Winston Lawrence

KD2WLL - Amateur Radio Notes

Clearnode the Allstar and Echolink hotspot review.

The ClearNode, from  node-ventures.com,  integrates a low power FM radio transceiver with a Raspberry Pi to create a hotspot for FM analog repeaters. The ClearNode, out-of-the-box, can be enabled with Allstar, Echolink and DMR. Allstar comes pre-configured and with the option to also enable Echolink and DM.

The ClearNode includes an MMDVM bridge and an Analog_Bridge from DVSwitch and an interesting feature is the support of Brandmeister and TGIF networks in addition to Allstar, Echolink, and IRLP. All of these modes can be accessed, via the ClearNode, from a standard FM analog radio. You do not need a Digital radio to play.

If you are in the market for a quick plug-and-play experience, then this is the way to go. Gerry Filby (W6WNG) will even configure your wifi settings, along with your Allstar node details, if you provide all of that information when ordering.

I didn't provide all of that information since I only obtained my Allstar credentials after I ordered the Clearnode. Configuring the wifi should be a no-brainer, however I did email Gerry while waiting for the package to arrive to confirm that the Clearnode supported 5ghz wifi and would also work in a VLAN. Gerry responded later that day that 5ghz was supported and there should be no problem running in a VLAN.

I also downloaded the ClearNode management app, which is used to set up and control the Clearnode. I've only used the app locally to configure the Clearnode, but I should be able to control the device from anywhere via the internet connection.

The setup instructions to complete setup were dead simple, written in easy to understand English, and worked as expected. Gerry also provides exceptionally quick responses to questions sent his way. I had the node setup and ready for testing in about 15 minutes. It's worth browsing the FAQ on the website just to see the answers to questions that you (may) eventually come up with on your own. Particularly if you have any concerns about running off a power-pack; leaving the node connected all of the time; or concerns that your node may be running too hot. A well-written and to-the-point site.

I'm going to give Gerry Filby and  node-ventures.com,  10 out of 10 for product packaging, shipping, support and ease of installation.

'73 KD2WLL