Added Turkey – Yes, the Country

Today we brought up a club in Turkey onto the WW NXDN network.  This proved that we can do Kenwoods without a VPN, and it proved that we can make them work over multiple hops.  I still think there is a gremlin or two to be worked out but Say Hi to The gang from Turkey.

Hi Alan,

Thank you very much for your great effort. I think we did :-))

I’m attaching the photos  again. You can use them on your blog

( ) if you want.

The names and callsigns:

from left to right

Cengiz. TB2BBG.

Cemal TA2AW

Serhat TA2ANK

Serdar TA3AS

Tahir TA2T

Our Club name is ANTRAK.

I’ll always remember your help and your friendship.

Best Regards,



The guys from Turkey

ICOM Repeater UDP Packet Audio Decoding

So, over the last few days, i have been developing an application that will take the icom udp stream that connects repeaters together , and started decoding the stream on my pc, so far the process is working very well, and hope to have some pretty screen shots up soon. Its a windows application, and does require the ownership of a DVSI Dongle.

Oh, yeah, did i mention its windows ONLY.. sorry linux/mac guys 🙂 no java here.

Seems I always forget one detail :)

For those that are looking to join in the fun.

We’re trying to allow for keeping local traffic local and net traffic on the net.  In order to do that I’ve built a way to filter on Talk Group (Kenwood calls this Group ID).  If you have TG 65000 programmed in your HT or Mobile and you key up, you will go out over the net side, if you have any other TG selected, you will stay local to your repeater.  The opposite is true as well.  The net won’t invade your local QSO until the NXREF sees no activity for a programmable amount of time, then it will allow net traffic back on the repeater.  You can force this to happen immediately if the NXREF see’s the 65000 TG transmitted.

Also to better separate us out.  For now we are all on RAN 1.  I can translate RAN’s on the Icom side, I can’t yet on the Kenwood side.

So bottom line,

To get on the net, takes RAN 1, TG 65000, any other RAN or TG and you’ll just be talking on your local repeater.


Another First – Maybe soon!

Today I loaded the Kenwood version of the NXREF on a Raspberry Pi in TURKEY – yes, the country Turkey.

If all goes well, on Wednesday, we hope to put Turkey on the WW NXDN net.  TA3AS and a club in Turkey have their NXR-710/810 repeater equipped and ready.  We’ll be conducting final testing on Wednesday.


  • First test of Static IP address to private address for Kenwood
  • First NON-VPN connected Kenwood to the WW NXDN net
  • First test of a public Kenwood NXDN reflector
  • First intercontinental Link up (we’ve already done the first transcontinental and first international version of same).

Stay tuned, Wednesday could be an interesting day for Amateur Radio NXDN!

I couldn’t leave well enough alone

Once we put the analog bridge inplace, we immediately knew that we needed a better solution.  It was functional, but the audio going through a D to A and A to D phase didn’t sound that good.

I started looking at the features that the Kenwood could support and poof, found that they had an RF LINK mode.  This allowed me to put the NXR-810 in that mode as a user radio on a Icom Repeater.  I had to shorten the tails to 0 on both and I had to play with the priority of PTT on the Kenwood, but in the end, it allowed me to create a true digital to digital bridge.

Life is good!  And now we have the Icom network and the Kenwood networks bridged, this will give us some breathing room so we can focus on other features for the Kenwood NXREF.


Kenwood to Icom and back – it’s here!!!

So for now, I’ve cobbled together a Kenwood to Icom and back analog bridge.  It doesn’t sound as good as I’d have liked, but it’s not terrible either.

We’ve also moved all the Kenwood NXDN WW net over to a new NXREF, while it has no features at the moment, it does seem to work.  We’ll watch it for the next few days… I actually hacked out 2 different subtype packets tonight just to see if it causes any issues… We’ll see :)…

Not to lose sight of the *FIRST*.

We have Kenwood NXDN’s talking to ICOM’s and vice a versa over the Internet. 🙂


All Icom so far

For obvious reasons (I started with Icom equipment) the features as mentioned in prior posts all function with Icom repeaters… In fact today we have 2 separate networks, but that is about to change.

Kenwood as we mentioned implemented a totally different protocol to be used over the Internet or Network.  Without specific documentation and equipment to be used in a Lab setting, I was unable to implement the features for Kenwood that I have for Icom.

However, tomorrow I expect to pick up a Kenwood NXR-810 repeater and KTI-3.  Immediately that will bridge the Icom and Kenwood WW NXDN networks and we’ll do that via an Analog Bridge to start with.

Over the past few days I spend some time with the Kenwood guys and have poured over Gigabytes of data from those repeaters trying to determine the protocol and how to use it.  This past weekend I made a major breakthrough and as a result I should have a NXREF up and functioning for them.  This should not require a VPN as their current solution does, and it will not require every repeater to have a specific link to every other repeater.  I should also be able to enable it to work over dynamic IP addresses and even private ones as I have with the Icom version.

The one trade off to this that the Kenwood guys will be required to put a small linux platform somewhere in the private network space.  That platform will be a Local NXREF for them and will handle all the nuances of IP addresses, translation etc.  This platform will also mirror the feature set of the Icom version as they are both built off the same code base.

That’s step 1…. Step 2 will be to work on the actual protocol conversion back and forth and enable the Analog bridge to go away in favor of a true digital bridge.

So have I interested you yet?

The Beginnings Part 4

As you can tell, you may want to have a local NXREF connected to one or more repeaters that you have on the WW NXDN network.  We’ve tried to make this extensible and cheap.  Below are some hardware platforms that are perfectly capable of acting as the NXREF host.

So let’s talk about the platforms they run on, or are targeted for.

Beagle Board BeagleBone –
RaspberryPi –

Both are small, low power, ethernet devices. All that is needed is an ethernet port.

Cases for both are found here and I really like these little boxes.

Power supplies are a bit harder…

For the Beagle –
For the Pi –


The Beginnings Part 3

Once you have the basic hardware and software functional, you’ll quickly find the limits to those technologies.

Both vendors suggest (or require in the case of Kenwood) a router that can support VPN’s and connections between every repeater that is to be connected too via a specific connection… Each software only support 16 IP addresses, so you can quickly exceed that limited with just a very small network.  And out of the box, both systems require a fixed IP address, again as it applies to Amateur Radio a very limiting feature.

While at the RF side, both vendors are inter-operable, that’s pretty much where the interop stops.  Neither support the same protocol over the Internet and neither protocol is covered in the NXDN specification.  As a result, we’ve had to reverse engineer those protocols to allow us to extend the features.

Enter the NXREF (NXDN Reflector), it’s a simple piece of software that runs on any form of Linux platform (except for the one in the repeaters which we don’t have access too).  The job of the NXREF is to take information from one repeater and send it to the others.  By doing it this way, any given repeater only needs to know about one IP address and we can overcome the limit of 16 repeaters being able to talk back and forth.  However we didn’t stop there.

Below is a simple listing of the features that we’ve enabled so far.  These are unique to the Icom for the moment, but I’ll cover that in another post.

– 200 IP address. While just an arbirary limit, we do have a finite amount of time that we can process information before we run the risk of missing or dropping an incoming packet of information from a repeater.  200 IP addresses on any give NXREF should be way more that we actually architect a system to use.

– Cluster support.  The NXREF’s are fully configurable such that they will allow for nesting or clustering.  This is only limited by our imagination.

– STEALTH IP support. This is support for an IP address that may be behind a NAT’d firewall, one that has a DYNAMIC public address and or one that may have a PRIVATE public IP address. There are configuration options that can be turned on to set a *heartbeat* interval and allow data to move between the Repeater and it’s STEALTH upstream NXREF. This feature is great for running a repeater behind a 4G wireless setup either as a temporary or permanent setup.

– RAN translation – This is a very early feature, but it allows a repeater or a group of repeaters to be on a different RAN code than the primary one. As a packet transitions a NXREF, it’s translated both from and to whichever RAN code it needs for its next hope. While not very efficient, it should also allow for multiple translations to occur if so built or desired.

– Remote Console – a Basic reporting console for local reporting and configuration.

– APRS support. This is a very early implementation.  It will watch for a Data packet, capture the entire GPS string, and then send it to the rotating IP address of the APRS-IS or APRS2 server.

– Talk Group support. This allows for traffic to be segregated between the Local use of the repeater and it’s link to the internet.  When in Local mode, the internet traffic is blocked until an activity timer expires and then at that time, the Linked traffic will again start to be heard.  As we move forward there will be more and more uses for this type of *routing*.

The Beginnings Part 2

As it relates to equipment that is needed to utilize this technology, I’ll try to give you the basics from both Major vendors.  In either case, make sure you get the right *split*… for the Ham frequencies that you are going to utilize.  I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of this technology, I’ll leave that to your investigation.  Suffice it to say at the highest level, it supports both analog and digital on the same hardware, that part is fairly seamless. It will only support digital over the Internet connection, there is not way to deal with anything but the digital version when linked via the NDXN linking… Each repeater has a DB25 connector on the back which allows connection of other peripherals.  In fact all of my repeaters also have AllStar Link connected to them so they can link in either Analog or Digital mode.

Icom –
– IC-FR5000/6000 repeater, these come in one of 2 flavors. either the model numbers listed which gets you a full rack size unit with a nice display and buttons and knobs, or the UR-FR5000/6000.  The later is the module that is inside the rack case, it doesn’t have the display, buttons or knobs, but it will also save you about $500 over the price of the one with.  There is no other differences, the same software, programming etc is utilized to make just the module work.  These are very small, about the size of a hard cover book, but about 4-5″ thick.  They both are 50W output at 50% duty cycle and 25W at 100%… with other levels of power setting available through programming.  The 5000 being the VHF version and the 6000 being the UHF version.

– UC-FR5000 linking board – this is a small Linux based computer that is mounted inside the top of the repeater or module above. It has an Ethernet connection point and 2 other ports for simple connection to other modules, repeaters, radios, etc.  (we won’t go into the later as we don’t use those)

– CF-FR5000MC Multi-Site Conventional Linking compact flash card.  This includes the basic software that is utilized to get the Icom repeaters on the internet and at a basic level of connected to the WW NXDN network.

That’s it for Icom, if you shop hard, you can usually find the above for around $1000-$1100 all in.

Kenwood –
– NXR710/810 – You don’t need the 700 or 800 models, while almost 2X the price, they include no feature that would be appropriate for Amateur Radio.  There is no module only version of the Kenwood that’s sold specifically that way.  The 710 is the VHF version the 810 is the UHF version

– KTI-3 – this is the internet connection module for the Kenwoods, it has Ethernet and what they call N_SYNC ports, the latter being a form of RS-485 and are used for interconnection to other equipment similar to the Icoms.

There is no Compact flash card for the Kenwoods, that is included in the software functionality of the KTI-3.

Both of the above will require the Icom or Kenwood programming software and cable, these are easily found through other Ham groups that may be supporting the technology or through your favorite ham friendly dealer.

Note, all of this equipment is Part 90 certified, and as such, while it supports 25khz spacing and 5khz of deviation today, the Mandate in that space is going to require the vendors to limit it to 12.5khz spacing and 2.5khz deviation on January 1 in the US.  We don’t know what implications that will have for analog usage going forward, but will keep you posted as we learn that.