Saturday, February 21, 2009


Well, four hours after I started a "simple" Ham radio project, I'm still not finished.
I volunteered to set up a West Coast "Satgate" to capture packets from the International Space Station (yep, it has Amateur Radio gear onboard) and put them out on the Internet. I have a radio that's not used much that I can dedicate to this, and a persistent Internet connection. So, just connect everything together, download some software, configure it, and sit back. Pretty easy for a grizzled old radio/computer guy like me, right?
Setting up the hardware was a snap....I've been involved in Amateur Packet Radio since the early 90's, have a lot of 100% functional gear just laying around, and had that part of it set up and running smoothly in about 30 minutes. So, I download the software, install it, and the first time I fire it up it gripes that the "AGWPE" packet engine isn't running, and it needs it to run. WTF? I have a HARDWARE TNC, so why do I need a soundcard-based packet engine running?? Oh, well, get the AGWPE packet software downloaded and set up. It decodes and displays packets using the soundcard just fine after I run a cable from the audio out of the radio to the line in on my Ham PC. Start the other software again, and it's happy seeing the packet engine running. Go to the "modules" section, and there's NO satgate module listed. Huh....thought I downloaded the *full* package....Back to the Internet and grab some more modules. Unzip them in the correct directories, and restart everything. DUH! Tells me now I need the "PRO" version to do what I want. OK...more downloads and installation. won't let me run it until I register it, which requires a donation. Now the guy that writes the software is pretty cool, and the software looks to be good quality, so I PayPal him the required amount of Euros, and now I'm waiting for the registration info to get here.
Wonder what else I'll find after I get the program registered?
Anywhoo....was going to do this "little" project and then pound away on the Drake receiver I've been restoring....AINT gonna happen tonight!

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