Posts Tagged ‘iOS’

LHS Episode #156: Beer and Balloons

dos-equis-calendar3Hello, podcast listeners! In this episode of Linux in the Ham Shack, your intrepid hosts discuss APRS software, Bluetooth TNC hardware, FCC regulations on WiFi hardware, UK ham radio licensing issues, the crazy idea that Microsoft might buy Canonical and much more. Thank you for tuning in, donating and subscribing and just being a friend of the show. Thank you also for sticking it out while we work hard to get back to putting our show out on time despite all of life's obstacles.

73 de The LHS Guys

Show Notes #116

Episode #116 Audio (Listen now!):

  • Week-end Brushes with fame
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  • Pete Looks for a phone

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  •  ”The Soundtrack of Our Summer” by The League from the album The Soundtrack of Your Summer, courtesy of Jamendo.
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LHS Episode #116: O Savannah

serengeti01This week in the heart-pounding, blood-stopping episode of Linux in the Ham Shack, our intrepid hosts discuss a variety of topics from call sign look-up databases to Ubuntu, freeware collaboration suites to mobile computing, and QRP kits to hosted developer platforms. As if that were not enough, there’s music, banter, a cameo by Wil Wheaton and a rocking good time. What more could you possible want?

73 de The LHS Guys

iOS CW app recommendations?

CW Apps

App Store search: "learn morse code"

I would like to use an iPhone app to learn CW.  I think that most of my learning and practice will take place on the train each day, so listening to live CW is out of the question.  For those of you that may have already done this, I was wondering if you have a favorite CW app.  Post your recommendations in the comments.

–Neil W2NDG

HamLog App Upgrades–WOW!!!

I’ve blogged about iOS apps before, but I can’t remember if I’ve previously mentioned anything about HamLog.  I’ve owned HamLog for a few years now.  I’ll honestly say for the record I don’t currently use it, but feel that will soon change.

HamLog is an iOS and Android application developed by Nick Garner, N3WG.  Nick has developed over a dozen different apps.  One I mentioned briefly in another blog post is his Pocket SOTA app.  You can view Nick’s listing of Apps from his website

As I mentioned, I’ve owned HamLog for a few years.  I believe Nick developed and released it in 2009.  I’ve watched Nick make many changes to the HamLog app over the years.  While I’ve tried using it to log contacts, I found I could log via pen and paper much faster.  Especially with operating SOTA, you can easily find yourself generating a large pileup.  The extra time it takes to manually key in all the info was just something I wasn’t interested in for my own operational setup.  Until now…

Please take a few minutes to watch this video.  Nick introduces some new enhancements to the HamLog App as well as a new piece of hardware called Pigtail Air.  Pigtail air will allow for true rig control through the HamLog app and of course will speed up the logging process. 

I believe the Pigtail Air device, coupled with my new KX3 (when it arrives) and my iPad will make a fantastic SOTA or portable logging setup.  I’ll now have an excuse to buy that Otterbox Defender iPad case.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

My Introduction to SOTA


I can’t honestly say that I knew a whole heck of a lot about SOTA prior to a week or so ago. Sure I figured it had something to do with activating mountain tops and had figured out what the acronym stood for. By the way, SOTA stands for Summits On The Air. The general idea of SOTA is much of that with IOTA (Islands On The Air) or LOTA (Lighthouses On The Air). Ironically, the same weekend I worked my first SOTA station, I also worked my first lighthouse. Since there aren’t very many lighthouses in Colorado, I decided I would read up on and become more familiar with SOTA. I believe I’ll be able to find a few summits here in the Centennial State to keep me busy for a while.

My first SOTA QSO sort of came by accident. I had been tuning up and down the band looking for W3T which was the Nikola Tesla special event station operating out of New York. I had noticed W3T spotted on a few of the DX clusters, but never heard them or the stations I did hear operating on the posted frequency were clearly not W3T. I turned to Twitter to see if anyone else had either worked W3T or heard them. I was just about to send my tweet when I saw a twitter posting from K0BAM. Jim lives over in Delta, Colorado. Anyway, his Twitter posting read something like W7IMC operating QRP SOTA from Idaho 14.343. I gave the big dial on the front of my Yaesu FT-950 a spin up to 14.343 and listened for a few minutes.

The bands have been in fine shape most of the day. I had worked several US stations and even a JA on 10m just before this. The signal I was hearing from Idaho sounded like it was coming from Idaho Springs, Colorado (just up I-70 from me). I listened a few seconds more and the mountaintop station called Whiskey, Seven, India, Mike, Charlie QRZ. I quickly came back with Kilo, Delta, Zero, Bravo, India, Kilo and just like that I was in QSO with my first SOTA station.

Click to shrink...

As I previously stated, Scott’s (W7IMC shown right) 5w signal was booming into Colorado and we quickly exchanged pleasantries and he told me he was located on Regan Butte and provided the SOTA identifier of W7/SR-181. I knew Scott had others who wanted to work him and I wished him luck with his activation and said my 73 and logged the QSO in my logbook. I stayed on frequency and listened for another three or four QSO’s and picked up more information about the SOTA program. Of course, I quickly pulled up Google (Google is our friend) and soon found a couple of interesting websites.

The first website is the SOTA main home on the web. SOTA actually began over in the UK and slowly migrated throughout Europe and eventually we caught on over here. SOTA refers to each particular area as an association and there are 54 such associations around the world. Each association is managed by a volunteer called an association manager. The association which serves the Denver Front Range area is W0. W0 is managed by wG0AT, Steve Galchutt. You may know Steve from his Youtube videos featuring Rooster and Peanut his two pack goats.

Each association will have anywhere from a few qualifying summits and some have several thousands. In the case of W0, we have 1,791 qualifying summits. Enough to keep me busy for a long time. All total there are over 42,000 qualifying summits world wide.

Now we have two different ways to participate in the SOTA program. We can lace up our hiking boots, grab our portable gear and activate a qualifying summit. This is called an activator. Or we can grab a cup of coffee, head down to our comfortable shack. This is called a chaser. Obviously the success of the program requires both types of participants. Of course, an activator can work other mountain top activations.

Both activators and chasers can log their contacts into the SOTA database. Points are awarded for both categories. For what I hope is an obvious reason, those performing the activator role earn more points than those chasing. In addition, each qualifying summit may have different points earned based on degree of difficulty.

With winter coming on with a bang in the Colorado high country, I’ll spend the next few months learning more about SOTA and working other SOTA station activations as I can. Check out the SOTAwatch database for upcoming activations and current spots.

photo (2)

Finally, if you’re an iOS user (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). Check out the Pocket Sota app. It’s .99 cents in the iTunes App Store. The app provides a listing of all the associations which you can drill into to find detailed information about each of the qualifying summits including a map view.

The image to the left represents 219 qualifying summits in the Front Range region of the W0 association. While some of these are 14,000+ peaks, many are not. Those that aren’t just might be accessible even in the early winter months and I might just have to investigate a possible activation as KD0BIK/P. However, before I really get serious about this, I need to update my portable power setup.

I’m looking at the nanophosphate technology so many of our fellow amateur’s are raving about. Unlike the 12v 7.5Ah batteries I use today, which weigh in at a whopping, back breaking 5+ pounds. The 9.2Ah version is only a little over 3 pounds. Also, as I understand…the nanophosphate batteries last until the last milliamp is gone from the battery, all while holding their voltage. Yes the cost is much greater than SLA models. But I feel this could be well worth it.

Until then, I’ll be watching the SOTAwatch database for activations as well as keeping my ears open for any I happen to hear on the bands. I’ll make sure to document any such activities be it chasing or activations right here.

Until next time….

73 de KD0BIK (Jerry)

SSTV on an iOS Device

From the “Oh, How Cool is That?!” department, is a video to round out a week’s worth of Ham Radio videos, showing an iOS device, (iPhone,iPod Touch,iPad) decoding an SSTV signal. I have seen a bunch of Ham Radio apps on the iTunes App store, but I seemed to miss this one. According to the link in the video’s description, the SSTV Decoder app is made by Black Cat Systems, who also make a few other Ham Radio programs for Macs. The webpage says “.. Just connect it to an HF radio (or even set it next to the radio’s speaker), tune in an SSTV frequency, and watch the pictures.” From the video I didn’t see a directly connected cable from the iPod Touch, so I’m guessing that they are using a 4th Generation iPod Touch with a built in microphone and have it sitting close to the radio to hear the SSTV tones. Still, it looks like it received a nice picture. But they could also have been replaying pre-recorded picture on the device too. Either way, it’s cool!


Rich also writes a Tech blog and posts stories every Tuesday and Thursday on Q103, Albany’s #1 Rock Station website, as well as Amateur Radio stories every Monday thru Friday on AmiZed Studios and hosts a podcast called The Kim & Rich Show with his fiance’ Kim Dunne.

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