John's Musings

Yeah, Me Neither

Zumspot - DMR Hotspot

To get on DMR radio if there is no repeater nearby you will need a DMR Hotspot. The most "popular" hotspot is something called the SharkRF Openspot Great device but they cost upwards of $200.

There is a cheaper way and it is called Zumspot. Zumspot is as capable, if not more capable than an Openspot and it costs about $100. In addition to that you will need a Raspberry Pi (3 recommended) or a Raspberry Pi Zero W. So now we're up to about $110 and we'll need an SD Card as well. If you go this route be aware that the Pi Zero comes without the header pins soldered on so you'll have to do this yourself. I like doing this stuff. Makes it feel more DIY.

If you aren't comfortable soldering the OH SO TINY pins on the TINY PI ZERO W buy a Zumspot kit for $120. It only costs a few pennies more than buying it all separately anyway and there is no soldering involved.

Now let's make it work. Despite the fact there is seemingly NOTHING to work with on a Pi Zero you can actually pull this off and get up and running using just an SD Card. I'm not kidding.

Lets download a couple of things. First the Pi-Star image file from here. Make sure and get the one for the Raspberry Pi (unless you have the other hardware you are working with).

Now lets get a program called Etcher.

Simply put your SD Card in your reader and computer and open Etcher, then select the Pi-Star image file and click "Flash". Takes a few minutes but it will write the Pi-Star Image file perfectly.

Now, before you go yanking that card out of the SD card reader go back to the Pi-Star website and look for Pi-Star Tools. We're going to set our Wi-Fi connection up here. I use the wifi on my smart phone for this.

Click on wi-fi builder and input your credentials.

It will then download this file to your computer.

If you are inherently distrustful of putting your passwords on a webpage and then hitting a button just do what I did there and put in some nonsense then go back and hand edit the wpa_supplicant.conf file by hand. Also if you want you can change the country from JP to US. It isn't really necessary as it has to do with wifi channels. Change it to US for maximum MAGA!

Now find your SD card in your File Manager and simply drag and drop wpa_supplicant.conf into the SD card.

Now simply put your SD card into your pi-zumspot combo and boot. Open a web browser and navigate to


Be sure to put that slash on the end if .local doesn't work. Now we just configure. Set:





Set url to auto

Select Zumspot HAT from dropdown box on Radio Type

Node Type is Public (yeah I have it showing wrong here)

Set your time zone.

When it comes back it will have you re-add the modem and then you have a field to put your DMR ID in. Make sure your unique DMR ID gets in.

Also make sure you set your Brandmeister gateway. I use 3101 most of the time.

I know I glossed over the setup. There are all manner of Pi-Star setup videos on YouTube if I left something out. If you got this far you'll figure the rest out. Once you get in you might want to turn off D-Star if you aren't using it. I couldn't transmit or receive and when I really looked close I was connected to D-Star and not DMR.

I've only discussed setting up DMR. You'll have to do some homework on YouTube or Google to set up for D-Star, Fusion, or P25.

Also one quick note that may be of some help. This may be helpful some day to you. I built up my zumspot and used it perfectly for a day or two. Then the next day on the drive to work it didn't connect. It did connect to my iPhone wifi hotspot but never connected to the DMR network. Because there is no mouse, keyboard, OLED, etc. you really don't know what is wrong. I contemplated re-flashing the card and starting over then thought about it a minute.

I connected my laptop to my cell phone network and found the IP address of the Raspberry Pi under the zumspot. I use a command line tool in Mac OS X called Fing. There are all manner of network discovery tools out there as well. Fing has a graphical app for IOS and Android as well so that might be easier for some.

Once you get the IP address just put it in a browser to find the Pi-Star Configuration page. Soon as it popped up I saw the DMR button wasn't green and I switched the Brandmeister server from 3102 to 3101 which then immediately connected. Nothing was wrong with my Zumspot, rather the problem obviously was with Brandmeister 3102 server (at that particular time).

Also there is another way to get your IP address quickly. I have a Nextion screen and I discuss how to program an HMI file on it here. Once plugged into the Raspberry Pi under your Zumspot via USB (and configured in Pi-Star) it will display your IP address. Simply configure the Nextion by selecting it in the dropdown box below and setting the Port to the USB port. When you reboot, the Nextion will be functioning correctly and will be displaying your IP address.

And here's your Nextion screen with the IP address at the bottom. I know you won't want a big screen hooked to the tiny Pi Zero W and Zumspot stack up all the time but plugging in the Nextion to get the IP address could be a quick lifesaver.

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