Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Australian shortwave broadcasting back on the agenda?

On Saturday, April 23, I attended a rally by ABC Friends Victoria at which Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus spoke. I've long been a supporter of shortwave broadcasting from Australia both for the inland but also the Pacific and was disappointed when it was shut down. It was a bit of a surprise when Mark Dreyfus mentioned shortwave in part of his speech.

No policy announcements but interesting that he mentioned shortwave.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Appeared on ABC RN Download This Show

Once again it was my pleasure to be a guest on the ABC RN program "Download This Show". You can hear it here.

Marc Fennell is away making a TV show so the fabulous Rae Johnston was guest host. The other panelist was Manal al-Sharif who makes the Tech4Evil podcast.

This episode was recorded remotely. I'm at my rural antenna farm connected via NBN fixed wireless and it all worked rather well. 

ttyUSB0 for IC-7300 missing on Ubuntu 22.04

I upgraded a machine to Ubuntu 22.04 and found that wsjt-x couldn't see the serial port any more.

lsusb shows the device:

Bus 001 Device 005: ID 10c4:ea60 Silicon Labs CP210x UART Bridge

It seems that Ubuntu has added a bunch of Braille devices, one of which conflicts with the serial device in the Icom radio.

The trick is to edit the file:

sudo nano /usr/lib/udev/rules.d/85-brltty.rules

and search for "10c4:ea60" 

Then comment out the line starting with ENV{PRODUCT}:

# Device: 10C4:EA60

# Generic Identifier

# Vendor: Cygnal Integrated Products, Inc.

# Product: CP210x UART Bridge / myAVR mySmartUSB light

# BrailleMemo [Pocket]

# Seika [Braille Display]

#ENV{PRODUCT}=="10c4/ea60/*", ATTRS{manufacturer}=="Silicon Labs", ENV{BRLTTY_B>

After a reboot the /dev/ttyUSB0 device is there and wsjt-x is all working again.

Friday, April 08, 2022

IC-705 remote control on macOS and iPadOS

The Icom IC-705 has network features that IC-7300 owners can only dream about. Happily for us macOS users, there are two software programs that do a good job of remote controlling the radio.

The first is a commercial program SDR Control by the guy that does the iOS software for Flex Radio SDRs. It looks like this in operation:

The window can be made smaller (but not as small as I'd like) for casual listening while doing other stuff on the computer. Here's a bit of the VK2WI broadcast monitored here on 30m. The station is about 800km from me and comes in very well.

A new version, for iPadOS has just been released. It's not cheap but works well. As a software developer I can imagine the work that has gone in to this app.

The other option is free and open source. WFView (Waterfall View) is available for Linux, Windows and here I use it on macOS:

Both work well. SDR Control has additional features including built-in digital mode clients but WFView works perfectly well.

I hope that one day Icom releases an update to the IC-7300 with network capabilities like the IC-705.

WFView can connect to the USB port on the IC-7300 and make it available on the network but it ties up a computer. WFView source code is here.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

New version of iOS App WSPR Watch with 3D visualisation of spots

There's a new version of WSPR Watch for iOS which builds on the recent improvements to spot data analysis and graphs. Here's low noise master VK7JJ's spots on the graph:

(Click to enlarge). I had a wild idea that it might be nice to plot spots in 3D with x for time, y for SNR, and depth for distance away. This 3D plot is in the latest version:

On an iPhone or iPad you can rotate and zoom the 3D plot and I have to say I'm impressed with how fast Apple's SceneKit framework is at rendering 3D data.

My thanks to the beta testers and for encouraging emails during development.