HF Email From The Mobile?

Last summer when we were camping in the national parks, there were many campsites where we had no cell phone service. I am not complaining about that, but our work around to communicate back home to the XYL often required a trip to the pay phone (sometimes hard to find). I thought about perhaps using APRS’s capability of relaying short pieces of text as emails. Part of the problem is that there are many areas of the parks that don’t have any APRS digipeater coverage (Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks for example). How to get a message through?

Then I remembered my MARS station (AEN5AC) in Iraq. I was using an ICOM IC-7000 and an SCS PTC-IIusb modem to pass MARSGRAMS from my location north of Baghdad to another station at the US embassy in Qatar. The pairing worked quite well and I was consistently able to connect and pass traffic using PACTOR 3 at the 1400 baud rate. Could I use a similar setup to provide an HF email option while camping this summer?

September 2007, Taji, Iraq - MARS Station AEN5AC
September 2007, Taji, Iraq – MARS Station AEN5AC

I dug out my SCS PTC-IIusb modem. I had not used it since shutting down the MARS station in June of 2008. Everything was still in the box. To include the cables necessary to interface the modem with an ICOM IC-706MKIIG… the same rig I use for HF mobile.

I pulled out my spare IC-706MKIIG. Coming back to Kansas from Field Day in California back in 2009, my IC-706MKIIG quit on me. I ended up buying a second at the HRO in Denver and sent the broke one to ICOM. ICOM fixed it and returned it. I kept it in the box and it went back on the shelf. I did order a 6 pin Molex connector with powerpoles to allow for an easy power connection (#9). I connected the two cables from the modem to the rig. Once cable is for the data and plugs into the 706’s 13 pin accessory connection (#4). The other cable connects to the 706’s CI-V interface (#6) to have the radio change frequencies based on what station is being contacted.

Rear of IC-706MKIIG
Rear of IC-706MKIIG

I had the basic hardware of a HF email station, except for a computer. I would need one that would function out of the vehicle. This would probably require a laptop. I also decided for the ease of simplicity that the computer should be Windows driven (instead of Linux). Gasp! The bottom line is that the software and drivers required to send email via HF and use the SCS PTC-IIusb modem is Windows based. The answer ended up being an Dell XPS 15.

Using a Windows based computer helped me with a number of summer travel tasks that could not be accomplished by my small Linux laptop:
(1) Run the software required for HF email (more on Winlink and Airmail later)
(2) Run ARRL’s TravelPlus for Repeaters
(3) Run RT Systems radio programming software for my TM-D710A
(4) Run RT Systems radio programming software for my VX-8RGs
(5) Read the SD card from my Canon digital camera

Interestingly enough, the new laptop does not have a CD/DVD drive nor an RJ-45 connection for a LAN cable. Neither of these have been a show stopper yet.

ARRL’s TravelPlus for Repeaters

travelplus_repeatersI had purchased TravelPlus for Repeaters with the intent of installing it on my existing Linux laptop and running it under a VirtualBox Windows session (similar to how I run iTunes on my Linux laptop). However the software failed to install. I tried troubleshooting and looking at suggested fixes found on the forum sites but still had no luck. I tried installing TravelPlus using WINE. It installed but would not run as well.

Dell XPS 15 to the rescue. As the laptop does not have a CD/DVD drive, I copied the drive onto network storage. I then was able to install TravelPlus over the network and it is working without issue.

RT Systems Programming Software
The RT Systems programming software works fine under a VirtualBox Windows session. As I was moving all my vehicle related radio/computer tasks to the new Windows laptop, I attempted to install the programming software for the TM-D710A (used for beaconing the location of my vehicle and talking on VHF/UHF). Following a similar procedure that worked for TravelPlus, I copied the programming software from the install disks to a network drive. The software installation for the TM-D710A worked without a hitch. The software for the VX-8RGs (HTs we use for around camp and hiking) failed to load. The error said that I must use the original disk to install. A big challenge when the laptop doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive. The work around is that you find another Windows computer with a CD drive, load the software CD, then back on the driveless laptop, map the CD drive (like you would map a network drive). That worked and I was able to install the programing software for the VX-8GR.

HF Email Software
There are two main choices for software to allow for HF email: RMS Express and Airmail. I installed both. Airmail was the same program I used in Iraq and it offered easy configuration with the IC-706MKIIG and the SCS PTC-IIusb.

I now had all my equipment for a test run setup in my basement hamshack: spare IC-706MKIIG, SCS PTC-IIusb, and the Dell XPS 15 with Airmail. I connected the IC-706MKIIG to my Elecraft tuner and used my existing G5RV antenna. Airmail configures easily. The software has a list of stations offering mailbox services that can be viewed on a propagation chart by frequency and distance. Based on time of day, I selected a station in Texas that offered a 40M PACTOR 3 connection. Airmail allows me to click on the frequency in the propagation chart which then changes the dial frequency of the radio. After listening to see if there were any ongoing connections, I initiated contact. The modem lights flashed and the rig clicked between transmit and receive. The connection was made and I was able to send a test email as well as a position report.

Propagation Prediction & Frequency Selection
Propagation Prediction & Frequency Selection

Success! The position reports that go into the Winlink system are copied over into APRS. Now, even if I am not able to reach a digipeater with my VHF APRS beacon, I can send a position report over HF to let the XYL know where we are.

APRS.fi showing Position Report  from WINLINK
APRS.fi showing Position Report from WINLINK

I then thought about the steps I would have to take of transitioning my IC-706MKIIG configured for HF mobile to be ready to work with the PTC-IIusb to send email. As the remote head is located up near the drivers seat, this would present problems with being able to observe the modem, laptop, and radio control head all at the same time.

Remote control heads for the IC-706MKIIG and TM-D710A to the right of the center console. APRS Avmap GPS to the left of steering wheel.
Remote control heads for the IC-706MKIIG and TM-D710A to the right of the center console. APRS Avmap GPS to the left of steering wheel.

What if I just dedicated the spare IC-706MKIIG rig to the task of HF email? It would save me time and bother in pulling and plugging cables. It would also give the camping option of being able to operate HF from outside the vehicle.

VHF/UHF antenna is forward, above driver's door. Tarheel antenna is mounted on a swing out jerry can holder.
VHF/UHF antenna is forward, above driver’s door. Tarheel antenna is mounted on a swing out jerry can holder.

Using an additional iPortable box, I rack mounted the spare IC-706MKIIG and the SCS PTC-IIusb. Now I will have a spare HF rig with me, so if one goes out I will still be operational. I also attached the Tarheel screwdriver antenna’s rocker switch to raise and lower the antenna on the side of the box. During normal HF mobile operations, the TurboTuner (connected to the other IC-706’s tuner connection and CI-V connection) manages achieving a correct match between the operating frequency and the screwdriver antenna.

I only have the one TurboTuner. The TurboTuner requires a connection to the CI-V. So does the SCS PTC-IIusb. My solution was to leave the TurboTuner alone. Instead, using the rocker switch, I can manually tune the antenna while visually observing the 706’s SWR meter.

HF Email Ready: SCS PTC-IIusb, IC-706MKIIG
HF Email Ready: SCS PTC-IIusb, IC-706MKIIG

To transition between using the 706 dedicated to HF mobile to the 706 now dedicated to HF email, I have to do the following:
(1) disconnect the antenna feedline from the TurboTuner
(2) disconnect the control line that goes from the TurboTuner to the Tarheel screwdriver antenna
(3) connect the antenna feedline directly to the HF email 706
(4) connect the control line to the rocker switch
(5) connect the laptop to the SCS PTC-IIusb via a USB cable
(6) connect the iPortable’s powerpole connection to the junction box in the back of the vehicle

… then I am ready to go. The iPortable box rests nicely on the vehicle’s tailgate, next to the laptop. All at about lawn chair height. Not only can I use this setup to send email via HF, but I can also use it for causal National Parks On The Air contacts as well.

What’s left to do:
(1) Constant cooling fan modification for both IC-706s (see AD5X’s article)
(2) An extended control cable for the Tarheel screwdriver antenna. This will allow me to further remote away from the vehicle, but still use the antenna.
(3) A length of antenna feedline for remoting.
(4) A length of powerpole-ready powerline to attach to either the travel trailer battery or directly to the spare vehicle battery… again for remoting away from the vehicle.
(5) I have a set of Heil headsets that worked with my IC-7000. I think if I get the AD-1ICM, I should be able to use them with the 706.
(6) A Heil HS-2 hand PTT switch to use with the headset.


I had the opportunity to be a guest operator at WW1USA today. WW1USA is a special event station located at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO.

There was a request for operators that I saw on Larry’s List. Larry’s List is an awesome resource for hams in the greater Kansas City area. Not just another email list-serv, but a truly valuable resource in understanding what is happening in the area. From community events, swap-n-shop, club meetings, weekly nets to nearby hamfests – Larry’s List is one stop shopping for everything you need to know about amateur radio in Kansas City.

I read about the opportunity to sign up for operator/logging slots during this weekends activation of WW1USA and thought it would be a neat opportunity.

Arriving about 10 minutes before my shift started, I was immediately directed to a position and asked to start logging for an operator working contacts on 20 meters. The brief instructions I received was to log the callsign, name, and state of the contact. I think I recognized the logging program as N3FJPs logging program for Windows. I had used this program before during Field Day 2009 with my dad, KD6EUG.

As I adjusted into the chair, my ear turned towards a speaker, my fingers pecking away entering callsigns… I noticed there were not any radios here! Each of the operating positions were laptops, using HRD to control a rig at a remote location. Pretty cool. As I believe it would have been fairly difficult to raise antennas on top of the museum and then route feedlines down to an operating room, the planners of this special event used internet connectivity. To be honest, as an operator, the fact that I was not in front of the rig was really not even apparent.

After twenty minutes, I slid into the operators chair and proceeded to work contacts for the next two hours. Again, the planning effort of this operation became evident when I saw a short script in front of me for calling CQ as well as providing answers on how calling stations could QSL the contact. When a station at the distant end asked for more information about the reason for the special event, I was handed another card which talked about commemorating the failed Gallipoli campaign.

I had a great time making contacts: stations all over Canada and the United States. What a fun time!

Laptop Blues

Looks like the days are numbered for my Dell Studio laptop. I have had it since 2009 and it has done a great job. I’ve had a dual boot setup, running Ubuntu as the my primary OS and keeping Windows 7 to meet various requirments: (1) assignments for school that I need to do in MS Office knowing that often OpenOffice does not do the job (PowerPoint is a great example), (2) iTunes… although I don’t need it very often on the laptop, and (3) RR-Track which I use for designing layouts for my O gauge trains.

I use my laptop a lot. I mentioned “school” above… I have been in a program at the University of Saint Mary to earn a Kindergarten through 6th grade teaching license. Next year I retire from the Army and teaching elementary school will be my 2nd Act, my back nine, my mid-life career change. I have been attending night classes since last fall and have completed six classes with five to go, plus student teaching. About at the halfway point now.

I’m looking back to Dell for my next laptop. I’ve had a long line of Dells… the Studio and an XPS before that. Can’t forget the Dell Mini and I am typing now on a Dell Inspiron Mini (a bit bigger than the Dell Mini). I had an HP laptop for a while, which was not a great experience (this was the days when WiFi was just becoming popular). Before that I had an Alienware laptop. Since then, Dell has purchased Alienware and I have decided to give Alienware a go again. I am not a “gamer” but I do appreciate solid hardware and good video performance. I like a fair amount of real estate on a laptop to include both keyboard and screen. My intent is to dual boot it again between Ubuntu and Windows 7, primarily using Ubuntu.

So – why not a Mac? I’ve read a bit on trying to install Ubuntu on a Mac and it sounds like much more trouble than it is worth. Last year I got my XYL a Mac-Mini when her desktop quit. I like it. I used it to edit a video I used last semester when teaching a lesson in a 4th grade class. The video editor was much better than anything Ubuntu had to offer. But ultimately a Mac is not as versatile as a PC that will allow me to load different OSes.

Boot failure ending with initramfs prompt

mount: mounting /dev on /root/dev failed: No such file or directory
mount: mounting /proc on /root/proc failed: No such file or directory
Target filesystem doesn’t have /sbin/init.
No init found. Try passing init=bootarg.

BusyBox v1.18.5 (Ubuntu 1:1.18.5-1ubuntu4) built-in shell (ash)
Enter ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands.

This has happen on my Dell laptop much more than I’d like:


mount: mounting /dev on /root/dev failed: No such file or directory
mount: mounting /proc on /root/proc failed: No such file or directory
Target filesystem doesn’t have /sbin/init.
No init found. Try passing init=bootarg.

BusyBox v1.18.5 (Ubuntu 1:1.18.5-1ubuntu4) built-in shell (ash)
Enter ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands.

Let’s Talk Spam

That delicious but much derided precooked canned meat treat – Spam. Produced by Hormel Foods and introduced before World War II, Spam hit its stride during WWII as rationing limited fresh meat. The military also took advantage of Spam’s long shelf life by making it a staple in the diet of frontline soldiers.

US Army: Spamville
US Army: Spamville

Continuing to serve during the Korean War, Spam was able to integrate itself into Korean cuisine – budae jjigae, a spicy stew that included chunks of Spam. I used to eat this quite a bit when I was stationed in Korea.

Back in the States, Spam gained a reputation of being the primary element of a white trash feast. Still, Spam presists and sold its seven billonth can back in 2007.

Back in May I traveled to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin for an Army exercise (no… they didn’t serve Spam at the exercise) and made the roadtrip from Kansas in my truck. The most direct route passed right in front of Austin, Minnesota – which, not only being the headquarters for Hormel, is home to the Spam Museum.

Spam Museum, Austin, Minnesota

I am an admitted and unabashed fan of Spam. We used to eat it from time to time as children and I believe fried Spam to be a delicacy. Now I had the opportunity to visit the Mecca of Spam, which I immeditaely took advantage of.


The museum is open to the public and free of charge. It is actually quite large and well done, telling the story of Spam from its inception and through the decades. Best of all was the gift shop at the end which included variants of Spam that I had never seen before: Spam Hot & Spicy – with Tabasco flavor, Spam Jalapeño, Spam Garlic. I eagerly purchased a few tins and enjoyed them once I returned home.

The name “Spam” is the combination of the words “Spiced” and “Ham”, although there have been other meaning attributed to SPAM. The military, ever enjoying arcronomys, dubed it SPecial Army Meat. The term is also used to describe a secret Army group that is shrouded in mystery: the Society for the Protection of Angry Majors… or SPAM. This society is rumored to be a powerful and influential group much like the Bohemian Grove or the Bilderberg Group.

In 1970, Monty Python paid tribute to the impact of Spam to Britsh gastronomy during war years rationing with a sketch entitled “Spam“.

With the early BBS computer nerd’s love for Monty Python comedy, the term “Spam” began to be applied to describe unsolicited bulk electroic messaging.

Why does this all matter? It doesn’t, of course. But I am here on Hawaii (the state with the largest consumtion of Spam per capita) supporting an Army exercise. Each morning at the hotel, with my complimentary breakfast ticket, I get a small coffee and a Hawaiian role containing egg, a strip of seaweed, and a large piece of Spam. It’s quite good!

Ham radio and my year in Korea

Here is a a re-cap of my amateur radio activities during my past twelve months in Korea:

(1) DX – I enjoyed working a good bit of DX, enjoying most QSOs with stateside contacts as well as Pacific exotics. The greatest limitation I had was my operation location and resulting inability to ideally situate an HF antenna. Living in the barracks (the ultimate in CC&R) restricted any type of permanent antenna installation, further limiting my options. I solely used a Buddipole (which after many additional accessory purchases, became two Buddipoles). Despite the antennas being positioned next to a three story building, I was able to make contacts to North America, South America, Europe, and even Africa. I credit this to improved band conditions over the past months and also the Buddipole… it’s a keeper.

(2) EchoIRLP node – I brought my embedded EchoIRLP node to Korea and interfaced it with a Kenwood VHF/UHF rig. Again, with my poor location and inability, I could not have an antenna installed outdoors. Instead, I kept the Kenwood rig at its minimum wattage setting and used a roll-up J-Pole made from ladder line. With my HT also set on minimum power, I was able to make effective use of the EchoIRLP node. My primary contacts via the node were with the XYL back in Kansas. She has a mobile VHF rig, to include APRS. I could check to see when she was on the road for her morning or afternoon commutes, connect through my EchoIRLP node here in Korea to our EchoIRLP node back in Kansas. With the XYL’s rig set to the frequency of the Kansas node, I could frequently ride along with the XYL and harmonics as they moved about. Additionally, the Echolink capability of the embedded node allowed me to regularly talk to my dad, KD6EUG, while he connected to my node via an app on his cell phone. Another great enjoyment was the ability to monitor the different IRLP reflectors and sometimes participate in ongoing nets. I am sold on the flexability of the embedded EchoIRLP node and will take it with me again when I get deployed for a long duration.

(3) D-STAR – starting with a D-STAR Dongle, I moved to a DV Access Point and got an ICOM D-STAR HT. I enjoyed playing with D-STAR and the ease of having the Access Point as well as the IC-92AD (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/5092.html) made using D-STAR pretty straight forward. There is no aruging that the audio quality for D-STARS is poor. The complicated nature of setting up a rig at home for the XYL would also make D-STAR a poor choice to replace the EchoIRLP node. However, I enjoyed having the flexibility of having the ability of getting on D-STAR.

(4) Linux – all my radio operations here were supported by using the Ubuntu distrobution of Linux. After toying with CQRlog, I have settled on fldigi as my primary interface to my HF rig.

(5) APRS – although my APRS operations here were limited to the internet (Korea has virtually no APRS traffic), I used xastir (www.xastir.org) to show where my operating location was and also advertised my EchoIRLP node.

(6) WX station – never happen. I could not find a good location to place the collector, so it is still in the box. More importantly, wgoohat I didn’t get the opportunity to learn was how to interface a weather station to the APRS application xastir.

(7) Stars & Stripes article – I was able to discuss my amateur radio experiences with a reporter from Stars & Stripes.

Pac-Man Fever

I grew up in what is now known as Silcon Valley during in 1970s and 1980s. I expierenced first hand the development of computers and more importantly – electronic gaming.

My timeline bridges the transition between pinball and the video arcade machines. Pinball was cool and ubiquitous. However, very quickly games like PONG and TANK began to vie with pinball for floorspace in the local pizza parlors and burger joints.

My uncle’s favorite burger joint near Stanford University called The Oasis. During the mid-1970s, the place was loud with music and had a floor covered in peanut shells. What is also had was a Sea Wolf arcade machine. Sea Wolf had a periscope you looked through and then fired torpedos vertically up towards ships on the water’s surface. The adults enjoyed the beer and us kids loved Sea Wolf.

The pizza parlor on the corner of Fremont and Mary Ave in Sunnyvale had quite a few different names over the years. What it also had was TANK – two combatants manned their controls and battled each other in the midst of a maze of obstacles. The one cartriage that would come with the Atari 2600 (VCS) was COMBAT and included a similar (if not as impressive) game.

The first computer that I (or actually my dad) had was an Apple ][. We started out loading programs with a tape player (Breakout being my favorite). Then there were additions: one and then two 5 1/4″ floppy drives, memory expansion, an Epson dot matrix printer, and an acoustic cup 300 baud modem. For arcade-like gaming I received first paddles and then a joystick. Gaming on the Apple ][ was thrilling, but could not hold pace with the thrill of the development of improved graphics and sound.

To take advantage of these developments and to help me part with my hard earned quarters, dedicated arcades began to spring up. These augmented the arcade games found at the burger joints, minature golf courses, and pizza parlors… as well as the one or two games found at the local convience store or bowling alley. Near my dad’s house was Merlin’s Castle which had one of my favorite games – Lunar Lander. By my mom’s, another arcade (next to the Brunswick bowling alley at Homestead and Hollenbeck Road) had Scramble… a lesser know game, but one I am still obsessed with. During the summer, we’d go to the Great America amusement park where their video arcades had an awesome selection – to include the vector graphics Stars Wars game with incredidble audio. Another favorite location was Farrell’s, kitty corner from the Fremont and Mary pizza place. Farrell’s had two awesome games that are burned into my memory: Joust and Tron.

Let me not forget about Chucky Cheese Pizza Time Theater. Mr. Bushnell (from Atari) established one of the first Chucky Cheese Theaters across the street from the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose (also by the Century Theater where I first saw Star Wars). Chucky Cheese was the location to host a birthday party. The animatronic puppet show was horrible. The pizza just as bad. But the video arcade games where the latest and greatest. With a pocket full of tokens, an elementry school kid could have the time of his life.

I was first exposed to text-based games at IV Phase – a company where my friend’s mom worked at. Interestingly enough, IV Phase was located where Apple’s headquarters is now, where HWY 280 intersects Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road (aka HWY 9)…. I also remember that before IV Phase, the area was an orchard. The text-based game was Adventure. My friend and I each played a different terminal and could “see” and cooperate with each other in the game.

Apple ][ games became more sophisticated and better emulated (or copied) actual games found in the arcade. The big difference was that instead of paying 25 cents for a play, I could more than likely get an Apple ][ game for free; either from a BBS or one of my friends at school. My favorites were Wizardry, Choplifter, and Loderunner.

Entering high school in 1983, my interests turned elsewhere. The Apple ][ was actually used for productive activity like writing papers on what passed for an early version of word processing. When I was a sophomore, one of my friends who hosted a BBS was busted for hacking. The FBI took away all his computer equipment. This event, in addition to scarying the crap out of me, also produced additional incentive to stay away from computers. And I did, other than using MACs in college to write papers.

Now, 20 years later, I am enjoying a few different open source gaming platforms that are allowing me to re-live (and re-play) some great memories.

  • The Wiz
  • The GP2X Wiz is an open-source, Linux-based handheld video game console and media player created by GamePark Holdings of South Korea. Its the second in a series of handheld gaming devices, I picked mine up at thinkgeek.com. The Wiz is capable of emulating many computer systems and gaming consoles. Such emulation allows me to play the original games – just the way they I played them back in the day. Some of the emulated computers include: Amiga, Atari 400/800, Commodore 64. The consoles are well represented by emulating Atari VCS, GameBoy, Genesis, Colecovision, Intellivision, Nintendo NES, and Nintendo SuperNES. However, where the Wiz (and other open-source devices) really shines with MAME (or Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator). MAME allows the device to emulate just about any video arcade game that ever was. From Asteroids to Zaxxon, the Wiz, through MAME, uses the original code from these arcade machines to provide an identical expierence to what the game was like back in the pizza parlors and game arcades.

  • The Caanoo
  • The Caanoo is the successor to the Wiz. The specifications are similar with the major differences being the Caanoo’s larger display, USB 2.0 capability, and WiFi capability. Another change (which some find contentious) is instead of D-Pad on the left side, there is a small analog joystick. I really enjoy the joystick as it gives a much higher degree of control for diagonal movement that is hard to reproduce with a D-Pad.

    Both the Wiz and the Caanoo are produced by GamePark Holdings (GPH). Where these devices depart from the handheld devises of Nintedo and Sony is that there are very few dedicated, for-purchase games created specifically for the Wiz or Caanoo. The majority of all the emulator software available is designed and coded through open-source channels. An active user base provides plenty of support in working through any issues of using the devices.

  • The Pandora
  • Quite a departure from the two Korean handheld devices is the Pandora. Esentially a subnotebook (a bit smaller than your standard netbook), the Pandora has an inteseting homebrew history. The system by default comes with a Linux OS based on Ångström. The addition of a keyboard opens additional possibilities for the emulation of early computer platform games (… think Zork on the Apple ][). The biggest drawback to the Pandora is that they are just tough to get a hold of. The manufacturer, OpenPandora, has had a myriad of delays in shipping due to several different problems. Those of us who pre-ordered a Pandora have been hanging in for what is going on to almost two years. Those who have received their Pandoras have been quite pleased. Mine was posted via air mail and I’m hoping to receive it this week. My intent is that the Pandora will serve as my main means of entertainment on my flight back to the US in mid-June.

    Let the games begin!

    D-Star, DV Dongle, and Ubuntu

    Yet again, more success with Ubuntu and ham radio. I purchased a D-Star DV Dongle earlier this year and never had much time to play with it. I do not own an actual D-Star radio and the only time I have really ever seen D-Stars in action was at this year’s Hamvention. I am a fan of Echolink and IRLP – the DV Dongle seemed like a good way to dip my toe in the D-Stars pool without a big cash investment. Additionally, I haven’t been living near any existing D-Star repeaters (either back in Kansas or here in Korea).

    Installing the DV Dongle on the hamputer went smoothly. Great instructions are located here or here. For support, there is a Yahoo Group which is active and brings quick response in troubleshooting problems.

    Once I had the DV Dongle up and running, NJ6N has a webpage that provides a live look at who is active on which D-Star repeaters and reflectors.

    There are plenty of resources out there, which could indicate the growing popularity of D-Stars.

    If you are interested in having a D-Stars QSO, let me know.

    Xastir up and running

    More success with the Ubuntu hamputer. I found a great wiki that does a great job of walking through the install process. Once I had Xastir up an running, it was interesting to see the massive amount of APRS in Japan compared to the absolute minuscule amount of APRS activity here in Korea. I have a hard time understanding why APRS is not embraced here.

    For the record…

    Here are details for my Ubuntu hamputer installation:

    (1) Install the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 10.04DO NOT INSTALL THE 64-BIT VERSION!
    (2) Run Update Manager and reboot
    (3) From the terminal sudo apt-get install: libssl-dev, libhamlib2 and libhsmlin-utild
    (4) Download CQRLOG (my version was cqrlog_0.9.6_install.tar.gz)
    (5) Extract file and you get cqrlog_install.sh – run the script in the terminal
    (6) After the install is complete, you should be able to start and run CQRLOG
    (7) Now you need Fldigi… this takes a bit more work to get the latest version
    (8) From the Synaptic Package Manager, install: g++, libfltk1.1, and libfltk1.1-dev
    (9) Find via Google (or use the supplied links), download, extract, configure, make and install: libsamplerate-0.1.7.tar.gz, pa_snapshot.tgz (v19), libpng-1.2.9beta11, and hamlib-1.2.7
    (10) Then download fldigi-3.20.29, configure, make, and install
    (11) That is it – everything should be good to go.
    (12) For bonus points, download and install Flrig

    For more on CQRLOG – listen to Episode 47: CQRLOG Revisited of Linux in the Ham Shack… the best (and only) amateur radio/linux podcast out there.