New item in the shack, a birthday present: RaspberryPi-3

RaspberryPi-3

RaspberryPi-3

My latest acquisition to the shack is a RaspberryPi-3. A great birthday gift to get! I already owned two RaspberryPi-1’s and one RaspberryPi-2. One of the RaspberryPi-1’s is doing a great job to put out the telemetry of my weather station with Xastir. I wanted the RaspberryPi-3 put to work as a WSPR-decoder as extension on my latest project: the 30m WSPR-RX. Still working on tweaks for the RX though.

Software

My first hunch putting an OS on the RaspberryPi-3 was to use a special light version of Ubuntu (Ubuntu Mate). Unfortunately WSJT-X (the software to decode WSPR-signals) as a Ubuntu package is pretty old (version 1.1 or something while the latest is 1.6). So I decided to compile from source. That turned out to be a little laborious since you need a lot of extra source code packages that all named different from the documentation. After an hour or so searching the source was compiling. When WSJT-X was ready it did run. But after a few starts it gave errors which I couldn’t fix. It drove the RaspberryPi-3 to a load of 100% and couldn’t recover. Back to square one. I changed Ubuntu Mate for Raspbian. And I was already compiling again from source when I stumbled upon this link. A simple PPA with the latest and the greatest of WSJT-X: version 1.7!

Altering

I did a few changes to the standard setup of Raspbian; since I run the RaspberryPi’s kind of headless, I installed tightvncserver. I just switched off the default lightdm and enabled the vncserver from boot.
Something else I did was adding WSJT-X as startup application. This way after a power failure or a spontaneous reboot, WSJT-X would start automatically again to pick up it’s task.
I still need to add a cronjob to check every 5 minutes or so if the program stil runs and if not: start it again.

Hardware

After a few hours playing around with the new RaspberryPi-3 I very much like the better speed! The RaspberryPi-1 is just plain slow, the RaspberryPi-2 is a little better, but this latest edition is very good workable as all rounder in my shack. I put in a cheap Chinese USB-sound stick to decode the WSPR-signals from the WSPR-RX. It works problem-less. Booting is actually pretty fast and Raspbian is very usable. The RaspberryPi-3 isn’t getting warm or anything (you read about these errors lately) I run it on a good but simple Apple 5v/1A adapter which runs fine. Tonight I’ll do another adjusting session at the club’s lab of the WSPR-RX and then I’ll let this combination run for a few weeks.

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