FAQ

Can I use a different USB Power Supply ?

We’d rather you didn’t – we go to some length to source a quality PSU for ClearNode. The compact form factor of ClearNode can be susceptible to noisy switching power supplies. Aside from noise, a lot of the cheaper PSUs have unstable voltage and/or can’t supply the current ClearNode needs. ClearNodes needs a stable 5.2 V and at least 2.5 amps. Keep your eye on that red LED under the antenna – if that’s blinking, ClearNode is experiencing an under-volt condition – that’s not a good thing.

Can I power ClearNode of my vehicle USB outlet ?

In general we discourage it. There is so much variance in the quality of vehicle USB power that it’s our assessment is that it ends up being a threat to the proper functioning of your ClearNode.

My personal preference is to power my ClearNode from a 5V USB PowerBank battery. ClearNode will run for 4 or 5 hours on a 10,000 mAhr battery. Such batteries are quite inexpensive these days. But take care when you purchase – read the fine print. ClearNode needs at least 2.5 amps at 5.2V to function properly. Beware the PowerBank manufacturer that claims 4 amps capacity but doesn’t mention that it is shared between 2 ports and the max on each port is 2 amps.

DTMF commands are un-reliable or don’t work at all, are they supported ?

DTMF commands are supported and a default set has been deployed in rpt.conf – contact us directly for the list – we don’t publish them or make them public.

Difficulty with DTMF is nearly always a function of mismatched deviation levels between your HT and the decoder in Asterisk. Turn on “Audio Analysis” in the node setup pages and observe the audio levels in the “Adjust USB Audio Gain for VOIP” section (see “AUDIO TUNING” above). You’ll need at least 5 seconds of continuous PTT with DTMF tones for ClearNode to analyze the audio. If there are red indications in the bar graphs, either high or low, you either need to adjust the deviation in your HT or compensate for your HT in the “Adjust USB Audio Gain for VOIP” section – lower or raise “To VOIP (rxmixerset)”.

My ClearNode runs warm, is that an OK ?

We provide the Raspberry Pi’s CPU temperature in the Node Detail page of the mobile apps. (You can choose deg C or deg F in the settings page). This is not the enclosure temperature – it is the temperature that the CPU is reporting – we treat it as proxy for the overall temperature of the node.

We’ve reviewed the specification for the Broadcom CPU and we’re not sure why people are quite so paranoid about temperature. So here’s our take on it:

  • < 65 deg C (150 deg F) – green, no worries
  • 66 deg C to 75 deg C (170 deg F) – yellow, particularly at the higher range, thing about cooling, keep it out of direct sunlight, away from other equipment that’s generating heat, maybe even a fan
  • > 75 deg C (170 deg F) – red, definitely take action, at 80 deg C (175 deg F) the software on ClearNode will issue a shutdown to the operating system to protect the device.

Did you know there’s setup help right in the mobile app ?

In the Node Setup screen of the ClearNode mobile apps, long press the title of any setup item and you will presented and explanation of the purpose of the item and its options.

Should I keep my ClearNode powered ?

Your ClearNode uses very little power, if you keep it powered and connected to the Internet all the time it’s registration with the AllStar servers will always be fresh so you can instantly connect to remote nodes. If you power it down the registration will expire and will not be active again until you power it up again. Once powered and connected, it can take as much as 20 minutes before your registration has propagated through all the registration servers. During that latency you may not be able to connect to some nodes.

Reboot your node once a week to clear out temporary and log files and give the operating system a fresh start.

How do I disconnect a connection !??!

Short story – in iOS, swipe left on the connection and tap “Disconnect” – in Android, long-press the connection and select “Disconnect” from the popup.

How do I allow people to connect to my AllStar node ?

By default it blocks IN-bound connections to your network and devices. In general all OUT-bound connections are allowed. So AllStar works OUT-bound by default. To allow folks to connect IN-bound you must create a Port Forwarding rule for UDP Port 4569 to the IP address of your ClearNode. Most Routers have instructions along with the username and password either printed on the case of the device or in the documentation that came with it – generally you use your web browser on a computer inside your home network. Once you’re logged in, look for the “Advanced” section that refers to “Port Forwarding”.

We’re here to help – get in touch if you need more detailed information on this process.

I have Echolink configured on my ClearNode, it connects to other nodes but no traffic passes – what’s wrong ?

Unlike AllStar, Echolink requires port forwarding for both IN-bound and OUT-bound connections – see above, but you need 2 ports – one for UDP Port 5198 and one for 5199. Some routers allow forwarding a range of ports so input 5198-5199 UDP forwarded to the IP address of your ClearNode.

I’m an experienced Linux Op – can I SSH into my ClearNode ?

Absolutely ! ClearNode is based on the Raspberry Pi 3B running Linux. We set the root password to your ClearNode Key before shipping. When you receive your node, feel free to reset that password to whatever suits you. We keep the SSH port at the default – Port 22. One caveat to point out – if you decide to configure your node the legacy way using the various “.conf” files – be aware that if you subsequently use the ClearNode mobile app to change configuration – ClearNode will recreate the “.conf” files from templates – potentially overwriting the “legacy” changes you made. Get in touch – there are workarounds !!

Can I connect my ClearNode to my high-power repeater ?

ClearNode is intended as a personal, portable low power node. It has a built in 500 mW UHF (or VHF) transceiver – there are no connections for Spkr, Mic, COS, PTT.

Is there a VHF version of ClearNode ?

Yes ! Drop us an email when you order and let us know you want VHF. There’s a limited supply since we don’t get many requests for VHF. We are going to assume you want UHF unless you state otherwise.

If Node-Ventures LLC goes out of business is my ClearNode a “brick” ?

Absolutely not ! ClearNode is a standard AllStar node, currently based on the HamVoIP.org distribution.  You can control it with DTMF commands, you can edit the various “.conf” files, and you can use the excellent configuration utilities created by the team at HamVoIP.  Supermon is installed and configured by default and we test it before shipping to make sure all is well. That is all independent of the added convenience and simplicity that the ClearNode Mobile Apps bring to the picture.