February 2023 News!

As February draws close to an end, Hamshack Hotline has a few announcements for our users.

First, we are announcing a new supported endpoint. The Polycom VVX-350 is now the latest in our lineup of supported endpoints that can be used on the HH network and can be auto-provisioned!

Also, with the generous help of many HH users who are also AllStar node owners, we have found a solution to the annoying sms messages that are being broadcast from many of the AllStar nodes that have RF 94xxx extensions with us.

These sms messages may not actually be displayed on your phones screen, depending on your settings, but a lot of newer model phones that are “SMS RFC-Compliant” will drop calls after receiving an sms, anywhere between 30 and 45 seconds into the call.

The reason is not important. What is important is that, with the help of you, our user base, we now have a solution and will make sure new RF stations are compliant before being issued an RF extension with us. We will also be working with the current RF extension holders that are broadcasting sms beacons, to help them correct the issue so no more calls get dropped.

We ask that you please be patient with this last process as tracking down all the current owners of nodes transmitting sms beacons on HH connections will be pretty time consuming.

Bill, de KG6BAJ
Senior Engineer.

Welcome 2023 !

Well, it’s a new year and we have new things happening. At the top of the list we now officially support the Polycom VVX410 model phone. At the end of last year we added a few more supported endpoints as well and we are always looking to add more models to our supported endpoint lineup.

Next, some of you may have seen the new 84xxx extension numbers that are now being assigned to a new release of RF devices, called “Arduino”. Before Arduino we only had the capability to add AllStar nodes to our RF lineup, as they were Asterisk based systems and merged into our PBX system very gracefully.

To understand Arduino, think of it more like running an EchoLink node, where you have a computer with an internet connection running the EchoLink software, and some sort of radio control box, like maybe a Rig-Blaster. Hooked to one side of the Rig-Blaster box was a cable running to the computer, and on the other side was a cable running to the transmitter mic & audio ports.

With Arduino, you can use a standard ATA VOIP unit, like a Cisco SPA-112, or SPA-2102 and do the same thing. The Arduino controller box would wire into the transmitter, and also plug into the ATA’s RJ-11 phone port. When a user calls the RF extension number of the ATA device, the Arduino unit can pull the line “off hook” and answer the call.

One of the more exciting features of the Arduino setup, is that depending on certain model radios, you can also use DTMF to change channels in the radio. So if your radio supported different bands, using DTMF, you could select one channel that might be a two-meter repeater channel or select a different channel that was a 70-centimeter channel. And if your radio had 50 channels programmed into it, callers now can use any of those 50 channels. Amazing to say the least.

We also have some new support staff coming on board to help ensure we can handle support tickets as fast as possible. We know a bunch of you must have gotten new voip phones for Christmas and can’t wait to get your new extension number!

As we introduce more and more features to the system, look for them to be announced here. We look forward to hearing from each of you soon.

73, de Bill, KG6BAJ

State Of The Network – 2022

Greetings to the whole of the ham radio community. It’s been a while since I reached out to you and offered a word. Hamshack Hotline (HH) has continued its curve of steady growth and service the community world-wide. This would not be possible without the dedication of some people who share the common vision for the project.

I wanted to make a special mention to two people who have shown unwavering effort in supporting this project, Bill (KG6BAJ) and Dave (W2DAN) without their efforts, careful diligence, and stewardship have been the primary hallmark of quality that the HH project envisions for the community. We’ve had our ups and downs, growing pains, and lessons learned but our team continues to strive for excellence in service to the community every day. I also want to recognize Dan Malone (AK6DM) for his excellent work on developing an LDAP directory solution. Dan has joined our team and contributed some amazing work in that regard. David, KD4CLJ continues to be a great support lead helping folks out and hosting technical information conferences on the network.

If you see these gentlemen active in our Discord group, please be sure to thank them – they will appreciate it more than you know, as much as I do.

For me, I have had to ride in the back seat for a while due to a medical issue, but I stay in contact with the team and receive regular updates, and offer support when and where I am able.

Lastly, I wish to continue to thank our many donors who continue to contribute a couple bucks a month to keep HH systems running in the cloud, and keeping the lights on. Without their generosity and commitment to the project, none of this would be possible at the wold-wide scale of our operation today – THANK YOU for your ongoing support of the project and the community.

73, de John, K1WIZ