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Default [M0IAX] IC-705 News


IC-705 News

Posted: 18 Dec 2019 01:12 PM PST

A new video from OH8STN this evening, about the latest IC-705 news,
availability is expected April 2020 (In Japan) heres the vid:

What do you all think?

The price point is about what I expected it would be, they are looking at
the KX2/KX3 market but I think this will attract more with its addition of
VHF/UHF it should make a great portable radio for working satellite as well.

For me QRP isnt really an attraction but 10watts will give us good results
using digital modes such as JS8. I wont be pre-ordering just yet but Im
planning to build a new portable QRO setup with one of these..

...when it is finally released here.


Mark | M0IAX

FT991a, Raspberry Pi 4 Portable Field Station

Posted: 08 Dec 2019 10:21 PM PST

Ive had a few requests for more information about my portable radio so Ive
made a video that shows the components I have used. You can fund a link to
the video on YouTube below.

I’ve built it into a Pelican 1440 case. I chose this case because it’s top
loading and the controls for the Yeasu FT991a are on the front panel so it
makes sense to mount it in a case that allows easy access to control the
radio, that case is waterproof and has wheels which offered protection and
ease of transportation.

*The first part of the station is the internal power supply. This is a 12
amp hour lithium iron phoshate battery that is low weight and offers an
excellent amount of power for its size and weight. This is intended for
short term operation of the radio and attached raspberry pi. In my typical
use case I’m getting between 3 and 4 hours use for the JS8 digital mode at
thirty watts.

*Next I added a power distribution panel. This houses Anderson power poles
for charging the internal battery via mains charger or solar charge
regulator. I use a patch cable to the row of power poles to power the case
from the internal battery or I can use a longer cable to power from and
external battery or power supply. The switchable 3A USB power includes a
voltage read out to monitor the power source voltage.

*The radio is housed in a plastic frame custom made for me by Avatar
Engineering. All the cables required for the radio have been wired to the
front panel along with a speaker. The frame has 2 12 volt fans for air
circulation to help cool the radio.

The frame can be removed from the Peli case if I want to use the radio from
a table or in a vehicle or boat.

*On the front panel I have SO239 connectors for the HF and VHF antennas,
power input cable so I can easily use different power sources.

*All the power cables are marine grade tinned copper wire to help eliminate

*Finally on the front panel I have a switch to turn the fans on and off,
and the USB cable to the Raspberry Pi.

*The radio probably needs no explanation, it’s a Yeasu FT991a. My decision
to use this radio was because it covers the HF, VHF and UHF bands and has
touch screen operation, areal time spectrum scope and most importantly a
single USB computer connection giving both cat control and sound
input/output between the computer and the radio.

*The final component of this portable digital amateur radio station is my
raspberry pi 4. This is the version with 4GB of memory and I have
configured it to boot from a USB3 Solid State Disk which improves
performance and is much more reliable thanks an SDCard. I’ve added a screen
to it that shows some useful information such as the WiFi network it’s
connected to and it’s IP address which means I can easily find it when I’m
connecting my IPad to control the Raspberry Pi using VNC.*

I will also be adding location details obtained from the GPS and
notifications from software such as JS8Call. I have another raspberry pi
that uses an eInk display that has room for more text, but this one has a
back light and also has some touch sensitive buttons that I intend to use.
You can find more details of the eInk screen on my channel.

That’s all for now, follow and subscribe for future content featuring this
radio and raspberry pi, if you have any questions or comments then please
use the comments below. I’ll do my best to reply as soon as I can.

*Thanks to Mark at Avatar Engineering for the help building this radio into
the case, and to Paul at for supply of some of
the parts.

73 until next time. This is Mark M0IAX.

APRS Message App for JS8Call

Posted: 25 Sep 2019 10:08 AM PDT

I was recently planning to have a go at writing an app with UI for the
Raspberry Pi that would allow the user to easily send Email, SMS and APRS
messages using JS8Call. A day or so later Jason, KM4ACK released a YouTube
video about sending aprs messages so I figured I might as well write the

Sending the messages is quite simple, you just need to format the message
text correctly and send it to @ALLCALL in JS8Call (or a specific station
that you know has APRS forwarding enabled).

Getting the text right isnt difficult but who wants all that tedious
messing about with : and getting the right number of spaces?

So I created the app in python and made it as user friendly as possible. It
has a dropdown to select the message type, a field into which you enter
either Email address, callsign or cellphone number depending on the message

Sending email via JS8Call

Once entered you simply click Set JS8Call Text to populate the compose box
in JS8Call and then go to JS8Call to manually transmit. Alternatively you
can click the TX With JS8Call button to have JS8Call do all that for you.

I Included some basic error checking, like making sure JS8Call is actually
running before trying to send the message, and checks for email address box
etc having some content. It does not check that the address/callsign/number
is valid.

Thats about it, its simple enough to install, after ensuring you have
python3 installed, simply clone it from GitHub onto your Pi with the

git clone

install the pre-requisites:

pip3 install psutil

then ensure you are in the directory you cloned to make sure its
executable and run the app:

chmod +x


And finally heres a quick video demo of it in action



JS8CallTools for Raspberry Pi

Posted: 26 May 2019 08:15 PM PDT

You may already have seen some posts about the first of my JS8Call Tools
my GPS Utility for #JS8Call, its a python script with a Graphical User
Interface that I wrote for grabbing my Location from GPSD running on my
Raspberry Pi, it then translate the Lat and Long to a Maidenhead Grid and
allows you to send it to JS8Call updating its Grid for use in messages, you
can do this at the click of a button, or use the timer to update the grid
every 10 minutes.

It also includes a button to send the GRID command to @ALLCALL using
JS8Call which will be received by stations in the JS8Call network and
reported to the APRS network.

This should be useful to Amateur Radio operators who are operating portable
and mobile.

It has been tested on my raspberry pi, with the pre-requisites installed.

You MUST have GPSD installed and working with your GPS and you must be
running JS8Call for it to work.

The link to the code on github is

you can download the code to your raspberry pi using the following command:

git clone



Mark, M0IAX

The Raspberry Pi Project - Part 3

Posted: 24 May 2019 09:05 AM PDT


For this part of the project I needed to write some code. By day I am a
Java Developer, and over the years have used a few different programming
languages so for this I wanted something new to learn so I chose to use
Python 3 for this project. Its pretty easy to learn as there are plenty of
resources out there, and its doesnt want loads of resources to run and its
cross-platform so when Ive finished with what I need for the Raspberry Pi
Ill be able to use it on other machines.

To start with I just need some basic functionality here,

The ability to get my latitude and longitude from a GPS, covert that to a
maidenhead gridSend the resulting Grid to JS8Call an update its
Grid.Transmit the @ALCALL Grid message from JS8Call to the JS8Call network
over an HF Radio connected to the Raspberry Pi.(Maybe) The Ability to
automate all or some of the first 3.

Easy right? Well actually it was.

There are already python modules to open a UDP socket and send a message
and also to access GPSD and convert the Latitude and Longitude to the
Maidenhead grid. So really all the hard work is done for us.

I wont detail the actual programming because its even more boring than the
rest of this. But what I will do is run through the process of installing
the prerequesites for the python program.

Firstly we need to open a terminal window on the pi, and enter the commands
listed below.

sudo apt-get install python3

pip3 install gps

pip3 install maidenhead

The resulting app needs to have a GUI, and it needs large buttons so it can
be used on easily a touch screen when mobile or portable, that proved to be
simple enough to set up as there is the module Tkinter is provided with
Python3 (there are other modules available, but it seemed simpler to use
something thats already installed.

So after a couple of hours work I had figured out what to do and came up
with something that looks like the pic below.

It works by having a GPS Listener running in the background that I can
access at any time to get the current position, which is useful if moving
about but maybe not so useful if you are reaming in the shack.

I decided that initiating a TX would require user intervention, future
updates may include the ability to TX when your location changes
significantly and Ill add a setting to decide what the parameters for that
will be. But I did include the option to automatically update the Grid in
JS8Call. every 10 minutes.

Once its tested Ill probable make it available to amateurs that are
interested, could possibly be useful for emcomm and field use I guess.

UPDATE: The python code for this is now available on github:

Any ideas for other apps that could use the JS8Call API? Enhancements to
this? feel free to comment below. Apologies if it takes me a while to
read/reply to your comment, there are lots of spammers out there!




The Raspberry Pi Project - Part 2

Posted: 26 Apr 2019 08:26 AM PDT

Hi Again Everyone,

Today the rest of the parts to build my Portable Station Computer arrived

No, Im not doing an unboxing video

I ordered these parts from RS Components

Adafruit Ultimate GPS Hat Provides GPS and PPS time source, with battery
backed up time. Accurate time is essential for some digital modes such as
JS8. Having my position available is quite handy too

Cable with SMA for external GPS antenna the GPS Hat works well with its own
antenna but

GPS Antenna Should get a better fix, quickly. I hope

Raspberry Pi Case with room for expansion

Theres a really good guide on the RS website for setting this up so if you
want to fund out whats involved please ave a look there

The most difficult part for me was the soldering. So we wont talk about
that much Suffice to say it still works, and dont look too close at the

The easy part just add power tools!

To get the time sync working I followed the excellent how-to guide on Mike
RIchards site

crony set up to get time from GPS NMEA input

I set up the raspberry pi to create a wifi hotspot when no wifi network is
nearby, excellent how-to he

And finally for today I downloaded and set up JS8Call from

So initial set up of my Raspberry Pi is complete next time Ill try and add
some more functionality to it with some python scripts.


Mark, M0IAX

The Raspberry Pi Project

Posted: 25 Apr 2019 11:06 AM PDT

Hey all

Ive been thinking about my portable computing set up again, and Ive come
back to the Raspberry Pi.

So what Im planning to do is (finally!) produce a series of blog posts
about setting this up as the best amateur radio portable computer that I
can, its going to be more than just installing some software and getting on
the air, although obviously thats what im doing to start with, Im planning
to add some hardware GPS, Led, Status screen etc etc and write my own
software/scripts to use these to interface with the headless raspberry pi
and software. For example I want to run be able to make sure that JS8Call
is running and have a physical button I can press to send my locator which
will be updated in JS8Call by a GPS connected to the Pi. That kind of thing.

A whole load of things to use with the Portable Station Computer

Ill publish any software and scripts I write in case they are useful to any
of you, they will be in this website as downloads probably.

Why the Raspberry Pi?

Its small, light, easy to customise and will run all day long on my USB
power bank and as well as its own monitor I can easily connect to it with
my iPad which is still one of the few devices I have that I can see in
bright sunlight! There is plenty of software and resources online already
which is mostly open source.

And most of all its a great learning tool. I plan to learn some new
programming languages to add to my already broad skillset.

So if this might be of interest to you then please check back soon for
updates, I will post on instagram (mark_m0iax) and facebook or you can
follow the blog.The Beginning

The Beginning

My new Raspberry Pi 3B+ arrived today, so Ill quickly list what I did to
get it ready

I begin by downloading and installing the Rasbian operating system, you can
download the files you need from the Raspberry Pi website

To write the OS to a suitable Micro SD Card I use Balena Etcher which is
available for all major operating systems.

Using the links, download to your desktop or laptop and write the image to
the SD Card.

Thats the easy bit done Next time Ill get the Raspberry Pi running and
start installing the essential software I want.


Mark, M0IAX

Portable Operation

Posted: 04 Feb 2019 06:51 AM PST

Over the past couple of months Ive been putting together a couple of
portable stations, this one uses a hand truck/sack truck, not only does
this enable me to move it about quite easily it also acts as the ground
plane for the vertical antenna which is held up with the fibre glass
fishing pole/flag pole.

The radio is an Icom IC-7100 with an LDG IT100 Auto tuner carried in a
waterproof Peli case, the hand truck ground is tuned with an MFJ-931
Artificial Ground and its powered by a 12Ah LiFePo4 battery (with a spare)

Works quite well, so I thought Id share a graphic with details of the set

Im told the artificial ground works best if the ground you are on has been
covered with sea water at high tide, but it does work reasonably well as
long as you are near to the sea/high tide mark, for best results though you
needs to get as close as possible, so make sure you check the tide times or
you might end up with wet feet!

I also carry some radials to use for the artificial ground when further
from the sea.




Portable on the River Hamble

Posted: 31 Dec 2018 10:58 AM PST

I spent a few hours completing some work on my portable station this
afternoon, and was very pleased with the results.

I had QSOs on 20m SSB with stations in Lapland, Serbia, Bosnia and in
Iceland using 25watts into my vertical 1/4 wave wire and artificial ground,
powered by a 12Ah LiFePo4 battery. With a little help from the salt water
flooding up the river on the rising tide.

The great thing about this antenna set up is that it’s very quick to deploy
and pack up, I can be set up and on the air in a couple of minutes. Packing
up takes about the same time and it’s proven itself to work very well.

For next year I plan to use this setup portable and in the RIB and also to
produce some YouTube content of the setup and use.

To close out this final post of 2018 I would like to wish all my followers
a very happy and prosperous New Year.

I hope to see you on the Air soon.

Happy new year 2019!



Update: I just checked pskreporter for my JS8Call results, despite not
receiving any replies to my CQ call I was being heard over 4000 miles away
using 25watts on 20m

Lets go fly a kite

Posted: 08 Dec 2018 05:19 AM PST

it was windy enough today to try out my Chameleon Emcomm II on the river.
Unfortunately too windy and gusts so the antenna wire kept dipping in the

But I got the kite up in the air and could hear some stations on 20m so
it’s working fine.

i have also finished setting up my portable trolly with Artificial ground
and 5m whip, almost spoke to a station in Italy he heard party of my
callsign when I replied but I wasn’t able to complete a qso.

The only thing left to do is secure the battery box and have an external
power connection so it doesn’t need to be open.

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