Archives for 2010

Survey Results

Survey / Vote on ARRL's decision on DA0HQ and URE disputeThe Contest Community has voted. Almost 500 contesters particpated in the survey on ARRL’s recent decisions. As promised, I’m providing the results one day after the survey’s end for further discussion. Some of the answers are very clear, other’s should be refined. However here are the results without any interpretation or censorship. Take them, build your opinion and share your thoughts with us!

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Survey on ARRL’s IARU Contest Decisions

Vote ARRL Decision on URE / DA0HQ disputeYesterday I received an overwhelming amount of replies on my personal opinion about ARRL’s IARU Contest decisions. Fellow contester agreed, disagreed and expressed their own opinions. The amount of replies is a proof that our contest community takes this discussion serious. However, it is unclear if these personal opinions are representative for our whole contest community. Now, I would like to take this Question on another level. I just created an Online-Survey / Poll. It takes less than two minutes to answer all Questions! Please participate and spread the word! Your vote counts!

The Survey can be accessed through this link:

The Survey will be online for three days until Tuesday, 15th of June 2010 – 23:59 UTC. I will publish the results the day after on Wednesday 16th of June.

ARRL taking wrong consequences

ARRL taking wrong decision on URE DA0HQ conflictYesterday ARRL oficially published their answer on the Spanish Request to disqualify the German Headquater station DA0HQ in IARU Contest 2009. Read in this blogpost why I fundamentally disagree with ARRLs consequences!

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SDR appliance: JN1SDD’s NCDXF / IARU Beacon Monitor

NCDXF/IARU Faros Beacon NetworkOn my ongoing search for SDR appliances, I discovered a couple of weeks ago an SDR (Softrock & Linux) based Beacon Monitoring System. The system is making use of the NCDXF Internation Beacon Project (IBP) which consists of 18 timely synchronized automated transmitters, located around the world. It monitors the signals on the various bands and generates in real-time a graphical chart showing the signal’s strength. The chart is uploaded to a webserver and accessible for everyone through the Internet. Lately I had the possibility to interview the author of the system, Atsushi (JN1SDD). In this interview he revealed with great deepness how the system is build up. I hope you will enjoy this interview as much as I did!

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WebSDR & Java fix for Ubuntu Linux

WebSDR & Linux how it worksIf you are using Ubuntu Linux you might have problems to open the Dutch WebSDR page. The problems appears in both, Firefox and Chrome. Canonical does not ship the Sun’s Java Runtime Environment anymore with Ubuntu. Instead they included OpenJDK and IcedTea, a Java Web browser plugin. Unfortunately, IcedTea does not work with the WebSDR Java Applet. However, there exists a solution. Read how I fixed the problem.

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Ham Convited due to exceeding power limitations

Football referee showing the red cardLately a fellow Ham in New Zealand was convicted by court to pay a $1750 fine because he massively exceeded the legal power limitations. He posted a video on Youtube showing him transmitting with more than 3000 Watts. This was considered as a sufficient prove by the New Zealand judge. On top of the fine he has to pay $130 trail costs and he was requested by New Zealand Radio Spectrum Management Organisation to forfeilt his radio equipment.

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The (Software) Patent Absurdity

The idea of patents in early days was to support innovation. Today happens exactly the opposite. We have reached a point where patents prevent technical innovation. Patents are no longer used to protect innovations, they are mainly used to sue other companies, or to counter-sue if anyone sues you. We have seen this lately between Apple and HTC. While the pharmaceutical industry might be excluded due to their costly researches, Software patents are for sure more than doubtful. There exist companies who just buy (software) patents in order to sue others.

There are no more ways for professional (or hobby) developers to see if a programming technique he uses violates any software patent. Every week, several hundred software patents are granted in the US. Today, until now exist more than 200.000 software patents. More than 1.000.000 software patents are pending. This is ridiculous! STOP IT!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against patents, but we need a fundamental change in patent law in order to stop the software patent absurdity. Instead of suing each other, let’s go back to the roots and enforce and support innovation. The world does not need more lawyers, we need more engineers!

For more information visit the webpage Patent Absurdity. They recently have published a 30 minutes documentary, explaining why software patents have broken the system.

CW Skimmer, Win-Test & FT1000MP: my wish!

CW Skimmer wishThree years ago I added a Software Defined Radio (Softrock Clone) to the 455kHz intermediate frequency of my FT1000MP shortwave receiver. The idea was to use it as a spectrum scope in conjunction with CW Skimmer. Unfortunately the solution has one big disadvantage: I can’t use it with Win-Test my favorite Contest Software. In a detailed investigation I found out why CW Skimmer and Win-Test can not be used simultaneously with the same Radio. Now, about past 30 month later, the situation has improved. However there is still one little change necessary to finally be able to use CW Skimmer and Win-Test with (my) FT1000MP. Read in this article what has changed and what is still missing (my wish)!

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Ubuntu Hams

Ubuntu Ham Radio A couple of weeks ago I migrated one of my older machines to the new Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”. I must admit that Canonical did a tremendous job with their Linux Distribution. Ubuntu is definitely worth a look. It can be booted directly from CD and does not need any installation. It’s stable, fast, has an excellent User Interface and provides applications for all standard needs… and YES, it’s MUCH more secure than Windows! With it’s centralized Software Repository, there is no more need for keeping all your applications individually up to date. This service does everything, just with a single click. Awesome!

And – there is also a Amateur Radio community. Thanks to Martin, AA6E who recently made me aware on this. The PPA (Personal Package Archive) of the Ubuntu Amateur Radio Team takes care of a nice list of Linux Ham Radio applications, including for example the famous GNU Radio, a Software Defined Radio toolkit.

In case you haven’t checked out Ubuntu yet, go to the website and download a free copy, burn it on CD and take a testdrive!

Mounting Drobo under Linux (Ubuntu)

Ubuntu & Drobo TuxWhen I write scripts in Python, I prefer to write them under Linux. I personally use Ubuntu in a Virtual Machine, powered by Sun’s free VirtualBox. There are of course several ways to share data between Linux and Windows but I decided to incorporate my last acquisitions, a Network Attached Storage Device called Drobo / Droboshare. In this post you will read how to connect Linux (Ubuntu 9.10) to your Drobo.

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