Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ham radio on Mac with Parallels

While there is some excellent ham radio software for the Mac such as CocoaModem, Aether, EchoMac, and DSP Radio, there's a lot of good programs which are unfortunately only available for Windows. One of my favourites is CwGet which seems to be the best Morse decoder around.


In the past I have tried Parallels but have always had problems getting sound in and out of the Windows virtual machine.

I've just upgraded to Parallels 4 and, apart from being generally smoother, simpler and faster; connecting a USB device such as the SignaLink USB I use for radio interface seems to work really well. Here's the preferences I use:


It's no surprise that the two operating systems compete for the USB audio device. I had CocoaModem running and then started XP under Parallels and CocoaModem's waterfall froze. The program was able to quit cleanly.

Anyhow, this is all much more convenient than a separate machine just to run Windows ham radio software.

Parallels 4: recommended.

Update - transmit audio trouble?

Haven't quite diagnosed this yet but I ran WSPR under Parallels and while I could spot other stations, no one spotted me. I listened to the off air audio and it didn't sound as pure as normal.

I take that back, it turned out that a station that should have received me had a problem. The run over night shows that wspr runs fine under parallels.


But the best news was that I spotted old friend Ross, T61AA, in Afghanistan multiple times over night. (He's the person that got me started with WSPR).

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Anonymous said...

Thanks Peter for the good tips. As a die hard Apple user I hate to have a Windows computer in the shack for those tools which are Windows only. I'm gonna try to run MacOSX on my Intel Atom tonight and put your tips in practice!

73's! Jim, PA1JIM

Peter Marks said...

Ha! That wasn't quite what I was suggesting but good luck with that. I'm not sure that an atom processor, presumably in a netbook, is quite up to a snappy OSX experience.