LHS Show Notes #034

Welcome back, Richard!


  • Linux in the Ham Shack showed up on Podcast Sniper.
  • Chris, ZL2CCO, mentions LHS on his blog. Thanks, Chris!
  • Doug, N6LMX, is listening to Episode 31 and recommends the Griffin SmartTalk Headphone Adapter for the iPod Touch. It adds a microphone to your headphones. He bought his at Fry's. (You can also find it at Amazon for a little less money. Click through our Amazon store and support the Black Sparrow Media podcast empire! -Ed.)


  • Texas Linux Fest is Saturday, April 10, 2010 at the Monarch Events Center, Austin, Texas.
  • Southeast Linux Fest is June 12-13, 2010 at the Marriott at Renaissance Park hotel in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
  • We met our fund-raising goal for attending Dayton Hamvention 2010! The next goal is to raise enough money for a noise gate for Richard.
  • Richard expresses his appreciation for everyone's patience and support during the past few weeks.

Links and Notes:

  • Amateur radio satellite operation.
  • Doppler shift
  • Footprint
  • Linear transponder: a broadbanded repeater that operates over a range of frequencies.
  • Satellite tracking: there are programs that will help you find when and where a satellite will appear over your location. This page lists several, including some that run on Linux.
  • You will very likely need an antenna with gain, and probably a means of moving the antenna to match the trajectory of the satellite as it passes by.
  • SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment) has been superceded by ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station).
  • Equipment considerations. A VHF/UHF radio with sideband capability is often required, as is a cross-polarized antenna with gain.
  • More info can be found at the AMSAT site including Keplerian Elements and other tracking tools.
  • The ARRL publishes several books on satellite operation.


LHS Episode #034: Orbital Decay

Richard is back and everything is right with the world--except Russ. Plans are in the works for setting up at the Dayton Hamvention. Many thanks to all of our listeners who donated to the cause. Our next donation goal, is $150 to get a noise gate for Richard. We know at least a couple listeners who should be happy about this, and we suspect there may be a few others out there. Of course, we're committed to improving the quality of the program whenever and wherever possible.

This episode is a little heavy on the radio side of things. However, don't be deterred. Richard gives us a lot of great information about satellite technology, concepts such as Doppler shift, transponders, antenna polarization, the science of orbits and much more which will appeal to your inner geek whether you're into ham radio, computers or just science and technology in general. Have a great week, and we look forward to seeing everyone in the chat for the next live recording on Tuesday, March 2nd.

LHS Show Notes #033

All of us at Black Sparrow Media wish to express our sincere condolences to Richard on the passing of his mother. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Richard and his family. He won't be joining us this time, so we'll carry on with a round table episode.


  • Ted WA0EIR, in snowy Iowa, Andy aka Integgroll on IRC, and Bill KA9WKA join us for a round table discussion.
  • Jay writes in about the Linux Journal episode (#029) and the analysis of the Amazon Kindle and DRM issues. Our panel talks about the Kindle , e-readers in general, and DRM issues. Russ mentions how Amazon retracted a couple of George Orwell titles.
  • Google alert tells us that Linux in the Ham Shack and other amateur radio podcasts are being played over a local repeater by Tony VK7AX for the enjoyment of listeners in SE Australia and Tasmania. Good on ya', mate!
  • LHS was mentioned on Joe's (WN2SYZ) blog. Thanks, Joe!
  • Dave, KG4GIY, posted another mention of LHS at Linux Journal when we talked about software-defined radios (SDR) in Episode 26. Thanks, Dave! Check out the Linux Journal amateur radio content.
  • Chris, Twitter ID WOKNSS, tweeted about catching up on back episodes of LHS. Thanks, Chris!
  • LHS was mentioned at the Low SWR podcast website. Low SWR is an amateur radio podcast produced by Rich KD0BJT and Brady KD0BJS. They're up to eight episodes already! Good job, guys!
  • The Axis wrote to us, Mint Cast, and The Linux Link Tech Show to thank us all for content about the Linux program screen. We're glad you enjoyed it. A possible application might be operating digital modes remotely. (Bonus Show Notes Content: The February 2010 issue of QST has a Short Takes article about the Glentek Radio-to-Ethernet Controller. Glentek has a variety of products to facilitate remote operation of an amateur radio station. -Ed.)


  • Texas Linux Fest is April 10, 2010 at the Monarch Events Center in Austin, TX. You might find Richard or Russ there, so say Hi!
  • Donations: We've achieved our goal! Walter, KV6M, made a second donation (thanks, Walter!), and the remainder was supplied by Beth Lynn Eicher of the Ohio Linux Fest. Thank-you, Beth Lynn! Look for the Linux in the Ham Shack booth at Dayton Hamvention 2010. (Note: the podcast incorrectly identifies Walter as WN3LIF, another Walter that also contributed.  We apologize for the confusion. -Ed.)

Links and Notes:

  • From the chat room, Ronnie K4RJJ, asks what PDAs would work with sound card digital modes. There's i-PSK31 that will allow you to use PSK31 with your iPhone and radio. It's also available via the iTunes store. (Note: I mistakenly said the price was $1.99. The actual price is $5.99. Sorry. -Ed.) There is also some documentation on how to wire the headphone plug for the iPhone for connection to your radio.
  • Ted rants about the use of macros in digital conversations, and the panel discusses.
  • The panel discusses the appropriate power levels for digital modes. Lower power, say less than 35W, is usually enough. There are devices, such as the PSKMeter, that attaches to your transmitter output and, along with software, will display your signal so you can avoid splatter. PSKScope is another program for the PSKMeter that provides additional functionality, such as automatic audio drive level control, but only in the Windows version. A Linux version of PSKScope is available, but does not have the automatic drive level control. The other device discussed is the IMD Meter, which is a standalone device that displays your IMD while you are transmitting. No computer or software is necessary.
  • Next, the panel talks about operating via VHF/UHF satellites. (There's a good introductory article on the AMSAT web site. Randy, K7AGE, has produced several YouTube videos of various amateur radio activities, including this one where he operates AO-51. Another video from the 2007 Dayton Hamvention shows a similar system.
  • Bill introduces the microHAM USB Interface III. (That's the Americas website. There is also a site for Europe. The panel discusses the merits of the device.
  • We then move to a discussion of Linux Mint 8 "Helena".
  • Bill rants about Yaesu microphones on their VHF/UHF radios.
  • Russ talks about some cloud computing applications: Ubuntu One and Dropbox. The panel discusses the relative risks and advantages of using such services.


  • "Don't Go" by TenPenny Joke from the album "Ambush on All Sides".
  • "Mirror of Humans" by Amity in Fame from the album "Dinner for One".

LHS Episode #033: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Episode

Episode #031 of Linux in the HAM Shack is now available, and nearly on time. Due to myriad circumstances in our lives, we had to put off recording of this episode until February 9th. It is therefore almost astonishing that I can announced that it is being released on February 10th. After this, everything should return to its normal bi-weekly cycle.

I would very much like to thank Bill, KA9WKA, Ted, WA0EIR and Andy (Integgroll on IRC) for filling in as co-hosts for Richard on this episode. Sadly I must report that Richard lost his mother to a battle with cancer yesterday morning. I know the thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies of myself and our listeners are with Richard and his family during this time. Unfortunately, I do not have any further details on events in Balch Springs at this time. If you would like to send your condolences, please address them to kb5jbv@blacksparrowmedia.com. Richard may feel like joining me to record again in a week's time, but if his circumstances do not permit, we will certainly carry on and offer him all of the time and space he may need to recover.

In this episode, our esteemed round table guests touch on a variety of topics. In usual fashion, I address feedback at the start. Beyond that, topics range from MicroHam digital rig interfaces, a rant about Yaesu, Linux Mint 8, cloud storage, e-readers and much, much more. Thank you for your faithful listenership.

73 de Russ