Something to blog about…The Raspberry Pi

There has not been a lot to blog about lately. Until now.

I cannot remember where I learned about this recently, but I came across a little electronic device/computer called the Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi was developed in the U.K. by a foundation to provide a simple, inexpensive platform for youth to learn programming. The Raspberry Pi is a computer on a board about the size of a deck of cards that can run Linux. Here's the best thing. It SELLS for $35.00 (USD).

Hams have taken to this little computer and have developed all sorts of uses for it. Controlling repeaters, DStar DVAPS and Hotspots, APRS Digis, Packet Digis, Multimode device, etc. The possibilities are endless.

The little computer in the most current version (there was an earlier version) which is the "B" model with 512MBs of memory, two USB ports, an HDMI port, composite video port, an audio out port, and an SD Card slot that serves as the storage. You can add a powered USB Hub to add more USB ports to add external disk, CD/DVD player etc.

The bad news is that demand is so high, that you have to wait weeks or months to get one. They cannot manufacture them fast enough. If you want one right away, you can get them on eBay, but you'll have to pay a premium to get it right away. I ordered my first one off eBay for about $56 with $5 for shipping. You can order them from Newark (www.newark.com) here in the U.S. for $35, but you'll wait sometimes when they are on back-order which is most of the time.

You can get basic information at http://www.raspberrypi.org/ but be sure to do a search on the Internet to see what hams are doing with the Raspberry Pi or RPi for short. There are also a number of Yahoo Groups with more information on hams experimenting with this little computer.

Currently, my Raspberry Pi is running a DStar DVAP. It runs "headless" meaning without a monitor, keyboard and mouse. I use my other computers to do a ssh session into the RPi which is just like sitting in front of a directly connected monitor.

I have seen other experimenting with marrying the RPi to a TNC-X to make a self contained little packet station. But don't forget, there is software out that to turn that little computer into a repeater controller! A $35 repeater controller folks!

So take a look and read up on how this little device is helping make positive changes to amateur radio. Oh, and I have two more on order from Newark.
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