LHS Show Notes #056



  • Hello to the new folks in the chat room.
  • The Mintcast podcast is either going to stop or will have new hosts after the next episode. If you're interested in hosting a podcast, contact the folks over there.
  • Please spread the word about MAGNetcon, the Mid-America GNU/Linux Networkers Conference, to be held May 6-7, 2011 at the St. Louis Union Station Marriott. If you know anyone that might be a sponsor, exhibitor, or speaker, please let us know. Application forms are available on the web site.
  • Check out the new website for Resonant Frequency.
  • Also mentioned, the Going Linux podcast and Computer America, "America's longest-running nationally syndicated radio talk show about computers."


  • Richard, KR4EY, writes about CW... wait, we did this one in Episode 52.
  • John, KC8DAX, weighs in on the Windows vs. Linux debate: there are hams that will buy a wire antenna and there are others that will build one. He thinks it's the same thing with operating systems. Would you want a radio you couldn't open? Our hosts discuss.
  • We received a donation from Charles to help send Linux in the Ham Shack to the 2011 Dayton Hamvention. Thank you, Charles!
  • Joe, K1RBY, recently discovered the podcast and is catching up, but is having a problem using gpodder to retrieve episodes. Yes, Joe, there is a bug in one of the WordPress plugins on the web site that contributed to the problem (see lhspodcast.info for a description of the problem.) It has been corrected.
  • John, K7JM, also had the problem with gpodder and sends his appreciation for the fix.
  • Richard, KJ4VGV, tells us that he is a new amateur radio operator since May and has published an article: Antenna Restrictions: Are They a Catastrophe Waiting to Happen? Good job, Richard!
  • James, N2ENN, comments about our episode 52 when we discussed Unity, and offers his thoughts on Wayland, Debian and Ubuntu. Our hosts discuss, and digress to a discussion of browsers, plugins, drivers, ALSA and PulseAudio on Debian vs. LinuxMint Debian Edition. They also commment on Bill Meara's (of SolderSmoke fame) efforts to get WSPR running under WINE in Ubuntu.
  • Paul, KE5WMA, writes "PIC micro controllers are getting more popular in HAM projects. Any suggestions on programming software and boards?" Well, Paul, Linux does still support serial ports, but this may be a good topic for another show. You might find something useful in the many hits returned by a Google search on "Linux PIC programmer".
  • B.B., KC5PIY, asks for help with getting Windows programs for programming radios, such as the Icom IC-2820H and IC-706 MkIIg, running under Linux. He'd also like an APRS client. Richard recommends UIView as an APRS client for Windows, and Xastir for Linux. Russ suggests that most of the radio programming applications will run under WINE in Linux. Also, check out CHIRP, free Linux software for programming a variety of D-STAR radios. You may also want to explore the D-RATS mailing list. It's not likely you'll be able to dual-boot Windows and Linux on that netbook, but you can install Ubuntu Linux using WUBI, which would allow you to run Linux within Windows, or install Linux to a USB flash drive using Pen Drive Linux.
  • Craig, KB5UEJ, writes about learning IPv6: "I went through the Hurricane Electric certification program and really learned lots about IPv6. I'm now running IPv6 on my home using HEs IPv6 tunnelbroker service. It's no longer the big bad scary thing that it used to be." Russ also talked about IPv6 on episode 6 of his QSK podcast.
  • Matt shares his thoughts about building "simple" projects from junk box parts and the similarity to running Linux.

Contact Info:

  • Contact Richard at kb5jbv@gmail.com, Russ at k5tux@lhspodcast.info, or both at the same time at info@lhspodcast.info.
  • Listen to the live stream every other Tuesday at 8:00pm Central time. Check the LHS web site for dates.
  • Leave us a voice mail at 417-200-4811, or record an introduction to the podcast.
  • Sign up for the LHS mailing list.
  • Sign up for the MAGNetcon mailing list.
  • LHS merchandise is available at the SHOP! link on Web site. Check out the Badgerwear or buy one of the other LHS-branded items at PrintFection.com/lhs or Cafe Press. Thanks!
  • Thanks to Dave from Gamma Leonis for the theme music.


  • "Balboa" by Ness from the album Fiesta, courtesy of Jamendo.
  • "Crawling Back In" by Deathalizer from the album It Dwells Within, courtesy of Jamendo.

LHS Episode #056: The Squeal of Feedback

Hi, folks. Episode #054 of Linux in the Ham Shack is an all-feedback episode. We cover a lot of ground in this one, from how to run Linux using WUBI, via dual boot, from a flash drive and more. There's a bit about PIC controllers, feed problems, sticks in the mud, a sprinkling of badgers and a whole lot more. Keep that feedback coming. We love it!

73 de The LHS Guys

Xastir and Linux Mint

Installing Xastir in Mint

Ben, VK5JFK, left a comment on my review of Linux Mint at the Linux in the Ham Shack web site, asking if I had installed Xastir under Mint.  I had not, but since Richard talked about Xastir in Episode 23, and Linux Mint is the "official" distribution for Linux in the Ham Shack, I thought a brief how-to article might be useful to our listeners.

In fact, installing Xastir in Linux Mint is fairly easy.  Here's a step by step procedure:

  • Launch the Synaptic Package Manager
  • Select the Amateur Radio (Universe) repository
  • Click on Xastir in the list - version 1.9.4-3 was available as I did this
  • Click on Apply - a bunch of dependencies were selected, and after approving that list, off it went.

A few minutes later (over a DSL connection) the installation was complete.

The first (and only) problem I encountered was that the installer did not create an entry in the Mint menu.  To remedy this, I clicked Menu, Preferences, Main Menu.  This utility allowed me to add a new menu category I called Amateur Radio, and a new item in that category that I creatively called Xastir.  The associated command is "/usr/bin/xastir".  After logging out and in, the new menu item appeared.

Before running Xastir for the first time, I opened a terminal and entered the command:

$ callpass ka9wka

and the computer responded:

Passcode for ka9wka is 19125

Of course, you will use your callsign and you'll receive a different passcode.  You'll need that number when configuring the interface.  No, the callsign is not case-sensitive.

After running Xastir, you must perform some configuration, as Richard discussed.  For this test, it was simply a matter of defining my location and adding the Internet interface.  When you launch Xastir the first time, it will automatically open the "Configure Station" dialog, but you can return to that by clicking File, Configure, Station.  Here I entered my callsign and location.  I left the rest of the options at the defaults.

Next, I clicked the Interface menu option, then Interface Control.  This brings up an empty list of configured interfaces.  I clicked Add, chose "Internet Server", and clicked the Add button. The "Configure Internet" dialog box appeared.  I entered 19125 into the Passcode field (see above), and "r/42/-87/500" (without the quotes) into the Filter Parameters field.  This filter says, I believe, show all stations within a radius of 500km of 42 degrees N and 87 degrees W.  Modify to suit your location and preference, and click OK.  Finally, still in the Interface Control dialog box, I clicked Start All.  The status changed from DOWN to UP, and I closed the dialog box.  In a few moments, stations began to appear on the map.

There are a lot more options in Xastir that I haven't explored here.  For example, if you're planning on installing this on a laptop with a TNC and GPS device attached, you'll need to add interfaces for those as well, and you'll probably want to add a more detailed map for your area.  For now, this should get Xastir running under Linux Mint with a minimum of time and bother.


-Bill, KA9WKA

LHS Show Notes #027


  • Russ visited a Ham Radio Outlet in Virginia and bought a new Yaesu FT-7900R for his truck.
  • Richard bought a Kenwood TS-50, some wire and antennas at the Belton hamfest, but hasn't installed them yet.
  • John, EI7IG, says you don't need AX.25 support in the kernel to run XASTIR, since you're running the TNC in KISS mode. He also says that APRS is useful for emcomm events, disseminating local weather information, and passing short text messages.
  • Tim, KI6BGE, recommends Resonant Frequency, Linux in the Ham Shack, and SolderSmoke in his October 29 blog entry.


  • We received a donation from Paul during the last episode, and now Alex made a sizable donation. Thanks, Alex!

Links and Notes:


  • "Company of Fools" by Great Big Sea from the album "Fortune's Favour"