LHS Show Notes #038


  • OGGCamp will take place at The Black-E in Liverpool on the 1st and 2nd of May.
  • The 2010 Southeast LinuxFest is set for June 12-13 at the Marriott at Renaissance Park hotel in Spartanburg, SC.
  • Look for Russ on Shortcast #0003 of the Fresh Ubuntu Podcast.
  • LHS has a new audio promo for the show! So far, it's only been played by the Working in the Open podcast.
  • Jerry, KD0BIK, again mentioned LHS as a good Linux podcast on a recent episode of The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Thanks, Jerry!
  • We received no entries for our logo contest, so Russ bought one! Check out the new website design and logo and let us know what you think. LHS merchandise is coming soon!
  • Russ and Richard will be at the 2010 Dayton Hamvention, May 14-16, in booth 265 in the North Hall (NH0265). We hope to see you there!
  • Russ will also be at the SouthEast LinuxFest, June 12-13, 2010, at the Marriott at Renaissance Park hotel in Spartanburg, SC. Russ will be delivering a talk on ham radio and Linux.
  • Richard has a noise gate! It was a gift from Jim, W9GNG. Thanks very much, Jim!
  • Due to problems with the existing service provider, the LHS website has moved to lhspodcast.info. If you have a web page with a link to Linux in the Ham Shack at blacksparrowmedia.com/lhs, please change it to lhspodcast.info. Blacksparrowmedia.com will be going away in the near future.
  • The other show, Resonant Frequency, is still on hiatus, but those links will be changing, too. Watch this space for more information.
  • Look for LHS in IRC at irc.freenode.net, channel #lhspodcast. Join us!
  • LHS, along with other podcasts on the Tech Podcasts Network are now available on the Boxee and Roku media players.


  • Richard and Russ discuss XDX, an X-windows client to connect to a DX-cluster, written by Joop Stakenborg, PG4I.
  • In Linux Mint, Ubuntu, or Debian, you can use
            apt-get install xdx

    to install the program. Setup is simple:

    • Click Settings, then Preferences. Enter your call sign, and if you have your radio connected to the computer and it can be controlled by the hamlib utilities, click the "Enable hamlib" checkbox. Click OK.
    • Click Host, Connect... and enter the information for your favorite DX cluster. Visit the AR-Cluster Node List web page to find one near you. Russ used k2can.net, port 4000. Click Connect. (If a port is not specified, try 23.)
    • Type your call sign and press enter to log in. The cluster may ask a few questions to confirm your name and location.
  • Spots appear in the upper window pane. Prompts from the host appear in the middle pane, and your entry goes in the bottom pane.
  • If you wish to send a spot, look in the help file for examples such as:
            dx 28002.2 xz7a worked with 80m dipole!!
  • In general, it's "dx" followed by the frequency, the station you've spotted, and a comment.
  • Other commands are documented in the help file.
  • Another web page that lists cluster nodes is www.ng3k.com/Misc/cluster.html.


  • Along with the noise gate, Jim, W9GNG, sent a letter expressing his appreciation for the podcast and tells us a bit about his background.
  • Jim, N2ENN, writes a response to our discussion of his email back in Episode 034, again condemning the state of drivers in Linux. Thanks for the response and discussion points, Jim.
  • Thanks to Gary, KE2YK, for mentioning the podcast at every opportunity, and his donation! Donations will be applied to hosting costs.
  • William (Bill?), KB9TMP, recently discovered the podcast via Resonant Frequency. He's also a new Linux user, but is having trouble finding help, and he comments about "old" hams and "new" hams. Our hosts respond.
  • Danny, not currently a ham, is blind and studying for his license test. He'd like to use Linux with Orca and wonders what hardware is best and what other Linux programs for ham radio are suitable for the blind user. Check out the Courage Center Handiham System and Frostbite Sytems. There is a version of Ubuntu for the visually impaired called Vinux, and a version of Arch Linux for the blind. Ask around your local amateur radio club, too.

Contact Info:

  • Contact Richard at kb5jbv@gmail.com, Russ at k5tux@lhspodcast.info, or both at the same time at info@lhspodcast.info.
  • Leave us a voice mail at 888-455-0305 or 417-429-4069. Record an introduction to the podcast and have a chance at winning $25!


  • "Dead Penguin by 3 Blind Mice from the album "Good Grief"
  • "Sahara" by Lochinvar from the album "Fire Eyes"

LHS Episode #038: XDX ‘n Stuff

The season of Linux fests is now under way. The Texas Linux Fest took place a couple of weeks ago. By all accounts, the turnout was excellent, the educational opportunities were plentiful and fun was had by all.

Oggcamp in the UK is next on the list. Then there will be ham fests and Linux fests all over the country and the rest of the world for the rest of the spring, summer and early fall. Linux in the Ham Shack will be represented at the Dayton Hamvention in May and at the Southeast Linux Fest in June. I'm also trying to start a new Linux fest called the Mid-America Linux Fest which will be held in early November. It's possible that could be November of 2010, but it's more likely to be November 2011. If you want more information about the Mid-America Linux Fest or are willing to volunteer your time or services, please check out the Web site at https://midamericalinuxfest.org.

And yes, I know this episode of Linux in the Ham Shack is late. Life has been very busy of late and I think all of our listeners for your eternal patience. We hope to see you at the live recording of Episode #037 on April 27th at 8:00pm.


LHS Show Notes #032

Texas Linux Fest promo


  • Shawn Powers of Linux Journal, and a recent guest on LHS, had a house fire. If you can, please help him out.
  • Google alert says LHS was mentioned in the Niagara Peninsula Amateur Radio Club (NPARC) forums, but it seems to have disappeared.
  • There's been a problem with Russ' email, k5tux@blacksparrowmedia.com, so please also copy Richard, kb5jbv@blacksparrowmedia.com, on any email until the problem is resolved.
  • Michael, DL4MGM, advises WSPR users to make sure their transmitters are on frequency, so as to avoid encroaching on the visual QRSS, particularly on 30m. He also suggests using "sudo su" to get a root shell session.
  • Ted, WA0EIR, writes to express his appreciation for Episode 029, and the plug for his website.
  • Google Alert tells us that a French website, al-aide.com, reprinted the post about Episode 029.


  • Texas Linux Fest will be held in Austin, TX on April 10, 2010, at the Monarch Event Center. You might even find a Linux in the Ham Shack host there! Tracy, one of the organizers of the event, is also starting another Linux-related podcast. Keep an eye on his website for the first episode.
  • We're nearing our goal of raising $750 for the LHS expedition to the Dayton Hamvention in 2010. Please click on the Donate button and make a donation, as every little bit helps. Thank you!

Links and Notes:

  • There has been a lot of ham radio involvement in the relief efforts in Haiti, through such groups as the Texas Baptist Men and SATERN. Russ points us to this YouTube video containing a contact with HH2JR, demonstrating the effectiveness of ham radio in emergency communications.
  • Richard talks about using Linux scripts to automate D-RATS transmissions (auto-QSTs). This script downloads weather information and formats it for sending through D-RATS.
    	# Change directory
    	cd /home/richard/drats/current_conditions
    	# Remove the old downloaded weather file
    	rm KHQZ.TXT
    	# Download the current weather file from NOAA
    	wget -q ftp://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/data/observations/metar/decoded/KHQZ.TXT
    	# Remove the old formatted file
    	rm current.txt
    	# Strip last line of text of the NOAA file, using sed
    	# This sed command strips out everything between "Mesquite" and "Pressure"
    	sed '/Mesquite,/,/Pressure / !d' KHQZ.TXT > khqz1.txt
    	# Add a blank line to the new file
    	echo -e " " >> current.txt
    	# Copy Mesquite Weather conditions to new file
    	cat khqz1.txt >> current.txt
    	# Done!
    	# A cron job then periodically sends out the contents of current.txt
  • For more information on using the BASH shell and scripting, see:
  • Russ discusses the Linux "screen" command.
  • Visit us on the IRC channel #lhspodcast at irc.freenode.net or call the voice message line at 888-455-0305, or +1 417 429 4069.


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"