…Or the Ahuago AW470, or Helida M2, or whatever it is called. I do know it is a tiny FM two-way radio running on UHF at 400-470mhz, with the ability to program input/output frequency pairs with encoded tones. So it can work simplex or on repeaters. Theoretically anyway.

I finally got some time to play with this radio. It’s been a long-term project spent waiting for doo-dads to arrive.

The radio:


The programming cable:


Those sat around until this weekend. One issue with these cheap oddly built radios is that to program them, you have to download the programming software from some sketchy places. Luckily I have an old Windows 7 Netbook laying around that I can put on a guest network I have running at the house, so I think my exposure is low. The software link comes from this interesting site http://www.opg.org/2017/03/10/tiny-radio-ahuago-470-felida-helida-nktech-m2/

About halfway down is a link to the programming software https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8BGmr-vYNsbNUQ3eENLWUZsZGM. I had previously installed other software from NKTECH that looked right but never worked, luckily the OPG gang had the right link.

Next came the problem of device drivers. The trick here was to get the old driver from Prolific, available here http://pdxpiedmont.net/node/52 That worked like a charm. And plugging in the cable to the old Netbook caused the drivers to load and assign to COM3.

From there it was pretty simple. Plug in the radio to the cable, launch the sketchy software, and type in frequencies. Except the software is in Chinese by default and has an English language setting. But how do you find it if the program launches in Chinese? OPG guys to the rescue – 5 menus to the right and second entry down. Bam, ‘murica.

The audio is pretty rough, but it works. The size is fun, ridiculously small. Cool color. All said and done though, the lure of these little radios is waning. When you want to use a radio, just use a radio that is solid, always works, and sounds good. For most of us, that’s Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom, etc.

Here is the what the Nktech sounds like as recorded on my TH-D74:

Here is the what the TH-D74 sounds like on the Nktech:

Red state, republican governor proposes new state gas tax at 10 cents/gallon. Road and bridge construction and maintenance, electric car infrastructure, and interestingly inland waterway projects. Cites need for bipartisanship. https://mynbc15.com/news/local/governor-ivey-releases-full-rebuild-alabama-infrastructure-plan 

I love the simplicity of RSS feeds – we generally go to the same sites for news on a regular basis, why not have those sites come to us, and sync across all our devices, and keep track of what you have and haven’t read? And more.

Miniflux on iOS

I was never one of the cool kids on Google Reader, but after playing with the current king of RSS apps, Feedly, I really saw the benefit of this platform. In some ways, it’s the “killer app” of web browsing. But I also really hate to pay for stuff that I can do myself. We are being nickle-and-dimed at every turn by subscriptions, and I didn’t want yet another monthly fee.

And why should I have to? RSS is an open standard. There are millions of feeds posted. The service is pretty simple. I know how to spin up a VPS, and it’s 2019.

Miniflux feed, viewed on Reeder in MacOS

But which RSS server software to use? It came down to Miniflux, NewsBlur, and Tiny Tiny RSS.

I had trouble with the NewsBlur and Tiny Tiny RSS installs. It’s not them – it’s me. Miniflux just ended up being easier. My goal was to host this on the same Digital Ocean server as this website, and I’m sure I could have gotten there with more research into virtual hosts and TLS, but it basically was pretty easy to start a new Digital Ocean droplet, provision with Ubuntu, and install Miniflux.

After a couple of hours of setup, I was in business with my own RSS feeder and reader apps. What’s cool is that I can host the service for friends and family, too, saving everyone a few bucks. The load on the server is very light. I’m using the lowest memory Digital Ocean droplet, at about $5/month. I rationalize this with “well it’s not a new subscription service fee, it’s just an increase in a subscription I already have”. Argh.

Miniflux works great in a web browser for my Windows 10 corporate day use. It allow uses Fever, which allows me to use a number of reader apps. I’m using Reeder on iOS and MacOS.

Miniflux on the web