Hello from Evans; KD4EFM

Greetings and welcome to the NXDN Ham Radio Blog. Wanted to update a few thing and share a link.

We are working on designing a software “bridge” between the Kenwood’s and Icom’s. We now have several “core servers” around the U.S. with 2 of them here in Florida. If you’re interested in joining the NXDN network, please let me know and I will get you the information you need. We welcome any BRAND of NXDN manufacturers and encourage you to join the network, EVEN YOU WEST COAST PEOPLE OVER YAWNDER and ya’ll friends to the north of the border.

NXDN repeater search engine, well, thanks to repeater book, they now have a good listing of these around now. Here is the link to hit it up. (82 KNOWN NXDN systems out there)

I have been rather busy on the commercial side of Kenwood Type C trunking, putting up a few sites here and there, and working on getting our 36th site prep’ed and ready to go.
Hope you all have had a safe and great summer, fall is round’ the bend now. Know of any other NXDN’ers out there, spread the word. There is NO conFUSION that we run a great network here, and we keep things simple. We just let the one’s and zero’s flow!

73

Evans Mitchell
KD4EFM

Problem reporting / bug tracking

A new bug tracking database is now online at:

http://rtcubed.com/nxcm/my_view_page.php

This database will be used for NXCore Manager feature requests, as well as problem reporting.  The goal is to be able to track problems and requests to closure with an industry standard system.

The database is viewable and reports can be made without a login.  You can also request a specific login and password if you wish, but it is not required.  We wish for the database to be as transparent as possible, so everyone can see our progress and that this is a tool that is actively developed.

New NXCM Releases

The following code is now in the Github repository:

Kenwood NXCM:  Version 1.3.4
Icom NXCM:  Version 1.3.1

The updates should allow for better stability and reliability.  It is recommended to update to these new versions if you haven’t done so already.

 

Looking to the future

This has been an exciting week of additions to the network. Several more users, plus two new repeaters.  I believe we are gaining momentum, and with the addition of the database and updated logger, we are moving along quite nicely.  I have been part of or heard conversations on the air that went very well, with few glitches.  That isn’t to say we are 100%, but the reliability to me seems much better.

However, I believe it is prudent for me at this time to step back and work on some things that I think will help reliability at this point.  For instance, I need to figure out the rest of where OTAA is being sent in a transmission, and also how to decode information mid-stream.  As an example, right now NXDN Core Manager looks for a “preamble” that both Kenwood and Icom repeaters send out before the datastream from the radio that has information such as UID, GID, and RAN.  I have all the NXDN documents from the nxdn-forum website.  I just need to study the CAI (Common Air Interface) more.

So I’m hoping in the next major release to be able to extract more information from the datastream.  I think this will help the dropout problems that occur by being able to start up again if the preamble gets lost.  Also, I do want the tx_otaa switch to work properly, so that TG 65000 is kept clean.

This kind of hacking will take some time.  Also, understanding the CAI will help in getting a software solution working for translating between Kenwood and Icom datastreams.  If this translation can be achieved, our network can be fully hardware agnostic with repeaters.  We will no longer in CT need to recommend someone get a Kenwood repeater to stay compatible, for example.  Those who want to put a repeater on the network can just buy what is cheaper or easier to obtain.  I can’t guarantee I will figure out how to do this in software, but I’m going to try.  The idea here would be a software program that will talk between the Kenwood and Icom NXCM, and translate a talkgroup.  So this way a regional or statewide talkgroup is available to both hardware platforms.

My philosophy going forward is this:  I look at Amateur Radio as a “public commons”, a space given to us by the government for public use and benefit, not controlled by business interests.  In the same way, I look at the software and tools that I write as public as well.  I think we can have a network which puts quality above quantity of users, and is based on mutual cooperation.  I don’t see NXDN as competing with other modes, but I do believe we can lead by example in how we think about issues of spectral efficiency, intelligent routing, and network management.

I am thankful for what Evans, Cliff, Alan, and others got started, and I would like to keep the momentum going.  If you have ideas for the future, please share them.  If you have bug reports, let me know.  This isn’t my network, and I don’t want the impression that CT’s NXCM is THE only NXCM.  It is just one of several used to manage a statewide / regional group of repeaters, that we mutually tie together as appropriate.  Please keep in mind though that features that are “nice to have” are going to be lower priority at this point than things that I think affect stability.

So if you don’t see any updates for a few weeks, it is because I’m going to be taking a step back and looking carefully at the CAI and how I can do better in routing / decoding it.  As I figure things out and make improvements to the software, I will check things into the repository and report out to the mailing list.

Database for User IDs

Bill, N2WNS, has put together a database system which will be used to drive the logging system for NXDN Core Manager.  You can visit http://nxmanager.net.  If you do not find your User ID in the logs (which are also featured on that page), you can add your information, and additional information will show up in the logs at the next update.

Please be patient after adding your information, as the process at the moment is not automated.

NXCore Manager Raspberry Pi Image

From N2WNS:

I have put together an image based on the latest Debian Jessie Linux. This image contains the following:

  • ·         Both Kenwood and Icom builds of NXCore Manager.
  • ·         An IP configuration utility.
  • ·         A Dynamic DNS update client for use with NO-IP’s free DDNS service.
  • ·         GIT to enable updating from N1XDN.

All you need to do is download the image, write it to a 4gb SD card, boot it in your RPi, configure the the settings file per Bob’s (N1XDN) config note and with a reboot, you’ll be running. Please keep in mind that you do need to get added to the Master Core before you will be able to communicate on the network.

Software can be downloaded here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mgrd4vkjer8c9ic/NX-Core-rasbian_jessielite.img?dl=0

A quick start guide can be viewed here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EZvMCsXH6IWMbl14RUnR9qaVO8FNH8Ejo6q_x-BAUuI/pub

Please let me know if you have any questions or encounter any issues.

73,

-Bill Hausmann

-N2WNS

ID Script for Kenwood update

The ID script for Kenwood has a couple of changes and updates, and is now tagged at version 1.1.  I did find some things I was doing that were out of spec, and I’d suggest downloading this new version, even if the old one is working well.

The repository is at:

https://github.com/rthoelen/NXDNtools

If you want to go and download it directly, it is the ID.py script in the Kenwood ID Script folder.  If you don’t want to pull the whole repository, just type the following on a command line:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rthoelen/NXDNtools/master/Kenwood%20ID%20Script/id.py

That will download the file, and you then just need to edit it for your specifics (repeater and Pi IP, RAN, GID, and message).

 

73

N1XDN

 

NXCore Manager

I’m pleased to announce the first release of NXCore Manager, an open-source software solution to provide talkgroups for NXDN Amateur Radio networks.  NXCore Manager is currently routing all of our networked repeater traffic in CT.  We are anticipating several additional repeaters linking with the two we currently have up and running as part of “Project 9K”.  Project 9K is our efforts to create Talkgroup 9000 (based on the FIPS code for CT) as a statewide talkgroup, while preserving access to Talkgroup 65000.

The NXCORE software allows for repeaters to receive and transmit multiple talkgroups.  For instance at a future time in CT, we may want to use (as an example) Talkgroup 9001 for Western CT, 9002 for Eastern CT, etc.  This will combine NXDN’s already efficient 6.25KHz bandwidth with efficient use of repeaters.  In order to talk to someone within CT over the network, you no longer have to tie up the whole 65000 Talkgroup in order to do so.

The software can be compiled on UNIX and UNIX-like machines.  It uses the C++ language, mostly for the C++ Boost libraries that shorten development time needed for parsing configuration files.  There are two versions of the software that should work identically — one is for Kenwood repeaters, and the other for Icom.

Documentation can be found at:  http://tinyurl.com/nxcore-doc-1

A zip file with the source code for both Icom and Kenwood can be downloaded at:  http://tinyurl.com/nxcore-1-0

The source code repository is at:

http://github.com/rthoelen/NXCore_Kenwood

and

http://github.com/rthoelen/NXCore_Icom

I am willing to work with anyone interested to get a regional node set up.  While I am currently running a node for CT, I believe it is wise for each state / region to have their own NXCORE if interested, because the local groups know best what talkgroups make sense for their area.  However, I am proposing (and hosting at this time) two new national groups:

65003 – Kenwood National Net

65002 – Icom National Net

Right now there really is no activity on the new talkgroups, since I’m just announcing it.  If you are interested, let me know.  An important note is that this is a “work in progress”, and there are more than  likely some bugs with the program.  With testing and feedback from users, I’m hopeful this will become a very useful tool for many of us.

My email for contact about this is ‘support at rtcubed dot com’.

73

Bob N1XDN

NI4CE – Verna status update

The new NI4CE NXDN Repeater at Verna went on the air at 3:20 PM this afternoon.  The repeater is operating on 444.3125 / 449.3125 RAN 1.  Some tweaking to connect the repeater to the NXDN Worldwide Network is still needed but should be completed in the near day or two.  In the meantime, we invite you to use the repeater on a local basis (TG1200).

We would also appreciate your signal reports.  Send your Callsign, Location, Time of Day and Signal Strength (if you can read RSSI with your radio) to info@ni4ce.org.

73 de Paul-NB9X

New Repeater coming on line in South West Fla. and 1 on the East Coast

From Paul Toth; NB9X

It seems like we started talking about this a long ago.  But the new NI4CE NXDN Repeater at Verna is poised for launch next week.  The repeater and its several components have been assembled and are burning in.  The new Telewave Antenna that will radiate the signal from 500′ AGL is configured and tested.  And a tower crew is scheduled to put it on the tower this coming Monday.  Of course, everything in Florida this time of year is “weather permitting”.

RX 444.3125  TX 449.3125 RAN-1 are the important numbers to program into your radio.  TG 1200 will keep your traffic on the NI4CE system (Verna and Riverview).  TG65000 will gate you to the remainder of the NXDN Worldwide Network.

Keep watching here for updates.
73 de Paul-NB9X

editors note Verna is located in Sarasota County near the town of Myakka City.

And this nice report from Ed in Brevard County Fl had this to say earlier also when repling to Paul

“Great news, we are trying to setup one here in Brevard. I think we found a tower. Will let you know once we get further information.”

Regards,
Ed