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Monday, April 29, 2013

List Of Linux Operating System For Ham Radio Operator

Linux is new anymore, there are many custom Linux operating system that was designed for ham radio operators. Here are the list of famous Linux operating system for ham radio usage

1. KB1OIQ - Andy's Ham Radio Linux DVD - This is a remastered version of Ubuntu Linux. As of version 13, there are 32-bit and 64-bit versions available.

2. hamOS - A Debian based Live and Installable operating system for radio amateurs. hamOS contains many preinstalled ham radio applications as well as a custom menu. This respin is geared toward the newer linux user. hamOS uses the lightweight LXDE desktop environment and is therefore suitable for older hardware. Check out the GetExtras folder on the desktop to run some custom scripts that will automatically grab flash, codecs, and other non-libre software.

3. Ar-knoppix

4. Harv's Hamshack Hack

5.  Digipup - based on puppylinux (lightweight linux distribution)

6. Shackbox - Shackbox provide linux AND windows software like the famous ham radio deluxe, trunking software and a lot of other software related to electronics, antenna design and else.

7.  Hamux - CentOS based repository with ham radio software.

However, you can choose any linux distro you like and install any ham radio applications that you desired. Since linux is opensource operating system, you can hack the source to suit your taste. Google, Yahoo also powered by linux operating system and small hardware such as switch, routers, acces point also powered by linux nowadays. Most of websites running on linux webservers. Happy Hamlinux-ing!


Friday, April 26, 2013

I am DXer tshirt

Interested? Mail me

Best of British bikes

Best of British bikes DVDs

An illustrated data guide of battle tank

World war II battle tanks

Hit and run QSO

Today we can hear many hit and run qso on HF. The purpose of the hit and run qso is to get as many as possible contacts, especially on contesting. Many old folks do not like hit and run qso, they dont hunt for dx station nor partcipating on contest. I read a post from qrq cw operator, ja1nut regarding hit and run qso here http://nuttycellist-unknown.blogspot.com/2013/01/hit-and-run-operators.html

Yes, he was right about the memory keyer. Some people can afford to own high end keyer which can be connected with computer and a paddle on the same time but some dont. That is why their qso is like hit and run qso. One can also type on the enter send mode or non enter send mode, for my own opinion i found that ragchewing is better on the paddle rather than the keyboard.

Passing a turn using BK is not wrong, as a good practice one might send full callsign and other stations callsign. If we hear big dxpedition team who activating rare area, they might use very little transmission message. Their target is to get many contacts as possible, they dont entertain any ragchewer except whom they think is important to reply.

The fact is, listening to this kind of qso wont sharpen our receiving skill. Some people will agree, but some wont. fabian dj1yfk build his own app to wake him up in the morning and transmitting news and emails on cw. Sounds interesting right? He also build an app to translate a pdf file to cw audio. That is how he develop his listening skill.

back to the topic, Not all operator will answer to hit and run operators, but many operators will answer to them. Dont worry about hit and run qso, they will understand. If they have anything to ask, they will send you and email. Old folks will always be a good listener, they will come to your cq call if they want to.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How To Block HTTPS/HTTP For Facebook.com

Add these rules to your iptables

1. iptables -N NOFBHTTPS 
2. iptables -A NOFBHTTPS -d www.facebook.com -p tcp -m tcp --dport 443 -j DROP 
3. iptables -A NOFBHTTPS -d facebook.com -p tcp -m tcp --dport 443 -j DROP 
4. iptables -A NOFBHTTPS -j RETURN iptables -I FORWARD -j NOFBHTTPS 
5. iptables -I OUTPUT -j NOFBHTTPS


iptables -I FORWARD -m string --algo bm --string "facebook.com" -j DROP

exception example:

iptables -I FORWARD ! -s -m string --algo bm --string "facebook.com" -j DROP

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Using USB Drive As Swap Space For Linux

1) Put on your USB drive, open terminal and type:

sudo blkid

It will list all your connected drives. Search for your USB stick you want to use as swap and copy the UUID (everything inside these quotes UUID="XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX").

This represents the individual name of your device.

Also note the /dev/XXX point of your device.

2) Now unmount your device by typing:

sudo umount /dev/XXX (where XXX represents your device name)

3) Format your USB stick as swap, e.g. by terminal

sudo mkswap /dev/XXX (<-- be sure to use the correct device name here or you'll probably end up formatting the wrong drive!)

You can also use Gparted if you want GUI

4) Now you have to edit your /etc/fstab file, so type

gksudo gedit /etc/fstab

and enter the following


(for all the Xs, use the UUID number you got by typing sudo blkid)

5) Now type

sudo swapon -a

For more info, man swapon

p/s: you can define priority between your HDD swap and USB swap using the pri=value. The higher value indicates higher priority. You also can adjust the swappiness on /etc/sysctl.conf, the swappiness sysctl parameter represents the kernel's preference (or avoidance) of swap space. Swappiness can have a value between 0 and 100. Setting this parameter to a low value will reduce swapping from RAM, and is known to improve responsiveness on many systems.

nano /etc/sysctl.conf


1. vm.swappiness=1
2. vm.vfs_cache_pressure=50

Using TMPFS For Chromium Browser

Using tmpfs for Chromium browser can increase it's performance. The cache will be stored in volatile memory. To use tmpfs for your chromium cache, please follow these steps

1. add this to /etc/fstab, cache-chromium /home/your_user/.cache/chromium tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
2. then rm -r /home/your_user/.cache/chromium (to delete everything you had cached)
3. and mkdir /home/your_user/.cache/chromium (to create an empty directory).

After reboot, the cache will be mounted in ram and you won't need to modify the launcher.

Why dont use ramfs ?

Primarily both ramfs and tmpfs does the same thing with few minor differences.

Ramfs will grow dynamically.  So, you need control the process that writes the data to make sure ramfs doesn’t go above the available RAM size in the system. Let us say you have 2GB of RAM on your system and created a 1 GB ramfs and mounted as /tmp/ram. When the total size of the /tmp/ram crosses 1GB, you can still write data to it.  System will not stop you from writing data more than 1GB. However, when it goes above total RAM size of 2GB, the system may hang, as there is no place in the RAM to keep the data.

Tmpfs will not grow dynamically. It would not allow you to write more than the size you’ve specified while mounting the tmpfs. So, you don’t need to worry about controlling the process that writes the data to make sure tmpfs doesn’t go above the specified limit. It may give errors similar to “No space left on device”.

Tmpfs uses swap.

Ramfs does not use swap.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Best Amateur Radio Logging App For Linux

I am really satisfied with CQRLog for Linux. It support CW keying, general logging, DX cluster, eQSL, LOTW, hamQTH and QRZ.com search. It was developed by OK1CQR and OK1RR. It uses mysql as database server, cwdaemon for cw keying.

CQRLog also support for digital operation, transceiver control and WinkeyUSB keyer. But, it lack of support for contest templates, rotator control and also cw repeat message. Hopefully that the developers will add this support.

For more info, please visit http://cqrlog.com/

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The importance of amateur radio callsign prefix

What is 9m2, 9m6, and 9m8 means? That is the callsign prefix that being assigned to Malaysia. In amateur radio, the international telecommunication union and international amateur radio union taking charge for this prefix together with the local authority.

9m2 means west malaysia, 9m6 is for sabah, 9m8 is for sarawak, 9m0 for spratly islands. If you are applying for apparatus assignment anywhere in west malaysia, you will be automatically assigned 9m2 as prefix. However, the authority sometime making their mistakes by issuing other prefix. For example, issuing 9w6 to someone who live in west malaysia.

As amateur radio, we need to aware that amateur radio is also self dicipline and self regulatory hobby. They are no regulator who will watch us 24 hours a day and charge us if we make any mistakes. Unless we have been reported by someone.

The authority has already released their documents on the callsign guidelines. Everyone in the world will know that 9w6 is assigned for sabah. If we have been issued with 9w2 while we are living in sabah, that would be a mistake. If a 9w2 holder operating from his home in sabah, how he has to tell amateur radio from other country? Portable on base station? This mistake will be a laughing stock to the world. 9w2 holder but living in sabah. Same goes to 9w8 who lives in west malaysia.

The prefix for amateur radio callsign is important. To show your country, your region or area, to show you classes. This is why every country has its own prefix. We cannot use 9m2 while operating in brunei, we must apply for reciprocal callsign first. After that, we must follow local rules for brunei.
If 9m2pju travelling to sabah for a holiday, he can operating as 9m2pju/6 or 9m2pju portable 6. Means 9m2pju portable operation in 6 area.

They authority may make mistakes, but we as amateur radio must know the prefix that has been assigned to our geographical area. Like it or not, thats our last choice. The suffix means nothing, prefix is important to show your area in your country. Take a look on indonesian amateur radio region code, yb0, yc0, yg0, ye0, yd0,yf0 is for jakarta. Not for karimun island or medan.

callsign is not for identifying for station when talking on the radio only, callsign also will be use for cw transmission, digital transmission, aprs operation, echolink node, beacon and repeater station.
The authentical of amateur radio depends on our dicipline. If we are making fool of our hobby, others will look amateur radio is a foolish hobby.


As an amateur radio, what is our target? Well, everybody has their own target. Some of them wants to

1. Learn something new
2. Improve their skills and knowledge
3. Find new friends
4. Talk to their friends
5. Sell their products
6. Making profit from their events
7. Being glamour and known to all
8. Serve to others on different ways
9. Help on emcomm
10. Just to have their own callsign

It doesnt matter which one is your objective or target. Everybody has their own. But remember amateur radio roots. Being an amateur radio doesnt prove that we are already good and knowledgable. We need to learn more from others.

In the journey of learning, you will found someone that humble and willing to help you, and also someone who being unhelpful. If you means nothing to them, they will ignore you.

Amateur radio in Malaysia are willing to help you on anything if your surname is yang berbahagia, tan sri or dato sri. Thats the natural behaviour of malaysian. Malaysian sticks to obvious.

Malaysian will respect one with harta or takhta. Same goes to amateur radio. The roots are fading, no more exchangable knowledge, no more sharing session. Just clubs with their politics.

Disagreements leading to a new club. If you dont agree with them, you will make your own club, ruling wih your own rules. Blaming other for their ignorant. No use for educating, because they will attack your personal attitude.

Hijacking peoples ideas, events becomes normal here in malaysia. If the authority doesnt blame for what mistakes you have done, you will say that they feared you. Running from problem is the solution for many.

Telling others what you have found for free or on public media is wrong, they must come to you personally. Before the problem is getting worst, you will be the one who run from it. If the problem solved, you will find another way to destroy it. When the wrong being norm nowadays, people will take it as their culture. Backstabbing to be on top means nothing to your religion.

You will say religion and amateur radio is like oil and water, while pinay ham transmitting bible's recitation on the frequency. You cant not stand being defeated, you will always find other ways to prove that you already won without fighting.

Some people will say that it doesnt matter if you are amateur radio or not, as long as you have a radio.

CW Keyboard Keyer For DXing And Contesting

As CW operator, you must be tired if you are using manual keying or operating using straight or iambic key. In most CW contesting and dxing, you will hear many stations using computer as their keyer. They decoding the code using their brain but send the code using their computer by inputting the message thru their keyboard.

Old folks will not liking this method, but new people find it usefull and convenient. They message will be set as macros on the software. Most modern logging software for ham radio supports cw keying, such as n1mm logger, winlog32, xlog, cqrlog, and also hamradio deluxe.

I like n1mm logger on windows and cqrlog on linux. N1mm logger is useful for contest logging, it has templates for many contest. Cqrlog also available for windows computer but n1mm supports cq message looping while cqrlog uses cwdaemon as the keying service and currently does not support cq repeat message. Both have adjustable macros.

I hope ok1cqr will update his cqrlog software to support this feature.

They are many circuits diagram for the interface. It connects your transceiver to your computers or laptops. Many people will use the direct keying circuits while others bought advanced commercial keyer such as mfj keyer, k1 keyer, winkeyerusb or microkeyer. I noticed that high end keyer has support for an external paddle and also support iambic keying, with speed knob. The main advantages for high end keyer is, they supports ssb, digital and cw.

They are 2 types of poor man choice for homebrew keyer, one is direct keying and other is optocoupler method which electrically seperates your computer and your radio. One will notice that optocoupler will reduce the RFI.

To use these interface on your computer, you must
1. Use the serial com port or find a serial to usb converter if your computer doesnt have serial com port.
2. Know your com port setting
3. Reassign your com port if your logging software doesnt support higher number ports.
4. Read the logging software manual on cw keying
To use the interface on your tranceiver, you must
1. Disable the iambic keying mode
If you can afford high end interface, try k1 keyer, winkeyerusb or microkeyer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Troubleshoot Your Bike Problems

Spark weak:

Battery voltage low
Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted
Spark plug cap or high tension wiring trouble
Spark plug cap shorted or not in good contact
Spark plug incorrect
igniter trouble
Pickup coil trouble
Ignition coil trouble

Fuel/air mixture incorrect:

Pilot screw maladjusted
Pilot jet, or air passage clogged
Air bleed pipe, bleed holes clogged
Pilot passage clogged
Air cleaner clogged, poorly sealed or missing
Starter plunger stuck open
Fuel level in carburetor float chamber too high or too low
Fuel tank air vent obstructed
Carburetor holder loose
Surge tank duct loose

Compression low:

Spark plug loose
Cylinder head not sufficiently tightened down
Cylinder, piston worn
Piston ring bad (worn, weak, broken, or sticking)
Piston ring/land clearance excessive
Cylinder head gasket damaged
Cylinder head warped
Engine not sufficiently warmed up after lash adjuster installation
Valve spring broken or weak
Valve not seating properly (valve bent, worn, or carbon accumulation on the seating surface)
Hydraulic lash adjuster damaged (worn, seizure, or spring broken)
Hydraulic lash adjuster oil passage clogged

Backfiring when decelerating:

Vacuum switch valve broken
Air suction valve trouble
Coasting enricher trouble


Igniter trouble
Carburetors not synchronizing
Carburetor vacuum piston doesn't slide smoothly
Engine oil viscosity too high
Drive train trouble
Final gear case oil viscosity too high
Brake dragging
Air suction valve trouble
Vacuum switch valve trouble

Monday, April 8, 2013

Portable Operation

Portable operation is one of the interesting activity for amateur radio operator. Imagine if we go somewhere else far away from city, such as moutainous place, seaview places or to the jungle.

Not many people will like this activity, but some will accept it as an recreational activity or to challenge themselves.

To those who are hikers, or backbackers, they usually prepared themselves with some nessary equipment such as

1. Instant food
2. Fire maker kit
3. Waterbottle
4. Medical kit
5. Map and compass
6. Scouting knife
7. Ponchor
8. Nylon rope
9. Waterproof and sealed secondary clothes.
10. Etc

These item probably the basic must have items, anyone will usually add more as he prefer for the weather or condition he might go.

For ham radio, they usually avoid hardcore condition or weather. But some will take it as challenge. Operating on snowy weather could be a hard to forget memory. I saw a youtube video of steve wg0at who went to moutainous place and operate low power HF and VHF for the SOTA award. He might look old but his spirit is younger than me. He made lot of contact on snowy and windy weather alone. Thou he have some goat friends.

These are basic equipment for amateur radio who working portable

1. A transceiver, low or high power
2. A battery
3. Coaxial cable and ground wire
4. An antenna, usually wire because it is light and convinient
5. A CW keyer or a hand microphone
6. A log book and a pen
7. A shelter such as ponchor or a small tent.
8. Instant food
9. Map and compass
10. a 2 meters handy talkie.

Some places dont have good cellular coverage, so better be prepare with a 2 meters handy talkie. Some interesting awards which gave appreciations to adventurous ham who like portable operation is IOTA, SOTA and WFF awards.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Malaysian Amateur Radio Outdoor Activities

Estimated population of amateur radio in Malaysia is about 10 thousands. Most of them are class B, and class A callsigns is about 300 to 400. This is not official count, if you want exact number please ask MCMC.

Amateur radio outdoor activity in Malaysia, means that you go somewhere out from your home and do some ham radio related activities.

In Malaysia we have,

1. JOTA - jamboree on the air. Scouts activities, probably one or twice in a year. International and national communication. They went somewhere to any nearest scouts camp and operates there.

2. Lighthouse weekend - once in a year event. This event gathered Malaysian hams at any lighthouse. Chasing DX contact on HF. Not merely a contest, more on field day at lighthouse. Great event to promote lighthouse usage and history.

3. Contesting Expedition - some of international contest has expedition category. This is great event too, hams will gather up and do some dxpedition and contesting.

4. Simulated Emergency Test - this is emergency communication awareness program. International and also national.

5. Ham Fest - amateur radio festival, promoting amateur radio to public. There will be a portable station in ham fest park.

6. Marathon/Cycling Communication Aid - hams helping public to provide communication for these activities.

7. Field Day - hams happy day activity. DXing and also communicating with local hams. This event also good to promote amateur radio to public besides gather new and old hams.

8. Amateur Radio Direction Finding contest - find those beacon and win a prize activity. Not compulsory to ham.

9. Technical class / knowledge sharing session - usually held at mamak restaurant, eat and drink while exchanging topics and infos. Technical class usually about antenna, electric and electronics.

10. Flea market - hams meeting place and trading.

11. RAE and CW test center - you can meet old and new hams here coming and aiding their friend who will take the exam.

These event are good to promote amateur radio. These are where we can have an eyeball QSO, learn something and bring our non-ham friends.

80 meters Linear Loaded Dipole

Simple 80m linear loaded dipole

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