Raspberry PI 4 First Impressions

Recently I purchased a PI4 to replace an ageing tower because of the noise floor it was creating on the 40m (7mhz) band. So far the PI has succeeded in reducing the noise floor from s5 to s1 here in the shack.

So, with only a few hours in of using the PI what are my first thoughts? Simple its a quiet small package and does what one would expect of a single board computer. It is not a race machine, FB loads a bit slow but it did on the old computer also. The PI is not capable of running NetLogger so that’ll take a bit of work as a VNC will need to be utilized for heavier tasks like that.

Otherwise I find the UI (User Interface) clean, well laid out and easy to navigate. The Raspian repository had packages set to download anything you’d want in the ham radio world in just a few clicks. You literally could search “hamradio” and there’s meta packages that will give you all the “rig control”, “digital modes”, “packet modes”, “digital voice”, “logging”, etc. Just check the meta packages that fit around your area of interest and click apply and you’re off and running! No need to try and remember what software or hunt around.

The kit i bought came with a metal case and a cooling fan. Assembly was a simple task of fitting the board into the case with the appropriate orientation. Sticking a few heat sinks on the board where the instructions clearly indicated. Landing the fan wires on the header pins for the cooling fan to work could have been a little easier as you had to count out where pin 14 is but not that huge of an issue. Certainly shouldn’t be any issue for a HAM. Then drop the top of the case on, tighten 4 screws and stick on some rubber feet for good measure. The kit came with a standard HDMI cable and an adapter cable to adapt to the mini HDMI that the PI4 uses.

I should note that I have already ordered the HDMI cables that have standard on one end and mini on the other and plan to snag another new monitor from walmart. I’ve had no complaints with the ONN monitor I got for $80 at walmart last year so I’ll pick up another one of those and the HP VGA only monitor will stay with the tower where ever it winds up in service.

I do look forward to moving the tower and all its mess of associated cables out away from the radio and cleaning up this whole area. Cable management should be a breeze with the PI here in the shack as it doesn’t require hardly anything and will mount to the back of the monitor or under the desk nicely effectively eliminating the need for longer cables.

I’m using the PI now to write this post. So it does handle moderate daily tasks with ease. I’ll update down the road how it’s working out long term.