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Bt Wifi Hotspots Tenerife Air

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Cheryll Witting

Dec 5, 2023, 12:32:55 AM12/5/23
Inprinciple, logging in to a free Wi-Fi hotspot should be very simple. Check yourdevice (smartphone, notebook, etc.) for the list of available WiFi hotspots,and select the one from MallorcaWifi, connect to it, and confirm the terms andconditions. However, you should keep in mind that a fewrestrictions apply for the use of free WiFi connection. After 30 minutes, youhave to log in again. Also, the use is limited to a period of 7 days and amaximum data transfer of 500 MB.

Bt Wifi Hotspots Tenerife Air

Disclaimer: These are my personal notes and opinions based on my experience playing around with hotspots, as well as by learning from what others are sharing. I'm not affiliated with any hotspot projects, except as an ordinary user. I pay for all my equipment and do not accept freebies in exchange for reviews. If anything needs correcting, please let me know.

This is an article about personal, low-power hotspots, also known as personal access points1, not repeaters. (For info about digital repeaters, see: How to make a MMDVM Digital Repeater by N5AMD and Repeater Builders.)

I've been playing around with personal, low-power hotspots since 2016. During that time, I've tried a bunch of devices and apps including a whole range of MMDVM-based hotspots running an app called Pi-Star (discussed in more detail in the Playing with Pi-Star article), three generations of SharkRF openSPOTs running their own software, and several older models, some now discontinued. I discuss my experiences with my current favorite hotspots in this article.

My personal practice is that I power on my personal, low-power hotspots only when I'm monitoring and in control of them, adhere to my local band and frequency use plans, and leave adequate pauses between transmissions. For more about this, see Hotspot best practices.

Disclaimer: Again, these are my personal notes and opinions based on my experience playing around with hotspots, as well as by learning from what others are sharing. I'm not affiliated with any hotspot projects, except as an ordinary user. If anything needs correcting, please let me know.

Note: Pre-assembled MMDVM hotspots take away from the ham what is, in my opinion, a fun aspect of hotspots: the ability to learn and explore by putting them together ourselves. Still, while I don't use these myself, I can certainly understand why they are attractive to some. And at least these are good quality.

The duplex boards have one immediate advantage over the simplex hotspots, which is that you can transmit even when your radio is in the middle of receiving. This means that you can easily unlink from a busy talkgroup even when the hams using the TG don't leave gaps between their transmissions.

Note: There is a known DMR timing synchronization issue with some duplex hotspots and radio combinations. Bud, W0RMT, has a good post on the Pi-Star User Forum about adjustments that can be tried to address the issue.

The only thing I didn't like about the openSPOT2 out of the box is the bright, multi-colored LED light. While it's helpful (the different colors and blinking patterns convey a wealth of information about the functioning of the device) I simply don't like bright, pulsing LEDs. No problem, though, you can adjust the brightness in the control panel. Nice! Sure wish my MMDVM-based hotspots had that option.

Many personal, low-power hotspots are made up of some kind of radio/modem board with an antenna that is mounted on a small computer like a Raspberry Pi. The functionality of these two components also can be combined into a single board, as is the case with the SharkRF openSPOT. The hardware typically includes built-in WiFi and/or an ethernet port, and in some cases, various other ports (USB, HDMI, etc.) and pins or through-holes that enable connecting peripherals like displays.

A hotspot has software controlling its overall operation. In addition, an MMDVM-based radio/modem board component has firmware controlling its core functions. Usually, software and firmware can be upgraded by the end user, enabling the hotspots to incorporate feature updates and fixes.

Here's what I understood: the MMDVM-based personal, low-power hotspots have a radio/modem board with two primary chips (shown here on a ZUMspot), and the radio and modem functions are distributed between those two chips.

Hint: A common issue with some hotspots, especially those that use clone radio/modem boards like the Jumbospot, is high Bit Error Rate (BER > 1%). If you experience this when transmitting, see Fine tuning to reduce high BER.

With the MMDVM hotspots, the radio/modem board handles the tasks related to the radio signals, and a small computer handles the rest of the processing tasks, as well as the internet connectivity tasks, and the hotspot's power processing.

The MMDVM-based radio/modem boards can be mounted on and work well with a variety of Raspberry Pi models, most commonly the compact Zero W and the faster and more powerful Zero 2 W, 3B, 3B+, 3A+, and 4B. They'll also work on most of the older models that have a 40-pin GPIO connector. Some MMDVM-based radio/modem boards are designed to work with other small computers like the NanoPi Neo, but those aren't as common. As I mentioned earlier, some hotspots incorporate both the radio/modem and computing components onto a custom single board.

My current favorite Raspberry Pi boards are the Zero 2 W and the 3A+. The Zero 2 W retains the same compact form factor as the original Zero W. but is much faster, which is great for procedures like Pi-Star startup and updating. The 3A+ is a nice balance between form factor size and performance. It's much faster than the Zero W, more compact than the 3B+/4B, and also runs much cooler than the 3B+/4B, while not much warmer than the Zero W. You gain a single USB 2.0 port over the Zero W/2 W; however, there's no ethernet port, though that's fine for me as I primarily use WiFi for my hotspots. The RPi 3B is also a good board. In my opinion, the RPi 4B is overkill for a hotspot.

The radio/modem's firmware controls its key functions. Most MMDVM-based modems use the firmware developed by Andy, CA6JAU (GitHub: juribeparada / MMDVM_HS). You can find the latest releases and release notes at ZUMspot/MMDVM_HS firmware. Other hotspots, such as the openSPOT and the DVMEGA, use their own firmware.

Most of the other current hotspots are MMDVM-based and work well with the Pi-Star app. Setup is relatively easy, especially since many of them can use Pi-Star's Auto AP feature for wireless network configuration (requires a recent RPi like the Zero W/Zero 2 W, 3B, 3B+, 3A+, or 4B).

One thing I realized is that I have no problem using my hotspots when I'm in another room with a thick wall in between, which means I really don't need to have the antenna sticking out of the box. So my goal was to make something clean looking with the screen at an angle for easier viewing when I'm typing.

The design for my mobile hotspots was influenced by two goals: a desire for compact simplicity and a hunger for operating time. I decided on a minimalist design: just an MMDVM-based radio/modem board mounted on an RPi Zero W in a box for protection and powered by a rugged external RAVPower 10050 mAh portable charger, which gives me a full day's capacity.

When I started experimenting with the Pi-Star 4.0 Release Candidate running on the new (at that time) RPi 3B+, I noticed that my hotspots started heating up a bit more than normal. Then I read some early reviews about the RPi 4B, which I knew I'd want to try out, and noted that it has a heat signature that makes even the 3B+ look like a snowball on an iceberg. So I decided to add fans to a couple of my hotspots running those warmer boards. I've tried a bunch of different fans. Here are some of the better ones I've found.

One of the aspects I enjoy most about playing around with hotspots is that there's often new stuff to try. When the Raspberry Pi 4B was released in June 2019, I began testing it in a couple hotspots, and also made a new shop computer based on the 4 GB model.

There are good alternative RPi boards available for hotspots. The Zero W and 3B are perfectly adequate, and the 3A+ and Zero 2 W provide a nice speed and performance upgrade without being so hot as to need a fan.

Even though I like making some of my own cases, I also use some manufactured cases for test hotspots. For hotspots based on the RPi Zero W/Zero 2 W, 3B, and 3B+, I've used the really nice MMDVM cases made by C4Labs in Tacoma, Washington.

Conclusion: While I enjoyed learning how to program the Nextion displays, in the end I don't think a display is a necessary component for a hotspot running Pi-Star (the one exception is that I appreciate being able to easily see the hotspot's IP address). That said, I find it worth it to add Nextion displays to some of my hotspots simply because doing so broadens my knowledge about both hotspots and electronics. Bottom line: Nextion displays are optional, fun, and instructional.

In general, hotspots really put the amateur into amateur radio. For the most part, the creative innovation driving this branch of amateur radio forward is being done by passionate hams around the world with day jobs and families who are pouring their energy into these various projects in their spare time.

There also are keyboard jockeys in countries all around the world who are writing solutions to create bridges between our digital radios, hotspots, and the internet that enable the rest of us to enjoy this fun playground.

Andy's work has made a huge difference to the thousands of us around the world who use MMDVM-based hotspots and repeaters by creating Pi-Star and making it freely available. Andy does this as a side project and somehow still manages to find time for his full-time job, his family, and his studies. Website:; Github: Andy Taylor.

There are a bunch of hams hanging out in forums and groups around the internet answering question, solving problems, and giving guidance for all the various aspects of digital voice and hotspots. For the Pi-Star project, this includes Craig, W1MSG, who also produces tutorial videos, and Andrew, M1DNS, as well as many others. Thanks to all the hams who are helping out in this way; I really appreciate the opportunity to learn by reading your posts!
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