Posts Tagged ‘Mac’

Where’s the Love West Mountain Radio?

So again, I am looking in the QST, and I found that West Mountain Radio is offering a new RigBlaster. Sweet! I love their products. So I read on and notice something is missing from the info on the website and in the QST ad. Does it support Mac?

RigBlaster Advantage

Photo Courtesy of West Mountain Radio

Now I have been a convert from PC for about 4 years now. My very first computer was a Commodore 64, which I then upgraded to an Amiga 500. I have been and will always be an Amiga user at heart. For me, Macs are the closest thing to a main stream Amiga, other than an Amiga which are pretty expensive nowadays. But you can read more about that as well as listen to that on the Amiga Roundtable podcast that is produced here at AmiZed Studios.  So now that I am a Mac user, I want the full experience. Ham Radio included.

I have an older Macbook Pro in the shack for my main machine. I do have a small PC, but it’s slow and I built it for an entirely different use. So it wouldn’t be practical to use that. But with the release of the RigBlaster Advantage, which looks to be an awesome product I would use in a heart beat on my Mac, I don’t know if it’s Mac compatable. Yes, Macs 90% of the time work with everything, but it would be nice to have that little bit of info to know that it will, without having to go hunt for a driver, like I did for my USB to serial interface I got. It works perfectly, but it would have been nice if I knew I had to go download them from the chip maker since they weren’t included on the disc I was given with it.

I was going to buy a RigBlaster Data Jack Plug and Play for my Mac, when i was told by the gentleman from Quicksilver, that it wasn’t supported on Mac. So I got a NoMic. When I got home and did some checking, I discovered it can work with Macs. I admit, this is more a pet peeve then anything, but still. It would be nice to know. I mean, there has to be more than one person at West Mountain with a Mac. OK, so I shall finish my rant here and just say that it would be nice to have that info from the manufacturer directly, instead of getting anecdotal evidence from a Google search.

But in case you’re wondering, here’s a link to the specs on West Mountain’s website.


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.


Free (As In Beer) Satellite Track Software – GPredict

So after ARISSat-1 was deployed, I have been trying to receive a signal from it. Specifically SSTV signals. I haven’t been very sucsessful. For one, I haven’t been able to be at the radio when it makes a pass because of work and family commitments. I’m hoping this week, I’ll have more time to sit down and be there to listen for. But the first thing is, I need to know where it is. 

Screen shot of MacPort installed Gpredict

Screen shot of MacPort installed Gpredict

I took a look at some of the tracking software out there for my Mac and found that there is only really one program that I could find for the Mac natively, that was “fully” featured with all the bells and whistles. But it was pretty steeply priced for me at $98. I decided t see what else was out there for free. The only one I found that I liked, was Gpredict. It’s written for Linux, but there are ports for it for Windows and Mac, and it’s open source, so it’s free.

The only draw back was, it wasn’t native, so I had to install from source or use MacPorts, a project that ports open source Linux software to the Mac platform, since Mac OS X is based on FreeBSD. The install took me about an hour because of all the dependencies needed for GPredict. MacPort installed them all with no problem.

So after some false starts and finally reading some more info on it, I managed to get it running on my Macbook Pro. After I ran it for the first time, it saw that the info for the satellites was out of date and asked to do an update, giving me the option to do it online or through a file I downloaded.

Gpredict supports fast and accurate real-time satellite tracking using the NORAD SGP4/SDP4 algorithms, No software limit on the number of satellites or ground stations and Radio and antenna rotator control for autonomous tracking.

After uploading and doing a little more research, I was able to find ARISSat-1 on the list, under RadioSkaf-V. Once I found it, I was able to track it no problem. Now, it’s just a matter of having the time to do it. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out GPredict, and try it out. Since it’s free you’ve got nothing to lose.

But if you also have a suggestion for Mac satellite tracking software, please, share it in the comments, and share any experience you have with GPredict.


Rich also writes a Tech blog and posts stories every Tuesday and Thursday on Q103, The Rock of Albany’s website, as well as Amateur Radio stories every Monday thru Friday here on AmiZed Studios.

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: