LHS Episode #144: Amateur Radio Resources

ham-radio-operateHello, folks! We're happy to say that Pete has rejoined our crew for this episode of the show, and he brings with him some excellent information for all you listeners out there. We take a look at several great video and audio resources for amateur radio adventures this fortnight. On top of that, we give a detailed description of YFKtest in action during a contest, and an overview and introduction to the latest version of the Tucnak logger. Lots more news, reviews and excitement as well. Please enjoy!

73 de The LHS Guys

LHS Show Notes #030


  • Walter, WN3LIF, writes to express his appreciation for the podcast. He has successfully interfaced his FT-450 to his Linux Mint system.
  • Terry, KV6M, alerted Richard to a link spam entry in the forums at blacksparrowmedia.com.
  • Bob, VE3SRE, recently found the podcast, and has been a user of GNU/Linux for many years. He's found a good contest logging program, but neglected to mention which one. Let us know, Bob!
  • Paul, KC9QYB, of teenradiojourney.com, Kent, VE4KEH, and Bill, KA9WKA, join the roundtable discussion this episode.


  • Check out Russ on Hacker Public Radio! In episode 0494, Klaatu interviews Russ at Ohio Linux Fest.
  • Another generous donation came from Jim, W9GNG. Thanks very much, Jim! LHS is well on the way to their goal for sending Richard and Russ to the Dayton Hamvention 2010! If you'd like to donate, click on the Donate button at the Linux in the Ham Shack website.

Links and Notes:

  • The ARRL has an article about Senate Bill 1755 being passed in the Senate and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. A roundtable discussion ensues.
  • Kent, VE4KEH, joins the roundtable to discuss WSPR (Weak Signal Propagation Reporter), written by Joe Taylor, K1JT. See also the WSPRnet page for recent observations.
    • When you install the .deb package, it may not create a desktop icon. The program installs, by default, into the /WSPR directory. So, you may need to run it by doing the following in a terminal window:
      		$ cd /WSPR
      		$ ./wspr
    • Of course, you'll also need a soundcard interface to your radio. Once running, you should go to the Setup -> Station parameters menu option and enter your callsign, grid square, transmit power, and set your audio device and rig control preferences.
    • It can even be used on the experimental 600m band, if you have a license to operate there. On July 28, 2009, the FCC granted the ARRL a modified license for WD2XSH. This modified license allows the experiment to operate with 45 stations across the continental USA, Alaska, and Hawaii. So, unless you're one of the stations specifically authorized to operate on 600m, you should only provide reception reports, and not transmit on that band.
    • One final note about WSPR: you must have your computer clock set very accurately. The easiest way is to set up an NTP client on your computer to synchronize your computer clock to one of the network time protocol servers. Here is an article on setting up a Ubuntu client, which should also work for Linux Mint. Or...
    • If you RIGHT CLICK on your desktop clock and select "set date / time", there may be an option to automatically set the time. You can select the ntp.ubuntu.com server so you don't overload the public servers.
  • Paul recently built a Pixie II QRP CW transceiver kit.
  • Bill Meara, M0HBr/CU2JL/N2CQR, of the SolderSmoke podcast is also a fan and practitioner of WSPR.
  • Bill, KB3CVA, has a telnet BBS online at https://phantombbs.net.
  • Russ discusses a gizmodo article about Microsoft patenting the sudo command. It's not likely that the patent is enforceable. Don't Panic. 🙂 Articles on ars technica and Information Week have a more realistic slant on the issue.
  • Tip: to eliminate having to enter your password each time you use the sudo command:
    • First, edit the /etc/sudoers file using the visudo utility. It is considered insecure to tweak the /etc/sudoers file manually.
    • 		$ sudo visudo /etc/sudoers
    • Uncomment this line by removing the # character:
      		# %sudo ALL=NOPASSWD: ALL
    • So it now looks like this:
      		%sudo ALL=NOPASSWD: ALL

      and save the file.

    • Finally, add your user name to the sudo group. For example, to add user russ to the sudo group:
      		sudo usermod -a -G sudo russ
    • Log out and in, and enjoy sudo without the password prompts.
    • Of course, if you just want to avoid repeatedly typing your password for a session, you can issue the command:
      		sudo bash -

      which will give you a bash terminal session as root, and you can then issue several commands as root without the need for typing sudo at all.

  • Debate in the chat room about cell phones and emergency communications. Richard talks about the cell phone problems during hurricane Katrina. Most cell phone systems are designed to support about 20% of their subscribers at any given time. When an emergency occurs, the cell phone networks are quickly overloaded.


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"

LHS Episode #027: Where Are My Meds?

haarpWe have topped 40,000 downloads! Thanks go out to all of our listeners and live webcast attendees for making Linux in the HAM Shack as popular as it is. Give yourselves a huge round of applause. We're also well on our way to our donation goal of $750 so we can buy booth space and Internet access at the Dayton Hamvention in Dayton, Ohio, in May of 2010. Thank you for all of your donations. Please keep them coming as you're able to send them in!

In this episode, we address listener feedback and comments, and then in a burst of inspiration invite listeners from the chat room to come onto the program for a lively and very fun roundtable discussion. Topics were varied, from portable antenna design, to life without Red Bull; from the HAARP VLF array in Alaska to D-STAR, PACTOR and other digital ham radio communication modes. And since I was on meds and Richard was off his, things got a little crazy towards the end.

We hope you enjoy this episode of Linux in the HAM Shack. Please leave us comments or questions on the web site or via voice mail at 888-455-0305. And send your best wishes to Bill, KA9WKA, who has taken on the responsibility of getting LHS's show notes out in a timely fashion. Thanks, Bill. You're a lifesaver!

73 de Russ, K5TUX