This is a packaged version of my LoRa gateway, for use when chasing high altitude balloons.  Based a a Pi V2 and official Pi screen, it currently features:

  • Receipt and upload of LoRa telemetry messages to
  • Receipt and upload of LoRa SSDV imagery to
  • Local storage of telemetry log and SSDV images
  • Chase car position upload to
  • LCARS (Star Trek) user interface with display of balloon position and images
  • WiFi connection to internet (e.g. via MiFi or mobile phone WiFi hotspot)
  • Approx 24 hours of run time from powerbank

Future plans include display of balloon position on a map, and navigation to the balloon position include voice guidance.


The parts are all readily available:

  • Raspberry Pi V2 (B+ or A+ will also work, but the extra speed is useful)
  • Raspberry Pi touchscreen display
  • Hofbauer XtraBag 200 Case, Black
  • LoRa board for the Pi
  • Powerbank
  • 2 Micro USB cables
  • Double-sided tape
  • Door trim
  • SMA plug-socket cable
  • 70cm aerial

There are instructions here for building and installing the LoRa gateway.  I will post again shortly with instructions on installing the LCARS interface.

I used a Dremel with cutting tool to cut a hole in the case, then stuck the display down with double-sided tape.  A length of rubber door insulation was then cut and placed around the display to provide some protection.  The powerbank was held down with Velcro, and connected to the Pi and display using short micro USB cables.  Finally, a short SMA cable was used so that aerials can be connected externally.


The Pi is set up to auto-start the LoRa gateway and LCARS program.  These two programs talk via a socket so that the LCARS UI can display the current payload position:


3 Replies to “Portable LoRa Gateway”

  1. Dear Dave,
    Im maling my own Gateway right now for a solar balloon project. On github I found for The software to work you dont connect to All The pins of de lora rfm. Is there a reason for that?

  2. Hi,

    I installed LCARS on a RPi 3 with the touchscreen but looks like the window is too big because I see the menu from LCARS only partly.
    Do you have any suggestion?

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