Category Archives: Computing

Computing, networking, and the like. Non-Ham Radio related.

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – October 2021 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Tom – WB8LCD and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Tom has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

Last couple times, I’ve been talking about my journey to preserve legacy media. First talked about different media formats and last month described how to create and use floppy disk images. This month is about optical discs, copy protection and storing images for preservation.

Optical disc images

Unlike floppy images, creating and mounting optical disc images was a hole other ball game. CDs have a variety of structures: data only (Digital Data), audio only (Digital Audio), CD-TEXT (artist and song details for Digital Audio), mixed mode (data on track 1, audio on tracks 2 – n), Enhanced CD (audio for audio players, data and multimedia for computers), and multi-session (data added or modified over subsequent writes to the disc). There are other standards such as MP3 CD, video CD, super video CD – those are all data tracks. DVD and Blu-ray are also data tracks.

Creating optical disc images

To meet my goal of having a raw data dump of optical media, Linux had the hardest time creating images. cdrao (CD recorder disc-at-once) can process different disc structures but the output files were not in a format most tools understand. Popular K3B disc writing program cannot make images of audio or mixed mode discs. dd won’t work either because it uses file structures (FAT, NTFS, Ext, CDFS, UDF). CD-audio is audio bits containing no file structure. Single track, digital data only discs were fine for Linux tools. Mixed mode and audio discs were a no-go.

On Windows, my long-time favorite, ImgBurn (freeware) made it all happen using the “Create image file from disc” option. Though not updated in some time, it still works well and the developer answers questions in the forum. It handled everything I threw at it. It defaults to ISO. If the disc doesn’t meet ISO9660 specifications, it creates the more flexible BIN & CUE formats. BIN file is binary data from the disc. CUE, for cue sheet, it a plain text file containing details about the tracks in the BIN file. This paring would be for CD-TEXT, multi-session, mixed mode, and Enhanced CD discs. UltraISO (trialware) created these images too and could output to different formats: ISO, Bin/Cue, Nero, Compressed, Alcohol, and CloneCD.

Copy protected discs

Then things went downhill quickly. One exception to “everything I threw at it” was copy protected discs. Copy protected discs aims to confuse the drive’s read system. A full read of a copy protected disc will fail. However, when activated, the protection software knows what to expect based on how it instructs the drive to read the disc. Many of these schemes are explained in this article. Other copy protection schemes install malware, called RootKits, that hides activities making detection and removal of the malware nearly impossible. Sony/BMG Music got caught installing RootKits in 2005. A user simply inserting the audio disc into their PC would unknowingly infect their system. As it turned out, companies were more concerned about their intellectual property and less about making software that didn’t have vulnerabilities. In the end, copy protection only hurts those who follow the rules.

I had one of those Sony/BMG discs. When I realized what they were doing, it was promptly returned. When referring to copy protected discs, I’m referring to a handful of unreadable game discs I have. Programs out there like Alcohol 120% (paid version) make perfect 1-to-1 copies, emulating copy protection schemes. It has been 15 years or more since I used those features but it worked great back then.

Failures creating working images using Alcohol 120% and CloneCD (trialware), which still tout making perfect 1-to-1 disc copies, I though was an issue with the application. After digging at the problem, I learned it’s probably not the fault of the application at all. First, I would identify discs with copy protection as ones ImgBurn showed had read errors. Next, make a new image of the disc using a 1-to-1 copy program. Then validate the image by installing the game on my Windows 7 64-bit operating system I was using to preserve legacy media. Finally, seeing if the game would run successfully. None of those games would launch. I spent waaaayyy too much time working under the presumption the problem was creating a good image. In reality, none (I mean NONE) of the copy protected games would run using their original discs. Imagine that, copy protection that doesn’t work.

ImgBurn creating a disc image of a CD-TEXT audio CD

Reasons copy protection wouldn’t validate successfully could be any of: a newer OS. These games are from the Windows 98/2000/XP era and cannot run on Windows 7. Running a 64-bit operating system when the copy protection drivers were written for 16 or 32-bit OSes. Could also be proactive blocking of the driver by Windows or Microsoft Security Essentials. With that information, though, I cannot say if those images created do or do not work. I would have to go down the road of getting an older operating system up-and-running. Could fire-up a Virtual Machine as well. I’ll pursue that later. Reading up on making images of copy protected discs, a disc drive that can read raw data is needed. While most noted drives state they read raw data, they really cannot. I couldn’t find a list of known working CD/DVD drives.

Avenues I looked into are sites that have cracks to bypass the copy protection validation schemes such as GameBurnWorld or GameCopyWorld. Not responsible for any damage or legal issues. This is for informational purposes only. Some cracks that I tried were for 16-bit OSes which is just not supported in a 64-bit OS. While I’m sure most of these games are available on a modern platform like Steam, I’m not feeling charitable enough to hand over more money to them seeing as they got it wrong the first time. Microsoft thinks Windows Compatibility Mode will fix all the problems. I think it only works on 32-bit versions of Windows. Most PCs are 64-bit, and 32-bit OS support is being dropped. I’ve never gotten any 16-bit Windows program to work in compatibility mode on a 64-bit OS.

Need to make copies of protected DVD or Blu-rays? See the products list at the CloneCD link above. Not responsible for any damage or legal issues. This is for informational purposes only. Unlike the game copy protection schemes which require software or a driver on the PC, DVD and Blu-ray store encryption keys on the disc which makes it fairly easy for programs like AnyDVD or DVDFab to read disc level encryption.

Mounting and using optical disc images

Things didn’t get much better when mounting disc images using virtual drives. Much like floppy disk mounting programs, I wanted something to emulate a CD drive on the host operating system. All programs I tried mounted ISO images to the operating system: Virtual CloneDrive (freeware), ImDisk (open source), Alcohol 120% (free edition), Daemon-Tools Lite (though installer is very bloated with crapware and maybe DNSBL on PiHole), UltraISO, and WinCDEmu (open source). Few of those programs mounted BIN & CUE correctly and even fewer handled multi-session images. Not all virtual drives are created equal. It may take some time to find a program or combination that works. In Linux, ISOs could be mounted using the “Disk Image Mounter” in the desktop GUI or using the command line (see part 2 in this series). Mounting BIN & CUE files in Linux required CDemu (open source).

Audio BIN & CUE files could only be mounted using Alcohol 120%, Daemon-Tools, and CDemu. An audio player like VLC (open source) would be used to play audio tracks. Foobar2000 (freeware) can play BIN & CUE files directly (without mounting). Enhanced CD and multi-session CD data tracks could not be accessed when mounted through any of the virtual drive applications I tried. Once the virtual drive hits the first lead-out in the image, that’s it. This affects images where data tracks follow audio tracks and multiple session images containing more than a single data track. I was never a fan of creating multi-session discs but I did have discs from friends that were.

Disc read errors. An indication of a copy protected disc.

UltraISO can access those data tracks from multi-session images and extract files. Maybe easier to copy the files from the disc to a folder instead of making an image for simplicity. There were two ISO editors listed for Linux, neither listed BIN & CUE file support. For completeness, all disc and structure data are still stored in the BIN image file and described in the cue sheet. It is a shortcoming of these virtual drive applications to not provide access to all data contained within the image. I have no idea why. Taking the same image and re-writing (burning) it to a blank disc would result in a complete copy of all sessions and data.

If possible, through the mounting software, mount the image READ ONLY! (see reasons in earlier parts). In addition, many virtualization and hypervisors such as DOS-box, VirtualBox, and vSphere can mount images naively to a guest operating system. Wikipedia has a comparison of disc image software applications for other suggestions.

Storing images

Lastly on this charade, storing these image files so they may live on forever! CD and DVD images are going to take up more disk space because the media can hold more data. Organize all images into a folder structure that makes sense: games, types of games, graphics, amateur radio, audio/video programs, operating systems, utilities, etc. I decided to store these images on my Network Attached Storage (NAS) with copies both off-line and off-site. The NAS file share is set for read-only to protect unintentional modification or deletion of the images or its contents.

Hard drives, until the beginning of this year, were relatively inexpensive. A 4-terabyte drive can still be purchased for around $100. Higher-capacity drives have been met with shortages and prices to reflect their supply. 4 TB is ALOT of storage. Use a new dedicated drive for storage, keep them on a local hard drive, or use an external hard drive. Make copies onto separate hard drives, USB thumb drives, or in “cloud” storage.

Plan a backup strategy sooner than later. The following is true for ANY data: data does not exist if it is not in two separate places. I argue three copies of data or it doesn’t exist (see #5 under “What can I do to protect myself?”): 3 copies of your data, 2 of them on different media (spinning hard-drive, sold-state SSD, thumb drive, optical, in the cloud, etc.), 1 must be off-site (at work, at a friend’s, storage locker – preferably temperature controlled/waterproof, safety deposit, with a relative, in the cloud).

Going more technical and into file system technology, use a file system that hashes files such as Btrfs or ZFS. Then scrub the data every couple-to 6 months. This keeps data in-check and detects errors in storage indicating media degradation or imminent failure. Linux has these features as do many NAS devices. Hashing protection and original floppies themselves are not additional copies. Hashing isn’t going to save data from a disaster (wind, power, tornado, fire, flood, physical destruction, theft, …). Original floppies do not count as a copy because this technology is dated, degrading, and getting harder to recover, a.k.a. legacy.

Recovery & file conversions

Half-Life Opposing Force copy protection disc authentication failure on original media

If you really, really, really want data back and are unable to recover it yourself, there are data recovery services. One ham said a person he knew used Gillware. A channel on YouTube I follow gave a recommendation to WeRecoverData. I did not use, research, or vet any of these companies so some due diligence is required before some phony-baloney service makes off with precious data. Gillware is a Micro-Center partner and WeRecoverData has a large number of companies that have used their services. Take that for what it’s worth.

Going back to my data that I “really, really, really” wanted to save from unreadable floppies. It turns out, I apparently told my younger self: self, you should make copies of these floppies onto other media or you may not have that data in the future. I copied all those important floppies, that are now unreadable, and burned them to CD. See, had two copies of data! I found those copies on a CD spindle of burned discs. Probably had read issues back then and saw the writing on the wall about floppies somewhere in the early 2000’s, near as I can tell. Writable CDs were reasonably priced about that time as well, $0.20, $0.30, $0.50, maybe as much as $1/each. I definitely didn’t know I could make an image of a floppy back then because the CD was drag-and-drop copies of the data. Better than not having it. Saved myself a lot of agony – although it doesn’t make as good of a story…

I didn’t touch on file conversions as the goal was to preserve data and I didn’t need to convert file formats. This may be needed in cases where proprietary programs were used and those companies no longer exist. The data can be read from the media but the file itself cannot be opened by any modern program. A copy of the original program used to create the file is best as there is likely some way to get that program running again. If it was an early version of a program that still exists, they may have changed data formats along the way and the earlier format is no longer readable by a modern version of the same program. Possibly filters or converters can be downloaded and installed.

Searching the Internet for the program originally used to create the file may lead to threads and worm-holes. Using an example of a very old word processing file, a similar-type program may be able to open the file such as Microsoft Office Word, Corel WordPerfect, LibreOffice Writer or legacy versions of old office suites like StarOffice or OpenOffice may improve chances. The more proprietary and obscure the program and format of the file, the harder it will be to find a program to read or convert the file, whereas open source programs and formats are likely to still be around 20 years later. I found enthusiasts will write free/open source programs to convert random obscure formats on GitHub.

Now that I’m done getting data off 3.5″ floppies, they’ll get destroyed for security reasons and donated to the circular file. I don’t see a reason to hang on to them seeing how many had read errors and now I have good copies of everything I want. I’m starting to see the same writing on the wall too with CD-R/DVD-R discs. A couple gave me read errors. Using another drive read the discs just fine. Still hanging on to those CD/DVD discs, until I get tired of looking at them.

While making disc images, I saw a name that sounded familiar: CMC Magnetics. Where have I heard that name before? If you were serious into your writable media mid-to-late 2000’s, a quick Internet search recalled memories of CMC being some of the cheapest & crappiest writable CD-R and DVD-R media available. Quality was not consistent, even between different spindles of the same brand. Verbatim was considered the gold standard for writable media. Even they got out of the market, selling off manufacturing to CMC. I think it’s the right time to get those important CDs and DVD-Rs imaged as well due to media quality concerns 😀

Epilogue:

I had one MacOS formatted floppy disk from grade school containing games that appears to use the HFS file system. Not much has gotten me anywhere near being able to play the games on that disk. I came across information for those needing to recover legacy Macintosh disks that’s worth passing along. Back in the early days, Apple developed a proprietary floppy disk technology to get more data on a standard 3.5″ floppy disk. Granted, everyone was trying to do their own proprietary formats to lock consumers into their technology and securing income for their company. Like proprietary technologies before and after it, users get shafted. The specific drives used to write those disks are the only ones that can read those floppy disks. Adding insult-to-injury, all recent MacOS versions have dropped support for those formats leaving users to find a branded drive with an appropriate legacy MacOS version should they want data off those disks. Not to mention, how will they get that data to a new system? A number of sources point to this website which has a lot of information to help MacOS users get their data recovered. Guess I’ll keep hoping to pick up an LC III or a LC 5xx from my early memories of MacOS.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – September 2021 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Tom – WB8LCD and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Tom has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

Last time, I talked about a project I am working on to save data from legacy media: floppy disks, ZIP disks, and even optical media. This month I’ll cover programs and methods for creating floppy images and how to access data in image files.

Creating floppy disk images

I needed a program to create IMG files of these floppy disks. WRITE PROTECT disks before inserting into the drive to prevent accidental overwriting of the source disk! In Windows, I couldn’t find a decent program to make floppy images that wasn’t free. My usual go-tos failed me. Ones that did work as expected were WinImage (shareware, 30-day trial) and UltraISO (trialware). UltraISO is for creating, modifying, and saving CD/DVD images but has the ability to create floppy disk images too. Though, for some reason it doesn’t mount those images to the host operating system. dd for Windows is an alternative creator. dd is a well-known Linux conversion and copying program. If those don’t meet your needs, have a look at the Wikipedia article on disk image applications for a list of alternative options.

In general, on Windows, insert the floppy. Start the program. Select Make Floppy Image or Read Floppy. Then save the image file to the hard drive.

In Linux, making a floppy image can be completed with native tools. At the command line:

sudo dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/home/username/name_of_floppy.img
  • Failed to read from floppy using dd. dd will fail when it is unable to read a sector on the disk.

    if: “in file” or device to read data. /dev/fd0 is the common name in Linux for the first floppy disk drive

  • of: “out file” or device to write data

A better option to dd is ddrescue. That program is designed for data recovery, not only for floppies but CD-ROM and other media too. It will identify read errors and automatically re-read bad sectors hoping for one more successful read. Install through the Linux distro package manager. I had plenty of disks with read errors. Many were “oh, no – not that disk!” followed by moments of praying because I really, really, really wanted that data back. Some read errors were soft and easily recoverable. Others required manual intervention. My standard command line (one line):

sudo ddrescue -d -f -r5 /dev/fd0 /home/username/name_of_floppy.img /home/username/name_of_floppy.log
  • -d: direct access to the input file or device
  • -f: forces writing to the output file (if you locked the file somehow and ddrescue couldn’t write to the image file)
  • -rX: number of times to retry (X) reading bad sectors. I would set this value low initially, follow the methods below, and change to something like 150.
  • /dev/fd0: device to read (floppy drive)
  • /home/username/name_of_floppy.img: name and location of the output image file
  • /home/username/name_of_floppy.log: name and location of the output log file. This log is used to track sectors that could not be read, even across multiple runs of ddrescue.
ddrescue in progress

Once the initial run-through is completed with a couple attempts at re-reading bad sectors, the program can be terminated to blow debris off the magnetic medium or completely change out the disk drive. Re-run ddrescue with the exact same command and the program will continue retrying unreadable sectors of the same disk. Changing variables including giving things a rest for a few days will increase the chances of a successful read. One the disk is successfully read the log file is no longer needed.

My solutions for removing debris: bang the floppy physically to dislodge dust or other dirt. Blow across the magnetic medium while rotating to help do the same being careful not to introduce moisture, which would cause more harm. I saw this referred to as the “shake & blow” method. That got me through a good number of iffy disks. Trying another disk drive resolved even more errors. Some disks could not be completely read or there were so many read errors making the chances of total recovery slim to none. A number of excellent suggestions are available on this site dealing with copy protection, disk errors, and drive errors.

When ddrescue is unable to completely read the entire disk, try straight drag-and-drop copying of files to the hard drive. Entirely possible ddrescue is spending time on sectors that don’t contain usable data. Should that not work, let ddrescue do its thing as much as it can, mount the image, then try copying the files from the mounted image. ddrescue may not be able to recover the disk in its entirety but data it was able to read might be usable. I’m still praying for those disks that I considered important.

I didn’t find an exact equivalent to ddrescue for Windows. Searching online indicated a program like BadCopy Pro (trial) or TestDisk (free, open source) might be able to recover disk data at the file level, not at the sector level for the image. I’ve used TestDisk and derivative programs previously but did not test these programs for floppy data recovery.

Mounting and using floppy disk images

Pheew, making floppy images is done and the disks that were able to be read are preserved. Now, how to use these image files? They can be mounted to the operating system acting like another floppy or removable media disk drive. If so desired, the image contents can be modified. I do not recommend nor wanted any modifications to the image file once completed. If possible, through the mounting software, mount the image READ ONLY! Installers often write parameters or logs to the original media. The goal is to leave the img file completely intact as it was read form the original source disk. I didn’t want to risk having images modified from disks that took a long time to recover in ddrescue.

Mounting floppy image in ImDisk

If modifications are needed, make a copy of the image file and mount the copy for writing. If not available through the mounting software, or as an additional layer of protection, I made a file share on my NAS (network attached storage) that is marked read-only in the NAS configuration. After placing image files in that file share, setting the read-only property does not allow any write capability to that file share.

ImDisk (free, open source) worked well for mounting. It allows the device type to be changed or read-only options set to prevent modification. Selecting device type: floppy, check removable media, and check read-only are settings that worked best. In Fedora, I could use the “Disk Image Mounter” in the desktop, or at the command line (one line):

sudo mount -o ro /home/username/name_of_floppy.img /home/username/folder/to_mount_image
  • -o ro: sets the read-only flag
  • -t vfat/iso9660: maybe needed if mount cannot determine the image file system type

Many virtualization and hypervisors such as DOS-box, VirtualBox, and vSphere can mount images naively to a guest operating system.

Next time, CD/DVD disc images, storing images, and finally, the conclusion. Optical media images are harder to create, work with, and copy protection: the bane of my existence.

If you are a new ham or looking to improve your station and you weren’t able to attend Technical Specialist Jason – N8EI’s presentation “Beyond the Baofeng: Thoughts on Equipment Choices for New Hams,” you missed a great opportunity. It was a well throughout presentation and he made some great points. In attendance were a couple non-hams that wanted to become licensed. They were there trying to figure things out and he provided helpful information. The session was recorded and will be posted online at some point. I’m sure that will be announced when it is available. Don’t forget, Technical Specialists are available for presentations at club meetings or hamfests. If your club is looking to fill a program slot, reach out to Jason for his presentation or myself for ideas.

Speaking of hamfests, I made it to two more over the past month: Findlay Hamfest and the Cleveland Hamfest and Computer Show. At Findlay, I felt it was well attended. Not the numbers they’ve seen in the past, likely due to the on-going state of the world, but I was pleasantly surprised. I spent some money on connectors, couple gadgets, and found another power supply for my universal battery charger. Since it’s not available anymore, I wanted a backup incase the current one stops working. Could have spent a lot more money as I’m starting to look at smaller formfactor PCs – and they had a couple. Definitely saw a number of the disk drives I talked about in last month’s article. Good place to find them if you need ’em, just sayin’! Attendance seemed good, considering, at Cleveland too. That one is more of a social event for me as it’s my home turf and I run into a lot of hams I haven’t seen in some time. I also attended the presentation on one of my favorite linking modes, AllStar. All-in-all, two strong hamfests I recommend attending next year.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – August 2021 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Tom – WB8LCD and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Tom has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

PSA: make copies of old computing media now before that data is lost for good. Those of us that are old enough to know or remember what floppy disks are – and no, it’s not the 3D printed version of the save icon! This is my adventure in preserving legacy media.

Floppy disks, simply “floppy” or “disk”, was a data device based on usage of a flexible magnetic storage medium. Systems dating back to the Commodore utilized floppies and other formats such as cassette tapes. PCs first used 8-inch floppy disks, then 5 1/4 or “five-and-a-quarter-inch disk,” finally 3 1/2 or “three-and-a-half-inch disk.” Most who are my age remember the 3.5″ floppy because it was a very common storage medium for transporting research, papers, and data between home and school. Never had any 8″ floppies. I’ve been around computers longer than most my age and have a couple 5.25″ disks.

Later in high school and college (through about 2005), advances in storage technologies allowed for lager capacities at roughly the same size. The Zip disk was still considered a floppy but had rigid housing to protect the medium at about the same size as a 3.5″ floppy, though twice as think. Zip disks could store 100 MB versus the 1.44 MB of the 3.5″ floppy. Writable CDs became affordable as anyone could now “burn” an optical disk with a storage capacity of 650-700 MB. DVDs for videos and large capacity 4.7 GB storage were standard mid-to-late 2000’s. Those have since been superseded by multi-gigabyte USB solid-state and “cloud storage.”

If you’re like me and hung on to those floppies because they still have old games, maybe using them for document or picture storage – for some reason, or old programs you would like to use again. I started this project as I was sorting through old computer equipment and it was probably past time to preserve the data. That is, if they could still be read. Since I was going through this work of preserving data on floppies, I decided it was probably time to save CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs as well. In theory, medium, especially optical, should last a good long while. However, all medium will degrade over time. It’s also a factor of how the disks were stored, the quality of the drive that wrote the disk, cleanness of the head, quality of the diskette, reading drive aligns with written tracks, to name a few.

Being anywhere from 15-25 years old or more, another reason for doing this is because new computer systems (desktops/laptops) are not coming with devices to read legacy media. The new laptop I received from work doesn’t even have standard USB (A) or HDMI ports! Most keyboards, mice, USB drives, image scanners, SDR dongles, etc. still use that type of port. This machine only comes with USB-C and I need an assortment of dongles to connect standard keyboards, mice, and monitors to the new laptop. They took a cue from Apple MacBook.

While I still have 5.25″ disks, it was a much small number. Probably under 15. 3.5″ disks, I probably have 150 – 200 laying around. Whether I got lucky, the drive/medium are of better quality, or better error correction/recovery, I had no problem reading the 5.25″ disks. I thought: older medium, more problems. That was not true in my case.

Standard disclaimers: copying of some software (though the company may be long gone out-of-business), is still considered piracy – though highly unlikely really anyone cares. You are free to do with this information as you wish.

Locating drives and media

First, locate legacy media (floppies, Zip disks, CD/DVD-ROMs) to be preserved. If labeled correctly, you might be able to tell right away which ones are worth saving. Things you or your kids did when they were younger might be worth saving, but that old accounting program, probably not. Emulation and virtualization technologies have come a long way and is quite possible to get those old programs running again with a little effort. That’s another article.

Next – locate a device to read that media. Throughout the years, I’ve hung on to a handful of old floppies, Zip, and, CD/DVD drives. Before throwing in the towel this early, consider that it might be easier than you think to locate a drive – should one not be readily available. A floppy disk drive, floppy cable, and old motherboard with a floppy controller is all you really need.

8-inch, 5¼-inch, and 3½-inch floppy disks (Wikipedia)

To find 8″ drives, you’re probably going to eBay, computer surplus shops, or even a hamfest. They’re “vintage” on eBay, therefore asking prices are $100 and up for a drive. These old drives have been successfully connected to modern PCs with the help of an external controller or adapter. My 5.25″ floppy drive connected and worked just fine on a motherboard (late 2000’s era) I had laying around with a floppy controller. If a motherboard is not available, a floppy controller with USB capabilities from KryoFlux or GoTek would do the job. 3.5″ floppy drives are readily available, have USB connections and cost about $20. Consider 5.25″ and 3.5″ combination drives if both formats are needed.

Early Zip drives came as an external device with a parallel port connection. They were god-awful slow. With more than a few Zip disks to copy, look for a drive with an ATAPI (IDE) connection if you have a motherboard with an IDE controller. Otherwise, opt for the USB drive version. ATAPI isn’t breaking any speed records either. They are quicker and you don’t have to find a motherboard with a parallel port and locate Zip drive drivers. The Zip 250 and 750 drives can read lower capacity disks. The Zip disk format has been long dead and the Iomega company was bought and sold a few times, eventually being completely discontinued. All of these drives will be surplus/eBay/hamfest finds.

Operating system support still exists, at least on the PC side. A Windows 7 64-bit operating system handled all the formats I threw at it: 5.25″ floppy, 3.5″ floppy, Iomega Zip 100 ATAPI, and obviously CD/DVD. The Zip ATAPI/IDE interface showed up as a standard removable disk drive. An older PC with an older operating system increases your chances of a working combination.

Parallel port Zip drive and disk (How-to Geek)

Zip disks, in particular, had a proprietary software method of preventing accidental writing to the disk or requiring a password to read the disk. In the case where any of these protections were used, or any other proprietary method of encrypting media, those conditions under which the media was “locked” will likely need to be recreated in order to read or decrypt the data. The same legacy drive connected to a PC, same legacy operating system with drivers/applications used to write-protect or encrypt the disk – if you still have copies of all those programs. Not to mention, remembering the password.

CDs and DVDs were no problem as those formats are somewhat current and operating systems include native support for those drives. Fedora 33 worked with all, though it doesn’t automatically load the floppy driver by default. I had to:

sudo modprobe floppy

I did not test a copy of Windows 10. A Win10 rescue disk worked just fine with all formats so I suspect Windows 10 will be fine as well. Copying the data can be as easy as opening the drive in the desktop, selecting the contents, and copying files to a directory on your hard drive.

ISO files are a single file that contains the entire CD/DVD/Blu-Ray disc structure to precisely duplicate a disc. These are often used when downloading Linux/Unix distributions. Windows 10 can be downloaded as an ISO as well. Many utility and recovery tools available as ISO downloads are meant to be burned to disc or written to a bootable USB drive. Nearly all CD/DVD/Blu-ray authoring programs have the option of creating or burning ISO files.

IMG (sometimes referred to as IMA, standing for “image”) files are similar to ISOs but for floppy disks. IMG files are a single file, raw sector dump, of a medium. I have no scientific data to indicate drag-and-drop copying is just as-good-as creating an image file. If I had to guess reasons an image would be a better option: maybe a form of copy protection looks at a specific sector for a known value or possibly date & time stamps. If something wasn’t as expected, it might fail believing a copy was made. I came across one instance where straight copying files caused special characters to be converted. A “~” was converted to “_”. This is more likely to cause an issue for an installer program because a filename doesn’t match. To me, it just seems better to make a raw copy of the disk. Once again, the more complicated method is my preferred method.

My goal was to have an image made directly from the disk. In reading up, examples showed creating a ‘blank floppy image’ file, reading disk contents, and writing to the blank image. I did not want that as total disk size could be different. Disks containing my documents or picture files, I copied those to a folder on a hard drive. Disks containing programs or installation media, images of the disk were made.

A raw sector dump of a floppy disk occupying the same amount of space as if the disk was completely full. 1.44 MB disks will take up 1.44 MB, even if only 300K is written to the disk. 720K disks take up 720K. CD/DVD/Blu-ray ISO and BIN files will be the same size as the total amount of data written on the disc (333 MB disc = 333 MB ISO). For multi-gigabyte and terabyte hard drives, these sizes are nothing.

Next time, my adventures continue into creating, using, and storing image files.

The Section is sponsoring learning and exploring sessions. Technical Specialist Jason – N8EI will be presenting one of those sessions on August 31st. Details have been published in recent PostScrips and later in this edition. His topic is “Beyond the Baofeng: Thoughts on Equipment Choices for New Hams.” You received your license. Picked up a $20 Baofeng. Tried to reach some repeaters with it. Now what? Now comes a real station. He touches on prioritizing equipment purchases and gives recommendations on radios. It will be a good one not only for newly licensed hams but hams looking to improve their station.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – July 2021 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Tom – WB8LCD and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Tom has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

Coming soon: Windows 11. Wait, wasn’t Windows 10 the “last version of Windows?” Yes. Now, no. People interpret that statement to mean once you’ve upgrade to Windows 10, there would be free upgrades forever and you would never have to pay for another version of Windows. Microsoft: we kind of meant that but not really, it’s only “reflective” of delivery in an ongoing manner. On June 24th, Microsoft announced its next major version of the Windows operating system expected for release later in 2021.

As of this writing, no official release date has been set. Though a retirement date for Windows 10 in 2025 has been published. Retiring (or end-of-life) means after 10/14/2015, no mainstream support will be available for security updates, fixes, and enhancements. Businesses, or those paying for extended support. will likely have updates available for some time longer. The 2025 date puts Windows 10 in at over 10 years of service life, just a few months short of Windows 7’s service life. Has Windows 10 been out that long??

Microsoft is nothing, if not clear, in their statements and announcements. In Microsoft fashion, there is plenty of confusion around system requirements. Microsoft states that more than half, as much as 60%, of the PCs running Windows 10 today could not run Windows 11. I figure many systems upgraded from Win 7 to 10 will not meet the minimum requirements. Those who’ve bought a packaged PC since July 2016 should be good to upgrade and can upgrade for free. The reason for July of 2016 is when Microsoft required system integrators to include the TPM in new systems shipped after that date. TPM is used to generate cryptographic keys ensuring system integrity and security at system boot. DIY motherboards had this built in since about 2015. New PCs will see Windows 11 included as part of the entire purchase price. System builders will likely see the same prices as Windows 10, about $100 for Home and a little more for the Pro edition.

Home version of Windows 11 will require an Internet connection and a Microsoft account to complete first-time setup. If you have an account for Hotmail, Outlook, OneDrive, Office, or Xbox – you’re all set. If not, one can be created for free. Though nothing says you can’t unlink the account after setup. This connection between Windows and a Microsoft account has been used to store license information and retrieve a license should, when, a reinstall is needed. It also enables “cloud” features allowing some settings and preferences to be synced across all devices logged in with the same account. Pro versions can opt to use a Microsoft account or create a local account.

What else is new in Windows 11? “Sweeping” redesign of the user interface – to make it look more like a Mac – starting with a center aligned taskbar. A design choice aimed at touch users (tablets, Microsoft Surface devices). To be fair, GNOME has long adopted the center aligned taskbar as well as the Mac. Another start menu redesign “powered by the cloud” – which allows internet searches directly and synced documents across devices running Office 365. Microsoft Teams is directly integrated. Teams is the messaging and collaboration platform that started out as MSN Messenger and later absorbed Skype. To gain traction for the Windows Store (which no one ever went into), Windows will now be able to run Android apps natively.

Before the Microsoft announcement, a leaked build of Windows 11 appeared on the Interwebs. It appeared to be locked down to virtual machines only. Those that obtained the leaked version had significant issues installing it on bare metal. Not even an issue installing it on a virtual machine. The build might have been locked down to virtual machines for testing and demonstration purposes.

Windows 11 desktop (Wikipedia)

Since the announcement, a downloadable ISO image is still not available. There are guides how to download all the necessary files and build one yourself if you so choose to test out the preview on a real machine with a clean install. The official way is to enroll in the Insider program and do an in-place upgrade on a Windows 10 machine. This is done by signing into a Microsoft account in Windows 10, register for the Insider program online, enroll the device in the settings pane, then change Insider settings to the “Dev Channel.”

Though reviews have been initially positive about the new release, it seems very much like Windows 10 under the hood with the user interface redesign and improvements. Videos I saw had very good experiences gaming on the preview build leading more credence to it being Windows 10 underneath. If you’re like me and didn’t enjoy the user experience of having things buried, needing to do more clicks to accomplish the same/simple tasks, and ultimately moving to Linux as a result of Windows 10, this is going to be a ‘meh’ release for you as well.

On the subject of Windows. While I run Linux primarily and rag on current versions of Windows, if you are still running Windows 7 (which I am) or even XP on your machines, this is another friendly reminder to remediate, remove, or update unsupported versions of Windows. Removing would be replacing the machine or upgrade to a supported version of Windows if available. Remediate would be to remove Internet access to that device and remove its ability to access other devices on the Local Area Network by properly segmenting the device. Use of a hardware firewall appliance to block and monitor device communications is preferred. Should those options be unavailable, look to invest in a reputable service that provides patches for legacy operating systems such as 0patch (pronounced “zero patch”). 0patch Pro for Windows 7 end-of-support patching is available for 22.95 EUR +tax/computer (agent)/year, about $27 USD.

Vulnerabilities, such as PrintNightmare, will continue to be discovered. In situations such as this, emergency patches will be graciously released by Microsoft for unsupported operating systems but don’t expect this to continue. Vulnerabilities like this have always existed in affected operating systems but were only recently disclosed. PrintNightmare is a vulnerability in the Windows print driver, of all things. It allows a bad guy that has or can gain low level access to any affected Windows machine to take control of the local machine or domain controller gaining control of the entire domain. That second part regarding domains is not applicable to average users, only power users and corporations. Not to be out done by the exploit Microsoft botched the initial patch leaving systems still vulnerable. You would think a company worth $2 trillion would have the resources to fix the issue in its entirety.

Linux is not getting out unscathed this month too. I’ve talked about how I moved to Fedora and their very aggressive end-of-life cycle. Fedora 34 was released at the end of April. Typically, I’ll wait two months or so to let the bugs get sorted out in this community supported operating system. Realizing it had been three months since release, I took the dive and upgraded all my Fedora systems at once. Bad decision. I had two initial problems. My RAID array is showing individual disks in file explorer. This is a problem because it should never show individual disks. More to the point, if I accidentally write to an individual disk instead of the array because all elements are labeled the same (only the icon is different), the disk becomes out of sync with the rest of the array which would almost certainly result in data loss. The second is Redshift (shifts the screen color to red as it becomes later in the day to reduce eye strain) which keeps throwing an error at logon that all of a sudden manifested itself… from 2016. What? It’s been about an issue per day I’m discovering. Applications disappearing from the task bar is another very annoying issue. A downgrade attempt failed on the laptop which means wiping the operating system partition and re-installing Fedora 33. /home is on a separate partition meaning my files and most settings would be OK. Then praying 35 is not such a dud.

The Section is sponsoring learning and exploring sessions. Technical Specialist Jason – N8EI will be presenting one of those sessions on August 31st. Look for details in this edition or in forthcoming communications from our Section Manager. His topic is “Beyond the Baofeng: Thoughts on Equipment Choices for New Hams.” You received your license. Picked up a $20 Baofeng. Tried to reach some repeaters with it. Now what? Now comes a real station. He touches on prioritizing equipment purchases and gives recommendations on radios. It will be a good one not only for newly licensed hams but hams looking to improve their station.

Van Wert Hamfest

I’m jiddy that Hamfests are returning. I made both NOARSFest in Elyria and the Van Wert Hamfest last weekend. NOARSFest seemed like a few more were in attendance over previous years. That was the last hamfest I attended before we were sequestered to our homes so it was fitting being the first one to return. Van Wert had a perfect day for holding a hamfest – though it was quire foggy on the ride out, maybe due to the wildfires out west. Even though I attended school in the area and traveled often for work, never made it to Van Wert. Their ‘fest was one I’ve been wanting to attend for some time. Figured I would take in all that I can and support hamfests as much as I can this year seeing as all were canceled leaving clubs without that income over the last year.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – February 2021 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Tom – WB8LCD and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Tom has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

I don’t know about anyone else, since most of us have been told to cower-in-place, my productivity has gone through the roof! Must be that 10-foot commute between the work desk and home desk, might get the sun in my eyes on my way over. Finally tacking items on the perpetual “when I have loads of free time” list.

First cleaned out my data hard drive that had become a general dumping ground for downloads, pictures, data files, abandoned projects, and all other forms of miscellaneous files. Kept telling myself ‘I’ll organize this later.’ I figure accumulation started around the time I graduated with my undergrad (2008) and really got involved with ham radio. Go figure. Downloads had grown to 2,900 files at 16 GB and the general dumping ground was around 73,000 files at 314 GB. Much of that got deleted but enough was kept for reference or sentimental reasons.

Synology NAS

After sorting, mutilating, and “organizing,” this led into another task to better utilize my NAS, or Network Attached Storage, functionality more than I currently was. NAS devices are a way to attach storage, like hard drives or SSDs, to the network for sharing data across devices on a local network or, in special cases, users on the Internet. NAS devices can be anything from a Raspberry Pi with USB hard drives attached, an old computer filled with spare hard drives running FreeNAS, to specifically designed devices from companies such as Synology, QNAP, or Asus. Many think “storage” when they think NAS because storage: it’s in the name. Consumer NAS devices offer packages that can be installed to add additional functionality commonly available through always-on devices. Functionality options such as a mail server, web server, git server, database server, docker virtualization, replication (mirroring, backup with another provider), network level authentication, VPN, IP camera DVR, chat, and document collaboration. I’m a loooong time Western Digital user. Their Red line of NAS drives are my choice, though they tried to pull some crap of quietly introducing sub-par drives (don’t use WD Red drives with “EFAX” in the model). Seagate is stepping up their game too with the IronWolf line, which is gaining popularity.

My strategy is to move files I’m not actively using on a regular basis to the NAS. These types of files would be: digital pictures, Office documents, document scans, emails, news articles, previous taxes, internet downloads, audio/video clips, newsletters, ham projects, school work and projects, old programs that aren’t updated but are still useful. Unbeknownst to me when I started, this didn’t leave a whole lot left over on my desktop data drive. Maybe in the future, I’ll move all data to the NAS.

For the remaining data left on my data drive, I still wanted to maintain a backup strategy in case something happened to those files. Anything from my own stupidity (accidental deletion, encrypted by a malware strain) to hardware failure. Previously, I used a cloud provider for remote backup but they decided to exit the consumer market. With their change in business strategy, I was using my own scripts to keep things synced from the desktop to the NAS, whenever I remembered to run them. Not great because if I deleted something with a bunch of recent changes and the last backup I had was a week or two ago, that sucks. This syncing strategy also didn’t have file versioning.

When a file is changed, the backup system preserves a new copy of the file but keeps previous versions in case you wanted to go back in time to an earlier version. Real-world example: a computer becomes infected with a malware strain that encrypts all pictures and documents. A backup solution will still make a backup copy of the newly encrypted file, because it doesn’t know its user or user on the network did something stupid. Saving previous versions means you can recover the unencrypted version without paying Mr. Bad Guy’s ransom.

Syncthing web interface (wikipedia.org)

I tried solutions like rsnapshot but had serious issues getting systemd timers (supposed to replace cron, yeah, we’ll see) to work with persistence and waiting until the NAS was mounted before taking a snapshot. That was abandoned after a few months. I heard about Syncthing on a podcast. It met my requirements and more! It’s quite an amazing piece of free and open-source technology. I could run an instance on my NAS (or any computer), attach devices, those devices send file changes in real time, and the software takes care of preserving previous versions. “More” came in the form of Syncthing being available on every platform I use. Supported are: source code for manual compiling, Linux (many distributions and processor architectures), Windows, macOS, *BSD, and Solaris. There is an Android client allowing me to backup my phone to my NAS. Syncthing is exactly what I needed since I have some Windows machines (like the shack PC).

A couple warnings about Syncthing. Getting started will seem overwhelming with options and what they mean. Look at good tutorials and in the forums where there are lot of users willing to help. Even more important: Syncthing IS NOT a backup tool. Wait, you said you are using it as a backup tool! I’m syncing file changes to my NAS. Backup comes in the form of making images of the NAS drive and storing those off-site. Also acceptable is using a cloud backup service to backup the NAS off-site. Both are acceptable uses of Syncthing as a “backup” solution.

Another thing on the “to do when I have tons of free time” was digitize VHS tapes. In December & beginning of January, I was on a mission to digitize my high school and college video tapes as well as family home videos. Close to 100 tapes in total. Those that are not familiar with my broadcast television past, I was involved with WHBS-TV in high school, a local cable access station. Schools from across the county came to visit us because we were doing 7 camera shoots with replay for all football games, 5 camera shoots for basketball, and competing in college level categories for regional Emmy awards. Worked at WBGU-TV in college. Did a ton of cool stuff including weekly productions for Fox Sports Ohio, a program that was distributed internationally, and lots of remote shoots in different parts of the state, to name a few. This was all before over-the-air digital was a thing. I recorded a lot of stuff on VHS tapes over those years and, of course, wanted to preserve them.

Most say “put it on DVD.” Like it or not, we’re being pushed to a streaming society so companies can control when and how you view content. Not only is physical media dead, but you now have to take care of, and store, a bunch of DVDs. There are services allowing you to roll-your-own streaming service, where you to make your own content library. There would be a server on your network containing your music, videos, TV shows, home movies, etc. making it accessible to smart TVs, streaming devices like Roku or Fire Stick, smart phones, tablets, or any modern web browser.

Plex media center (plex.tx)

I used a Hauppauge USB capture device to digitize VHS tapes played from a VCR. VideoReDo to fix errors in the data stream (some players have issues playing video streams with data errors) and cut recordings into smaller files. HandBrake to encode the video and Plex Media Server to make the video available to devices. Plex server runs on, you guessed it, the NAS! I’m glossing over how to use Plex, organize files, and produce files optimal for streaming as there are many support articles and forum posts covering these topics on the Plex or any other similar service’s site.

Reading up on recommended practices to digitize VHS tapes, VCRs with newer Time-Based Correctors (TBC) were recommended. Looking online, those were $400 or more. Since it’s likely these videos will be watched a handful of times, I decided to forgo more expensive VCR options. TBC can correct timing issues, making 1 second = 1 second, not longer due to tape stretching. It aims to correct visual image jitter and “wiggling.” I did see those artifacts and re-recorded if the video was bad enough. The Hauppauge device captures video at about 13 mbps (2 hr is about 13 GB). “Lossless” 25 mpbs capture devices were recommended. Do you remember the quality of a VHS tape? Lossless is not going to lose much VHS quality! All tapes digitized weighed in at about 1 TB of storage. Sounds like a lot. Though, 4 TB drives are under $140.

Watching college videos from 2004 as they were being digitized, I came across one of the shows and said ‘that guy looks familiar.’ It was two shows on school funding in the state of Ohio. Our previous section SGL Nick Pittner – K8NAP was one of the guests. I happen to be working camera in the WBGU studio for that show and Nick was in Columbus coming in via satellite. Emailed Nick some screen grabs. He remembered the show, hosts, other guest, and said they are still fighting the same fight after the better part of two decades later. Sometimes you never know who you’re working with!

On a commute a little longer than 10 feet, I’m planning to be in person at the Portage County Amateur Radio Service (PCARS) meeting coming up March 8th. Meeting topic will be VoIP modes (Voice over IP), both analog and digital, and the DVMIS. Hope to see everyone. There should be a Zoom link posted on their site if you would like to attend virtually.

Mike Baxter, KA0XTT, played by Tim Allen (arrl.org)

Speaking of the DVMIS, the Last Man Standing Amateur Radio Club – KA6LMS is sponsoring a special event starting at 00:00 UTC on March 24, 2021 and end at 23:59 UTC on March 30, 2021. This coincides with the last day of shooting for the show which is concluding its long, successful run. This event is going to be a multi-band, multi-mode, special event celebrating the show for its portrayal of amateur radio. AmateurLogic.TV is planning a net for March 27 from about 7 pm – 1 am eastern and the net will be carried on my system! I’m honored to be part of this event as Last Man Standing is one of my favorite shows. Mark your calendars and check the KA6LMS QRZ page for details!

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – October 2020 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Scott – N8SY and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Scott has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

October is associated with a number of things: apple cider, fall weather, foliage displays, pumpkins, and Halloween costumes. One thing that might be gruesome, like some Halloween costumes, is most people’s cyber hygiene. Cyber hygiene relates to practices and precautions users take to keep their data safe and secure from outside attacks. October, in addition to the above, is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It is a way to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and give everyone resources to be more secure online.

uBlock Origin on mlb.com

First up, web browser. This is the portal and gateway to modern computing. A browser should be current, supported, and one that is updated. Current web browsers are ones like Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. These are constantly being updated to support newer technologies, protect users, and eliminate known vulnerabilities. Don’t use a camera, microphone, or other accessories during browsing interactions? Disable access to them in the browser’s options. I’m not sure the last time I used a MIDI interface. Disabling it hasn’t affected my browsing in Chrome.

Browser extensions (or plugins): Limit the number of installed extensions and make sure they are also current and being updated. The one extension I have on every browser I use, including at work, is uBlock Origin. It is an excellent ad-blocker and does it very effectively. Additional features include ability to block other sources of vulnerabilities, such as scripts, large media items, like videos, and known bad domains. A lot of people love NoScript. It’s even better, security-wise, than uBlock Origin. However, like everything in security, there are tradeoffs. NoScript does what it says, block scrips like JavaScript because they are a major source of security problems. This is great in principle but it basically breaks every site on the Internet. Whitelisting necessary scripts to make a trusted site work, I think, is more effort than it’s worth. Choose the better option for you. For me, it’s uBlock.

Another good browser extension is HTTPS Everywhere. When a site is loaded over an unsecure connection, this extension upgrades it to a secure connection is one is available. Most severs configured by capable admins are now serving up HTTPS by default and redirecting HTTP connections to HTTPS. Finally, PrivacyBadger is good at blocking third-party tracking and browser fingerprinting. Browser fingerprinting is the ability for a site to interrogate the browser about the system it is running on. For example, which browser, is it accepting cookies, plugins installed, time zone, screen size and color depth, system fonts, language, OS and platform, touch device, and device memory. PrivacyBadger blocks sites from accessing many of these properties.

Bad sites: In August, I talked about the Pi-Hole security device. This device provides similar blocking to uBlock Origin but at the network level. Any browser plugins only add protection to sessions in that browser. It doesn’t block tracking, malware, or ads in other applications running on the PC. It doesn’t offer protection for any other device on the network such as phones, tablets, streaming, surveillance, and “smart” devices. That is where Pi-Hole comes in by blocking known bad domains at the network level. It will keep ads off smart TVs, Roku’s, and keep digital footprints to a minimum. A caveat, devices using hardcoded DNS servers (usually IoT, DNS over HTTPS) will bypass any Pi-Hole filtering. Routers that can perform NAT Redirection can re-route requests to Pi-Hole and block DOH.

If you don’t want to add a device like Pi-Hole, changing DNS servers in a home router will offer more protection. I recommend OpenDNS as a security focused DNS service. OpenDNS is free to use and enabled by simply setting Primary DNS and Secondary DNS to these IPs: 208.67.222.222 & 208.67.220.220 – does not matter which goes into primary/secondary. They do offer paid services which can categorically block sites and does require a little more setup. Another good DNS filtering service is “Quad 9” or 9.9.9.9 as the DNS server. These services block access to known infected sites made through DNS requests.

Password managers: sites do a relatively poor job of securing their user and password databases. On the other hand, users do a poor job of choosing strong passwords. We know this because of sites like Have I Been Pwned (pronounced “owned”) which search stolen password databases for associated Email addresses. Showing as ‘pwned’ on that site indicates the Email address was found in a database breach. Searching an old Email address of mine found two services I did not recognize. I suspect the data changed hands through company acquisition but, more likely, my information was sold to the highest bidder.

KeePass main window (keepass.info)

Lists are published of the most commonly used passwords from these breaches. Many are even easy to guess like 123456, password, qwerty, dragon, baseball, monkey, and letmein. A password manager will generate strong passwords and remember them so you don’t have to. In general, if you can remember passwords for services, you’re doing it wrong. It’s good to know the password for logging on to the computer and the password for your password manager. That’s about it anymore. Being able to remember passwords means they’re probably easy to guess. 55@[hg@owtWF(6eDOXR0 – is not be an easy to guess password, has lots of entropy, and would take around 1.15 thousand trillion trillion centuries to guess using one thousand guesses per second.

LastPass & KeePass will do the job of creating strong passwords and remembering (saving) them. Both of these password managers are considered best-of-breed because of their features, history of responding to issues quickly, and constantly squashing bugs. Other password managers do not have this reputation and most don’t offer adequate protection from attacks. LastPass is an online service. They have a free option but useful features will be found in the $3/month for single user and $4/mo. for families. If you don’t trust “the cloud” or want to manage your own password database(s) offline, KeePass is what you want.

Both have the ability to generate, store passwords, and save notes associated with an account. Largely they’re both available on multiple platforms in multiple browsers. LastPass apps tightly integrate many device types with their service. KeePass relies largely on the community to implement addons and create apps for platforms like Android. LastPass has nice features allowing sharing among family members or sharing banking credentials with a spouse. Another feature I like in LastPass is the ‘dark web’ monitoring and alerting for breached credentials. These alerts let you know it’s time to change that password. To retrieve stored usernames and passwords from a password manager, they’re copied and pasted from the app or automatically filled into a webpage using a browser extension.

LastPass interface (lastpass.com)

Both services require some sort of master password which MUST be remembered. LastPass gets its name from the password used to access their service as the ‘last password’ you’ll ever need. An easy way to generate such as password would be to find a famous speech, song, or lines from a movie. Take the first letter of each word, throw in some numbers, and voila! Strong master password. This method will create a password that is hard to crack but easy for you to remember. As an example, take the first line of the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Taking the first character of each word: Fsasyaofbfutc – even to the first comma is 14 characters and already on its way to being very strong. Get creative, maybe take the second or third letter of every word. Throw in some random capitalization. Then add maybe parts of an old phone number, an old address, old work address, old dorm room number, kids ages, etc. Then it becomes: FsasyaOfbfuTC219419216 – all of a sudden you have a password that takes 8.75 hundred trillion trillion centuries to guess. Sure, you’ll want to write down this password until its memorized. Destroy the written copy after it’s definitely committed to memory.

All this assumes there is no monitoring of the computer or device, no key logging, no intercepting communications, no monitoring the clipboard, etc. The strongest password does no good if it’s used on a compromised machine or used over an unsecure communication channel such as HTTP, FTP, or Telnet – which all use plain-text passwords.

Google Authenticator (play.google.com)

Should there be a situation where you can’t create a completely random password in a password manager or want to use a password that can be more easily remembered in certain situations (not your master password, that would be bad practice), use the xkpasswd generator. Inspired by an XKCD comic, it uses a method of random numbers and common words to create memorable passwords. The example they give: correcthorsebatterystaple – correct, horse, battery, staple.

Last practice I’ll mention this time around is use multifactor authentication. This is also commonly referred to as 2-factor authentication (2fa) or MFA. MFA uses more than one authentication method to validate identity. Usually consisting of something you know, a password, and something you have – a phone app or hardware token. This approach is an additional layer of authentication with the hope that miscreants don’t have access to one or more of those authentication methods. Good multifactor auth changes or rotates every time it’s used or changes after a set amount of time. Modern multifactor technology has been around for more than 15 years. Many companies are rapidly adopting it for all employees because they see value and it has proven to be a good way of keeping miscreants out of their systems. More and more services are adding two factor authentication.

Multi-factor works by going to site-I-login-to[dot]com. Enter your username and password. Usually after clicking log on, you are presented with a multi-factor prompt. Consisting of a pin that rotates frequently, clicking ‘approve’ in a mobile app, hitting a button on a hardware token, or being sent a unique code via SMS text or Email to enter into the site. A lot of services use SMS text messages and Emails. Those two should not be the primary multi-factor validation. SMS messages can be intercepted by miscreants who could have hijacked or cloned the SIM card from the carrier. If they have your password and hijacked SIM card, they might as well be you. Email is readily accessible to organizations hosting the mail server and often transmitted on the wire in the clear – though progress is being made to encrypt email messages in transit.

I like TOTP (time-based one-time password) solutions such as Google Authenticator on a phone or tablet. The password manager database is on the computer or in the cloud. The app lives on the phone, separate from the database. TOTP is an open standard, supported in nearly all services that offer multi-factor auth, doesn’t need a data connection, and isn’t stored anywhere except in a protected database on the phone. These passwords change every 30 seconds and are 6 digits long. In the case where a phone might get lost, there are “recovery” tokens that are generated at the time TOTP is configured. Where should the recovery tokens should be stored? They can be printed and stored in safe, or use your new password manager to secure them!

Scrap Value of a Hacked PC (krebsonsecurity.com)

It’s a couple years old, but Krebs on Security’s Scrap Value of a Hacked PC takes a look at all the things miscreants could do with information learned from a compromised machine. Things like hostage attacks through ransomware (encrypt files and demand payment to decrypt) and reputation hijacking of the social medias or credit scores. Brian’s site is also entertaining reading for taking a peek into the ‘dark web’ on things criminals do with stolen data and credit cards. Other useful security tools are Security Planner which walks you through creating a customized security plan based on interests and goals. PrivacyTools provides tools and knowledge for protection against mass surveillance. These steps and suggestions from known good resources will greatly improve your cyber hygrine for Cybersecurity Awareness month.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – September 2020 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Scott – N8SY and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Scott has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

On this month’s edition of “Pi Talk” – just when you thought I couldn’t talk about Pi anymore! I received a question from Chet – K8KIZ who has a laptop used for station operation. He wanted to replace it with a Raspberry Pi. In searching, he found way too many choices and wanted help to set him on the right path. This might be a question that others have or one they are considering. He soon found out it was a lot more complicated than originally thought.

Over the past number of years, I’ve done a lot of integration work which involves making one system or application talk to or replace another. It frequently involves bridging communications with other services such as databases or API’s (application programming interface) and facilitating data flow between them. Sales, Account Managers, and System Engineers for the new vendor will always throw around buzzwords and catch phrases – “setup and integration are easy and seamless,” “automated,” “zero configuration,” “drop-in replacement,” “pays for itself in three days” (not really), “reduce costs.” List goes on and on. It is never any of those things.

They have absolutely no idea about your environment, how involved, and how costly it will be to utilize their services. They just want you to buy them. Soon after comes the nickel-and-dimming: “you want to process how much data? That’s an extra couple thousand dollars” or “that doesn’t come with the license you purchased, that will cost you an extra-large-number with many 0’s!” Internal business units do this too. They weren’t prepared or made it seem like they are in position to handle a situation and were not. Feature requests take an extraordinarily long time to implement or claims of not having enough man-power soon follow.

The FCC is in a situation similar to this or they’re making it seem like they are: ‘oh, our licensing process is all digital and we can eliminate that pesky licensing fee!’ And the peasants rejoice. Reading the latest news about the FCC wanting to reinstate license service fees, “…we propose a nominal application fee of $50 due to automating the processes, routine ULS maintenance, and limited instances where staff input is required.” Wait, isn’t that why they went digital to reduce these costs? Someone sold them a bill-of-goods that didn’t actually reduce their costs or they’re looking to recoup costs elsewhere.

Not wanting the same thing to happen to Chet, where the alternative didn’t actually improve his situation, I took the approach of having him think about his station. What does he use his station for and what he would consider “a success” of replacing his laptop with a Raspberry Pi? Anytime anyone is looking to replace X with Y, an evaluation of this nature. What is X used for and are the pros/cons of Y sustainable?

In Chet’s case, replacing a laptop used for ham radio with a Raspberry Pi, he would need to consider things such as:

  • Is the current laptop setup Windows or Linux?
  • If it’s Windows, would he want to climb the Linux learning curve?
  • Is he using any software apps that are Windows only? Examples would be: RT Systems programmers, Ham Radio Deluxe, N3FJP logging, SmartSDR, N1MM, Wires-X, etc., etc.
  • Can those Windows only apps be replaced by Linux apps – and are those Linux apps equally as good?
  • Does he have any hardware requirements (like multiple serial or parallel ports)? The Pi has UART via GPIO pins but two or more serial ports require USB-to-Serial converters.
  • How many USB ports are required? Pi’s only have 4. 2 ports would be taken up by using a wired keyboard and mouse.
  • Do all of his hardware devices and interfaces work in Linux? These would be things like radio programming, control (CI-V) or firmware flashing, audio mixers and audio interfaces.

This is not an all-inclusive list especially since I didn’t know anything about his station – though I seem to remember he was into Vibroplex CW key tuning and repair from a local hamfest. I thought through scenarios that might apply to the majority of HF operators and came up with that list.

G4DPZ running GPredict on a Pi (amsat-uk.org)

Some Windows programs can be run under Linux using a compatibility layer program such as WINE or run virtual machines (VMs). That would contribute to the Linux learning curve. Raspberry Pi isn’t powerful enough today to run VMs. VMs or hypervisors maybe an option for some Linux desktop/laptop situations.

Instead of wired keyboards and mice, Bluetooth devices could be a replacement option but are more costly. Wired is preferred to wireless for reducing interference problems. Built-in antennas for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi aren’t going to be as good as laptop antennas. Additionally, monitors without HDMI or mini-HDMI connectors will need adapters, cables, or outright replaced if it doesn’t have compatible connectors. USB hubs are an option for expanding the number of USB ports. I have yet to find a USB hub that is problem free. They don’t work well with some operating systems, attached devices do not fare well with temporary connection interruptions, and they tend to break down after a short time.

Best way to track these considerations and more is to make a list. Start by looking at all connections to the existing laptop, both physical and virtual (like with an SDR). Include any software used during operating (radio control, prediction modeling, packet, digital, etc.). Programming radios? Those tend to be Windows (or DOS) programs along with firmware updaters. If using a Raspberry Pi is still desired, another Windows machine will be needed for programming and firmware updates. Include all of these in the list and evaluate solutions on the Raspberry Pi or Linux platform for alternatives that meet the requirements. Consider splitting non-supported, but essential, functionality to another Windows machine.

Another way to approach evaluation would be to operate with a new “Pi” system, hands-on, but keeping the old system up-and-running nearby. The old system would be used as a reference for program settings, coping or migrating data files (such as export from one and import to the other), and a comparison point when evaluating Linux programs.

Lastly, completely ditching the previous system and entirely starting from scratch is an option. This type of evaluation style is more draconian by ripping and replacing. Most people have their own operating style and rarely want to deviate from their ritual. Rip-and-replace might be needed if they’re fed up with a current setup and want to start over with something else. The operator, in this case, would not care about migrating previous data, starting out anew, and take whatever options are offered by a different platform.

Raspberry Pi 3 projects for Ham Radio with 7-inch touchscreen (qrznow.com)

To future proof, I’d recommend going with the latest version of the Pi. Currently, that would be a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with at least 4GB RAM ($60), 8GB ($90) if able to spring for the extra RAM. Quality of the power supply and SD card plays a role in stability as I talked about in July. Data corruption possibility is still not zero. Even on a desktop PC. Corruption seems to be more prevalent on Pi’s, likely because of cheap components chosen by the user.

I strongly recommend making frequent data backups. This applies to any system. There should be 3 copies of data: the local copy (on the Pi), another copy on a storage device like a USB Hard Drive or Network Attached Storage (NAS). A third copy, off-site, located at a friend’s house, relative’s house, or a work location. Another off-site storage location would be cloud storage or backup service provider. Think about where you would be if you lost those LOTW logs, FT8 contacts, SSTV images, or Winlink messages. This strategy is known as the 3-2-1 backup strategy and should be used for ANY important data. 3 copies of data, 2 on different medium, and 1 copy off-site.

Starting out, I would consider the “Ham Pi” or “Build a Pi” projects I discussed in August initially. “Ham Pi” has just about every Linux ham radio application pre-installed. That would allow an operator to try different programs, find one that suits their needs or one they prefer. “Build a Pi” can be a little more tailored to operating style. You can also get down and dirty by compiling programs from source, depending on Linux experience or desire to tinker with Linux.

That just about covers broad considerations. Chet realized this was a larger undertaking than finding a plug-and-play option. He appreciated the analysis of the issues at hand. I hope he is able to find a working solution to replace his station laptop. When considering major overhauls such as this, know that for most people, it’s a little more complex and involved than most realize.

A quick note about Winlink. The WINMOR protocol has been deprecated systemwide and will soon be removed from the client software application. First introduced by Rick – KN6KB in 2008, it was the first ‘sound card’ mode offered by Winlink as an alternative to modem hardware needed at the time. Rick and the Winlink Team have moved on to developing robust and speedier protocols such as Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol (ARDOP) and VERA HF. RMS gateways will only support ARDOP, VARA HF, and Pactor 3 or 4 (where applicable) near term. If you are still using WINMOR, it’s likely been hard to find gateways that support the protocol because sysops have been asked to remove in favor of the other modes. WINMOR had a great run and was the mode I used when I first got on Winlink.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – August 2020 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Scott – N8SY and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Scott has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

My article last month covered Raspberry Pi and problems users have experienced with the Pi 4 since its release last year. I gave some tips for keeping your Pi running like a top including choosing better power components, SD cards, and having the Pi run cooler despite higher idle temperatures. This month will cover recent projects you can make with the Raspberry Pi to learn about the device, computer programming, or Linux.

Ham Pi – formally the “W3DJS Raspberry Pi for Ham Radio image” is an operating system for the Raspberry Pi with over 80 ham radio applications pre-installed – which include digital modes, APRS clients, antenna programs, SDR, Morse Code, radio programming, and more. Dave wanted to have a Pi image loaded with any ham radio software application he might ever want to use. He initially shared it with a few club members and soon realized there was demand when his image had over 8,000 downloads. Since then, the build process is automated using an Ansible playbook. The playbook is also available on his github which is useful if you want to learn a provisioning technology or build your own customized version. A long time ago, I wrote instructions that just compiled Fldigi and Flmsg on a Pi2 for a go-box. Ham Pi is a definite must for anyone that has a Pi already in their go-box or wants to add one to an existing box.

Build a Pi – wanting a way to have ham radio applications installed on a Pi, Jason – KM4ACK wrote a script that does just that. Having many issues with the first couple implementations, which were mostly copy-and-paste installs, it was not flexible enough to update applications once installed. Version 3 includes an automated way of installing and configuring both ham radio applications and the operating system on a fresh Raspberry Pi OS installation. Differing from Ham Pi in that a stock Raspberry Pi OS download can be used, the user can also pick-and-choose which applications they want to install. A quick tutorial video is available.

Rig Pi Station Server – is a Raspberry Pi that controls your station and on-air activities. With a Station Server install and web browser or smartphone app, you can control a radio, rotor, use CW, operate digital modes, look for spots, and even upload your log. If you don’t want to spend much time learning about the Pi or Linux with the above projects, this is the way to get on the air remotely as quickly as possible. Hackaday did a review on the Rig Pi Remote Server.

“Rig Pi” may sound familiar because it was picked up and packaged by MFJ as the 1234 with a Pi and audio interface HAT. Before I receive complains (I’ve already seen them online), you can download the help and schematics as well as any of the software on the github repository absolutely free. Rig Pi is open-source. Not only that but no one needs to buy the commercial package. It can be installed yourself. People that complain about “selling” open-source projects really don’t understand how that typically works. It is common practice to release an enterprise grade software application as FOSS (free and open-source). A company/individual/whomever will make money on their application by selling licenses, services, or hardware. Same concept here. Assuming the license allows it, a vendor can package the program as part of a device. I’m going to assume the developer is getting a cut or donation as part of MFJ’s sales (but I don’t know this) as the product is promoted on the project page.

Pi-Star – create a digital hotspot or repeater with a Pi and transmitter. Providing complex services and easy configuration via a web interface, Pi-Star solved the problem of fragmentation when different hotspot boards all had their own Pi image. Most didn’t work well if at all. Pi-Star solved that problem by providing an easy to use interface for the beginner and allowing a tinkerer to dig deep into settings. Using the MMDVM suite from G4KLX, it can operate DMR, D-STAR, NXDN, P25, and System Fusion (depending on modem) and use many different protocols. This software is packaged and sold with different hotspot devices such as the ZUMSpot. Another example of software being packaged with hardware and sold commercially.

Ultimate Raspberry Pi Build

Ultimate Raspberry Pi Build – Julian – OH8STN from Finland covers topics related to off-the-grid and grid-down operating. He brings us an excellent instructional video on making a very portable QRP digital station using a Raspberry Pi. He set out to build a smaller and, in turn, much more portable setup than is available commercially with other devices. This video details hardware mods, HAT options, and software needed to operate digital, off-grid, from anywhere.

PiClock

Pi Clocks – a couple of clock projects are available depending on your level of interest. The first one is created by Kevin – N0BEL. It’s not a project specifically for Hams rather for anyone interested in making a nice weather display. His PiClock is a clock (“duh” – as he says) with weather forecast and radar map display. Though it could be used in the shack, it is better suited for a common area in the house, such as the kitchen, with an HDMI monitor. Everyone likes weather information. Emile – KE5QKR from Amateur Logic did a PiClock tutorial.

HamClock project – from Elwood – WB0OEW is geared toward the ham shack. It has clock (again, duh), current temperature and weather conditions, solar conditions, VOCAP predictions, satellites, DX spots and daylight map. His project can be built on any UNIX-like operating system including the Raspberry Pi. It cannot run naively on Windows but can run on a Unix system and displayed on Windows using X server forwarding. This has the appearance of a regular Windows application. Tommy – N5ZNO of Amateur Logic did a segment on setting up the HamClock.

Open Repeater – I lost track of this project. I first heard about it back in 2014 when they didn’t yet have a domain name for the project. Goal is to create an open-source and simple to use repeater controller. Utilized for high-profile repeaters or basic simplex nodes, the software walks the user through setting up a repeater controller. Owners can have traditional Morse IDs or create longer messages at every hour via audio recordings. Having SVXLink at the core allows seamless integration with VoIP modes like Echolink. Additional modules can be added to the core package providing more functionality.

Pi-Hole – not specifically Ham Radio related but a fantastic network appliance. DL6ER, a ham radio operator in Germany, is a Developer and Administrator for the project. Pi-Hole acts as a Domain Name System (DNS) sinkhole (returning a fake value) which blocks devices on a home network from accessing ad sites, trackers, or other malicious websites. Though originally intended for Raspberry Pi devices, it has been expanded to include any Linux operating system or docker container. It doesn’t filter bandwidth or inspect network traffic. The Pi-Hole acts as the DNS server for a home network instead of your ISP. DNS is referred to as the “phone book” of the Internet by looking up names such as arrl-ohio.org and returning the IP address in order for a network device to access the server hosting the Ohio Section website. When a request for a blacklisted website (such as some-malicious-website[dot]com) is requested, Pi-Hole intercepts and returns a different IP address so the access request will never reach the Internet. This is better compared to a web browser plug-in because Pi-Hole is inspecting DNS requests for all network devices.

Pi-Hole Dashboard (Wikipedia)

It’s great to block trackers and ad sites in theory, keeps digital footprints to a minimum and reduces the chance of fraud through scareware-type tactics. In practice, it often blocks couponing and deal websites as well as promotional email links from a favorite restaurant. Those emails are coded to tell the sender which links a recipient clicked and can be used to measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign. Whitelist exceptions can be granted though the very nice web interface when legitimate sites are blocked. I have a similar application running on my network. After I received complaints about sites being blocked (but they wouldn’t tell me when there were problems to create exceptions), I disabled this blocking all together, effectively opening up the Internet. Within 10 minutes I was asked to turn it back on as pop-up ads immediately started to appear stating ‘your computer is INFECTED.’ Scared the, uh, stuff out of some. Other issues involve in-home advertising and monitoring devices, like Alexa, which freak out when the device can’t reach its severs. These devices flood the local network with hundreds of DNS requests per second. Smart TVs and Rokus often have similar problems when they can’t reach their servers to track what is being watched. Data feeds containing bad sites are aggregated for free, so you get what you pay for. Sites are frequently categorized as bad when they really aren’t. Some are legitimate services. Blocking these sites could cause undesired behavior, for example, using a favorite streaming TV service where you may receive errors.

Windows 10/desktop replacement – with the power and speed of the Raspberry Pi 4, many are finding ways to install traditional operating systems. Windows 10, in its many flavors, has an IoT stripped down version for devices like the Pi. The guide at Tom’s Hardware shows how to get the full desktop version of Windows 10 running on the Pi. It’s a little sluggish and not for the faint of heart but if you screw up, just start over.

There are plenty more ham radio and non-ham projects to do on a Raspberry Pi. Applications listed in the first couple projects can be installed standalone for single use setups such as a Slow Scan TV (SSTV) receiver when the International Space Station is sending images. A friend in Toledo recently used my instructions to setup an APRS RX Igate. DL1GKK’s site has instructions on installing ham radio applications as well. Raspberry Connect contains a list of ham radio applications that can be installed through the apt package manager which simplifies installation. There is no shortage of things to make on a Raspberry Pi.

Grant Imahara (Wikipedia)

News missed my article last month, but I wanted to mention the passing of Grant Imahara at 49 years old due to a brain aneurysm. Most probably never heard the name but have undoubtedly seen his work. Not a ham radio licensee that anyone can find, Grant was an electronics genius and maker in the truest sense of the word. Landing jobs at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), the George Lucas special effects company, he modernized R2D2. He was one of three official domestic operators of the droid for the Star Wars movies. His special effects movie credits also include The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Terminator 3, and Matrix movies. Grant also competed on BattleBots where his robot was often highly ranked. The robotic sidekick on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” was also Grant’s creation. He was a designer for the animatronic Energizer Bunny seen in commercials. Joining MythBusters in 2005 is where I picked up his career in front of the camera during my college years. The program took on myths, legends, and Hollywood lure to see if they translated to real-life – oh, and they liked to blow stuff up. Grant not only provided technical expertise but participated in experiments and designed machines to take the place of a person for myths that were too dangerous. A tragic loss and he will be missed.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – May 2020 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Scott – N8SY and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Scott has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

Well, this stay at home thing seems to have run its course – beginning week 11 soon. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know by now Dayton Hamvention was canceled this year. First time ever in its history. Weekend events that had the resources were virtualized such as Contest University. Some vendors and manufactures ran Dayton specials regardless of the lack of a physical showing. Technical Specialist Bob – K8MD pointed out that one of the retailers ran a special on D-STAR repeater components for $299 apiece. That meant a full stack (controller, 2m voice, 440 voice, 1.2G voice, and 1.2G data) could be purchased for about $1,500. Wow. Just ONE of those items cost about that much retail. Is ICOM feeling the pressure from the Yaesu repeater giveaway, DMR, or is D-STAR II around the corner? Hmmm…

Unfortunately, I’m starting to see on-the-air happenings return to previous levels. I guess that means people are returning to work, going out more, and returning to their normal. For me, I knew early on I wanted to utilize the hunker-in-place order to knock out some long-standing projects and “to-dos” of mine. Others had the same idea.

Among my list of annoying issues was a problem with one of my Fedora systems. As I’ve written about in the past, I made the switch to Fedora Linux as the primary operating system on my desktop and laptop. Fedora is a cutting-edge operating system and employs a very aggressive release and end-of-life schedule. The project releases a new version twice a year in April and October. When a new version drops, they mark the version two behind it as end-of-life. Fedora 30 released in April of 2019 means Fedora 28 went end-of-life one month after that date, May 2019. No bug fixes, no package updates, no security enhancements. And everyone complains about Microsoft ending life of a 10-year-old OS. Well, I knew what I was getting into.

Fedora 31 released at the end of October, 2019. I usually wait 2-3 months for the major problems to be ironed out and updates made available before I upgrade. When I tried to update to 31, I ran into a problem. Using the Fedora 31 Live CD or doing the automatic upgrade, the boot process would hang on this line:

A start job is running for Monitoring of LVM2 mirrors, snapshots etc. using dmeventd or progress polling

This process neither finished loading nor failed to load after any amount of time. Off to the Internet I went. Searching “Fedora 31” and the message above brought me to a couple bug reports and forum posts about the same message. Unfortunately, none of the suggestions got me past this problem. Due to life and other responsibilities, I put it aside secretly hoping Fedora 32 would have fixed my problem, saying I would upgrade from 30 to 32. I saw Fedora 32 beta was available (now a full release) and downloaded the Live CD. Problem still existed. Darn!

Since this occurred during the boot process of both the Live CD and after upgrading a previous installation, I couldn’t look or pull stored logs easily to see if those provided any clues as to why the process was hanging. Live CD images are the lifeline go-to when the installed OS on the hard drive wont boot. In addition to installing the OS, they are used as a rescue method to repair a borked install. I couldn’t get the Live CD to boot so I was in trouble if this system ever became unbootable because I’ve never *cough* have done something that *cough* *cough* caused my system to become unbootable…

Storage server supporting RAID (Wikipedia)

The forum post above gave me a clue and I started exploring this as being an issue with my RAID array. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive (or Independent) Disks. It’s a technology that combines multiple physical disks into logical units for redundancy, performance, or both. I tried messing around in the BIOS disabling other arrays, that didn’t work. I thought maybe something in the RAID information written to the disk was causing a problem. Backed up everything on the array and deleted it. Deleting a RAID array destroys all data on those disks!! When I recreated the array, the Fedora 31 Live CD booted! Problem solved!!? Yeah, no. It would boot successfully once then hang on subsequent reboots or after being installed to the hard drive.

After screwing around with it even more, I finally searched “Fedora 31 Intel RAID array LVM2 dmeventd” and found this bug report and how to work around the exact issue I was having. Whoo Hoo! Problem solved, well workaround provided. It took a while to get there. Simply searching a message, error, or problem may not return the most relevant search results for your issue. You might have to dig at it a bit by gathering other information to determine the real reason or peel back the right layer to discover the correct answer.

Work around involved masking the lvm2-lvmpolld.service via kernel load parameters and at the command line after install. Masking creates a link to the Linux blackhole /dev/null device so the service cannot be started by systemd or dependencies. The service is a polling system for the Logical Volume Manager (LVM). After all that, I was finally able to get Fedora upgraded to 31! Just in time as version 30 was about to go EOL. I noticed the data consistency validation scan no longer automatically occurs on the arrays, which is likely related to disabling the service. I initiate it manually every couple of weeks. The problem of not being able to boot has an active bug report that’s assigned. Hopefully gets attention from a developer and fixed.

Windows 7 Users: Take Heed

Broken Windows (Krebs on Security)

It’s become more imperative that you move to another operating system like Windows 10, Linux, or utilize a 3rd party patching service like 0patch. Unlike Windows XP’s end-of-life, there were not too many critical issues shortly after EOL. Microsoft did release patches for ‘really bad’ issues. XP, and any OS, always have an unknown number of undiscovered security problems. We were not so fortunate to run with Windows 7 as long without discovering major problems. There have been a number of significant critical issues each month since Windows 7 went EOL that affect Windows 7, 8, and 10, for which Microsoft has not (and likely will not) patch Windows 7.

My February OSJ article has information about how issues can affect ‘all versions of Windows’ and information on 0patch. March OSJ article covers upgrading to Windows 10 for free and check my Linux information article for choosing a Linux distribution. A reader previously tried to argue that exploits resided in browsers. Since the last official update for Windows 7 in January, these critical exploits are largely operating system based: ActiveX, Windows Installer, Graphics Interface, font rendering, and shortcut handling (.lnk files) with many being 0-day, meaning they are actively exploited in the wild. Could be a result of someone that has physical access to the machine, an application the user thinks are legitimate or an app that comes bundled with crapware/malware, or polled by an infected device on the network.

This month alone, 111 security holes were patched, 16 being critical, in supported Windows operating systems. Makes you wonder why anyone is still using a Microsoft Windows OS. Lack of software support and learning curve are probably the biggest. I have a few uses for Windows, ugh – thank you streaming services and your stupid ‘copy protection.’ Microsoft is looking at ‘containerizing’ the Win10 operating system. The belief being when a software component fails to update or creates a problem, it doesn’t affect other parts or crash the entire operating system – separate containers that only affect themselves. Or maybe Microsoft should focus on getting the operating system stable instead of “feature updates” no one cares about. </end rant>.

AmateurLogic.TV Sound Check Net

One of the nets created since the stay-at-home order is the Amateur Logic Sound Check Net. Amateur Logic.TV is a long-running monthly podcast featuring the latest in ham radio. There have been 5 nets so far. I became involved with the net because they wanted the ability to link D-STAR and DMR users to their EchoLink net. I was able to offer up my Digital Voice Multi-mode Interlink System Hub. Started utilizing only those three modes but quickly expanded to incorporate all. Users have checked in using all the modes each week, including Wires-X.

Previous net announcement with NCS K8JTK!

The AmateurLogic guys are using a local repeater in Mississippi connected to an Echolink node. I connect to their Echolink node and transcode audio to and from other modes: AllStar Link, Hamshack Hotline, D-STAR, DMR, YSF, and Wires-X. It has performed well as it mostly lives in the cloud and has data center level resources. Users and sponsors of the net have been impressed with how well it works and grateful to experiment with many modes to reach the net – one of the few, if not only, taking Hamshack Hotline checkins.

I was net control MC for a couple of their nets. It was my longest and most amount of checkins with about 40 at nearly 2 hours for a net. The net is on Tuesdays at 9pm eastern and should be running for at least a couple more weeks. Net can be reached by connecting to any of my hub nodes or checking ALTV social media for other connections. Everyone is welcome!

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – April 2020 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Scott – N8SY and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Scott has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

Stay at home: day 42. Continuing to work from home. Haven’t seen co-workers or friends in a month and a half. Regular lunch outings and after work happenings have long since terminated. Virtual meetings and conferences have replaced in person interaction. Participation in Ham Radio activities is on the rise! Nets are seeing higher check-in counts than they’ve ever seen. The curve is rising for digital modes and logged contacts.

Are we all having fun yet during Corona Fest 2020?

As people are forced to work from home due to closures, companies are utilizing videoconferencing services to keep in touch with employees and teams. These are now methods for coordinating efforts and relaying the latest to employees about the status of their company. A videoconferencing solution was likely available for employees to interact with remote team members or vendors world-wide. Now, those services are utilized all-day, every day. My company decided to begin the transition from WebEx to Microsoft Teams for meetings. I liked WebEx and it generally worked. MS Teams, well it’s part of Office 365 and that’s probably down again. Corona Fest is forcing usage of these collaboration solutions, not only companies but social organizations that previously met in person. These include popular names like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom.

Those who value open sourced solutions should use Jitsi or Jitsi Meet to hold meetings. The service is completely free and open-source where anyone can look at the source code of the project. The difference between Jitsi and Jitsi Meet: Jitsi is a roll-your-own solution meaning you can download server packages or code and deploy an instance however you want. Jitsi Meet Online is an extremely easy-to-use alternative solution for holding meetings – with no installation required.

Settings up a meeting is easy as visiting the Jitsi Meet Online link, create a name for the meeting, click Go, set a meeting password, then send out the meeting URL or phone numbers to participants. A meeting can be created in a matter of seconds! Yes, POTS phone service is available as part of the meeting for free. Note, plain old telephone service audio options will not be encrypted due to the nature of the technology. There is nothing to download for desktop PCs with a web browser and most smart devices. Smart phone apps are available for iOS and Android including the F-Droid store. Functionally, Jitsi Meet offers the same features as the others: video, audio, chat, and shared desktop.

If I had to pick one thing that I don’t like about Jitsi it is the use of WebRTC. Web Real-Time Communication is also a free and open-source project that provides web browsers and mobile applications with real-time communication (RTC). WebRTC is included in all modern browsers and enabled by default in most. This technology allows audio and video communication to happen without the need

Jitsi Meet options menu

to install additional plugins or apps. Makes it very easy. There are a couple problems with WebRTC in highly privacy focused implementations. One problem is the communication is direct, peer-to-peer. This makes it possible for a skilled individual to learn real Internet Protocol (IP) addresses even while the other is utilizing a VPN. Use of a VPN can allow a user to appear as though their traffic is coming from a different IP and aids in masking actual location. Corporations use VPNs to establish secure communications from their network to their endpoint devices over networks with unknown integrity. Another problem is that end-to-end encryption is not possible with WebRTC. Jitsi addresses this issue in their security document. End-to-end encryption (also abbreviated “E2EE”) is a method where only the communicating users can read messages exchanged, preventing eavesdroppers anywhere along the communication path.

I wish people used better tools such as Jitsi. That’s why there’s choice. I would use this for any meetings I hosted. It seems like a really good open-source alternative to the other solutions.

Zoom became very popular very quickly, almost overnight. It was even recommended right here in last month’s OSJ. Attacks and threats emerge as a result of that popularity and pose risks for users and clubs who are using these services to host meetings. Cyber criminals are crafting email messages to steal logon credentials and packaging malware to look like a Zoom meeting installer.

For most of us, club meetings are not doing anything that’s overly sensitive with Zoom. Some organizations (companies, agencies) banned the use of Zoom citing flaws in the encryption implementation making it easy to exploit and three Chinese companies develop the applications. These should be taken into consideration but there has been no evidence of influence resulting from these issues. Zoom should be commended, though, due to their responsiveness in correcting vulnerabilities and privacy issues that have been discovered in recent weeks.

Free for accounts, everything is managed by the Zoom cloud, including encryption keys. Data is encrypted between the clients and Zoom servers. However, audio is not encrypted if a paid account is using the POTS phone line options.

Shortly after its popularity exploded, so did the number of unwanted participants in meetings leading to the term “Zoombombing.” Having someone crash a meeting is obnoxious and an unwanted disruption. Examples of this have made the rounds where Zoom sessions were hijacked by individuals saying or showing things that are lewd, obscene, racist, or antisemitic in nature where everyone in the session can see or hear. Students themselves conspired to have pranksters harass teachers in their online classes. Others utilized ‘Wardialing’ tools to discover unsecured Zoom sessions. Wardialing is an early hacking term where every number in an area code was dialed to find computers, bulletin board systems, servers, and fax machines. The resulting list would be used to guess login credentials and gain unauthorized access to those systems. One person I know had her yoga session crashed by an individual cursing and displaying symbols associated with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. I have not heard about any disruption to ham radio club meetings.

There are steps the organizer can take or have someone else follow the directions in the Zoom support articles to prevent these issues. Not all of these configuration recommendations are needed for every meeting, follow ones applicable to that meeting. For example, you may not want to lock a club meeting from participants but instead use a waiting room approach.

Latest version: ensure participants are using the most recent client version. In April alone, there have been three updates to the Windows client.

Meeting password: posting a meeting link to social media will draw attention. Send the event password to known users through a direct message or other means where your participants are known.

Waiting room: virtual staging area for guests and participants until you’re ready for them to join.

Zoom War Dialer (krebsonsecurity.com)

Manage participants: remove any participants that should not be in the meeting and set who can share their screen.

Disable video, file transfer, annotations, and private chat: cut down on distractions, unsolicited content, or messages as needed.

Accidental removal of a participant: a booted user cannot rejoin a session using the same email address unless a few settings are changed.

Put participants on hold during breaks: attendees audio and video can be disabled during lunch, bio breaks, or private moments.

Video recordings: exercise discretion when recording content and know where that content is stored. Paid customers have the option to record a meeting to the cloud.

Following these tips can lead to a successful, uninterrupted meeting.

I saw a posting by the developer of the MMDVM software, Jonathan – G4KLX. Digital hotspot and repeater owners should follow these guidelines.

This message contains important information that I want disseminated far and wide please.

I have been approached by the people who run aprs.fi and REF001/REF030 (not the same people) about problems being caused by hotspots. This is down to usage and I hope that people will act on this information:

1. APRS, it is important that when configuring your hotspot, that you ensure that the suffix used for accessing aprs.fi is unique. For example if you use more than one hotspot, then ensure that for every mode and for every hotspot, the aprs.fi access callsign is unique. This is usually done by specifying a unique suffix to the callsign used by the hotspot. If more than one hotspot attempts to access aprs.fi with the same callsign+suffix combination, the first one is thrown off, and the new one connects. In the meantime the original one tries to connect and throw the new one off. This can happen multiple times per second, and is causing problems for them. Please, please, please, look at your configurations and if you have a duplicate, change one of them.

2. REF001/REF030, apparently the network load on these D-Star reflectors is now very high due to the number of hotspots connecting and staying connected. Could you please consider changing your gateway configuration so that you disconnect after a certain period of inactivity (this means local RF activity) so that they aren't overloaded. I know we like to listen out for activity, but we must also realise that D-Star popular reflectors const money to run, and that includes network and processor usage. A quick look at their dashboards will reveal the problem, they're huge.

Jonathan G4KLX

Set unique SSIDs for APRS on different modes and on different hotspots. Finding where APRS information originates isn’t always easy with hotspots. The OpenSPOT 1 has a location information box in settings but it is not transmitted directly by that device, rather Brandmeister pushes that information to the APRS network. Disabling APRS data on the Pi-STAR requires editing the config files and setting priority messages in Brandmeister. The priority message solution should work for OpenSPOT devices too.

ZUMSpot on Raspberry Pi Zero compared to a quarter

Unlink from reflectors, talkgroups, and systems when you’re not using them, especially ones with large numbers of connected users. Users are apparently leaving their devices connected to popular reflectors ting up bandwidth and resources unnecessarily.

To put this into perspective, when I looked at REF001 there were 850 remote/hotspot users connected, about the same on REF030. A mere 12 had transmitted since they were connected. A 5 second transmission is about 9KB worth of Internet traffic. Multiply that by 850 connected devices, that’s 7.6MB of traffic in 5 seconds to connected hotspots, many of which are not being used. That’s an estimated 80 gigabytes or so for an hour-long net. There are ping/heartbeat packets to all connected devices even when the reflector does not have an active radio transmission taking place.

Please check your hotspot APRS configurations and disconnect when not in use.

K8JTK Hub Interlink System

Anyone wanting a place to meet-up for checking on friends and fellow hams or looking for something to do can use a system I’ve been working on the last few months. Currently, it offers 6 full-time ham radio VoIP modes interlinked for interoperability. Ways to access the system:

  • EchoLink: K8JTK-R 233196
  • AllStar Link: 50394
  • Hamshack Hotline: 94026
  • DMR: Brandmeister TG 31983
  • D-STAR: DCS/XLX983 A
  • YSF: K8JTK Hub 17374

Since I’m working from home, I’ve linked up my Wires-X room: K8JTK-ROOM 40680

More information or updates on the system: http://www.k8jtk.org/ham-radio/k8jtk-hub-digital-voip-mutimode-interlink-system/

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK