LJ 1: Linux and Hams

A couple of weeks ago I posted the following to the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.linux.misc. I am the editor of Linux Journal, a paper magazine that will be covering the Linux scene. In my correspondence with people about writing articles for LJ I have seen an amazing number of ham calls. Being a ham myself (WA6SWR) I was just wondering how many of “us” ar

Phil Hughes


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Ham's have always been on

AA2ZR's picture

Ham's have always been on the cutting edge of tech. LINUX allows me to experiment as well. Been a ham since 1992 currently old school extra (20WPM).

Linux - How I got started

Anonymous's picture

Here it goes - I got going on Linux because of the slow (and tortuous) demise of NetWare. I'll explain. I make (or made) my living being a Novell MCNE and support customers Novell networks all around the country for a long time. Then, I joined the Windows brigade but really missed the really good stuff. At that point in my life I tried, and fell in love, with Linux. So, I got myself a couple of entry level certifications. But, so far, in upstate New York state, not too many serious Linux installations, so I'm (happily) biding my time supporting Windows networks. Keeps me employeed. Besided Windows 2003 server is a great product. But, I've done some Linux work and would like to do more.

Haven't done a thing with Linux and amateur radio, however. Maybe I will someday, especially if Ham Radio Deluxe gets ported over to Linux (yeah, like that will happen).

73's - Larry

The Miracle of Discovery

Anonymous's picture

Today, March 30, 2008, it has been 8 years since I stopped using Linux and gave my computers back to Mr Gates. Nothing like a windowed environment, and games to seduce one to the dark side.
To this date, My amateur activity had been spotty at best over the same time frame.
Now, today, I write this on a "Windows" Linux box. All the look and feel of Microsoft. Slackware 12.0, now freshly installed, just this weekend. Old, AMD K-6 3D, machine. Installation not that hard to do after all this time. And Linux works darn good these days. Much better than before. Amazing!
This past week, after many months, I turned on the old tube, Drake TR-4 HF set, sound card, PSK station --- and it worked! And it was fun! A marvel in it's self.
Back to the year 1997, Slackware Linux user here and Amateur Radio Operator. Started out with Slackware v3.2 issued, around 1997. Worked up a 2 meter packet station on the local ham net. The 2m network was slow, but it worked. Myself full of wonder!
Even did some C++ programming for college assignments. Computer simulation assignments. Couldn't afford a $300.00 Borland Compiler, especially with a linux box up and running. To me it was magical.
Isn't that what ham radio is about.
Discovery! and Miracles!
Where will discovery and miracles take you next?

Profile: Glider Pilot, Maintenance Worker, Musician, Family Man, Bicyclist, Toastmaster, Fly Fisherman, Amateur Radio Operator, BS Forestry, BS Computer Science, R/C Airplane Modeler, etc.

Best Ham Radio Linux distro please?

VK4AKP's picture

HI, I want to blow away some excess data usage before the end of the month and download some usefull linux distro's.

Could you help with some suggestions and links please?

Whats the best free Ham Radio related Linux Distro?

And where can I download .ISO files for burning direct to CD / DVD?

If there is a really good compilation of Ham Radio related stuff for Linux I'd love to download that also.

And perhaps if there is also one for normal Dos and or Windows as well.

vk4akp -at- yahoo.com.au

What got me interested in Linux

Mike, KD0AR's picture

Back in 1999, I used to write a website for the radio station I work for. After spending hours on some graphics, and having my computer crash when running MS 98, I thought to myself..."There has to be something BETTER out there". I stumbled upon Slackware 3.5.
Now I'm running Debian Etch almost exclusively, and SELDOM run any Windows product. I'm doing the radio thing with it too, logging, digital ham radio, rig control...There is some VERY excellent software available for linux, and guess what...it dosent crash! I was even printing weather fax charts last nite from Linux.
I'm scared to use Windows for email any more, with all the viruses floating around. Never got one in Linux, and I dont have to keep renewing the license on a virus scanner! There are just too many good reasons to run Linux and so many more to dump Windows. not only that, I fit the cliche that HAMS ARE CHEAP! I have yet to spend a $ on a linux app.

Mike, KD0AR

Linux and ham radio

Martin's picture

Hi. KB0HAE here. (Martin) Although I have been a Ham since 1990, I have been using Linux for about a year. I am almost to the point of getting rid of Windows in favor of using Linux full time. I got interested in Linux after discovering Harv's Hamshack Hack, a remaster of the Knoppix Live CD. The author has removed some of the pre-installed software normally included in Knoppix, and installed a lot of Ham Radio related software. As this is a live CD, all you need to do is insert the CD and reboot. You are then up and running from the CD with nothing installed on your hard drive. You can install Harv's Hamshack Hack to hard drive if you wish.

I progressed from that beginning to trying about 10 or so different Linux distributions. Only 4 completed the install on my computer (homebrewd with a Biostar MB with 256meg ram), Harv's Hamshack Hack, Debian, Knoppix, and later Kanotix. I have now settled on Kanotix (the BEST Linux distro EVER) and have installed Ham radio software, some games and other programs. I am simply amazed at the amount of pre-installed software in Kanotix (and some other distros) compared to how little you get with Windows. There is quite a bit of Ham Radio software for Linux, and the list is growing. I have found that Linux is much more stable and secure than Windows (in my experience) and many apps for Linux are smaller and run faster than similar software for Windows. I even have 3 windows games running under Cedega that run BETTER than they ever did under Windows!

Radio For Linux

Nigel MD0FIX's picture

I have been using Linux for 12 odd years mainly Debian and now Ubuntu
as these have the best inbuilt Ham support.
I run a webserver on these also, you cannot beat it, the same in a MS world would cost me 100s, there is no comparison.
The webserver is basic but it lets me experiment.


I've been involved with Linux

Jim (the Berean)'s picture

I've been involved with Linux since the 0.99pl14 days - been a ham since 2000.


Talk about late to the party.

Anonymous's picture

Talk about late to the party.

My name's Sean, and I'm KI4IIB, a newly minted Tech. I've been using Linux for five years, mostly because I love the -power!-...

Re: LJ 1: Linux and Hams

Anonymous's picture

I have been a Ham since 1982, and one of the things I like about linux is the SHARING. That in a nutshell is what Ham Radio is all about... I am president of a local club here in PA. We are involved with 1. advancing the state of the art in radio communications. 2.
developing advanced and not so advanced digital/analog communications facilities. 3.
providing education about these technologies. and most of all 4.
having a ton of fun with the hobby we enjoy.
Linux has made it easy to do all the above when it comes to digital Communications both Old and New. The learning Curve has been steep at times... But most Hams have a thirst for knowledge and Linux has helped to Foster a healthy learning environment.

Roger W4RFJ
President DelCoDUG

Contact me...

Timothy Smith's picture

Old friend

Re: LJ 1: Linux and Hams

Anonymous's picture

I feel odd responding to a post 10 years old but what the hell perhaps someone will get something from it. I thought Unix were guys that got jobs climbing high power radio towers.

I tried Linux a few years ago but with little success, having a renewed interest I have recently standardized my office on it using Red Hat 9.0, and run Mandrake 9.2 on a laptop for ham applications. Got the server running and hope to do great things with some online ham stuff from the laptop. A great OS, much to learn but certainly not any tougher than 20 wpm.


Re: LJ 1: Linux and Hams

Anonymous's picture

I'm Charles Wackerman, KI4BWW, a relatively new ham, but a Linux user since the mid-90s. I was introduced to Linux at work, where I found it much more stable than the microsoft os, and once I retired I found the Linux price to be more to my liking. Linux is more fun to me because it permits a bit of interaction with the OS, and a little bit of experimentation, and a great many things run faster on Linux than on Windows. I just wish I could find a comprehensive listing of ham related software for Linux (there probably is one, I just haven't found it.)



KC0YEF's picture

Been using Linux for 15 years I am a Ham since July 2006 General Class
Just loaded the Knoppix Xastir and Damn Small Linux and these being used for Search and Rescue Operations