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

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 Episode #032: Screen-Doored Submarines

Well, January has pretty much come and gone. I sure hope the rest of the year sticks around a bit longer. Now that it's 2010, though, Linux in the HAM Shack has a lot of things planned for the future: contests, interviews with fascinating and influential people, trips to live events throughout the year and, as always, scintillating content about Linux and ham shacks.

As of Episode #029, we have achieved more than 50,000 downloads. Episode #029 also turned out to be one of our most popular. When Richard and I started this endeavor back in October 2008 we didn't really know what to expect out of the podcast, but I think it's safe to say that whatever expectations we may have had, we're certainly reaching or exceeding them. I only hope that we only have more room to go up from here. Thank you to everyone who listens to, participates in, or otherwise helps out with the podcast--especially Bill, KA9WKA, our beloved Show Notes compiler, and everyone who has made a donation to the program. We are only about $100 in donations away from our booth at the 2010 Dayton Hamvention and we hope that we'll be able to set up there and say hello to all of our fans, old, new and undiscovered, when it finally rolls around.

But for now, we wish you a speedy download and an enjoyable listen.

73 de Russ and Richard