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 install.sh…
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 install.sh 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!
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 https://github.com/cariboulabs/cariboulite 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 https://github.com/cariboulabs/cariboulite/discussions/82 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.
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.
Here is the setup for GB7RVB, not much to see really. The radio is a Tait TM8110 which has been configured according to information on the OARC wiki. The NinoTNC is next to it, both currently sitting on top of my Portsdown. Above, and annoyingly not square because I need to move some cables, is the Pi 4 which is PoE powered from a Netgear switch.
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.
At this stage I must state that I overlooked the fact I have an FTM100 and it has a suitable interface! Ok, no way I am going to fiddle soldering a 10-pin mini-DIN plug even if I had one, so I ordered a CT167 cable from www.JGTech.com which arrived within two days. I already had a stock of D9 plugs. With the NinoTNC connected to the Windows PC the APRSIS32 software could send and receive APRS to/from my FT2D (no APRS activity round here other than a receive-only igate).
But packet was a tad more problematic. I wanted to use the Windows PC + Signalink + FT817 setup which means using QtSoundModem on the PC, but I also needed a program to talk to the TNC. QtTermTCP will via KISS but neither the Mac or Linux version had KISS anywhere to be seen, only AGW. And any mix of QtSoundModem and QtTermTCP on the Windows PC generally resulted in nothing talking to anything, which is probably my fault but it definitely got in the way.
So… I set up an old Pi 3B with the LinBPQ software, connected the NinoTNC / FMT100 to that and set up a test configuration. I then ran up QtSoundModem on the Windows PC talking to the FT817, and QtTermTCP on the Mac talking to the Windows QtSoundModem via AGW. And… nothing! The node sent broadcasts which were picked up by QtSoundModem etc. but connects to it all failed.
I noticed that if I sent APRS from the FT2D the OK LED on the TNC would light, but if I sent anything via QtSoundModem only the DCD flashed, no OK. Data issues then. It was then that I realised that in my earlier fiddling about with QtSoundModem I had all the various options in weird modes. Turning off FX25 and IL2P in the modem setting cured it (and no, I have no idea why I had them switched on!), and I could then connect. Success.
So, packet radio across the shack, using two radios, three computers and a NinoTNC.
Next steps… in theory anyway… I have a Tait TM8110 on order via eBay and a cable on order, I already have the programming lead and software. If all goes to plan I may even be able to build a packet node and get a NoV for it. As there is nothing at all round here then this may be a start if I can get others interested. I am to far away from other nodes in the progressive national packet network, but, early days…
See, I built it! And it works. The 3D printed case needs a bit of tidying but is perfectly functional. All I need now is a radio to use it with plus probably re-use one of my spare Pi 3B cards to drive it.
Note to self… stop collecting bits for projects and start building instead!
Just in, this PCB and chip for the TARPN NinoTNC. Described as a multi-speed, multi-protocol USB-KISS packet radio interface this comes as a very nicely made PCB and PIC plus a bill of parts complete with Mouser part numbers and a spreadsheet that loads into Mouser to make a complete order.
I have an allocation within 44net (aka AMPRnet) and so I set up a gateway based on a Raspberry Pi 4B – well, I had one unused one! My allocation is a /29, so 6 IP addresses. The Pi setup is the Pi 4, a PoE HAT, an Ethernet USB dongle for the second Ethernet interface, and a neat 3D printed case that I have used before and which has the height for the HAT.
Software-wise it’s just Raspberry Pi OS, plus a daemon called ampr-ripd which listens for gateway announcements and sorts out routing tables. My link is to the IPIP mesh so I am not doing BGP or anything fancy.
My initial experiment used the wifi interface and I could connect to 44net via the phone / wifi AP software running on the Pi. That worked ok but really I wanted to be able to connect a couple of systems and not bother with wifi. As I had an Ethernet dongle left over from the dismantled QO100 transceiver that did the job nicely. The plan is to connect this to a small network switch offering a couple of Ethernet ports to be used on 44net. So far, the only system connected is my ageing Samsung Netbook which is is horribly slow even with Lubuntu and has a weird screen xy format. But it works nicely using telnet to access a chatroom on 44net.