Ham Radio On Linux

Ham radio on linux. Is it any good? Is it ready for prime time and as a daily driver desktop OS? Yes, but sort of. If you are a total dummy and do not know your way around linux its going to be frustrating unless you know how to install flatpaks, compile source and install dependencies, because not all distros have all the software you might need available in their package manager.

Debian and Ubuntu derivatives have the largest software repositories but, I hate debian with a passion and ubuntu uses gnome which feels like pulling teeth to use. That said, I am using Mint, a ubuntu derivative with Xfce desktop only because its the path of least resistance. I hate APT because it seems to want to break things all the time, but so far, I have only had apt break a couple of times and were easily fixed.

So the software, most things you would want are available in one form or another. Coming from windows using Ham Radio Deluxe, you will be disappointed. But most things can be achieved one way or another. So what software am i using?

For logging, Cqrlog.

As far as logging goes it does most of what you want. Interfaces with WSJTX, uploads to LOTW and EQSL etc etc. Install can be hit or miss with broken dependencies if something has installed myslq rather than mariadb. I fought with this for a while until i worked out what the actual problem was and that mariadb was a broken package that would not install its dependencies. But, if the install goes smoothly it works fine out of the box, if not, its a pain in the arse,


Cant complain much about this, installed fine, no real hassles, detects the right USB TTY ports in use. Just remember to add your user to the DIALOUT group or you will be raging at the screen because it wont access the USB serial port, HAHAHA.


While I much prefer HRD and everything integrated into the one program group, fldigi does work, installs fine and does what it claims it will. Setting up rig control was a bit of an abortion and it defaults to having the squelch function turned up to 11 do nothing decodes. Other than those few things its ok. But I am not a fan boy.


Chirp works fine, installs as a flatpak so no headaches as long as you know how to install flatpaks and flatpak is installed on your system. Other than that, it baofengs like a champion LOL.


Qtel used to be a pain in the arse to install. But now someone is maintaining the software and supporting an install package. It works, does what it does and not much more. Not that I use it, but have it there for just in case someone wants to actually talk to me on it.


SlowRX receives only. Which is fine for me because I only use it for SSTV from the space station. I have had it running for the last few hours on 20m, but nothing. So i cannot confirm it actually works. But for now I will leave it running until either it decodes an image or I rage quit.

Well thats actually it for ham software that I actually need or use. There might be some other things that might be useful, but I cant think of anything off hand. I know that the software for my Spectrum Analyzer wont work on linux, and getting the SDRplay and HackRF One working, while painful is doable, though the software is kind of rubbish. I will get them going later.

Is linux ready for the prime time? Kind of, but not to the extent of everything just works as it should as it does in windows. The only reason why I am here is the windows PC causes RFI from its shitty PSU and this old pentium machine with its external PSU brick does not. Once I get a new PSU for the windows machine I will dump linux like a box of turds. But for now, i like no RFI and the ability to work the SSB thats out there without having to worry about using all the tricks in the book to make them workable.

EDIT: Slowrx works just fine.



You know, I have tried to get this working right on more than one occasion. Failed many times to get it to decode anything. Well, today, its an Easter miracle. The bloody thing is now decoding a 10m beacon from New Zealand. No idea what i did differently, but I am going to take this as a win.


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.




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.