How To Setup Your Hotspot

In this post I'll take you through the complete setup of a hotspot on a Raspberry Pi Zero W using the Pi Star system

I have a couple Jumbospots but the process should be the same for MMDVM and ZUM boards. There are plenty of sites with instructions on doing this but I figured it wouldn't hurt to have it here as well. If you have questions or requests please feel free to leave a comment and I'll see if I can help.

Materials

  • ZUM Spot / MMDVM_HS Hat / Jumbospot
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • Micro SD card >=8gb
First thing you'll have to do is solder the headers on the boards. I also recommend soldering the extra two pin header for firmware updates in the future.
 If you need to solder an OLED display to the board this would be a good time for that too.
 If you plan on using a Nextion display you may want to solder a header for it as well. 
You'll also need to solder on the SMA antenna connector unless you're using an on-board ceramic antenna. Remember if you have a ceramic antenna but want to use the SMA connector you will have to remove the ceramic antenna for good performance.

After everything is soldered in place you'll need to cut off any excess that's left from the soldered pins. Make sure you trim all the solder connections as close as you can to avoid anything shorting out.

The Software

You'll need to download Pi Star here.
If your using Windows I recommend Etcher to write the image to your Micro SD card. 
The Pi Star website has a nice tool called WiFi Builder for configuring your WiFi. 
It generates a file called "wpa_supplicant.conf". After you write the Pi Star image you'll see a drive labeled "Boot", that's where you put the "wpa_supplicant.conf" file before you eject your Micro SD card.
Once the hotspot is connected to your WiFi it's not always easy to find it. I recommend Fing for iPhone or Android to find the IP address. 
Then open a browser window and go to the IP address of your hotspot. The first time you'll see a page saying "I don't know what mode I'm in". You'll need to click the "configure" menu item to set everything up.
The default user and password are pi-star and raspberry. You should change the password to keep your setup secure. It's on the bottom of the page.
Next I'll go through the setup for DMR as that's all I use on my hotspot, but it's not hard to figure out the other modes. First select MMDVMHost and Simplex Node then enable the modes you're going to use. Change display type to whatever display your going to use. The port doesn't matter for OLED and I believe it's Modem for Nextion displays.
Next you have to fill in
  • Callsign
  • CCS7/DMR ID
  • The Frequency you want to use
  • Coordinates
  • Town
  • Country
  • QRZ URL
You'll need to select your board type from the list. In the US you can set Node to Public, I believe in the UK this must be set to Private. Then select your time zone and language.
There are several options for DMR configuration. I only link to a Brandmeister server. I always leave the color code at 1 but you can change it as you like. If you set Auto AP to On when the hotspot can't find a configured WiFi network it will switch to AP mode and you can directly connect to it.

Once everything is set the way you want it clicking on any of the "Apply Changes" buttons will save ALL the settings on this screen.

If you click on "Dashboard" you will see the status of your hotspot and network connections as well as all gateway activity.

This should be enough to get you up and running. Remember that the Pi Zero takes some time to boot and if you have an OLED display it may take a couple minutes for it to come to life.

I plan on going over firmware updates and using the Brandmeister API soon so check back!