Henderson KY Winlink Gateway

Henderson Kentucky Winlink 2000 Gateway 145.010


Monday, December 3, 2012

Old Spark Gap Transmitter with Model T Coil

I have had this stored in my building for about 15 years. I found it again when I was going through boxes of stuff to find things to display in my new shack. I originally bought this from a SK's estate. I wish I could remember his call sign. This is a very interesting piece of history. It is a home-brew set that I have no idea when it was built. Was it built as a demo or is it an early spark gap transmitter? I am not sure, but I wish I knew. If there are any experts out there, I would love to have some more information.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Linux Lite

Here is a new Linux distro that looks very interesting for newcomers to linux. It looks like the "old" windows OS. Is that not funny to say? Linux Lite is derived from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Check it out here. Let me know what you think.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Harbor Freight 800 watt generator

I recently purchased a Harbor Freight 800 watt generator. I did have a coupon and only spent $89.99 for the unit. I was very skeptical about what I was reading on the reviews about this little generator. I would not have taken a chance at regular price but what the heck it was less than $100.00. When I opened the box, I did not know what to expect, and I was surprised! It had very minimal assembly required and looked like a very nice little generator. Looks are not everything, I wanted to see if it worked as good as it looked. I had figured it would smoke and be very loud. It was not! It smoked a little on the first start up, but was gone very quickly. It was not very loud at all! If you use a long extension cord the generator should be no problem sound wise. I have not run it long enough yet to know if the 110v is clean and stable, but I am planning on using it to charge batteries and not run anything other than a battery charger with it.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Our hearts and prayers go out to all who have felt hurricane Sandy.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Windows XP!

Windows XP was released worldwide for retail sale on October 25, 2001. XP is now 11 years old! It has been the biggest version yet, and does not want to fade into history. Will the new windows 8 be all that or will it be what pushes the pc world into other operating systems? Only time will tell. I know I have been using XP and plan on keeping my system running past the 18 months it has left. I have also been using Linux and OSX systems also. I do not use any Windows as my main computer OS at this time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

3cx Software PBX for HSMM Update!

I have been playing with this VOIP setup for a while now, It works great! You need to be careful when you setup the remote extensions, why would I know that! Well I had some trouble when I started the installation over again to write a tutorial, I missed a step that really through me for a loop, and it was not anything to do with port forwarding, I set it up on two other routers. The problem I ran into was a password did not match for the remote extension, this will not happen again! There is some good information on the HSMM-Mesh web site on VOIP. I am planning on finishing a tutorial in the near future.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DC or AC to run the Ham Station?

I have built a new Ham Station and have a 12v DC battery backup system. I have posted details of this system in the past. The big question now is do I run it on 12v and let the charger keep the batteries charged or run it from 110vac using transformers to get 12v? I have seen pros and cons both ways. The batteries are on the other side of the wall next to the operating position so the leads would be short. I have also been looking at some DC lighting. I am looking for ideas.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

HSMM-Mesh and the New Ham Shack

I have been busy these last several months on building a new ham shack. I had to do this because the wife was getting tired of all the projects going on in my home office. Now the office can have it's own room back. I have moved into the new shack! It is a work in progress, I still have to put some shelves up and other items to make it complete. I now have a dedicated operating desk and a second desk for operating or working on projects. I also have a battery backup for the shack, I will be able to be on the air when the mains go out.  I will post some pictures on a later blog. This does bring me to a problem of moving my BPQ node to the shack, the internet wireless connection is to far from the shack to use for a reliable connection. So what is a Ham to do? HSMM-Mesh! I played with this last night after upgrading 2 routers to 0.4.3, and let me tell you, it was easy to get the internet gateway up and running. Now I can work on moving my BPQ gateway to the new shack. This could also give me callsign look-up also. I do not need much else for internet in the shack so it will work great for me!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Rascal interface for the collection

I went to a Hamfest just this last weekend and picked up some interesting items. I found a Rascal interface among all the treasures. I am always on the look out for packet and sound card interfaces to add to my collection or to help promote the digital world. The unit was in great shape, but still used for a lot less money. It is a nice small design that is well built. It came with the right connectors for my FT-767GX so I will be able to use it without any problems. I will test this very soon, I am in the process of finishing a new shack. Updates later.

Rascal Interface

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

cubieboard a neat little computer

Here is an interesting new sub $100 ARM board. I may have to order one to play with! It has many good features, the one I like is that it can run the full Ubuntu desktop.

From their Web site:

The features of the cubieboard:

    1G ARM cortex-A8 processor, NEON, VFPv3, 256KB L2 cache
    Mali400, OpenGL ES GPU
    512M/1GB DDR3
    HDMI 1080p Output
    100M Ethernet
    4GB Nand Flash
    2 USB Host, 1 MMC slot, 1 SATA, 1 ir
    96 extend pin including i2c, spi, lvds, sensors, ..
    Running Android, Ubuntu and other Linux distributions

There is a nice simple case for the board. Look here  http://cubieboard.org/2012/09/10/a-simple-case/


Monday, August 13, 2012

Henderson Emergency Services Appreciation Day

We had a great turn out for the Henderson Emergency Services Appreciation Day. We had the basic VHF Winlink station and the Email server up and running. We also had a TS-50 running into a Buddy pole antenna. I had some problems with the sun washing out the server laptop's screen, so I will have to work that one out. We may need to add some side walls to shade it more. We talked to many older hams and many young people that were very interested in the computer side of Ham radio. We may get some more youth involved in the future! Here are some pictures:

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

NBEMS-FLmsg new CSV file transfer video

 Dave, KB3FXI has made a new video for the new CSV file transfer. This is a good video. The new CSV file transfer will be a great help for us in the future. Watch it.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

I just upgraded to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. I have upgraded each time a new one was available. The upgrade was easy like all the others before this one. I have not had a problem till now. Unity, the new user interface,  did not play well with my Nvidia  video card. A black screen with jumbled up colors is not a good sight after upgrading! This seems to be a common driver problem. I installed an older card I had in the computer pile and my computer came back to life. The card I installed was a Diamond Radeon HD 4670 1GB PCI Express 2.0x16 and this card worked just fine. This was not the true Linux Geek way to fix it, I should have tried to download and compile the right fix. I am not a Linux guru yet, so I just install parts that are supported.

     So far I have had no problems with the OS. It reminds me of the up and coming Windows 8. I am not a fan of "apps", thus these new OS's will take some getting used to. The new "HUD" Head-up display is interesting.  I may or may not try Windows 8 when it comes out. I would like to settle on one OS to run everything in the shack. I have experimented with Wine with some good luck. Maybe as I have more time I can switch over to all Linux OS.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Comet GP-3 antenna installed

I just finished installing the Comet GP-3 antenna. I have been putting it off because of the heat and humidity. It was still hot and humid but it is up. Now the easy part of connecting everything in the air conditioning!

Friday, July 13, 2012

BPQ32 Node Upgrades

I am in the process of upgrading my BPQ node. I now have a Comet GP-3 antenna and a MFJ 916B duplexer. These will be connected to the current radio and the Yeasu FT-7100 I picked up. This may not be the ideal radio for 9600 baud, but at least I can get everything up and running. I have been working on the configuration for the second radio, I hope it works the first time. Watch for updates!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wouxun KG-UV20R Dual-Band Mobile NEWS

The Wouxun KG-UV20R Dual-Band Mobile is it for real? Will it be a good value for a radio? Will it do packet? A lot of questions and maybe the will be answered soon if the news from www.wouxun.us is correct.

Wouxun has released a limited number of the mobile radio to dealers.
These samples are not FCC Certified yet and do not have
the required 2.5 kHz tuning step required for 2013 regulations.

 It would be nice to have a value radio that could fill the needs of amateurs. I have had good results from the TYT UVF1 hand-held. I would be totaly surprised if this new mobile could do 9600baud packet. It should be able to do 1200 baud, but of course we will have to see. Check it out


Monday, June 25, 2012

Field Day 2012

Field Day 2012 was even better than last year. We had our setup problems but got them worked out fairly quickly. We had 2 HF radios running and also had a Packet Radio station connected to a HSMM system. We ran Winlink through a HSMM-Mesh node to a computer running the email server. This demo worked great! We tested the system several times and even sent small pictures. All in all we can setup in a disaster and have communication capabilities. This was a good test of our equipment. We used a Kenwood TS-50 and an Alinco DX-70TH for HF. An Icom IC-2000 was the packet radio. There were 2 WRT54G routers and 2 laptops. The antennas consisted of a Buddy pole and a home made 20m dipole and the packet station used a mag mount antenna upside down. We had 6 group 27 deep cycle batteries and a couple of 12v 7ah SLA batteries for the routers. We must not forget about all the good food and good teamwork, this is what Field Day is all about!

HF Station HSMM and Packet Station HSMM Antenna Food

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

3cx Software PBX for HSMM

I finally finished the installation of the software last night. 3CX uses a browser based management console to set up and configure the system and phones. This was relatively simple, after the small learning curve. I had it up and running with a soft phone on my Acer laptop running Windows7 Ultimate. I setup another soft phone on my other laptop, running Vista, and had it working on the same Mesh router. I ported all the required port forwarding that it called for and then expecting to have to change some routing settings in the second soft phone, I moved the cat5 cable to the second Mesh router and it still worked? Was that supposed to happen?   Not with my luck, but it did. I restarted everything from the two laptops and the two Mesh routers and when they rebooted everything still worked. I was thinking that it should be harder than this to setup. At this point everything is working as it should. I will give an update later after it has had some time to run. There is a very limited Windows versions that the software will run on, so be sure to check it out before you start.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Yaesu FT-1D The New Digital 2 meter/440 HT

Here is the latest entry into the digital radio field. It looks like an interesting radio, but it looks like another problem with interoperability. I hope maybe some smart Hams will figure out a way to make all the different modes work together. It would be nice if we could have a upgradeable mode that we could build upon and have available for all brands of radio. I am glad another manufacture is moving forward with new radios for Amateur Radio, this does help the hobby. I still would like to see something from the open source community. On a side note the camera microphone could have some use with HSMM.

Check it out here: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0111.html

  • 5 watts on Both 2m/440
  • Image Transmit (QVGA 320 × 240)
  • Integrated GPS
  • CTCSS/DCS Encode & Decode
  • Weather Receiving with Weather Alert
  • Analog and Digital
  • Wide-band Receive 
  • Optional Camera Microphone

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inverter Charger for the Battery Backup

I am using an older Heart Interface Freedom Combi Inverter/Charger. The model is Freedom 25 which is a 2500 watt unit. This unit has a three stage 130 amp charger. I have been running this for a couple of weeks now and have had no problems yet. I placed a temporary 110v GFCI to test from. I have run some short time tests of the inverter and it has preformed as expected. I have not finished the new shack that will use this backup power yet. There is a lot of work to be done to convert a building to a nice shack, and of course the job and work around the house seems to always get in the way! If this system works as planned I may have to expand and get a newer controller. I am also interested in solar. It would be possible to run the whole shack off grid. This is a future project.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Batteries for the Shack

I have moved forward with the battery back up for the shack. I have looked at several different batteries and configurations for this project. I believe that 6v golf cart batteries would be the best route to go, but of course I did not go with conventional wisdom. I went with the Deka DC27 12 volt deep cycle marine battery. These are about 75amp hour batteries. I have 6 of these for the battery box. I went this route because it would be easy to grab a couple to go remote site. Also the price was right. I built a battery box for these with some scrap wood and a pallet for the base. I will post some pictures later. I custom built the connection cables with 2/0 wires. I will also be running some short cables to the new shack I am building. This will let me run 12v items without having to use a power supply connected to the charger/inverter that I am using. The charger/inverter will be for another post.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Emergency Backup Power for the Shack

I am currently working on a backup battery system for the shack. I have been looking at many different ways to do this. I am planning on running most of the equipment on 12v dc. I am looking to start with some batteries and an inverter/charger. I would like to get solar working in the future. One thing I have found in researching this, is that there is a lot of information out there, but it can be confusing. If I can get this all working, it would give me a complete station that could be run without power coming into the shack. I am also looking at some generator options also. Stay tuned for more. 73

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Windows XP Dying?

Every where I look I see an article talking about Windows XP dying. Could this be true? How could it be true? I have been working with Ubuntu and Windows 7 lately, but I still have some machines running XP. These computers will probably run XP till I can no longer keep the computer alive. This is because they are not really fast enough to use windows 7. These machines are also running radios and radio software, thus I do not have to worry to much about them getting sick with a virus or even a cold. So I guess until I get some faster machines to run the other day to day computing Windows XP will live on in my shack. So I guess Windows XP is not really dying, but a group of people are trying to help it die faster.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HSMM-Mesh display

The Henderson County HSMM Group had a small Mesh display at the Cave City KY Hamfest Saturday March 3. There was some interest and questions about it. It is always good to get out and display the system to get people talking about it.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Introduction to Data Communications An Interesting Book

 Introduction to Data Communications is a very interesting read by Eugene Blanchard. This online book does a very good job at explaining many mysteries in networking. He does a good job at explaining things in a not to difficult to understand way. If you want to learn more please check the book out. 


Monday, January 23, 2012

D-Stars Replacement from Yaesu?

Here is a very interesting catalog from Yaesu  "A Digital Communications Guide for Amateur Radio Operators". They will be coming out with a new digital hand-held that is to compete with D-Star. They are saying it will have faster data rates also. Check it out and see what you think.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

ARRL and TAPR 2011 DCC - Digital Modes for Catastrophic Communications

Here is a good vidieo from the ARRL and TAPR 2011 Digital Communications Conference - Digital Modes for Catastrophic Communications. This video was presented by the ARVN. There were a lot of great points for further discussions. I think we as a group should move forward with digital, both for the hobby and for EmComm. What do you think?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WebMail-Lite Mail Server for HSMM Tutorial

I have had several Hams contact me about my posting on the Paclink Server. I have now finished the new setup tutorial for it. This is current to the latest version. I tried to make the instructions as simple as possible, but you must not be afraid to get into the workings of the software. This software as configured will work great with the HSMM-Mesh nodes. If you undertake this you can offer your served agency and many others the ability to have normal email when the internet is not available in the immediate area.The RF side will be for another posting. With this system you can let your served agency plug their computers into your system. They will not have to change anything in their computers. They will have to go to a "web site" and enter their login information that you will provide. The learning curve is very small for the users because the browser will have a very familiar email program. I have installed this on a Vista laptop and a Windows 7 Ultimate laptop. So give this a try.



What You Need to Start

  1. Paclink properly installed, configured and working 

  1. WampServer
    1. Go to: http://www.wampserver.com/en/
    2. Click on the downloads tab
    3. Then, click on the "Download WampServer 2.2A" link
    4. Enter your information or click "download it directly"
    5. Save the install program where you will be able to find it later

  1. WebMail Lite
    1. Go to:http://www.afterlogic.org/download/webmail-lite
    2. Click the PHP radio button
    3. Press the "Start Downloading" button
    4. Save it where you will be able to find it later 

WampServer Installation

WampServer is a combined package of Apache Web Server 2.2.21, MySQL 5.5.16, and PHP 5.5.38 all for Windows.

Installation Steps

  1. Locate and run the WampServer setup program from the computer you want to use as your Paclink server. Follow the install wizard being sure to use the default file system locations.
  2. When the installation completes choose the option to run WampServer or run it from the Start menu or desktop icon if you missed this it
  3. You should now see an icon in the system tray titled "WAMPSERVER". It should not be red and may indicate that the server is "Online" or "Offline" at this point. It should cycle from red to yellow to green. Refer to the help system for assistance in resolving any issues
  4. Configure the PHP system to support WebMail by enabling the PHP IMAP option. Left-click the WampServer tray icon and then select PHP - PHP extensions - php_imap
  5. Left-click the WampServer tray icon and choose the "Put Online" menu item. This will start the Apache and MySQL servers
  6. The servers will start up and hovering over the tray icon should show that the service is "Online".
  7. To test your configuration thus far, select the localhost menu item from the local menu,left-click on tray icon. You should see the WampServer start page showing configuration information.
  8. If you have any problems with this installation or see errors when attempting to place the server Online, right-click the WampServer tray icon and choose the Help menu item to open the help system. There's also a WampServer forum at: http://www.wampserver.com/phorum
WebMail Lite

  1. Create a folder called "webmail" under the default WampServer web folder "c:\wamp\www". Left click the WampServer tray icon then click "www directory"
  2. Un-zip the webmail_php.zip archive:
    1. Extract the contents of the zip folder into the "webmail" folder "c:\wamp\www\webmail"
    2. Move the "data" folder _and_ its contents into the "webmail" folder "c:\wamp\www\webmail"
    3. You should now have the webmail folder containing the "data" folder as well as the complete contents of the web folder 
    4. Delete the install folder
  3. In the "webmail" folder, edit using a text editor, like notepad, the "inc_settings_path.php" file so that the path to the "data" folder is ""c:/wamp/www/webmail/data/"". Be sure to save the file when you are done. 
  4. In the "webmail" folder double click "data" then "settings" then open "settings" file with a text editor
  5. Find "off" and change the off to an on, then save the file.
  6. Start your browser on the Paclink machine and go to http://localhost/webmail/adminpanel
    1. If you get an error or see a red error box on the admin page, review the previous steps and if needed consult the WebMail on-line help on the AfterLogic site or go to http://localhost/webmail/adminpanel/docs/index.php
  7.  The log in is mailadm as the user name and 12345 as the password
    1. The password can be changed later
    2. Left click the WampServer tray icon then click "phpMyAdmin"
    3. Then click the "Databases" tab
    4. Under "Create new database" type the name you want for your database. Then click the "Create" button
    1. In the Webmail Administrative Console select "System" tab and make the following changes:
      1. Set the SQL Login to "root"
      2. SQL password leave blank
      3. Set Database name to what you setup for the database
      4. Set the host to
      5. Click the "Test Connection" button. If it tests good proceed, if you have problems check that you did everything up to this point correctly
      6. If you are good to this point click the "Create tables" button. If it says failed you have a problem in your database.
      7. Click "Save" button to save your settings
    2. In the Administrative Console select "Domains" tab and make the following changes:
      1. Select the "Default domain settings" option
      2. Incoming mail use POP3, localhost and Port 110
      3. Outgoing mail use localhost and Port 25
      4. Check "Use incoming mail's login/password of the user"
      5. Under the "General" tab, change the site name to what you want it to be
      6. Under the "Webmail" tab make sure "Enable webmail" is checked
      7. Click "Save" to save your settings 

    How to use WebMail

    From the Paclink WebMail server

    1. Go to http://localhost/webmail/
    2. Click "Advanced Login" then enter the email address you setup, then the login name (the email address without @winlink.org) and password for the account you have set up in PacLink
    3. Play with WebMail-Lite for Paclink!

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    New Webmail Lite for Paclink mail server

     There is a new version of Webmail Lite for the Paclink mail server. It seems to be a little easier to setup than the last one. It is totally different than the last version I used. I am in the process of making a tutorial for the latest version. So check back and give it a try.


    Monday, January 9, 2012

    FLMSG training video

    Here is a very good training video for FLmsg. This should clear up any problems with using it. The video is from Dave, KB3FXI and Harry, W3YJ. They did a very good job! Check out their site and this video.