LHS Episode #055: FLDIGI In Depth

Welcome to the first Linux in the Ham Shack for the new year! 2011 is upon us and we wanted to present our listeners with a fantabulous new show. That's what you're going to get. We were able to entice the lead developer of FLDIGI, W1HKJ, to come on the program and give us his personal insights into this best-of-class Open Source amateur radio software.

Yes, we know we talk about FLDIGI a lot in our program. We try not to beat it to death. But if you use this program, there is so much information packed into this interview, you're going to learn at least a dozen things you didn't know about FLDIGI, even if you use it every day. So sit back, strap in, and join us on this thrill-packed ride into the dark and seedy innards of your favorite digital mode app. We were impressed; you will be too.

73 de The LHS Guys

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 Show Notes #026


  • Kent, VE4KEH, writes in the forums that the Debian Testing updates have caused him some problems. Richard suggests not using the Testing distribution, while Russ disagrees.
  • Do any of the ham radio digital protocols support full TCP/IP? Can we load a web site via packet radio?
  • Commentsabout Episode #025:
    • Alex, OZ9AEC, says that he'd rather attend an Ubuntu launch party every six months, rather than a Windows party every six years. 🙂 He provided a link to an Ubuntu 9.10 Release Party Map.
    • Jim, N3JIM, defends APRS (Automatic PACKET reporting System), saying it's more than just vehicle tracking.
      www.aprs.org says it's "automatic packet reporting system"
      www.aprs.net says it's "automatic position reporting system"
      Our hosts discuss the apparent usefulness, or lack thereof, of APRS.
  • Richard rants about receiving spam, this time from Twitter.


  • Please donate to the fund to send Linux in the Ham Shack to the Dayton Hamvention in 2010!

Links and Notes:

  • Joe, NE3R, provides this audio segment about minicom, a Linux terminal application for connection to serial port devices. Check out Joe's blog.
  • Audio from Russ at Ohio Linux Fest:
    • Talking to Jim, KB3ORA.
    • Handing out DVDs of the first 22 episodes.
    • Matt, KC8BEW, provided some ham radio gear to use at the booth. Thanks, Matt.
    • Russ visits with Beth Lynn Eicher and Rob Ball, both of OLF, and Doug Vann of Duo Consulting talks to Russ about Drupal.
  • Richard talks about his visit to the Belton HamEXPOin Belton, TX.
  • Donate to the fund to bring Richard and Russ to Dayton Hamvention 2010.
  • Look for new topics in future shows, such as reviews of other Linux distributions such as ARCH Linux, Slackware 13, and OpenSUSE 11.1.
  • Russ talks about getting his amateur radio station back on the air. He put up a new antenna, an AlphaDelta DX-CC trap dipole for 80-10m. He also acquired a Rascal GLX sound card interface, installed fldigi, and made his first digital mode contact with PSK31 on 20m! Yay, Russ!
  • Russ has also discovered IRLP.
  • Paul, from TeenRadioJourney.com, made a donation to the Dayton fund. Thanks, Paul.
  • We're looking for a new logo for Linux in the Ham Shack. Any and all submissions will be considered.


LHS Episode #006

After putting this off some because of the holidays and other obligations, Episode #006 is now hot off the press. This is the second in our two-part series on PSK31. In the first part, we looked at sound cards, rig control interfaces and the basics of getting a PSK31 software package installed on your Linux operating system.

In part two, we take a much closer look at two popular programs for operating PSK31 mode on Linux: gmFSK and fldigi. On top of that, we respond to listener comments and questions, talk about updates to the web site, and explain how you can be involved in the recording of Linux in the HAM Shack by listening to the live feed and interacting with us in the chat room.

Next up in Episode #007: Install episode! We'll guide you step by step through the entire process of installing Debian or Ubuntu Linux on a machine to use in your HAM shack. If you join us for the live feed, we'll even be able to answer your questions in real time.

Stay tuned, and please, keep the feedback coming.