If you have followed my on Instagram or Facebook then you already know I enjoy Digital Modes in Amateur radio such as JS8Call and APRS and I have a few computer options ranging in cost and power consumption from the Raspberry Pi 4 to the Microsoft Surface Go2 to the Apple MacBook Air M1 all have their pros and cons and I have options to power all of them all in the field but unless its very sunny (a rare thing in the winter here on Exmoor) eventually the batteries will become discharged and I will have to wait to recharge them.
A few weeks ago I was chatting with G0TRT and he told me about the Digipi project by KM6LYW. Digipi is a OS Image designed for the raspberry pi zero w. I had a quick look and it seemed interesting.
Shortly after that the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W which has a significant performance increase over the original raspberry pi w (almost equivalent to a Raspberry Pi 3A I understand) with a price tag of around USD15 or GBP13 and very low power requirements.
I ordered one and a few other parts I needed for it (they seem to currently be in short supply so I could only get one). I soldered the header on, then I de-soldered the header and soldered it on again (Im rubbish at soldering) and fitted the optional small TFT screen supported by Digipi, that is a push fit so got that on first time 😉 it can be powered from just about any USB port on a PC, Laptop, Powerbank, car adapter etc etc. I powered it up to test using my Powerfilm Solar Lightsave Max, which will probably keep it running for several weeks.
I will make another blog post about the software later when I get the IC705 working with it (“manual” upgrade of the software or wait for version 1.6 of Digipi to be released) but it runs direwolf, pat winlink and FT8 with the addition of JS8Call in version 1.6. All apps are accessible from a web browser so you can use a phone or tablet to control it, Im planning on using my new iPad mini.
More coming soon when I get it all running properly, in the mean time you can find more details about the project including build instructions and videos on http://craiger.org/digipi/