These two boards along with a data cable specific to your existing VHF radio, or a serial cable to your PACTOR modem and existing HF radio, is all the hardware necessary (of course a power cable is needed).
The PiGate software was designed to be used from a smartphone or tablet computer, so the design is simple and easy to use on a touch screen. In fact, your smartphone e-mail app can be used to send and receive e-mail after it is configured to connect to the PiGate WiFi access point, or you can just use the built-in web-based e-mail application.
The PIGate has an internal WiFi access point that is enabled when the system is powered on. That WiFi gateway allows you to access the web interface to configure and control the system as well as send e-mail.
PiGate administrators, who are properly licensed amateur radio operators, are able to manage these actions, and more, through the web interface:
The e-mail application is the heart of the PiGate and is were people can send emergency e-mail to their family and friends. This is a full e-mail client and can perform all the normal functions, including address books, folders, etc, and is easy to use so anyone can send an emergency e-mail.
The rest of the PiGate is the software that is loaded onto the Raspberry Pi computer. That software, managed through the web interface, does the work of collecting and sending email through your existing HF or VHF radio.
The PiGate is based upon, and gets it's name from, a Raspberry Pi mini-computer with a Coastal Chipworks TNC-Pi add-on board, and open source software configured through a custom web interface.
The PiGate management software attempts to restrict potential users from gaining access to areas of the system where they can inadvertantly change various settings that could cause the e-mail gateway to cease functioning. Therefore, only one user can be the administrative user for a PiGate system and have access to all the web pages. All other users are directed to the e-mail application login page and can only send emergency e-mail.
The management interface allows amateur radio operators to use this complex system without having to learn a lot of Linux commands and with no programming necessary. Everything is contained in the PiGate and easy to use.
The only things you can't do are add attachements to an e-mail or delete anything. This is to prevent large e-mails from being transmitted and to insure everything is logged and saved for any future use.
This configuration acts as an e-mail gateway to the world-wide WinLink2000 radio messaging system, and allows any e-mail address in the world to be accessed.