After successfully building the radio club's DMR repeated with Russell VK4DCM,
I decided to take a look at Allstar. I was encouraged by my good friend
Rick VK4HC as he wanted to set up an AllStar network in the Seychelles. Thus
began a number of intensive sessions at Russell Island to learn the in and out
of AllStar and hopefully join the AllStar Network worldwide.
To get AllStar working you need an FM radio, a RIM (Radio Interface Module), a Raspberry Pi load with the AllStar application, and an internet connection. All this cost less than a few hundred dollars and less is second hand equipment can be used.
The project has evolved through several stages, each one more complex than the last. We have both learn a lot along the way. I was more experienced on the software side and Rick on the RF side which made a good team.
The stages so far:
Rick decided to modify a Baofeng UVR5 and purchased an ARA RIM. See
ARA AllStar FOB
for details on the ARA radio Interface module.
I made use on a Tait T2020 UHF Band fitted with a T80 interface card and a Repeater Builder's RB-RIM-Lite I imported from the USA for about $100AUD.
We both created account and applied for Node Numbers at https://www.allstarlink.org/nodelist/. You do not need an account to search the node list. Type in "VK4PK" and "VK4HC" to see our node numbers. I typed in "", "VK" and "VK4" and as at January 2020 there were 14,156 node worldwide, 235 nodes in Australia and 33 nodes in Queensland. Of course these are not all active at one time.
After loading software and the some configuration we were both up and running and communicating in clear audio via AllStar. The world was open to us and this was all home brew style open systems not owned by any vendor.
My Tait T2020 AllStar Setup running on 439.2250Mhz, showing the Repeater Builder RIM, the Raspberry Pi, and the Tait Radio. It is power from my 12V nominal battery source charged from a PV Solar panel on the roof.
I can access this radio from my handheld radios on low power from about five kilometers away. This is very handy for me as I can be in communication about the house and nearby, Something I cannot do via the local analogue and DMR Mt Cotton VKRDB repeaters.