RELEASE_NOTES version 14
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My goal in creating this DVD was to allow the user to have an easier way
to get started with a Linux computer and an amateur radio. There is still a
lot for the user to do! However, I have complete confidence in your ability
to learn what you may not yet know how to do. After all, you're a licensed
amateur radio operator!
If you are the type of person who can install a tube into your rig with
no further direction, or perhaps a circuit board in your computer, then
this DVD may be for you. However, if you need to be told to get the
screwdriver and remove the screws first, with pictures and text, you may
This DVD is based on Ubuntu 12.04 and is a Remix DVD. This means that the
selection of software packages is not the same as the standard Ubuntu
12.04. The vast majority of the programs on this DVD came directly from
the Ubuntu repository. A few programs were installed either directly from
source, or installed as a precompiled binary. To the best of my knowledge,
there is no proprietary software on this DVD. If you find any proprietary
software on this DVD, please send me email.
- computer is old, but not too old (newer computers are OK, too!)
- computer has a bootable DVD drive
- 512MB of memory minimum
- 1GHz processor minimum
- computer has a working *hard wired* Ethernet connection
that is plugged in prior to the installation (or the installation *will*
- 4GB hard disk - absolute minimum (more is definitely better)
- this DVD does the hard work of geting you started, and you can continue
on your own
- printing software is not included
- Flash support in the browser (remember: flash is proprietary)
- email (who needs it, you have a radio!)
- power management
- one DVD cannot be used to upgrade the installation from a previous DVD
- works as a Live DVD
- contains installation programs for the hard drive and a USB thumb drive
- a reasonable selection of amateur radio software is present, but users
are expected to configure each program as is required for their unique
- to help both the Linux and amateur radio communities by creating this DVD
In short, the DVD was built by starting first with the debootstrap package.
The X Window System was installed along with icewm. A variety of amateur
radio applications were then installed. The menu was customized for amateur
This link was extremely helpful in the creation of this DVD.
Based on the assumptions above, software was selected for its usefulness
to amateur radio, as well as being considerate of the relatively limited
memory, reduced CPU horsepower, and possibly reduced disk space of an
older computer. Lightweight software need not be primitive in either
function or appearance! My old Sony VAIO laptop, with 256MB of memory
and a 1GHz processor, is the standard which was used. UPDATE: That 10 year
old Sony VAIO laptop has finally had a fatal hardware failure. It served
me well for all of those years. I am now using a 7 year old laptop for
testing this DVD.
The included amateur radio software is shown (if this section does
not look properly lined up, pick a fixed width font):
aa-analyzer.pl - command line program used with RigExpert AA-xxx analyzers
ax25 - software for AX.25 packet radio
chirp - used to program frequencies into HTs (chirpw)
cqrlog - a full featured QSO logging program
cwwav - command line program to convert text files to CW wav or mp3
direwolf - soundcard TNC for APRS
earthtrack - used with predict and xplanet to display satellites
freedv - SSB low bit rate digital voice
flamp - NBEMS program for Amateur Multicast Protocol (AMP)
fldigi - digital modes such as PSK31 (NBEMS)
flmsg - companion to fldigi, a simple forms management editor
for standard message formats (NBEMS)
fllog - to provide a common log across networked computers
flrig - rig control
flwkey - modem program for the K1EL Winkeyer series
flwrap - companion to fldigi, file encapsulation / compression
Fl Moxgen - Moxon Rectangle antenna design program
gerbv - view Gerber files
glfer - QRSS (slow CW) or DFCW (Dual Frequency CW) modes
GNU Radio - GNU software defined radio
gpredict - satellite tracking
gqrx - software defined radio receiver
grig - rig control software
gspiceui - GUI interface for spice
gwave - analog waveform viewer (e.g. spice output)
hamlib - radio control library
ibp - HF beacons
linamc - packet radio ax.25 mail client
mfc_gpl - Micro-Fox 15 configuration GUI
net - a net control logging program by W1HKJ
owx - Open Wouxun, command line programs for Wouxun HTs
pcb - interactive printed circuit board editor
predict - predict orbits of satellites (used with earthtrack)
quisk - software defined radio receiver
qrq - CW callsign practice
qsstv - SSTV (slow scan TV)
qtel - Echolink client
soundmodem - user mode driver for packet radio (useful with xastir)
splat - command line HF propagation prediction
sunclock - track day/night line on Earth
svxlink - Echolink server
TQSL - used with ARRL Logbook of the World
TQSL Cert - used with ARRL Logbook of the World
voacapl - VOACAP for Linux - propagation prediction
wsjt - weak signal communication
wsjt-x - weak signal communication - JT9 and JT65
xastir - APRS mapping
xcwcp - CW code practice
xdx - DX cluster TCP/IP client
xlog - simpler QSO logging program
xnec2c - antenna modeling software
xplanet - used by earthtrack and predict to track satellites
xwxapt - display APT images from weather satellites
Other included software (not an exhaustive list):
epdfview - PDF file reader
icewm - lightweight windowing environment
imagemagick - image manipulation programs (for use with scrot and display)
live-usb-install- program to install software to a USB thumb drive
locate - locate and updatedb to create a database of filenames
midori - web browser
mupdf - PDF file reader
nano - text editor
ntp - sync time with time server
pavucontrol - sound volume controls
pmount - user mount for removable devices
scrot - command line screen capture tool
smartpm - the Smart package manager for software management
ssh - SSH client and server
sylpheed - email tool (for use with flarq)
ubiquity - program to install software to the hard drive
usbmount - automounting of USB devices
wicd - GUI tool for configuring network(s)
wireless-tools - command line tools for wireless networking
xcalc - calculator
xclock - a simple clock
xfe - graphical file manager
xfview - image viewer
xfwrite - text editor
xosview - system monitor
Other tidbits of information:
- Ubiquity hard drive installer
The Ubiquity installer is a pain in the neck to get working!
I FIXED IT! The ubuntu-artwork package is required but
not automatically installed.
During a hard drive installation, the Ubiquity slideshow entertains you.
It is the generic Ubuntu slideshow which describes things that do not
exist on this DVD. I toyed with the idea of customizing it, but given
the difficulty of getting Ubiquity working (in my experience), I didn't
want to take any chances.
- icewm menu files are in /etc/X11/icewm. Copy them to your ~/.icewm
directory if you wish to modify them.
- To change the clock to display 24-hour UTC time, do the following:
- mkdir ~/.icewm
- cp /usr/share/icewm/preferences ~/.icewm
- Edit ~/.icewm/preferences
- Look for "Clock Time format"
- Uncomment the line
- It should read as follows: TimeFormat="%T %Z"
- Save the file, exit the editor
- Restart icewm: Menu->System->Window Managers->icewm
- The clock should now be displaying 24-hour time with "UTC" afterwards
- If it is not displaying "UTC", try this:
- sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
- Scroll down and choose "Etc"
- Scroll down and choose "UTC"
- Once the ncurses GUI exits, the UTC settings should be working.
- Try the "date" command to be sure.
- Files installed from source or binary are locate in:
- A few development packages are on the DVD which were used
when compiling these programs from source.
- See /usr/local/share/doc/KB1OIQ_Ham_CD/00_SOURCES
- Notes about logging program: cqrlog
The cqrlog country file is in /usr/local/tarballs/cqrlog-cty*.tar.gz
Prior to running cqrlog for the first time, be sure to run the
/usr/local/bin/init_cqrlog script, which will populate your
cqrlog configuration for the first time. DO NOT run this script
afterwards or you will probably corrupt your log files! If in
doubt, READ the script to see what it does and decide for yourself
if the operation is safe.
Once the init_cqrlog script has been run, start cqrlog. You may see
an error about "Cannot open source file qslmgr.csv". Click OK.
Then, click the X to close the "Importing QSL data" window.
Click "Open Log" in the cqrlog window. Read the Changelog, and then
A window should now appear which reads "New QSL
managers database is available...". Click "Yes" to install it.
After that, you should be all set!
The MySQL password is "kb1oiq".
- If the user boots the Live DVD and creates files in the $HOME
directory, they don't seem to be copied to the hard drive
when ubiquity does its installation. I think this is a
feature about which the user needs to know.
- When Xfe first starts, on my computer, it pops up a window which
says "Mount point /cow is not responding". There is no such
mount point(!). Click OK and ignore it for now. I'll fix it when
I figure out the problem. Workaround done for you: mkdir /cow
- An example configuration files for xwxapt can be found here:
Copy this file to your ~/xwxapt directory.
- Wireless configuration:
- try WiCD, which by default is shown on the bottom right of the
icewm screen (from /etc/X11/icewm/startup)
- Be sure to go into the WiCD->Preferences menu and set the Wireless Interface
- Generally, this will be "wlan0" or "eth1" (try ifconfig to see interfaces)
- WiCD is accessed via the icon on the taskbar near the clock
- One must remove the network-manager package or wireless will fail with "Bad Password"
- Try it first to see if this is necessary
- In the System menu, there is an entry for "Hard Drive Install".
This works as expected when booted from the Live DVD. However, once
the software is installed and booted from the hard drive, this menu
option, while still present, does not work, for obvious reasons. In
that case, one might wish to edit the /etc/X11/icewm/menu file to
remove this menu entry.
- Note that the hard wired network MUST be in place prior to attempting
to perform a "Hard Drive Install". If not, it will probably fail at
the point where it tries to install the bootloader, and you will end
up with a hard drive that is not bootable. This WILL NOT work with a
wireless network connection - it MUST be a hard wired network connection.
- In the system menu, there is an entry for "USB Drive Install",
intended for creating a bootable USB thumb drive.
In the program, be sure to select:
- Mode: Distribution
- Install from: CD/DVD drive
- Distribution: Andy Ham Radio CD
- Version: (generally pick the highest numbered version available)
- Install to: pick your thumb drive
If your "Install to" menu shows no devices, insure that the thumb
drive to which you wish to install the software is MOUNTED first.
This requirement struck me as strange, but it does work. One might
use /media or a subdirectory as the mount point.
Note that this procedure works fine if the source medium is a CD/DVD,
and the destination medium is a mounted partition on a USB thumb drive.
However, if the user has booted a USB thumb drive on a computer which
has no CD/DVD drive, the thumb drive cannot be cloned. :-(
There may be a way to boot from a USB thumb drive and install to
another USB thumb drive. Instead of selecting "Install From CD/DVD",
choose "Internet". Note that this will cause the program to download
a large (600-700MB) file from Sourceforge and store it somewhere in /tmp.
On some computers, /tmp may not have enough space to store such a
large file (df -h | grep tmp), in which case this procedure will fail.
Yes, it is possible to resize tmpfs but that procedure is beyond the
scope of these RELEASE_NOTES.
For more information about live-usb-install, please consult this
- Satellites can be seen over the planet Earth on your root window!
- In the Amateur_Radio->Satellite menu, start the Predict server
- There probably won't be any visible output. That's OK.
- In the Amateur_Radio->Satellite menu, start Earthtrack
- One should see a picture of the Earth on the root window, with
satellites drawn on it, centered at the location of W1AW.
- Customize the home QTH by editing ~/.predict/predict.qth.
- Clean it up by the Earthtrack (cleanup) menu.
- Restore your background by Menu->Settings->Themes->Default.
- If this fails (and it fails the very first time),
select the Earthtrack (cleanup) menu, which kills all of the
predict and earthtrack processes, and start again.
- Look at the HACKS file for specific hacks and customizations.
- Sound: what a painful experience! As of the version 11 CD,
pulseaudio and ALSA have been installed. For older programs
one might need to edit the /etc/X11/icewm/* files appropriately
to adjust the menu entries for these programs to preface the
executable name with "padsp". This also works on the command
line: e.g. padsp xcwcp. Many (most, all?) have already been done.
- One might try: audacious /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Rear_Center.wav &
- Be sure to unmute the sound in Menu->Utilities->Sound->PAvucontrol
- Virtual Box OSE:
- I have it working with PulseAudio on the host and ICH AC97 as the
- When one logs into the Live DVD for the first time, sound may not
work (it doesn't for me). Test: "aplay -l".
- If no soundcards are found, try this:
- sudo /root/bin/fix_sound_live_cd (adds user ubuntu to group audio)
- log out
- log back in
- "aplay -l" should now show the soundcard
- This will need to be done each time the Live DVD is booted.
- Screen Resolution
- One might notice that the screen resolution is limited to 800x600
- To increase the resolution:
- In the Guest OS, type these commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-x11
- Restart the X server (try: sudo /etc/init.d/xdm restart)
- log back in
- First boot after hard drive installation
- add your user to the group netdev (adduser <user> netdev)
- add your user to the group audio (adduser <user> audio)
- Sound now has a fighting chance of working: aplay -l
- the error message from wicd should have gone away
- Have fun!!!
- gqrx - on the 64-bit version, the icons are missing, but
all functions are accessible from the menus.
- VOACAP for Linux
- built from source
- the sources were huge and had to be removed from the DVD
- look at 00_SOURCES for the URLs for VOACAP and its dependencies
- don't forget to run makeitshfbc before running VOACAP for the first time
- it's OK if you forget...it will remind you. :-)
- The help file is not where the program expects it to be.
- To fix it, bring up qsstv in the Amateur_Radio->Digital_Modes menu.
- Goto the menu: Options->Configuration
- Change the "documentation" line to read: /usr/share/doc/qsstv/html/
- Click OK
- Now, it should work: Help->Users Guide
- The browser should appear, with the help page displayed.
- midori - web browser
- if you can't see the box for entering the URL, make the window
bigger until you see it
- Debugging boot related issues
- When the boot screen appears, it hides all mesages from the startup scripts
- Press the Esc key to see those messages
- Debug as appropriate based on these messages
- GNU Radio
- gnuradio-companion is installed
- see /usr/local/bin/run_gnuradio-companion for environment variable setup
- patched by Andy (KB1OIQ)
- patch submitted to the author John (WB2OSZ) but not officially released by him
- patch allows user to enable/disable colors on one's xterm
- KB1OIQ prefers: direwolf -t 0 (to disable all colors and blinking text)
- Prior to running for the first time: cp /usr/local/src/direwolf-0.8-patched/direwolf.conf ~
- I cannot possibly support all of the programs on this DVD. If you
require assistance, please search the internet, and I'm sure you'll
find the answer.
I hope you have a lot of fun with this DVD!
73 de Andy KB1OIQ