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Saturday, November 21, 2009

WSPRing with Ubuntu

Wow, the radio gods are are really helping me lately! Soon after receiving my new Ubuntu laptop, Joe Taylor, K1JT, released the first Linux version of his amazing WSPR program. And he wrote it for the version of Linux that I am using: Ubuntu!
Not only that, the new version includes a feature that I was most in need of: the capability of handling compound call signs. No longer am I signing on from Rome as N2CQR -- now the all-important I0/ is also displayed (see the above map). I had very little trouble getting Ubuntu WSPR running on my machine (and as you all know, I am a real Linux klutz). The new program also allows for periodic CW identification. Very cool. Here something I noticed: WSPR requires the computer clock to be accurately calibrated. With my old Windows machine I had to periodically tweak the clock using an on-line GMT clock. But when I went to check the accuracy of the clock in the Ubuntu machine, it was EXACTLY right. To the second. I wonder if Ubuntu Linux has a feature that automatically synchs the computer clock with GMT.
Here is what Joe says about the new software:
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WSPR 2.0 is now available for download from the WSJT Home Page, http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/
Click on WSPR in the left margin, then on the appropriate WSPR 2.0 link for your operating system. Installable binary packages are provided for Windows and for recent Debian-based 32-bit Linux systems. A recommended Linux distribution is Ubuntu 9.04.

Version 2.0 of WSPR introduces a number of new program features, including the following:

- User-friendly setup screen with drop-down selection of audio devices and CAT parameters
- Support for compound callsigns
- Fine adjustment of fractional time for transmitting
- Optional CW identification
- Tools for frequency calibration and automated frequency corrections for your radio
- A Tune button
- Direct on-line access to the WSPR 2.0 User's guide, WSPRnet, and the WSJT Home Page

Full details are presented in the all-new User's Guide, which is a "must read" if you want to use the new features. The manual includes a Troubleshooting guide. Click http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/WSPR_2.0_User.pdf to read the manual.

Three cheers for Joe Taylor!

1 comment:

  1. "But when I went to check the accuracy of the clock in the Ubuntu machine, it was EXACTLY right. To the second. I wonder if Ubuntu Linux has a feature that automatically synchs the computer clock with GMT."

    Yep, sure does. Ubuntu comes by default with ntpdate set to run at bootup time. If you want to keep your computer up for an extended period of time, you can use ntpd to keep your clock synchronized (and not drifting). More on this here: https://help.ubuntu.com/8.04/serverguide/C/NTP.html There are implementations available for Windows; the Mac comes with it built in, like Ubuntu.

    Network Time Protocol has been around a long time (since 1980, though clearly it has evolved a lot over the years). The man behind is Dr. Mills at University of Delaware. It should come as no surprise that he's a radio amateur (W3HCF).

    de AI4UC

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