Table of Content

RadioPi User Guide

1. Introduction


RadioPi is a Hamradio Raspberry Pi OS image. It’s optimized for remote control and field operation. You can flash it into a SD card, and run it on a RPi computer directly.

(For the convenience of expression, we will refer to the RPi computer running RadioPi image as “RadioPi” in short.)

RadioPi can help to:

2. Download

Image file:
Size: 1.26GB
SHA-256: d949ed21097864aaa6bed4d453d22415e5a25e2479fd835f8398e9dbc0fd6ec4

For users from China Mainland could dowload it from, also:
Size: 1.26GB

3. Features of RadioPi

The RadioPi image is a redistribution based on the Raspberry Pi OS. We try to make it as clean as the official image.

3.1 Features

3.2 Softwares on RadioPi

Application Version Description
WSJT-X 2.2.2 The extreme weak-signal communication software
JTDX 2.1.0-RC150 More features than WSJT-X
TQSL 2.4.3 The ARRL LoTW QSL client
Xlog 2.0.14 A light weight logging program
Fldigi 4.1.01 Amateur Radio in Digital Modes
CHIRP daily20190104 Programming amateur radios, supporting a large number of manufacturers and models, such as Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood, Baofeng, TYT and so on.
QSSTV 9.2.6 Receiving and transmitting SSTV and HAMDRM(DSSTV)
GNU Radio Companion GNU Radio is a free & open-source software development toolkit that provides signal processing blocks to implement software radios.
GQRX 2.11.5 Gqrx is an open source software defined radio receiver (SDR) powered by the GNU Radio and the Qt graphical toolkit.
CubicSDR 0.2.5 Cross-platform SDR application
Direwolf 1.4 A software “soundcard” modem/TNC and APRS en/decoder
Gpredict 2.3-33-gca42d22-1 A real-time satellite tracking and orbit prediction application
VNC Server 6.7.2 To remote control your rig remotely by VNC
PulseAudio Preferences 1.1 For simultaneous line-output, and transmit monitoring.

You need to complete some the power-on settings by yourself, such as the connection with your rig, call sign and LoTW account and so on. We hope that RadioPi can meet Ham’s requirement as stable as possible, so some software is up to date, some are stable. You are welcome to recommend better software, we will pre-install it in future radiopi versions.

3.3 Default username and password of RadioPi

Those are username and passwords login to SSH, VNC, or desktop.

3.4 Default host name of RadioPi

RadioPi is configured with the Avahi service that automatically broadcasts hostnames in LAN networking. You can find your RadioPi by directly accessing radiopi.local on other devices that support the mDNS protocol.

RadioPi is configured to automatically login to the desktop after booting, which is an optimization for VNC remote control. After your first login, it is recommended that you change the password of user pi.

4. Preparation before use

Before using RadioPi, you need to do some preparations:

4.1 microSD cards

4.2 Card writing softwares

4.3 Raspberry Pi

4.4 Other preparations

You can also use the RadioPi in “headless”, without using a monitor, keyboard and mouse. RadioPi has been configured with SSH, VNC, Avahi services, and is optimized for remote control. This is the point of playing the Raspberry Pi. For this part, please refer to the Part 7: “Remote Control RadioPi”.

5. Networking for RadioPi

5.1 Wired LAN

This is the simplest way: connect the RadioPi to your home router with a cable wire.

5.2 Wi-Fi Network

On the RadioPi screen, click the Wi-Fi icon in the upper-right corner to add a wireless network. This is as simple as a normal computer.

5.3 A Pre-saved Wi-Fi network

For field operation with a “headless” RadioPi , we have pre-saved a Wi-Fi network, named “radiopi”, in it. When you share a Wi-Fi hotspot named “radiopi” on your phone, the RadioPi will automatically connect it after power on. Details of this Wi-Fi network:

On iPhone and iPad, the name of the shared hotspot is its hostname. You need to change it to radiopi in “Settings/General/About/Name”.

5.4 Setting up wireless networking Manually

One more technical way is writting a Wi-Fi configuration file on the RadioPi’s boot folder:

In this file, you can write multiple Wi-Fi networks. You will need to create a text file named wpa_supplicant.conf, paste the following codes, change it by your information:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev


ssid="<Name of your home wireless LAN>"
psk="<Wi-Fi password>"

ssid="<Name of your office wireless LAN>"
psk="<Wi-Fi password>"


After the Raspberry Pi is started, this file will automatically update the RadioPi’s Wi-Fi settings.

We recommend you to keep a Wi-Fi network of your mobile phone’s shared hotspot, for your future field operations.

6. Find RadioPi in the LAN

If you want to control your RadioPi on balcony from your kitchen or bathroom, you need to find the RadioPi’s LAN IP address first. Here are three ways to find RadioPi on a LAN.

6.1 Find RadioPi on the router

The simplest way is to login to your router, and find the list of devices. RadioPi’s default hostname is “radiopi”. You can figure out which IP address is assigned to “radiopi”.

Find the IP address of radiopi on the router

6.2 Scan IP address

You can also use the IP scanning tool to figure out the radiopi’s IP address in your LAN. The software recommended is: IP Angry Scanner, which scans your entire LAN of your computer and lists the results.

In Angry IP Scanner, list the IP address of the radiopi

It figures out the IP address of RadioPi is

6.3 Access radiopi.local directly

On devices that support mDNS, such as Apple’s Macbook, iPhones and iPads, you can directly access RadioPi using the URL radiopi.local.

We configured Avahi service that supports mDNS (multicast DNS) protocol on RadioPi. In short, when RadioPi is connected to network, Avahi broadcasts its hostname on the LAN. RadioPi’s default host name is lowercase “radiopi”, so its local URL is: radiopi.local.

The following figure shows VNC Viewer as an example. You can enter radiopi.local directly in the address bar to access your RadioPi.

Entering radiopi.local directly in the address bar of VNC Viewer

mDNS service on different operating systems
Unfortunately, mDNS service is not a standard service for all operating systems.

Use Bonjour on an Apple’s devices
There is the Bonjour service on Apple’s devices, which, like Avahi, supports the mDNS protocol. So Apple devices can directly access radiopi.local.

Use Bonjour service on Windows
In Microsoft’s Windows, there is no Avahi or Bonjour by default. However, You can install Apple’s Bonjour Print Service. That will help to enable mDNS of your computer. The Download address of Bonjour Print Service for Windows is here:

Use avahi service on linux system
On various Linux systems, like the Raspberry Pi OS, the avahi-daemon service which supports mDNS should be installed.

On an Android phone…
Android phones do not provide mDNS services in user’s operating level. So you need to find it on your router or scan your LAN to get the radiopi IP address. In addition, RealVNC provides a “cloud connection” to access RadioPi. After some settings, finding RadioPi’s IP address can be simplified. That will be introduced later.

7. Remote Control RadioPi

7.1 How to remote control

Connecting the RadioPi and your rig, and using the remote desktop sharing system such as VNC to control the RadioPi, from another computer or mobile phone. That’s we called “remote control”.

There are two sences of remote control:

7.2 VNC (Virtual Network Computing)

VNC is a graphical desktop sharing system that allows you to remotely control the desktop interface of one computer (running VNC Server) from another computer or mobile device (running VNC Viewer). VNC Viewer transmits the keyboard and either mouse or touch events to VNC Server, and receives updates to the screen in return.

Diagram of mobile phone remote control

We have configured VNC Server and related services on RadioPi. Next, you need to install VNC Viewer on another computer or mobile phone.

7.2.1 Download VNC Viewer:

7.3 Remote Control RadioPi via LAN

In the address bar of VNC Viewer, enter the IP address of RadioPi.

Enter the IP address of RadioPi in the address bar of VNC

When you are connecting RadioPi for the first time, VNC Viewer will give a security prompt. Clicking Continue.

Security prompt

Next, you need to enter the user name and password for logging in to RadioPi. The default are:

Enter the user name and password

Then you will see the RadioPi desktop in the VNC Viewer window. You can operate it like an ordinary computer. At this point, you have controlled the RadioPi on LAN.

Log in to the RadioPi desktop for the first time

7.4 Remote Control RadioPi via internet

If you want to control the RadioPi at home when you are woalking in a park, you need to register RealVNC’s “Cloud Connection” service.

Access the VNC Server at home via the Internet from

Before going to the park, you need to complete the following steps :

When each device logged in for the first time, RealVNC will require a verification by email. After the verification, the remote RadioPi will appear in the address book of VNC Viewer. You can just click it directly when you access it next time.

VNC Viewer window after establishing a cloud connection

8. Advanced guide: RadioPi for field operation

Finally, it comes to field operation.

A headless RadioPi could replace a laptop totaly. You still have to rely on VNC, which means you have to let RadioPi to connet to Internet.

The best way to getting internet connection in the field is sharing a hotspot on you mobile phone. So we pre-saved a wireless network connection called “radiopi” in RadioPi:

When you are sharing a Wi-Fi hotspot named “radiopi” on your phone, setting the password to “radiopi599”, and encryption method to “WPA-PSK”, the RadioPi will automatically connect it after power on.

On iPhone and iPad, the name of the shared hotspot is its hostname. You need to change it to radiopi in “Settings/General/About/Name”.

After RadioPi is connected to the Internet:

a go-pack of RadioPi and YEASU FT-818

9. About RadioPi’s audio

9.1 Audio-In

As you know, Raspberry Pi does not have any audio-in or line-in hardware. To working with radios without sound card, such as FT-817, you should connect it to a USB sound card, or a USB-CAT interface device. The radio sent audio signal from those perpherals to RadioPi. Then, the softwares on RadioPi decode the signal to human readable information. When the software transmit signal, the encoded audio is sent to your radio from those perpherals.

9.2 Audio-Out

By default, Raspberry Pi’s audio-out devices are independent of each other. If you are using a USB sound card to transmit audio, you may not hear this sound from the 3.5mm audio jack, or HDMI output. However, we’d installed PulseAudio Preferences. It could help to make all sound output devices simultaneously.

10. Safety tips

11. Popularity Contest

We Hope to know which packages are used commonly on RadioPi. So we installed Debian Popcon (Popularity Contest) package by default. The Popcon package submits the softwares information on RadioPi to the central server of Popcon project, once per week, dose not contain any user’s privacy. You can also find the result by visiting You can decide to quit popcon project, by using the following command: sudo dpkg-reconfigure popularity-contest and type No.

12. Agreement