AllStarLink in Muscatine

Simplex Node 503770 | 11/18/2019

Node # 503770 on 446.200 PL tone 100 Hz.

Muscatine hams can now access the AllStarLink network via an open simplex node located at 3rd and Linn streets.Talk to almost anywhere in the world on the UHF HT that you already own. No additional equipment needs to be purchased. Nodes can be connected via DTMF commands. Google "AllStarLink" to learn more about how the system works. Technical information can be found at 

Why Allstar with all of the new RF 'Rube Goldberg' digital repeaters and their VOIP connection schemes out there. The best answer is open source, quality audio, and freedom to do what you want. Dstar, Fusion, DMR, etc are all at least partially if not completely proprietary systems. In most cases the VOIP connection system that makes them somewhat like Allstar is proprietary. Code plugs, Rooms, etc. all make for a confusing and hard to maintain system. It also makes a system which is managed much like IRLP. The individual users has little control other than to connect somewhere. Then there is the lousy audio that goes along with the current Amateur Radio digital RF schemes.

Allstar connects RF systems with full duplex quality audio. It also gives the user a choice in how and where they connect. Private or public group or individual connections can be setup quite easily. If you are in a restricted living environment like a retirement home or HOA that does not allow antennas Allstar gives you the radio feel without an obtrusive antenna or big expense. You could setup a simplex node in your apartment or dwelling and have local coverage with in a few blocks to several miles between your handheld and you own personal node. Couple that with the ability to setup connections to all your buddies that also have nodes and you have your own talk group with everyone using real radios to access. You also have the ability to access via computer, phone, Echolink, and many other methods.

Details: Node 503770 went live on Nov. 15 at 9 pm

Equipment consists of a Motorola M1225 at 10 watts into a home brew 9 Db 70cm collinear antenna elevated to about 25 feet and controlled by a Raspberry Pi running HamVoip software.

The node announces the time on the hour and IDs every 10 minutes when inter-connected to another node.

Frequency 446.200 with PL tone of 100 Hz

DTMF Function List-

All node numbers MUST be entered as 6 digits. Any node number less than 6 digits must have preceding zeros added. It is advised to ONLY CONNECT ONE LINK AT A TIME. Multiple connections can interfere with the network.

*1 = > Link Disconnect ( *1nodenumber )

*2 = > Link Connect  MONITOR ONLY ( *2nodenumber )

*3 = > Link Connect TRANSCIEVE ( 3*nondenumber )

*70 = > Link Status

*71 = > Disconnect All Links

*72 = > Last Node To Key

*73 = > Full Link Status

*74 = > Reconnect Links

*80 = > System Info

*81 = > Time


Further questions about Node 503770 can be directed to me via email. kt0tt dot ham at gmail dot com.

I hope everyone can enjoy the system and use it but not abuse it.

Allen Kiddoo


Thinking in the box


So we suffer SCS - Sun Cycle Sucks. SSB is almost nil without POWER and antenna real estate. Neither of which I have the resources "So what do we do” as the little girl says about the dishwasher.

Go digital! I have setup a Rpi with VNC, FLdigi, JS8call, and whatever else I can stuff in it. Don’t need any audio transport on remote. Connected it to my FT-450 with 6 band vertical and have at it. Works- made a JS8 to TN station from my brother's house in MO on 06/29. 

Next in the game plan is a mag loop fix tuned to digital portion of 40M band.



The ham radio farce of 2019!

After 3 weeks of frustration, I had to give up on the RigPi ‘thing’. Cat control worked great as a $300 VFO knob. All other radio control is via on/off buttons that you must program by entering complex HamLib commands. No way was audio ever going to be satisfactory with the hardware interface and using Mumble for audio transport. The RigPi is a conglomeration of FREE software wrapped together with a pretty interface on a $35 computer. $300 for that?

The message board was going nuts with others having same issues. I called MFJ on phone for help but they never returned call. Any message board help was the same things I had already tried. One of the beta testers contacted me privately by email and admitted this thing was not ready to be released.

I sold it at a $75 loss to a guy in NV. I did tell him that there are audio issues. Had two other buyers back out when I mentioned the audio. I was not going to lie like MFJ and the developer did.

Home Automation


Interesting info on several free home systems.

uBITX - Back away

Time for a break. I drank the uBITX koolaide and have been fighting with that thing for almost a month now. The instructions and available data on the project is a total mess. There is no instruction manual or step by step how-to just a conglomeration of comments by experiments. Assembly is easy but calibration is nothing short of luck. There appears to be as many outcomes as experimenters. The low quality of parts may affect the tolerance values resulting in a quite unpredictable result. Add to that the simplicity of design with dual circuit functions and the possibility for errors compounds. So unless someone derives a solution I will be looking for a new sucker at a hamfest this summer. Fine example of 'If it sounds too good to be true it isn't'. uBITX makes my KX3 look like a bargain if  time has any value.

Pi-Hole DNS Ad Blocker


Pi zero w arrived yesterday and I setup Pi-Hole. Wanted enet connection to pi for speed so bought this:


Adaptor is plug/play with pi- no config or driver needed. I first setup wifi static then just plugged in thingy and bingo enet worked.

Reviews on it are iffy but this thing works!


Pi-Hole is really worth the time and effort. Page loads are almost instant AND NO ADS. I setup so router defaults to it so all connections go thru it. Has a good gui page with easy config. Enter pi.hole in browser for gui page.

Million Dollar Website



Don't know how I missed this before. Was started in 2005. Search the history- it's an interesting story.


Digital Mobile Radio. Based on some schema Motorola invented. FM NB with fidelity of an Edison wax cylinder. It’s internet connected with switches, nodes, and ONE WORLD router. They found out recently what happens when that goes down. Yep, let’s put all our eggs in one basket.


A few think Muscatine needs DMR on 440. Build it and they will come. Just recall the history of 440 here. Who's willing to drop $300+ for a new HT that needs a computer to program it, sounds worse that a bad Bomma phone, and has a range less than what they currently have on 2M.  Share the weed.

Health Wise


This isn't about radio but if you don't feel well how can we have fun with radio?

Today I ran across an article about a study on aging that tweaked my interest.

Ginkgo biloba and St John’s Wort is mentioned so I went to Walgreens’s shopping. After 4 hours my O2 is up 3 points and feeling better. Just might increase the milage on the old lungs.

I’ve always thought that maybe Asian medicine could have some answers.


W1ZY Phased Verticals 40M

Fun time yesterday on 40M listening to W1ZY and his adventures with his new QTH. He was making contacts on two phased verticals in a salt marsh on the coast of RI running 400w. Quite a pileup went on from Africia, EU, Costa Rica, and western Canada. After about an hour and the band started to fad I went to his page - rather detailed with his experiments on verticals. Good fodder to prove the need of a proper ground system with verticals.