Pi-Star: Scheduling DStar Reflector Linking and Unlinking

Do you want your repeater or hotspot to automatically connect to a specified reflector at a certain time? It is quite easy to do that, almost no command line stuff is involved.

Introduction and Prerequisites

This not something specific to pi-star actually, all those functionalities are provided by the Jonathan Naylor G4KLX software that Pi-Star runs under the hood. We will also use cron for the scheduling job.

The trick is to have the program remotecontrold run at specific time. Remotecontrold will send commands to ircddbgateway (the program handling all internet communication tasks for dstar) to connect or unconnect to various destinations.

A working Pi-Star install is required. This has been tested with Pi-Star 4.0 and 4.1.

Editing System Cron using Pi-Star

Pi-Star exposes the system cron configuration file in the expert section. Navigate to your P-star dashboard, Configuration, Expert, System Cron.

Now at the end of the file you can add the commands you wish to have. Do not alter the existing content, add your stuff at the end.

Here are the commands for my hotspot to connect to DCS933_R every monday at 19:55 and back to DCS208_C at 22:00.

55 19 * * 1 root remotecontrold f4fxl__b link never dcs933_r 00 22 * * 1 root remotecontrold f4fxl__b link never dcs208_c
Code language: Shell Session (shell)

The syntax of the cron file is very flexible. First number are minutes, next are hours, day of month, month and day of week.

Next is the user under which the command will run. And last is the command itself and its parameters. I will not discuss cron syntax in deep details as there are numerous good tutorials all over the web. If you want to save some time you can go to this crontab-generator.org and generate the appropriate syntax with just a few clicks.

remotecontrold parameters

The first parameter is the repeater’s/hot-spot’s callsign. Replace blanks with underscores.

Next is the link or unlink command. If you simply want to unlink the ommand would look like:

00 22 * * 1 root remotecontrold f4fxl__b unlink
Code language: Shell Session (shell)

Next parameter is a timeout when the link shall be dropped. Supported values are 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180 or never. We found out this does not always work correctly so we stick to never and add our own command to link or unlink.


Thanks to F6HBI Gerald for testing this as I am actually not using Pi-Star on any of my repeaters.

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