Raspberry Pi Digital HF Station

I can remember 20 years ago wondering if it would ever be possible to fit an entire digital HF radio and computer, inside of a messenger style over the shoulder bag.

We’ve come a long way on the channel but still a see people making comments like

imagine what the size and weight of the battery is for that monstrosity (@offgrid ham)

The truth is, from a technological perspective we have really moved forward over the past couple of years. What hasn’t moved forward very far is people’s perceptions, and Ham radio manufacturers understanding of where we are headed. I hate to say it again but, there’s nothing wrong with contesting, yet we are not all contesters!

The idea of having a full power HF radio that can be conveniently carried, is like an idea out of some strange B Movie from the 50s. The enabler for the reduced size of full-featured stations was the lithium iron phosphate battery. Other enablers were the netbook, tablet computer, even though ham radio developers seem to be stuck on Windows and not embracing the touchscreen, operators are coming up with innovative ways to interact with their digital HF stations. Now with a more powerful Raspberry Pi CPU, it might be the bridge to even more portable systems.

I love working digital qrp. Sitting here taking what I’ve learned from the Raspberry Pi and the 891, I realize it will be possible to make the 817 even smaller. Still portable stations are no longer “forced” to be qrp. This is another common misconception operators stuck in 1995 can’t wrap their heads around. That’s right, I’m not carrying a lead acid battery. In fact thanks to that lithium iron phosphate pack and the Raspberry Pi my HF station takes up only about 10% of My overall load carrying capacity when man portable.

Anyway there really is no point to this post, in fact I’m just talking out loud. With that said, let’s keep an open mind about amateur digital field communications. Every little step we take forward, is an important step.

Julian oh8stn

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