My ClearNode AllStarLink/EchoLink (FM hotspot) simplex node arrived today from Node-Ventures. Fun!
For those unfamiliar with AllStarLink, a node is a computer that connects to the AllStarLink network. A node is often interfaced with an amateur radio and is connected to the internet. Radios can range in size from a repeater to a low power radio integrated into a node (as is the case with the ClearNode). A node enables the owner to connect to other nodes in the AllStarLink network.
It was super easy to setup and get on the air. My ClearNode unit came preconfigured so there wasn't much to do other than attach the 440Mhz band antenna and power it up. I really like the durable case and overall simplicity of the design.
The ClearNode puts out about 500mW and comes with a stubby antenna. I considered using the stock antenna though I was concerned that it may limit my ability to connect when operating from the backyard with my HT. I decided to repurpose an unused dual-band rubber duck SMA antenna I had in a drawer to enjoy a bit more gain and extended range.
|Testing NJ2X's Clearnode Allstar / Echolink node|
The ClearNode worked great with both AllStarLink and EchoLink. I was able to link with repeater nodes all over the world easily using the ClearNode iPhome app. The software worked flawlessly and offers a ton of configuration options for those that love to experiment. Node-Ventures have also done an excellent job those who want a simple plug-and-play node. Kudos!
I talked to several hams on various repeaters and then checked-in on the Puget Sound Repeater Group's Nine O’clock Net on WW7PSR in Seattle, Washington.
Coverage around the house was strong with full quieting while using my dual-band HT set to low-power (1W). This coming weekend I plan to do further testing around the house and outdoor coverage with my HT.
Good DX and 73, NJ2X