A low cost computer to use digital modes

The Raspberry Pi nano computer model 4 is a really interesting computer. I use Raspberry for many years and for many uses but rather for autonomous uses (Decoding of AIS, ADSB, Management of my rotors, Antenna switches, …). But up to the 4th version model I not using her with a graphical interface due to lack of CPU with previous versions.

But version 4 model change the deal!
With a 1.5 GHz quad-core 64-bit processor and up to 8 GB of memory, the Rpi 4 is a nano beast! If you had it a SSD disk, you have a not so bad setup as an office computer or using it on web. It was also possible to use the Rpi 3 for digital mode usage especially with WSJT-X but was putting the CPU on the back while now it’s really comfortable. The decoding period for notammenet signals does not slow down the machine and usage is very fluid.

If we add that the acquisition cost is very interesting and that consumption is very low, it is certainly a perfect computer for use in a gobox or a small makeshift station.

Let’s see what we need :
Raspberry PI 4 – 4Go
7″ Touchscreen and case
Kingston SUV500M8/120G Disk
SSD Case
– Power Supply (FR plug), (US plug)

You will also need a SDCard during the installation only.

Getting Started with the Pi 7″ Touchscreen LCD

You need to assemble the touchscreen LCD and the Raspberry PI board. Installation carefully the ribbon cable. The kit includes 4 jumper wires. Insert the wires into pins correct pins on the board. GND (Black), 5V (Red), SCL (Yellow), SDA (Green).

Install the OS on a temporary SDCard

You need to create a Raspbian SDCard “Raspberry Pi Desktop” by downloading and installation it from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/. I quickly pass on the installation of the OS, there are many tutorials on the subject. Boot on the SDCard that you need to install under the ribbon cable.

Open Terminal and type:

Update your OS :
sudo apt-get update &&  apt-get full-upgrade

To install a virtual keyboad (can be found by clicking the Menu -> Accessories-> Keyboard) :
sudo apt-get install matchbox-keyboard

Rotate the screen (by default, the touchscreen is 180° inverted) :

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Add line:


To exit:

Ctrl + X



Install your SSD disk :

Use this tutorial to install it and copy your  : https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2020/im-booting-my-raspberry-pi-4-usb-ssd

Install your WSJT-X (or other folks) :

And play!


  • FG8OJ
  • Bertrand "Burt" FG8OJ is an amateur radio who has been passionate about radio for almost 40 years. I like all activities: tweaking my station, making antennas, doing DX on HF, doing satellite and EME. I also love participating in HF contests or in Europe in VHF/UHF. Everything excites me.

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