ClearNode uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT services to propagate messages between your mobile app and your ClearNodes. Since the mobile app doesn’t connect directly to your ClearNode, you don’t have to configure your firewall to enable the communication.
These messages are ONLY propagated when both your mobile app and the node are online and able to communicate with AWS. Your node will only be listed in the mobile app when it is online.
Once your ClearNode has internet access it can take an age of minutes for all the AllStar and Echolink servers to authenticate and propagate your node’s details. Be patient, especially the first time you power up your node.
The ClearNode Mobile Application
Your Nodes screen
A node that is highlighted in yellow is receiving from the Allstar network and transmitting over the embedded UHF radio
A node that is highlighted in light blue is receiving from the embedded UHF radio and, if connected to a remote node, is forwarding that audio to the remote node.
Tap on any node to navigate to the Node Details screen for that node.
Node Details screen
If the Radio is highlighted in yellow it is receiving from AllStar or Echolink and transmitting (Tx) RF over the embedded radio. If it is highlighted in light blue it is receiving (Rx) RF from the embedded radio and sending that audio out over the AllStar or Echolink networks. Note the time count-up timer in the “Type: 818” row. This timer starts when you key up your HT to send audio onto the AllStar or Echolink systems. Try to keep your transmission duration to less than 120 secs – most systems will timeout a transmission that exceeds 180 secs. The timer will highlight in red once you have exceeded the limit value set on the “Settings” screen.
If a row in the “Connections” section is highlighted in dark blue, it is the active connection that is sending audio on the Allstar network.
Configuring the embedded radio transceiver
Tap on the Radio > Type: 818 row to navigate to the Radio Setup screen.
Adjust the radio parameters as needed and tap the save icon in the top right corner of the screen.
Connecting outbound to another node or hub
When there are no outbound connections, there will be a link in the Connections section header “ADD CONNECTION OUT”. Tap this link to navigate to the connection selection screen.
You can pick a previously used connection by taping on it – this screen will remember connections you have already made. If you want to add a new connection that you have not previously visited, tap the “+” icon in the top right corner of the screen and fill out the “Add new connection” dialog. Tap “Add to table” and then tap the new connection in the table to complete the connection.
Note the slightly different format for Echolink node numbers – they must begin with an extra “3” with the rest of the node number padded to the left with “0”s for a total of seven digits. For example the Echo Test Server would be “3009999” and the East Coast Reflector would be “3375103”.
To disconnect an existing connection – for iOS swipe left on connection row to reveal the “Disconnect” button – for Android long press the connection row activate the Disconnect dialog.
Searching for AllStar and Echolink nodes
The “Add Connection” screen includes a search function that allows you to enter search text and search through either the AllStar or Echolink lists of recently available nodes. Tap on the spy glass icon in the top right corner of the screen to reveal the search dialog.
After the search, a results table appears, tap on any of the results to attempt a connection and return to the “Node Detail” screen. Note that nodes go online and offline continuously. Also, not all nodes are configured to accept incoming connections – you may find that despite being listed in the search results, the attempted connection fails.
Add new WiFi credentials
You may wish to add a new set of WiFi credentials to your ClearNode, for example your smart phone hotspot for use in your vehicle. ClearNode maintains an internal list of previously used WiFi connections – you can add to it any time.
Tap the “WiFi SSID” row in the 3rd section to activate the “Add new Credentials” screen.
Tap the “Add Credentials” button – your node will reboot. There are a couple of things to note about WiFi credentials.
- ClearNode does not validate the values you input – be sure you type the SSID and PSK (Password) correctly.
- If you have more than one WiFi system at your location with different SSIDs, and you add them both to ClearNode, there is currently no way of guaranteeing which one will be connected to. To test your mobile hotspot you need to move to a location where ClearNode cannot see your home WiFi if both have been added to ClearNode.
If you want to clear out old or invalid WiFi credentials as you add in a new one, select “Clear all old credentials” in the “Add new …” popup.
Versions (i.e. software versions)
We are constantly updating, fixing and adding new features to the system. We strongly encourage you to keep up to date as the new software is released.
There are 3 discreet parts to the software used to run the ClearNode mobile app and the ClearNode Raspberry Pi device:
- The iOS and Android Mobile software
- The RedNode control software on the ClearNode Raspberry Pi device
- The AllStar / Echolink VOIP software and underlying operating system.
The iOS and Android software will update automatically if you have automatic updates enabled in the mobile device of your choice. You can also go to the appropriate app store, search on “ClearNode” (one word) and manually initiate an update. We strive to release the mobile software “backwards compatible”, so that we don’t break previous versions of the RedNode control software. (Ha! Famous last words.)
The RedNode control software must be explicitly updated by the user – tap the “RedNode Version” table row and you will activate the “Update RedNode Software” dialog.
After completion your ClearNode will reboot and begin running the new revision of the software. You can update your RedNode software at any time, but note that it merely downloads the latest release and unpacks it – if you already have the latest then the RedNode version will not change.
Similarly tap the “Asterisk …” table row to update the AllStar / Echolink and underlying operating system software.
At the top right corner of the “Your Nodes” screen is a cog icon in iOS and a wrench icon in Android – tap the icon to access various settings and preferences.
“Registered callsign” cannot be edited – however, you can turn off “Device is registered” and you will then have to re-enter your callsign and ClearNode Key, which will reset this value.
“Keep the screen” on prevents your phone from going to sleep when you are viewing the “Your Nodes” or “Node Detail” screens – useful if you are monitoring your connections continuously.
“Connect permanent” changes the behavior of outbound connections – when on, connections that drop are restarted. We generally recommend leaving this option off. If a Net Controller wants to disconnect your node from their hub because it is generating QRM, and this setting automatically re-initiates the connection – the Net Controller might be tempted to block you either temporarily or permanently. In other words, leaving this setting off is polite as it allows Net Controllers to manage their nets and hubs.
“Send traffic warning secs” is the number of seconds before the timer on radio display in the “Node Detail” screen turns red to warn you that you have been transmitting long enough to reach the node or destination timeout. Configure this value to help you limit the length of your transmissions.
“Node Setup expert mode” reveals advanced level settings in the Node Setup screen – most people will leave these settings at their defaults. However, if you want control over “Say IP at boot”, node CW IDing etc., turn this option on and return to the “Node Setup” screen to make adjustments.
Control messages are delivered “best effort” – if your internet connection is constrained messages might not feel realtime or not display at all. This might be more noticeable on a cellular hotspot – particularly if you are traveling in a vehicle.