SharkRF OpenSPOT4 Pro

The openSPOT4 is our latest battery powered, portable, standalone digital radio internet gateway (hotspot) designed mainly for amateur radio use. You can talk with others on digital radio networks by using an openSPOT4, Wi-Fi internet access, and your digital transceiver.

Our team has completely redesigned both the hardware and software, with a multicore CPU and a completely new Wi-Fi module, which means both the web interface and update downloads are blazing fast. The built-in battery has a larger capacity, and the device can work much longer than our previous battery-powered models thanks to the new hardware and optimized software.

The openSPOT4 Pro extends the feature set of the openSPOT4 with onboard transcoding hardware:

  • The openSPOT4 Pro has the best voice quality in cross mode operation
  • Supports D-STAR® cross modes: use your D-STAR® transceiver to access DMR, C4FM, NXDN® networks, or your DMR, C4FM, NXDN® transceiver to access D-STAR® networks
  • Supports call audio playback on the web interface
  • Supports 10 configuration profiles

Compatible digital radio protocols and networks

  • DMR (BrandMeister, DMRplus, DMR-MARC, Phoenix, XLX, TGIF and others)
  • D-STAR® (DCS, REF/DPlus, XRF/DExtra, XLX)
  • System Fusion®/C4FM (FCS, YSFReflector, XLX)
  • NXDN® (NXDNReflector)
  • P25 (P25Reflector)
  • APRS® messaging and location data forwarding (APRS-IS)

Supports cross modes* (example: talk with your D-STAR® transceiver on DMR, and with your DMR transceiver on D-STAR® networks).

State of the art hardware and software design

  • The openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro are the only complete hotspot on the market which is:
    • customly designed as a fully dedicated device for standalone operation (no Raspberry Pi® or anything like that is used or needed)
    • has a built-in battery
    • has built-in transcoding hardware, and supports D-STAR® cross mode operation*
    • using fully embedded software written in pure C, running on a custom-tailored embedded real time operating system. This means no Linux, no bulky Windows software, no failing SD cards – but extreme durability, reliable operation and fast bootup.
  • No desktop PC software or drivers to install
  • Supports fast battery charging with USB charger detection
  • 20mW UHF RF output, see the specifications
  • Extreme fast bootup: under 5 seconds**** from powerup to connected to a server and ready to use
  • Supports scheduling an automatic daily wakeup and powerdown
  • Built-in Wi-Fi access point mode for quick and easy connecting to Wi-Fi networks
  • Multiple Wi-Fi network support with automatic connect and reconnect
  • Fully automatic over the air firmware upgrades for new features
  • Bright multicolor LED with brightness control for easy real time state and battery LED for charge status monitoring

**** Depends on the speed of the Wi-Fi router, Wi-Fi network and internet connection conditions.

Very easy to use

  • Built-in voice announcements
  • BrandMeister Manager and Quick Call on the web interface for DMR TG/reflector linking/unlinking
  • DMR SMS chat
  • DMR ID database lookup
  • Controllable with calls from your radio to preconfigured IDs/callsigns
  • Built-in echo service for testing

Frequently asked questions

What are the openSPOT4 and openSPOT4 Pro good for?

Let’s say you live in Budapest, and talk to your friends on the local DMR repeater HG5RUC, which is linked to talkgroup ID 216 (TG216) on the BrandMeister network.

If you travel around the world, where you can’t reach the repeater HG5RUC directly, you can still talk with your friends by using an openSPOT4 or openSPOT4 Pro and a DMR (or cross mode compatible) transceiver by connecting it to the same network and talkgroup which HG5RUC uses (TG216, BM). If you speak with your transceiver on the openSPOT4 or openSPOT4 Pro’s frequency, it will route your call to TG216, and HG5RUC will transmit your signals all around Budapest, so your friends will be able to hear and talk to you.

If you don’t have local repeater coverage, the openSPOT4 and openSPOT4 Pro can link you to supported digital networks all around the world. You can talk to people living on the other side of the world very easily.

What if I already have local repeater coverage?

If you do have local repeater coverage, you can still make use of an openSPOT4 or openSPOT4 Pro to avoid interrupting local repeater traffic. You can reach any reflector or talkgroup with it, so you don’t have to disconnect the local repeater and disturb other local users.

What makes the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro way better than any hotspot currently on the market?

Currently the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro are the only hotspots on the market which are customly designed as a dedicated hardware unit for standalone operation. They do not need a computer, a Raspberry Pi®, an Arduino® board, SD card or any other hardware to operate. They don’t need slow desktop PC software or drivers to install. No Linux knowledge is needed at all. They have a built-in battery and the openSPOT4 Pro supports hardware audio transcoding for the best voice quality.

The openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro were designed by hardware and embedded software professionals, who are also amateur radio enthusiasts. Its PCB, hardware components and case are very high quality, meet industrial standards and were chosen with practicality and durability in mind. We offer 2 year warranty*** with official support in email and on our community forums.

The openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro are not MMDVM® clones, they have nothing to do with MMDVM® or Pi-Star, and they are not a Raspberry Pi® wired with a bunch of PCBs in a case (or without a case…).

Using the devices are extremely easy. You can change every setting by opening the built-in web interface with a web browser. You can also use the Quick Setup feature to easily connect the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro to a digital network like BrandMeister. Opening the web interface is rarely needed, as you can switch talkgroups, reflectors, and even pre-saved configuration profiles by using your transceiver.

Even the first time setup is very easy. If no Wi-Fi networks are configured, then the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro appear as a Wi-Fi network access point on your phone/tablet/PC called “openSPOT4 AP”. Connect to this network, and a connection wizard helps you to connect the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro to the available Wi-Fi networks.

Is it available as a kit or does it come preassembled?

The openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro are ready to use products in a box with all the needed accessories like any other product you can buy from the store shelves in your local electronic department store.

What about warranty and support?

We offer 2 year warranty*** with official support in email and on our community forums. We respond to all emails very quickly. There is a detailed user manual available here. We also have a Facebook page, and a Twitter channel with the latest news.

*** The battery and the USB-C charger cable have only one year long warranty period (70% battery end of warranty capacity).

How do you ship the unit?

We ship with FedEx with tracking. Orders of products in stock are shipped with delivery times of usually 2-5 days even to the most remote parts of the world. You’ll receive your order’s tracking number in an automatic email when the courier service picks up the package.

What’s the shipping cost?

You’ll get the exact shipping cost after registering in our shop with the delivery address and do the checkout.

Where can I find the product specifications?

Specifications are available in the user manual.

What happens if I move between multiple Wi-Fi networks?

The openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro automatically reconnect if the connection is dropped. You can set up multiple Wi-Fi networks to connect to, so it’s very easy to set it up for your home, vehicle, and work Wi-Fi networks. The device will automatically connect if one of the configured Wi-Fi networks become available.

Can two or more openSPOT4 or openSPOT4 Pros linked together?

Two openSPOT4 or openSPOT4 Pros can be linked together directly without any servers or network infrastructure. Interconnecting two digital radio sites can be easily done this way. You can also create your own private radio network by using our open source server application called SharkRF IP Connector Protocol Server. Multiple openSPOTs can connect to this server, it handles all radio modes, even supports cross mode operation. It also has a nice dashboard.

What is cross mode operation?

For example, the openSPOT4 can convert your DMR radio’s transmission to a System Fusion® network, and when someone talks on the System Fusion® network, you’ll be able to hear it on your DMR radio. This cross mode operation is extremely easy to set up. You can find the list of supported cross modes in the user manual here.

Are there any plans for a VHF version?

The openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro have a built-in antenna for the UHF band. Currently we don’t plan to ship a VHF (or dual band) version of the product.

The web interface has light and dark themes

Are there any plans for a DMR duplex (dual timeslot) version?

Currently we don’t plan to ship a DMR duplex version of the product.

Why doesn’t the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro have a display?

You already have a display on your phone/tablet/computer and also probably on your transceiver which all can be used to interact with the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro. You can change all settings using the web interface, and also using your transceiver with the help of a unique feature called configuration profiles.

Does cross mode work with D-STAR®?

In case you use the openSPOT4 Pro, then yes! D-STAR® uses an older codec which is incompatible with the newer one used by DMR/System Fusion®/etc., but the openSPOT4 Pro has built-in transcoding hardware, and it supports cross mode operation with D-STAR® radios/networks. The list of openSPOT4 and openSPOT4 Pro cross modes can be found here.

Will there be support for connecting to Ethernet networks?

You can connect the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro to an Ethernet network using a Wi-Fi AP/router device.

Which Wi-Fi band is supported?

The openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro works on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi channels.

Can I use the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 continuously plugged into the USB power supply?

Yes! There’s even a setting which you can activate and then the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro will turn on if there is external power available, and turn off if the external power supply is disconnected. This is very useful if you want the device to automatically turn on and off if you use it in a vehicle for example.

What’s the difference between the openSPOT4, the openSPOT4 Pro and previous versions?

The openSPOT4 is a whole new device with the latest technology improvements, built-in battery, beeper, Wi-Fi support, USB-C high tolerance power supply with fast charge support, built-in Wi-Fi and UHF antenna, a 0.5ppm TCXO with factory calibration for very low BER. The openSPOT4 Pro extends the feature set of the openSPOT4 with built-in voice transcoding hardware.

Most of the software components were redesigned to make the whole device extreme fast, future-proof, and use very little power. We’ve added new radio modes and network protocols since the openSPOT1. The web interface is redesigned and now use WebSockets technology which means extreme low latency and a whole lot of new realtime features.

Will there be an Android/iPhone app? is available as an application, but it is optional, as the openSPOT4 and the openSPOT4 Pro can be configured using its web interface. You can open it in any supported browser even on your phone.

Can I use multiple openSPOTs on the same network?

Yes! Make sure each device’s name is unique so you’ll be able to open each one’s web interface by their unique device names. You can change the device name at the Network Settings on the web interface.

D-STAR® is a registered trademark of Icom Inc.
System Fusion® is a registered trademark of Yaesu Musen Co., Ltd.
NXDN® is a registered trademark of JVC Kenwood Corp. and Icom Inc.
APRS® is a registered trademark of Bob Bruninga, WB4APR
Raspberry Pi® is a registered trademark of Raspberry Pi Foundation
Arduino® is a registered trademark of Arduino AG
MMDVM® is a registered trademark of Shenzhen HKCNMA Co., Ltd.


Paul L | MØFOX | Chesterfield UK | IO93HE | Icom IC-7800 | Yaesu FT-980 | FT-902DM | WAB SK46

Beyond FT8 – That would be FT4

AS RELEASED by Dr JH Taylor K1JT and Team, Steve (K9AN), and Bill (G4WJS)…… “Soon after the “FT8 Roundup” held on December 1-2, 2018, we started serious work on a faster, more contest-friendly digital mode that can compete with RTTY-contesting QSO rates while preserving many of the benefits of FT8. The result is FT4 — a new digital mode specifically designed for radio contesting. Over the past month a small group of volunteers have been conducting on-the-air tests of FT4. The early tests were very successful and helped us to make a number of important design decisions. We believe FT4 has considerable promise for its intended purpose. We’ll soon be ready for testing by a larger group. If you might be interested in participating and offering your considered feedback, please read the descriptive document “The FT4 Protocol for Digital Contesting”, posted here:… We plan to post downloadable installation packages for WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc5 on April 29, one week from today. The document linked above includes – Instructions for installing WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc5 and FT4 configuration – Operating instructions for FT4 – Basic description of the FT4 protocol, modulation, and waveform – Detailed sensitivity measurements for FT4 under a wide variety of simulated propagation conditions – Schedule for upcoming test sessions Please consider helping us to make FT4 a successful mode for digital contesting With best wishes and 73, — Joe (K1JT), Steve (K9AN), and Bill (G4WJS)”

Paul L | MØFOX | Chesterfield UK | IO93HE | Icom IC-7800 | Yaesu FT-980 | FT-902DM | WAB SK46

Icom IC-7610 HF/50MHz Transceiver

ic-7610_icom ic-7610

IC-7610 HF/50MHz Transceiver (Base Station)

The IC-7610 is the successor to the IC-7600 and will be a dual-watch capable HF+50MHz 100W base station with built-in antenna tuner.

The LCD will be touch screen and you will be able to connect an external display.

More info to followPaul L | MØFOX | Chesterfield UK | IO93HE | Icom IC-7800 | Yaesu FT-980 | FT-902DM | WAB SK46

Tackling Pirate Radio London

A North London Borough (Council) is adopting a new approach to eliminate the issue of Pirate Radio, hoping to save up to £1 million if rolled out without the whole of London.

Haringey Council, in conjunction with Homes for Haringey, have changed their to enforcement, and have saved £90,000 in Policing and repair costs, by focusing on the sites used by Pirate Radio.

Employees target known locations that provide the perfect conditions for broadcast, high rise building, where the enforcement teams find transmitters installed on rooftops or hidden in lift shafts. Often the equipment is poorly installed, potential a risk to people from falling equipment or frequency interference.

The prompt removal of illegal broadcast equipment is removing the harm for people and building, reducing costs, and is also providing a cleaner band for the emergency services to broadcast within,

If this approach is adopted by the whole of London, the savings could be as much as one million pounds.

Clive Corrie, Head of Ofcom’s Spectrum Enforcement team, said: “Illegal broadcasting harms local communities and risks lives by interfering with vital communications used by the emergency services and air traffic control.

“By working in partnership with local authorities, Ofcom is tackling this problem. We also strongly urge those broadcasting illegally to get involved with internet or community radio, a legitimate route on to the airwaves.”

Astrid Kjellberg-Obst, Executive Director of Operations at Homes for Haringey, said: “Pirate radio stations damage people’s homes and can be extremely distressing to our residents.

“We’ve seen huge success in tackling the problem with the measures that we’ve introduced, removing all pirate radio stations from Haringey and saving the borough tens of thousands of pounds in the process. We will continue to work with Ofcom to keep Haringey pirate-free.”

Ofcom offers accessible, legal alternatives to get onto the airwaves. Since 2005, Ofcom has issued community radio licenses, enabling small stations across the UK to get on-air right and serve their local communities. More than 200 community radio services are now broadcasting.

Ofcom is also supporting a new, innovative way for smaller stations to broadcast on digital radio. If tests are successful the system, called ‘small scale DAB’, promises to open up digital radio to smaller broadcasters for a fraction of current costs.

Tackling Pirate Radio LondonPaul L | MØFOX | Chesterfield UK | IO93HE | Icom IC-7800 | Yaesu FT-980 | FT-902DM | WAB SK46