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What is openSPOT?
openSPOT is a standalone digital radio IP gateway designed mainly for amateur radio. You can reach DMR, D-STAR and C4FM/System Fusion networks by using an openSPOT, internet access, and your DMR/D-STAR/C4FM radio.
What’s openSPOT good for? Let’s say you live in Budapest, and talk to your friends on the local DMR repeater HG5RUC, which is on reflector 4770 on the Brandmeister network. If you travel around the world, where you can’t reach the repeater HG5RUC directly, you can still talk with your friends by using an openSPOT and a DMR (or C4FM) radio by connecting it to the same reflector which HG5RUC uses (4770, BM). If you speak on your DMR/C4FM radio on openSPOT’s frequency, it will route your call to reflector 4770, and HG5RUC will transmit your signals all around Budapest, so your friends will be able to hear and talk to you.
If you don’t have local repeater coverage, openSPOT can link you to DMR, D-STAR and C4FM/System Fusion networks all around the world. If you do have local repeater coverage, you can still make use of an openSPOT to avoid interrupting local repeater traffic. You can reach any reflector or talkgroup with it, so you don’t have to disconnect the local repeater and disturb other local users.
Two openSPOTs can be linked together directly without any servers or network infrastructure. Interconnecting two DMR/D-STAR/C4FM sites can be easily done this way.
You can create your own private radio network by using our open source server application called SharkRF IP Connector Protocol Server. Multiple openSPOTs can connect to this server, it handles all radio modes, even supports DMR<->C4FM cross mode operation. It also has a nice dashboard.
By using openSPOT’s API, you can develop your own software to communicate on DMR, D-STAR and C4FM/System Fusion networks. You can send and receive text messages on DMR networks, or you can create your own RF protocols. All modem settings are customizable.
See openSPOT’s product page or user manual for more information.
What makes openSPOT way better than any hotspot currently on the market?
openSPOT is a customly designed dedicated hardware unit for standalone operation. It doesn’t need a computer, a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino board, or any other hardware. It doesn’t need slow desktop PC software or drivers to install. It comes preassembled with all the needed accessories.
It’s extremely easy to use. You just plug the device into a USB power supply, connect it to your LAN with the supplied Ethernet cable, set the initial parameters with a web browser through it’s web interface, and you are done. The web interface is rarely needed, you can switch talkgroups, reflectors by using your radio. openSPOT automatically reconnects if the connection is dropped. See this video on how easy it is to connect openSPOT to the Brandmeister network:
openSPOT is designed by hardware and embedded software professionals, who are also amateur radio enthusiasts. It’s PCB and hardware components are very high quality and meet industrial standards as you can see by clicking on the high resolution photo below.
openSPOT’s compact blue case is made from durable ABS plastic, and held together with screws, not scotch tape. It has a metal counterweight inside with a laser-engraved SharkRF logo, and rubber pads on the bottom.
You can do cross mode between C4FM and DMR. This means openSPOT can convert your DMR transmission to C4FM networks, and your C4FM transmissions to DMR networks. You can talk to other users on the Brandmeister or DMRplus network by using your C4FM/System Fusion radio, or you can talk to other users on the FCS network by using your DMR radio. This cross mode operation is very easy to set up, as you can see on the video below.
If you are a software developer, you can create your own RF applications by using openSPOT’s HTTP and UDP API which are fully documented on GitHub.
openSPOT has a detailed user manual, official support on the community forum, a YouTube channel with tutorial videos, a Facebook page, and a Twitter channel with the latest news.