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Active Wideband Receiver Antenna for your SDR

Software Defined Radio (SDR) has finally reached a much broader mass of people, who wanted to play with RF technology, but didn't find the time or resources to learn all necessary skills, to build a hardware based radio. Thanks to the work of the GNU-Radio and OsmoCom developer crowd, this barrier is finally gone and everyone can, more or less, directly access, what the antenna receives.

Another ARA-2000 rebuild and LNA approach

It's always rewarding to see that distributing and sharing open knowledge & tools ultimately leads to much more individual empowerment and faster technological evolution/innovation than “protection” of “Intellectual Property” ever could: OK3ZB copied and used the AWRA-Cutting-Helper, did a successful rebuild of the Active-Wideband-Receiving-Antenna and came up with a new LNA approach:

Carbon suppliers in Germany

One of the most time consuming aspects of many DIY projects is identifying and sourcing materials. Living in a globalized world and having the ability to link everything online has made this a lot easier. Today, it is by far much more convenient and budget friendly to directly shop in Asia, cutting out all of the so called “added value” (which is just a nice euphemism for making stuff artificially expensive to the end user, so that politicians can claim to “create jobs” and society can try to ke…

D-Link "green-ethernet" switch Review

Labeling things with the term “green” has become quite popular these days. While evaluating unmanaged SOHO Gigabit-Ethernet switches for Apollo's core net-infrastructure, a lot of “green” switches turned up. After sifting through numerous datasheets D-Link's DGS-1008D seemed to be the top choice when power consumption is an issue.

Elonics E4000 complete reference documents leaked

Good news for anyone playing and developing cheap SDR technology with the Elonics E4000 (e4k) tuner chip: Until now, working with the chip has mostly been guesswork and trial and error through reverse engineering, in order to get the SDR's to work. Today the complete Elonics E4000 reference documentation was leaked, so grab and mirror the e4k datasheets and application notes, while they are hot and available:

EZVD - Easy Voltage-Divider Calc-/Simulator

[EZVD Output on the console (python/ncurses)] If you want to learn more about voltage-dividers or need a tool to design/verify voltage-divider resistor selection for your next electronic engineering project, try EZVD - Easy Voltage-Divider Calc-/Simulator

EZVD - Easy Voltage-Divider Calc-/Simulator

When you migrate from just learning by copying open-source hardware designs/schematics towards creating your own electronic designs and solutions, you'll sooner or later will be confronted with the task of designing and selecting the right resistors for a certain voltage divider.

Harder Soft-Unbricking a Ubiquiti Unifi UAP-Pro AP

[ubiquiti-unifi-uap-pro-inside-with-serial-debug-connected] Re-deploying the Ubiquiti Unifi UAP-Pro with OpenWRT (instead of Unifi) at the new base-camp revealed a problem: it simply didn't work anymore. No DHCP reaction, no default IP, nothing. Except for the LED blinking white after a reset, it seemed completely broken. Opening the case and attaching a terminal to the serial console, revealed bootloader output that wasn't promising but at least it wasn't completely dead. So we had to get our …

HOWTO - GL-Inet 6416 External Antenna Hack

[gl-inet-6416-external-antenna-hack-9] Since a lot of people continue to show interest in hacking their ML-3020 with an external antenna it was time to show how to do it for the GL.Inet 6416. The following modifications can be done in 5-10 minutes, give you a stable RP-SMA connector and have been tested and running here on 5 units without any problems.

HOWTO - Update Zebra Printer Firmware on Linux

In case you're in the field and confronted with the task to update a Zebra Printer's Firmware but don't want (or can't) use Zebra's windows-only ZDownloader or Zebra Setup Utilities (both don't seem to work from within Wine) - don't worry: It's actually way easier than it is on Windows and requires only two tools you should have installed on any GNU/Linux or UNIX system anyways: unzip and netcat.

HOWTO: Set up and secure a local Spark-Core Cloud

It took quite a bit of tinkering and a couple of clarifying sessions on IRC (Thanks to lbt and aholler for their input and support), to deploy the local Spark-Cloud test setup and interpret/abstract the scattered docs into one whole system view model. But why go through all this hassle, when you can just comfortably use the “official” cloud service to develop & manage your cores instantly?

Joint Statement against Radio Lockdown

The Radio Lockdown Directive threatens user rights and Free Software, fair competition, innovation, environment, and volunteering – without comparable benefits for security. Many organisations and companies are joining up in proposing measures to EU institutions and EU member states to avoid these negative implications while keeping the Directive's goal intact. Please read the in-depth and constantly updated analysis and support the efforts of the FSFE where you can.

More PiGI Geiger counter modules in the Wild

It's truly awesome to see how the PiGI - Raspberry Pi Geiger-Müller Interface, born under ghetto-style conditions with zero prior knowledge or budget, has not only spread to hackers and other individuals with a sense of independence and prudence worldwide, but was now adopted by a special working group of Computer Professionals for Peace and Social Responsibility (FIfF) called Tihange-Doel Radiation Monitoring Network.

More PiGI PCBs available

If you've missed the opportunity to get a PiGI PCB of the first batch, here's your next chance to turn your Raspberry PI into a versatile Geiger-Counter. All hail Fehlfarbe. pigi geiger pi raspberry hardware radiation monitoring research development

More PiGI prototype boards finished

Last Saturday, instead of breakfast, we wanted to have more geiger counters. So we had an early morning soldering session in the open air and with plenty of sunshine we finished two more 1.0 prototype boards so that we have more active PiGI's for tests and further development.

NFM GNU-Radio Receiver for RTL/OsmoSDR

Soon after the release of RTL-SDR a lot of people started to play with software defined radios. Although the Elonics E4000 tuner and the Realtek RTL2832U Chip are a long way from the quality and performance/stability of an USRP(2), the price of $11 - EUR30 makes these devices an ideal beginners device for SDR experiments, without having to invest +$1k into hardware.

Personal Log: PiGI Testing

Some time ago i stumbled upon the PiGI project, joined the chatroom and somehow convinced chrono to send me a prototype board. Thanks for that! So here will be a summary of my testing of the PiGI. The Geiger-Mueller-Tube I bought an old russian SBM-20 tube on ebay for 26$ and soldered some cable to both ends and isolated the ends with heat-shrink tubing. Then i soldered it to my PiGI with some leads that I thougt had sufficient isolation for high voltages.


More and more semiconductors are produced in packages (the chip's case) which have become impossible to hand solder with a solder iron. The switch from through-hole (THT) to surface mount technology (SMT) has actually made hand soldering much easier (although still many believe the opposite to be true) but now we are faced with BGA and other packaging forms which only have contacts on the bottom of the chip.

PiGI Hardware

Schematic V1.1 Layout V1.1 Prototype PCB's V1.0 Download Layout & Schematics (Eagle 6.2.x): <> Circuit Details The Pi-GI circuit is divided into two parts: * Kickback High-Voltage Switching Power supply * Impulse Inverter

Project Release: PiGI Module

Thanks to Maximilian Batz from <>, who sponsored two Raspberry Pi B models for the cause of Apollo-NG, it was time to see what more could be done with them. This essentially forked two subprojects: * Raspberry Pi based autonomous Antenna Tracker (following a MAVLink enabled UAV/Drone) * Raspberry Pi based geiger-counter

Review: Managed Low-Power Switch DGS-1100-8

In a past Mission-Log, we've reviewed the power consumption of "green" Ethernet Switches (consumer-grade/unmanaged) that could be used in off-grid environments and they performed really well. Compliant with IEEE 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet, these switches consume less energy by cutting down on power consumption when the traffic volume is low and automatically measure the length of the connected cables to adjust power usage, when cables are shorter than 20 meters. In addition, they monitor …

SEEDStack - Open 3D printable seed/sprout system

Food Hacker? Low on Kitchen estate? Small Budget? Mobile/Ghetto Kitchen? A nomadic Hacker in need of protein rich and vitamin packed food supplement with a very low weight/volume footprint in your backpack, which you can grow on-site? Afraid of the Zombie apocalypse and thinking about solutions for supply needs similar to the nomadic hacker's? Want to personally make a change and stop/reduce eating out-of-local-season import fruit, which would otherwise have to travel up to 12.000 km to get to y…

SEEDStack - Open 3D printable seed/sprout system

Food Hacker? Low on Kitchen estate? Small Budget? Mobile/Ghetto Kitchen? A nomadic Hacker in need of protein rich and vitamin packed food supplement with a very low weight/volume footprint in your backpack, which you can grow on-site? Afraid of the Zombie apocalypse and thinking about solutions for supply needs similar to the nomadic hacker's? Want to personally make a change and stop/reduce eating out-of-local-season import fruit, which would otherwise have to travel up to 12.000 km to get to y…

Software & hardware ecosystems as permanent sustainable culture

When you offer free services, funny things do happen: Some people seem to have found their way to the Apollo-NG pads and started to collaboratively work on a document about software and hardware ecosystems as a permanent sustainable culture. So if you're interested in the subject and would like to participate, please join the discussion on the mentioned pad:

Spark-Core Hacking: Read MQ2 sensor data

The Aquarius (Landing-Module) needs a galley in order to prepare and cook food but due to unforeseen personal circumstances I had to invest into this infrastructure way before than it was actually necessary - since the base trailer for the LM isn't available yet. So I've started to build a prototype kitchen with all that is needed for functional and fun food hacking. One of the primary energy carriers selected for cooking is gas. That can be either LPG (Propane/Butane) or Methane (delivered by u…

UmTRX publicly released

The UmTRX is a dual-channel, wide-band SDR transceiver (so it can send & receive) with 1GbE connection. It is developed by Fairwaves team to be used as a transceiver for OpenBTS GSM base stations, but due to its software defined nature, it could be used for many other radio applications as well.

VESC - An open-source/hacker-friendly BLDC ESC

Next generation robots, drones and motorized scooter/skateboard/e-bike projects need efficient and resilient BLDC controllers, so if you're also looking for a solid open-source brushless motor speed controller (BLDC ESC) for your project or knowledge/inspiration to bootstrap your own, then you most definitely want to have a look at VESC.

Watterott-Electronic sponsors Hardware

Buying Sparkfun products and being in europe always was a little bit annoying due to shipping times & customs hassle. Stephan Watterott, CEO of Watterott-Electronic, offers many sparkfun products and other greatly hackable devices and components in his Shop, shipped directly from Germany.