LHS Show Notes #051


Ubuntu 10.10 - Maverick Meerkat

Russ upgraded from 10.04 to 10.10, which isn't particularly easy. as 10.04 is the long-term-support (LTS) version, but 10.10 isn't.

There is a command line command to upgrade:


which will work, but you must first make a change in the Ubuntu software center. Click Edit -> Software Sources -> Updates tab. At the bottom of the Updates tab, there are three options for the release upgrade: Never, Long-term Support Only, and Normal Releases. You must select "Normal Releases". Russ then issued the do-release-upgrade command. Once the downloads were complete, the upgrade just took about 45 minutes. A reboot is necessary due to the newer kernel.

The desktop background is a bit different, but otherwise it looks and runs much the same as 10.04. Russ had some performance issues with 10.04 on some of his machines. He thinks 10.10 runs much better.

Summary of changes

  • GNOME updated to current 2.32 version.
  • Gnome desktop manager (gdm) version 3. Russ thinks it looks more like OS-X.
  • Evolution updated to version 2.30. Russ thinks they should drop Evolution entirely. There would be room for GIMP if Evolution were deleted.
  • Shotwell replaces F-Spot as the default photo manager. F-Spot replaced GIMP in a previous release due to space issues, and now Shotwell replaces that. Isn't this kind of silly?
  • Gwibber updated to use Twitter's new authentication scheme.

Kubuntu changes:

  • More updates to KDE.
  • Updates to Qt, and KDE (4.5.1).
  • Switched to PulseAudio. Russ says: BOOOOO!, because he's unhappy with all audio systems on Linux.

Ubuntu Server changes:

  • Eucalyptus updated for cloud computing environments.

Kernel update:

  • 2.6.35-22.33 Based on upstream stable kernel.
  • Support for i586 and older processors, and i686 processors without the conditional move opcode (CMOV), has been dropped. Bad news for older machines.

WSPR was highlighted in the November, 2010 issue of QST.

  • What is WSPR? From the WSPR Users Guide:WSPR (pronounced "whisper") stands for “Weak Signal Propagation Reporter.” The WSPR software is designed for probing potential radio propagation paths using low-power beacon-like transmissions. WSPR signals convey a callsign, Maidenhead grid locator, and power level using a compressed data format with strong forward error correction and narrow-band 4-FSK modulation. The protocol is effective at signal-to-noise ratios as low as –28 dB in a 2500 Hz bandwidth. Receiving stations with internet access may automatically upload reception reports to a central database. The WSPRnet web site https://wsprnet.org/drupal/ provides a simple user interface for querying the database, a mapping facility, and many other features.
  • Developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT.
  • System Requirements:
  • SSB receiver or transceiver and antenna.
  • Computer running the Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, or OS X operating system.
  • 1.5 GHz or faster CPU and at least 100 MB of available RAM.
  • Monitor with at least 800 x 600 resolution.
  • Sound card supported by your operating system and capable of 48 kHz sample rate.
  • If you will transmit as well as receive, an interface using a serial port to key your PTT line or a serial cable for CAT control. Linux and FreeBSD versions can also use a parallel port for PTT. Alternatively, you can use VOX control.
  • Audio connection(s) between receiver/transceiver and sound card.
  • A means for synchronizing your computer clock to UTC.

Richard's setup:

  • Yaesu FT-897D Transceiver.
  • G5RV Antenna.
  • Rascal GLX sound card interface.
  • Ubuntu 9.10.
  • 3 gigs of memory and an Intel 3.0 Ghz CPU.
  • Onboard sound card.


  • Richard downloaded what looked like the .deb package from the web site.
  • He used Gdebi to unpack and install it, but could not get it to stay running. Every time he tried to do anything it crashed.
  • After reading the Linux installation instructions from the user guide, he attempted to install it in the manner described:
  • Download the appropriate file from https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wspr.html, place it in your home directory, and run the following commands in a terminal
$ sudo dpkg --instdir=. -i wspr_2.00r1714_i386.deb
$ cd WSPR
$ ./wspr
  • This resulted in a program that would receive after some fooling around with the sound card, but no rig control, and no transmit.
  • As a last resort, Richard downloaded the Windows version and loaded it under Wine, which gave him rig control, transmit, and receive, without much of a problem.
  • It did leave him with a few minor annoyances: he has to start it from the file manager with "Open with Wine" from the directory ".wine/Drive_c/Program Files/WSPR". The menu bar at the top was only partially functional, but he thinks it has to do with his USB mouse, as keyboard control works fine.
  • Richard was heard in Argentina on 40m running 5 watts and reported on the wsprnet site.
  • WSPRNet website
  • WSPR net offers a wide variety of information on the network in real time.
  • Page of stations currently active on WSPR.
  • Map of stations that can be filtered by callsign and/or band.
  • Offers dicussion forums for Q and A, setting up schedules, and general WSPR discussion.


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  • Contact Richard at kb5jbv@gmail.com, Russ at k5tux@lhspodcast.info, or both at the same time at info@lhspodcast.info
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  • Thanks to Dave from Gamma Leonis for the theme music.


  • "Monument" by Shearer from the album "Monument," courtesy of Jamendo.
  • "This Love" by Spinous from the album "Empathy," courtesy of Jamendo.

LHS Episode #051: Careless WSPR

A short while ago, Canonical released the latest version of Ubuntu:  the fabled Maverick Meerkat, 10.10. This is the latest in Ubuntu's normal release cycle and is not LTS. I had occasion to upgrade a couple of my personal computers running Ubuntu to the wily Meerkat. Find out what's new in 10.10, and what's old, in the first segment of LHS #049.

After that, Richard and I tackle the WSPR protocol for ham radio again. When it was discussed the first time around, neither of us had much of an idea what it was or how it worked. Armed with a broader understanding and a lot more experience, we talk about what works and what doesn't work with WSPR, how to get it up and running on your system and what we like and don't like about it.

Following that it's on to witty banter, a passel of badgers, some hijinks, censorship, feedback and more entertainment than you can shake a wet hedgehog at. Thanks for tuning in. We love you all.

73 de The LHS Guys