I know it is frustrating to have it failing on you, but I wouldn't say the CHIP devices are inherently defective. I backed the Kickstarter for CHIP so mine is one of the first batch. When I first received it I expected it to work just like an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. However I learned (with a lot of frustration later) that it is very picky about its power feed and regulator settings. I wouldn't say this makes it bad, it just needs to be addressed in the firmware and the hardware kits sold by Outernet (eventually).
Since I was aware of the finicky power needs I setup my system to cope with it and have been running this stability test, intentionally not rebooting my CHIP. Yes I have screwed around with my antenna and moving my SDR to try and get more SNR out of it which required me to restart the SDR service on the CHIP. Most people may have rebooted the thing. Below are pictures of my setup.
As you can see here, I have a LiPo battery connected to the CHIP which deals with any power loss or sag on the USB port. Instead of the RavPower power pack the kit should come with one of these, maybe a higher capacity one too?
This is a high quality 2 amp switching power supply connected to a pure sinewave UPS for added power stability. Totally overkill with the LiPo battery in place! I also used a USB cable that is only 4ft long and has thicker gauge power conductors than most cables (I think 20ga). Again, the key here is the LiPo battery connected directly to the CHIP's battery input.
And the usual receiver setup with some cheap DIY mounting that is oh so stable
I really need to permanently mount this antenna somewhere. Ideally I'd move it to my 800W solar power system feed.
I guess in summary, don't write off all CHIPs as bad for this project. I think they are ideal for this project based on the hardware specifications and price. Just need some eventual tweaks to the kits that are sold and we'll be in good shape!