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Welcome to TekMaker

TekMaker is a channel designed to help people of all ages and abilities to learn about and build projects for Computers, Electronics and now Amateur Radio too. Having witnessed many poor quality and badly informed channels I decided I could do better. I previously worked in Electronics for 25+ years including design work and been involved in computer servicing, networking and programming for over 20 years. I hope to produce projects and videos and instructions that are simple enough for any age or ability. That said some projects are main voltage powered and should be built with extreme caution and supervision. You do this at your own risk! Rather than just making projects to use once and then put on the shelf I will endeavour to make projects that will connect or work together and for useful things if you want to set up an electronics or single board computer lab at home. All images, videos and content are copyright Pixabay.com, YouTube, (myself Ralph Beardmore or as credited and mus
Recent posts

What does a Hot Spot do and why do I need one?

 Reasons why you might consider buying or building a Hotspot My MMDVM hotspot runing Pi-Star The control panel Enables reception in areas of the house and around it that may be poor reception otherwise. Many people live in flats or cannot mount antenna due to housing or local council regulations, this provides them with a link, via the internet to multiple digital voice systems and talk groups. Allows easy access to additional talk groups. Some repeaters may provide access to talk groups, possibly on a schedule. This is great but also can be limiting if your local repeater is dedicated to TG91 worldwide and you wish to use TG2350 UK. Having your own node allows you to be in control on-demand.   Allows Multimode operation from different radios. You can have a single node and select from DMR, C4FM/Fusion, YSF, P25, NXDN, POCSAG. The node is generally capable of switching automatically once a transmission has ceased for a selected time period Allows mobile operation - You can set your mob

Setting up a PI-Star MMDVM hotspot node with a Raspberry PI

 The first thing is to download the Pi-Star software from https://www.pistar.uk/downloads/ , at time of writing the current version is Pi-Star_RPi_V4.1.5_21-Jun-2021.zip ,but you should get the latest available. I used a Raspberry PI 3B but it is possible to use a PI Zero W or other model. You should then use either Etcher, or the Raspberry Pi imager to copy the image to your SD card, which should be at least 4GB and Class 10 or better, I used a 16GB simply because they are available for little money these days. Simply put the SD card into your PI and attach a monitor and keyboard via USB connection. The PI should boot with the usual rainbow screen, the default login is pi-star and the password raspberry. We will change these soon. To find out what IP address your pi is on type ifconfig and hit return. If you are connected via ethernet you will be able to type http://pi-star.local into a browser and access the dashboard as below - This will redirect after 10 seconds and you will be pre

My HF Transceiver Projects - Yaesu FT-101 and Sommerkamp FT-277E

So, having completed the Foundation exam in April 2021, the Intermediate exam in May and the Advanced exam in June  and got my callsigns M7RBE, 2E0HGA and M0RLF (RaLF) I figured one of my next steps was to look at HF Transcievers and see if I could get one at an affordable price. So I had a few watches on Ebay week after week and learned about a few of the more popular classic models. I had a short-list of Kenwood, Icom and the value favourite, Yaesu. Most where selling as mostly working and complete for around 400 - 600 GBP. I knew I would be happy to do some work and use that experience to feel my Youtube channel as I have done other projects like recondition a Yamaha Pacifica Electric Guitar and Marshall practice amplifier before I started the channel and had worked in Electronics for 25 years includinh a stint at Racal Communications on, yes, HF Transceivers. Then on Thursday this week my eyes lit up, a Yaesu FT-101B in 'unknown' condition but appearing complete, i.e. all k

Baofeng UV-S9 - a practical user guide

Having bought one of these transceivers recently I was firstly disappointed in the User Manual, it is in extremely small print, barely 4 point and my first searches online brought a pdf of the same manual scanned badly which was not much of an improvement. Also it is a reference guide rather than a how-to. I think many people would prefer to learn how to use the radio as well as which buttons to press with context. I am only covering the basics as I think once you know those then you will figure out the rest using the two manuals I have linked to below. So here we go! The Baofeng UV-S9 Transceiver, around £25 on Ebay Caution, two things are very important to know before we begin. Firstly it is illegal to transmit on any band that you do not hold a license for. You must check with your licencing authority, which in the UK is Ofcom https://www.ofcom.org.uk. PMR446 is not currently legal for a radio which does not have a fixed antenna and it is illegal to use a Baofeng for this purpose. A

DMR - How it works and how to get set up

And why you shouldn’t import too many repeaters to your codeplug like I did! I have made an accompanying video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/dNkdYzQbISY Setting up DMR takes some patience but once you access the repeaters and talk groups you will be rewarded with many QSOs from all over the world in glorious digital quality. DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) is a great transmission/reception mode, it is clear audio in a resilient wrapper that can withstand a lot of QRM - interference and fading. It is pretty much either working, or not with no real distortion. It has been developed due to the availability of cheap micro processors which can process audio into digital encoding and manage complex transmission systems. The DMR amateur radio system allows people to talk one to one or through a repeater in either simplex mode (same TX and RX frequencies) or duplex mode. You can probably access many DMR repeaters in your surrounding area and they provide access to hundreds of talk groups. Now mode

Getting started with the Anytone AT-D878UVII Super, making a codeplug

I passed my Foundation Amateur Radio Exam and have been using the Baofeng UV-S9 for over a couple of months (the first month just listening). I decided it was time for a better radio as a lot of activity seems to be on digital channels and links like Echolink, All Star etc. and the Baofeng scan facility is limited to either all channels, or all frequencies in one waveband. So I pre-ordered the Anytone AT-D878UVII Super as this is the only budget radio that seems to have enough memory to download the entire DMR contact list which now exceed 200,000 registred users.  My new Anytone AT-D878UVII Super The Anytone can hold upto 500,000 so it should be good for a few years. When programming a radio like this people refer to a codeplug, it is not a physical plug, rather it is data that is specific to your radio's frequencies, repeater channels, DMR contacts and personal settings. It will also contain your DMR Id so beware of exporting the data plug to other people without first removing

My Baofeng UV-S9 experience in three months

I have had my Baofeng UV-S9 for about three months and while initially happy with it I have come to some conclusions    1- it no longer transmits in UHF or will let you select UHV frequencies manually 2- the front end overloads and renders the whole radio deaf as soon as you go up a hill or fir a better or mobile antenna  3- certain frequencies are really poor reception making contacts almost impossible. e.g. I contacted a guy on 2m, but when we changed channel neither of us could hear each other 5 miles (8Km) away! We where both on the same hill so line of sight really.  4- The FM radio no longer works  I have 2 Nagoya aerials, one whip and one mobile so it's not them. You get what you pay for, better save up for a better brand like Anytone, Retevis, Ailunce of Yaesu, Icom etc. The earpiece and cable are very poor qaulity and the charge base is really hard to engage. The instructions are garbage and better downloaded from Radioddity UV5-RX3. Conclusion, not reliable or gr