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Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA]

Established: January, 1958 an ARRL Affiliated Club since 1961

"Whiskey 8 Quack Quack Quack"

Meets at: James P. Capitan Center, Lower Level; 149 E. Corunna Ave.; Corunna, MI 48817 Monthly: 2nd Tuesday @ 7:00 PM

Club station located in the James P. Capitan Center - Lower Level.
Grid Square EN72wx   Latitude: 42.9819 N   Longitude: -84.1164 W   Alitude: 760 ft.

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SARA Raspberry Beginning

Introduction to Raspberry Pi [RPi] ~ SARA Suggests You Start Here

Some Essential RPi Information

Some things which are critical to your RPi enjoyment (lower fustration levels) need to be said at the beginning. Many sites say these things, but bury them down in the details. A quick list from SARA of things you really need to know before you get started. The different versions of RPi have differences, learn the specifics for what hardware you have chosen to use. Capability

  • Software

    There are two parts, first the SD card and then 'computer style. You MUST learn how to program your SD card on another computer. Many are 'Windows' systems, but there is support for 'Apple' and 'Linuix' operating systems as well. You WILL be doing this much more than once - take the time to really learn this step. It is something you will just need to learn.

    The RPi distro you choose will change what you see and do as you boot the RPi system.

    An easier approach (on Windows) is to burning your SD card is to use Etcher by Resin. The program allows quick and easier burning of SD cards and USB drives. Select the version you need; 64 bit or 32 bit Windows system.

  • Physicaly Connecting Hardware

    Carefully double check what you have done - BEFORE power is applied to the RPi, then power it up. This goes a long way to eliminate the "I let the smoke out step". You miss unhappy question of: "Now what do I do?".

  • Connect to a Network

    You will NEED an internet network connection to get things going properly on the RPi. You can use a cable (direct) or WIFI (may require extra effort on your part).

  • Update / Upgrade

    You need to insure you are working with the latest RPi software. You will learn to update / upgrade to keep thinks going smoothly. You should do this whenever you are installing software on your RPi system. Learn the steps as you first start.

  • Power It Down {Properly Shutdown is VERY important}

    It is very important to correctly power down the RPi especially after an initial setup. This insures the SD card will have all the updated information saved to this point. Always, always, always shutdown a RPi correctly. Linux is a 'cached' computer system, meaning it stores information in 'temporary' storage. You need to move this to the SD card before powering down (or you will become very practiced at burning S/D cards). If you do not correctly power down, then the card will not reboot properly and you probably will need to 'reprogram the SD card'. This step is one new comers will quickly learn as reburning the corrected SD card is kind of an unnessary learning experience. You did make a current backup of your SD card data? Right? If not you need to rebuild the entire file/card.

Learning to always do these things every time on the RPi will lead you to fewer problems and a much more enjoyable time.

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Raspberry Pi [RPi] Models

The number of RPi models continues to expand and indications it will continue for the future. Our site does NOT offer details on all the various models. We will be better served to follow on the official RPi site and on the magazine site -- the "MagPi". Downloads are free so you can find almost any topic that someone has documented. See: The MagPi Magazine for 'cover shots' of the magazine and books and links to the free downloads. Go here for a MagPi Magazine and Books listing. The "Zero", "Model 2", "Model 3" and "Model 4" with variations inside each model are the basics of what you need to track. The cost impact runs from about $10.00 to $50.00 for each RPi unit.

The RPi series of microcomputers are based on an "ARM Architecture" and accesory parts that yield USB ports, Video, operating power interfacing and various intefacing hardware. Basically the ARM GNU/Linux distribution supports the operating system characteristics you chose to use.

Oh, adding to the cost of the RPi, you will spend about $65.00 for additional hardware to get an initial RPi operating. Pretty frugal for getting started with a new computer. Your costs will get lower (or higher) depending on what hardware and computer system stuff you may have on hand. You will be adding additional capabilty as you progress. Most hobbyist top out below $500.00 for their RPi system support.

More information on some RPi models:

The "RPi Zero" is a smaller, lowest price model (a less featured) aimed at the $5.00 computer market. Suggest you start with "Mag Pi #42" the feature articles are on the RP Zero.

RPi 3 had better hardware than previous models (on board WIFI, better USB connection capability, bluetooth, etc.). It is a quad core 64 bit processor, but uses only 32 bit architecture. It has 32kB Level 1 and 512kB Level 2 cache memory. The RPi 3 GPIO is 'pin compatible' with the 40 pin GPIO from RPi 2, but does use a different UART porting (software takes care of that for you). Briefly some specifications can be summed as below.

RPi 4 added more capabilities, like dual 4k HDMI video. We suggest you visit the MagPi Issue 83 (RPi 4 Intro) for details. See MagPI Magazines site for feature function articles on any RPi.

RPi 4 SPECIFICATIONS:
  • SoC: Broadcom BCM2711B0
  • CPU: ARMv8-A, 1.5GHz
  • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore VI
  • RAM: 1GB/2GB/4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, 2.4GHz & 5GHz 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, Bluetooth Low Energy
  • GPIO: 40-pin header
  • PORTS: 2 x micro-HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm analogue audio-video jack; 2xUSB 2.0; 2XUSB 3.0; Gigabit Ethernet, Camera Serial Interface (CSI), Display Serial Interface (DSI)
RPi 3 SPECIFICATIONS:
  • SoC: Broadcom BCM2837
  • CPU: 4x ARM Cortex-A53, 1.2GHz
  • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV
  • RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 (900 MHz)
  • Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, 2.4GHz 802.11n wireless
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1 Classic, Bluetooth Low Energy
RPi 2 COMMON:
  • Storage: microSD
  • GPIO: 40-pin header
PORTS:
  • HDMI, 3.5mm analogue audio-video jack, 4x USB 2.0, Ethernet, Camera Serial Interface (CSI), Display Serial Interface (DSI)

See "Mag Pi #43" for the RPi 3 review and lots of information (free to download).

 

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RPi System Considerations

Here are some of basic details to check for your model:

SCHEMATICS: Check the Raspberry Pi site for schematics for the Raspberry Pi Model A, B, A+ and B+, etc. Schematics for the Raspberry Pi Model A, B, A+, B+ and Model 4. You can check out what configurations are available with a little snooping. All models are here for your review, also.

GPIO: Early RPi models had a 26 pin GPIO configurations and later models have a 40 pin design. GPIO stands for "General Purpose Input/Output", which are pins that a user uses to directly connect into the system. RPi GPIO pins can be configured as either general-purpose input, general-purpose output or as one of up to 6 special alternate settings, the functions of which are pin-dependant. You need to insure you do NOT over power the pins. Voltage greater than 3.3 volts WILL DAMAGE the unit (called bricking the unit). For additional GPIO information see: GPIO for RPi from RPi.org. Also, check out eLinux GPIO data for BCM2835 (just similar for RPi 2 details) and Raspberry Pi Tutorial on GPIO, etc. See: GPIO Pinout Documentation for your model.

POWER: can be an issue with the RPi, especially if you use a powered USB hub (for expanding the USB ports). You need to know that some USB hubs can 'back power' the RPi (eliminates the need for a separate RPi supply), HOWEVER this will eliminate the PS protection circuits on the RPi. This means that if the hub backpowers the unit and a 'surge' comes from the USB hub side, then the RPi can be damaged (it lets some of the smoke out). You have been warned! BE CAREFULL. See RPi.org site: RPi Power.

USB Ports: There are some issues using USB 3.0 devices on the RPi. Some configurations will require USB 2.0 hubs along with USB 3.0 hubs to get things sorted out. See the following linked information: USB port information from RPi.org. The SARA reccommendation is to get a multiported (four or more) USB 2.0 powered hub with diode backfeed protection. These are getting harder to find, but still out there (March, 2016).

SPI Bus: You can utilize the single SPI by proper configuration (software). See the following linked information: further SPI information from RPi.org. You are best served with searching the internet and MagPi magazine articles.

Video Output(s):The RPi 4 has new video output specifications (dual HDMI mini). Again do some information mining and you will be all set.

Raspberry Pi Information on the Web: The web has several great places for information on the RPi. Start with the founder's site - lots of great stuff for you to absorb! Adding another nice, well organzed page with great information for the RPi family at ARCH Linux site for RPi Information. Use the eLinux.org site for RPi Hub for another resource.

See SARA's RPi Web Resources topic lower down this page for some great links.

A suggested first next step ~ Got hardware now where, lets send you to engadget now what? is a good place to start. Discusses initial startup and beyond (nice step-by-step). Also, see SARA's Initial Powering RPi another "SARA's idea page".

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Raspberry [RPi] Hardware Listing

RPi Computer board (Model = TBD). Decide where you are going to start for the support of your project. Micro Computer Center [USA] carries a selection of models. Shop around as prices vary.
So answering "Which RPi board / version to grab" becomes a starting point. Board cost is usually NOT the reason to decide between boards, all high end models cost between $30 ~ $50, if you watch for sales. Suggestion on best choice: the higher the model, the added probability you will continue to use it in the future. Look at specs and decide where you want to start. So the genearal status is:

Then Develop a list of NEEDED Supporting Hardware: (mine is)

  • Micro SD Memory card - SARA reccommends a 'preprogrammed with NOOBS' for your first effort. A "new card" will need to be 'programmed' with a proper OS). We suggest a 4.0 GB or larger size. The SD card is a large factor on system performance/speed (look for data on internet). {If you get a card bigger then 32GB then read information from the RPi Forums "Beginner's Section" on SD card formating at RPi Forums/Beginner's Forum SD Card Formating.
  • USB keyboard (cabled) - Cost: ~$5.00 {Micro Computer Center}
  • USB mouse (cabled) - Cost: ~$5.00 {Micro Computer Center}
  • Video Monitor capability (TV or Monitor with HDMI input & cable for computer to video device). If you need VGA to use with existing computer monitor, there are HDMI to VGA adapters available. Watch the RPi output versus the monitor input... adapters may be required depending on your needs.
  • Power Supply for RPi (5.0 volt at 1.2 to 2.0 Amp suggested). Search internet for considerations.
  • USB Hub - A Powered USB 2.0 hub with backfeed (diode) protection is highly desired.

    The power for mouse and keyboard along with HIFI adapter use about all the power the RPi can supply. The USB ports have 'on board' fuses that can fail if you try to provide too much directly. Mine did not have enough to power my USB thumb drives, thus the strong desire for a powered hub. (See the topic above on USB Ports and/or search online).

  • Ethernet Cable - Homebrewed mine.
  • Home Network (need an internet connection for various tasks). I've had one since about 1995, but it quickly become a 'need' (requirement) when working with the RPi and/or Linux.

Hardware "between" a need or want:

  • WiFi (module - USB) For wireless linking later into your network. Cost: ~$8.00 {'on-board' for RPi3}. Most newer RPi models have added on-board WIFI capabilities (part of higher cost issue).
  • HDMI to VGA Adapter - Need to use an older computer monitor from the RPi HDMI, then check Amazon Site with HDMI to VGA Adapter Cost: $13.00 {March, 2016). RPi 4 requires mini-HDMI connections. Make sure your configuration is correct, then proceed. Check output of your RPi vs "Your Monitor" input.

A list of starting hardware DESIRES (you may want to consider):

  • KISS - JNOS TNC for Radio Network ~ A TNC-X specail for RPi from Costal Chipworks a TNC-X for RPi. WB8GUS had very good experience working with them! 73. Cost: $40 (kit) to $65 (assembled).
  • Real Time Clock Module - Adds a 'Real Time Clock' [RTC] to your RPi system. Otherwise, on each 'Power Up' you MUST manually set the RPi clock data. This is important for logging details and file maintenance issues.
  • RPi Direct Display (Several options you may wish to discover ~ read and decide what you might wish to use.). Direct touchscreen is a nice option.
  • USB Hub ~ We suggest starting with a self powered USB 2.0 hub with 'back powering' diode protection. You need to look closely at specifications, but this will pay off with very few issues later.
  • Raspberry Pi camera ~ Have not done this yet, but my interest is burning. Cost ~$25.00.
  • Raspberry Pi Case (Help protect the computer and it needs the ability to allow your additions.) Cost: ~$7.00 to $25.00 with many/many choices for many RPi models. If you have access to 3D printer, look around on-line for files to use and print.
  • Added Memory Access ~ USB drives and HD storage (usually much faster than SD cards). Usually requires a powered USB hub.
  • Raspberry Sense HAT ~ The Sense HAT has an 8x8 RGB LED matrix, a five-button joystick and includes the following sensors:
    • Gyroscope
    • Accelerometer
    • Magnetometer
    • Temperature
    • Barometric Pressure
    • Humidity

This selection allows a large amount of development capability for you to use.

NOTE: A HAT is a direct hardware plug-in for the RPi. Unsure which convention came first the 'HAT' or the 'Hardware Above The' RPi, they are now interchangable terms. A HAT formally 'requires' a chip on the HAT board which identifies the HAT (each HAT has separate ID) and allows for 'auto configuration' of the device via software. No chip on board, then it is not a HAT.

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Raspberry Pi [RPi] Software

Starting out software thoughts [SARA]:

  • Linux ~ There are many different Linux distributions [distros], both terminal and graphical versions are available. You will need to decide, but we suggest a 'NOOBS' version to start. NOOBS is short for 'New Out Of the Box Software' {look below}. In March, 2016 the NOOBS version 1.5.0 is the most recent. The "install" will always include four components that may vary a little from one distro to another, but are the basic group making up a distro: KERNAL; SHELL; DESKTOP ENVIRONMENT; & APPLICATION.

    SARA's Linux basic summary is at SARA's Linux Basics Page This is a 'simple summary' of things you may need to know to get going with Linux.

    • KERNAL ~ talks to the hardware and can be compiled to work with different CPUs. Any software that is 'hardware' dependent must go through the kernal. Keyboard, mouse, audio, Ethernet, USB ports, SPI, and video monitor are examples of devices going through the kernal.

    • SHELL ~ is the 'command line' interface in Linux. It is a little difficult when you start, but you will start to learn as you gain experience, so do not be afraid to dive-in and get going. You can do almost anything from this command line; downloading and executing routines, install updates, view system resources and running scripts (a file of commands). It is a 'terminal' type of interface.

    • DESKTOP ENVIRONMENT ~ It is the Graphical User Interface [GUI]. As you wish to expand from the command line (shell) you just type: 'StartX' and you will be presented with a familar style Graphical Desktop. The desktop varies from one distro to another and you can modify it to be what you want. {Did I mention this is almost always "free"!}

    • APPLICATIONS ~ are separate programs, thus not part of the operating system. Office suites, media players, games, etc. are types of application programs. Whatever you want you will probably find it in the "Linux world", if not, then write you own. Linux and the applications are part of the open source and freeware revolution. For the most part you can obtain and use many items for free and still be completely legal. As part of the GNU, you can checkout how other software is put together and you can roll your own.

      Software in Linux resides in 'repositories'. The system has information on where these repositories reside (think in the clouds) and contains the files you need for applications. You install and update / upgrade from these repositories.

DISTRO CHOICES:

Choosing a distro [distribution] for your particular needs can be a daunting process. I can almost guarantee you will use more than one as your knowledge grows. You can choose a 'simple to operate' distro at the start, but you will most likely migrate to one that better meets your specific needs at some later date and then probably go through several different ones until you find the one you like the most. Then you may wish to modify that one thus creating your own specific Linux version.

The suggested NOOBS installation manager will allow you to choose from the following: See NOOBS Setup Site on the www.raspberrypi.org page. The difference between 'NOOBS' and 'Raspian' is exactly what gets installed. The 'NOOBS' allows choosing some other program language choices as the insall proceeds, the 'Raspian' goes straight to a Debian based Linux, but does include some application programs. You choose to make it what you want. The RPi 2 and RPi 3 models make pretty good standalone computers for web surfing and simple usage (earlier models were 'not so much' as a general purpose computer ~ slow).

    You can install from CD or by Internet Downloading

    • Raspbian- Full 'Debian based' distro recommended for Beginning RPi users. Raspian.org. SARA highly reccommends you start here, if you are a beginner. When you install Raspian, follow by going through the update and upgrade procedures, you will have many installed options, including various programing choices.

    Network Installs {Others} ~ requires an active internet connection:

    • Pidora - A Fidora remix for the Raspberry Pi. Pidora.ca
    • A Pidora/Fidora Forum- Pidora/Fidora Distro Versions Forum for Pidora/Fidora Distros
    • Open ELEC - Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center is a Linux distro for the ARMv6 {RPi1} and ARMv7 {RPi2} processors. It turns the RPi into a Kodi media center for your video and audio. OpenELEC.tv
    • Arch Linux - Arch Linux tailored for the RPi 1. First see archlinuxarm.org. Move to the ARCH Linux Beginner's guide at ARCH Linux Beginner's Guide. Then see the RPi page at ARCH Raspberry Pi Page
    • OSMC - Another Kodi media center distro for the RPi. OSMC.tv
    • RISC OS - Has roots in the original ARM processor environment from about 1987. It is NOT a Linux version, but a separate operating system. In some ways it more like an Apple OS.RISCOSopen.org

    PROGRAMING LANGUAGE CHOICES: {a limited list for a start}

    • Python ~ starts with a Python Shell. It is an interpreted language meaning commands are read and executed one at a time. The high level commands and structures make it ideal for scripting. The Integrated Development Language [IDLE] for Python is what you find in the RPi software for your use. Probably where you want to start if you are interested in GPIO pin controls.

    • Basic - See Sinclair Basic for RPi. Some talk about including a version in the Raspian Wheezy distro, but have not checked that out yet. Also, if you switch to RISC OS, a 'Basic" is included.

      • BASIC computer language initially labeled from: Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code {ie. BASIC is just another acronym}. Simply, it means a language made from easy to understand instructions that can be used for just about any kind of program. This was the 'norm' when personal computing started in the early 1980s. It can have some bad influences on starting programmers, but is still very easy for beginners and leads to a great understanding of programming concepts.

       

    • Scratch ~ is a "tile-based" language for 'first time programers' and was recently designed at MIT Media Lab by 'Lifelong Kindergarden Group'. Language commands are dragged to a 'scratch or scripting' area. Commands are split up into easy to understand groups and are strung together without worrying about syntax. Projects can be saved or uploaded to the Scratch website for sharing. Great place for very young people to get started.

    Additional Software Items will come as we learn and work our configurations. 'C', Fortran, and many others are avaiable. Please come back later to see what develops.

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    Raspberry Pi2 Beginning Information - SARA

    Start the Learning

    See a "first time setup" for RPi 2 on this You-tube video You-Tube Video for RPi 2. Then go to RPi Tutorials {You-Tube} and try the 'Related Channels" on the right side of that page.

    Now go over to eLinux.org and read up and click on lots of their links for RPi on the RPi Hub page. Also, checkout their RPI for Beginners and RPi Tutorials pages. The 'Tutorials' page has many, many RPi things you can try, so be sure to look it over closely. A useful introduction to the RPI is at: Code Project's Intro RPi.

    Another blogspot to check for getting going on RPi is Trying Out Rpi.

    Programming S/D Card

    A process you will want to learn to use is the S/D card programming. Study the process and make sure you get it memorized, you will use it frequently. Make sure to 'backup' each card file you use. This becomes very important when you need to restore an S/D card. Many hours can be wasted rebuilding a file versus using a backup copy.

    You will need to learn and use a S/D card programming utility program. There are many to choose from but one 'open source' project is etcher.io. Look it over and see if it fits your needs.

     

    Basic Linux Directory Layout

    Linux has everything grouped under the root file system as a branch on a RPi. A quick ls / command will display the root directory list. It will have the following structure:

    Directory

    Description

    boot

    Folder for Linux Kernel and other packages necessary to booth/start the Pi

    bin

    The Raspian related binary files including those for required to run the GUI of the OS

    dev

    This is one of those virtual directories and this is used for accessing all the connected devices including the storage

    etc

    Misc config files like encrypted passwords are put in this

    home

    This is like My documents and each username will get a separate directory under this

    lib

    Lib= libraries, code required by various applications

    lost+found

    Dump of pieces of files are stored here when the system crashes

    media

    Dir for removable storage dives like USB and CD

    mnt

    Used to mount external hard drives and similar storage devices manually

    opt

    Optional software directory, any apps that are not part of the OS will go here

    proc

    Another Virtual directory, this contains info about running processes (programs)

    root

    run

    sbin

    System maintenance binaries typically used by the root/superuser

    srv

    sys

    Operating system files

    tmp

    Temporary files

    usr

    This is used as storage for user accessible programs

    var

    Virtual directory that a program can use to persist data

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    Some Steps to Consider:

    Booting You RPi

    After going through the links above, you are then ready to get going on your RPi. The latest releases of software will 'auto boot' you into the graphical User interface [GUI] with some setup items already taken care of for you. You may wish to open a terminal window and go to the 'raspi-config' and insure you have things setup the way YOU want. In the newer 'Raspian' releases there is a GUI application for this: "Menu-Preferences-Raspberry Pi Configuration". From there you can quickly do 'System' changes like S/D card expansion, change password, etc., then on the 'Interfaces' tab you can enable/disable SSH, camera, etc. 'Peformance' does not currently allow you to adjust much. The 'Localisation' tab is where you can set the clock variables, and let the RPi know where you are. Set the 'Locale'; 'Timezone', Keyboard Type' and 'WiFi country' for your particulars. You probably should reboot after any changes (it sometimes tells you that, but not sure if it always does).

    The "Menu-Preferance-Keyboard and Mouse" are where you adjust the properties for these ~ I like a different mouse sensitivity then the default values.

    Hey hams! look at the "Menu-Preference-Add / Remove Software" and in the search box enter 'Ham Radio" for large list of relevant software you can download (all free stuff). All the other areas give you an idea of what you can do. Welcome to the Linux side of computing!

    See SARA's Initial Powering RPi for a 'Step-by-Step' process on your initial boot (using earlier RPi2. Just go slow at the start and you will not have too many issues. Thinking and working through any issues as they come up will lead you to learn Linux as you go. Try to understand what you are doing and why the initial issue came up. This 'go and try' approach will teach you faster then any other process. Take time to really understand as you go along and you will be surprized how much and how fast you learn. Do NOT get discouraged by what you see as you progress, just continue to work through the individual issues and you will learn and improve quickly. Even little kids can go through this, so you can to, just keep kicking the pile and it will move and your leaarning will progress.

    REALLY IMPORTANT HINT: Whenever you power down the RPi, take the time to do it correctly, otherwise issues will show up that may force you to start with a new / clean SD install. This can waste a lot of your time and really be tuff, if you have made many personalized changes to the system. That leads to 'a system backup' being a highly desired thing to master early in your learning process. So proper 'start-up'; 'shut-down'; & 'backup' are areas you need to spend time learning early in your journey.

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    SD Card Backup

    The latest 'Raspian' releases of Raspian have a S/D card backup installed (RPi3)

    For Windows users the 'Raw HDD Copy Tool' from HDD Guru works well to backup and restore your SD card between projects. This can backup and restore the entire card sector by sector to/from an img file, and doesn't care which file system is on the card.

    Get and read information on the Raw HDD Copy Tool here.

    Linux and Mac OS(X) users can use the dd tool that comes with most versions of Linux (including Raspbian) to save the contents of an SD card as an image file. Warning: be sure to use this tool carefully as accidentally choosing your hard drive as the output will destroy all data on it. Read you 'man' page to be sure you understand the processs.

    Mac OSX users can use PiCloner. The PiCloner app is easy to use and will help you detect your SD card, back it up to an img file and is able to compress the img using GZIP to decrease backup size. PiCloner is Free Open Source Software (FOSS) released under a BSD License.

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    RPi Remote Access ~ SSH

    You may wish to control your RPi from a differnet computer. Better monitor, improved operating position, or better control of your projects might be a valid reason(s). Using a terminal program (or a Graphical Interface) on another computer is easy to do on the RPi. The first thing you need to do is get the IP valid address for your RPi and insure 'port 20' is open. Check RPi Remote Access {eLinux} for how to do this. There is another way to do this with VPN, but we will leave that for you to explore as it is more advanced. It also, a little more secure then opening up port 20.

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    Connecting RPi to Your Printer

    Use CUPS to install a printer is a good first step towards priniting. See CUPS Printer Setup.

    You can then use your RPi as a printer interface for other wireless devices (computers, phones, tablets, etc.). Not necessarily easy for a beginner, but the instructions are detailed enough you can get through them by using the information at Mobile Print Server from RPi. Imagine an older USB printer and a RPi as a wireless print server for all your portable devices. I am thinking this might be a great project for a "RPi zero".

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    USB and Hard Drive Installs

    You may desire to add USB drives and/or hard drives to your RPi system. Usually HD (USB) will be much faster then either USB and SD devices. Read about this topic at Adding USB and HD (eLinux).

    GPIO Hardware & Software

    Using the GPIO on RPi is where "the rubber hits the road" for radio amateur radio applications. See the eLinux site GPIO Hardware & Software for detailed information. For the GPIO voltage level shifting see: GPIO Level Shifting {eLinux}. The thing to remember is that direct connecting to GPIO pins requires a circuit protection strategy or you will fry the RPi!

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    Serial Port on RPi

    Some consideration must be given to the serial port on the RPi. First is the voltage levels of +/- 3.3 volts... these are NOT the standard for RS-232 ports and different than the +/- ports of some other serial port devcices. You MUST use caution here, or bye-bye RPi. Go searching for some voltage level circuits for the RS-232 for use with you RPi. eLinux RPi Serial Port is a page to review some of the specifics. Check the following as some more information is available:

    View the schematic from AB Electronics showing the earlier 26 pin GPIO connection process for adding a SPI

    Schematic of Serial Port from AB Electronics.

    NOTE: Rig control usually uses a serial port [SPI] so is of an interest. Some modern rigs are changing to USB methods, but is not very wide spread, yet (2017).

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    Software Install ~ General

    Using the Bourne Again Shell [BASH] to install software

    The best way to install software on your RPi (and learn some Linux at the same time).

    1. Log in to your Raspberry Pi, but don't enter the GUI desktop environment. Alternatively, if you're in the desktop environment, double-click the LXTerminal icon to open a shell session (open a 'terminal') or go to logout in the "Shutdown" menu.
    2. The first step before installing any software is to update your system using the repository, which is a online list of packages the package manager knows about. You do that by entering the following command: sudo apt-get update . The apt cache contains an index of all the software packages available, and you can search it to find the software you want. For example, you can find all the games by using sudo apt-cache search game | less .

      Suggestion you do a 'man' page on the 'apt' command. Understand the 'install'; 'purge'; and 'remove' aspects of the command and what is really going on. The 'apt' command is used for removing software also. If you use 'remove' instead of 'purge', you run a risk of leaving behind configuration files on your system waiting for future problems.

    3. From this listing, find the software package you want to install. Each line has the name of a package, a hyphen, and then a description of the package.
    4. Use the up and down cursor keys (or Page Up and Page Down keys) to move through the list of files. Press Q to finish browsing the list. In the listing, the part before the hyphen tells you the name of the package, which is what you need to know to be able to install it. That might not be the same as the programs title or its popular name.
    5. When you know the name of the package you would like to install, the following command downloads it from the Internet and installs it on your system, together with any other packages it needs to work correctly (known as dependencies): sudo apt-get install program-name. The last part (program-name) is the name of a program package found by searching the cache.

    Your software is now installed! You should be able to run it either from the shell by entering its name, or through your Programs menu in the desktop GUI environment.

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    Raspberry Pi [RPi] Web Resource Links

    A list of web links for RPi & Linux (knowledge sources) ~ You must investigate these!

    Linux and Raspberry Pi [RPi] Print Literature ~ Magazine and Book Resources

    A list of printed literature for Linux and RPi: (knowledge sources ~ check some offer downloads that are 'free' to 'very cheap')

    • "Linux 'all-in-one' for DUMMIES" by Emmett Dulaney, John Wiley & Sons; 5th edition; $19.99 [US] see Dummies.com  ISBN: 978-0-7645-6836-7
    • "Raspberry Pi' for DUMMIES" by Sean McManus, John Wiley & Sons; 2nd edition; $24.99 [US] see Dummies.com  ISBN: 978-1-118-90491-6
    • "The Mag Pi" Official Raspberry Magazine (monthly) found at Mag Pi Magazine - You can download for free, but a subscription does help advance the pi organization. See: The MagPi Magazine for 'cover shots' of the magazine and books and links to the free downloads. Go here for a MagPi Magazine and Books listing.
    • "Rasperry Pi for Beginners" (Fourth Revised Edition) from Image Publishing 2015; 159 pages; $29.99 (US); bookazine series.
    • "Linux Pro Magazine" (bi-monthly) Magazine from Linux Pro Magazine [US] $12.99 / issue (US) (worldwide is different).
    • Computer Magazine Archieves ~ A "Magazine Archive" with thousands of computer magazines from many different computers (great programs to review).

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    Raspberry Pi2 WIFI Access Point

    See a tutorial on setting up a RPi as an Access Point RPi WIFI Access Point

    You need to replace driver=rtl871xdrv with driver=nl80211 in the hostapd config, there is no need to update hostapd as described in the docs - the one in the latest Rasbian image works just fine. [March, 2016]

    RPi 3 and 4 have built in options for WIFI.

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    Raspberry Pi2 [RPi] Ham Radio

    A growing list of starting ham radio usages and concepts to work will be added at a later time. Stay tuned and check back often!

    Check the Yahoo group: Raspberry_Pi_4-Ham_RADIO for some other resources.

    TNC / Packet Setup

    Setting up a RPi for RPi TNC can be a challenge. Check these out:

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    Ham Radio Programs for 'Raspian'

    Link Ham Radio Projects takes you to 'Debian' where you can choose to look at various programs. Age and stability of the system is a choice you need to work around and understand ;>)

    Seven Segment Display from the RPi

    Driving digital display may be of use in some of your projects. Check this site: Seven Segment Disply on RPi.

    RPi with a SDR Scanner Application

    Use the RPi with a SDR dongle and you have a "scanner" for you usage to see what RF is around. RPi Scannner from SDR Dongle.

    GPS on Your RPi

    Get GPS information from 'Ultimate GPS Breakout' on you RPi GPS information from 'Ultimate GPS Breakout'.

    Satelite Ground Station

    See HackSpace #18, page 42 for an interesting article on building a 'satelite ground station' and connecting to SATNOGS network (see Design Spark SATNOGS article for additional information.) It takes a RPi 3, an SDR Dongle, and an Antenna. Thanks to Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW for this linked information.

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    Raspberry Pi with HSMM {BBHN}

    The RPi makes a great HSMM computer (node) providing easy way to get going. {Especially the RPi3 with it's built in WIFI.} Look through these for some ideas.

    Please let us know what you and/or your group is doing with Raspberry Pi and HSMM.

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    First RPi Page Summary ~ SARA

    All the above information is a quick "flash" of information. It is not meant to be presented in a straight step by step manner (perhaps open for a future project), but is a large amount of information to get you started searching for RPi & Linux on the internet. Enjoy and 73's.

     

    Future Content Alert ~ SARA

    SARA will keep adding here as we find and work our systems around to 'ham radio' usage(s). Let us know if you find something we should be aware of, please. Use the email link in the footer of our web pages.

     

     

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