Portsdown4 + Langstone video

I moved the new Raspberry Pi 4 into the Portsdown box and used the Portsdown functions to upgrade both Portsdown and Langstone software versions to their latest versions. Via putty, I ran set_sound to select my “3D Sound” audio dongle. I fed the output to the speakers in the box via a little audio amplifier.

Here is a video of switching from Portsdown to Langstone and back. Langstone was still tuned to the GB3KEU beacon on 6cm, but there was no RF input to the Pluto.

GQRX on Ubuntu Linux with FUNcube Dongle Pro+ (FCD)

On a Ubuntu 14.04 PC I applied upgrades to Linux and then followed these instructions for installing GQRX. As a precaution, I did the clearing-out instructions in terminal:

sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove gqrx
sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove gqrx-sdr
sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove libgnuradio*

I added the repositories:

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:bladerf/bladerf
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:myriadrf/drivers
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:myriadrf/gnuradio
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:gqrx/gqrx-sdr
sudo apt-get update

I installed:

sudo apt-get install gqrx-sdr

I did the suggested optimisation. This took some time:

sudo apt-get install libvolk1-bin

With the FQD plugged into a USB3 slot, I launched gqrx fom terminal. It complained about configuration file settings and put up a configuration screen. I couldn’t see anything I could change for the better, so I shut it down. I tried launching it again & this time it launched fine. I set it to WFM an 88.6 MHz & Radio Sheffield showed on the waterfall display, but there was no trace on the upper display. I adjusted something, bandwidth?, and the upper display launched into life.

So the FCD seems to work fine with gqrx on Ubuntu 14.04 on the i5 PC.


On the shack PC running Ubuntu 16.04, I used the same installation process.

With the FCD in a USB port, I tried gqrx in terminal and got:

linux; GNU C++ version 5.4.0 20160609; Boost_105800; UHD_003.010.003.000-0-unknown

Controlport disabled
No user supplied config file. Using “default.conf”
gr-osmosdr v0.1.x-xxx-xunknown (0.1.5git) gnuradio 3.7.10
built-in source types: file osmosdr fcd rtl rtl_tcp uhd plutosdr miri hackrf bladerf rfspace airspy airspyhf soapy redpitaya
FM demod gain: 3.05577
Resampling audio 96000 -> 48000
IQ DCR alpha: 1.04166e-05
Using audio backend: auto
BookmarksFile is /home/gray/.config/gqrx/bookmarks.csv
getDeviceList : Available input devices:
“FUNcube Dongle V2.0”
“RFSPACE NetSDR Receiver”
“RFSPACE Cloud-IQ Receiver”
“RTL-SDR Spectrum Server”
“Red Pitaya Transceiver Server”
“Complex Sampled (IQ) File”
Loading configuration from: “default.conf”
Configuration file: “/home/gray/.config/gqrx/default.conf”
Crash guard triggered!

I got a “Crash Detected” message box, so I opted for ‘yes’ to change the settings, but saw nothing to change. The FCD had been recognised. I set a frequency of 88600 kHz & a bandwidth of 200 kHz.

Launching I/O device editor
CIoConfig : Available output devices:
0 : “Built-in Audio Analogue Stereo”
Output device 1 : “alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo”
Loading configuration from: “/home/gray/.config/gqrx/default.conf”
Configuration file: “/home/gray/.config/gqrx/default.conf”
gr-osmosdr v0.1.x-xxx-xunknown (0.1.5git) gnuradio 3.7.10
built-in source types: file osmosdr fcd rtl rtl_tcp uhd plutosdr miri hackrf bladerf rfspace airspy airspyhf soapy redpitaya
Using FUNcube Dongle V2.0 (hw:2)
gr::log :INFO: audio source – Audio source arch: alsa
Opened: hw:2
Dongle sucessfully initialized
Result of Action :+++++
FCDAPP 20.03
Lna gain enabled
Mixer gain enabled
If gain set to: 15
IQ DCR samp_rate: 192000
IQ DCR alpha: 5.20831e-06
Changing NB_RX quad rate: 96000 -> 192000
New antenna selected: “RX”
Gain name: “LNA”
min: 0
max: 1
step: 1
Gain name: “MIX”
min: 0
max: 1
step: 1
Gain name: “BB”
min: 0
max: 59
step: 1
New audio output device:
new: alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo
IQ DCR samp_rate: 192000
IQ DCR alpha: 5.20831e-06
Requested sample rate: 192000
Actual sample rate : “192000.000000”
New FFT rate: 25 Hz
Requested bandwidth: 200000 Hz
Actual bandwidth : 0 Hz
setFreqCorr : 0 ppm
New LNB LO: 0 Hz
Set Frequency to: 4.33985e+06 Hz, corrected to: 4339848 Hz
Lna gain enabled
Mixer gain enabled
If gain set to: 15
New mode index: 2
Filter preset for mode 2 LO: -5000 HI: 5000
Generating taps for new filter LO:-5000 HI:5000 TW:2000 Taps: 115
setFftRate to “25 fps”
New FFT rate: 25 Hz
New FFT rate: 25 Hz
setFftSize to “8192”
New FFT rate: 25 Hz
New mode index: 5
FM demod gain: 0.509296
Filter preset for mode 5 LO: -80000 HI: 80000
Generating taps for new filter LO:-80000 HI:80000 TW:32000 Taps: 19
Set Frequency to: 8.86e+07 Hz, corrected to: 88600000 Hz

I pressed the “play” arrow button. This filled the terminal box with “a0″s, non-stop! I killed the process. Buried in the stream on “a0″s is the occasional error message: “No Audio FTT data“.

So, there’s a difference between Ubuntu 16.06 and 14.04. It worked on 14.04!

1-Feb-2019: I upgraded the shack PC to Ubuntu 18.04 and re-installed gqrx. Using the FCD it failed in the same way as with Ubuntu 16.04. I’m baffled. Maybe gqrx doesn’t like my hardware?

For some reason, the No Audio FTT data error messages have gone.

I have received some help on the Microwaves groups.io forum and on the gqrx gmail forum.

14-Feb-2019 Barry G8AGN kindly lent me an RTL dongle. This worked fine using GQRX on both the i5 with Ubuntu 14.04 (in a USB3 socket) and the i7 with Ubuntu 18.04.

So the audio processing on the i7 is fine. There must be something specific to the FCDPP which causes a problem with the i7 hardware, or perhaps the volk optimisation has caused a different bit of software to be used with gqrx. I don’t know. Help!

Installation of an Epson ET-4500 printer on Ubuntu Linux

The Epson installation information that comes with the ET-4500 does not mention Linux & the DVD offered no Linux installation or drivers.

I searched the Epson dowloads site for ET-4500 and Linux. This offered 3 downloads:


I downloaded ESC/P-R Driver (generic driver).

The notes said that for Ubuntu I should install lsb first. In a terminal window I entered:

sudo apt-get install lsb

It installed a lot of stuff!

The drivers downloaded from the Epson page above had huge long file names with different suffixes for different file types with the unstated message: Here you are guys, you figure it out!

I chose the epson-inkjet-printer-escpr_1.6.21-1lsb3.2_amd64.deb file from the downloaded files. The user shouldn’t have to guess, but I guessed I needed a .deb file as I guessed Ubuntu is a Debian based distribution. I guessed I needed amd64 as the PC has a 64 bit Intel processor. When I double-clicked


Ubuntu Software Centre opened epson-inkjet-printer-escpr Epson Inkjet Printer, Driver (ESC/P-R) for Linux. I have no idea if lsb, whatever that is, was used.

Then I installed the Printer Utility in the same way from the epson-printer-utility_1.0.2-1lsb3.2_amd64.deb file.

It is probably a good idea not to wear good clothing for this bit, but filling the ink tanks was quite straightforward. I emptied the whole of the bottle of each colour into the appropriate tank. It is nice to be able to see the appropriate ink level.

I used a LAN patch lead to connect the printer from its LAN socket to the switch on the network. In the printer settings I set the Network Settings to have a manual IP address of 192.168.n.m (n and m as per my local network; I picked an unused address) with a network mask of and I also set the gateway to the router’s local IP address. I haven’t tried a networked printer before.

Opening System Settings/Printers, I could see: “There are no printers configured yet“. I clicked Add.

Epson Inkjet Printer #1” was listed as the first device. I wonder where this item has come from?

I selected Network Printer/Find Printer. It added Epson ET-4500 I(IP network printer via DNS-SD) as the next entry. I selected that & clicked Forward. It displayed searching for drivers.

It displayed Describe Printer. The defaults looked OK, so I clicked Apply. It offered me a test page. Amazingly, this worked.

It always amazes me when anything involving a computer works, especially when a network is involved.

So far I’ve installed the printer drivers on Ubuntu 14.04 & 16.04. I haven’t tried installing scanner drivers yet.





Having a rest from HP inkjet printers

In the past I have used HP printers & tried refilling the cartridges with good success.

However I have found that a printer may just take against even new HP cartridges & these are expensive. Figuring out what is going on from the cryptic or non-existent error messages can waste a lot of time when all I want is a printer that works.

Recently my main printer decided that the colour cartridge needed attention. I took it out & cleaned all the contacts. It was quite new. I had printed little with it. I didn’t actually want to print in colour; I wanted to print black only, but the printer demands a working colour cartridge that it is happy with in order to use the black cartridge.

My partner recently bought an extra large black cartridge for her HP printer; it cost about £40! A standard cartridge contains little ink these days.

Finding HP printers frustrating, fussy & expensive, I have decided to try others. I’ve been offered a Samsung laser printer to try. I’ve ordered an Epson ET-4500 deskjet printer from John Lewes (Currys & Staples have disappeared from Sheffield town centre). The ET-4500 has re-fillable ink tanks & you can see how much ink is in them.

Using a MiniVNA Tiny (from Mini Radio Solutions) with Ubuntu Linux

First I installed Java  8 (1.8.0-16).  If I remember correctly, I used these instructions.
Typed in a terminal box: java -version yields the information:
      java version “1.8.0_161”
      Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_161-b12)
      Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.161-b12, mixed mode)
Then I downloaded JAR-file (vnaJ.3.1.19.jar) from the DOWNLOADS VNAJ page, where is says: “For Windows- OS X and Linux-Users downloading the JAR-file is suffcient”; click on the blue “JAR-file” link. There is probably a later version than vnaJ.3.1.19.jar now, so select as appropriate.
I connected the VNA via a USB cable. Its green LED lit up. Double-clicking the vnaJ.3.1.19.jar file icon in its directory executed the application. Selecting Analyser Setup, miniVNA Tiny showed ttyUSB0 had appeared as an Available port. I clicked test, but the ttyUSB0 port failed the test.
I tried executing vnaJ as root using the sudo command. Now the port passed the test.
I asked for help on the Yahoo group analyzer_iw3hev.
Andy Eskelson G0POY helped me out with the permissions. He told me to open a terminal box and type in:

sudo usermod -a -G dialout gray    , “gray” being my username.

After a reboot, I tried vnaJ again. I tried a calibration & it ran fine!

So it looks like I can use my MiniVNA Tiny again.

I might try N1MM contest logger on Linux next.

Fast Log Entry on Ubuntu 14.04 Linux

FLE is a useful little program written by Bernd DF3CB which I had running on Windows 7, but I wanted it running on Linux. It allows for the creation of an ADI file directly from text typed in.

I downloaded the program from DF3CB’s site into a new directory under .wine

I right-clicked the installation file & selected WINE and the installation ran. I skipped creating a Windows desktop file.

The files installed into:  \.wine\drive_c\Program Files (x86)\FLE

I used sudo nano to create fle.desktop in /usr/share/applications with the contents:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Fast Log Entry (DF3CB)
Comment=runs FLE on WINE
Exec=wine “FastLogEntry.exe”
Path=/home/gray/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/FLE

I didn’t know how to find the icon, so I right-clicked FastLogEntry.exe & ran it under WINE. Then I used the Print Scrn key to capture the screen including the icon displayed on the on the launcher bar.  Using mtpaint, I cropped just that icon & saved it as fle.png

sudo cp fle.png /usr/share/icons

copied it into the icons folder.

I ran fle.desktop from /usr/share/applications by double-clicking on it & then right-clicked the icon in the launcher bar to lock it there.

If there is an easier way to do this, do let me know!

Anyway, FLE runs on WINE on Ubuntu Linux now.


GJV2000 logger running on Ubuntu 16.04 Linux

I wanted to be able to run Mike Goodey’s old GJV2000 logger on Linux. This program has given me good service over the years.

I installed DOSBox via the Ubuntu Software installer on the launcher bar. This installed:  DOSBox version 0.74, copyright 2002-2010 DOSBox Team. (I entered dosbox –version in a term window to get this information).

My CONTESTE.EXE file is in  C:\Program Files\GJV2000\OldGJV2000    File/directory names are shortened to 8 characters for DOS, so this becomes  Progra~1\GJV2000\OldGJV~1″ -c “CONTESTE.EXE   in the Exec line in the .desktop file.

The C: drive is actually my directory  home/gray/dosdrives/drive_c  and is mounted as C: in the desktop file shown below.

Using gedit I created the conteste.desktop file in /usr/share/applications with the contents:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=G0GJV CONTESTE logger dev
Comment=Launches logger in DOSbox
Exec=dosbox -c “mount c /home/gray/dosdrives/drive_c” -c “C:” -c “cd progra~1\GJV2000\OldGJV~1” -c “CONTESTE.EXE” -c “exit”

I put a suitable icon gjv2000.png file in /usr/share/icons so that I get a pretty icon in the launcher bar. (First I found the program using the Search feature, launched it & then right-clicked the icon to select the lock-to-launcher option).

I had some problems copying & pasting into gedit as it seemed to copy invisible characters. Typing the text in afresh fixed these problems & the application launches & terminates correctly from the desktop file.

It is nice to have the GJV2000 logger running again. I have various notes in the list file which reminds me of people’s names, who uses morse code etc. which are a boon to a dodgy memory.

earlier post

Running Windows CARDFILE.EXE on Ubuntu Linux (and Spider game)

Cardfile.exe is a simple name & address file which visually emulates a box card file. You can set up a new card and write anything on it you want to. It doesn’t have to be names and addresses. I think I may have acquired it with Windows 3.1. It’s probably a 16 bit application.

I was disappointed to find it would not work with Windows 7. Lack of forwards/backwards compatibility is something which puts me off windows.

I’m running it now via 32 bit WINE 1.7.55 on 64-bit Ubuntu Linux 14.04.1. For convenience I use an icon in the launcher bar which launches the application & opens my list of contacts in CONTACTS.CRD. The .desktop file (in /usr/share/applications) is:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Contacts File
Comment=Opens contacts.crd in Cardfile.exe
Path=/home/gray/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Cardfile

I found a suitable free icon file, so there is a link to this included.

Much to the delight of my partner, I’ve also discovered that the old windows Spider game runs on WINE too!

Turnpike Integrated Version 5.01 U email running on Ubuntu Linux

I’m continuing to learn about Linux, little by little.

I have been using Turnpike email software since I had an account with Demon Internet & it has stayed with me through a series of internet providers. I thought I might have to abandon Turnpike with the move to a new PC, but I decided to have a go at running it on Wine on Linux.

Much to my delight, this works! I’m using a 64bit PC, 64bit Ubuntu 14.04.2 and 32 bit Wine 1.7.

I shared the old Turnpike directory on my Win98SE machine. The new Linux machine found this over the LAN. I ran install an install for Turnpike version 1.1 and then upgrades for versions 4 & 5.01, all under Wine.

I copied the files over from the Win98SE machine to their new location in

I amended the relevant lines in CONNECT.INI & TURNPIKE.INI to reflect Turnpike’s new location. My only problem was that after connecting & fetching/sending emails, CONNECT.EXE crashed after 30s delay. The crash report mentioned mfc42.dll & user32.dll.

Firstly, I added the dll’s (from VCRedist) using Winetricks & they arrived in the syswow64 directory. It loaded both mfc42.dll and MFC64.DLL. These were different versions. I fetched a copy from Win98SE and overwrote MFC42.DLL. This appeared to be the same version as mfc64.dll and the later of the two versions.

Secondly, suspecting that CONNECT.EXE was trying to access a time server, I put a server address back in CONNECT.INI. SetClock was already set to NO.

Thirdly, in case it was trying to poll a serial port modem which didn’t exist, I clicked Stop on Dialling Status. (The software was originally installed with a serial port modem for dial-up access – those were the days!).
One of these measures seems to have fixed the problem.

CONNECT.EXE rebuilt the encrypted mail database.

I found a FAQ for Turnpike.

My only problem now is that when I click on Mail/News in Connect in order to launch Turnpike, turnpike appears in a window which is maximised. This is a minor problem however.

What did we do with our time before we had computers?

G0GJV’s GJV2000 Conteste.exe DOS logger on Ubuntu Linux

I bought a new ACER desktop PC. This comes with a wireless keyboard & mouse. I don’t like these. I tend not to remember to turn the mouse off & the keyboard has a poor action & feel.

It also comes with Windows 8.1. I don’t like this either! It seems to be configured for a tablet/touchscreen. I just want the standard windows desktop with the Search feature. After spending time trying to rid the machine of touch icons and unwanted apps, I wondered about giving Linux a try.

I’m also fed up with MS’s built-in obsolescence (I have PCs with Win98 and WinXP), lack of backwards/forwards compatibility & the way MS forces me back on a learning curve with each release of Windows & Office, with familiar features hidden in new unknown places and file formats incompatible with earlier versions. Also I want to be in control of my privacy as far as possible, without apps connecting to clouds here, there and who-knows-where.

I set up a 2GB SD card with Ubuntu Linux on and also an installer disk. I probably didn’t need the SD system, but it may come in handy. I took over the D: partition for Linux. It worked. It found my Wi-fi & I installed updates. I tried USB sticks & drives & they worked fine. I can still boot Win8.1 if necessary.

I installed DOSbox & this let me run my old GJV2000 DOS-based logger in a DOS window on Linux. I set up a desktop file ‘gjv2000.desktop’ to let CONTESTE.EXE launch from an icon on the desktop launcher like this:

sudo nano /usr/share/applications gjv2000.desktop and entered the following lines…
[Desktop Entry]
Name=G0GJV CONTESTE logger
Comment=Launches logger in DOSbox
Exec=dosbox “mount c /home/dosprogs” -c “C:” -c “cd GJV2000″ -c “CONTESTE.EXE” -c “exit”

The file assumes a dosprogs directory in my home directory and a GJV2000 directory within that. I found a suitable icon, called it gjv2000.png and stored it as referenced above.

For good measure, I copied the DOS editor files EDIT.EXE & EDIT.HLP into the GJV2000 directory, so I can export & edit “RSGB” files.

I’m impressed with Linux so far. I have loaded WINE from the winehq site & tested it with my old CARDFILE.EXE windows application. It worked fine. I’ll try to install my old-but-current Turnpike emailer (from Demon Internet) and see if that will run on WINE.

I realise that I have a lot installed & configured on Win98SE & it will take a long time to migrate. At the moment though, I feel optimistic that I will be able to save myself some grief by ignoring future Windows releases as it looks possible to run DOS and old Windows applications on Linux.