• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

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    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

All about the DV4home

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#1
Recently got a DV4home last week and have been doing a bit of playing around with it. I reported the numbered issues below to Wireless Holdings and they replied back that they sent them to the developer however I have not heard back anything else from them or the developer so I'm releasing my findings to the public so they might be better informed on this product.

Product website page: DV4home

Here is what I've found so far:

1) Audio quality is excellent both inbound and outbound.

2) Does not do Brandmeister "officially" - more on that later.

3) You can connect to both DSTAR and DMR at the same time however it will not play both at the same time - whichever one keys up first you'll hear.

4) On busy DSTAR reflectors the main display will crash after 10-15 minutes and the entire thing will be in an unusable state.

5) On busy DMR reflectors when not connected to a DSTAR reflector as well, eventually the main screen will stop displaying call signs and information. The green RX LED will also go solid. When it's in this state DMR still works, you can still transmit/receive however after about 10-15 hours in this state it will eventually stop working entirely.

6) The buttons on the handmic do nothing, just the PTT switch.

7) The rotary encoder is jittery - spin the knob "too fast", i.e. at any rate other than "dog slow" and it's either non-responsive or the counter starts going in the opposite direction.

8) The speaker in the box itself is only "OK". You're going to want to use to an external speaker. I use an old Kenwood comms speaker I had laying around.

9) On the web page interface the "unlink" option in the DCS menu doesn't work. The only way to unlink from a DMR reflector is to link to a different reflector. There is no "4000" option to hard unlink entirely.

10) No way to hard-reset the box back to factory defaults that I can find if you screw up entering your callsign and DMR ID so make sure you NEVER, EVER screw up the initial setup web page process.

Now for some internal discovery.
This box runs both an SSH server as well as a mini-httpd webserver.
The web server runs the webpages that allow you to connect to different reflectors.

Over the weekend I was able to guess the root SSH password and login to the box. What I found is:
SPECS: 128MB of RAM and 4GB of internal flash storage.
I haven't opened the box to see if the flash is chip-based or card-based.
There is also an internal 2-port USB hub. One USB port for the DV4mini and the other obvious port on the back for a future wifi USB adapter I guess.
CPU is an ARM926EJ-S rev. 5 (ARMv5TEJ), all info taken from DMESG.

1) DV_SERIAL. That's right. Our old friend dv_serial makes an appearance!
When you plug in a DV4mini and power up the box, after the main process "sees" the DV4mini is plugged in it launches dv_serial and you control it using software on the desktop. There's no way to control it from the device itself neither from the front panel nor the built-in webserver that I can find. Same thing as if you had it plugged into a Raspberry Pi. DV_SERIAL does NOT control the rest of the box, just the DV4mini if you have it plugged in. This is the same dv_serial program that the Linux DV4mini software uses on the Raspberry Pi.

2) OLED - oled is the main process that controls the entire box, not just what is displayed on the screen. Upon power-on after the Debian Linux OS has booted up the oled program is launched and it launches two other additional programs - DCS and DMR. But the OLED program has a bit of a problem - it crashes with a segmentation fault after 10-15 of listening to a busy DSTAR reflector because it seems to not be able to handle corrupted DSTAR packets very well. The OLED program also doesn't handle the display very well leading to corrupted characters on-screen after a while when connected to a DSTAR reflector.

3) DMR - DMR is the program that handles DMR reflectors. It's rock-solid except for one tiny issue - upon every transmission it receives it spawns local UDP ports that it never closes. Over time on a busy DMR reflector it will eventually spawn hundreds and hundreds (thousands?) of open UDP ports that never close and eventually ties up all the RAM causing the entire box to be non-responsive and stop working forcing you to power-cycle the box. On boot up it spawns 3 DMR processes.

4) DCS - DCS is the program it uses to connect to DSTAR reflectors. There seems to be conflict with the DCS program and the OLED program that initially calls it since on busy reflectors the DCS program causes the OLED program/process to crash out entirely leaving the control panel and display in an unresponsive state. Unlike the DMR process, the DCS process does not spawn a lot of UPD ports. Upon bootup 6 DCS processes are spawned and it keeps to that number over time.

5) DV4AMBE_1 and DV4AMBE_2. These two programs control the audio decoding/encoding. As you can see, there are two of them indicating there really are two AMBE chips in this thing. That's actually pretty cool.

5) LINK - Link is the program called by the user interface webpages that connects both DMR and DCS reflectors. you basically call "/media/data/system/link LG4369" and it will connect the DMR program to reflector 4369. "/media/data/system/link REF030C" will connect DCS to the famous reflector 30 Charlie. On the DMR side the link program is hard-coded to only be able to use 4-digits. More on that issue later.

6) USER - user is the program the initial setup webpage uses to populate the config.cfg file located in /media/data/system with your callsign and DMR ID. If you screwed up this setting in the beginning configuration page there's no way to edit this short of SSH'ing into the box and editing it using nano. Possibly by browsing directly to the config web page as well but I haven't tried that yet.

7) config.cfg - this file is located in /media/data/system and contains your callsign and DMR ID. It also contains the DMR_MASTER configuration, i.e. this is where it's setup to connect to a particular DMR_MASTER server located in Florida. It is possible to change this to point to a Brandmeister master server and I currently have mine pointing to the BM Dev server where it's working fine...well, as fine as the DMR and OLED and link programs allow.

I found a slew of leftover debugging and testing web files and other oddities while looking around in the box indicating the developer did not do proper cleanup prior to releasing the software.

Also, the link program itself is hard-coded to only use 4-digits meaning that after connecting it to a Brandmeister master server you can't go to a 5-digit talkgroup - at least as far as I've been able to find. Decompiling the link program itself didn't give me any clues either.

I find it very, very odd that they made the OLED program the main program that controls everything including the display. I feel the display controls should have been split out into a separate program entirely.

There is also no watchdog process in place to monitor the state of the running DMR, DCS, and OLED processes and re-start them if they crash. Once they crash - and the OLED process crashes a lot - you have to reboot/power-cycle the device to get it working again.

There is no real internal logging done on this device at all that I can see.

There are a few main things that really bug me about this box:

1) Every few minutes the device pings Google for one ping - and one ping only. This is probably a way to do some sort of poor man's network connectivity test. But if your DNS servers ever go down for any reason, not sure what will happen when it tries this single ping to Google.

2) Upon bootup (really upon startup of the OLED main program) it connects to and pulls down and saves the list of Brandmeister master servers. It also contains a list of Brandmeister reflectors/talkgroups. It does not use these in any way whatsoever during operation so not sure why it does this unless it's leftover code from the Linux version DV4mini control program being used in the OLED program. Also finding traces of DVRPTR-NET all over the place including the hostname itself.

3) Compiler tools are already installed on the device to include git. I was able to successfully git clone and compile the MMDVMHost software even if it was very slow to compile.

4) If something happens to the Linux OS inside the box there is no way for a user to reflash the OS to it that I can find. I'm sure there's some sort of undocumented process to do so but we're not being told what that process is.

My bottom-line review of this device is that while the hardware itself has potential, the software is very poorly developed and very buggy. From my limited research on the matter it seems code that was on past hardware DG1HT has worked on has been repurposed for this box as well. That would be fine if not for the fact that the code is buggy and prone to memory leaks (DMR UDP ports) and seg faults (OLED/DCS not handling corrupted DSTAR data properly). Again, these issues are all software-based and fixable by the developer.

Until they fix these issues I would advise against anyone buying a DV4home at this time.
 
Joined
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#2
After posting this to Wireless Holding's Facebook support group for their DV4 products, they banned me from the group and probably deleted my post.
Odd. I thought the official support group was where we were supposed to post these things in the first place?
 
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#4
Probably upset the guys that designed it; some folks just don't like criticism, constructive or otherwise.

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N9PBD

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#5
After posting this to Wireless Holding's Facebook support group for their DV4 products, they banned me from the group and probably deleted my post.
Odd. I thought the official support group was where we were supposed to post these things in the first place?
Did you post the long version you put here, or just several shorter ones? I can see your short reply posts (as Nonya Bidness), but no long one on the DV4Mini Facebook support group.

Oh, and thanks for the honest review and info!
 
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#6
Did you post the long version you put here, or just several shorter ones? I can see your short reply posts (as Nonya Bidness), but no long one on the DV4Mini Facebook support group.

Oh, and thanks for the honest review and info!
Probably because they deleted it and removed me from the DV4mini support group.
It's cross-posted to other FB groups as well as in the review I put up on eHam.net.

DV4home Product Reviews

I guess this means there is no support for this newly-released device?
If they're not going to support it the least they could do is release the source code so I could get it fixed.
 
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#7
Support will come out of the DV-RPTR Yahoo Group, most likely, if anywhere.

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#8
Even the DV4compact is bad.

I am happy to have the opportunity of sharing my experiences here. I tried on the 'official' support group to share them but was moderated out.
I had been excited about the DV4Mini when I first saw the announcement and bought one (the stick that is) from ML&S in the UK. This was my first DMR device and I bought a Tytera MD-380 to go with it. I should add here that I already had an Icom ID-51E and Icom IC-9100 so I was familiar with D-Star and was using a dual band DV-Mega which is a 'plug-and-forget' device.
The idea of having a single platform to allow me to use D-Star, DMR and Fusion (if I decided to go that way) was very exciting and is the reason that I bought the DV4Mini.
It was OK but I found that having to use a PC to change settings was a pain. You can do a lot on the DV-Mega just from the rig! So when I saw the “DV4 Home” and “DV4 Home Compact” being written about during Dayton and then saw them in the flesh at Friedrichshafen they seemed like a perfect opportunity to have a single, standalone device which I could operate from the front panel with no requirement for a PC. I opted for the Compact version mainly due to price. Here is what the Wireless Holdings website says about the DV4Hoime Compact:
*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
DV4home compact
The DV4home compact is a barebone version which is an easy to operate stand alone device with a simple rotary-push button operation and a high temperature range built-in display. It contains a shielded compartment into which a DV4mini is inserted. The voltage range between 9V and 15V allows a direct connection to a vehicle's power system without any additional power supply. The extreme temperature range from -40C to +85C ensures functionality even under the most extreme conditions.
The DV4home compact can be alternatively configured by the rotary-push button or by a PC using the Control Center software.
All modes of the DV4mini are supported: Fusion, D-Star, DMRplus, dPMR, P25 (NXDN later via software update)
D-Star (DCS,CCS,REF,XRF,XLX)MRplus (TS1 all / TS2 Reflectors or talkgroups)
dPMR(All Systems and codecs transparent mode)
P25(Phase 1 Only and all NAC transparent mode)
The DV4home compact can directly connect to the DMRPlus network or IPSC2 .
Connection to the internet can be made by:
Ethernet 10/100
WLAN using a USB 2 WLAN adapter
3G/4G(LTE) via USB 2 adapter
All data is preliminary and subject to engineering changes.
*** END QUOTE ***
I contacted Wireless Holdings and once the device was available, they sent me an invoice for USD284 (including shipping to the UK) which I paid by PayPal. It was despatched very quickly and I had to pay just under GBP50 to get it released by the customs authorities here in the UK. That puts my outlay at about GBP300 PLUS the cost of the stick itself (GBP120 + P&P).
The device was well packaged but with no instructions whatever. The invoice had note saying &#8220;software download and instructions can be found here: http://<URL>,&#8221; additionally there was a US power supply (universal voltage but a moulded US plug).
The URL listed on the invoice had new firmware but no manuals! I searched online and found a YouTube video of the DV4 Home (not compact version).
I installed it and (due to the YouTube video) knew that I had to go to http://<ip address>/user.html on my browser to set it up. That was all fine. The device was down-level being at v0.60. I updated it to v0.61a and the firmware on my DV4Mini to v1.73. This point, I would say, was the high water-mark of my experience. Since then it has been all down hill.
These are the issues that I have found:
111) The device drops offline regularly and has t be unplugged (there is no power switch!) and re-plugged to reboot it. It seems to drop offline spontaneously. It will never recover from any network glitch and that will require a reboot (that is power to be removed and re-applied).
222) When it is rebooted it fails to find the DV4Mini about three times out of five which requires yet another reboot.
333) I am totally unable to configure ANYTHING whatever from the front panel. If I turn the knob it shows &#8220;volume %&#8221; increasing or decreasing - this is meaningless as I adjust volume from the transceiver! See the above quote, it should be confiugrable from the panel!
444) If I turn the knob to select one of the menu items and then give a short push, it takes me to a second layer menu (the menu structure seems to be a well-kept secret and I cannot find it anywhere!) but within seconds and no matter what I do (short push, long push, rotate knob slowly or quickly) it goes back to the previous menu.
555) It seems that without a PC to configure the device (either through one of the software front-ends or the webpage) then it is impossible to do anything which totally negates my reason for buying it which was for a standalone box!
666) The Wireless Holdings site (see above!) says that it supports USB Wifi dongles but it patently does not! I am stuck with an ethernet cable to connect it which means I cannot re-site it away from my network switch.
Nobody at Wireless Holdings seems to care or want to do anything to resolve the issues or even explain them. A number of my posts asking questions have been moderated (that is deleted).
I am going to abandon this whole project and I want to return the DV4Home Compact for a refund (this is in hand via PayPal), I will sell the DV4Mini USB stick as they seem to work OK. I am going to upgrade my DV-Mega.
In summary, I cannot recommend anyone to buy these devices. In fact I would steer clear of all of Wireless Holdings products,
Apologies for cross-posting but I think we need to get the word out!
David G4NRT.
 
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#9
constructive criticism not allowed

I had a similar experience a time ago, regarding the DV4mini - they simply threw me out of the official support mailing list. So they refused me my customer rights.

This left some bad taste, and I will avoid all DV4/DMR+ products in the future. When they do not want paying customers - well, should not be not my problem, there are other and better and cheaper products out there.

Ralph, dk5ras.
 
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#10
I had a similar experience a time ago, regarding the DV4mini - they simply threw me out of the official support mailing list. So they refused me my customer rights.

This left some bad taste, and I will avoid all DV4/DMR+ products in the future. When they do not want paying customers - well, should not be not my problem, there are other and better and cheaper products out there.

Ralph, dk5ras.
Well, I figured out the SSH root password and took the entire thing apart both inside and out, piece by piece.
They made some really, really screwy hardware decisions that make absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
And the way the software runs makes no sense either.

More on my findings about the internals here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/DigitalRadio/comments/53xaju/dv4home_internals/

I had to take it someplace I had total control of over outside of Facebook.

Monika did email me back saying they had released a new update but we shall see....

EDIT: And now they've locked my second FB account I had created after they locked the first one. Truly disgusting behavior from Wireless Holdings.
 
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#11
Sounds like Wireless Holdings has adopted the AT&T model for customer service. I was seriously looking at their "home" product, but now I'll take a pass. I feel sorry for those who put a deposit down on their upcoming DV4mobile. I can't imagine plunking down a grand for a POS product and then being told your on your own, now shut up.
BG?.
 
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#15
Good news everyone!

They've released a new 0.63C update today!

Now instead of it almost working, it's now completely unusable!


It refuses to even boot up properly now, it's just sitting at the "DVCompact DV4mini not found!!" on the OLED screen.
Looking inside the TGZ file itself it looks like DG1HT never bothered to update the version file - it still says 0.61A and on the rare occasion it does boot up it says there's an online update because he never bothered to update the version number in the version file itself!
Sloppy, very sloppy.
One would think he would at least have a testing checklist but it seems he does not.
So much for fine German engineering.
Aha! Seems he "broke" it and made it even worse now.

-------------------------------------

login as: root
DV4 Linux 1.5 by DG1HT
root@172.16.1.225's password:
Linux DVRPTR-NET 3.2.8 #35 Sat Apr 30 11:57:42 CEST 2016 armv5tejl
The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.
Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
root@DVRPTR-NET:~# cd /media/data/system
root@DVRPTR-NET:/media/data/system# ./oled
RAMDISK IN USE
dcs: no process found
dmr: no process found
spi mode: 0
bits 9
max speed: 4000000 Hz (4000 KHz)
SEND AMBE RESET
2TEXT: ( ) wert1:0 werti:40 len_0:36
PING Google (74.125.196.105) 1(29) bytes of data.
9 bytes from yk-in-f105.1e100.net (74.125.196.105): icmp_req=1 ttl=42
--- Google ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 received, 0% packet loss, time 0ms
Internet is OK
2TEXT: (Software Version:0.063C) wert1:13 werti:40 len_0:23
2TEXT: ( ) wert1:0 werti:50 len_0:36
2TEXT: (Internet is OK) wert1:13 werti:50 len_0:14
Mein Login Rufzeichen=[CALLSIGN ]
MY_ID=[12345678]
Configuration file invalid...
2TEXT: ( ) wert1:0 werti:54 len_0:36
2TEXT: (DV4mini not found!!) wert1:0 werti:54 len_0:19
root@DVRPTR-NET:/media/data/system#

-------------------------------------------

My real ID and CS are in the real one.
This is the DV4home, not the compact, so a DV4mini is not required to use it but even plugging one in and powering it up it still crashes.
And still that single ping to Google rather than checking if eth0 is up, or perhaps pinging the gateway, or better yet doing a DNS lookup.
Torsten, buddy, just release all the source code already and let someone else fix it.
Have a peek at the so-called "update" for yourselves, folks.
Of course I'd report it on their official Facebook support group but they removed me from the group and reported my accounts to Facebook the last time I reported on bugs crashes in the DV4home so...yeah.
 
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#16
That's why I don't use DCS reflectors on D-STAR and have little use for the FCS reflector system for System Fusion. On DMR, I will eventually be on Brandmeister. Repeater or node will be MMDVM (open source)

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#17
And now this from Wireless Holdings:

We are testing it ourselves and many other users as well. We have the 63C version running perfectly. We have no control over changes in the software or configuration which are made by the user. Please return it to us for a refund.

Wireless Holdings
4916 Rustic Oaks Cir
Naples, FL 34105

Monika
And my reply:

Monika,

Then you - and they - must be using a different version that was not downloaded from your website.
Because the version I have was downloaded directly from your website.
I've made no changes save deleting the config.cfg file in order to force it to generate a new one.
At this point, I'm afraid that in order for you to get this device back it's going to cost you $1000 refunded in advance to pay for my debugging time as well as time and costs incurred to ship it all back, including the now-defunct DV4mini.

Since your Facebook support group is closed to the general public I have no idea if a different version was perhaps released there and I no longer have any valid Facebook accounts thanks to your group admins.
 
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Messages
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#18
And now they're accusing me of harassment:

It is obvious that you are trying to harass us. Our offer to return the units back to us for a full refund stands and will be honored after receipt of the goods.

We will not communicate with you any more. Please direct any further communication to

Joe Davidow at Willis & Davidow Law,
851 5th Ave N #301, Naples, FL 34102


Monika
Sent from my iPad
I no longer trust them, even for a refund.
 
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Messages
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#19
And now they're accusing me of harassment:



I no longer trust them, even for a refund.
You expected a product that worked out of the box, and when it did not perform to your expectations, you rightly complained about it. You aren't the only person that has, and like the others, you've been brushed off. And if the latest update to the software is NOT available on their website but only through a restricted access site that they can ban you from, that is not good business practice and should be reported to the proper people.

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#20
Have created disk image of the original 4GB micro-SD that runs this box.
Copied it over to an old 8GB micro-SD I had laying around.
Now I have some breathing room on the newer, fast card..
Ran apt-get update and discovered over 400 packages that required updating.
Woah. That's one really old Linux distro.
"apt-get upgrade"
(20 minutes pass...)

There. Now everything's up-to-date. Unit still boots into their software and works fine.
But now it's not full of potential security holes.

Now to work on getting newer, better software to work on this thing like ircddbgateway, MMDVMHost, etc.
Will probably require modification to a lot of source code to get it to work with the AMBE3000R chips on the daughtercard.
 
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