Portable Operating with the Raspberry Pi 4

ADMINS: If this post doesn’t really fit here then please move to a more appropriate topic.

Now that’s out of the way on to my questions.

After Field Day 2020, I knew I had to add an alternate mode of radio communication to my current modes as SSB was rendered totally ineffective for me this year.

My options were morse code or digital modes. While I had taken most of the Beginner course from CW Academy…it just didn’t work out and I left 2 weeks before the class ended.

Therefore, I bit the bullet and bought myself the following:
Raspberry Pi 4
Glosnass GPS USB Dongle
Sabrent USB Sound Card
Ham_Daptor Ft-891 to Raspberry Pi 4 sound cable

Has anyone of you gone this route?
Does anyone have any tips?
Any photos as a form of humblebrag?

Any response would be greatly appreciated. I have only setup the KM4ACK’S Build a PI V3 software and haven’t had the Pi 4 recognize the GPS dongle.


Andrew J O’Brien

hi Andrew,

I’m pondering options and I’ll follow your progress with interest. I’ve used WSPR and WSJT modes for vhf dx in the past. Generally I used a signalink between a radio and a PC or laptop. The radios used have been FT817 and IC703.

If your radio has an inbuilt “sound card” the computer can connect direct to that and use that as the interface to the radio.

I found this account of one option for digi modes on the Pi4. https://www.emdrc.com.au/take-some-pi-on-your-next-portable-operation/

I’ve been given a few other things to read by my local portable digital expert, Wade VK1MIC.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Hi Andrew @KC1MIJ
You can search on old topics on reflector where talking about Raspberry.
Here one of multiples thread Looking for a good Raspberry PI 4 Image Optimized for SOTA
73 Éric

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Andrew @KC1MIJ
You have also this one by @DK9JC John :

And you can find a complete software solution here :

73 Éric


Andrew, I have the exact same RPi setup as you. I had hoped to use it last week on my 1st SOTA activation but I totally forgot to change my Pi case to one where I could route my jumper cables to power the Pi off of my battery. Didn’t have a good screwdriver to take apart the case, so no joy! I know the setup works as I have made 1 FT8 contact at home using this setup with my 891, so there is no reason to think it won’t work in the field. Go for it! PS. check out OH8STN for his web page and YouTube channel, as well as KM4ACK. They’ve got tons of stuff and OH8STN’s battery packs are what I have made.

Reid, K8JLW

Hi, all. Sorry it’s been a while but I’ve been trying to resolve a lot of issues but finally have what I believe to be a working setup as you can see below from when I was testing it out for Parks on the Air (POTA).

Final Setup:
Raspberry Pi 4
Sunfounder 13.3 in HDMI Monitor
Roccat Juke Sound Card
USB Keyboard
GPS Dongle VK172
Chameleon MPAS 2 Vertical or Emcomm 3 Portable
Power: Between 37 and 61 Watts

I am working on setting up the Xiegu X5105 in place of the FT-891 for the longer hikes when I’m doing digital on an Activation. I definitely want to add an FT8 as a mode. Hopefully operating from a summit may allow me to get contacts quicker than FT8 and POTA.

Looking forward to any additional tips you guys have. Looking at W1/HA-001 on 9/5/2020 for my next Activation. Planning on taking the Auto Road since I’m too out of shape after Monadnock.

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