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Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Tuning your hotspot (Pi-Star)

Tuning your hotspot is something you should do to get the lowest BER (Bit Error Rate) - that means to get the least errors in the digital data being sent by your radio. If you have a high BER then it causes your audio to sound bad to others or even to fail to decode if it's very badly tuned.

So to do this, first open up the dashboard of your hotspot. This can be accessed at pi-star/ usually. Then click on configuration near the top right of the page.

Next, in the same area click on Expert, then MMDVMHost. Scroll down on this page to the Modem section. You should see an RX offset field.

Now, set your radio to use a talkgroup/room/reflector where you won't be disturbing anyone by transmitting. I suggest using an echo test one. On the Brandmeister network this is done with a private call to 9990.

Open a new tab in your browser and navigate back to the dashboard. When you transmit, you should be able to see it under the Local RF Activity section. If you don't then it could mean that your frequency is off by such an extent that the hotspot isn't even detecting the transmission.

From here you can start tuning up and down on the RX offset frequency. I'd recommend going up or down in 100 Hz steps at first. Each time, save the new RX offset and transmit again for a few seconds. See if your transmission comes up under Local RF Activity. Look at the BER and write it down along with the RX offset. After some trial and error, you should find an offset that gives the lowest BER. If you are still increasing/decreasing the offset and the BER keeps going down, then keep going until the BER starts to increase again. At the minimum point, you've found the correct offset.

At this point you can either tune it further, by going up and down in smaller steps than 100 Hz, or you can just stick with the current offset. I'd recommend tuning it more if you have the time.
If you choose not to tune it further, then you're done!

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