Elecraft Announces PX3 Panadapter for KX3

Just a quick note. I posted an article on my other blog about the new PX3 Panadapter for the KX3. You can seen the quick notes and a link to the Elecraft PX3 Companion Datasheet here.

Dah Dit Morse Code Trainer Smartphone App

Check Out The Blog Post Here.

LINUX In The Ham Shack!

LINUX In The Ham ShackHey Gang! Do any of you listen to Podcasts? What about Podcasts related to Ham Radio and LINUX? Speaking of Podcasts, LINUX in the Ham Shack is a site on exactly that topic.

When you have a chance, check out the LINUX in the Ham Shack Web site. Russ K5TUX (and Richard KB5JBV now on hiatus) host an awesome site and their shows (Podcasts) cover many subjects, and yes, believe it or not, once in a while they even talk about LINUX and how it’s related to Ham Radio! Only kidding of course.

Episode #102 focused on QSSTV. Go check it out!

Oracle Virtual Box and KB1IOQ’s Ubuntu Remix For Ham Radio Ops

Andys DistroSince I have plenty of time on my hands now, I have taken up experimenting with various LINUX distros again using the very cool Oracle Virtual Box software. If you are not familiar with this stuff, simply put it’s like running an operating system within an operating system. In this case, I have installed Oracle’s VIRTUAL BOX software under UBUNTU.

Once Virtual Box is up you can install any O/S in it (that I have run across to date). That is, as long as you have enough hardware on your system to run it effectively. I recently found out about KB1OIQ – Andy’s Ham Radio Linux CD. So, naturally I had to give it a go.  The installation under Virtual BOX was typical and ran flawlessly unlike some distros (such as Fedora release 18). Andy explains the basic hardware requirements for installation on his SourceForge page  As the case with other distros, you can create a LIVE CD and run his software that way without disturbing the current OS located on your system.

In summary, if you like to experiment with different distros of LINUX you may want to try out Andy’s software. As long as you know how to burn a .iso file to CD then the LIVE CD is the least invasive way to give it a go.

Please comment if you decide to try out Andy’s distro and more specifically what you liked about it!

12th Annual Ham Radio University 1/9

Ham Radio University

Happy New year everyone! One of the first events out of the gate at the top of the year on Long Island is Ham Radio University. HRU is a day of learning for Ham Radio operators. This year will also be a day for scanner enthusiasts as well.

Located about 40 miles east of New York City, HRU is accessible from all the points on the compass. Come on, you do remember that analog device don’t you? Find the address and directions here: http://www.hamradiouniversity.org

This year looks like it’s going to be the best schedule of guest speakers to date. Guest speakers are there for you to learn from and to  “pick their brains” for that info you just can’t seem to find elsewhere.

So here’s the line up as I received it. Look it over and make up your schedule for the day. Each moderator is well versed in the area of interest and I am sure all questions will be answered. Imagine, all of this learning and more for only 3 bucks! How can you go wrong?


9:00 – 9:50am
-Scanner Forum: Phil Lichtenberger W2LIE
-Intro to EMCOMM in NYC/LI: Mike Lisenco N2YBB and Jim Mezey W2KFV
-Operating Six Meters during Cycle 24:  Ken Neubeck WB2AMU
-Transmitter Hunting – locating hidden transmitters: Larry Berger
WA2SUH and Andy Kirschenbaum WA2CDL
-Remote Station Operation: Rick Bressler K2RB

10:00 – 10:50am
-Dealing with RF Interference during reception: Bill Lynch AB2UW
-The EMCOMM experience in Haiti: Ron Tom KE2UK
-Intro to DX’ing and contacting distant stations: Long Island DX
-QRP – low power fun: John Meade W2XS
-Ham Radio Deluxe: Bill Dahl W2ANQ

11:00 – 11:50am
-Grounding for the Ham Station: Don Kane WB2BEZ
-Intro to the National Traffic System: Mike Patino N2BMU and Jim
Kettyle KC2LEB
-DX and Ham Radio from Kuwait: Steve Hass N2AJ
-Working Satellites with your handheld transceiver: Peter Portanova
-HF Digital Modes: Neil Heft KC2KY

12 Noon
-Keynote Speaker: ARRL President Kay Craigie N3KN

1:30 – 2:20pm
-Antennas – how they work and how to build them: Walter Wenzel KA2RGI

-Wireless History – Friends of Long Island Wireless: Connie Currie
-Contesting: All your questions answered: Mel Granick KS2G
-Emergency Power for your home: Jeff Schneller N2HPO
-D-STAR – digital Amateur Radio operating: Randy Gutentag WA2RMZ
-Volunteer Exam Session – Amateur License testing: VE Team

2:30 – 3:20pm
-Antenna Building Workshop ($10 additional fee): Joe Mielko N2IMF
-Young Ham Forum: Lew Malchick N2RQ
-World Radiosport Team Championship (The Ham Radio Olympics): George
Tranos N2GA
-Software Defined Radios: Dr. Jeffrey Katz AC2BQ
-Internet Linking for Amateur Radio: Jonathan Taylor K1RFD

Here is the list of participating organizations at this year’s event:

American Red Cross ECS
Central Jersey D-Star Group
Civil Air Patrol
Friends of L.I. Wireless
Grumman Amateur Radio Club
Great South Bay ARC
Hall of Science ARC
Kings County Radio Club
Kings County Repeater Association (HRU 2011 Sponsor)
Larkfield ARC
Long Island DX Assoc.
Long Island QRP Club
Long Island Mobile ARC
MetroCor Repeater Coord.
Nassau County ARES
Nassau County CERT
Nassau Amateur Radio Club
Nassau County Police ARC
National Weather Service
New York City ARES
Peconic Amateur Radio Club
Radio Central ARC
Staten Island Digital Group
Suffolk County Radio Club
Tri-State SKYWARN Group
Wantagh Amateur Radio Club
US Coast Guard Auxiliary
CQ Communications
Briarcliffe College ARC

There are plenty of door prizes provided by:

CQ Communications
DX Engineering
ELK Antennas
MFJ Enterprises
Radio Oasis

And lots of literature provided by:

Amateur Electronics Supply
Ham Radio Outlet
ICOM America
Kenwood USA Corporation
Texas Towers
Universal Radio

Be certain to put this on your 2011 calendar!  Don’t miss this event! I expect that this year will top all previous attendance records.

So search around the Ham Shack and gather your loose change together. We all know Ham’s are among the cheapest individuals on the planet but 3 bucks won’t break you, promise!

73 and see you there – ke2yk!

LINUX In The Ham Shack? You Bet!

linux in the ham shack

LINUX and Ham Software Podcasts

Even though I am a veteran ‘NIX Systems Engineer, I still enjoy messing around with LINUX and have been doing just that since the days when rolling your own kernel” was required. Mixing LINUX and Ham Radio applications together is a place where I like to go to get my hands dirty (like that 55 Chevy I owned a  lifetime ago).

Recently, I re-introduced myself to the awesome Linux In The Ham Shack Web site and their outstanding podcasts. Russ k5tux and Richard kb5jbv run LHS (among a number of other sites). How they manage all those sites and find time to create the LHS podcasts is beyond me! I have enough trouble trying to post something new to the blog on a monthly basis. I know, I know,  “yeah… you can say that again!”

Richard’s Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) drawl and colorful expressions are a gas to listen to. Richard provides comic relief during the podcasts and Russ is the straight man who takes much fun poking (or is that cow poking) from Richard in stride.

Among the banter and Richard’s unusual expressions (at least they are unique up here in NEW YAWK), the guys do an outstanding job introducing newbies to LINUX. The reason I enjoy listening to their podcasts so much and reading over their show notes is the introduction I receive about the wide array of LINUX variants (varmints as I call them) and numerous Ham Radio apps that are discussed in detail.

Since I am way past the point of basics, I listen up to see what Russ and Richard are going to introduce in each espisode.  Recently, through one of their podcasts, I found out about Shackbox written by F0FAK. Shackbox is a work in progress but the quantity of working Ham Radio apps the author has packed into the  “AIR” release is truly amazing. How much  packing you ask? Well as I remember, the “LIVECD” can only be burned to a DVD because it is about 2.4 Gb in size. I will cover some of the Shackbox details in a future post.

Like other live CD’s or should I say live DVD’s, the contents can optionally be installed on your hard drive. If you want to go that route (which is what I’d recommend), the disk partitioner packed with Shackbox offers an option to co-exist with your Windoze installation. Use caution here and proceed at your own risk!

In any event, if you are interested in LINUX and Ham Radio applications,  a visit over to LINUX in the Ham Shack will provide a wealth of information for both the LINUX newbie as well as the verteran interested in the happenings of the open source community.

Newer Concepts In Amateur Radio

About 2 years ago W7DXX Keith Lamonica and W4MQ Stan Schretter developed and implemented a new concept called IRB. (Internet Remote Base). IRB operates on both on HF and VHF amateur radio frequencies.

The intent of IRB is to expand the utility and use of any ham radio station by making it available to all hams on a worldwide basis. On a typical day, licensed hams from all over the world access theses systems.

Operating IRB is similar to the remote front panel of a mobile radio. Think of the cabling and a mic cords as thousands of miles away. The remote head becomes the desktop on you computer and the keyboard becomes the knob and switch replacements.

IRB Remote Desktop

Unkile Echolink and IRLP which only work with FM repeaters, IRB offers full  control of the remote station. All IRB operated radio functions are made available to the licensed ham. Those functions include ssb,am,fm,cw,psk31 modes, amplifier setup and control as well as selecting and rotating antennas.

More technical details are available in the back issues of QST. 11/2001 and 11/2002. You can also find out much more about IRB at www.w4mq.com.

Digital Panoramic Tuning

Not having much time for Ham Radio causes me to try and find quick little projects that are fun and easy to throw together.

Last week I had a day off from work. So after catching up on business paperwork and updating my Web sites I actually had a chance to do something “fun” and Ham Radio related for a few minutes.

Surfing around the Internet for Ham Radio stuff is not something I have time for so I turn to Google Alerts to get my hands on quick hobby news and other info.

For those who have never used it, the easiest way to explain it is to say Google Alerts sort of bring the Web sites (links) to your email inbox each day, week or whenever.  It is easy to create alerts on any subject matter and they are also just easy to remove.

Anyway,  I have always had a fascination for digital modes. Back in the day, I used to run an IP over AX25 node. Our club had access to a Ham Shack that was at the base of a 150’ tower. Back then I had direct traffic running through the node from places as far away as Virginia on occasion.

Recently, I received an alert about free software I am sure many of you have heard of before. I found it be one of the quick, fun projects I am taking about. After reading the first paragraph of the Web page, I had to try it out.

In its simplest form, the software allows eavesdropping on digital HF conversations. I wanted to see just how easy it was to set up and use.

So I downloaded and installed the software, with the Windows Wizard there to hold my hand and display the usual prompts, it took only a few seconds for the Wizard to wave his magic wand and present the icon to me.

I threw my radio on and tuned it to 14.070 and placed my $1.50 plastic mic next to the speaker on the radio.  Then I just sat back, waiting to  copy PSK31.

Hey, so far so good. Not too much time wasted and I was actually watching QSO’s from the US, Europe and South America in action. It turned out to be a really good mix of transmissions to watch considering I was only listening for about 30 minutes.

Of course Digipan is not just for receiving signals. With a sound card interface to your rig, you can get in on the action as well.

PSK31 In Action

Digipan Screen Shot

DigiPan1.0 forever changed how PSK31 tuning was done, from manually tuning the transceiver, to “point-and-click” mouse tuning, in which a signal on the waterfall is clicked with the mouse button to find out the station’s callsign and decide whether or not to contact that station…

If you have some time to burn and take an interest in HF digital communications you might want to check this software out.

Visit the Digipan Web site and download version 2.0.