How To…..

How To…..

How to what? Tie your shoes? Nope, this section is intended to deal with ways to do certain things in the amateur radio digital world that should increase your enjoyment of the hobby. We’ll start with How To Make A Mobile WiRES-X Node.


MOBILE WiRES-X NODE: (not including the new PDN mode software)

There’s currently not much difference between a stationary WiRES-X node and a mobile one, except for the method you use to get and send Internet data back and forth.

Usually at home you’ll be using a router or a switch connected to a router. Well, how can I do this mobile? The answer is: a cellular connection. What’s the best option for a cellular connection? You’ll have to shop around for that answer. Some people use standalone hotspots and some use their personal cellphone as the hotspot. In either case, there will need to be a connection between the hotspot and the Windows computer you are using.

Perhaps we should back up just a little and list all the things you’ll need for a mobile WiRES-X node first. Being that WiRES-X operates off the Internet, let’s begin with your portal to the Internet. As we just said, that is most likely to be a cellular device. In some cases you may need to call your cellular provider and make sure that device can be ‘tethered’ to your data-consuming device (computer).

Now, how do you get the data from the cellular device to the computer? Usually it will be a WiFi or Bluetooth connection. In reality, there is not a lot of difference between the two. You may find one device more desirable than the other. I bought a tiny Bluetooth USB adapter and used it. So now we have 1. A cellular device for a hotspot and 2. A hotspot to computer connection, like a a Bluetooth or WiFi adapter.

What’s next? The computer of course. Home computers like desktops don’t lend themselves to mobile use very well, so let’s think smaller. That leads us to laptops and tablets. In some cases laptops will find enough room in an auto but usually not, so let’s think tablet here. Don’t forget, currently (January 2019) that WiRES-X functions only on Microsoft Windows devices, so that limits us considerably.

Now you have three items: 1. Cell device, 2. Adapter 3. Windows computer. Now we need the correct software, and that is free! Download WiRES-X to your computer. But wait! There’s more! You’ll need the Yaesu modem, known as the HRI-200. Currently (Jan. 2019 again) it’s the only way to access WiRES-X. That brings us to 4 devices: 1,2,3 and 4..the HRI-200 (and associated cables).

I should point out now that it would be a good idea to draw all this up and do a little planning before making ANY moves. You have to consider where the power for all these devices is going to come from as well as how you are going to mount them all. The power is not likely to be as big a problem as mounting will. You DO NOT want this stuff sliding around in your car every time you negotiate a curve. Do it right.

The power for the HRI-200 comes from a 5V USB connection. Make sure you will have one. Don’t forget power for the phone and tablet too. The adapter will take up a USB connection as well. Your tablet may not have that many available, forcing you to go to a hub. Plan ahead and don’t be surprised.

Okay, what else? Don’t forget the node radio! Just like you have a home. The node radio will have a cable that goes to the HRI-200. Currently (yeah, you guessed it…Jan. 2019) the node radio can only be an FTM-400 series, an FTM-100 or a repeater, but I am excluding repeaters since we are talking mobile nodes here. I’ll bet there is somebody with a mobile repeater though! The total now comes to 5 devices: 1. Cell device, 2. Adapter 3. Windows computer 4. HRI-200 and now 5. Node radio. Is there more? Well, uh, yes, there is.

What the heck else do I need? You’ll need what I call a ‘talk radio’. That is, a radio to talk to the node radio. Yep, just like at home. I know this is becoming burdensome, and we have been told the burden of running a mobile node will be lessened, but that has not happened yet. We are not holding our breath either. So we are up to 6 devices now: 1. Cell device 2. Adapter 3. Windows computer 4. HRI-200 5. Node radio and 6. ‘Talk’ radio. It should be pointed out that if you do not mind operating strictly in analog, you can connect a pre-amplified microphone directly to an HRI-200 and skip the two radios. Yes, it works, but you lose many of the interesting features of WiRES-X. Still, you can talk around the world while driving down the road. Make sure the road is more important than WiRES-X is.

I should actually say “7” devices if you want to count the WiRES-X software as a ‘device’. I am not counting any cables as devices. I am also not counting any power options or USB options as devices since every situation will be somewhat different. remember that I suggested drawing this all up first so you have a good picture in your mind.

Note that I did not count an antenna. Better make it 8 devices then since you will be transmitting RF back to the ‘talk’ radio and receiving RF from it too. Here’s where we are at: 1. Cell device 2. Adapter 3. Windows computer 4. HRI-200 5. Node radio 6. Talk radio 7. WiRES-X software 8. Antenna. Do I need to mention an amateur license?

Don’t forget that the HRI-200 needs to be registered. Now, you might get up to nine devices if you have to get a USB hub or ten if you have to get a 12VDC hub as well. Whew! that’s a lot of stuff!

So, where’s the attraction? Well, if you consider being able to contact any node anywhere in the world a plus…if you consider being able to talk on WiRES-X/C4FM uninterrupted a plus, you might see it an attraction.

Hope to hear you on WiRES-X in Room 40383!