This Wiki is a User Guide and simplifies searching the Forums for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Wiki Table of Contents
Click on a Section Link for the Information Contained in the User’s Guide
Section I - Purchase, Unpack, and Assemble
Addition equipment to purchase
Micro SD Cards
Updating Previous Versions of Skylark
Over the Air (OTA) Updates
Section II - Energize Dreamcatcher Setup
Energizing for first time
Accessing the Skylark Program
Finding the Othernet WiFi Hotspot
Unique Problems Encountered After Updating Previous Versions
Navigating the Skylark Program
Section III - Acquiring the Satellite
Setting Up Your Satellite and LNB Type
Verifying LNB Bias-T voltage
Finding your correct look angle to the satellite
Tips on pointing to the satellite
Satellite Calculator for Othernet Beams
Selecting the Correct Satellite and Tuning To It
Cones and horns to improve performance
Inline Satellite Amplifier
Section IV - Connecting the Dreamcatcher to Your Local Router WiFi as a Client
The Network App
Finding your Dreamcatcher’s local IP address
Changing Administrator and WiFIPasswords
Rebooting and Resetting the Dreamcatcher to Factory Default
LED indicator meanings
Calls (Rotating progress bars)
Dreamcatcher Reporting Status to Headquarters Stealth Issues
Section V - Additional Storage
Micro SD Cards - Size and Format Requirements
USB Flash Drives
Installing and Running The Rachel Data Base and Other Programs
Section VI - Printing and Othernet Satellite Radio
Othernet Satellite Radio
Use of a speaker or FM Player Transmitter
Adjusting the Volume
Section VII - Skylark Content
-VOA News Summary Audio Feed
-Automatic Packet Reporting System (ARPS) Function in Skylark
-Non-APRS General Messages
-Viewing Status Screen when Using Logon Guest
Guide to Quick Tuner Setup
Selecting the Correct Satellite and Tuning To It
Forum member @Tysonpower has developed an App for Skylark to Automatically Tune and Find the Correct Operating Frequency for your LNB shown in Fig. 21a. You can download it from @Tysonpower 's web site https://tynet.eu/storage/downloads/DC3_tuner_app_1.12.html, Software Downloads or if you had been connected to an Othernet satellite before find it in the downloads:////uploads Folder Fig. 22. You must use log on Othernet (Guest won’t work) to continue.
Fig. 21a Tuner App & Frequency Finder Version 1.12
In North America on SES-2 Freq is 12.0894 GHz & Beam Type is 36
In Europe on Eutelsat 8WB Freq is 12.6231 GHz & Beam Type is 36
If you chose not to run the APP from downloads:////uploads Folder or have never been connected to an Othernet satellite, install the APP in your Skylark program. You must use log on Othernet (Guest won’t work) and upload it from your computer to your Skylark Program micro SD card or external micro SD card. Fig. 21b shows the initial File Manager TAB before ever being connected to an Othernet satellite - - the downloads:////uploads is not present. Keep in mind if you upload the file into the home:///directory on your Skylark Program micro SD card, it gets deleted when you reboot your Dreamcatcher so you would have to reinstall it, so an external SD card is the best solution to keep it permanent. After you select Upload, you will be directed to Browse your computer to find the correct file to upload.
Fig. 21b Initial File Manger TAB before ever being connected to an Othernet Satellite
Note: You will need to find the file to upload on your computer after you click the Upload TAB
Step 2a - Automatic Frequency and Beam Type Selection. Before you do anything else, go back to Fig. 13a, in the satellite list and - - select Custom then click Apply. You must start this process with a Custom Satellite selected . You can no longer select the Americas or EU satellite settings because after a reboot, they revert to the old default values and retune to those values when rebooting.
In Panel 1 of Fig. 21a, type in your Frequency and Beam Type as shown for Americas or Europe. Save the frequency and beam values by clicking the Orange Save button on the bottom left of Panel 1. Because you started in the Custom Satellite mode, this new Frequency and Beam Type get automatically saved in the Custom TAB. If you get a signal (Fig. 23 showing a good connection), you are done. All the settings are automatically saved and will continue work after a reboot so long as you selected Custom then click Apply above.
Panel 1 of Fig. 21a Manual Tuning
|Fig. 13a Reset Satellite Frequency and Beam Type|
If you get no signal in the Status TAB Fig. 23, proceed to the Autotune setup in Panel 2.
Step 2b - The Autotune Setup
Here’s where it might get a bit difficult if the Bias-T voltage is OK, you sited your LNB correctly, and you selected the Custom Satellite with the correct Frequency and Beam Type. Because Othernet is now using a narrower bandwidth (reduced from 800 kHz to 200 kHz), it is more difficult to select the correct operating frequency for each LNB since they all have different local oscillator (LO) frequency stabilities. Even if you correctly site your antenna, you may not be able to receive until you fine tune the Dreamcatcher’s operating frequency. (It is also possible that you have not sited your LNB correctly, so check that again.)
Even on paper, the packets won’t appear with a frequency offset greater than 25% (50 kHz). So far we’ve noticed that 25 kHz of offset is a pretty reliable window. It is said the Maverick will work - - but some Forum Members have been unable to achieve lock with it . The offset is probably just much farther out. Please keep in mind that most commercially available DTH LNBs are specified to a 1,000,000 Hz offset (aka +/- 1000 kHz). See Annex F for more information on LNBs.
The Maverick Single LO: 10750 MHz was shipped with Dreamcatcher 3.02Q - - one of the first units we were using on the KU band. It has a stability of ± 1Mhz. With the Dual LO 9750/10600 MHz LNB, shipped with Dreamcatcher 3.05, it has a stability of ± 200 Khz. The Bullseye Dual LO LNB (soon to be released with a new Dreamcatcher Version and currently available in the Othernet Store), has a stability of ± 10 Khz and operates as a Dual LO: 9750/106000 MHz in Skylark.
Rechecking the Panel 1 of Fig. 21a settings to make sure you have set the correct values for Frequency and Beam Type for your location, and have clicked the Orange Save button on the bottom left of Panel 1 which puts those values into your Custom Satellite TAB. Go to Panel 2 of Fig. 21a - - you should see either 12.0894 or 12,6232 and Beam Type 36. Select the orange button Start Auto Tune which will start to tune to whatever frequency you set. When you run it, it takes some time to complete, so watch its Autotune Status timer. When successfully completed, it will say Got a Lock at 12.08931 GHz, new Frequency set: 12.089331 GHz as in this example. If you don’t get a lock, increase the steps button to 20, and retune as this widens the tuning range. The new Frequency set: will be automatically saved to your Skylark program as a Custom Satellite setting, so even if you reboot your Dreamcatcher, it will remain in effect.
Panel 2 from Fig. 21a Autotune
Step 3. Once you have set the Dreamcatcher’s Tuner App & Frequency correctly, slowly physically move your LNB horizontally and vertically to maximize the SNR (dB) making it as large (less negative) as possible.
The Tuner Status screen in Fig. 23 will show the SNR (dB) line fluctuating at a value above -14 dB (sometimes as high as + 10 dB), the Lock line saying yes , and the Rssi (dBm) line fluctuating at a value between -60 and -95 dBm. Lower Rssi levels such as -100 dBm may carry signal, but the Dreamcatcher is not sensitive enough below -95 dBm. On the top of the Tuner Status Screen, you will see what type file is being downloaded at that moment - - either audio or files . At the very bottom of the screen you will see what file is being downloaded or just finished downloading at any time. This picture represents a successful connection at latitude 39 deg N longitude 76 deg W in mid afternoon with an accurately pointed LNB, and a fine tuned LNB. Additionally, LED 6 will be fast blinking dim green if data packets are detected.
Fig. 23 Tuner Running Correctly on SES-2 at Latitude 39 degrees N
New Additional Othernet Content
In the Skylark File Manager - look for a new Content Addition - -
VOA News Summary Audio Feed
Forum members @Cheaha and @caveman99 developed a method of providing an automatic Daily 5 Minute VOA audio news feed. You must open the File Manager Icon and cursor down to Uploads to find it. Select the audio/mpeg file you want and play it.
Other Valuable Information
VIDEO EXPLAINING OTHERNET
Check this YouTube Video produced by Forum Member, Matt, explaining the Dreamcatcher v3.05 running Skylark 5.7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCewB_PuvDk&feature=youtu.be
PRINTABLE PDF USER’S GUIDE, and LIVE LINKS TO VIEW SKYLARK OPERATION
- The Dreamcatcher v3.05 is currently out of production. A new terminal is coming this Spring, but is not for sale yet.
- User’s Guide to Setting Up and Using Othernet Dreamcatcher v3.05 with Skylark 5.8 is at User’s Guide This is the latest edition on April 2, 2021, and includes new information regarding the March 2021 Bandwidth reductions, location of newly developed Satellite Finding and Tuning Apps; and the new European satellite. If you print this PDF using the Adobe Acrobat Reader program and select print to fit, it will paginate with the assigned page numbers.
- Link to Skylark software Software Downloads
- Live On-line SES-2 North America at 87 West Dreamcatcher v3.05 Board running Skylark 5.8 is at http://184.108.40.206/ (Current as of March 17, 2021)
- Live On-line Eutelsat 8WB at 8 West Dreamcatcher v3.05 Board running Skylark 5.8 is at http://obereip.selfhost.de (Current as of March 17, 2021)
WIKI FOR DREAMCATCHER v3.02Q BOARD
- This board version was only available for a short period of time. Information for the Dreamcatcher v3.03 is applicable to the v3.02Q, and Skylark v 5.8 works for some Forum members - - not all. So be advised. Use the above User’s Guide to set it up. There are some different LEDs and parts, but the layout is generally the same. Earlier versions of Skylark before 5.3 no long work on Dreamcatchers.
SOURCES OF USEFUL SOFTWARE TO DO A SKYLARK INSTALLATION ON A DREAMCATCHER
- 7 Zip https://www.7-zip.org/
- Win32DiskImager https://win32diskimager.org
- Rufus http://rufus.ie/
- Etcher https://www.balena.io/etcher/
- DishPointer https://www.dishpointer.com/
- Angry IP https://angryip.org/
- Advanced IP Scanner https://www.advanced-ip-scanner.com/
- Bonjour Services https://support.apple.com/kb/DL999?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
- AOMEI Partition Assistant https://www.disk-partition.com/download-home.html
- VLC Player https://www.videolan.org/vlc/
- PuTTY https://putty.org/
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR DREAMCATCHER USERS
- Hardware Information
- Software to Use for Other Applications
Dreamcatcher Chat Application
- Other Software Options
- Wiki for Dreamcatcher 2
- Wiki for SDRx
- Wiki for moRFeus
- Note/Revision History
- Transceiver Semtech sx1280/1
- Allwinner A13, is a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor is the heart of the Dreamcatcher Board Series
- Single USB type A for connecting devices
- One micro type B USB plugs for 5vdc 2amp power
- Speaker jack and Speaker pin connector 1/8" (3.1 mm) mini both speaker
- Antenna one SMA connector pre-wired to a short cable with a male SMA connector on the Dreamcatcher v3.05 and two female SMA jacks on the Dreamcatcher.
- Supplied LNB and female Type F to female Type F coax connector
- Maverick Satellite MK 1-PLL single standard Ku band LNB 11.7 - 12.2GHz 10.750 GHz LO Powerered at 13 or 18 vdc max 135ma (included with Dreamcatcher v3.03) or Othernet Dual Band LNB
- Touch screen display only on Dreamcatcher v3.03 or v3.02Q https://www.buydisplay.com/default/qvga-2-4-inch-tft-lcd-touch-shield-320x240-serial-module-display-ili9341 Power requirements 5v or 3.3v and 100ma. A 40 pin GPIO extension ribbon cable can be used to remotely mount the display.
- The two sd card slots tested with up to 64GB micro SD cards. Must be good quality
- Mounting holes
- Various “points” on the main board (no longer has a jtag) uart terminals are typical interface is provided typical http://www.ftdichip.com/Products/Cables/USBTTLSerial.htm and
- EDUP Wifi mini usb device is supplied http://www.szedup.com/product-item/802-11n-mini-wifi-adapter/ 8011n,g,b 2.4 GHz with rf power 13~17 dBm Chipset Ralink5370
- Power on/off Reset button - push and hold 10 seconds to interrupt the intermediate power buss
- Ventilation and cooling requirements - - infra red scan shows the display, power regulator chip U-1 and Allwinner A13 to be warm
Software to Use for Other Applications
Armbian Linux Based: Customized for the Dreamcatcher
Suggested starting points are: “sudo nmtui” or armbian-config
Dreamcatcher Chat Application
The Dreamcatcher v3.05 is capable of transmitting text messages to other Dreamcatcher v3.05 boards on frequencies between 40 MHz and 6 GHz using the Dreamcatcher Chat Application. The application achieves this by controlling both the mixer and radio peripherals present on the Dreamcatcher board. It uses a different set of software to achieve this capability that is available at https://github.com/Othernet-Project/dreamcatcher-chat. Two Dreamcatchers side-by-side - - one is the transmit end and the other is the receive end. The link is half-duplex. If you separate the Dreamcatchers, you can perform half-duplex messaging between them. Don’t forget, you may need a license to transmit depending upon where you are operating.
Other Software Options
- Future options may allow the setting to be stored: type “sudo alsactl store”
- Selecting Coax inputs Note: The only valid configurations are when rfswitch1 is off and rfswitch2 is on, or the other way round.
a. Selecting Direct SMA Code block
echo 1 > brightness
echo 0 > brightness
- Turn on Bias-Tee to the Coax Connector
a. Code block for 14 volt dc at both sma input connectors
echo 119 > export
echo out > direction
echo 1 > value
- Adjusting SDR parameter
** RF Amplifier Gain
** Lora and other SX1281 parameters
The default for the chat application found in main.cpp:
modulationParams.PacketType = PACKET_TYPE_LORA;
modulationParams.Params.LoRa.SpreadingFactor = LORA_SF7;
modulationParams.Params.LoRa.Bandwidth = LORA_BW_0400;
modulationParams.Params.LoRa.CodingRate = LORA_CR_4_5;
PacketParams.PacketType = PACKET_TYPE_LORA;
PacketParams.Params.LoRa.PreambleLength = 0x08;
PacketParams.Params.LoRa.HeaderType = LORA_PACKET_VARIABLE_LENGTH;
PacketParams.Params.LoRa.PayloadLength = 50;
PacketParams.Params.LoRa.Crc = LORA_CRC_ON;
PacketParams.Params.LoRa.InvertIQ = LORA_IQ_INVERTED;
Wiki for Dreamcatcher 2
- Alternative Uses for Dreamcatcher 2 Ambian. Flash this image to your sd card: Software Downloads (readme file in that folder useful to get started, guessing you’ve done this part before though. Then before updating any software via apt-get upgrade! Follow the info on this post Dreamcatcher - DONT UPGRADE KERNEL BEYOND 5.27!