Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a low cost but very effective platform, for off grid computing, or off grid communications. On this page you’ll find various tutorials, helping to build a Raspberry Pi, which is more effective off grid. We will also show you various examples using the raspberry pi for off-grid communications. This first video goes through my thinking and strategy towards the Raspberry Pi for ham radio and off grid Communications.

In addition to information on this page, there’s also a plethora of information about the Raspberry Pi, posted on oh8stn.org.


GPS for Time and Coordinates. The first tutorial I published was adding a GPS as a Time reference, for the Raspberry Pi. In this video I take you through using a low-cost u-blox GPS, configuring it doesn’t ntp reference, to set the time on your Raspberry Pi.

RTC Install and configuration. The next in more recent tutorial was adding a real time clock, to the Raspberry Pi. One of the ways the manufacturers of the Raspberry Pi keep costs down, it’s by omitting components which aren’t necessary for efficient operation. This leaves the end user responsible for adding components to the Raspberry Pi, allowing it to meet the needs of their particular project. In practice I didn’t need the real time clock since the GPS worked flawlessly however. If it’s important to have a redundancy plan, in case GPS access for some reason was denied. It was also wise to have a redundancy plan for what could be a very real possibility, where both internet and GPS satellites were inaccessible. In this scenario, we would rely on the Raspberry Pi real time clock. In this video we install, configure, then field test the Raspberry Pi, using amateur radio data Communications on HF. The field test was completely off-grid.

In the field

In this video, I take the Raspberry Pi to the field near the Arctic Circle. The goal was to understand the possibility of using a Raspberry Pi, to power a data mode, portable ham radio station in the field. It is a rather Antiquated video. It does show where we came from, and what we were trying to achieve.

Hardware solutions

Over the past couple of years, we’ve tried a few different Hardware Solutions to get the Raspberry Pi off grid. The PiJuice hat was the first. Unfortunately it kind of created just as many problems as it solved. Like many of the solutions we see on this page, they need some time to mature.

NW Digital Radio DRAWS: http://oh8stn.org/blog/2018/11/18/digi-mode-ham-radio-hat-for-raspberry-pi/

DRAWS Hat. 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. I was pretty stoked about this board when it came out. The belief was, integrating the Raspberry Pi with a field radio will be easier than ever. Fewer cables, no cable mess, and a clean installation. The hat integrates a GPS, Real-Time clock, dual audio interfaces, and external power regulation. If ever configured correctly, it will solve lots of problems.

Some operators seem to have been able to make it work. I on the other hand was never happy with the support, setup complexity, or the performance on HF digital modes. I’m hoping this was just a matter of letting the product mature, before I get back to it. I stopped working with the product after being incredibly frustrated with all these things. I haven’t given up, but they’re certainly should be an easier way to deploy this device for the end user.

Here are the two videos I did on the draws hat. I’ll come back to it, once it matures.

PiJuice Hat. TBD

The entire Ham Radio with a Raspberry Pi playlist:

73, Julian #oh8stn