Doug Hall RBI-1 Remote Base Interface

The Doug Hall RBI-1 is a serial device but is NOT rs232.
I made a program in a controller years ago (90’s) so I do understand how to talk to the interface as a programer but knowing it was already built in to the app_rpt software, I could not find it documented anywhere.
If you have hooked this up to a traditional controller, you know it has
a “serial data” line, “serial clock” line (sometimes called a strobe line) and a “reset line”.
You will need to use the parallel port of your computer to talk to the RBI-1
That parallel port will need to be a built-in port or a add-on card but not a usb converted parallel port. They do not seem to support pin punching in Linux.
Pin-2 is the data line
Pin-3 is the clock/strobe
Pin-4 is the reset line (not required but suggested)
I had originally thought that I needed to assign the pins by declaration in the set-up but could not find that in the source code (could be there?) This is the default state in any case.
If you currently use the parallel port pins for PTT on your nodes, you will need to move them above PP3  (pin4) .  Don’t forget to change the settings for those PTT changes in usbradio/simpleusb if you move them.
Also,  you need to set a few things in rpt.conf for the node to use it.
These settings go in the node stanza of the node that will have control.
remote=rbi  ;
iobase = 0x378  ; the base address of your parallel port in hex – most common “378”,278,3BC
And of course, define a remote command structure for tuning it in the node stanza.
Also see Cop Commands.
There are many ways to customize this operation depending on needs.
It seems to me that I spotted a few errors in the source code but did not take notes when I patched and re-compiled it.
If you do the following to declare the node as a remote base,
29261 = radio@,NONE,y    ; y=remote base
You will only have one connect at a time. Something to think about in your scheme.
You may perhaps want to just limit connects to your primary node only or several nodes and not declare it as a remote with the “,y“. You may also not want to registrar it at and if that is the case, comment out the node registration in iax.conf but leave that line (above)  in rpt.conf for your ability to connect to it.
One config I had used, since all were on the same server and it was never going to be controlled by a outside node was to define the parallel port and remote base commands on the repeater node and only connect to the remote base node for the audio connection. Doing it this way keeps you from the need to connect to your remote base node in control mode. That can have other implications in your set-up so be sure to think that through before you do it. I mention it for those that may benefit from it.

Testing Our app_rpt config with Commands

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I would advise that you do not change any command unless you have good reason and some experience with the system.

Also,  Before proceeding, make sure you have printed a list of the commands from your rpt.conf file so your sure, if you changed anything, that your using the correct assigned command.

If you have created a sip/iax phone extension, or have radio connections, lets test things out !

From sip/iax phone:

First, call your extension (example 29283)

You will hear – 2,9,2,8,3,  – This depends on what you placed in the [radio-control] context of extensions.conf. You could have it playback your callsign/repeater.

Your are now connected to your node and may issue it commands as if you were on the radio.

*99 will key the transmitter and your audio will pass.

# will un-key the transmitter.

From Radio or Sip Phone

*2xxxxx -connect to node number xxxxx in monitor (listen) mode.

*3xxxxx -connect to node number xxxxx in transceive  mode -tx/rx

It needs to be said that the modern node number scheme is a five number node id. There are some early registared nodes that are 4digits.


All Allstar nodes are simply 4 or 5 digits and start with a 2 or 4 (currently).

*3- 28522 – Connect for TX/RX on allstar node 28522

*2- 45022 – Connect for monitor on allstar node 45022

When this was done, the scheme reserved a extra digit to allow a seamless connection for the echolink gateway, so connections beginning with 3xxxxxx are for echolink connections.

You need to add the “3” in front of the echolink node number and add leading “0” ‘s digits till it is a 6 digit number (if not already) to connect to it (seven digits when you add the leading 3 for echolink gateway).

Of course, you need to set-up and have a echolink node addressed in app_rpt to do this. Edit echolink.conf for set-up.

There are no Allstar Nodes beginning with 3 to avoid confusion and not limit future expansion.

*3- 3 0 30022 – Connect for TX/RX Echonode 30022

Added a leading “0” to make digit count correct. Connections beginning with “3” are echonodes.

*3- 3 811710 – Connect for TX/RX on Echonode 811710

Important note:  Terms of use for echolink provide that any and all connections are always ‘FULL-DUPLEX’. Connections for monitor only are not possible with app_rpt. If you make a connection, it will be TX/RX not matter what.

When a node connects to your system, you will hear it announced the same way with those that come through the echolink gateway with the leading 3.

*71 disconnect all links

*74 reconnect all links

*70 – link status (announced on local system only)

*81 – announce the time

One last test before we go to other topics…

*6 phone patch (you will hear dial tone) then press “0” for ip read back

You should hear your internet ip address played back to you. When your system is remote, you can understand how important that service can be.

Next, Lets talk about Macro’s and the Scheduler

Having problems ? Sorry, I can’t be more help.

Please use the official documentation from the manuals and those at    – For Help and understanding with Asterisk PBX Phone switch. At least get the manual for reference as this is one of the most highly capable pieces of software you may ever lay your hands on.  app_rpt is just a application riding on it and there are many more open source apps for asterisk that can be interfaced for a very custom set-up or you can write your own.

One drawback we have had is that we are not on cue with the majority of asterisk systems in that most are running one step ahead of us on linux kernels because of compatibility with core elements of app_rpt.  If that is ever remedied, we will have a very large assortment of new apps already built available to us made for asterisk like a quick, easy and automated whole disk back-up.

We have made a few other quick guides:

(use link below or menu above- HAM RADIO-/-APP_RPT-/-submenus)


Connecting Radios with the Parallel Port

EchoLink Configuration

COP Commands Internal Summary