Don’t Fear the Penguin

penguinIt’s day four of my hopefully last Windows-to-Linux migration, and so far so good.  I have my HRD log imported into CQRLog and it’s talking to both my Arduino Keyer and Yaesu FT-897.  The Keyer is happily sending CW and CQLog is reading the rig frequency.  The rig control function is very simple and utilitarian compared to HRD’s, but it works.  What I cannot get working is controlling the Kenwood TS-850.  This appears to be a problem with Hamlib, which CQRLog uses via rigctld.

I found that Linux re-enumerates USB /dev/ devices if you unplug one.  For example, I had my Arduino Keyer at /dev/ttyUSB0, my TS-850 interface at /dev/ttyUSB1, and my FT-897 interface at /dev/ttyUSB2.  Upon unplugging the Arduino Keyer and TS-850 interface, the FT-897 became /dev/ttyUSB0, and with nary a mention in syslog.  I find this behavior strange.  But I’m really pleased Linux handles USB device insertions and ejections so well.  Back in the day to do stuff like this you’d have to edit some text file, recompile your kernel, and walk uphill in snow both ways.

To run N1MM I installed Virtualbox and within that installed a very bare bones Windows XP installation.  This enables me to run Windows XP as a virtual machine within Linux, without rebooting.  N1MM installed and ran without a hitch in the virtual machine. I was reminded N1MM likes to install in C: root, like it’s 1994 on Windows 3.1.  But I digress.  Attaching host USB devices to virtual machines in Virtualbox is a piece of cake and I had N1MM talking with the 850.  So I’ve got my contesting needs covered.

It occurred to me that it wouldn’t take much to get CQRlog to do basic contest logging.  It already has cw interface keying and function key definitions and macros.  All it really needs is serial number generation with corresponding function key macros, previous QSO report lookup, and perhaps a little more field customization.  This would cover the basics.  One can handle scoring outside the program, but a band map with the DX cluster integrated would be the next feature on the list.  I may just look at the source code and see if I can make sense of it and maybe play around with some customizations.  I sense another project I’m going to get sucked into.

So far I haven’t had to go back to my native Windows installation for anything, other than to steal more disk partition space.  Maybe I cheated a little by installing an instance of Windows XP on Virtualbox, but hey, whatever gets the job done!

(Update: I just found the CQRLog band map window and it is integrated with the DX cluster!)

Anthony, K3NG, is a regular contributor to

4 Responses to “Don’t Fear the Penguin”

  • Gary ke2yk:

    Thanks for the post Anthony. I have been running LINUX in the Shack for some time now (FLDIGI), etc. Since you are a proponent of CQRLog I think I’ll take a crack at it. Oracle Virtual Box is just what the doctor ordered for N1MM. I don’t plan to ever return to Windoze. Since you like the same combo I do, you might want to check out Russ and Richard over the LINUX in the Ham Shack. Russ and Richard are a pair of good ol boys and they are both funny and informative. 73, Gary ke2yk

  • Demetre, SV1UY:

    Hey Anthony,

    Thanks for letting us know. I had tried LinuxMint when it first came out but I dropped in favour of UBUNTU. Lately UBUNTU started getting on my nerves with it’s new UNITY interface and since I read your post I got rid of UBUNTU and installed LinuxMint instead. What a difference. I think I will never look at any other distro anymore. It is a real keeper this LinuxMint. You do not have to forever battle with the beast anymore. In the past for simple things in Linux you had to always use the terminal and issue long commands to even install a network printer. Not anymore. At last I can find all the programs I have installed by clicking on the menu and I can even create launchers without resorting to issuing long commands in a console terminal.
    At last we have a Linux distro which is better and even easier to setup and run than Windows.
    73 de Demetre SV1UY

  • Matt W1MST:

    For some reason Amazon products appear when I search for installed apps on Ubuntu. I don’t begrudge them needing a way to financially support the project, but it’s an odd integration to me.

  • k8gu:

    Yeah, the Linux re-enumeration of USB has been a pain. In the past, you could edit some configuration files to get things to load up in a uniform way based on the Vendor and Product IDs, etc. But, in typical Linux fashion, I’m sure everything has changed two or three times since I last fiddled with it.

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