Posts Tagged ‘CHIRP’

Review – BTech AMP-25 series for Analog & DMR

by John ‘Miklor’

The  AMP-25  series  VHF / UHF Amplifiers

The recently announced BTech Digital and Analog amplifier series puts a whole new spin on mobile operation. It performs more like a mobile than it does a power amp. The D series are true TDMA Tier2 DMR amplifiers.

Note: This review was done using an Anytone D868UV on both DMR and analog.

In the Box

Included with the 40W Mobile Amp are:

–  Mounting Bracket
–  3′  Interface Control Cable (Kenwood K1 connectors)
–  3′  RF connect cable (SMA-M to SMA-F)
–  Microphone and Hanger
–  All necessary mounting hardware
–  User Guide

General Description
–  UHF or VHF Power Amplifier

–  2-6W  >  20-40W  Output

                         Modes of operation include:

             V25  U25            V25D   U25D
Analog (FM)
C4FM (Fusion)
P25  (Phase 1)
 >  DMR Tier II (TDMA)
 >  P25  (Phase 2)
Analog (FM)
C4FM (Fusion)
P25  (Phase 1)

A Different type of Mobile Amplifier

I found these to be much more than a typical power amplifier. Although they can function as a simple ‘In and Out’ power amp, this is about as close to a full mobile as you can get. Although the driving force was my DMR handheld sitting in my cup holder, the transmit audio was that of the included hand microphone and the receiver audio out was coming through the built in speaker driven by a four watt audio amplifier.

Transmit Power

I tested the power on two different models. The VHF V25 (non TDMA) and the U25D for UHF DMR.  The power was tested using the analog side of both into a calibrated Bird Termaline wattmeter. The maximum current drain from my 13.6V 30A power supply was just under 6A. This is low enough for the amp to be powered by the 10A accessory jack in your vehicle.


The basic frame measures 4.6″W x 1.3″H x 5.5″D (excluding the SO-239) and weighs in at 26oz.  I was curious to see the internal layout of the amp and to no surprise, there was a 5/8″ finned heat sink spanning the entire length and width of the case along with air vent along the back of the enclosure.

Operating Modes

These are single band amplifiers.
V25(D) = VHF 136-174MHz
U25(D) = UHF 400-480MHz.

Note: The V25D and U25D were designed to include DMR Tier II (TDMA) and P25 Phase 2 along with all other modes. Their operation varies slightly.

V25  /  U25
To operate VHF through the UHF (U25) amplifier, or UHF through the VHF (V25) amplifier, simply power off the amplifier. This will allow you to run straight through directly to the antenna without power amplification on that band.

V25D / U25D
These amplifiers will only operate within their specified VHF or UHF range. This is due to the circuit switching design of DMR Tier II and P25 Phase 2.

Hook Up

The simplest configuration is using the included RF cable to attach the radio to the amp. You could add a Spkr/Micr to the handheld, but you would still be bypassing some of the best features.

I use the two included cables. The 3′ RF cable to attach the radio to the amp, and the control cable. This allows me to use the full size hand microphone as well as connecting the four watt audio amp powering the speaker. The power included power cable is compatible with handhelds using the standard two pin Kenwood style connector, such as an MD380, D868, GD77, UV5R, F8HP, UV82, etc.

I use an Anytone D868 on DMR as well as analog with the hookup diagrammed below. Depending on your radios antenna jack, you may need to pickup an SMA-M to SMA-M adapter.



All channel selection and volume adjustments are done using the handheld. No duplicate programming or code plugs are necessary. Whatever is in my handheld is what I operate in the mobile

Operating my handheld in the low power position, I still get 22W out on UHF and my handheld’s battery life remains excellent, but high power gives me a solid 39W.


I was glad to see someone finally develop what is a full featured mobile amplifier capable of  DMR as well as all other modes including C4FM and D-Star that is small enough to mount in the car, boat, and on top of your computer. This amplifier is Part 90 certified and definitely worth considering.

Available from Amazon:    V25     V25D     U25     U25D

Digital / Analog
Mobile Power Amplifiers


Show Notes #084


  • No music this time; just one hour jam-packed with LHS goodness!


  • Remember to sign up for the following LHS services:
    • The LHS SubReddit
    • The LHS Mailing List
    • The LHS Mobile app. Follow our updates via the mobile applications available for iPod, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
    • Be an LHS Ambassador! Please join our Ambassador program. The event calendar has expanded quite a bit and we need your help. These events are now world-wide, so we could use some help outside the US as well as all over the country from California to Maine.
  • YFKtest: Yes, there really does seem to be a problem. It’s been confirmed by John, EI7IG, that the program does not log contacts for the ARRL Field Day contest. Other contests work fine. Russ plans on emailing the developer, DJ1YFK, with these observations.
  • From the “Yes, It’s an Antenna” File: Multi-band HF dipole made from horse fencing.
  • Pulling a Lunduke: Holding Source Code Hostage. Our hosts discuss this blog post by Tom Nardi about Bryan Lunduke’s recent move to open source his software. Bryan is one of the hosts of The Linux Action Show.


  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    • A common topic Russ encountered at Dayton was about the available Linux options for software defined radios.
    • GNU Radio Project
      • Version 3.6.0 released in early May, 2012.
      • Version 3.2.2 is in the Debian Sid repository.
      • The latest version can be retrieved with git. (Install git with the command “apt-get install git”.) To download the software, issue the command “git clone git://”.
      • Build instructions are available for most of the major Linux distributions.
    • SDR Hardware
      • Ettus USRP series works with the GNU Radio Project software. There are various models ranging in price from $700 to $2000, depending on the frequency range and options. Various modules allow receive and/or transmit on bands from 30kHz to 5.9GHz. Unfortunately, power output appears to be just 50-200mW, depending on the bands provided by the transmitter daughter board chosen.
      • Funcube Dongle costs £128 (~$200) and is a receiver only. The Funcube Dongle is a “radio receiver designed to allow anyone to try their hand at reception of satellites like FUNcube”. It covers 51.5MHz – 1.7GHz, less the region from 1.1GHz to 1.2GHz.
      • Perseus SDR costs $1000 and is also receive-only. It receives 10kHz to 40MHz.
      • SoftRock SDR is a kit available in various models from $20 to $90. Most are receive-only, but the Ensemble is a 1W HF transceiver. Some models are unavailable at the moment. The SoftRock RXTX Ensemble Transceiver Kit will allow you to build a 1W transceiver for one of the following bands or band groups: 160m, 80m/40m, 30m/20m/17m, or 15m/12m/10m.
      • RTL-SDR Devices range in price from $20 to $200 and are receive-only. More on the RTL-SDR project in an upcoming episode.


  • Stewart, VA3PID, wrote to say that Russ was the first person, possibly ever, to correctly place his Scottish accent at Hamvention. He also remarked (in reference to a discussion in episode 71) that Chirp has come a long way; it can now program his Yaesu FT-857D!
  • Jonas recently re-discovered LHS and expressed his appreciation for the show. Thanks, Jonas!
  • Stefano, IZ3NVR/KD2BGM, asks for more help getting so2sdr built on his Linux machine. Russ suggests installing the compiler with “apt-get install g++ build-essential”, installing Qt and several other packages as described in Episode 83, then try building the so2sdr program again.
  • Lastly, David Dominicki left a mostly unintelligible comment in response to Episode 78. Um, thanks… we think.

Contact Info:


  • None.

Stupid UV-3R tricks

Baofeng UV-3R Mark II

Baofeng UV-3R Mark II

So, as some of you may have guessed, I like to tinker.  For some reason I’m never satisfied with things the way they are when I buy gadgets.  I have an Acer NetBook running Mac OS X, an old Windows Mobile phone running Android Froyo, and a $50 CVS 7″ WinCE NetBook running Debian Linux.  If there’s a mod, I want to know about it.  I had been reading about the Baofeng UV-3R and its capabilities before I ordered the his and hers models and made sure I ordered a programming cable too, so that I could attempt the 220 mod that’s been talked about.  I ordered the cable from someone different than the radios, so as of Thursday it had not arrived yet.  Could I wait?  Of course not.

I also own a Radio Shack Pro-137 scanner.  This is a 1000-channel model that was marketed as a racing scanner.  You can usually pick them up on the cheap because of the racing moniker.  In reality, these are great all-around scanners, with a stalker function that helps when testing commercial radios.  I have a programming cable for the pro-137 that I used, along with ARC software and a RadioReference account, to load all of the local frequencies I wanted.  I was thinking that day, after dealing with several other forms of USB-to-serial adapters that these cables are not all that different.  Just the pins are different.  The scanner uses a 3-conductor 3.5mm plug, and the Baofeng uses a 4-conductor one.

I examined the pinouts for both radios, and realized that the ground and first ring are the same, but the third ring on the scanner’s plug corresponds to the fourth ring on the Baofeng, so it was probably not going to work.  I know this because when you plug standard stereo headphones into the UV-3R, you short

Radio Sack 20-047

Radio Sack 20-047

out pins 3 and 4 in the radio, causing the radio to transmit.  When using headphones though, if you pull the plug out just a little (about a mm), you get one ear (left) of sound.  I wondered if this would work with the programming cable.  I started the software. and hit the button to download the radio memories onto my computer.  After a couple of tries I found the sweet spot.  About a mm out there is a slight detent you can feel.  That is where you need to be.  It works!  I will post the results of my experimenting with the software and the mod later.  If any of you have one of these cables laying around, it will work.  The stock drivers in Vista and Win7 will even work!  Some Radio Shack’s have these on closeout still.  Stock number 20-047.

The funny thing is this:  Guess what was waiting in the mail when I got home?

–Neil  W2NDG


LHS Show Notes #071


  • The Black Sparrow Media web site has been updated. If you use the aggregate feed from there, you’ll receive Linux in the Ham Shack, QSK Netcast, and Resonant Frequency (or Richard’s Radio Adventures) podcasts.


  • D-RATS
    • Bruce, VE2GZI, asks for help installing D-RATS on his Linux Mint computer. He tried adding the repository per the instructions on the D-RATS website, but received errors.
    • Richard has several suggestions: Make sure the whole line “deb karmic release” gets entered into your sources.list file and that you are using the right repo for your distribution. Linux Mint normally falls a version behind Ubuntu. You might also try the tar file labeled “source” from the website, and use the archive manager to install it. Since D-RATS is written completely in Python, and Dan normally tries to stay with the most current version, check to see if you have the most recent version of Python installed. Finally, you could subscribe to the D-RATS mailing list from the website for more help.
    • Russ adds: If you wish to add the repository via the command line, there are a couple of ways to do it: (a) Edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list and add the “deb karmic release” line, OR (b) Create a file in the /etc/apt/sources.list.d directory called, say, d-rats-repo.list, and add the “deb karmic release” line to it. However, back in April, 2011, Steve Conklin, AI4QR, said his packaging of D-RATS had been accepted into both Debian Testing and Unstable branches. So, if you’re running Debian or Linux Mint Debian Edition, it’s already in the repository. Just issue the command “apt-get install d-rats”. For Ubuntu, there’s a PPA at That should work with Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat), and 11.04 (Natty Narwhal). (It may not work with Ubuntu 11.10, Oneric Ocelot, but then again, it might).
    • Ed. Note: After this episode was recorded, the D-RATS website was updated to say:Ubuntu users should use the ubuntu-hams PPA in order to get packages for D-RATS. To install the PPA, go to a terminal and type:
      sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-hams-updates/ppa
      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get install d-rats

      The package manager will do the rest!

  • Chirp
    • Chirp was written by Dan Smith, KK7DS, who is also the author of D-RATS.
    • From the Chirp wiki: CHIRP is a FREE cross-platform, cross-radio programming tool. It works on Windows and Linux (and Mac OSX, with a little work). It supports a growing list of radios across several manufacturers and allows transferring of memory contents between them.
    • Chirp currently supports 41 different model radios from Alinco, Yaesu, Kenwood, Icom, and others.
    • Richard tested it with his Icom IC-91 and IC-2200.
    • Chirp has a bare-bones interface, using a basic spreadsheet style, and is primarily for entering memory channel information. It will allow entry of call signs for D-STAR operation.
    • There are packages for Fedora and Ubuntu, and a source package for all other distributions of Linux. Chirp is written in Python, so be sure to have the latest version of Python installed.
    • There is also a self-extracting .exe file for Windows, and an app package for Mac OS-X. You must install the Python runtime package, available on the Chirp website, for the Mac version.
    • There is a Chirp mailing list, among others, at
    • Russ and Richard then discuss the cost of various D-STAR radios.
  • Linux Tip: apt-cache policy
    • Russ offers a tip on how to determine which Debian repository is providing a given package.
    • Use the command apt-cache policy <package name>
    • For example: apt-cache policy libpulse0
    • The results of that command will show you which version is installed, if any, which version would be installed, and all other versions available.


  • Dan, K4FD, thanks us for the podcast. It has inspired him to return to the hobby after a 10 year hiatus. Thanks, Dan, and welcome back to the hobby!
  • We received a donation from Jim G. Thank you, Jim!

Contact Info:


  • To be added.

LHS Show Notes #056



  • Hello to the new folks in the chat room.
  • The Mintcast podcast is either going to stop or will have new hosts after the next episode. If you’re interested in hosting a podcast, contact the folks over there.
  • Please spread the word about MAGNetcon, the Mid-America GNU/Linux Networkers Conference, to be held May 6-7, 2011 at the St. Louis Union Station Marriott. If you know anyone that might be a sponsor, exhibitor, or speaker, please let us know. Application forms are available on the web site.
  • Check out the new website for Resonant Frequency.
  • Also mentioned, the Going Linux podcast and Computer America, “America’s longest-running nationally syndicated radio talk show about computers.”


  • Richard, KR4EY, writes about CW… wait, we did this one in Episode 52.
  • John, KC8DAX, weighs in on the Windows vs. Linux debate: there are hams that will buy a wire antenna and there are others that will build one. He thinks it’s the same thing with operating systems. Would you want a radio you couldn’t open? Our hosts discuss.
  • We received a donation from Charles to help send Linux in the Ham Shack to the 2011 Dayton Hamvention. Thank you, Charles!
  • Joe, K1RBY, recently discovered the podcast and is catching up, but is having a problem using gpodder to retrieve episodes. Yes, Joe, there is a bug in one of the WordPress plugins on the web site that contributed to the problem (see for a description of the problem.) It has been corrected.
  • John, K7JM, also had the problem with gpodder and sends his appreciation for the fix.
  • Richard, KJ4VGV, tells us that he is a new amateur radio operator since May and has published an article: Antenna Restrictions: Are They a Catastrophe Waiting to Happen? Good job, Richard!
  • James, N2ENN, comments about our episode 52 when we discussed Unity, and offers his thoughts on Wayland, Debian and Ubuntu. Our hosts discuss, and digress to a discussion of browsers, plugins, drivers, ALSA and PulseAudio on Debian vs. LinuxMint Debian Edition. They also commment on Bill Meara’s (of SolderSmoke fame) efforts to get WSPR running under WINE in Ubuntu.
  • Paul, KE5WMA, writes “PIC micro controllers are getting more popular in HAM projects. Any suggestions on programming software and boards?” Well, Paul, Linux does still support serial ports, but this may be a good topic for another show. You might find something useful in the many hits returned by a Google search on “Linux PIC programmer”.
  • B.B., KC5PIY, asks for help with getting Windows programs for programming radios, such as the Icom IC-2820H and IC-706 MkIIg, running under Linux. He’d also like an APRS client. Richard recommends UIView as an APRS client for Windows, and Xastir for Linux. Russ suggests that most of the radio programming applications will run under WINE in Linux. Also, check out CHIRP, free Linux software for programming a variety of D-STAR radios. You may also want to explore the D-RATS mailing list. It’s not likely you’ll be able to dual-boot Windows and Linux on that netbook, but you can install Ubuntu Linux using WUBI, which would allow you to run Linux within Windows, or install Linux to a USB flash drive using Pen Drive Linux.
  • Craig, KB5UEJ, writes about learning IPv6: “I went through the Hurricane Electric certification program and really learned lots about IPv6. I’m now running IPv6 on my home using HEs IPv6 tunnelbroker service. It’s no longer the big bad scary thing that it used to be.” Russ also talked about IPv6 on episode 6 of his QSK podcast.
  • Matt shares his thoughts about building “simple” projects from junk box parts and the similarity to running Linux.

Contact Info:


  • “Balboa” by Ness from the album Fiesta, courtesy of Jamendo.
  • “Crawling Back In” by Deathalizer from the album It Dwells Within, courtesy of Jamendo.

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