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how does linux help in becoming a ham?

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  • dor937
    I d like to contact hams in Canada, Ireland and the UK using linux. I ve been asked to write an article for Full Circle e-zine regarding ham radio use aided by
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 13, 2013
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      I'd like to contact hams in Canada, Ireland and the UK using linux.
      I've been asked to write an article for Full Circle e-zine regarding ham radio use aided by linux. From the way it has been mentioned I think the editor would really like an article on how linux can aid someone in becoming a ham.

      Now I have a pretty good handle on becoming a ham in the US of A but nowhere else. Anyone want to help or co-author?

      David Rowell N4HHL
    • Thomas J Strike Jr
      I m not sure that Linux can make someone a better Ham other than the fact that those who hold an Amateur license are the type of people who are independent
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 14, 2013
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        I'm not sure that Linux can make someone a better Ham other than the
        fact that those who hold an Amateur license are the type of people who
        are independent thinkers and are creators rather than players. While
        Linux has matured to state-of-the-art, it still offers to the builder a
        platform where they can do their own thing right down to the kernel
        level. That's the one great thing about Open Source.

        If I were going to write an article about Linux in Amateur radio, I
        would make it an article of what Linux has to offer to the Amateur and
        not how it can make them a Ham. The only thing that can do that is one's
        own commitment and perseverance.

        I would research how Amateurs are using Linux in their own personal
        projects, what Linux based resources are available, Linux/Ham user
        groups and forums are on line. I would make a comparison of non-Linux OS
        based groups, projects, and resources that are out there on the
        Internet. I would also comment through these comparisons, how their
        approaches differ, is it harder or easier. The learning curve of a new
        operating system should be discussed and is Linux really all that hard.
        Will the work you put into learning a new operating system ultimately
        pay off over struggling in your present comfort zone.

        This is a topic that could end in a full volume book more easily than
        writing a white paper on it.

        73s
        Tom S.
        wb6ddd
      • ROBERT FAREY
        Hi being linux boffin does not make a good amateur nor does being a radio amateur make you any good at computer science. so times we learn to do both
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 14, 2013
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          Hi being linux boffin does not make a good amateur nor does being a radio amateur make you any good at computer science.
          so times we learn to do both independant of either discipline. Robert G6LLP


          From: Thomas J Strike Jr <tom@...>
          To: linuxham@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thursday, 14 February 2013, 17:51
          Subject: [linuxham] Re: how does linux help in becoming a ham?

           
          I'm not sure that Linux can make someone a better Ham other than the
          fact that those who hold an Amateur license are the type of people who
          are independent thinkers and are creators rather than players. While
          Linux has matured to state-of-the-art, it still offers to the builder a
          platform where they can do their own thing right down to the kernel
          level. That's the one great thing about Open Source.

          If I were going to write an article about Linux in Amateur radio, I
          would make it an article of what Linux has to offer to the Amateur and
          not how it can make them a Ham. The only thing that can do that is one's
          own commitment and perseverance.

          I would research how Amateurs are using Linux in their own personal
          projects, what Linux based resources are available, Linux/Ham user
          groups and forums are on line. I would make a comparison of non-Linux OS
          based groups, projects, and resources that are out there on the
          Internet. I would also comment through these comparisons, how their
          approaches differ, is it harder or easier. The learning curve of a new
          operating system should be discussed and is Linux really all that hard.
          Will the work you put into learning a new operating system ultimately
          pay off over struggling in your present comfort zone.

          This is a topic that could end in a full volume book more easily than
          writing a white paper on it.

          73s
          Tom S.
          wb6ddd


        • Jeff KP3FT
          Not sure if it would help in becoming a ham, but one thing that comes to mind is that various Linux versions run quite well on older computers, and are free. 
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 14, 2013
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            Not sure if it would help in becoming a ham, but one thing that comes to mind is that various Linux versions run quite well on older computers, and are free.  It's a nice way to resurrect that old machine that is otherwise collecting dust, and keeps the new whiz-bang computer free for other use.  Linux also fosters a bit of experimentation, i.e. downloading and burning different Linux ISO's to see which one works the best, installing WINE to run Windows software, etc.

            --- On Wed, 2/13/13, dor937 <dor937@...> wrote:

            From: dor937 <dor937@...>
            Subject: [linuxham] how does linux help in becoming a ham?
            To: linuxham@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:41 PM

             

            I'd like to contact hams in Canada, Ireland and the UK using linux.
            I've been asked to write an article for Full Circle e-zine regarding ham radio use aided by linux. From the way it has been mentioned I think the editor would really like an article on how linux can aid someone in becoming a ham.

            Now I have a pretty good handle on becoming a ham in the US of A but nowhere else. Anyone want to help or co-author?

            David Rowell N4HHL

          • Creede Lambard
            I don t think Linux will help you become a ham per se. Becoming a ham involves learning the rules and theory necessary to pass the Tech test at least, and the
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 14, 2013
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              I don't think Linux will help you become a ham per se. Becoming a ham involves learning the rules and theory necessary to pass the Tech test at least, and the resources for that, like web-based tutorials or DVDs, are platform independent. The only exception I can think of are Morse code tutors that are available for Linux, and (1) there are probably similar tutors for Windows and Mac, and (2) Morse code isn't necessary for licensing any more.

              Linux users tend toward tinkering and experimentation. Windows and Mac users by and large want systems they can plug in and have them "just work." Yeah, this is an overly broad generalization, but if there's any connection at all between choice of operating system and OS, it might be that Linux users are less content to just be "appliance operators" and are more likely to get their hands dirty with building and experimentation. Does that translate into greater success in becoming a ham? I kind of doubt it, but I'd be interested in hearing counterarguments.

              -- 73, Creede WA7KPK

              On 02/14/2013 12:56 PM, Jeff KP3FT wrote:
               

              Not sure if it would help in becoming a ham, but one thing that comes to mind is that various Linux versions run quite well on older computers, and are free.  It's a nice way to resurrect that old machine that is otherwise collecting dust, and keeps the new whiz-bang computer free for other use.  Linux also fosters a bit of experimentation, i.e. downloading and burning different Linux ISO's to see which one works the best, installing WINE to run Windows software, etc.

              --- On Wed, 2/13/13, dor937 <dor937@...> wrote:

              From: dor937 <dor937@...>
              Subject: [linuxham] how does linux help in becoming a ham?
              To: linuxham@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:41 PM

               

              I'd like to contact hams in Canada, Ireland and the UK using linux.
              I've been asked to write an article for Full Circle e-zine regarding ham radio use aided by linux. From the way it has been mentioned I think the editor would really like an article on how linux can aid someone in becoming a ham.

              Now I have a pretty good handle on becoming a ham in the US of A but nowhere else. Anyone want to help or co-author?

              David Rowell N4HHL


            • Glenn-(K0BO)
              There are two types of hams. There are those who purchase EVERYTHING. And, there are the other type of hams who are creatively frugal. They learn by
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 14, 2013
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                There are two types of hams. There are those who purchase EVERYTHING. And,
                there are the other type of hams who are creatively frugal. They learn by
                repairing, building and tearing apart from the first type of ham's leftovers.
                Intuitive hams create something new from things that were not initially
                designed to do them or would have cost extra if purchased. An ad-hoc engineer.

                Same with computers.

                In Linux, all the software is basically free. Not only that but mainly the
                source code comes along with it. If a linux user wishes to change the function
                of a button in ANY software, or add functionality of some sort to help resolve
                an "itch", he can do that in minutes. Most linux users (and hams) do this
                without a formal knowledge of programming. Reuse of code from other projects is
                quite common. This aslo creates a large code base to draw from.There is a very
                large community of technically deep people in the linux community that are not
                around in M$ or MAC as most collages use linux (it's free) to teach
                programming. Unlike the other OSs, Kernal level control of hardware and the
                chips they control are all available to a linux programmer.

                There is also the stability. The foundaton of unix goes back to the 70s. As
                people (professors, students and large corporations) found issues and
                inefficiencies, they would be resolved and folded back into the source code
                using a process of pear review. The other OSs recreate their foundation
                (without review) every few years so they have something new to sell. This also
                means costumers have to re-purchase hardware, drivers and software. Windows/Mac
                hams hate that to a large extent. But for cheap linux-based hams, it means
                that there will be allot of free hardware to pull from as consumers are forced
                to upgrade.

                Since the linux community is based on free code and a deeply technical pool of
                other programmers, allot of the new SDR software is first developed on linux
                and ported to windows/mac so-that the authors can make a profit. Most chips
                come with linux source code examples to draw from!

                Concluding, the true core essence of ham radio has been of creating,
                constructing and manufacturing radios from the first days when people would
                take parts from oatmeal boxs, lamp cords or a cheap tube from somewhere to
                create a radio. A Linux computer in ham radio is probably made from the left
                over cheese-noodle box tossed out by that guy you know at the end of the block.

                On 02/14/2013 01:56 PM, Jeff KP3FT wrote:
                >
                >
                > Not sure if it would help in becoming a ham, but one thing that comes to
                > mind is that various Linux versions run quite well on older computers,
                > and are free. It's a nice way to resurrect that old machine that is
                > otherwise collecting dust, and keeps the new whiz-bang computer free for
                > other use. Linux also fosters a bit of experimentation, i.e. downloading
                > and burning different Linux ISO's to see which one works the best,
                > installing WINE to run Windows software, etc.
                >
                > --- On *Wed, 2/13/13, dor937 /<dor937@...>/* wrote:
                >
                >
                > From: dor937 <dor937@...>
                > Subject: [linuxham] how does linux help in becoming a ham?
                > To: linuxham@yahoogroups.com
                > Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:41 PM
                >
                > I'd like to contact hams in Canada, Ireland and the UK using linux.
                > I've been asked to write an article for Full Circle e-zine regarding
                > ham radio use aided by linux. From the way it has been mentioned I
                > think the editor would really like an article on how linux can aid
                > someone in becoming a ham.
                >
                > Now I have a pretty good handle on becoming a ham in the US of A but
                > nowhere else. Anyone want to help or co-author?
                >
                > David Rowell N4HHL
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • egholland
                Becoming a ham requires study. The Linux packages that run the applications can be run on relatively inexpensive equipment {the PC here was recovered from the
                Message 7 of 13 , Feb 14, 2013
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                  Becoming a ham requires study.

                  The Linux packages that run the applications can be run on relatively inexpensive equipment {the PC here was recovered from the computer trash - and runs my HF rig.}. Most of the time - the software is self configuring without needing exotic drivers from the peripheral manufacturers to support the equipment. Takes about 1/3 the time to get to a usable system.

                  For studies - the HAMEXAM package for US amateurs have the necessary questions in the program to study from the Technician level to the Extra Level. The program when installed on the Debian types of Linux Distros - does allow study at the students rate. While other web sites exist that allow students to test against the question pools - this application allows the student to find what they do not know - and then find a mentor in the Ham Radio community to assist in the development of the knowledge the future Ham operator will need. Major benefit - is that both services - the program and mentor is truly free.

                  For operations in digital modes -the FLDIGI program set does a wonderful job for me. This program exists both in the Linux environment and the Windows environment. Using an ICOM-718 here - I was able to find a simple interface to connect the radio for digital control and audio interface. Again, the program, operating system, and hardware can be obtained for free.

                  With the radio expense, cabling, and antennas to consider - any encouragement to a potential Ham operator in obtaining a license, interfacing the equipment, and finally using the equipment beneficially - should be a major boost for the amateur operator.

                  Additionally, from what I have seen from the Linux environments over the past 10 years, the program code seems more stable than the MS Windows environment. If fact, have only had to deal with hardware complete failures than from the issues behind the "BSOD".

                  The type of freedom does come with a cost to learn some aspects of administration of systems. Example: Ubuntu 12.04 does not allow access to the COM1 port unless that right had been explicited set in the environment. Learned that when upgrading the FLDIGI to Ubuntu 12.04 and the radio control was lost. However - with the root account and what file to set the privilege - which was available on the web - the port became readily available. This process in one of those that is an example of keeping unwanted things out of the environment - viruses, worms, trojans. For me it is worth the aggravation of choosing what to let through - than the infinite seeming number of reboots needed to get basic functionality of another operating system that cost me more in hardware and in software to get the most simple things to happen.

                  Hope this explains some of the aspects that I find useful. Also know that you can install Linux and not have to worry about the system going down when a licensing server dies at the end of support, or if you are in EMCOMM {emergency communications} and then having to worry about rebuilding a for pay system in the middle of the event or a push of software in the middle of an event when you need the hardware and software to just plain run.

                  Sincerely,
                  Guy Hollander KI4TLY

                  --- In linuxham@yahoogroups.com, "dor937" wrote:
                  >
                  > I'd like to contact hams in Canada, Ireland and the UK using linux.
                  > I've been asked to write an article for Full Circle e-zine regarding ham radio use aided by linux. From the way it has been mentioned I think the editor would really like an article on how linux can aid someone in becoming a ham.
                  >
                  > Now I have a pretty good handle on becoming a ham in the US of A but nowhere else. Anyone want to help or co-author?
                  >
                  > David Rowell N4HHL
                  >
                • ROBERT FAREY
                  Hi Jeff            My entrance to the hobby of amateur radio was through work. i joined the british post office telephones back in the 1970 s. i soon
                  Message 8 of 13 , Feb 14, 2013
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                    Hi Jeff
                               My entrance to the hobby of amateur radio was through work. i joined the british post office telephones back in the 1970's. i soon found out that this technical business was what really suited me as a person with interests in both electronics and radio. so after some years i was talked into taking the amateur radio city and guilds examination which i passed with credits. The strange thing was it opened so many doors as i was now one of the geeks.
                    yes and it meant i was priveledged enough to be part of the first computer type scene.
                    yes i knew little about the subject but after a period of some evenings spent at the british computer society lectures and talks i was involved in learning about UNIX among other things.
                    this lead into a systems managers job which was going to be another leg up along the way.
                    so in my attempts to being involved some years later the first red hat linux systems appeared very geek like and not much help with certain technical aspects. the arrival of bill gates and his rubbish software was used by so many at such premium rates and failures due mostly to faults within it's system so i persivered with linux trying many different versions till ai found one that worked it loaded it self just like a windows system disk Mandrake which has long gone.
                    That is how i got into it and add the fiddle factor as most do try to do with anything this is very typical of a radio amateur.
                    some however think that everything can be done for nothing so we have that element with in both hobbies.
                    so that is why most come into computers and linux.
                    yes the technical side is greater attraction to most of us and with loads of free time when you are retired it keeps the brain active.                         All the best in your life           Best wishes Robert G6LLP     


                    From: Jeff KP3FT <kp3ft@...>
                    To: linuxham@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thursday, 14 February 2013, 20:56
                    Subject: Re: [linuxham] how does linux help in becoming a ham?

                     
                    Not sure if it would help in becoming a ham, but one thing that comes to mind is that various Linux versions run quite well on older computers, and are free.  It's a nice way to resurrect that old machine that is otherwise collecting dust, and keeps the new whiz-bang computer free for other use.  Linux also fosters a bit of experimentation, i.e. downloading and burning different Linux ISO's to see which one works the best, installing WINE to run Windows software, etc.

                    --- On Wed, 2/13/13, dor937 <dor937@...> wrote:

                    From: dor937 <dor937@...>
                    Subject: [linuxham] how does linux help in becoming a ham?
                    To: linuxham@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:41 PM

                     
                    I'd like to contact hams in Canada, Ireland and the UK using linux.
                    I've been asked to write an article for Full Circle e-zine regarding ham radio use aided by linux. From the way it has been mentioned I think the editor would really like an article on how linux can aid someone in becoming a ham.

                    Now I have a pretty good handle on becoming a ham in the US of A but nowhere else. Anyone want to help or co-author?

                    David Rowell N4HHL



                  • Keith
                    I m using Ubuntu on an old laptop with bad sectors on the hard drive. XP kept crashing. Linux just ignores the sectors, I think? Plus, I m using fldigi on
                    Message 9 of 13 , Feb 15, 2013
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                      I'm using Ubuntu on an old laptop with bad sectors on the hard drive. XP kept crashing. Linux just ignores the sectors, I think? Plus, I'm using fldigi on Ubuntu.

                      "Using Linux" doesn't make a better ham radio operator.
                    • Dave B
                      ... You should fix or replace the drive. Find someone with a legit copy of Spinrite, or buy your own, as that will fully test a drive, recover where
                      Message 10 of 13 , Feb 17, 2013
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                        On 15 Feb 2013 at 19:10, linuxham@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                        > ______________________________________________________________________
                        > Re: how does linux help in becoming a ham?
                        > Posted by: "Keith" keitheuffer@... keitheuffer
                        > Date: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:38 am ((PST))
                        >
                        > XP kept crashing. Linux just ignores the sectors, I think?

                        <Snipped>

                        You should fix or replace the drive.

                        Find someone with a legit copy of Spinrite, or buy your own, as that will
                        fully test a drive, recover where possible any corrupted data, and move
                        it somewhere safe then mark the duf sectors as bad.

                        Sometimes, if you have a live boot CD based disk imaging tool, or some
                        other software that can read "The entire drive" on a sector by sector
                        basis, that can kick the drive into sorting out it's own mess.

                        It could even have "fixed itself" when you installed Ubuntu. If there
                        was indeed any bad sectors. There are many and varied problems that can
                        cause XP (and any other OS) to crash, understanding what it going on is
                        crucial. If the drive is beginning to fail (as they can and do) then
                        just installing another OS is not likley to last for long. Just as if
                        you reinstalled XP.

                        Bad/flaky drives will ultimately upset any OS! Not just Windows.

                        Fix or replace.

                        Regards.

                        Dave G0WBX.
                        (I have my own copy of Spinrite, and am very happy with it. It's got me
                        out of a digital black hole on a couple of occasions now. Some good
                        stuff, you just have to pay for. No affiliation, just as above a happy
                        owner. It probably helps, knowing largely what goes on in a hard drive.
                        As I used to repair them back in the 14 inch days.)
                      • Keith
                        Thanks for the tip! I ve had zero problems with this laptop since I put Linux on it late spring of 2011. Actually, I put Linux on it first, then resized the
                        Message 11 of 13 , Feb 18, 2013
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                          Thanks for the tip! I've had zero problems with this laptop since I put Linux on it late spring of 2011. Actually, I put Linux on it first, then resized the drive and put XP on it but I boot to Linux most of the time. XP is on it as I was using some other windows based programs.

                          The laptop was given to me. Was being tossed out. Its perfect for what I use it for --exclusively ham radio.

                          Back to the thread, I don't think Linux helps that much in becoming a ham but if a ham is learning Linux or using it that probably shows a ham with more expertise than a ham who doesn't dare venture into another OS. Probably...but not necessarily.
                          KT4EP
                          cu on the air
                        • Dave Rickmers
                          If you enjoy playing with computers you have to use something that doesn t ask for money every time you turn around, or worse, an OS that doesn t let you
                          Message 12 of 13 , Feb 19, 2013
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                            If you enjoy "playing" with computers you have to use something that
                            doesn't ask for money every time you turn around, or worse, an OS that
                            doesn't let you bang around under the hood at all. Your enjoyment suffers..

                            Besides, Linux is a superior operating system (family) to Windows or
                            Mac. I don't think it makes much of a quantifiable difference in a ham's
                            development; other than the cash savings.

                            My psk31 machine is one of those WalMart special C7 desktop boxes
                            (Everex 2500) with a mini ITX MB. It makes an Atom look fast. It is
                            running Puppy Linux and fldigi. It runs my K3 through a serial cable and
                            a couple of Hosa 3.5mm TRS patch cords. It runs continuously (I blow the
                            dust out when the fan starts whining, about 1 time a year). It never
                            hiccups. YMMV.

                            dave kd6il
                          • Andy
                            HI all, In my case, I d have to say how *did* Linux help in becoming a ham? . About 6 years ago, I was teaching a Linux class as part of the town s Adult
                            Message 13 of 13 , Feb 19, 2013
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                              HI all,

                              In my case, I'd have to say "how *did* Linux help in becoming a ham?".

                              About 6 years ago, I was teaching a Linux class as part of the town's Adult Education program. I had two students who I had never previously met, and it turned out that they were hams. They started talking to me about digital modes and EMCOMM, and made the sales pitch, referencing Linux and Fldigi. I got my ticket a couple of months later, and have enjoyed the hobby immensely. Many thanks to KB1KTR and N1JWK!

                              73,

                              Andy
                              KB1OIQ
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