Category Archives: software

Bodging yfklog

To borrow a phrase from Darren, G0HWW. I did a bit of bodging of yfklog over last weekend. I couldn’t figure out how to get the existing code to talk to, so after a bit of bodging with the Ham::Reference::QRZ; module, it now pulls the basic information from, name, address2 (Town), operator class, grid, iota, state, qsl manager, and pops them into the relevant places in the log. A productive few hours!

I’m hoping to do the same for and, when I have a patch ready, Bob,W9YA will hopefully submit my changes assuming he deems them useful.

Another minor modification I made was to change the sort order of the exported online log, threw a bit of php at it, and now my most current contacts appear at the top of the output file.

CQIR and Yfktest

2012 is the 80th anniversary of the founding of our national Amateur Radio society, the Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS). To mark it, the IRTS is organising an Amateur Radio Contest, like any contest, there will be different categories for contesters to take part in (full rules).

Previously, I mentioned that I have used yfktest, in fact at SSB field day last year, I did a svn checkout, just before the contest as we had a problem with the software the other guys regularly used.  So, this time, instead of waiting until just before the contest started, I thought I would have a look at it slightly beforehand.  Boy was I surprised.  While the web page is a bit dated, the latest check-in to the repository was 29th of February 2012.  It seems that Bob, W9YA has been busy working with a group of hams finding some bugs and making lots of improvements.  Good job Bob (and everyone else), I am really looking forward to trying it out on the day.

Electricity Usage.

I’d been meaning for ages to purchase something to measure power consumption in the house. Earlier this week, a work colleague reminded me about it, so I went and purchased one. My Current Cost Envi arrived just before 8am this morning (thanks Mr. Postman) so I hurriedly plugged it all in before going to work.

This evening after dinner I found the data cable and plugged it all in.

[3383512.421973] usb 1-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
[3383512.580255] usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[3383513.033716] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial
[3383513.034024] drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial support registered for generic
[3383513.034271] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial_generic
[3383513.034276] drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial Driver core
[3383513.146668] drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial support registered for pl2303
[3383513.146703] pl2303 1-2:1.0: pl2303 converter detected
[3383513.146930] usb 1-2: pl2303 converter now attached to ttyUSB0
[3383513.146942] usbcore: registered new interface driver pl2303
[3383513.146946] drivers/usb/serial/pl2303.c: Prolific PL2303 USB to serial adaptor driver

Excellent, the device was recognised to begin with. I found this web page by Paul Mutton, describing how to generate graphs from it with RRDtool. Some minor modifications, courtsey of “Q” and we have a result.

1 Hour in Meadowbrook

To quote from Paul’s page:

Then you can sit back and be amazed at how much electricity you waste when you leave a computer on to monitor how much electricity you are using 🙁


I posted before about using the Airmail through Wine on Linux to access the Winlink system. It’s fine, it works, but it is a lot of overhead. Recently, in a response to a question, Dana, KA1WPM posted to one of the Winlink email lists that I’m on about the existence of paclink-unix. Paclink-unix was started by Nick Castellano, N2QZ.

Now I had seen this mentioned before, but for whatever reason I never took the time to look at it. This time I took a closer look.

After downloading the source and having a quick browse, a few small modifications had to be made.

In mime2wl.c I changed Nick’s call-sign to my own. The same had to be done in mail.wl2k.c

in wl2k.c I changed

asprintf(&command, "%s -ba %s", SENDMAIL, emailaddress)


asprintf(&command, "%s -bm %s", SENDMAIL, emailaddress)

I’m not sure what -ba means to the original sendmail, but -bm for postfix, which I’m using, seemed to be what I was looking for, after consulting the manpage.

Next the configuration. After (very) briefly consulting the postfix docs. I came up with the following:

transport_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/transport


wl2k unix – n n – – pipe
flags=RXhu user=j0n argv=/usr/local/libexec/mail.wl2k

I mostly copied the maildrop line already in the configuration file. removing the ‘D’ in the flags and adding an ‘X’. I’ve not yet tested whether I need the ‘D’ or not.

X indicates ” Indicate that the external command performs final delivery. This flag affects the status reported in “success” DSN (delivery status notification) messages, and changes it from “relayed” into “delivered”.”

... wl2k:localhost

So anything destined now gets sent through the local transport.

That’s pretty much it for the moment.

If I need to send to any other domains through winlink I could add the following “catch-all” to the transports file.

* wl2k:localhost

And everything would go through it.

Testing it then I sent myself an email at, and tried to collect it using the supplied tools.

j0n@ns1:~/src/paclink-unix-0.3$ sudo wl2kax25 EI7IG "EI8IG-10 v EI2WRC-4" 1200 60 ei7ig@localhost



wl2kax25: sid [WL2K-$] inboundsidcodes -B2FIHM$


wl2kax25: proposal code C type E mid 6L9CAL8YBRST usize 274 csize 236 next (nil) path (null) ubuf (nil) cbuf (nil)
wl2kax25: sentcksum=79 proposalcksum=79
wl2kax25: 1 proposal received
wl2kax25: title: Testing Postfix
wl2kax25: offset: 0
wl2kax25: STX
wl2kax25: len 236
wl2kax25: EOT
wl2kax25: extracting…
wl2kax25: calling sendmail for delivery
wl2kax25: delivery completed
wl2kax25: Finished!


wl2kax25 is like fetchmail. It connects out over a linux ax25 port (i.e. Radio) to a winlink node and retrieves it to be delivered to an email account of your choosing. In the above example, the winlink node is approximately 35km away, but not accessible directly. Consequently I used the EI2WRC-4 digital repeater (digipeater) to relay my packets.

For a ‘pre-alpha’ piece of software, it is working nicely for me, and it is good to have a Linux “Native” winlink client. Many thanks to Nick and Dana for their efforts.


As a follow-up to my previous post the Kenwood TM-D710E (E for Europe) is available and shipping. Now there is another question waiting to be answered, is it any good in KISS mode? No one seems to know for sure, but the buffer size has increased. Ok, so they left out Smart-beaconing but the radio is apparently firmware upgrade-able, which means that the potential is there to do upgrades depending on user feedback.

Coming back to KISS mode, invariably. In general we tend to (at least I always have) run the the serial port of the Radio Modem (TNC) at a higher speed than the radio channel, this reduces latency in getting data from the computer out to RF, and the combination of large RAM buffer and RTS/CTS handshaking means that everything happens as efficiently as possible and no buffers overflow.

The predecessor to the TM-D710, the TM-D700 (and TS-2000 and TH-D7G2), all share a common “TASCO” TNC implementation. The problem is that its buffer is quite small, and it seems not to have RTS/CTS implemented. This means that in KISS mode its very easy to overflow the buffer in the TNC, which causes it to lock up completely.

I recently installed a Linux version of the Winlink TelPac (Packet to Telnet) software on the Packet node I maintain in WIT, and over the last few days, for AREN purposes, I have been testing it with Airmail, which works great.

Not having the good sense to leave it alone, I thought I’d try and get the TASCO modems working with Airmail. After many power-cycles of the radio, and much pulling of hair, its now working.

Now, this isn’t for the faint hearted, and, to be honest, for a system to be deployed ‘in the field’, I definitely would NOT recommend using the TASCO TNC in the Kenwood radios (TS-2000/TM-D700/TH-D7) with Airmail , leave them running APRS, like they are designed for.

Anyways, it involves running Airmail, pointing it at a Virtual Serial Port. The HW Virtual Serial port connects to Airmail to AGW Packet Engine linker (AMPE) , which, in turn connects to AGW Packet Engine and finally on to the radio.

After some hints by Demetre, I followed the instructions with AMPE, and it all seems to work, but by any stretch of the imagination, its a nasty, nasty kludge. I’m guessing that the reason it works, is that the virtual serial port software does some kind of flow control, but I really have no idea.

My advice, use a real TNC!

Mobile IPv6 on the N770

Following up from my earlier post. To save someone the trouble of building MIPL for Linux for the N770, you can find a Linux kernel here and mip6d here.

I’ve been trying the kernel out using the following command to upload the kernel:

flasher -l -b -k zImage-su-18-200730

And powering on the device, the mip6 kernel gets loaded (until the next reboot). Once it boots, its possible to copy mip6d onto the n770, as it appears as a USB storage device. Install X-Term, write a mip6d configure script, and off you go (I’ve not tested with IPsec yet though)!

I remain unconvinced about the usefulness of the n770/n800 type devices. They may be usefule for some remote control applications, although I’m not sure, more testing (using IPv6) is needed ;).



I was reading the July edition of Monitoring Monthly and came across an article by Paul Marsh. In it he mentioned a home-brew D-Star transciever designed and built by Moe, AE4JY and detailed here. Thanks for the info Paul, kudos to Moe and his buddies for a very interesting prototype and some excellent information. Is it the future of Amateur Radio? who knows, but the work done my Moe, his buddies, and others like them will definitely shape it.