Amateur Radio – The Original Open Source Project!

Hey, there is a very popular magazine among the open source crowd wich has dedicated its Janualy 2010 issue to amateur radio software. When you think about it, it does seem a bit strange that the majority of software for amateurs is written for the plug and play folks.

I know, I can hear you say that the answer to that riddle is simple. Windows is the most popular (widely used at least) operating system in the world. Writing software for Windows gets you the most exposure and it’s easy. Unlike LINUX , you don’t have to be concerned with drivers and there are no library dependencies to struggle with.

Open Source Amateur Radio Software

Linux Journal Dedicated To Ham Radio

While Windows is the most convenient to install with its Wizards and Cartoons (graphics), doesn’t it kind of fly in the face of the roots of our hobby?

Where is the challenge in plug and pray (play) guys? Does the functionality of “plug and play” have some hidden symbiotic relationship with the term appliance operator? Just joking guys.

Wait! I am not suggesting that time should be dedicated (wasted) rewriting complex software for the hell of it. But it sure would be nice to see more ham radio software available (along with the source code) for the open source platform.

As the article goes on to say, amateur radio really was the “first open source project”. I’d agree with that as the author, David A. Lane KG4GIY explains it.

In any event, if you have an interest in amateur radio software and the open source operating environment, take a look at the article. There are links to other LINUX resources on the Linux Journal site. Perhaps you will pick up a copy of the January 2010 issue of Linux Journal.

David A Lane KG4GIY has been licensed as an Amateur Radio operator since 2000 and has been working with Linux since 1995. David steps in as Linux Journal’s guest editor for this special issue. During the day, he is an Infrastructure Architect. During an emergency, he is an Emergency Coordinator for Prince William County ARES. And on weekends, he makes pasta!

Your Comments Please:

What is your opinion of open source software and the LINUX operating system?

Do you use LINUX in your shack?

If so, what applications do you run?

6 comments on “Amateur Radio – The Original Open Source Project!

  1. I totally agree with this sentiment. I’ve started to search for good open source software for ham radio as I’m returning to the hobby after many years (my renewed interest partially spurred by using Asterisk), but it’s hard to find.

    A lot of projects have been started, but very few seem to go anywhere.

    Chris VE3NRT


  2. Thanks for the plug 🙂 I have to admit that the January 2010 issue is still near and dear to my heart. And so is the disparity between Windows and Linux based Amateur Radio programs. So much so that I am going to attempt to challenge the community on coming up with some more Linux based solutions.

    Keep those happy thoughts going!


  3. Greetings from Rhode Island.
    I just upgraded one Linux machine to Ubuntu v14.04-x64.
    I have a gateway from 144.390 to Internet, Xastir.
    I have a gateway from D-Star two meter simplex to Internet.
    I have a KPC-3 working dual port mode.
    I’m also using d-rats v0.3.3 with email gateway.

    There a number of Ham Radio programs operating at the same time with around fifteen windows to work in and develope software for Amateur Radio.
    I have tried many *NIX distro’s and Ubuntu always wins, hands down.


  4. I keep looking at Linux. As an amateur, It would seem that Linux is my next logical step. Except for a few deal breakers. 1), I’m a computer user, not a programmer. Radio is my hobby and my computer is a tool.. 2) I use my computers to interface and talk to radios and instruments. I use DX Lab Suite – I keep waiting for an open source alternative – just haven’t seen anything to replace it – and it’s really good. I love the logging and QSL with LOTW.. My scope (and hopefully soon, spectum analyzer) have Windows apps to capture screens through USB – really useful. I’ll keep watching. My machines would go a lot further by getting XP off and putting Linux on. Not to mention apps that would work on the ARM versions (Rasberry’s, etc.) 73, Ed – N5EM


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.