Monday, December 28, 2015

Staring At the Computer Screen

With the exception of a run down to the Professional Bass to see if they had anything irresistible (they were out of pork rinds!  I'm shaken to my core!), I've spent the day putzing with converting my ham shack computer over to Ubuntu (14.04 for the cognoscenti).  This is the view at the bottom of the monitor. 
Left to right are some .223 rounds that are un-primed and empty, followed by brass from .223, .308. .30-30, and .30-06, followed by .45ACP, .40S&W, 9mm, .380ACP, .25ACP, .22Magnum and .22LR.  Which is pretty much every projectile shooter I have to my name. 

The computer needs to replace a few ham radio programs I've been using that are all built into one suite.  I found some programs to handle these tasks and I'm trying to get everything running.  To make this all work this requires low level knowledge of ports and how things are controlled.  It's painful to setup the first time in a familiar OS, and rather unpleasant (at the moment) in a new OS.  Everything is working at about the 50 to 75% level, just not completely.  

So I'll get back to it.


  1. Not to be picky, but those two rounds on the left look bigger than .223. the brass cases, anyway. They look a lot closer to .308, although the bullets seem not _quite_ that diameter. Do you have a 7mm-08?

    1. Nope. Optical delusion. If I look at that photo critically, they do look to be different sizes, but they're both head stamped "223 Rem" and are the same size side by side. The ones that I seated bullets in to set LOA are Federal, the bulk 100 rounds in a black and white box stuff. The fired one is marked R - P, which is Remington.

  2. Which version of HRD were you using, the new paid version, or the older free one?

    I never much cared for simply tries to do too much, but at least when Simon had control of it, he'd get bugs fixed pretty quick.
    I've just heard and read too many negative things about the paid version to bother with it.

    What programs are you looking for? I've probably used 95% or more of the Linux ham stuff.

    And I'm sure you already know about:

    1. Roger on the link, I used that one. As for HRD, I started using it way back in Simon's early days, and updated to the pay version two years ago at the Orlando hamfest. I updated it one last time last February. I don't like HRD's licensing model of $100/year. I don't have a problem with paying for "shareware", but when a seller starts talking annual fees for program I may use only a handful of times a year, $100/year is too much. I have only about a dozen contacts in my log for 2015, with all of the rest of life going on. Was that worth paying $100 for? Not in my mind.

      OTOH, I've never encountered bugs in it, and it does more than I want. I don't operate from the rig control: I operate the radio. Rig control is for getting frequency and other logging details. The logger is fine and I love the antenna rotor controller. Once I got DM780 running for sound card modes, I loved it. Like I say, I've never run into things about HRD that don't work. Maybe I don't ask much of it.

      This could get long, but I just wish I had a working example screen to copy. You know how important syntax is in these commands. I can get FLDIGI to decode sounds and generate them, though not at the right levels. That sounds like a sound card thing. I can't get it to talk to the rig at all: it won't key the PTT, it can't read frequency, change bands, anything. Similarly, CQRLog imported my ADIF file from HRD, and appears to log, it just won't connect to the rig, or the rotor control.

      It must have something to do with my serial port controls, since those run the rotor and a serial port converted to USB runs the rig. DM780 keys the rig itself, so I need to find a way to do that.

      Probably one of those "stupid noobs" things, that once I figure out, will be embarrassing.

    2. We're using FLdigi on the Iowa with our Kenwood TS-850. I'm using a cheep USB cable between the radio and the PC, and have no trouble at all reading the rig frequency and mode.

      HOWEVER....that PC runs Win 7, and Windoze permissions for serial ports is completely different than Linux.

      You might need to add the ports to a group that has user permissions.

    3. I went registered with the forum on CQRLog and searched for people with this problem. There was one. Stripped to the bottom line, guy said, "I can never connect to my IC-7600. My settings are X, Y, Z, AA, BB...". The reply was, "reset everything to the defaults". Then the guy answered, "That was it! It works fine!".

      I believe I've done that, but there's no "reset all to defaults" button.

      FLDigi is better. They give you a pull down menu of all the /dev settings available. I've tried every one of them and no joy. I think I've tried every permutation of every setting. Still no joy.

    4. Do you have the current "hamlib" libraries installed?

  3. If that is all the calibers you have, you need to expand your mind -
    Any shooter worth his salt needs to have at least one uncommon caliber!

  4. Please do a follow-up post when you get it figured out. I admitted defeat and use my w7 machine.

    1. Later Monday evening, after posting this, I called "uncle", turned everything off and came out here. Told my wife, "OK, I'm ready to give up and agree to be Bill Gates' towel boy, as long as he doesn't make me squeal like a pig". You may remember that movie.

      I have a lead to follow up on, but not there yet.

    2. OK, Terry, I was able to get everything talking. In Ubuntu, you need to be granted access to the ports - even as the Super User. As DrJim said up above.

      What made it work for me was
      1) Open a terminal and enter:
      sudo usermod -a -G dialout your_user_name
      (you'll be prompted for password authentication if you haven't done it recently).
      2) Reboot

      That's it. After rebooting, I was able to connect to the rig in both FLDigi and CQRLog. The rig interface in CQRLog isn't very good. It spuriously changes frequency and modes, and appears to be one-way from the rig to the program. FLDigi has a better interface. It seems to stay on frequency and not move around.

      Only one issue, which is that the audio tones out of the sound card don't appear high enough to really modulate the transmitter to the desired output power. I know this is a sound card tweak in Windows. Just double checked that the other day. So I need a sound control panel in Linux, I think.