Airmail2000 on Linux.

Airmail is “a message program specifically designed for connectioto a HF radio mailbox station.” it is “a 32-bit program which runs under Windows-95, 98, NT, 2000 or XP”. For the last few weeks I’ve been testing it on Ubuntu using Wine. My Linux laptop is re-cycled, so it didn’t come with an OS. So I installed Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition. After installing my APRS application of choice, Xastir (from source of course). I happened to read somewhere that Airmail seemed to work reasonably well with Wine. So I tried that as well.

After installing Wine (apt-get install wine), I downloaded airmail, and one double click later it was installing. Better than that, I’ve had it running since (needed no reboots!) I’ve tested the VHF Packet Module, POP/SMTP Client, POP/SMTP server, Telnet Client, and all seems to be working as it should. There is one quirk I’ve found.

There is an option in the mail client to “Check Spelling as you type” and this is enabled by default. With this enabled, text in the ‘body’ of a message appears white on a white background (and is thus invisible). Once disabled it works fine. It took me a while to find the solution and this question has appeared a few times on the airmail list, and the simple fix is to select “Tools” then “Options”, then the “Spelling” tab which is the 8th from the left, and make sure there is no ‘tic’ in the  “Check Spelling as you type” box.

If this works for you, send me a mail, ei7ig at winlink dot org

Guilt free Radio!

Eamonn seems to be enjoying his holidays. With R$15 all-you-can-eat dinners and R$1 for a beer, I’m not surprised. I, on the other hand have been so busy recently it just was not funny.

AREN has been soaking up my spare (ha!) time, with meetings, documentation, and other stuff that comes with trying to organise volunteers. AREN was also involved in recent exercises with other Voluntary Emergency Services in South Tipp,


and last weekend AREN members aided the Glen of Aherlow Fáilte Society with communications for the Glen of Aherlow Walking Festival, as the weather was forecast to be good, numbers were quite high. Communications from both sides of the mountain were provided and everything seemed to go without a hitch (other than the torrential shower just before walkers got to the buses on Saturday afternoon). Bernard, EI8FDB, has a few pics up on flickr taken during the event. Finally though, things are slowly getting under control (even on the DIY Front!) AND we found that shim6 bug I was talking about, so I can make some headway in work.

Now, as to the title of the post (Thanks Seamus!). I’ve been collecting bits and pieces for a while (2 years or so), batteries, solar panels, charge controllers etc. I finally got the panels installed, (sub optimally unfortunately, but wife friendly) two weeks ago. I let the batteries charge up fully, then I switched off my 13.8Volt PSU, and switched on the (slightly adjusted) 24v-12V DC DC converter. That was the 27th of May. Since then I’ve had my radio gear running from it just the battery bank and the panels (some of it 24×7). At this moment in time (approx 11 days later), the panels have put 204Ah into the battery bank, the DC-DC converter has consumed 350Ah.

Miguel was asking me to work this out during the week, so here goes (its late, and I’m tired so I could easily be way off here)

554 * 24 (volts) = 13.296 (KWh)

13.296.5 /11 * 365 = 441.18kWh for the year.

My last bill says a unit costs 15.02 cent (incl vat), so I should ‘save’ about €66.26 on the ESB Bill over the course of 12 months. Or to put it another way, it will never pay for itself, economically speaking.

I’m still experimenting, and will probably add more panels (and more ‘load), but so far, I’m happy as a pig in the proverbial with it. The problems will arise however as winter descends (and that €66.26 total will be in doubt). In those (in)famous words, A lot done, more to do.

Nail… Head?

I’ve been reading Jeff’s weblog for quite a while.  I tend to agree with him pretty much all of the time when he comments on the Amateur Radio hobby, not because I want to, but more because he is spot on.  His latest post should be required reading for any club setting up for Field Day (but we know it won’t) in order get clubs thinking about how best to present the hobby to others.