Dah Dit Morse Code Trainer Smartphone App

Check Out The Blog Post Here.

GNOME 3 Project and LINUX in the Ham Shack

GNOME - 10 Years Of Freedom

Hey I got a chance to jump on USTREAM Tuesday  night and watch Russ and Richard do their thing over at LINUX in the Ham Shack. Yup they were live!

It was interesting to go behind the scenes to see what went on  during the breaks. Those are the spots where podcast listeners only hear the cool music that Russ provides.   The making of episode 35  took the better part of 2 hours to produce. Once again, Richard and Russ did an outstanding job of providing information to us information junkies and open source crazies.

Although Linux In The Ham Shack Episode 35 did not directly discuss LINUX or Ham Radio apps , the guys did conduct a very interesting phone interview with Stormy Peters the Executive Director of the GNOME (pronounced GA-NOME) Desktop Project.

Stormy  was very informative and talked a bit about her position and responsibilities as Executive Director and provided insight into how the not- for-profit organization operates its levers behind the curtain. I was unaware of the fact that about 40% of the GNOME developers are paid staff while the balance are volunteer,  open source crazies like you and I.

Another intersting point that Stormy made was that the GNOME  GTK (GNOME Tool Kit) is widely used to develop variations of the standard GNOME Desktop release and is placed on netbooks, cell phones and scientific (medical) instruments.

Stormy also provided some insight into the coming release of GNOME 3. BTW you can download and install the shell now but the official release date will be around Q3 of this year.

The GNOME project has no direct control over when a new release of GNOME desktop will be integrated into OS’es but you will most likely see it bundled in the next release of UBUNTU.

So if you have not taken the opportunity to check out LINUX in the Ham Shack, take a spin over to the site. Russ is constantly making improvements to the site and just like like fine wine, the site continues to improve with age.

Podcasts For Amateur Radio?


With the ever increasing numbers of iPhone and iPod units out on the street, people “like myself” have begun to take a greater interest in creating and listening to Podcasts, the “new broadcasting format”.

Apple sold a record 22.7 million iPods and 4.3 million iPhones during the Q4 of 2008.  Rather stunning numbers I’d say. I read somewhere that iPod devices now account for 24% of Apple’s revenue.

From the Website “Digital Strategy – Government of New Zealand”:

Podcasting, a portmanteau (a word created or made from parts of other words) of Apple’s “iPod” and “broadcasting”, is a method of publishing files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a ‘feed’ and receive new files automatically by subscription, usually at no cost.”

The Apple iphone

Traveling Around:

So in my travels around the Internet, I ran into a Ham Radio site where the owner actually has the time and equipment for making and distributing his own Podcasts. Meet the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast.

Enter KD0BIK:

The site is owned and operated by Jerry (kd0bik) and Jerry has recently produced his 15th Podcast. Podcast #15 discusses the importance of emergency preparedness. Past topics include upgrading your license class, the origins of the QSL card and multi-part Podcasts about operating Amateur Radio equipment.

Jerry’s Website also included a number of links to other interesting Amateur Radio Podcast sites. For those that are interested, I expanded the Podcast links on the right sidebar for your listening pleasure.

Comments and Discussions:

Do you listen to Podcasts of any kind?

Do you regularly download Podcasts related to Ham Radio?

What is your opinion of Podcasts in general?

Tune Into SolderSmoke Podcasts!

Listen at: http://www.soldersmoke.com

Tired of listening to the Snoop Doggie Dog or Liberace on your I-Pod? Wouldn’t you like to be able to carry with you the kinds of ham radio conversations that you listen to while in your radio shack? Tune in to SolderSmoke!

RSS FEED: You can subscribe to the program, have them downloaded to your MP-3 player, and listen to them at your convenience. To subscribe, just cut and paste this URL into your I-poder (or similar) software.

If you don’t have an MP3 player you can just go to the site below and listen to the latest program (and earlier editions) using the audio software on your computer.
http://www.soldersmoke.com All the programs are available here.

I hope you enjoy the program. Please send us feedback.

73 from Rome


Check Out The New HamInfoBar For Your Browser

HamInfoBar has been designed with the ham radio operator in mind. HamInfoBar provides the latest DX news, articles, cluster spots, propagation report and access to ITU and other ham essential maps.

Some of its many features are a Google powered search box plus ham radio specific search engines, SWL information, RSS reader from top ham radio sites, ham community news and general information, podcasts containing ham radio audio news and broadcast radio, manufacturer links, list of national radio societies Web sites, in depth maps, beacons, PC tools and an email notifier. Watch a flash video of the HamInfoBar here or visit the HamInfoBar Web site.

Remote Desktop Experiments or Running Your Ham Gear While on Travel – Part 2

As you know from Part One of this rant, I was experimenting with a free product called Log Me In from logmein.com. Surprisingly enough, I found that I also had full remote desktop functionality while using Log Me In from my HP RX4240 hand held. I simply pointed my good old (cough – choke – sputter) IE (Internet Destroyer as I like to call it) Browser which is of course embedded in Windows Mobile 5 and Presto! Well, almost… Once I logged into the Log Me In Site, and it detected that I was running IE, (can’t see any other way of it knowing) I was asked to install a module on the RX4240. The installation of the module was flawless and nearly transparent. I was then presented with the usual Log Me In web page as I would on any local desktop. I simply clicked the link to my remote desktop with the stylus and was presented with the remote desktop user name and password.

Once logged in, I had full control. As I recall, the first time I was prompted to also select a new, local desktop background. The only minor issue encountered was scrolling. Log Me In accounted for scrolling around the remote desktop by simply using the stylus pen. By pressing it lightly against the edges (corners or sides) of the hand held window caused the the remote screen to scroll around quickly. To my surprise, the response time was very good even over my 802g WIFI connection. Log Me In provides options which can be chosen in a mini menu bar displayed at the top of the screen. The free version offers functions to alter the screen size, scale to fit, zoom, screen rotation (90 deg), to pop up the hand held keyboard and a scroll lock function (and exit of course). A correction from part one. Only remote control is offered in the free version. As I may have mentioned, there are may more options available in the PRO version.

Testing Echolink was basically the same as it was in Part One. See Part One for details. Skype came to the rescue again to cover the audio part of connection. I’d like to hear from anyone who tries these or similar combinations. Perhaps there is someone who has the equipment to try this combination of software to run their BIG RIG while at work, away on business or on vacation.

Remote Desktop Experiments or Running Your Ham Gear While on Travel – Part 1

This past weekend I was experimenting with a free product called Log Me In from logmein.com. Log Me In is simple to set up and the only requirement for a download of the free software is to create a general user account. No specific information is required except a user name, password and email address. Specific information is of course required to purchase the rather pricey “PRO” version. One caveat, be sure to download and install the free version, otherwise you will see that you will be running the “free 90 day PRO trial”. If this happens to you, log into their site and change the account type back to the free version.

The premise behind Log Me In is that you “link” your home or other Windows desktop with Log Me In. Once your home system is linked, you will have remote control of your desktop as well as file transfer and printing capabilities. When accessing these features, your desktop user name and password are required as an additional level of security. Response time while manipulating the desktop was more than acceptable. During my first “test” my bandwidth was over cable but, based on my second experiment which will be in PART TWO, I suspect the bandwidth of DSL is more than sufficient.

The free version offers remote desktop, printing and file transfers. As you may already suspect, the PRO version offers many more options. One of those missing components of the free version is transferring sound over to the remote computer. Once again it’s free software to the rescue! You may have heard of or already use Skype. Again, Skype is simple to set up and there are only two “tricks” to using it in a remote scenario like this. First, create one user account for your home desktop and a different account for your remote computer. Second, set up the home desktop Skype to “Auto Answer” incoming calls. This setting is found under tools/options/call settings/advanced section. That way you can simply call yourself.

My first test was to use Log me In conjunction with Skype to run Echolink from my remote location (work). Of course this could also be used to run your BIG RIG with CAT software, etc. To accomplish this:

  • Assuming that Log Me In and Skype are properly installed on both systems:
    • Call your home desktop via Skype.
    • Access Log me In and log in via the Remote Desktop option.
    • When your home desktop is displayed, run Echolink as you normally would.
      • You may have to use the lightning bolt of the Echolink menu bar to switch between transmit and receive since the remote space bar doesn’t cut it! You may have better luck than I did…

Stay tuned for PART TWOUsing my handheld RX4240 with Skype and Log me In.