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Ce psk31/rtty


#1

Morning All.
Sitting here admiring a new(Works)CE portable notebook, thoughts of dragging it up hills have sprung to mind. Anybody know of a RTTY and/or PSK31 program that will work on the CE operating system? Any other radio related software that users in SOTA land know of would also be of interest.
Cheers
Tim
G4YTD


#2

In reply to G4YTD:

PocketDigi. It’s available for Windows and WinCE. Not sure which WinCE though, possibly an older one (i.e. not the Windows Mobile flavours of WinCE).

The package includes the source and some prebuilt binaries. IIRC the WinCE devkit is a free download from Microsoft so you can build it from the source for a zero cash outlay. As to whether it will compile/run on newer flavours of WinCE, well nows your chance to find out! :wink:

I did consider using it (PocketDigi) on a dog old Ipaq 3600 I have. The Ipaq would be a small and light portable digital terminal and has sufficient ‘ooomphh’ for PSK31 apart from the issue of microphone connectivity and no porper keyboard, just a touch screen. In the end I bought an Asus eeePC 701 which I’ve used with Fldigi for SOTA PSK31 and also is a much more usable portable net terminal when tethered to a 3g phone / dongle.

I think Jaako has used PocketDigi on a WinCE device from the French Alps for SOTA.

Andy
MM0FMF


#3

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi all,

Yes, photos here

This system is slow for typing, so the usual digi operators may leave the frequency before you have had time to type in their call sign. Basically you just send some pre-programmed macros with it. The other problem is logging the QSO, which I still do on paper.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#4

In reply to MM0FMF:
Thanks Andy,
Both programs look interesting (having a look between support calls and trying to weld a bracket to a housing!), though I may struggle with the CE laptop. I have heard that there is a tiny Sony Vio running XP lurking somewhere in the department. Maybe a bit of inter tech trading would make life easier by having XP pro as an OS instead. I have the CE machine for the weekend and will see if it wants to play ball. We also use Psion Workabout Pro units here that have a full alpha keyboard, and a dedicated mic in and speaker out connection. The O/S we have on them is Mobile 6 Pro, or some old flavour of CE. Either way, with the battery they probably weigh more than the CE laptop! PSK portable is not easy from past experience with the brightness of the screen a major issue in sunlight. Desperate to crack this problem as it could be an interesting mode to activate with. Thanks for your comments.
73
Tim


#5

In reply to F5VGL:
Thanks Jaakko,
I had a brief go with an Ipaq some time ago and found it pretty hard to deal with (Poor battery life and lousy pop up keyboard). It was about 5 years ago, so maybe battery life has improved by now. All comments noted, including the logging.
It looks like to make the system successful, a proper keyboard is needed.
I will report back over the weekend with observations once I have had a go with the CE machine.
73’s
Tim


#6

In reply to G4YTD:

Hi Tim

Several have tried SOTA using datamodes (mostly as as a one-off) but it has never really caught on. I have used a netbook PC(internet for 10G co-ordination) on hilltops a few times and have found it a rather unsatisfying experience. They are not designed to be read in full sunlight and peering at a screen hunched over a computer does not compare favourably with sending CW whilst eating an oatcake and admiring the view. Maybe you will find it more inspiring than me?

73

Richard
G3CWI


#7

In reply to G3CWI:

I have to agree Richard. The screen readability in bright sunlight is poor. It was fun to sit on a summit on a stinking hot day with no breeze and find the cooling fan on the PC was audible, in fact loud. I qualified the summit with PSK31 but have not bothered much since. I sit in front of PCs all day (and evening) so carrying one about for SOTA PSK is too much like work. I don’t get to play Morse at work an I have to say that since starting to use it, I find it much more rewarding than data. I suppose it’s another fine example of more effort in = more reward out.

Andy
MM0FMF


#8

Hi Richard and Andy,
Thanks for the comments and observations.
As promised here are the results of the first /p PSK mini expedition.

I had an opportunity for use of a “free” PC and thought it may be fun to have a bash at /p PSK. Following this weekends exploits, I may have to reconsider! I carted the kit up onto the Yorkshire Wolds today (Walking distance from home) in a backpack as a practice SOTA activation. The CE machine is a waste of time, there are no dedicated sound in or out ports on it, and any thoughts of gaffer taping a make shift connection are negated by the version of OS it uses not playing ball with the PSK software.
The Second experiment involved my Vista Compaq, and after messing for hours with failed patches etc to make it work with Digipan, I discovered Airlink Express http://www.dxzone.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump2.cgi?ID=19975 . Airlink is a digipan clone written for Vista, works well, and gets around the problem of sound card setup/levels etc.
As it is not a great distance to the /p location I chucked the Compaq into the bag and set off to evaluate.

Observations
Compaq is too heavy by a factor of lots (I expected this).
Screen not bright enough to use outside easily (coat on head when the cloud cleared).
battery life lousy.
PSK as a novelty mode was fun, but frustrating.
Having the ability to play with other novelty modes was fun, including SSTV (1 contact) – however this as expected drained the radio battery pdq.
CW worked easily also as expected – did struggle though as this was never my first mode of choice.

As I see it I have two options to move forward:

  1. Buy an XP mini notebook and develop the kit to be small and compact. Build the soundcard interface into the hook up cable, and hope it is not going to rain when activating.
  2. Invest time and effort into CW, and spend the money saved finishing the 23cm and 4m xvertors. – Think this one gets the vote.

Andy, As you, I also spend too much of my working life staring at PC screens. Taking a break to head for the hills is always a good thing.

Thanks for the comments, and I am pleased it was only an outlay of time required to arrive at the conclusions. Enthusiasm for /p PSK is dwindling by the minute.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

73

Tim
G4YTD


#9

In reply to G4YTD:

Hi Tim,

Of course digi modes are different from CW, SSB or FM.

The iPAQ114 was the cheapest I could find from the market. Used ones are probably even cheaper. It does not have a microphone connector, so I need to use tape to fix the ear phone at the mic hole. Battery has not been a problem so far. There is an external Bluetooth keyboard available (about 84 EUR), but I did not buy it to keep the cost and weight as low as possible.

The iPAQ can also connect to internet with wlan, so some basic surfing is possible with it. Other interesting application (if I had time) would be to connect it to miniVNA, which gives you portable antenna analyser. Also APRS messaging might be feasible somehow, though the iPAQ has only one USB port.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#10

In reply to G4YTD:
It’s not actually software, but if you are looking for a minimalist PSK31 solution, you could also consider the NUE-PSK stand alone PSK unit…no computer required:

http://www.nue-psk.com/

I have one, and have used it with the FT-817. Be sure to have a narrow filter installed…

73,
Tom-N2YTF


#11

In reply to N2YTF:
Hi Tom
Thanks for the link.
I had a look at one of these when the £/$ exchange worked in our favour, unfortunately my children needed things at the time and I didn’t buy one. The exchange is pretty poor for us at the moment :slight_smile:
Do you find it easy to use when on the hills?
I have been having a look at an XP netbook today, weighs less than 1Kg with a cost of sub £200, and has “proper” mic and speaker connections. I am in the process of looking into using it to run the home shack, with the added bonus of taking it with me when the feeling takes me…
I would be interested to hear about your experiences with the NUE-PSK.
If you want to take it off line, my e-mail address is tim @ g4ytd.co.uk ,just take the spaces out :slight_smile:
Thanks again
Tim
G4YTD


#12

In reply to G4YTD:

Dump XP and go with Linux Tim. There’s no need to pay the Microsoft tax!

Andy
MM0FMF


#13

In reply to MM0FMF:
Hi Andy,
Made me laugh on an otherwise lousy Monday…

Are you limited with Linux?
I use digipan, HRD, various contest loggers, MMSTV, MMTTY etc, - windows based products. As most of my operating these days is either portable from the car or SOTA, I was going to load it up and take it with me, kind of emulate the home setup in miniature, but with good take off, no QRM and no banging on the door from the guy next door every time I try to use 6m with more than a pico watt. I am particulary interested in having a go from my QRO /p site with FSK441 and WSJT on 2 and 6, having said that I would have a genny and the luxury of the car to cart it about so could take the giant Compaq at a push. The idea of a radio only PC appeals greatly, not carrying personal data, cheap machine, and everything in one place that the children cant get hold of.
Are there Linux equivalents of the above?
No body said this was going to be an easy choice!
:slight_smile:
Tim

Gee-4YTD


#14

In reply to G4YTD:

Are you limited with Linux?

Not that I’ve noticed.

Fldigi does CW, DominoEX, Hell, MFSK, MT63, Olivia, PSK, RTTY, Thor, Throb at a variety of speeds. Never been interested in digital SSTV, FSTV yes and analog SSTV (with a long persistence tube) yes. SSTV really is just sending a file and displaying really! Contest logging is built into Fldigi for digi modes. There are SSTV progs but I’ve not tried them. Genuine WJST is available for Linux but again I haven’t tried it.

So what’s left that you may need? Virus scanner? Nope won’t need that. Firewall package? Nope built in. Web browser, lots to pick and of course, unlike IE you won’t need to worry about drive by infections. Email, lots and lots. IM clients? Jabber and Pidgin solve that. Openoffice does all the business productivity stuff and Evince handles PDFs.

OK so how much have we spent so far on all this software? Hmm… a whole nothing. That leaves money available to spend on radios!

Don’t get me wrong, I have 2 XP machines at home and 3 XP machines on my desk at work. So I use XP more than anything else. (If I need to do some real computing we have a supercomputer that’s somewhere around #250 in the top 500 worldwide). It’s just that everything I need so far in a portable go-anywhere box I can run on Linux, for nothing.

Oh, I’m sure you can find something specific you really need that is Windows only. The problem with most of the netbooks and the built in Linuxes they come with is that the built in distributions are pants. The Xandros nonsense my eeePC came with was awful and I didn’t use it a tenth as much as I do now since I installed Debian on it. That was hard… download installer, reboot, answer questions (about 10), go away and come back to everything installed and working about 2hrs later. Didn’t have to do a thing once it started.

Andy
MM0FMF


#15

In reply to F5VGL:

One more application for the iPAQ is voice recording of the QSOs. The standard rate is 43 kB/s 16-bit stereo 11025 Hz sampling. That gives 25.8 MB in 10 minutes and 154.8 MB in one hour. With 8-bit mono and sampling 8000 Hz the data rate reduces to 8 kB/s, so about five times less storage is needed. I do not understand the need of stereo here, since the iPAQ has only one microphone.

There is also a commercial logger program available from N0HR.

The really brave ones would compile the Linux kernel for this Marvell PXA310 CPU and start to debug the different hardware drivers, but that is a different story.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#16

In reply to MM0FMF:
Having just spent the entire day exchanging e-mail instructions with a customer that has done silly things to his network (such as removing our permission for remote access), I am at the end of my tether with PC’s today!
Seriously though, I had dismissed linux a while ago due to the pain factor of firstly getting things to work, and secondly keeping them working. After having a look in radio world for interesting linux apps, have to admit I am quite pleasantly surprised at the availability of good and relevant stuff. It looks like I will have to have a go. The hardware is available with a trad spinning HDD (160Gb), or a significantly smaller solid state “disk”. The overhead for Linux is minimal so probably don’t need huge amounts of space, and the solid state storage is probably a bit more bomb proof. Any thoughts on which way to go with that – bearing in mind SOTA and other /p operations are a priority, and is 16Gb enough (My memory stick is bigger than that)?

Having had enough technology for now, going to drag the kayak out of the garage and go for a paddle in the rain and wind – June isn’t it?

Tim
YTD


#17

In reply to F5VGL:
Hi Jaakko,
You are selling the iPAQ well!
I had a look on Ebay last night to see if I could find one at a give away price, not so… Looking at the prices here in the UK, I would struggle to buy one for not a lot less than a netbook. We don’t use them at work either, so I couldn’t borrow one to play with for a while. The apps sound interesting though. Wonder if anybody will produce an i-App for a i-phone to run PSK? It could automatically self spot too…
Cheers
Tim
G4YTD


#18

In reply to G4YTD:

Well Debian Lenny for the eeePC works exceptionally well. You need a small amount of tech knowledge to set it up so a newbie may bork it a few times before getting it all correct. But it only costs you time so it’s no great loss. I’ve been playing with Linux systems since 1997 so I knew what to do. The online help explains a few extra bits that are needed and everything was just as the instructions said. The only mistake I made was to do a full desktop install so I have rather more than I will ever need on the system. I could start again and install a lighter setup but everything is working.

One of the big issues with Linux systems is WiFi. It’s all to do with the chipmakers trying to keep some info secret to stop users running at full power or on out of band frequencies. But that worked without issue. On booting the installer it asked if I wanted to install via Wifi or the wired network. I installed this to an 8GB SD card in the slot and left the original 4G SSD with the original software on it. One day I might reinstall onto that as the supplied distro was rubbish and Wifi needing hacking to work. I have about 4.7GB free on the 8G card on a system that has all the Linux software, plus browsers, email, IM, bittorrent clients, OpenOffice, Evince (PDF), a few hundred MB of jpgs, GIMP (a Photoshop type program), Wireshark (network monitor), Kismet (Wifi monitor). I haven’t had to install a single driver, everything I plug into the USB is understood ranging from USB<>RS232 adapters, Bluetooth, my Canon camera, Web cams, memory sticks. I have to say that it was the most complete Linux I’ve ever setup. There’s normally something that should work that doesn’t but in this case there wasn’t.

Fldigi I compiled from source on my home Linux machine (some old P4 dinosaur from 2003/4). I wanted to be sure that I could build that app and tweak it to how I wanted. However, the standard binary you can download works fine so this is just me doing stuff similar to what I’m paid to do at work but not getting paid for it. Kind of takes the shine off it when you think about it like that.

The downside is that running from SD card is a bit slower than the SSD and you cant suspend. When you close the lid it should suspend so that opening the lid restarts you in a few seconds. But due to how the “disks” work on SD card you can’t do that so closing the lid shuts the machine down. Likewise, as this is a full install bootup is not as quick as a lot is loaded. I could solve them by installing on the SSD but it works so well I don’t want to play with it, I want to use it!

An 7in 800x480 screen is small after everything else but more than useable. You’d want to make sure that whatever you want to do will be useable without excessive scrolling and panning though. When I bought this I wanted a small internet terminal/PSK box not a full spec laptop in a small box. Since the original eeePC701 came out there have been lots of other machines. A bigger screen would be nice but not essential and I don’t need a faster CPU than the 667MHz Celeron in mine. Longer battery life yes and an underclocked 1.5GHz Atom would be good. However, the price differential between the bigger screen and less thirsty CPUS puts the higher spec netbooks dangerously close to a full size cheap laptop. I have a dual core 15in laptop which runs at a bazillion GHz and whines and roars away so I wanted something small and light. If I had to spend near £300 I’d have bought a full size laptop. I think I paid £240 and of course their now on offer for around £150.

It’s difficult to decide whether you really want a netbook or just a cheap laptop. Of course, you can always try Linux on whatever to start with and if you really can’t cope then install XP later. But just to queer the pitch there are a whole host of new high integration chips coming out that are really enhancements on the chips use in mobile phones. They’ll do everything the current netbooks do but with 3 times the battery life and no need for cooling or fans etc.

Andy
MM0FMF


#19

In reply to G4YTD:

You are selling the iPAQ well!

No, my intention was not to sell this to anyone :slight_smile:

At work and home I do use Linux, but Mac OSX should be similar or more advance. Anyway this is becoming a little off topic, so I will not comment this thread anymore.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#20

In reply to F5VGL:
Hi Jaakko
No offence meant, I was trying to say you are a great ambassador for use of the iPAQ. Thanks for the information, it has given me loads of things to research and ideas to develop.
:slight_smile:

Tim
G4YTD