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Ham Radio, Tech, Projects & Musings

Pi-Star Founder and Developer (MW0MWZ) Steps Down; What Does this Mean for W0CHP-PiStar-Dash?

Well, it seems that the venerable MW0MWZ (Andy) has decided to no longer be Pi-Star’s BDFL. And I support the notion.

Running a large-scope project, pretty much solo (especially the code base itself), is no picnic. I sincerely hope Andy finds good help.

What it means for my W0CHP-PiStar-Dash software: essentially nothing. But more on that later.

There is no way in hell I would want to run, or even volunteer for the Pi-Star project; for a few reasons:

  • Too many dumb appliance operators are (l)users of Pi-Star. All they did was memorize a few questions and call themselves ham operators. But when Pi-Star goes awry (usually due to their own ignorance or dumb-assery), they want their little hands held. Fuck that.

  • Much of the code base is severely dated as far as programming paradigms, and presentation-wise, it needs a complete overhaul (e.g. HTML tables for layout!) You can’t polish a turd.

  • The premise of parsing huge logs to display last heard data is arcane, unreliable, lacks performance, etc. I have way bigger ideas for gathering and displaying data (which needs to start upstream with MMDVMhost, DSTARrepeater/ircDDBGateway, and all of their “sister” programs from Jon (G4KLX). This means C/C++ skills.

  • Garnering good hacking/programming help is hard. Especially in/for/from the ham community.

  • Did I mention many Pi-Star users are clueless and lazy appliance operators?

  • I already have my own project, and it had/has very different goals and target audience than Pi-Star’s

What This Means for W0CHP-PiStar-Dash

It means that I am glad I forked Pi-Star and greatly enhanced it; which spawned a completely different (and better) beast. It means that W0CHP-PiStar-Dash is not going anywhere, and will continue to be fucking awesome.

W0CHP-PiStar-Dash was created in ~2019 as a private and personal project to scratch my own personal itches and disappointments with Pi-Star. I opened up the code and the program(s) to the (smart and initiated) hams to also enjoy.

It also means that W0CHP-PiStar-Dash will continue to grow and improve. In fact, after time, I used very little upstream code from Pi-Star, and it’s diverged significantly1. It means that development, improvements and enhancements will forge ahead as usual. It was next to impossible to get my constant and myriad improvements integrated into Andy’s code, hence forking it and creating my own project. And development in the past three years of my project has increased exponentially.

This also means I still will not hand-hold lazy and ignorant hams; it was not designed for these types.

I have very big and lofty plans for W0CHP-PiStar-Dash; mainly related to performance, accurate data aggregation and presentation, and major UI/UX changes.

I Admit, I Cannot Sustainably Do This Alone, Either

As much as I love working on W0CHP-PiStar-Dash, I can only do so much solo. And that’s largely the problem Andy faced with Pi-Star. Finding talented ham radio hackers/programmers is fucking hard.

Any talented hacker is always welcome to help by submitting code, pull requests, issue reports etc. I really do embrace it. I am astounded at the very large installation base of my software (based on installation traffic alone), which means I will eventually need help too (shit, I could use help now).

However, I will do the best I can, pretty much solo.

Just know in the meantime, there will never be a forum, official support group on FB, etc. That is not to whom my software is targeted.

But if this project grows exponentially, that can change things (and I will not manage any support medium…volunteers can).


I must express my deepest gratitude to Andy, MW0MWZ, for not only sticking out his leadership and contributions for as long as he has; but for also providing the wonderful gift to the ham radio community that is “Pi-Star”. Andy is a gentleman and scholar. He actually created Pi-Star the same as I created W0CHP-PiStar-Dash…to scratch his itches while he was then using dashboard software from DL5DI and DG9VH. There are only a handful of true ham radio hackers out there, and Andy is amongst this group of wonderful and selfless individuals. I sincerely thank you Andy! 🙏

  1. I’m looking for community ideas for alternative names. It would be outstanding if you would submit your ideas

Ver. # 53b0506 - Document last updated: 2/4/2022
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