Echolink On Linux

Sometime ago, i wrote a bit of a guide on how to install echolink on linux, what packages you needed to install and what not and how to compile and install it. Its one of the posts on here that gets a lot of comments, usually questions as to why its not working for them or upgrading their OS broke everything because of static linking.

Anyway, as it turns out someone has taken over maintaining the project, they have made the few minor changed that were needed to make it compile on modern flavors of linux and they have made packages available for it.

So its now just a simple matter to install it on any debian based distro using aptitude.

And that is all you have to do.




Linux And Me

Linux, hmmm, you watch the fan bois come out in force to defend their god over this post. But linux is like a case of the drizzling shits, and endless stream of watery faeces that stick to everything, stink to high heaven and will eventually kill you.

I am not a neanderthal, or and Luddite, I have been using unix and linux on and off for just about forever. But i am at a point in life where I do not want to screw around with things. I want my tools to not require me to fight them to get any work done. When i grab a hammer i do not get out a saw and an plane and some sandpaper to make a fucking hammer, It needs to be ready just to hit shit.

So if its not working out of the box, if i have to fight it, diagnose 100 problems just to get a system that does everything i need, then I do not want to use it. This is the story so far. Oh I should mention, I am writing this post in linux, I have everything just about sorted out other than 1 piece of software that I do not really want to change because I like how it works and it does everything that i need. More on that later.

So i started out with Mint, I used to use mint as my daily driver when I was coding for online games. Back when I had simpler needs and all i really needed was a programming IDE, browser and email to be happy. It was what I went to initially, i know my way around it, it looks good and its what I have installed on the wifes computer. But for whatever reason, it would lock up every couple of days on my computer. No idea why, just random lockups. So it was out.

Next was Manjaro, Oh i liked this distro, its look and feel was good, it was responsive and fast, but it had a bug with fonts-config and I had no idea how to fix it and could not find any explanation on how to either. Its a shame really, but if I cannot run certain software on a distro, then its out nano vna saver is important here, i am a home brewer after all.

Then i gave MX a try, this might have actually been an ok distro, but out of the box the package manager was using an out of date repository and by the time i worked out what was happening, the install was fucked up. Wine would not install wine32, kind of needed for the older 32bit windows software that there are no linux version of, and something as simple as installing Kdenlive in a KDE desktop borked because of broken dependencies. Its shit like that, which really turn people off. I did not bother reinstalling and trying again after than. It was dead to me.

So i thought i would go old school with Opensuse, it had the KDE missing icons bug, not hard to fix, but in a modern bleeding edge distro you would think that they would fix it so that it uses the non broken theme and icons. But the thing that killed this for me, I could not get it to work with my wifi printer. Most others discover the printer add the cups driver and bang its working. Nope, it could not even discover it.

And now we have gone back full circle. I am running Kubuntu, yeah canonicle are something I like to avoid, but here we are, everything is running and all i have left now that I do not have a suitable replacement for is Ham Radio Deluxe. Not that I am doing a whole lot of operating at the moment, one antenna is down, the other one is putting RF in the shack and I have not been bothered to fix either of them as Im probably moving within the next few months and need to take it all down. So for that, i will dual boot with windows just for logging and for using DM870 for digital modes.

Yeah i know about fldigi and the suit of software that goes along with it, but its like looking at the 1850’s, if they made the thing look sleek and modern it might be a suitable alternative, but as it looks now, yeah i just cannot bring myself to use it. That, and when i tried it in windows it never worked for me, even with the sound settings flat out it never had enough gain and the rig control was meh as well. Never did work out what its problem was, HRD worked and never gave me a problem, so i just ponied up and bought it.

Anyway, that is my story, Linux is pain in the arse and a piece of shit that is still not ready for the main game, but, i think i will be able to make things work for now. All this because windows broke the bloody MTP driver for my phone and tablet. And if you are a linux fan boi and I have touched you on the frequency because I spoke ill of your god, don’t bother commenting, you are not going to change my mind that linux is turds on fire. If its perfect for you, that is great. Not everyone is you.


An Update, Story Of My Life HAHA

So windows. Pain in the arse that it is broke shit again last update. This time it was the MTP driver for andiod devices. I use my phone for making videos and taking pictures for my blog and I use my tablet for reading watching TV so moving files on and off both are important and being able to connect to a USB port and just do that without dicking about with stupid work arounds is important.

As far as software goes, there is not a lot now days that I use that there is not a suitable linux replacement or native linux version. The sticking points comes down to 3 pieces of software. First is Ham Radio Deluxe, i know there is fldigi but i just do not like it, second is the software for my SDR receivers, there is no real replacement for the SDRplay software. Yeah there are some old and unmaintained projects, but nothing that is current and worth using  and the final one is Vectrix Aspire, its a 2d cad program for CNC routers.

For now I will be dual booting for some ham radio stuff, not that I am doing much there anyway currently, to focused on work and moving things along trying to build a house. Plus a wind storm took down my 40m dipole last week and I have an issue with the tri band vertical and have not been bothered with trying to sort out either of them. Within the next couple of weeks I should know whether we are moving or not and if so I will just pull it all down and start packing things away till after we move.

So anyway, I am now running linux. I can access my phone and tablet again and do the things I need to. Tomorrow I am off to look at some blocks of land where we would like to build and then Friday I hope to start doing some of these experiements with the Pi that have been getting delayed over and over again. HAHA


Raspberry Pi Power and RF Hat


So i know that I have been living under a log, but on the Pi you can modulate one of the GPIO pins and create a rather rudimentary transmitters. Now this outputs the sum of all the sine waves HEHE and the GPIO pins are not very clean also passing on any power supply ripple and the like. So it need to be filtered quite severely. So with that in mind, I have put a double tuned band pass filter inline to clean things up somewhat. I will take a look with my spec-an when i get the boards back and see if its actually clean enough. Some say it is, but I like to see for myself and not jump to conclusions. There is enough wrong on the internet as it is from monkey see monkey do copying others mistakes.

The other thing i have added is a DC barrel jack to power the Pi. I have a couple of 5A 5V PSU’s so its a bit of a no brainer to power it that way and it saves on breaking the micro usb connector off eventually. The other connector is a USB A socket to supply power to the HDMI LED Display that I use. I have a bigger one coming, a 7 incher which will make developing on the Pi a little nicer than using the 5 incher i have on there currently.

I got a few other things in the plans to play and experiment with in the pipeline. So there are a bunch of cool posts and videos in the pipline. Oh and I have the board files for the uSDX as well which will get sent of with my next order. Should be a cool project.


Fun With Raspberry Pi

So i was going to make a really nice post today explaining the things I was doing with the raspberry pi. Instead, I have spent the last hour fighting with windows to give me access to the SD card on my phone so I could add this picture to the post. Why is it, that windows always breaks something every time they run and update and we have no option but to update or the scammers will hijack our shit.

If it was not for HRD, Diptrace, Vegas Movie Maker, and Photoshop i would dump this pile of windows shit and go linux. Well then I would have the problem that my HP keyboard does not play well with it because it defaults to multi media keys for the function keys. Nothing is ever simple. So my spend a few hours tonight learning how to so some cool things with the Pi ended up being a waste of time dicking about trying to get a picture off my phone.

HAHAHA. Failure is always an option.


Remote Control Antenna Tuner

This has now opened up some possibilities. A complete remote control home brew station perhaps? I think it can be done. I think I can even stream audio over wifi quite easily with a MEMS mic and an I2S sound card on the other end and an audio streaming library, then feeding the audio into an SSB transmitter. More to come, but next up will be to expand my 2 button interface into something more resembling a bunch of buttons on a 1990’s looking website HAHAHA. I think i will have to learn some QT programming or Python or Ruby and make a nice looking interface.


VK4HAT Console Logging Application


I have been tinkering about here for the last couple of days knocking up a logging application for linux/raspberry pi. I am not spending any money on project stuff at the moment so I have been doing things using what I got here and what I am currently trying to do is to shoehorn a raspberry pi into being a shack in the box type situation that runs the whole show within the home brew station I am building. Yeah changed tact yet again, but, its keeping me interested and working towards things.

Anyway, pretty much all the basic functions i want are coded and working now and all that remains is formatting the data correctly for ADIF format, add in some error checking and sanity checking on things like rst reports so I cannot add letters and then add in a MySQL backend for long term data storage. Flat files are fine enough for say one activation of a WWFF, but keeping all the data long term requires a proper database.

Anyway, stay safe and don’t get corona.




Projects Version Control

I was listening to The Amp Hour podcast yesterday and the talk was all about hardware revision control from a startup called AllSpice. This got me thinking about all my own projects and how i have them not stored in an efficient and meaningful way.

Currently stuff is all over the place, firmware in one place, ecad in another, datasheets in yet another and other documents strewn all around my documents folder and the internet. My plan here is to bring all the relevant bits together into one place for each individual project.

Each project now has its own directory with the following directory structure. The picture below is for the 50w antenna tuner project. Its the only one i have sorted out enough to have all its bits in one place HEHE.

The Arduino folder contains the firmware for this project, the datasheets folder contains just one datasheet, the one for the relays I used. The point here is to have the datasheet for any new parts that I am using on hand with the project to ensure i do not make footprint mistakes. The documents folder is so i can make notes and will contain files i might have found on the internet etc that inspired the project. The other 3 are just to keep the ecad files all nice and tidy.

So with the directory structure under control and able to suit my needs, the next thing was setting up GIT. Ok, I am not a GIT fanboy, the last time I used a repository in anger was many years ago when i was a programmer for a free online game and then the main game in town was Subversion. Off to learn GIT we go.

This is where things start to become less helpful for you the reader because i am going to gloss over a lot of things here, because so much of this is specific to you, your operating system and who is hosting your git repos.

First thing i did was download and install GIT for windows. Next thing I did was install and configure GIT on my server and setup the repo. I am self hosted and have control over the entire machine, so not much I can tell you what to do here. But for most of you, it would be setup your account on github and make your first repo.

The rest of this is the easy part, on your local machine setup the folder structure you are going to use, put some files in there and open up git. I used git bash because i prefer the unix like command line.

Navigate to the location where your files are located, you can see above for me where things are located. Next we start making git commands.

First initialize the git repo.

Next we add all the files we just moved in there to our repo. I always cheat here and just use the * wildcard to add everything.

Then we commit the changes we have made to the repo. The comments in quotation marks are so you know what you have changed since the last time you committed changes to the repo. Make them as descriptive as you require.

Next we setup an origin, this is more or less just a shortcut to the remote server so you do not have to type out all the time. It just makes things simple and easy.Just use the url to your repo supplied by github here is that is where you are hosting.

Finally we push our changes to the remote servers master branch of our repository. We are then done. From here on out its just a matter of following steps 2 to 5 each time you either make changes or add new files to the repo. I am only using 1 repo for all my various projects and having them hanging off a single directory, but you might like to have separate repos for all your projects.

Depending on how you have your git repos setup, you might also have to use your username and password when pushing changes to the remote server. I have mine setup so only a single user can read and write to the git repository rather than being public.

So that is about it, now i have the unenviable job of spending a bunch of time sorting out my project files into some kind of sanity and then sticking to the system. HAHAHA wish me luck.


Books Books Books Books

I was given some books by a friend to read. The series is called The Last Dragonslayer by a British author, Jasper Fforde.

Not overly large books, so i spent good portion of Saturday and Sunday reading books one and two and now that I am finished for today, I will knock off the third one. Its kind of a fantasy fiction comedy, not the normal swords and sorcery, high fantasy kinds of stuff I would normally read, but well worth reading. If you are bored and looking for something to read, I can highly recommend these.

And for the 3 people who read my blog HEHE, make a comment down below and tell me what you are reading, I will be book free in a few days and I do not think that George Martin or Patrick Rothfuss are ever going to release the next books in their series and I need something to read 🙂


Today I Learned Something

So today I was bitching and moaning to some friends about how stupid it is that there are so many standards for digital voip modes, DMR, D-Start, All Star, Fusion blaa blaa blaa and on and on it goes and how you need eleventeen different radios for them all and that someone needs to come up with one dongle to rules them all so I can just use the stupid Baofeng than I never use to connect to whatever network I want.

I hope to be moving within the next 6 months and where we are going there is not going to be much use having 2m and 70cm fm stuff because of a lack of people and repeaters. Some of my mates have DMR others have Fusion and other Dstar and Im like fuck that I am not buying more stupid fucking handhelds to talk to no one with. I have DMR and a hotspot and that is going to be it.

Well, I learned that I can bridge from DMR to Fusion using PiStar and my hotspot, so today I did that and talked to myself on the parrot. Its actually not that hard to do, change a few settings in Pi-Star, modify the codeplug and its done. Its not one ring to rule them all, but its a start. It would be good if this was possible with more systems, but for now, having 2 on the 1 radio will do.