BRIAN (Baofeng BF-888S Radio Interfaceto the Allstar Network) is a kit construction project designed by N8AR that implements a Raspberry Pi hosted Allstar node using the circuit board and other parts from a Baofeng BF-888S as the node radio operating in the amateur UHF (70 cm) band. BRIAN is designed as a kit for construction and use in the amateur radio service by licensed amateur radio operators who can assure that the BRIAN kit they are using meets required operating requirements including frequency, bandwidth and required power levels at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies.
An Allstar node can be implemented using BRIAN and a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4. BRIAN contains it’s own USB audio interface realized using surface mount parts rather than using a modified USB sound FOB as done in the original BRIAN’s .
The BRIAN electronics is housed in an extruded aluminum enclosure measuring 3.94L x 2.98W x 1.42H inches. A “rubber ducky” antenna is connected to an SMA connector on the rear of the enclosure. Internally, the Baofeng circuit board (modified by the builder) is mounted to a motherboard which contains the radio interface circuitry and jumper wire connection points to simplify wiring to the Baofeng board. The motherboard uses a combination of surface and through-hole parts. In the BRIAN kit, the motherboard is supplied with all the surface mount parts installed. The kit builder installs seven through-hole parts, modifies and installs the Baofeng board and completes final assembly.
BRIAN is connected to a Raspberry Pi using a USB Type A male to USB Type B male cable. This cable also supplies 5 VDC power to BRIAN. Front panel LEDs on BRIAN indicate the status of the unit – BRIAN POWER (green), RADIO POWER (green), COMM STATUS (blinking green), COS (yellow) and PTT (red). The BF888S nominally supplies 1 watt in high power and less than 0.5 watts in low power. The low power setting (programmed using CHIRP) is recommended to be sure the Raspberry Pi can supply the required current in the transmit mode. Optionally, the construction manual contains information on a method to modify the Baofeng BF888S board to reduce the output power to 20 – 50 milliwatts…. perfect for a local Allstar node! This modification also reduces the BRIAN current requirements to less than 300 mA.
- Uses low cost, proven CM119B or CM108B USB Audio IC
- Uses the circuit board from a Baofeng BF-888S UHF HT
- Standard SMA female connector and right-angle antenna
- Powered by Raspberry Pi (3/4) via USB cable (A male to B male)
- Nominal 1/2 watt RF power
- Low power modification (20 to 40 mW) if desired
- Motherboard, daughter board design simplifies wiring
- Rugged RFI-resistant metal enclosure
- 3D printed plastic end caps provided
- Blank metal end caps with modification drawings also provided
The BRIAN kit contains all of the parts required to build the device except the Baofeng BF888S circuit board.
The motherboard in the BRIAN kit is provided with all of the surface mount parts installed. The kit builder installs 5 LEDs, the USB Type B connector and the SMA RF connector.
Construction of the BRIAN (SM) kit consists of the following steps:
- Install 7 through-hole parts on the motherboard.
- Disassemble the Baofeng BF888S HT. Remove and modify the circuit board.
- Mount/wire the BF888S to the BRIAN motherboard.
- Final assembly
The construction manual for BRIAN may be downloaded by clicking below:
BRIAN Allstar Node Setup and Configuration
A basic Allstar Node setup and configuration guide using the HamVOIP distribution of Allstar is provided as a download from this site. Click on the following link:
BRIAN is designed as a kit for construction and use in the amateur radio service by licensed amateur radio operators who can assure that the BRIAN kit they are using meets required operating requirements including frequency, bandwidth and required power levels at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies. BRIAN is available as a simple parts kit, without the Baofeng BF888S radio, for $55 (the BRIAN kit builder purchases the BF888S separately to minimize BRIAN shipping costs). Shipping is $9 (CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. territories) via USPS Priority Mail. Payment via Paypal is preferred. Send an email including your amateur radio call to firstname.lastname@example.org for ordering and delivery information.
Support of BRIAN is provided via the BRIAN group at BRIAN group
The purpose of the BRIAN group is to serve as the main hardware support source and discussion group for hams building and using the BRIAN Allstar Node. Support of the Allstar distribution you install in your Raspberry Pi and use in conjunction with BRIAN is best obtained from the source of the Allstar distribution (i.e. www.allstarlink.org or www.hamvoip.org).
Please join the BRIAN group for the latest information on BRIAN.