Raspberry Pi2 [RPi 2] ~ Initial Startup (or a RPi 3 or Pi Zero).

A Step-by-Step Guide and Initial View

Before Power Application

The configuration before first power application:

  • RPi 2 (or 'what ever').
  • S/D card with proper NOOBS OS Installed
  • USB Keyboard (port 1)
  • USB Mouse (port 2)
  • HDMI Monitor (turned on)
  • Power (not plugged in on RPI end)
  • USB WIFI ~ 802.11 B/G/N Raspberry Pi Wireless Adapter (not plugged in) or use built-in RPi 3.

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Power On

As this is the first time your Raspberry Pi and NOOBS SD card has been used, then you will have to select an operating system and configure it. Before you get there you will need to "configure the RPi". You will be booted into the raspi-config screen. Hint: Remember you can come back to the config screen by entering that code unto a command line. The eLinux organization has a very good explanation of the raspi-config here: eLinuix RPi raspi-config documentation. Go there and read or printout the information. Complete that first thing, then come back here. Now check the NOOBS guide to do select a distro. If uncertain, use the Raspian OS until you gain some further knowledge.

As the RPi boots wait as things proceed to a prompt {raspberrypi1 login:} waiting for your user ID, enter: pi and then the request for a password: raspberry, enter the password and wait until you will see the standard prompt pi@raspberrypi1 ~ $. Note: If you enter the id and then wait for more than 60 seconds, it resets requiring you to enter the id another time. Also, note that the entering of your password does NOT show anything on screen - this is normal.

There are multiple paths you can take from here, but the following is a pretty straight forward approach. We will install from the command line the WIFI adapter, set the date/time, install updates and upgrades and then we will go to the GUI side of things for bit and play around. Finally we will come back to command level (bash) and do a little investigation of the system.

Installing the WIFI dongle and use the Network

Assumes you have a wireless network within range of the RPi.

We will use the command line to install the WIFI dongle. Plug in the WIFI dongler (adapter) and at the the terminal prompt type:

sudo iwliat wlan0 scan

Hit 'Enter' at the end of your typing and the command will execute immediately. The sudo is a 'super user' status command and is used to insure the command is 'approved system wide'. This command line will list all the available WIFI networks, along with some other useful information. Watch your screen for:

  1. ESSID:"netname". "netname" is the name of the WIFI network.
  2. IE: IEEE 802.11i/WPA2 Version 1. This is the authentication used; in this case it's WPA2, the newer and more secure wireless standard which replaces WPA. This guide should work for WPA or WPA2, but may not work for WPA2 enterprise; for WEP hex keys, see the last example here. You'll also need the password for the WiFi network. For most home routers this is located on a sticker on the back of the router. The ESSID (ssid) for the network in this case is netname and the password will be the "netnamepassword".

Add in Network Details for RPi

Use the following to open the "wpa-supplicant" configuration file in nano [nano is a text editor]:

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Go to the bottom of the file (arrow keys) and add the following:


In the case of the example network, we would enter:


Now save the file by pressing Ctrl+X then Y, then finally press Enter.

At this point, wpa-supplicant will normally notice a change has occurred within a few seconds, and it will try and connect to the network. If it does not, either manually restart the interface with sudo ifdown wlan0 and sudo ifup wlan0, or reboot your Raspberry Pi with sudo reboot.

You can verify if it has successfully connected using ifconfig wlan0. If the inet addr field has an address beside it, the Pi has connected to the network. If not, check your password and ESSID are correct. You need to make sure you get this to work before you can do "update" and "upgrade" operations. If you have major issues, you may need to connect an Ethernet cable directly (search the internet for help). It is reported that some WIFI adapters will not work. See the www.raspberrypi.org. Look in the help and documentation areas.

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Set Date/Time

If you type date at the prompt, the system should respond with:

Mon Mar 21 11:12:53 EST 2016

or a similar formated line.

To set the date and time you use a format of: MMDDhhmmssYYYY where:

  • MM is two digit month
  • DD is two digit day
  • hhmmss is six digit for hour, minute and second in 24 hour format
  • YYYY is the four digit year
su date 03221230102016

Which is time for Mar 22 12:30:10 EST 2016 Just type date again at the prompt to see that you did it correctly.

Get Software Updates and Upgrades

If you type sudo apt-get update followed by 'Enter' at the prompt, the system should go and get software updates. This process may take a few minutes, but you can watch it scroll by on the monitor. Upgrading is just as easy, sudo apt-get upgrade 'Enter' and you will be prompted to respond 'Yes', and the process will start. Wait a few minutes and the prompt will return. It is a good pratice to do an 'upgrade' before installing new software on your RPi. New software usually may require the latest upgrades to other programs to run properly {It is a Linuix thing and is because Linux OS builds upon "other software", so you need to have the proper software to support your new program.

If we had taken time initially to go looking at the file/directory structure of the Raspian as installed, there were only two directories, "desktop" and "python-games". We will look around from the GUI interface file manager, as these views will look more familar to you assumming you have seen Windows or Apple operating system on other computers.

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Lets Go Graphical ~ GUI

For a large number of users, the GUI offers an easier way to operate a computer system when compared to the terse, strict methods of the command line. Linux systems have GUI that are as impressive and clean as the popular commercial OS in use. Also, application programs rival those that available. Cost is usually substantially below the other popular OS applications (many are free). So lets get started!

startx will start the GUI.

You are now setting at the RPi GUI screen...


The RPi looks like a great platform to launch many amateur radio projects. It can do fully developed computer applications, abeit at a speed cost. However, it is not designed for this type of computer system usage. Small, stand alone computer system applications are what it really all about. Initial looks are very favorable to do this type of work. A few amateur radio concepts I have thought might interest others and serve purposes in my amateur radio hobby follow:

  • JNOS TNC for Michigan Emergency Services

  • Morse Keying Unit & Interface microHam keyer
  • Digital modes controller

  • Computer Controlled Rig Unit {Remote Internet Control}

  • Antenna Controller
  • Networked Contest Logging (Field Day Unit using HSMM)
  • SDR Radio Control

Do you have many ideas you would share? Let us know, Web Site Contact email information is at bottom to every page in the footer.


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