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 up to 15 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.
Node Detail Screen: Popup Menu
This menu is activated by tapping the “Action” icon in the top right corner of the Node Detail screen. It provides a selection of temporary settings you can activate on your ClearNode. These settings are temporary and will be set back to the defaults when the node reboots.
Show Available WiFI Networks: will perform a WiFi Scan at the node’s location so you can see which networks are available at your location. Note: for R21N prefix RedNode boards with the Raspberry Pi 3B controller boards, only 2.4 Ghz WiFi signals will be recognized.
Query AllStar Registration: a useful tool for debugging problems when your node won’t connect to remote nodes. It will return the output of the “iax2 show registry” as if it was entered at the “asterisk” command line interface. See the AllStar documentation to understand the output of this command.
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. BEWARE: Do not interrupt power to the node until the update is complete – if you do you will likely “brick” the logic components of the 818 radio and it will have to be replaced.
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.
With the latest release of the mobile apps the Add Connection screen has been re-implemented as a 3 position tab bar, one tab for each of AllStar, EchoLink and Digital. Tap the appropriate icon at the bottom of the screen to select the target network you wish to connect to
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”.
See the DIGITAL MODES section for an explanation of connecting to the Digital networks.
We recently moved the connection behavior control switches to the top of the ADD CONNECTION screen – along with 2 new one – “Enable tagging” and “Disconnect before connect”. When tagging is turned on you can tap on a past connection and provide it with meaningful tag name to help you identify it – particularly useful in the digital modes.
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 the AllStar, EchoLink and Digital node lists. Select the network type by tapping the relevant icon at the bottom of the screen, then 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 4 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 DVSwitch MMDVM_Bridge and Analog_Bridge for Digital Modes
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.
There will also be occasional to Digital Bridge software distribution.
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.
Disconnect before connect: turning this on forces a disconnect of any current connections before connection to a new remote node – helps you avoid accidentally cross-connecting systems. Note this has no effect on connections directed via DTMF commands.
Connect as monitor only: this affects the way new connections are started – they will be receive only, you will not be able to send traffic to the connection – useful if you want to listen to a hub without risking sending interference or accidental keyups.
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.
Navigate to default node/Default node: many users have a single node, so the “Your Nodes” screen that lists your nodes is a little redundant. Turn this setting on to have your ClearNode mobile app bypass the “Your Nodes” screen and immediately navigate to the “Node Details” screen. Even if you have multiple screens you can use this feature to keep focus on your most important node.
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.
Temperature display: switches between displaying temperature values in Celsius versus Fahrenheit.
Report exceptions to developer: this is turned off by default, but we would encourage you to turn it on – the more know about issues out in the field the quicker we will be able to resolve them.
Backing up your ClearNode Mobile App Data
From the “Your Nodes” screen, tap on the Action menu icon in the top left corner of the screen. From the dialog chose the appropriate action. Backup will place a copy of your mobile app’s data on the Node-Ventures server associated with your callsign. Restore if you have to re-install your app for some reason. You can also use backup/restore copy your app data from one mobile device to another – backup on the first device and then restore to the second device. We store a single backup with your callsign – the backup is NOT stored per mobile device.
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.