Do you really want to pay €49 to be able to program your (mobile) radio through your computer?

For years I have been struggling to manage the 1000 memories on my FT-7800 mobile radio. Memory channels, subtones, memory banks ==SIGH==

Recently a friend (thanks Jan ON4KB) gave me the kit he bougth from Yaesu for the FT-8800 and of course, the cable was correct for my FT-7800 but the software didn’t work ==shame on you Yaesu!==.

That’s when I decided to get some help from Google and I found CHIRP, a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a way to interface with multiple data sources and formats.

I tested it for my radio and it works very well indeed! Downloading the data already in the radio, modifying it on the pc and uploading it to the radio again all in a breeze!

CHIRP supports over 60 different radios from 5 or 6 brands (including the ‘big’ ones of course) and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Programming cables can easily be found on Ebay (for some €12) or you can make your own.

My current project

Ever tried to manually switch your antennas and bandpass filters 30 hours into a contest? I have been doing it for years. 🙂 (And I have been complaining about it for ages too)

But the solution is near:

band decoder 001 band decoder 002

This is the prototype for my new universal band decoder.

The hardware is an Arduino (in the pictures is a Mega, it will be replaced by a UNO r3 in the finished product) and 2 4×4 Driver Shields from Logos Electromechanical.

The goal is to switch my SixPak and my 2 Dunestar 600 band pass filters for SO2R.

The data comes from the pc (over the usb port) using the Open Two Radio Switching Protocol (OTRSP) which is supported by N1MM and DXLab logging software.

For now this is a work in progress,  so come back here soon to follow the evolution!

Microjunk does it again…

After installing the update from Internet Explorer 7 to IE 8 Microsoft again made the default email client Outlook instead of Thunderbird. Although this happened in the past, this time it wasn’t as easy to solve as before.
This time everything seemed to work fine except when right-clicking a file and selecting ‘Send to Email receiver’. On one of my machines XP kept opening the email window in Outlook, on the other machine I got a window stating there was no standard email client found.

I found the solution here: www.vistatips.com

In short this is the solution:

Thunderbird must be selected as the default for mail in three (3) places:
1. Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs | Set Program Access and Defaults
2. IE Tools | Internet Options | Programs | E-mail
3. In Tbird itself (e.g., Tools | Options | General)

Number 1 was clearly the solution for both machines this time…

Thanks again Micro$oft…

PS I suppose the problem is the same on Vista as on XP machines, I only use XP pro.

Before some of you smart guys send me any static about wanting to stay with Microjunk instead of Linux, my business runs on software developed on the Windows platform and that is not so easy to change, sorry.

  • Thanks to all for your worries about my health and safety. I got something new to go biking:bullet proof vest
    (no not the girl, you perverts, the vest, the vest!). But now that I have lost some weight myself I have to wear 20 kilos of body armour to ride my bike? Give me a break.
  • A few days after the remark on the (now defunct) blog of Jan ON4KB, I couldn’t stand it any more and so, a few minutes ago I installed Thunderbird version 2.0.0.0. I still have to look deeper into it but it looks promising! I have found a bug though! In the settings you can tell THB what to do when downloading certain files. Changes can be done without problem but when you try to erase one line all lines are gone. As soon as I finish this post on on5mf.be I’ll write a small email to the developers.
  • As some of you may have noticed, the utility to see who’s linking to my site was removed. A few days ago there was some bug in it which messed up my entire layout. And, of course, the Bartman and Jan were the first to notice it and to make a lot of fun about it…
  • Finally one more thing. Frank ON4KZ (sorry, no link, he prefers to criticise other guys’ sites instead of making his own…) made the remark that the picture of my shack still shows ‘censored’ after many months. Don’t worry Frank, I’ll be back on the air very soon now. First I need to get the tower back up and then I’ll get the shack up and running again. Still need some guys to do the climbing, I’m sure you’ll come over to do that for me, won’t you Frank?

E-mail address

Changed my contact adress. If you have your own domain name you should use it shouldn’t you? As of today my email address is [callsign]@[callsign].be, where [callsign] is MY callsign (of course). This is to prevent spambots from stealing it and using it to send spam to me later. I get more than enough spam already. For those of you who don’t understand (the non-HAM’s supposedly), you can also contact me via the form at the left hand side of every page.

And before one of you smart guys makes the remark, yes Thunderbird filters the spam very well. But the email client on my PocketPC doesn’t filter it at all… (Yes, Bill Gates again).

In a few weeks from now the old @KTK.BE address will cease to exist.

Email

Not much new to mention here but something is bothering me… We all know that Thunderbird is probably the best e-mail client around. But does anyone know how I can get rid of this junk in incoming e-mails?

Comments:

  • Bart: Maybe by blocking the Incredimail IP number in your hosts-file?
  • ON5MF: yes that might do it… will have to look into that. Thanks!

Mini-Vna / Operating systems

  • Last friday we had our usual clubmeeting at KTKand this time one of our fellow members, Luc ON7KZ came to present his most recent ‘toy’, the Mini VNA. Yes for those of you who have read the rest of this site, Luc is the specialist we all turn to if we need to have some technical assistance. In this era of plug and play ham-radio, Luc succeeds in surprising us again and again with his new measuring equipment and with the in-depth knowledge he has of it. Luc seems to never stop experimenting and learning. Moreover he is a
    great ‘elmer’ to us who sometimes lack the necessary technical knowledge to finish our projects.
  • At the same meeting we sat together with some friends and, of course, the discussion turned to the new play “To Vista or not to Vista” written by William Gatespeare.
    But what was anounced as a romantic play turns more into a drama. To be honest, the first critics don’t seem positive at all. One of the guys who sat at our table sells computers for a living and the first 2 machines his technicians had to go and install were a complete disaster. Both technicians returned from their customers after about 4 hours of work with the same conclusion: “we cannot get one application to run correctly…”
    I guess I’ll stay with XP for now. But on the other hand, some of our club members are starting to experiment with Linux. Their arguments might eventually also make me turn to Linus Torvalds’ creation.
    What do I mainly use the pc for in the shack?
    • email using Thunderbird => also exists under Linux
    • browser with Firefox => also exists under Linux
    • making this website => also exists under Linux
    • making spreadsheets and textdocuments using OpenOffice.org => also exists under Linux

    So what’s stopping me? Maybe the fact that I have a business to run? Maybe the fact that I want to finish that K2 and get on the air again? Maybe the fact that I still have to finish decorating my house? Or maybe it is the fact that my father would like to have grandchildren before he turns 90?
    Yes you understand, as for everyone my time is limited and as learning to use a new operating system takes some time (well a lot I guess), I’d better not get yet another project started…

Filezilla

Discovered a problem when using Filezilla, sometimes filenames are
swapped when uploading multiple files of this website.
Comments on the Filezilla forum: “it’s a server problem
Comments of my provider:”get an other FTP soft
{sigh}

As finding other (freeware or open source) FTP software seems easier
than changing providers I guess I’ll have to get rid of filezilla…