Digi Mode Ham Radio Hat for Raspberry Pi

Hello Operators
For you Raspberry Pi users, It looks like we finally have an audio codec, GPS, real time clock, and native data ports on a Raspberry Pi hat, purpose built for the portable digital operator.

Many of you already know that I made the switch to Raspberry Pi to augment the lack of support in the Amateur Radio Community for the Android operating system. Now I use my Android tablet as a wireless screen, and have integrated the Raspberry Pi into my Yaesu ft-817, and the Yaesu ft-891. I’m so impressed with it that I started making videos about ham radio with the Raspberry Pi. Here’s that playlist.

DRAWS Hat for Raspberry Pi:

So what about this device? NW Digital Radio calls it a Digital Radio Amateur WorkStation Board for the Raspberry Pi. I think Digital Radio Amateur Workstation System would be more cool, but i’ll take it. Before we get started, I have one incoming for documentation, tutorial videos and getting the word out. In fact, I can’t tell you how stoked I am about this product. Integrating the Raspberry Pi with a field radio will be easier than ever. Fewer cables, no cable mess, and a clean installation.

Why we should care about DRAWS

To be honest with you, when I first ran into this device, I thought to myself, wow someone has been watching my videos, solving the problem of integrating the Raspberry Pi, with all the components we need for digital communications. DRAWS is a Raspberry Pi HAT. This is a purely hardware solution combining several components for digital amateur radio, into a single integrated solution.

Main features

  • Pre-built Raspberry Pi Image This makes its easier to get started. Don’t worry, DRAWS will also work with your own images after downloading a few libraries.
  • Built in high-performance audio codec. This means no more external audio interface.
  • GPS with pulse per second (PPS). Syncing time for Off grid communications is easy and accurate. Plus we free up a USB port as we no longer need the USB GPS dongle.
  • Embedded battery backed real-time clock (RTC). If the GPS fails, the RTC will still keep the time, no internet required.
  • 12VDC native to power the DRAWS Hat and the Raspberry Pi. Now we get rig of buck converters and usb adapter to power the RPi. Everything gets powered through the same supply as your rig.
  • Dual Rig interface audio sockets This isn’t well documented yet, but from the images, we can see two radio ports for audio in on the data ports of our rigs.
  • SMA connector for optional GPS LNA antenna. Now we don’t have to rely on the internal antenna. If required, we can add an external antenna on the GPS for improved performance during sat acquisition.

So those were the features I believe will be most interesting for operators, but there is still much more information.

We all know I am a Raspberry Pi fanatic. It terms of Digital Field Communications, I am all in. Still, it needs to be said on record.

I think this DRAWS is an epic change in portable digital ham radio, and how we integrate digital communications into our rigs. While companies are adding PSK31 to qrp rigs without thinking about how we as field operators will use that “feature”, companies like NW Digital Radio are helping push digital ham radio forward, by essentially giving us a single wire integrated solution, for digi mode integration.

Ham Radio with a Raspberry Pi:

Finally, somebody is paying attention to the new breed of ham radio operator.

Julian oh8stn
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  1. Raspberry Pi for Ham Radio – X days Off Grid – Ham Radio & Off-Grid Power
  2. DRAWS™ Digital Radio Amateur Workstation (Board) – VE3EBY

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