What software do you put on a fresh PC?

I decided after 3 years and a few weird errors here and there it was time to refresh the copy of my Windows 10 on my main desktop PC in the ham shack. (I know, I have Linux and Mac here too!) After keeping a list for a few days, here’s what I use most.

Making a list and checking it twice

Google Chrome
I like Chrome for browsing and I use many of the other Google features like Sheets, Drive and Photos, so this all stays integrated. Since it keep my logins and history across all my different machines, this is the universal tool for me.

It’s a Ham Shack, So…
One of the reasons I chose this particular PC (ASUS ROG GR8 II) is that it was powerful enough to run my Flex 6500 graphically, and let me multitask. Here’s where I start from a ham perspective:

  • Smart SDR for Windows. I upgraded to the latest version, 3.1.11 which gave me a radio software upgrade as well.
  • N1MM Logger Plus Well integrated with the Flex, this is my go-to logging software for any contest I do, plus it puts the DX spots on my Flex spectrum to find-em fast.
  • Ham Radio Deluxe Why two loggers? Well HRD is more than my logger, it’s how I do digital and Logbook of the World (yes, I have TQSL as well.) It’s my non-contest, everyday QSO software.
  • Audacity I could have put this with other PC items, but mostly what I use it for is recording my radio items like strange Shortwave signals and it’s a great non linear audio editor.

As I go along I will add items like software for programming my ICOM and Kenwood radios, but not until I need them.

Graphics and Video
I’ve been enjoying making blogs and YouTube videos since I have been retired. I use at least one of the next 3 daily it seems.

  • GIMP – The Gnu Image Manipulation Program – Lousy name, great free and open source replacement for Photoshop or other graphical editors. It’s cross platform too, so I can use it on my Mac and Linux machines as well.
  • Blender – This one was controversial when I posted about it as a video editor. I learned non-linear video editing about 25 years ago, and this felt comfortable to my experience level. Plus if I want to learn more 3D rendering, it’s there. Again it’s free, open source, and multi-platform so I get to learn once and use anywhere.
  • Streamlabs OBS – When I want to do a YouTube live show, I use Streamlabs OBS. Look at that, free and open source and multi-platform again. There’s a theme here. It’s very easy to use and I was really please that it had saved my scenes across-installs so I could just click and go.

Raspberry Pi
I don’t need a lot of software for Pi because most of what I do is related to programming on the devices themselves. But I need something to handle writing images to MicroSD cards and creating backups. Win32DiskImager is my tool. While I primarily use it for the MicroSD, I have written ISO’s to a USB card with it in a pinch. Pick a drive, read or write from it. It is that simple. To clean those cards, the SD card association supplies a formatter.

So that’s it, the first 11 programs (don’t call them apps on a PC, just, no) on my clean desktop. I’m off to make some contacts!

Metro Atlanta Ham Radio and Covid-19

As of 02-Apr-20 19:55 EDT

I thought I would capture some of the major notes related to Amateur Radio and the Corona Virus in one place for Metro-Atlanta. Amateur Radio Newsline has a international list on their Facebook page.

Ongoing

  • GA ARES will have nightly nets at 1900 Local, 2300 UTC.
    • D-Star net on Reflector 30B Monday, Wednesday and Friday
    • HF Net on 3.971 MHz with 3.923 MHz alternate – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Upcoming

  • Georgia QSO Party CHANGES
    • Saturday 4/11 only 1600-0400Z (Noon-Midnight Local)
    • No Rovers
    • Multi-Op only for Virtual Radios or Multi-Ham Homes
  • Weekly Georgia DMR net Wednesdays at 8 PM on TG 3113
  • 2020 SVHFS Conference Postponed (was April in Gainesville)
  • Dayton Hamvention (May) is cancelled for 2020
  • Atlanta Hamfest is tentatively on for June 6 – Cobb County is currently using the location for drive-through COVID-19 testing.

Historical

  • Atlanta Radio Club meeting for Thursday 4/2 Cancelled but special net at 7 PM
  • North Fulton held virtual meeting 3/17
  • GARS Workshop on 3/17 was postponed.
  • Atlanta Radio Club Friday lunch cancelled 3/13
  • North Fulton 3/14 VE Session Cancelled
  • North GA QRP (NOGA) Meeting cancelled

If I missed anything or if there are any updates, email me at (mycall) @ arrl.net.

The Atlas 5 Launch Experience

ULA Atlas 5 with Solar Orbiter – February 2020 by N4BFR

I really enjoyed going to a night launch on the Space Coast on Feb. 9. United Launch Alliance shot a Solar Orbiter for ESA that will map close to the solar poles for the first time. Cool science is coming!

I used this an an experiment to photograph a bunch of different ways. 4 cameras ended up in this final video. My Sony A58 shot the launch in HD, I used my Panasonic Lumix to shoot the rocket gliding under the moon, I used a small “Action Cam” to get a time lapse of the launch, and finally my iPhone shot the selfie videos.

One shot that didn’t make it was a 4K Vertical Launch shot. I started the camera with about 2 minutes to go, but when I adjusted its placement I bumped it. No recording. Good thing I had some redundancy!

From the Radio Side, I listened to the launch on the K4GCC 146.94 repeater, who simulcast the launch audio for every launch via a phone patch. (Well it was a phone patch the two times I heard it). I also attempted to listen to the CCAFS traffic via a scanner. I was able to hear some KSC gate discussions, but no operational audio related to the launch. Something to try for next time!