As an amateur radio operator, I always keep an eye out for new Tindie products that help tickle my Ham itch. Digital modes are so much fun to play with, and this incredibly feature-packed Pi Hat instantly caught my attention. In the past, I’ve played around with slow-scan TV (SSTV, kind of like ‘Instagram for Hams’) using my PC and my Kenwood TS-820S, but having to have the radio and computer near each other was always a hassle.
This hat packs everything – the sound card, the push-to-talk control, even CAT control for modern radios which support it into a single board. With a Raspberry Pi 4 attached, this could be the perfect ‘radio room’ computer. The Raspberry Pi has a huge selection of software for use with amateur radio, including lots of contact logging software (I like CQRLOG, but there are many different packages) as well as amazing digital mode software like flDigi (no HTTPS) and the WSJT suite of low-power, long-range digital modes. The board even supports a GPS module which could be used in conjunction with APRS!
To get started quickly, you can flash an SD card with HamPi (Raspbian with a ton of amateur radio software installed and pre-configured) and then connect your radio’s push-to-talk, microphone and audio outputs to the digi Pi. You’ll be on the air in no time!
If you’ve been wanting to get into amateur radio, now is a great to do so! Many countries charge little or nothing for a license, and there’s a huge network of amateur radio operators who help newbies get into the hobby. Just do a quick Google search for your country and ‘amateur radio’ and you should be able to find the application process. 76 de VA3XMR and see you on the air!