Cariboulite success

Well. Further to my previous post where all hope seemed to have gone out of the window I finally made progress today, but not the way I set out to.

First off, I pulled a Raspberry Pi 4 from another project and sat the CaribouLite HAT on it.

Next was a fresh installation of DragonOS. But this time it did open the ssh port – I’ve no idea why it did not before and note I am being unscientific here as I changed the Pi, but I am not going backwards.

Then, time for…

All seemed to go well but the software failed to compile completely. Searching on the errors I added #include <memory> to two source files, cariboulite/software/libcariboulite/src/CaribouLiteCpp.cpp and cariboulite/software/libcariboulite/src/CaribouLite.hpp. Stripping out all the ‘apt’s and ‘depmod’ from and running it again and the software compilation completed! I had already added and commented out the necessary lines in /boot/firmware/config.txt so a reboot was all that was needed to kick it into life. The driver was loaded – lsmod|smi showed this and also /proc/device-tree/hat now exists, both precursors to success according to the notes and YouTube videos.

Running sudo SoapySDRUtils –find showed the card, and, finally (!), running SoapySDRServer –bind and CubicSDR on the Mac mini finds the server on the Pi and I can tune to the local radio station.

Success, but that was a struggle. Mind you, I learned stuff at least!

CaribouLite SDR

I came across this via a post someone made somewhere – actually it might have been an email on a group. Anyway, with a tx/rx range top to 6GHz I thought, why not? It arrived quite quickly from Crowd Supply via Mouser with Crowd Supply charging the VAT but no other taxes on arrival.

I duly mounted it on a spare Raspberry Pi 3B with a fresh Bookworm 64 bit OS and followed the installation instructions at but I always got various errors and never got to a working system. The errors were mainly surrounding the SMI driver and the kernel headers. There seemed no way round this one, and thus no working system.

Following on from another complaint I downloaded and installed DragonOS, a 64 bit variant with lots of SDR utilities built in. Once installed, although the developer stated that ssh is available from first boot and does not need the usual empty ssh file it is not – the system does not open port 22 but does open the vnc port so I then had to find out which of my desktop systems has a vnc viewer as I never use it. When I found one and connected all it gave me was a blank screen. But guess what? Adding an empty ssh file onto the SD card worked, despite the advice!

Following the guidance from one user regarding getting the cariboulite to even install I did a complete upgrade / dist-upgrade cycle and then began the installation process. This time there were no errors about SMI or the kernel headers but there were fatal errors in the general build and no working system at the end.

After countless iterations, reading comments from other users, watching YouTube videos etc. I had to admit defeat and give up.

So there we are. On one hand it serves me right for not finding and reading all the issues before ordering this thing, but on the other given it costs money I rightly expect more, i.e. something that actually works rather than something that will sit in a box until maybe, one day the developer sorts the mess out. As it is I would compare it to the excellent SDRConnect and RSP SDR products which just work – this is the exact opposite!

In a nutshell, don’t bother with this card. But then, you never know, maybe the developer will sort the software and I will re-visit this post in a more positive light.

Update: there is a fork of the software detailed at but following those instructions in a fresh Bookworm throws up the same kernel header errors and results in no SMI driver. So no go there. I tried the same in a fresh DragonOS – I must have been mistaken about the ned for the ssh file because I added this but DragonOS never opens the ssh port for me. So, no go there either!

All in all this has been a lesson in how to waste many hours for no gain. YMMV. There are a few other web pages with differing views and builds which I may try but as a product this is really, really poorly supported by the developer.

Lost images

Drat, double drat and triple drat. When I moved URLs about this blog, reconstituted from the original before I briefly moved to Write Freely, was all fine. But I overlooked the fact that the WordPress database held onto the old URLs in all the images. So all the original posts that had images now have blank space. I am working my way back through these to sort each post out. Annoyingly it is not just a straight URL swap as there were differences in the older version of WordPress as was, so I need to remove and re-add each one. Oh well…

Update: I think I found and fixed them all.

Broadband upgrades

Not long ago a telegraph pole appeared on the street outside our house to take wires between two existing poles. I think it was placed so that those wires didn’t come across our land as they seem to droop quite a lot. Associated with said pole, and others in the area are pole mounted fittings to do with BT’s full fibre offering. Today, a flyer came in the mail offering full fibre service at various speeds. That will make a change to our current 15Mbps ADSL. But there may be issues.

Do we need the speed? Well, currently we can watch fairly good res YouTube on one TV, a BBC program on another, and all the less bandwidth hogging tasks that happen all the time such as Pi-Star, various Internet links to various bits and bobs, email, general web browsing etc. We only notice issues where video games peg out and Windows OneDrive sets off synchronising at full whack. Currently I have OneDrive (not mine, I don’t even use it!) configured to play nicely (honestly, if you’ve ever let it fully loose it’s a real bandwidth hog, quite unlike iCloud which never seems to get in anyone’s way and still does everything it needs to), and the switch port that the gaming PC is on is throttled so it cannot take the full 15Mbps.

So yes, more speed would be useful. We also found that a YouTube rented 4k video will buffer constantly.

But… and this is a big but, will our chosen ISP deploy cg-nat? This is something many of us will face and the issue is that cg-nat makes it very difficult, if even possible to have incoming connections. Some things will (or should!) just work, like SIP phones as the sessions are initiated by the phone constantly polling the server(s) rather than calls actually coming in. But others – things like Echolink, Allstar, 44net and the AXIP connections used on GB7RVB all need connections coming in as well as out, and cg-nat will break those. Some Pi-star configurations will rely on incoming connections too.Some PC games will not play nicely with cg-nat either.

So that is a concern and it is difficult to get an answer from many ISPs as you never talk to a techie. Some do say so, some offer static IP addresses which, provided they mean public IP addresses exclude the use of cg-nat. With BT I can get that but only if I buy their business offering which is more expensive.

Yes, I could set up a VPN to my VPS and do it that way, assuming the VPN will play with cg-nat. But that adds even more complexity.

There is also the issue of the telephone. We still have a landline although these days it sees very little use and only for inbound calls. Do we ditch the number and rely on mobiles, will SIP phones really work, can I move our number to a SIP service or just get a new number?

And let’s not forget the issue regarding the inability to dial 999 (the emergency number, the UK’s version of 911) in a power cut. With the current switched copper telephone network the phones are powered all the way from the exchange. Not so with fibre as if your in-house fibre modem has no power you have no phone. But for us that is less of an issue really, we have at least one mobile phone in the house at all times, and, hey, I have at least one 2m/70cm FM HT charged at all times. We – collectively, radio amateurs – are generally better off that way.

Anyway, as it stands the flyer only just arrived and I will probably wait for one of the neighbours to take the plunge first! I can’t even remember if I am still on contract with our current ISP as they never called to confirm and it is not possible to find out online (which I find rather stupid for an ISP but there you are).

SD card blues

I thought I was going mad today. I wanted to print some rails for the FT817 and I already had the sliced files on the SD card in the 3D printer. I selected the first (there are two, one is a mirror of the other) and told it to print. Nothing. Reset the printer and tried again. Nothing. Opening the SD card on the Mac showed the file to be 0 bytes, which is certainly was not as I had printed it before. Ok, copy it again and try again. Nothing!

Right. Delete all the files on the SD card – I have them all on the Mac anyway. Copy just the files for the rails across and try again.


Looking at the SD card via a terminal window – I must admit to be my favourite UI – it was full of all sorts of junk. Going duff perhaps? Ok, use a recycled 8Gb micro-SD in a holder, delete all the files currently on it, copy the rails across and try that. Ah, the files did not delete so it’s full of old junk and I can’t spot the files to print. Back to the Mac. Tried 3 times with different holders to delete all the files on this micro-SD and each time unmounting and re-mounting it showed they were all still there. That micro-SD is in the bin now.

Right! Use another micro-SD, delete all the old files, copy just the two gcode files across and …. it’s printing!



I have removed the Activitypub plugin that was supposed to make it possible to follow this blog from the Fediverse. I was the only follower and it never seemed to work anyway. Less baggage.

Packet progress…

My second NinoTNC is built. The parts came today from Mouser in a huge box. I need to adjust the case a little to make it fit nicely but now I have this one I can go mobile and see how access to GB7RVB is. So far, no-one has connected (and yes, the antenna is still in the loft!)

I did find a TNC program for the Mac called KISSet which works fine once I remembered to put my callsign in! I wondered why it was sending data and GB7RVB’s TNC was receiving – no callsign. Twit. It worked fine after that.

Packet mailbox NoV

I now have a NoV for GB7RVB, a packet mailbox on 144.950MHz. It is currently set for AFSK AX25 at 1200 baud, though may move to more modern IL2P 4800 baud after trials.

It is located here in IO93eu and I would be interested in reports if anyone manages to connect to it. The only service currently enabled is local chat. Early days… it’s a bit of a backwater here with no packet and hardly any APRS activity. Maybe this will start it as there are moves elsewhere to build up a national packet network. If one or two other nodes pop up between here and the emerging networks we could make links.

If you do not have a hardware TNC it is possible to use software, for example I have successfully used QtSoundModem to drive a Signalink and my FT817, and QtTermTCP to connect via AGW to the modem, with the FT817 set to 144.950 and packet mode.

GB7RVB is currently based on the LinBPQ package and runs on a Raspberry Pi 3B, with a NinoTNC (see my earlier post about having built that). It is currently driving an FTM100 set for 5W but will be using a Tait TM8110 once the data lead arrives in a few days.

Workshop weirdness

I have a Tait TM8110 VHF transceiver that is destined for use on packet radio. This was sold as untested but appears to work fine. However, in testing I was concerned that the bench PSU I connected it to showed a current draw of 0A. The radio was making noise and, connected to the Bird and a dummy load was generating RF. Anyway, I programmed it with the various packet frequencies, power settings and ensured the bandwidth was 12.5kHz and tried it on air. It was working fine on both tx and rx. But still 0A draw. Hmmm.

I have two identical bench supplies, Lavolta BPS-305, 30V 5A units. One has a noisy fan so I use the other. I swapped to the noisy one and it shows reasonable current draws for rx and tx. And then the noisy fan decided not be noisy any more (still working though!) so perhaps the noise from this PSU was just it sulking from being ignored.



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