SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

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SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Allen Moore
All I really needed to complete my original install was a transistor and
resistor to key PTT via the Rpi's GPIO bus; but, I opted instead to
purchase a USB EchoLink Adapter from Advanced Repeater Systems to make
the install a little neater (at least that was my hope).

At any rate, I THOUGHT all I would have to do is swap out the USB sound
card for the new USB EchoLink Adapter and update the PTT method.

Is anyone successfully using this adapter with a Raspberry Pi & SVXlink?
  So far I have been unsuccessful at properly configuring this new
device in lieu of my previous setup. SVXlink does start ok.  I can't as
easily monitor audio through this device; but, the audio indicator LED's
remain dark and the radio never keys transmit. I thought the changes I
made to the svxlink.conf file were correct for this hardware; but, any
help would be appreciated.

The USB adapter is connected to the radio per ARS instructions (pretty
straightforward)...
http://arsrepeaters.com/EchoLink_Interfaces.php

The relevant portions of my configuration are shown below:

[GLOBAL]
LOGICS=RepeaterLogic
...

[RepeaterLogic]
TYPE=Repeater
RX=Rx1
TX=Tx1
MODULES=ModuleEchoLink
...

[Rx1]
TYPE=Local
AUDIO_DEV=alsa:plughw:0
AUDIO_CHANNEL=0
SQL_DET=VOX
...

[Tx1]
TYPE=Local
AUDIO_DEV=alsa:plughw:0
AUDIO_CHANNEL=0
# PTT_TYPE=GPIO
PTT_TYPE=SerialPin
PTT_PORT=/dev/ttyAMA0
PTT_PIN=DTRRTS
...

Thanks in advance for any suggestions...
73,
-Allen M.


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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Scott Currie
Allen--
These adapters utilize an internal VOX circuit for PTT, which means audio levels become critical. If the audio is set too low, or if users pause too long between words, or one user has hot audio and another has weak audio, you will have trouble with reliable PTT. I have used these devices in the past under Windows. They worked, but not well. They now gather dust in my junk box.

I would NOT use these for a repeater connection, where you want a rock solid connection. There are better solutions.

-Scott

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 26, 2016, at 09:16, Allen Moore <[hidden email]> wrote:

All I really needed to complete my original install was a transistor and
resistor to key PTT via the Rpi's GPIO bus; but, I opted instead to
purchase a USB EchoLink Adapter from Advanced Repeater Systems to make
the install a little neater (at least that was my hope).

At any rate, I THOUGHT all I would have to do is swap out the USB sound
card for the new USB EchoLink Adapter and update the PTT method.

Is anyone successfully using this adapter with a Raspberry Pi & SVXlink?
 So far I have been unsuccessful at properly configuring this new
device in lieu of my previous setup. SVXlink does start ok.  I can't as
easily monitor audio through this device; but, the audio indicator LED's
remain dark and the radio never keys transmit. I thought the changes I
made to the svxlink.conf file were correct for this hardware; but, any
help would be appreciated.

The USB adapter is connected to the radio per ARS instructions (pretty
straightforward)...
http://arsrepeaters.com/EchoLink_Interfaces.php

The relevant portions of my configuration are shown below:

[GLOBAL]
LOGICS=RepeaterLogic
...

[RepeaterLogic]
TYPE=Repeater
RX=Rx1
TX=Tx1
MODULES=ModuleEchoLink
...

[Rx1]
TYPE=Local
AUDIO_DEV=alsa:plughw:0
AUDIO_CHANNEL=0
SQL_DET=VOX
...

[Tx1]
TYPE=Local
AUDIO_DEV=alsa:plughw:0
AUDIO_CHANNEL=0
# PTT_TYPE=GPIO
PTT_TYPE=SerialPin
PTT_PORT=/dev/ttyAMA0
PTT_PIN=DTRRTS
...

Thanks in advance for any suggestions...
73,
-Allen M.


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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Robert White
Scott --

I had a similar experience to you, but what the "better solutions" would be in your opinion?  Our Denver Radio Club would love to get rid of the large PC and have an Svxlink solution + Raspberry Pi repeater configuration.  Have some concerns about the robustness of the SD card though in an unheated location.

I also had the same problem as Allen, and it took me a few weeks to get the USB Echolink adapter to work.  I did finally succeed.  I recall that it took some black magic in the alsa configuration files to get it to work, and that it wasn't intuitive at all.  Since I abandoned this adapter, I didn't save my hard work from a few years ago.   Sorry for the useless reply :/

Robert White K0RCW



On Sep 26, 2016, at 09:45 AM, Scott Currie <[hidden email]> wrote:

Allen--
These adapters utilize an internal VOX circuit for PTT, which means audio levels become critical. If the audio is set too low, or if users pause too long between words, or one user has hot audio and another has weak audio, you will have trouble with reliable PTT. I have used these devices in the past under Windows. They worked, but not well. They now gather dust in my junk box.

I would NOT use these for a repeater connection, where you want a rock solid connection. There are better solutions.

-Scott

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 26, 2016, at 09:16, Allen Moore <[hidden email]> wrote:

All I really needed to complete my original install was a transistor and
resistor to key PTT via the Rpi's GPIO bus; but, I opted instead to
purchase a USB EchoLink Adapter from Advanced Repeater Systems to make
the install a little neater (at least that was my hope).

At any rate, I THOUGHT all I would have to do is swap out the USB sound
card for the new USB EchoLink Adapter and update the PTT method.

Is anyone successfully using this adapter with a Raspberry Pi & SVXlink?
 So far I have been unsuccessful at properly configuring this new
device in lieu of my previous setup. SVXlink does start ok.  I can't as
easily monitor audio through this device; but, the audio indicator LED's
remain dark and the radio never keys transmit. I thought the changes I
made to the svxlink.conf file were correct for this hardware; but, any
help would be appreciated.

The USB adapter is connected to the radio per ARS instructions (pretty
straightforward)...
http://arsrepeaters.com/EchoLink_Interfaces.php

The relevant portions of my configuration are shown below:

[GLOBAL]
LOGICS=RepeaterLogic
...

[RepeaterLogic]
TYPE=Repeater
RX=Rx1
TX=Tx1
MODULES=ModuleEchoLink
...

[Rx1]
TYPE=Local
AUDIO_DEV=alsa:plughw:0
AUDIO_CHANNEL=0
SQL_DET=VOX
...

[Tx1]
TYPE=Local
AUDIO_DEV=alsa:plughw:0
AUDIO_CHANNEL=0
# PTT_TYPE=GPIO
PTT_TYPE=SerialPin
PTT_PORT=/dev/ttyAMA0
PTT_PIN=DTRRTS
...

Thanks in advance for any suggestions...
73,
-Allen M.


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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Ken Koster
On Monday, September 26, 2016 5:38:14 PM PDT Robert White wrote:
> Scott --
> I had a similar experience to you, but what the "better solutions" would be
> in your opinion?  

Scott will probably echo this but one solution for the RPi is the UDRC from
http://nwdigitalradio.com.   It's a Pi Hat with sound chip and in the new
version two PTT outputs.  Disclaimer:  I don't work for them but they are part
of the local gang and I have received test units.

Having said that, another solution is the Fe-Pi http://fe-pi.com.   It doesn't
have the PTT lines but it is cheap and PTT is easy to do with the GPIO's on
the RPi.

One thing to be aware of on most of the sound chip devices is that many only
put out just over 1v p-p.    I have radio's that require as much as 5v p-p to
reach 5khz deviation and have had to add an outboard op-amp for some.

> Our Denver Radio Club would love to get rid of the large
> PC and have an Svxlink solution + Raspberry Pi repeater configuration.
> Have some concerns about the robustness of the SD card though in an
> unheated location.

I've been more concerned about the robustness if the remote site power is
unreliable.   Abrupt shutdowns in the middle of write operations can be messy.  
Either disable the log files, or move them to a ram drive.  When, as in my
case the repeater is at 4300' and there is 8' of snow on the ground
reliability is key.
...
--
Ken - N7IPB
Email: [hidden email]
JID: [hidden email]
PGP Sig: F42B EF90 3CD3 31C7 3056  122E 993A 7B2E 5138 C42A
“The best conversation I had was over forty million years ago…. And that was
with a coffee machine.”
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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Rob Janssen
In reply to this post by Robert White
Robert White wrote:
> Scott --
>
> I had a similar experience to you, but what the "better solutions" would be in your opinion?  Our Denver Radio Club would love to get rid of the large PC and have an Svxlink solution + Raspberry Pi repeater configuration.  Have some concerns about
> the robustness of the SD card though in an unheated location.
>

We normally use a USB sound adapter (varying types, not all of them are good), and I/O pins on the Raspberry for keying and dcd if applicable.

It is not a good idea to use a VOX.  When you don't want to feed the squelch input to the Pi, connect unfiltered audio directly from the
detector and use the software noise squelch.   It will work fine and there is no issue w.r.t. weak modulation or speech pauses.

Rob

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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Allen Moore
In reply to this post by Ken Koster
Thanks Ken,

I think the UDRC-II might be a great alternative.

I need to connect to a DB9 on the radio itself (documented below)-  On
the UDRC do I need to connect to the Mini-DIN socket or are all the
required connections available via a header?

Radio cable documented as follows:
01 --- GROUND
02 --- PL  (ACTIVE LOW)  <
03 --- PTT (ACTIVE LOW)  >
04 --- TX AUDIO
05 --- RX AUDIO
07 --- COR

TIA,
-Allen M.

On 9/26/16 1:05 PM, Ken Koster wrote:
> Scott will probably echo this but one solution for the RPi is the UDRC from
> http://nwdigitalradio.com.   It's a Pi Hat with sound chip and in the new
> version two PTT outputs.  Disclaimer:  I don't work for them but they are part
> of the local gang and I have received test units.



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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Scott Currie
Yes, Ken beat me to it, but UDRC would be my first choice (same disclaimer as Ken). If you want a simple, clean, plug and play option, I don't think there is a better (or cheaper) choice. Using any of the VOX based devices for PTT is really not good for a repeater. I feel the same way about COS. I prefer a DC option over VOX or software based squelch, so a real COS or CTCSS signal. That gets tricky when it is a remote link to a repeater, since COS will be present the entire time the repeater is up. Better to do CTCSS signaling, but that will require a repeater controller that supports it, or modifications to the repeater. Since you are linking to the hub repeater, I assume this is already in place.

As for drive reliability, I would take an SD card over spinning media any day. You do need to limit write operations as much as possible, since this is what wears out a SD card. Minimize logging, use a RAM swap disk, etc. And I would plan to just replace the SD once a year when doing other site maintenance.

Ken is right about power fail in the middle of a write operation. What we really need is a small UPS for the Pi, that has shutdown signaling, and then a script running on the Pi to process it. That may already exist, I haven't looked.

-Scott

On Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM, Allen Moore <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks Ken,

I think the UDRC-II might be a great alternative.

I need to connect to a DB9 on the radio itself (documented below)-  On
the UDRC do I need to connect to the Mini-DIN socket or are all the
required connections available via a header?

Radio cable documented as follows:
01 --- GROUND
02 --- PL  (ACTIVE LOW)  <
03 --- PTT (ACTIVE LOW)  >
04 --- TX AUDIO
05 --- RX AUDIO
07 --- COR

TIA,
-Allen M.

On 9/26/16 1:05 PM, Ken Koster wrote:
> Scott will probably echo this but one solution for the RPi is the UDRC from
> http://nwdigitalradio.com.   It's a Pi Hat with sound chip and in the new
> version two PTT outputs.  Disclaimer:  I don't work for them but they are part
> of the local gang and I have received test units.



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-Scott

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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Ken Koster
In reply to this post by Allen Moore
On Monday, September 26, 2016 2:00:34 PM PDT Allen Moore wrote:
> Thanks Ken,
>
> I think the UDRC-II might be a great alternative.
>
> I need to connect to a DB9 on the radio itself (documented below)-  On
> the UDRC do I need to connect to the Mini-DIN socket or are all the
> required connections available via a header?

There is a spot for a header that you could install and bring everything out
from (I've done that),  but they are brought out to the DE-15 connector as
well.    Those only needing one port can just use the Mini-DIN.  

The UDRC-II which was just announced and should ship soon has added buffered
PTT and CSQ for both ports and led's for PTT and power.  Check their blog for
the announcement..

> Radio cable documented as follows:
> 01 --- GROUND
> 02 --- PL  (ACTIVE LOW)  <
> 03 --- PTT (ACTIVE LOW)  >
> 04 --- TX AUDIO
> 05 --- RX AUDIO
> 07 --- COR

There are spare inputs that can be used for PL but you should be aware they
are only buffered with 100 ohm resistors and go straight into the RPi GPIOs.  
Make sure you stick to 3v compatible logic levels.

The UDRC was originally designed to be an add-on to the Yeasu DR1-X repeater
and gave it the ability to do D-STAR and more.  The mini-din was added when
they realized it could be used for other digital modes like APRS,  WSPR and
packet.

Then I introduce some of them to SvxLink and added a few more things to their
wishlist,  many of which made it onto the UDRC-II.

One last note:  The TI3204 sound chip used in the UDRC is not in the current
Linux kernel so you must either use the 'Compass' release from the NWDigital
guys or build your own with the driver sources.  Work is underway to get it
included in the mainline but these things take time.  I recommend you just use
Compass as it's Raspian with the TI3204 driver and a few other ham related
things added.   I've certainly had no problem with it at all.
...
--
Ken - N7IPB
Email: [hidden email]
JID: [hidden email]
PGP Sig: F42B EF90 3CD3 31C7 3056  122E 993A 7B2E 5138 C42A
“The best conversation I had was over forty million years ago…. And that was
with a coffee machine.”
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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Ken Koster
In reply to this post by Scott Currie
On Monday, September 26, 2016 1:15:39 PM PDT Scott Currie wrote:

> Yes, Ken beat me to it, but UDRC would be my first choice (same disclaimer
> as Ken). If you want a simple, clean, plug and play option, I don't think
> there is a better (or cheaper) choice. Using any of the VOX based devices
> for PTT is really not good for a repeater. I feel the same way about COS. I
> prefer a DC option over VOX or software based squelch, so a real COS or
> CTCSS signal. That gets tricky when it is a remote link to a repeater,
> since COS will be present the entire time the repeater is up. Better to do
> CTCSS signaling, but that will require a repeater controller that supports
> it, or modifications to the repeater. Since you are linking to the hub
> repeater, I assume this is already in place.
>
> As for drive reliability, I would take an SD card over spinning media any
> day. You do need to limit write operations as much as possible, since this
> is what wears out a SD card. Minimize logging, use a RAM swap disk, etc.
> And I would plan to just replace the SD once a year when doing other site
> maintenance.
>
> Ken is right about power fail in the middle of a write operation. What we
> really need is a small UPS for the Pi, that has shutdown signaling, and
> then a script running on the Pi to process it. That may already exist, I
> haven't looked.
Check out the UPS Pico at http://www.pimodules.com.   Digital I/O,  Analog I/
O, UPS, RTC and the kitchen sink,  no wait,  scratch that last item.

I pre-ordered and am just waiting for them to finish testing and ship me mine.  

Ken

> On Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM, Allen Moore <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Thanks Ken,
> >
> > I think the UDRC-II might be a great alternative.
> >
> > I need to connect to a DB9 on the radio itself (documented below)-  On
> > the UDRC do I need to connect to the Mini-DIN socket or are all the
> > required connections available via a header?
> >
> > Radio cable documented as follows:
> > 01 --- GROUND
> > 02 --- PL  (ACTIVE LOW)  <
> > 03 --- PTT (ACTIVE LOW)  >
> > 04 --- TX AUDIO
> > 05 --- RX AUDIO
> > 07 --- COR
> >
> > TIA,
> > -Allen M.
> >
> > On 9/26/16 1:05 PM, Ken Koster wrote:
> > > Scott will probably echo this but one solution for the RPi is the UDRC
> >
> > from
> >
> > > http://nwdigitalradio.com.   It's a Pi Hat with sound chip and in the
> >
> > new
> >
> > > version two PTT outputs.  Disclaimer:  I don't work for them but they
> >
> > are part
> >
> > > of the local gang and I have received test units.
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > ------------------
> > _______________________________________________
> > Svxlink-devel mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/svxlink-devel

--
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Email: [hidden email]
JID: [hidden email]
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with a coffee machine.”
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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

David Ranch-3
In reply to this post by Ken Koster

Hello Ken,

One thing to be aware of on most of the sound chip devices is that many only
put out just over 1v p-p.    I have radio's that require as much as 5v p-p to 
reach 5khz deviation and have had to add an outboard op-amp for some.

Wow.. that's a lot of voltage!  I'm curious what radios you've seen that kind of drive need and could you share us the circuit diagram that you've been using with good success?


I've been more concerned about the robustness if the remote site power is 
unreliable.   Abrupt shutdowns in the middle of write operations can be messy.  
Either disable the log files, or move them to a ram drive.  When, as in my 
case the repeater is at 4300' and there is 8' of snow on the ground 
reliability is key.

I personally recommend to write logs to RAM drives (potentially mount a USB pendive, copy the files to it, and umount it).  I'm also going to try a Pi centric UPS:

   http://www.pimodulescart.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=29

Beyond being 3A LiFePO4 UPS HAT, alarm buzzer, it also has a temp controlled fan, an emulated RTC with HW schedular for asserting onboard I/O pins, 3 12bit A/Ds for external sensor monitoring, several user switches & LEDs,  I'll report back to the group on what I think of it once I get it.

--David
KI6ZHD


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Re: SVXlink & arsrepeaters USB EchoLink Adapter on Rpi

Ken Koster
On Monday, September 26, 2016 2:52:38 PM PDT David Ranch wrote:
> Hello Ken,
>
> > One thing to be aware of on most of the sound chip devices is that
> > many only
> > put out just over 1v p-p.    I have radio's that require as much as 5v p-p
> > to reach 5khz deviation and have had to add an outboard op-amp for some.
> Wow.. that's a lot of voltage!  I'm curious what radios you've seen that
> kind of drive need and

Rather than clutter the list with all the info check out this URL of my
posting on a different list back in July.
http://wetnet.net/pipermail/seatcp/2016-July/017799.html

> could you share us the circuit diagram that
> you've been using with good success?

Given sufficient Amateur Time Units I plan on blogging on the whole project
and publishing the kicad schematics.   All I really did was use a TI TLV2772
op-amp with a gain of 5 running off the 5v supply.

For a glance at the prototype that may go up on my 224.78 repeater here's an
album with some comments. https://goo.gl/photos/HgvtUzvuCVPRNfBm8

> > I've been more concerned about the robustness if the remote site power is
> > unreliable.   Abrupt shutdowns in the middle of write operations can be
> > messy. Either disable the log files, or move them to a ram drive.  When,
> > as in my case the repeater is at 4300' and there is 8' of snow on the
> > ground reliability is key.
>
> I personally recommend to write logs to RAM drives (potentially mount a
> USB pendive, copy the files to it, and umount it).  I'm also going to
> try a Pi centric UPS:
>
>     http://www.pimodulescart.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=29
>
> Beyond being 3A LiFePO4 UPS HAT, alarm buzzer, it also has a temp
> controlled fan, an emulated RTC with HW schedular for asserting onboard
> I/O pins, 3 12bit A/Ds for external sensor monitoring, several user
> switches & LEDs,  I'll report back to the group on what I think of it
> once I get it.
Mine has been at 'assembled' status for a week now.  Still waiting for it to
ship.

--
Ken - N7IPB
Email: [hidden email]
JID: [hidden email]
PGP Sig: F42B EF90 3CD3 31C7 3056  122E 993A 7B2E 5138 C42A
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