Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Linux Ham Update

Well, I have Xubuntu running and I finally got fldigi configured with my Signalink USB. It was pretty painless but it seems that I had to have fldigi shutdown when I inserted the USB cable or it wouldn't recognize it. I was glad to see that it's even easier than Windows. No drivers or anything to install. Just plug it in and rock n roll! If you want to confirm that it's working tail the log to see it show up. Try this from a terminal window:

sudo tail -f /var/log/messages

If you're not familiar with this command, tail will show you the end or tail of a file. The -f parameter tells it to follow the log meaning it will change on the screen as the file changes. This is how you can watch the log changing in real time. The log we're watching is /var/log/messages. When you plug the Signalink in the log should look something like this:

usb 3-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 11
usb 3-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
input: Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio CODEC as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.0/usb3/3-2/3-2:1.3/input/input12
generic-usb 0003:08BB:2904.0002: input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.00 Device [Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio CODEC ] on usb-0000:00:1a.0-2/input3

I've trimmed some unnecessary data for brevity, namely the timestamp.

Your fldigi soundcard configuration should look like this.
fldigi soundcard config

Still trying to make my first Linux-based QSO but my battery is low. It's also my anniversary so I suppose I should stop playing and start getting ready for a night out. At least I know I'm receiving. :-)

fldigi waterfall

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Radio Linux

I've been wanting to gain more exposure with Linux for several years now. About 5 years ago I ran my in-house web server on Redhat but after taking it offline and switching to a host provider I've done very little with Linux. I got a new laptop earlier this year and wanted to try it out since I had some good horsepower but no matter which distro I tried I couldn't get any of the LiveCDs to work. I wanted to go down this road because I wasn't sure which distro I'd like.

I was inspired once again after picking up the January issue of Linux Journal which had several nice articles about Linux and amateur radio. My hard drive is full of various distros and once again I couldn't get any of them to work. I finally reached a small level of success by doing a USB drive install. It seems that Linux doesn't like my CD drive.

With the taste of victory in my mouth I decided to make a change. Unfortunately the only USB drive I had available was a 1GB drive which meant I couldn't use persistence. OfficeMax had their SanDisk Cruzer drives on sale so I picked up a 8GB, ran home, and quickly did a Xubuntu 9.10 install. My history stayed true and wouldn't you know it didn't work. For whatever reason the Cruzer doesn't show up as a valid boot device. To say I was hacked is an understatement. I still have no idea why the Memorex shows up fine but the SanDisk doesn't.

It was suggested to me that the drivers might not be working from the LiveCD but a full install to the hard drive should work. I downloaded the latest Ubuntu 9.10 ISO and tried it. Of course it didn't work. Why should I have expected it to? I decided to go with what worked. I popped the Memorex in, rebooted, and did a full install to the hard drive. Which reminds me. I picked up a 40GB hard drive from CompUSA for $25. It's a small investment to run a dedicated Linux install while I try to overcome the pain I've experienced.

After long last the install worked and I'm making this post from a clean Xubuntu 9.10 install on my new hard drive. I'm finally happy.

Well, this is a much longer post than I'd anticipated so I'll sign off for now. Time to start downloading some amateur radio software!!

Linux Penguin

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mall Watch

Every year our ARES group holds Mall Watch. We drive around the parking lot of one of the local malls and provide security with extra eyes. Sometimes we help watch exits for suspected shoplifters. Sometimes we call for a jump when a car won't start. Sometimes we twiddle our thumbs. Whatever the case, from Black Friday to Christmas we patrol the lot over the weekend to provide some additional safety for shoppers.

Tonight I decided to leave the TinyTrak on. This covers a period of 3 hours and roughly 9 miles. This is what Mall Watch looks like. :-)

Mall Watch Track