Wednesday, January 13, 2016

HRU 2016

Here is the information for my two forums this year at Ham Radio University on Jan 10 at Briarcliffe College.

Link to the Youtube video of the SDR presentation:  SDR presentation is at 1:51

Links for the LINUX forum:

Great source of RTL-SDR Dongle info, and SDR in general including SDR# and plugins:

Distros mentioned:  Mint, Puppy, Ubuntu, CentOS, Slackware, Debian, TinyCore, LXLE
Mint is my favorite.  Puppy or LXLE for older systems.

Pen Drive Linux:

Ham Radio Linux info:

Neil’s Pages:

Skywave Linux (Linux with SDR libraries already loaded):

Links for the SDR forum:

W9OY - How SDR Works:

DH1TW - Do you understand SDR?:

Great source of RTL-SDR Dongle info, and SDR in general including SDR# and plugins:

Skywave Linux (Linux with SDR libraries already loaded):


HDSDR (used in demo):

Google "linrad" for beginners info and info on getting RTL-SDR dongles to work in LINRAD.

NooElec store on Amazon:

SOFT66 Radios:

Alinco DJ-X11 (a handheld wideband receiver with SDR capability) :

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Windows 10 Presentation (LIMARC October 14, 2015)

Windows 10 Key Info
From LIMARC Presentation 10/14/2015 

-Link to presentation:

-PC World HowTo:

-If the upgrade icon doesn’t appear:

-Use the Windows 10 Compatibility Checker:

-Crucial BX 100 SSD ($79.99 on Amazon Today):

-The Verge, Windows 10 Review:

-Microcenter Windows Tablets:

Neil Goldstein, W2NDG

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Radio Kit Guide

Welcome to

Some time ago, I attempted to research sources for kits on the Internet, only to find out that there wasn't a one-stop-website for Ham Radio kit suppliers.

I decided to put together a good list of sources for kits that are currently available. Many of these are for
Etherkit CRX1 Receiver

QRP operation, but a few are full-featured professional transceivers (Elecraft, DZ). On the beginners side there are a few sources that stand out: Hendricks has a great assortment of kits, including some SSB QRP equipment. QRPme offers the inexpensive, easy-to-build tuna-can products, and I would like to make special mention

Monday, May 04, 2015


Some of you might remember me talking about the return of Heathkit.

There has been a lot of mystery surrounding the status of Heathkit, as they popped up a couple of years ago and announced that they were returning.  There was a survey posted online for a long time asking people what they wanted to see from a new Heathkit.  The new Heathkit management hosted a Q and A session on Reddit speaking more about their plans to return.  Then, nothing.  No announcements, no news.  There was brief mention in December when the folks at Adafruit (a company that supports the MAKER community) were briefly in touch with the new Heathkit, and were told that things are still progressing, and there will be no information on what the products will be until they are ready.  All through this, I have been skeptical, as many people would be, since we have heard this story before.

Now, there are changes over at  They are clearly gearing up for products, and support.  They have even started an eBay store where they are selling parts, and some classic equipment.

Cross your fingers.

--Neil W2NDG

Friday, March 13, 2015

Larkfield ARC and LIMARC meeting presentation Handout

Here are the links from the handout:

Heathkit FAQ

Quicksilver (soldering iron, tools)

The Ham QRP DIY Kit Shack

Bitx kits from India


Clifford Wareham



Peaberry SDR

Mikes Electronic Parts (AM chips and Fahnestock clips

Evil Mad Scientist

Great list of remaining surplus suppliers


Peebles Originals (Crystal and Regen kits)

Here are a few more useful links:

I was talking about the 3-lead AM radio chips, and also a source for Fahnestock clips and other AM radio parts.  It turns out that it's the same guy:

Mikes Electronic Parts

This is the site that has the giant 555 IC timer kit that we saw at the meeting:

One man's obsession with crystal radios.  Worth a look!

Great list of remaining surplus suppliers:

Just found this site which has archives of Elementary Electronics, Popular Electronics, Radio Electronics, etc etc.  Great resource!

Here's another interesting kit source I forgot about that I need to add.  Peebles Originals.  They make a nice line of Crystal and Transistor radio kits:

Unfortunately I was not able to find the generic p-boxes, but you can still build the designs on a regular perf board.

 Be sure to send anything new you find that is not on the website to me.

Neil Goldstein W2NDG

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Alternative Operating Systems. LIMARC Presentation from January 14, 2015

Alternative Operating Systems
Limarc Pre-Meeting presentation
January 14, 2015


Atheos (Syllable)
MorphOS  For OLD PowerMacs


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Linux For Ham Radio - Ham Radio University Forum - HRU 2015

Welcome to all HRU attendees, and visitors to this website.  I would like to thank HRU for inviting me to be a presenter this year, and also to everyone who attended my forum.  Here are the notes I promised, as well as a link to the presentation.  This subject really requires more than the 45 minutes we had.  I had wanted to demonstrate my RTL-SDR dongle running in Linux, and to spend a little time explaining the best way to set it up.

If any metro-area Ham Radio clubs would like me to do this presentation for them, please contact me at: W2NDG(AT)ARRL(DOT)NET.

First of all, lets look at some of the main subjects from the presentation.

Here is a link to the small presentation

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tecsun PL-880 Hidden Feature Chart

Here is a consolidated version of the Hidden Feature List for the Tecsun PL-880.

Thanks to Thomas over at The SWLing Post for publishing all of the hacks in one list.

Function Key What to do Radio State
Synchronous Detection USB/NORM LSB/NORM Hold button in until change occurs. One push to change back. ON
Muting Threshold for AM/SSB, also sets FM Threshold on some versions 9 Select mode to adjust first (AM, SSB, FM). Press and hold, then adjust with either tuning knob. Press 9 again when done to save. ON
DNR (Automatic adjustment of bandwidth, etc?) 6 Press and hold till display says 'ON' and again for 'OFF'. ON
Display Firmware Version, and date AM/BW With radio OFF: press and hold until display turns on. Then press and hold again to get firmware. Press one more time for date OFF
FM De-emphasis 5 Press and hold to toggle between 75 (USA) and 50 (Europe) ON
Line-Out Level (only works on FM?) 7 Press and hold till current level begins flashing. Adjust with either tuning knob. Press again to save ON
Adjusting Seconds on Clock 8 With radio off, press and hold, and then adjust seconds OFF
Calibrating on AM (MW) Snooze Tune a strong MW station. Turn on SSB mode (USB/LSB). Move fine tuning till zero-beated and pitch matches non-SSB. Press and hold the snooze button till correction value appears in display, then press snooze again to save. ON
USB/LSB Calibration 0 PRESS and HOLD the 0 button. Look at the UPPER RIGHT corner of the display. A 2-digits number is BLINKING as well as the Hz digits of the tuned frequency. RELEASE the 0 button, and adjust the FINE TUNING. Tune, de-tune and re-tune before calibration is perfect. Play a bit with it to understand how it works. Change is effective AFTER you press 0 again. Do for both USB and LSB modes. Check the tone when tuned to xxx.95 USB and xxx.05 LSB. They should sound exactly the same. ON
Forcing External Antenna on MW/LW Several Visit for instructions and video ON

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ramp Season (with a recipe)

It's that time of year again.  Ramps are rampant in the woods (sorry).  For those of you that don't know what
Flickr:Jessica and Lon Binder
a ramp is, the pictures here will help you identify them.  They are the wild relative of the cultivated leek that springs up in the Northeast towards the end of April.  Usually growing in moist woods.  If you know of a place where there is a lot of skunk cabbage, chances are that there are ramps nearby (usually a short distance in the opposite direction of the wet area that the skunk cabbage is near).  Pull the whole plant out by digging underneath it a bit, and you'll have something that resembles a lily of the valley on top, and a scallion on the bottom.  It should have a nice, pronounced garlicky-onion odor.  Drop these in a bag as you harvest, and try not to take too many from one area.  I usually bring a cooler to put them in once I get back to the car to keep them fresh until I can prepare them.
Ramps in the woods. Flickr:Bev Currie

To prepare, cut off the small roots along with the bottom eighth-inch or so of the bulb.  Strip the outer layer or two of the translucent skin off and throw in a colander.  Wash thoroughly in cold water.  Then, chop the ramps into small pieces, tops and all, and re-wash in the colander in cold water.  You are now ready to prepare.

You can use them as you would leeks, with obvious consideration to the size difference, and the addition of an almost greens-like vegetable with the tops intact.  One popular use is in omelets.  I use them in place of the leeks in my leek latkes:

-A bunch of ramps, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces at the top, and smaller near the bulb.
-Almond meal (this makes them a bit healthier.  You can use bread crumbs instead.)
-Salt and Pepper
-Olive oil
-Frying oil

I use Trader Joe's almond meal.  Best for the dollar I think, and I usually saute the leeks in extra virgin olive oil, and fry the pancakes in regular olive oil, canola, or Trader Joe's rice bran oil.

Saute the prepared ramps in some olive oil until limp and fragrant, set aside to cool a bit, and wash the pan out for the next step.  Once they are just warm still, add a few eggs.  I had about 8 cups of chopped ramps to start with and used 3 jumbo eggs, so use your best judgement here.  You can always add more, so start low.  Mix well till the eggs are beaten, and add enough almond meal to make a thin pancake-consistency batter.  I think I ended up using about a cup this last time.  Add salt and pepper, and mix well.  Drop batter from a large serving spoon or ladle into hot oil (see above) and cook until golden brown on both sides.

These are fantastic as is, or with some sour cream, and/or applesauce.

I think next I'm going to try them in this recipe.

Happy foraging folks!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

LIMARC Linux Presentation 11/13/2013

Link to the presentation files:


Site for Distros:

Debian:  Volunteer maintained.  Uses the popular apt package system used as a base for many other Distros

RedHat:  Commercial.  Used by large corporations, governments, and schools. Related to Fedora (open source branch), and CentOS (free version).  Uses the rpm package system
  Why pay?  SUPPORT!

Slackware:  One of the oldest. Not for beginners

Ubuntu:  Based on Debian.  Very popular, and used on some commercial desktops.  Easy to install and use.  Recently headed in a direction that alienated many users. 

Linux MINT: Evolved from Ubuntu. Much more polished and usable.  Keeps a more conventional desktop like Ubuntu used to.  Better out-of-box-experience.

Puppy:  Lightweight, and fast.  Great on older systems.  Has own proprietary packages, but some versions support Ubuntu, or Slackware packages.

CentOS:  Built from RedHat source.  Essentially RedHat without support

FreeBSD:  Not Linux, but UNIX.  Worth a look for comparison, but I recommend GhostBSD for beginners.  OS X, and iOS are based on BSD variants

GhostBSD:  FreeBSD for beginners

Damn Small:  Started the mini distro movement.  Always less than 50M

Tiny Core:  Full GUI operating system in a 14M download. Amazing!

Multimedia:  OpenElec, XBMC, GeexBox
  Make your own ROKU. 
  OpenElec and XBMC run on the Raspberry Pi

Security – Forensics:  Kali, BackBox
  Recover files, test network security.

Disk Utilities:  Parted Magic, Clonezilla
  Free alternatives to Partition Magic and Ghost
  Hirens Boot CD includes both

PBX (phone systems): AsteriskNOW
  Make your own phone system

Ham Radio:


Live CD/DVD:
  boot from CD/DVD.  Does not touch your operating system!
  Can install later
  There’s one on HIRENS

Install into VM:
  VirtualBox, Parallels, VMWare

Install on an older computer

Make a bootable USB

Install to USB
  Use a large USB stick, and a live CD/DVD


Linux Mint MATE 32 bit
Linux Mint MATE 64 bit
CentOS 32 bit
Puppy LUPU
Or, download your own ISOs and burn