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Feb 12 2011

RFC Show Notes Episode 049

00:08 Opening Theme “Hand-Picked” by John Williams, from the album “Long Ride Home”
01:01 Introduction This episode recorded while mobile.
01:50 Announcements Note the new website address is http://rfpodcast.info/Podcast. While you’re there, click the Amazon link for your purchases there, as that helps support the podcast.

No feedback this episode as we’re mobile.

02:30 Topic Linux for the Amateur Radio operator.

Richard’s house is primarily Linux-based, not just because it’s free or easier to install, but because it’s more in line with the amateur radio philosophy of being able to tinker with it.

Linux still suffers from the misconception that it’s difficult to install, configure and use. That is no longer the case. Some distributions, Gentoo and Arch, can be a challenge. Others, like Linux Mint, Fedora, and Ubuntu, are very easy to install and use for the Windows user.

If you have an older computer, you’ll likely find that it runs faster with Linux and thus make a good machine to dedicate to your ham radio needs.

Most distributions are available as a live CD that allows you to boot and run from the CD without touching your local hard drive. This allows you to try it out and if it meets your needs, then you can install it to your disk. (Note that running from the live CD will be a bit slower than running from a hard disk.)

There is a lot of “free” ham software available for Windows, and it’s true in the sense that you don’t have to pay for it. However, in Linux, not only is the software free of charge, it’s also free to modify. Technical support is often available through forums or other online services.

A popular way to think of it is this: when you buy a radio, you would expect to see a schematic included and have the freedom to open it up and make changes. Linux is that way, too.

13:52 There are several amateur radio applications available for the Linux user. Most of the time, the software is in the repository for your Linux distribution, so you don’t have to go searching the Internet for them.

You’ll find programs for CW training, tracking satellites, logging contacts, operating digital modes, packet BBS, and rig control.

Probably the most popular program for digital modes is fldigi. It supports all of the popular modes such as PSK, Hellschreiber, Throb, Olivia, and RTTY, as well as logging and rig control. You might be interested to know that a good part of the Windows program DM780 (part of Ham Radio Deluxe) is based on code developed for fldigi. There is also a Windows version of fldigi.

One of the best logging program is CQRLog, and it can be integrated with fldigi.

You’ll also find programs to use with DX clusters, like xdx.

23:46 D-Star is supported by the D-RATS program.
26:13 Richard describes running Crunchbang Linux on his 12 year old Dell laptop, and uses it to run D-RATS.
29:40 Remote desktop capability is there, too.
31:33 In summary, give Linux a try. You don’t necessarily have to use it for everything, but you will likely find it’s easy to use and provides a lot of software “out of the box”. Linux Mint is a good choice for the new user.

If you do try it, let us know how it worked for you. And check out the Linux in the Ham Shack podcast.

35:45 Conclusion Check out the website, make a donation to the podcast, and click the Amazon link for your purchases. Send your feedback!

Email Richard at kb5jbv@gmail.com
Twitter: twitter.com/kb5jbv
Identica: http://identi.ca/kb5jbv
Friendfeed: http://friendfeed.com/kb5jbv
KB5JBV on D-Star via the NT5RN repeater.
Fan pages at Facebook for Resonant Frequency and Linux in the Ham Shack.

37:43 Song “Total Breakdown” by Brad Sucks, from the album “Out if It”.
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