A New DV4mini Arrives On Scene

DV4mini USB StickWireless Holdings sells leading edge modules and accessories to Ham Radio operators. Wireless Holdings has been in the digital gadget market over 40 years, and leverages a network of professional engineers to bring the latest digital gadgets to the market.

Why would anyone be interested in a DV4mini USB Stick? First I should explain that the DV4mini is a miniature, low power transceiver which you can use around the house or portable with any HT capable of one of the four digital modes. DSTAR, DMR Plus, Fusion or P25. Download a copy of the DV4mini manual for more detail.

In my case, even though  I live in an area tightly packed with analog RF, there are no digital repeaters close enough to reliably access with an HT. Unless I connect my CS700 to my roof antenna, I cannot reach the DMR TRBO repeater in my area. Visit DMR-MARC if you want to know more about TRBO for Ham Radio.

So using DMR with the DV4mini (although not TRBO) gets me connected to the digital world using DMR Plus (Hytera systems). I cannot speak about DSTAR, Fusion or P25. My only experience has been using DMR Plus. I don’t spend a lot of time with the DV4mini however I had the pleasure of having a QSO with a Ham from Japan a few weeks back.

My 70cm DV4mini has worked flawlessly since I purchased it some months ago. As I mentioned in a prior article, I built up a Raspberry Pi with the necessary software to run the DV4mini console. If anyone is interested in my notes about building up the software necessary to run the DV4mini Console and other Raspian Jessie ramblings,  stop by my homebrew Ham Radio Forum.

Recently I received an email stating that Wireless Holdings will start selling the DV4mini  in a 2 meter version. Just in time for Dayton Hamvention!

73, Gary KE2YK


Andy KB1OIQ’s Ham Radio Apps Update

ARRL Centennial Challenge Coin Art FINAL

IMHO, one of the things I enjoyed most about the ARRL Centennial Convention in 2014 were the Amateur Radio related forums I attended on a ton of different topics.

One of the forums I attended was Andy’s KB1OIQ’s presentation on his remastered version of Amateur Radio applications running on Ubuntu Linux.

There are a bunch of these remixes like ShackBox floating around but I really enjoyed his presentation and his dedication to his project. Back then I downloaded and ran the version available at that time. It seems that his work continues to be popular since the current SourceForge page shows that he’s had almost 700 downloads just this week.



Andy now has both a 32-bit and 64-bit version which contain a host of Ham Radio software like Fldigi, NBEMS, Gpredict and many more. Andy’s version 19 matches up with the Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS release.

As with Andy’s past versions, the GUI desktop is customized with menus for Amateur Radio use. Andy has gone through great pains to make the distribution lightweight so that it will also run on older computer hardware.

Interested? Hop over to Sourceforge and grab Andy’s latest download!

Install DV4Mini Console On Raspberry PI

DV4mini Console SoftwareAs a retired ‘NIX Systems Admin I still have to find out what makes things tick.

So I decided to build a Raspberry Pi 2 model B using a 32Gb Micro USB Card and the vanilla copy of Raspian Jessie 8 into a fully working DV4mini Console.

I used Putty with the DHCP provided IP address to run raspi-config expanding the file system and to change default localization settings.

Then it was on to installing x11vnc so I could work from my Windoze desktop using Tightvnc. Next it was getting the Edimax Wireless card online. From there I installed Mono 4.0 (Note: an 8GB Micro USB Card will run out of space while installing Mono 4.0) and finally the DV4Mini Console.

Since I created a series of crib sheets, I put a home-brew forum together as a central repository for my notes.

For those interested, go straight to my work-in-progress forum at KE2YK’s Ham Radio and Systems Forum. BTW, You don’t need to register to poke around its contents.

72 and 73,
Gary KE2YK Email me for additional help!

Digital Voice? A Replacement For SSB?

According to this article, Amateur Radio is now transitioning from analog to digital voice. This is similar to the 1950’s – 60’s transition from AM to SSB it goes on to say. Suppose one company held the patent for SSB back then and forced you into their technology. Amateurs would be under their control indefinitely! As we all know, that is going on with digital voice right now.

Enter FreeDV. FreeDV is a GUI application for Windows, Linux and MacOS (BSD and Android in development) that allows any SSB radio to be used for low bit rate digital voice.

Find out more about FreeDV Here!



Another Flaky iTunes Install…

iTunesIn all the years I was forced to conform to the corporate Windows standard, I had never been comfortable with the instability of the OS’es spewing forth from the bowels of Redmond WA. As a ‘NIX engineer on global financial systems, the PC always felt like a toy waiting to log its very next MTBF. (meantime between failures)

Now that I am retired, I don’t have to rely on the continuous faux pas coming from Redmond which I then needed to create conforming reports and slideshows.

Having no desire to drop two grand on a Mac (my preference is LinuxMint on an old Intel Dual Core PC) causes me to use Windoze 7 for various Ham Radio and other software products. Enter iTunes for the 64 bit Windoze 7 Platform.

Since I am not an iTunes power user, I don’t keep up with the latest and greatest iTunes updates. On occasion I will use it to back up and sync my iPhone. I don’t play music, read books or watch Movies on my iPhone 5. Never did, never will.

Recently I wanted to try out an app which required me to sync my iPhone via iTunes. That’s where the trouble began. It had nothing to do with the app itself by the way. In its infinite wisdom, iTunes wanted to perform yet another self update.

To start with, I am adamant about a squeaky clean Windows PC. With every hacker in the world interested in penetrating the operating system, I have 3 levels of protection from viruses and malware on constant vigil. I use Avast, Malwarebytes and run CCleaner on occasion.

This time the iTunes update left me in the gutter. After installing the self update and rebooting the Windoze 7 wonder of the world, I received one of those error messages stating that MSVCR80.dll no longer resides within the clockwork of the Windows directory.

Like anyone else with this of issue, my first attempt was to Google It to determine if this is a well known and perhaps documented problem. Bingo! Typing in msvcr80.dll is missing yielded over 69k results. As expected with the Windoze world there was every imaginable type of response to the problem.

The method I found the most amusing was to install a fresh copy of Windows! At that point I began to LMAO. After searching the file system I found that I had multiple copies of MSVCR80.dll installed.

The fix was plain as day. No didn’t install a fresh copy from the recovery drive or roll back to one of those system created restore points which are usually missing the last 50 or so Windows updates.

Should you run into this problem, bring up the control panel, under Programs, select uninstall a program, sort the entries by publisher name and then delete everything owned by Apple Inc. except the iCloud control panel.

Next download and perform a fresh install of iTunes. Reboot and with any luck  your PC will resume life as mine did before the iTunes self update corrupted the system registry.

Finally, for safety’s sake reboot once more and if successful, manually create your own restore point.


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!

Review of the Raspberry Pi Model B and Enhanced Kit

Raspberry Pi Logo


A Ham friend, Joe W2OFD has been looking over the articles and videos about the details of the Raspberry Pi Model B Rev 2 board. The Model B board includes 512 Mb Ram, 2 USB ports, SD Card Slot, Ethernet port, HDMI port, Micro USB power adapter port, analog video and an audio port.

See the Full Story Here: http://wp.me/p1rtTO-hv

Fire Sale! Windows 8 Goes The Way of the Dodo!

What is Windows BlueIt’s hard to imagine but an article I read the other day on InfoWorld’s Tech Watch has revealed that Windows 8 is going to be replaced by Windows Blue this summer.

The article goes on to say that BestBuy has already slashed its prices on Windows 8 computers by $100 because they are overloaded with Windows 8 systems and want to  make way for Blue.

Read More Here! http://wp.me/p1rtTO-cc