I recently acquired a SharkRF openSPOT for use as a hotspot to connect to the Brandmeister DMR network with my MD-380 DMR radio as I have no easily accessible repeaters nearby to use for DMR.
I have nothing but good things to say about this device, it works very well, the UI is simple to use, reported bugs are fixed very quickly and new features added with new firmware. The icing on the cake is it is a very accessible device with a HTTP and UDP API to interact with! I’ve only toyed with some features in the HTTP API but happy with what I’ve seen so far.
The first use I came up with for it was receiving DMR SMS messages to my MD-380 from my existing WSJT-X & Node-RED setup. The status-dmrsms API allows us to receive and send SMS messages over the local RF link to our connected DMR radio by specifying its DMR ID. This functionality works exactly as described in the API documentation now and if you follow it you will get a beer.
In order to get this working in to Node-RED a flow was needed to handle authentication. As described in the Login Process, we need to hash our openSPOT password with a provided token to get a digest for use in all communication to the API, this digest is valid for 60 minutes.
The flow below shows the authentication process it as set up at the moment.
The inject at the beginning just sends a time stamp, which is unused, to start this flow off on Node-RED start-up and every 30 minutes thereafter. After the login is posted some global variables are set with the login status, the token and the digest if authentication was successful. This should hopefully tick away to ensure we will have a valid digest to hand at all times.
The posting of messages is easy and exactly as documented in the API description. With the digest already in a global variable from the login process above, we take any text input, limit it to 75 characters, convert to UTF16BE HEX and post it in the correct format for our radio. The full flow including the message input from WSJT-X is pictured below.
The inject function in the send flow is just there for testing purposes to insert a test message manually and the success function at the end just writes the status to the debug console.
With the above all set up we just wait for the DX to light up our DMR radio with an SMS message, the image below shows this on an earlier version of the same flow.
Alerts from Node-RED via Twitter or IRC might be easier but at least with the above it is all contained on the RF side and doesn’t need the Internet 🙂
It has been running for a few days now and seems to be working fine. I’ll try and wrap it all up in a more easily deployed function if I get the time but if anyone wants the nasty code before then just drop me a line.