Sunday, 25 October 2015

DV4 Mini Review

A week after receiving my DV4 Mini dongle I thought it would be helpful to give a review and my experiences with it.

Firstly, a note of caution if it is intended to use the dongle with a PC running Windows XP - Helitron don't recommend using XP, even though they supply software, and I can confirm that on two of my XP equipped laptops the software isn't suitable. It works fine on Vista and above but I have found the most reliable platform is via a Raspberry Pi.

The control software is good and easy to follow, and is relatively straightforward to use. It gives options for power levels and which server to connect to as well as giving a display as to which reflector you are connected to and the traffic through.

On the Pi (and Windows Vista on) the dongle needs no drivers as it is automatically recognised  (with XP a driver has to be downloaded - although I haven't been able to run the software on XP).

As a result of monitoring and using the DV4 Mini, I have observed that users accessing via Dstar have good connection and superb audio, and Fusion users have reported that it works very well on that system. DMR is a different matter though. The connection suffers from drop outs and missing syncs, which makes the use of the dongle very challenging. I have used various methods to try to address these problems; low power on the handheld, wrapping the dongle in foil and using an external antenna and siting it well away from the dongle to minimise excess RF getting to the dongle, but it would seem that these measures haven't improved matters much; which leads me to believe that the software needs some attention. Fusion and Dstar users report that it works fine. I have investigated my Internet connection and although connecting via wi-fi is ok, a direct connection through an ethernet cable is marginally more reliable.

So, my conclusion is :-

Very good idea and it works reasonably well. Software glitches need to be sorted for DMR use and once these are addressed the whole experience will be improved. It's early days for the DV4 Mini and I'm sure that the Amateur Radio Community and the software developers will work towards a solution - let's hope that it comes soon.


1 comment:

  1. I have owned 2 DV4MINI and found then to be something that could not be used at my Home.

    I had many problems with Locking up for no reason, or Looking for DV4MINI stick and not found, or Looking for CCS7 and repeat over and over again and stop working( yet was told this had nothing to do with the DV4MINI stick). I have a disconnect sent from where I do not know them disconnect, would lock up in transmit mode for no reason or show call sign of a ham yet was other ham in the net talking and other Issues.

    I could not keep the DV4MIN running over 3 to 8 hour with out having to reset and reboot.

    I was told was my computer I have 3 laptops and 4 raspberry Pi the one laptop was Toshiba with 16gb memory, SSD drive and my net was cat 5 from router to computer with Net speed of 100mbps down load 10 up..

    I spend over $600 trying to make Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 or Windows 7 or 8 or 10 to work and still lockup and issues. I spent over 650 hours trying to make work. I was in there help ask other hams and in groups and still did not work.

    With what i spend in Money for new modem new router new mini computer ( was told they used this and worked so buy ,,,them told this computer was not stable to use for DV4MINI) new powered USB hub new usb cables new sd cards for Raspberry Pi put toroid coils on everything Power cord USB cord HTMI cord and other thing I could have paid for 4 DVhome.

    I did send many many Email to wireless Holdings and allot was never answered. I sent screen shot of my problems and nothing. some of the time was told what happened had nothing to do with the DV4MINI yet it stopped it from working for me

    One Post on there Face book page said Keep trying you find the answer. Also was told no one else had the problems i did or Complained.

    They sent me a Free DV4MINI thinking mine was bad still did not work.

    I send 2 DV4MINI back for refund Only refund for 1 and I keep the Free one .

    So I am out not having something they said every one else is using and then said was no one complain of issues LOL

    Gary N0FIB No Fib