Weekend wrap up

Got to see a bit of the air show today from a nearby park that has a good view of Langley Air Force Base. Had my Bearcat Scanner (BC245XLT) with the Radio Shack antenna and was able to monitor the Air Boss as well as the air/ground communications for the Golden Knights parachute team.

Tired to contact the special events station at Fort Knox (W2P), but the propagation just wasn’t there. I was able to make two other SSB contacts while trying as well as a PSK31 contact with a Swedish amateur radio operator on St. Martin.

Worked on cleaning the radio room.

Started looking at using my TH-D7A for accessing a DX packet cluster… but I’m not sure if we have any packet clusters in the area. We’ll see.

I’m looking at getting an amp for my FT-817 so I can use it for portable operations without having to pull the IC-706 out of the shack.

Finished about 30 QSL cards to be sent out tomorrow.

Weather Display works on Ubuntu!! I need to transition my weather station from the radio room to the linux box out in the garage. I need to figure out how to do do the FTP upload and webcam.

Started working on a webpage for Old Point Comfort Lighthouse activations: http://www.ni0l.com/monroe/monroe.html

Upgraded memory

Just added some more memory to the Linux tower (aka garage box)… dropped in an additional 512MB SDRAM SIMM and after a reboot it is now operating much quicker. Also made an adjustment to the xorg.conf to fix the video card. It’s an old VooDoo 3Dfx card and although recognized, it defaulted to a screen resolution of 800×600 without allowing any changes. Now it’s defaults to 1200×1048… much better.

Now it’s back to weeding through the old harddrives.

Linux – multimedia is good to go

I got all the various multimedia files to play nice with my Ubuntu installation. To include streaming media… I really enjoy listening to NPR using streaming audio and I’m glad I got that working. I’m reading a new book called Beginning Ubuntu Linux, which is helping quite a bit. I think the next stage is to revive one (or more) of my dead desktops and setup a file server out in the garage.

In the Beginning…was the Command Line

My latest dabblings in Linux prompted me to dig out my copy of Neal Stephenson’s “In the Beginning… was the Command Line” – it’s a wonderful read:

“So when I got home I began messing around with Linux, which is one of many, many different concrete implementations of the abstract, Platonic ideal called Unix. I was not looking forward to changing over to a new OS, because my credit cards were still smoking from all the money I’d spent on Mac hardware over the years. But Linux’s great virtue was, and is, that it would run on exactly the same sort of hardware as the Microsoft OSes–which is to say, the cheapest hardware in existence. As if to demonstrate why this was a great idea, I was, within a week or two of returning home, able to get my hand on a then-decent computer (a 33-MHz 486 box) for free, because I knew a guy who worked in an office where they were simply being thrown away. Once I got it home, I yanked the hood off, stuck my hands in, and began switching cards around. If something didn’t work, I went to a used-computer outlet and pawed through a bin full of components and bought a new card for a few bucks.”

Ubuntu – total and complete victory!

I rethought my strategy and re-installed Ubuntu. My issue was getting the video to work properly – the fix required a change to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf. But unlike the other distributions that I tired installing (SuSE, Mandriva, Fedora, etc.) when you run the install for Ubuntu you don’t set a separate password for root. After some searching on the internet I found out that this was by design. I figured out how to get root access to make the changes I needed to and was able to get the GNOME desktop working. Then after more configs I brought up the wireless network card – how cool! I then proceeded to configure an email client to download my gmail from Google, which also now works.

Having a good evening!

Linux attempts

I’ve been having fun trying to install Linux on my laptop. I got the 2006 Edition of the Linux Bible by Christopher Negus which comes with a DVD and a CD with different distributions and “live” distributions. I’d like to get a stable distribution that will work well on a laptop, has a decent desktop manager, and will also support amateur radio applications. I tried the KNOPPIX live CD – and it worked nicely. But I couldn’t figure out how to install it to run other than as a “live” CD version. I then tried Fedora Core 4, but there was a flaw on the disk and locked up during installation. Ubuntu installed but crashed when I tried to bring up the desktop. Next was SUSE, which installed nicely but locks up when I try to bring up the desktop. My next attempt will be a commercial version of Mandriva.