Category Archives: Software

Software

Connect an RF 433 MHz Transmitter and Receiver to a Raspberry Pi

I’ve been dabbling with 433 MHz devices over the past few days and tying those devices in with my home automation software named HomeAssistant.  A decent transmitter receiver kit will set you back a whopping $10 or so.  I opted for this one.

It performs extremely well in a home environment and has great specs.

One of the gotchas of this device though is it comes with ABSOLUTELY NO DOCUMENTATION WHATSOEVER.  You’d be hard pressed to find much useful on line as well. So that’s where I come in.

Fortunately the wiring is pretty basic and the pins are clearly marked on the back side of the circuit boards.

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ProScan on Virtualbox

Proscan  is a wicked cool hunk of software for Scanner Junkies like me.  It lets you take your expensive overpriced Uniden SDS100 (and other) scanners and do cool things with it, like make your scanner accessible to the web, or upload your feeds to scanner apps, etc.  It is worth every penny and then some.

If NOTHING ELSE ProScan allows you to display your LCD screen on a much larger computer screen.

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Swiss Army Knives and Cameras and Tethering and Shit

Hobbies are fun.  Hobbies are hard.  If you have a hobby you somehow or another want to document it for posterity.  If you own widgets such as Swiss Army Knives, Coins, trinkets, whatever then still photography is probably your medium of choice to preserve and document your collection.

But, let’s face it.  Most of us suck at photography.  If only there were a way to use a computer to improve your photography skills…….oh wait, there is.  It is called “Tethering” and tethering is nothing new.  I can’t provide a history lesson but I know I’ve been doing it since the late 90’s or so and it probably came along right with the advent of digital cameras, whenever that was.

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Spyserver on Raspberry Pi

What’s a Spyserver?  And why would you want one?  Spyserver is a program for a Software Defined Radio (SDR) that allows you to access that radio from anywhere.  It also allows you to share your radio from anywhere and you can likewise share other people’s SDR radios.  Why would you want to do that?

First when the word “radio” comes to mind we tend to think of AM or FM radio only.  An SDR device is so much more than that.  It can literally listen to things from 0 kHz to 2 GHz or so.  That’s EVERYTHING that you can think of that uses a radio signal.   Short Wave, CB, Ham, pagers (yep they still use pagers), Police, Fire, EMS, the Space Shuttle flying overhead (not kidding), the tire pressure monitor sensors on your car, tracking aircraft, tracking ships, tracking weather balloons…………the list is almost endless.

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Common Problem with OP25 in Virtualbox

I REALLY struggled hard to learn to use OP25 and once I figured It out I made a simple tutorial for myself to recreate on other computers and for others to use.  On my blog it is one of the more active pages and almost every week I get emails from people requesting help getting it working.  This is the page of instructions I made:  (there are a couple more pages that are Raspberry Pi specific but you’ll have to poke around my blog to find them).

OP25 For Dummies – Or how to build a police scanner for $30 (Part 1)

I would LOVE to help everybody but alas, I met a hot neighbor lady walking dogs a few months back and she’s cutting into my geek time!  Trust me when I say that I’m not complaining!

Most of the time I find that many users are installing Ubuntu under Virtualbox in either Windows or on a Mac and this is one of the most common errors:

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A Tale Of Two Decoders – OP25 & DSDPlus

It was the best of decoders, it was the worst of decoders……… As you can tell I’m quite the literate bastard and highly up to speed on my Dickens.

I love digital signal decoding as it is almost something that you seemingly aren’t supposed to do, hence the attraction of it all.   There are several hunks of software that can decode digital signals and each one has it’s strength and weaknesses.  The ones I have dabbled around with are:

There are certainly others, not to mention maybe the most powerful one (but by far the one that requires the most geek foo) is GNURadio.

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DSD+ Trunking Tutorial

One of my favorite programs for decoding digital audio is DSDPlus.  I’ve been using it a couple of years to dissect and decode SINGLE digital signals.  Like for instance if I’m in the airport or airport hotel I can listen to DMR radio where the baggage handlers are talking to each other, or the mall cops are planning how to be real cops.  Or you can hear the hotel staff on their radios which is sometimes really fun.

BUT…….DSDPlus also follows Digital Trunked Radio.  That is where there is a Control Channel which is monitored and then the calls are “trunked” to available frequencies allowing for more users to use the system without confusion.  Also users can be placed into Talk Groups which keeps down the confusion even more.  Entire cities can use one radio system to control municipal services such as Police, Fire, EMS, Public Works, Events, etc.

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