Monday, November 6, 2017

Going to a new chapter, digital voice!

It has been quite a long time we did our last post in this blog. It seems to be abandoned since 2015. Anyway, we've gone through quite a quiet period since then.

For the past few years, the taking up of digital voice has been quiet phenomenal. However, due to the competition between the major players, we haven't seen any one standard that we can easily adopt. ICOM has come up with DSTAR, though it is an open standard created by JARL, as of now, only ICOM is the only major player. However, Kenwood has recently introduced a handy talkie which has DSTAR and APRS combined. Yaesu has taken a different approach, by introduction a Yaesu Fusion which utilising C4FM technology. In countries where Yaesu has bigger market like US, Australia, Europe and China, Yaesu has made available a program which clubs can have their DR1X for a song (USD$500) and recently with DR2X, they've given a great discount for their repeaters. This really has shoot up the number of Yaesu Fusion repeaters installed worldwide. The last but not least is DMR which is an open standard created by DMR Associations where company like Motorola, Hytera and other companies that produce commercial radios are in it. With many Chinese companies coming out with a cheap DMR radios, the interest on DMR seems to be quite high right now.

In Malaysia, due to the cost of buying these digital rigs can be a costly matter, the take up on digital voice radio is quite slow. The first Yaesu DR-1X repeater went alive was in March 2016 when MARTS put the first digital Yaesu Fusion repeater replacing the ageing 9M2RKL (UHF). Along with it, MARTS were temporarily put up a replacement for 9M2RKK (VHF) on the same site. Both repeaters were running on AMS mode. At a later stage, the 9M2RKK was replaced back with the old Kenwood and the DR-1X repeater becomes an experimental repeater. Since then, there are few other repeaters that have been put up, all of them running in AMS mode including two in Melaka, 9M4RHE and 9M4RMU, one at Ulu Kali, 9M2RUK and one in Ipoh, 9M4RIC. Out of these, only two repeaters are connected to Wires-X through gateway which is 9M2RKL and 9M4RMU. The list of latest Yaesu Fusion repeaters can be found on MARTS official website.

On DMR, only one is running right now, 9M4RBB in Penang and this is running stand alone and in dual mode. However, a group of DMR enthusiasts are planning to have few DMR repeaters installed hopefully by end of this year. Though their plan is to have them running in stand alone mode. Hopefully this can be materialised.

We do not have any DSTAR repeater at all for now. But  for those DSTAR radio owners, please be patient. There is an open source project which can transform most radios or repeaters from analog to multi-mode digital system. The MMDVM project has been really active, thanks to the creator, Jonathan Naylor (G4KLX), a genius really. MMDVM stands for Multi-Mode Digital Voice Modem. With this, many new projects and products have been created which allows many of us who're far away from any digital repeaters (or with no access at all) to be able to communicate world wide as long as we've internet access. There are few other companies that already come up with their specific implementation of hotspots too including Wireless Holding with DV4Mini series, SharkRF with OpenSpot etc.   

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Seminar and Workshop - Introduction to APRS at RSMY on 3rd May 2014.

We would like to thanks all participants who made themselves available for the seminar. They were coming as far as Kelantan and Johor to be in the seminar. As the organiser, we're really grateful for all of them and when we planned for this seminar, we did not expect that we're going to get more than 40 participants, but the seats were booked quite fast and we added another ten seats extra.

For those who were not able to attend/register for this time, we've posted the videos and can be found in the following youtube playlist:

All presentation materials could be found in:

Some of the photos taken during the seminar can be found in the following dropbox shared directory:

Please join us at Facebook under myaprs group and give your feedback on what is the next workshop that we should do or plan to do.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

TP-Link Archer C7 V2 - OpenWrt (trunk - Barrier Breaker)

Was looking for the best AC wifi router to replace my Buffalo WHR-G300NH and found that TP-Link has just released an Archer C7 V2 which has wifi card supported by ath10k driver based on the information found here.

Here is the packaging, it says that it supports Unifi & Maxis Fiber but the support is not out of the box. You need to ask the seller a beta firmware which has VLAN support but I couldn't get mine working using even the beta firmware on my Maxis Fiber. Emailed TP-Link support but got a reply saying that they don't have Unifi/Maxis Fiber ready firmware and asked if I want to swap with one that already have, but nah, I bought the router not for running the stock firmware anyway.

Ver 2.0 hardware as per the sticker.

Anyway, I waited for a week or so and someone came up with the new hardware profile which creates the correct firmware image for OpenWrt. If you've this new V2.0 hardware and wanted to run OpenWrt on it but couldn't wait to get the patches into the trunk, check this patches:

To build your own OpenWrt firmware for this ver 2.0 hardware, followed these steps:

1. Have Debian 6.0 or any development system which could cross-compile the OpenWrt firmware. There are many guides available on the net, but for me, I've a VMWare Debian 6.0 VM ready on my Hackintosh machine. 
2. Follow the guide found in: Follow the steps to get the trunk, untar the file and apply the above patches.
3. To generate the image, I was using the following command, I need the ath10k and luci support in the image:
$ make image PROFILE=ARCHERC7V2 PACKAGES="ath10k luci"
4. The generated image ready to be flashed can be found in the bin/ar7xxx/ as openwrt-ar71xx-generic-archer-c7-v2-squashfs-factory.bin
5. Go and flash the firmware, do remember, the default IP address for OpenWrt router is

To get Maxis Fiber to run, just go to network->vlan and have the following, surely don't forget to set the PPPOE userid and password:

That should be it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mari Mengenali APRS oleh MyAPRS SIG (Special Interest Group) / What is APRS by MyAPRS SIG (Special Interest Group)

Kami akan mengajurkan pembentangan teknikal berkenaan dengan APRS pada 3/5/2014 bertempat di RSM. Antara tajuk-tajuk yang akan dibentangkan pada hari tersebut ialah:

1. Apakah itu APRS?
2. Sejarah perlaksanaan dan penggunaan APRS di Malaysia.
3. Mod Digital di dalam radio amatur.
4. Demonstrasi alat2 dan penggunaan APRS/mod digital:
- UiView/agwpe/tnc
- Router/aprx/tnc
- RaspberryPi/RTLSDR
- WX station
- WinLink, SSTV etc.

Setiap pembentangan akan diadakan selama 45 minit dan demonstrasi akan diadakan disebelah petang.

Pembentang pendek ini akan berjalan selama sehari sahaja dan kami amat berharap agar rakan-rakan peminat radio amatur akan mengambil kesempatan ini untuk menambahkan ilmu dan mengenali dengan lebih dekat lagi apakah itu APRS dan mod digital.

(English Version)

We are going to have a technical talk on APRS. The talk will be on the 3rd of May, 2014 at RSM. We have come up with the following topics which will be presented on that day:

1. What is APRS?
2. Usage and implementation of APRS in Malaysia from our experience.
3. Digital modes in amateur radio.
4. Demonstration on the equipment and how to use them, APRS/digital mode:
- UiView/agwpe/tnc
- Router/aprx/tnc
- RaspberryPi/RTLSDR
- WX station
- WinLink, SSTV etc.

Each presentation could be around 45 minutes or less except for the demonstration which will be done in the afternoon.

This will be a one day event and we hope we and many other ham radio enthusiasts will take this chance to enhance our knowledge on APRS and digital mode.

Agenda :

9:30 - 10:00AM Registration
10:00 - 10:15AM Opening
10:15 - 11:00AM Introduction – What is APRS? – Mr Fadzil Omar (9W2SMF)
11:05 - 11:35AM Usage and implementation of APRS in Malaysia – from our experience – Mr Faizi (9W2WEE), Mr Arman (9W2CEH), Mr Alias (9W2ALS)
11:40 - 12:30AM Digital mode in amateur radio – tentatively by 9M2CQC
12:30 - 01:30PM Lunch break
01:30 - 05:00PM Various demonstrations on the usage of APRS and digital modes including APRS, SSTV, WinLink, etc. – Mr Weerut (9W2RUT) and team.

Facebook link :

Location :

Rohde & Schwarz Malaysia (RSMY) - Shah Alam

 No. 2, Jalan Pengaturcara U1/51, 

Temasya Industrial Park, 

40150 Shah Alam, Malaysia

GPS : 3.086876,101.578376

Registration Form :

Pendafaran adalah dibuka sekarang, sila buat pendafaran menggunakan borang yang disediakan di group MyAPRS. 
Yuran pendafaran adalah RM50 termasuk kos baju dan refreshment. 
Penyertaan adalah terhad kepada 45 peserta yg awal.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Argentdata Tracker 3 Mini

My Argentdata Tracker 3 Mini, it's been lying around for almost a year, before I start to play with it again. Our group ordered few units in bundle and most of it have been dispatched to top mountain digipeater. Following the success of OT2m, the T3 mini also worked well. I've test with 3-4 type GPS receiver, but none of it work with T3 mini...something must be wrong.

The T3 is lying around because it not capable to use it as tracker. I've tested with the larger version of T3, and it working well as expected. When swap with the mini version, it can't run. The T3 mini is not accepting the GPS data.

After swapping the RX and TX line of serial port and changing to port B it still not go through... Then I start to email Scott, and he guided me through a few troubleshooting method. I report back every his opinions. And yet still no success.One of his guide is to monitor incoming data string from Port A using terminal via Port B, I use the GPS simulator, and I could see GPS string coming in.The T3 mini led blinking! I swap to GPS receiver,no data coming in. Led also stop blinking.

Suddenly I remember when I'm troubleshooting the KF-163 ( from Jancorver Museum), the KF-163 also not transmitting even I've tried many GPS receiver. The I refer back to the manual, and I see they only using the GPS TX data line only, they didn't connect the GPS RX data, just leave it.
I heat up my soldering iron, and remove the GPS RX data, plug it back to T3 mini, and power it up...and I can see the GPS string in the terminal, LED also blinking. YES!! it can work as tracker now.

 I wrap the wire, put the T3 mini back in a box, move it to my car, replace it with my current OT1+, and start tracking again.
I email Scott and notify him the problem.