Well I finally COMPLETED my new server build project. I built a big old bad machine based on an Intel Xeon E-2136 Chip, 32Gb of RAM and about 20TB of hard drive storage. I’m using Unraid as an OS.
One of my goals was to rip a bunch of my old DVD’s to put on the media server. If the internet goes out………we will still have some entertainment.
The last piece of my server build was adding an internal DVD / Blu-Ray burner (Panasonic UJ-265). Even though they advertise 6x read speeds I hope everyone knows you don’t always get that, if ever. Anyway I hooked my drive up and did the old rip-a-rooni and it took a natural lifetime. My read speed was 1.0x’s. It was crawling and certainly not what I paid for to accomplish.
My ripper app is called MakeMKV. It rips the DVD then I make it media sized with another program called Handbrake.
So why is my drive stuck at 1x’s read speed and taking so long? I dunno but it is possible to set the speed to maximum in MakeMKV but it is a command line hack.
Now more than ever in this Social Media day and age I think it is important to encrypt your private communications. Most people think they are boring but as the current news feeds amplify, if you dare speak out on a subject you may be a target. I won’t get into details beyond that but …….why not encrypt your on-line conversations? No one needs to know what you like and don’t like, and what you stand for or don’t stand for. Or what your vaccination status is.
If you think Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo are not spying on you there is no hope for you. You need to move on from here. Email encryption is nothing new and in fact I remember the first consumer grade stuff ………Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) in the mid 90’s. It was super cool but people just would not take the extra steps to do this. I suspect they still won’t. But they should.
There are several secure email services and in this blog I will focus on ProtonMail They use end to end encryption and if you have a ProtonMail account and you email someone that doesn’t…….you can still create an encrypted environment.
ProtonMail is web based, and for most of you that isn’t an issue. You are used to logging into your Gmail or Yahoo account on a web browser, so don’t let this scare you. You’re simply using another service except this one is more secure.
Let’s move on with this discussion.
I’m into computer security a little bit and always striving to learn more. I’m also a firm believer in Open Source software. In Proprietary software you don’t know really know what’s going on. Case in point: Alexa, Siri, Hey Google. They say it isn’t spying on you but you know that it is.
With Open Source software you can view the code and see if any hanky panky is going on.
There are a lot of Open Source Operating Systems such a Linux. But here’s the catch. You run your Open Source OS which gets launched by a firmware (BIOS – Built In Operating System) which is PROPRIETARY!. Also it can prevent you from installing a 3rd party device such as a battery, or charging brick. Major exploits such as HeartBleed (remember that scare a few years ago) live and breathe in the firmware. You can slick the OS, change the hard drive all you want but you are still compromised AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW IT.
Let’s lay out a scenario.
I just bought an RSPDuo from SDRPlay and I wanted to see if I could hook it up so I could access it from the network just like I do my Airspy HF+ on SpyServer.
So you dig around on Google and you find out that sure enough you can however it wasn’t as easy as it appeared. Believe me, it never is. I am running my RSPDuo from an Ubuntu 18.04 laptop. In SDRPlay’s defense they have a Raspberry Pi image on their downloads page and this stuff may already be configured. I won’t swear to that though. Laptops have a hell of a lot more OOMPH than a Raspberry Pi though and I just like messing around in Linux.
Lets get started:
OP25 is my FAVORITE police scanner program. I track two trunked radio systems with ONE software defined radio. My Uniden Police Scanner that does that costs $800. This way costs about $30.
Anyway, I’m reading through some OP25 stuff today and I found out it has a web interface. SAY WHAT? Looks like this.
So sometimes a really good technology just never really takes off. A USB TV Tuner is just one such technology.
It should have taken off. Just about everyone who has a laptop should have one of these. I have three.
So what would you use it for? In my case I live in a Hurricane zone and in fact got blasted by Hurricane Florence last year and had no power for several days. (Actually I had power because I have a full house generator). Anyway, due to a concern for the amount of fuel I had on hand I shut down at times and THIS is how I got my news during those times.
Did you ever stop to think about all those radio waves flying around us all the time? Of course you didn’t. That’s why you have me!
Ok I’ve been on a roll playing with OP25 and Raspberry Pi and one thing I can tell you is that the onboard audio from the bcm2835 chip is somewhat inadequate. Oh, it works but you’re going to need a powered speaker or really efficient headphones, and even then it is a bit light.
What to do?
Add a USB Digital to Analog converter (DAC). Depicted here is a HiFiMeDIY USB DAC. This is a tad bit expensive for this project but I have like 4 of these things laying around the house. They are ridiculously good. If you like music slap one of these bad boys on your laptop in the hotel room and the quality of your music will improve ten fold.
That’s not what we’re doing here though.
There are a LOT of USB DAC’s out there and some cost just a few dollars. HiFiMeDIY makes some cheaper ones as well that are way more than enough for improving your OP25 sound.
The Phat DAC costs $15 but you’ll have to solder header pins on yourself. That may be the cheapest, and best route. It has the form factor for the Raspberry Pi Zero but it works on all the Pi’s.
In my last part I set the Pi up to stream to Broadcastify. In this one we are just going to pump audio out through the headphone jack.
I’m doing this with an old generic black RTL-SDR and it works and it works fine but it is kind of susceptible to heat and cold and the ppm correction drifts a bit. I really recommend getting a v3 RTL-SDR or a NESDR Smart as they seem more stable. At any rate it doesn’t matter, you’ll just have to deal with the drift if you have any.
My assumption here is that you have Raspbian installed on at least a Pi 3. I haven’t tried it on a lesser Pi but I had it on a Pi 3 B + and then I found a couple Pi 3 B’s laying around and figured I’d reclaim my B+ for another project on another day. OP25 runs fine on the Pi 3.
So I finally figured out OP25 and I have this brand new Raspberry Pi 3 B + laying around doing nothing. In this segment we’ll install OP25 on Raspberry Pi and then take our police scanner feed and send it to the internet on Broadcastify.
As someone pointed out to me yesterday, “There’s an app for that” they are indeed correct. You can get Police Scanner Apps for IOS and Android. Guess where the feeds in those apps comes from? If you said Broadcastify you’d be correct. So if no one is feeding your municipality then there will be no feed in the app. We will be that feed.
So the assumption is that you have a Pi with Raspbian installed and you kind of know how to use it.