Advanced Setup

Introduction

The AllStar client software includes a rich set of configuration options which are generally exposed in the various “conf” files. Since ClearNode is intended as a compact personal node, we try to bring the most relevant options up to the mobile applications. As time goes by we try to satisfy end user requests for more options, so you will see this list of Node Setup items expand.

Node Setup Screen

Tap into the Node Detail screen for your node, scroll to the bottom and tap “AllStar/Echolink Setup”. This will bring up the “Node Setup” screen with a long list of configuration options broken up into sections.

You may “long press” on any item title to activate a dialog with a brief description of the option.

Node Setup screen Toolbar

The title of the toolbar will change depending on which version of the node’s setup it is displaying. A new node that has not been configured will display a default set of configuration items pulled from your mobile ClearNode’s application memory – it will say “Setup (from prefs)” or “Setup (default)“. Once a node has been configured and you return to this screen, the setup will be pulled off the node and the title will be “Setup (from node)“.

Backup and Restore your Node Setup

Once you have configured your node you may return to this screen and use the “cloud upload” and “cloud download” icons (top right) to backup and restore your node’s configuration to the Node-Ventures server. This is useful for keeping a secure copy of the setup in case your node has to be reinstalled and returned to factory defaults. This is optional, but can get you out of a tight spot.

There are 7 Setup Sections:

  • Hardware and Network
  • AllStar Identity
  • AllStar Server
  • Telemetry
  • Weather Options
  • Streaming Audio Setup
  • Echolink Setup

Note that after changing an option on this screen you must tap Save in the top right corner to make the changes active.

Also note that saving the new configuration will recreate the configuration files from templates – potentially overwriting any manual edits you have made to those files via SSH.

Hardware and Network Section

This section is mostly informational and the first 3 options are read only.

Retry network (n) times: During boot and node startup ClearNode interrogates both the Ethernet and WiFi network to see if it can achieve an internet connection. After each try it waits an increasing period of time and will try “n” times before giving up and activating the WiFiByLight functionality (solid Red LED). Generally 4 is the optimal number of times to try – you may increase this number if you know your WiFi devices “struggle” to get connected.

AllStar Identity Section

Node Number & Node Password: These are the bare minimum fields that you must fill out for your ClearNode to function. You may leave everything else on the Node Setup screen at the default values for a very simple installation.

Node Numbers are assigned by the AllStarLink organization, as are the initial passwords. Note that the Node Password is NOT normally your AllStar Portal Login password – each node number has it’s own unique password.

AllStar Server Section

IAXPort (bindport): This is the UDP network port that your ClearNode uses to pass encoded voice data between nodes. The default is 4569 and if you only have one node on your network, that’s fine. If you have multiple nodes on your home or office network – each node needs to have a different IAX Port so they can work independently of each other.

If you want to enable incoming connections to your node, you must forward this UDP port number through your WiFi or Ethernet router/firewall/hotspot. For outgoing connections only, this is not necessary.

Transmit/Receive timeout (ms): Generally leave these values at the defaults. AllStar will “timeout” a very long QSO, either incoming or outgoing, according to these timings. This is for the good of the larger community to protect the system against “lockups” such as a failed piece of equipment e.g. a “stuck mic”.

Enable audio analysis: This option enables the SOX Audio Analysis functionality on your node which can be inspected in the “Adjust USB Audio Gain for VOIP” screen. See the AUDIO TUNING page above for more information. Once you are done tuning your audio, turn this option off to preserve CPU resources for the normal running of your node.

Enable parrot mode: Turn this on to have your node repeat back your transmission over the embedded radio – useful for assessing the quality of your audio.

Telemetry Section

Say IP at boot: With this option enabled, each time your node boots up it will transmit a voice that annunciates your LAN side IP Address – the address you would use for a Supermon or SSH connection.

Enable courtesy tones: Courtesy tones give you audio indications and confirmation of activity on your node:

  • When your node has no connection to another node and you attempt to transmit, after you key-down your HT, your node will respond with the negative audio “boop” tone to indicate you did not send any audio
  • If your node is connected to a remote node, after key-up/down your node will respond with the positive “beep-boop” to indicate successful transmission to the AllStar network.
  • Similarly your node will respond with the positive/negative tones to indicate success/failure when you command the node using DTMF signals

Enable link unkey tone: Whenever the remote user ends their transmission your node will respond with a “boop” tone. A lot of folks find this tone unnecessary and turn it off.

Duplex Mode: This generally should be set to “1” for Simplex AllStar nodes. If you want to suppress the 10 minute morse ID announcement set it to “0”. Note that the FCC requires that your node identifies at least every 10 minutes if there is traffic on the radio. The other values are generally not needed by simplex nodes and are included to support future version of the hardware.

Voice Telemetry: When enabled your node will voice announce connections to and from your node, including changes at remote nodes. When set to “On” these announcements can get annoyingly verbose, particularly if you are connected to a busy hub. Setting it to “Limited” will only announce local connection and disconnections and then will silence after 1 minute.

Weather Options Section

Zip for weather: Your ClearNode supports the “*81” and “*82” DTMF commands that prompt your node to announce the local time and weather conditions. Set this Zip Code to the location you want the announcements for.

Enable AutoSky at boot: AutoSky is installed and partially configured in all new ClearNodes. To use it you must enable it at boot and configure the appropriate “National Weather Service County Code” for your station. If you ordered your ClearNode pre-configured this County Code will already be set.

NWS County Code: You can find your Count Code at the NWS website at “alerts.weather.gov” website. Typically the code is 3 capital letters and 3 digits.

Play AutoSky every (ms): If there is an active weather warning for your station and if your node is not busy, the warning will be announced over your ClearNode’s built in radio every so many milliseconds.

Play after busy delay (ms): If your node is busy with QSO traffic at the moment that AutoSky wants to transmit a warning, it will wait this many milliseconds after your node becomes idle to make the transmission.

Streaming Audio Setup Section

Enable streaming audio: We at Node-Ventures maintain an Icecast server in our data center. If this option is checked your node will automatically connect to that server and publish an audio stream of all the traffic on your node. You can access this stream from your mobile device by returning to the Node Detail screen and tapping the Play button in the top right hand corner. The audio stream is delayed by about 20 seconds. To turn off the stream, return to the Node Detail screen and tap the Pause button in the top right hand corner. Note that the audio will continue to be streamed to the server wether you are listening to it or not. If you are concerned about mobile data consumption, return to the Node Setup screen and disable this option.

Streaming Mode: Since RedNode API version 29, you can configure your audio to stream to your personal account and stream endpoint at Broadcastify. You will need an account and a stream pre-configured at Broadcastify. See the help sections at Broadcastify to get this configuration complete. The following “BCFY” configuration items will displayed on the “Technicals” tab of “Manage Feed” page for your stream on the Broadcastify website.

BCFY Url:Port: This is the destination URL that ClearNode will send your stream to – in other words your streams input.

BCFY Mount Point: You may have multiple streams at Broadcastify – they are uniquely identified using this value.

BCFY Password: Each stream requires a password assigned by Broadcastify.

BCFY Stream Name: Some description for your stream

BCFY Play Url: If you want your stream to play in your ClearNode app in the same way as the standard ClearNode stream does, you must set this Url so the ClearNode mobile app knows where to connect to play the stream. Discovering it is a little tricky – on the “Manage Feed” page at Broadcastify for your stream, in the “General Details” tab, click the value for “Primary Description” to reach the player page for your stream. Select “Windows Media Player” or “Real Player” under “Player Selection and then click the Play icon – a small file will be downloaded to your computer, open this file to find the URL embedded in it. Unfortunately this URL will change over time so you will need to keep resetting it. Broadcastify offers a paid service that makes this URL static so you don’t have to repeatedly reset it.

Echolink Setup Section

We will not go through the detail of the Echolink setup – most of it is self explanatory. Note that “Call”, “Password” and “Echolink node #” are the 3 important values and must be set correctly for Echolink to function. The rest of the values are for display purposes and aren’t validated.

Announce mode: At the bottom of the “Echolink Setup Section” – Echolink provides a secondary option that allows connect/disconnect announcements to state the Node #, or optionally, the Callsign for the connection. Note that “Voice telemetry” in the “Telemetry Section” must be enabled for this option to have any effect.