A very good company to purchase items as well as very competitive pricing.

Unboxing

OpenSPOT comes with a flat Ethernet cable (high quality), a USB wall wart, and a USB cable.  Everything has been packaged up very neatly and simple to peel off each layer of plastic.

IMG_0577

Network Configuration

This is where I began to run into a snag.  I had connected my OpenSPOT to a gateway at my ham shack desk. I had trouble connecting into it via http://openspot/ on port 80. Since my home shack has a gateway connected to a Legrand home integrated router, it could not see my OpenSPOT to assign an internal IP address for use.  I had to instead connect it to my switch directly off of my Legrand home integrated router. From there, connectivity was very easy and was visible from http://openspot via browser port 80.

IMG_0583

OpenSPOT Configuration

Configuration of my OpenSPOT was a snap! Much better than my previous DV4Mini and stand alone from any hardware tethering restrictions.  I am not downing or mocking my DV4Mini, it just did not work out for my needs and desires.

D-Star configuration: D-Star was painless. All that needed to be done is to select a connector, in this case “REF/XREF (DPlus/DExtra).” From there,  I use a simplex frequency for my 1mW output and connected to REF001C. I had used my previous configuration from my DV4Mini, so I did not need to do another registration. If D-Star registration is needed, head over to https://regist.dstargateway.org/Dstar.do to get that process started.

DStartConfig

Now click “Save,” and then click “Switch to selected.”  This will enable OpenSPOT to begin utilizing your settings and communicate in D-STAR.  Tune your radio to 444.000 and begin talking!

DMR Configuration: Like D-Star, DMR is just as painless, but needed a bit more work, but not overly difficult.  I set my Modem Recieve / Transmit Frequency to a simplex at 436.000.   I chose to keep this default so I may use my Scanner / DMR HT from my D-Star HT.  From there, I ensured Protocol was set for Homebrew, and I was connected to a local DMR server.  I from there, entered my callsign, DMR ID and left all other settings as default.

 

DMRConfig

Now click “Save,” and then click “Switch to selected.”  This will enable OpenSPOT to begin utilizing your settings and communicate in DMR.  Tune your radio to 436.000 and begin talking!

Enjoy your OpenSPOT from Shark RF!

UPDATE(12/28/2017 10:54 EST): I have used my new OpenSPOT hotspot the entire day.  I must say it is impressive little piece of technology and very happy with this purchase.  Its auto quality on D-Star is excellent.   Can’t wait for my DMR Radio.  Look out for future posts!

UPDATE (10/18/2018 08:16 EST): Using this OpenSpot for over a year and obtaining other hotspots from different companies, I can say, Zumspot and some others that are Raspberry PI based are leaving openspot in the dust!.  These said RPI based hotspots can handle multiple modes at one time, allowing any person to talk on DMR and then D-STAR at a grab of a radio.  With OpenSpot, a user would need to go into it’s control software and switch a pre-made profile over to another digital mode or purchase another OpenSpot to utilize another digital mode.  I feel hotspots act as a convenience similar to repeaters that offer a single digital modes to fellow hams.

For me, a Zumspot is now the way to go!

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