SCARS ELMERS PART TWO

NO7O Site report – Southcars Elmers to the rescue
Chief W4RFJ’s Elmer visit to the NO7O Shack

Dear Southcars members and visitors:

Please accept this thank you letter to Southcars members, Elmers, and visitors.

I have recently learned how responsive Southcars members are when one of our members or visitors is in need of a gentle helping hand.

SO WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT HELP FROM SOUTHCARS?

Simply, Southcars seems to be there as family first. Its members and staff take the time to help, and are there when needed.

SOUTHCARS CONFERENCE HELPS VISITORS IN URGENT OR TIME SENSITIVE NEED

Yesterday I observed that when other Echolink conferences were down the afternoon before that other conference visitors were coming to Southcars for help. Southcars was back up in a matter of hours the afternoon before.

After about 10 minutes, another call for help was heard on the Southcars server for Allstar support. And the day after, a follow-up email was sent by the Elmer helping the visitor.

Southcars was up and running, and available to help.

NO7O Elmering report – Chief W4RFJ to the rescue of a confused future raspberry pi user.

After Chief and I shared a TIN on media devices and his use of a raspberry pi for distributed computer processing in the shack, I realized that I desperately needed Raspberry pi help.

After all, I had a pile of components and the prospect of spending weeks of long hours each day trying to make this little computer work. So I sounded the alarm for help, and Chief responded through a Southcars net and a follow-up sked.

A genuine Elmering session of hours and hours given

So Chief came to the rescue. First we had to figure out in the cramped quarters here where to set up a workbench that Chief, a visitor of mine, and I could work. Chief even had to lift a heavy card table for a work bench from the back storage space out and over propped up extra chairs.

Next out came Chief’s raspberry pi and game controller, laptop, monitor, keyboard, usb port hub that I did not have, my purchased components and packing list, and Ethernet cables and house current power extension cords running like a spider web to and from our makeshift work bench.

Chief even took the time to share with me his research project and what he was working on with a bank of pi’s in a processing stack.

During all of this, Chief was maintaining contact with Gordon KY6V via Echolink and Chief’s XYL the Admiral KA3TEJ by cellphone, providing frequent project updates.

For about 6 to 7 hours to the best of my memory, Chief worked away preparing the operating system image file and patiently explaining each of the stops he was taking to set up the pi as I took notes as fast as I could. Please understand the raspberry pi has no bootable hard disk, no keyboard, no mouse, no monitor, and only one connection each for power, monitor HDMI, and one USB port. There is no Ethernet port on the pi zero. So how do you connect all of these devices to only 2 physical connectors on the pi?

While waiting for the pi to work on some of the pi’s setup processes can take up to a half hour to work, Chief demonstrated his pi and TNC combined processor research project.

We also took the moment to play a game of hopping a duck over turtles without having electronic duck a ’la orange from the duck hitting the turtle.

Then came time for a break while the raspberry pi went through its’ long set-up processes on the single core CPU. And also time to make those RF field strength readings and tests on the property using his HT to find out if there is a repeater in reach. We had to untangle Chief from all the cables he was tangled up in just so he could get to the door.

After the break, the pi was ready for the freeware utilities Chief had brought. I frantically made notes as Chief demonstrated how to use the utilities and file transfer utilities to move files between the LINUX based pi and the Windows desktop.

Now I have a new skill and ability to build create equipment at a fraction of the cost of buying it new, projects like a pi based media server shack security camera, automatic emailing of weather measurements, and other manual tasks.

Time to pack all the cables up for Chief’s return home and put the workbench back in its storage location after the 10 hours or so of work. Amazingly, I had everything in place that I needed except for the USB 7-port hub. And in the true spirit of ham generosity, Chief left his USB hub on loan at the NO7O shack.

I have since returned the hub, substituting a brand new one for the one he loaned.

I also have a lonesome feeling waiting for the pleasure of having Chief in the shack again.

Thank you Chief for the site visit AND ELMERING that moved me well along that raspberry pi learning curve.

CONCLUSION:

A few weeks later, Chief and his XYL the Admiral dropped by so I could meet her in person and return Chief’s equipment to him in person. Three hams visiting at the front door for a short follow up visit.

And I remain swamped with writing up shack documentation and procedures to cover using the pi in an active and demanding shack and studio setup.

George, NO7O. Shortened web version May 25, 2017.