Hardware: Get Linux To Talk To Your Radio

This is a highly specialized entry today, for amateur radio operators who want to switch to Linux.

It can be a pain, but it is possible!

I like a simple and clean interface, so the software I use for amateur radio logging is xlog which is available in your Software Manager.

Xlog amateur radio logger

Xlog amateur radio logger

XLog uses the HamLib library to communicate with any modern radio. (It’s in the repositories too) While it’s designed for use with a serial port, it works just fine using a USB port as well. Though setting  it up can be a royal pain!

Xlog amateur radio logger

Xlog amateur radio logger – radio setup

In the example above, I’m using a USB to serial adapter to connect to my radio. So to talk to the radio, I’m using USB port 1.

You will need to make sure you have write access to your serial ports. You can do this by issuing the following command from the Terminal:

sudo usermod -a -G dialout username

Followed by:

sudo chmod 666 /dev/ttyUSB1

Which will give you user permission, and then read / write access to the ports.

Next, if you wish to use the built-in programmable Morse Code keyer, you’ll need to install the program cwdaemon from the repositories as well.

CW Interface for xlog

CW Interface for xlog

Cwdaemon provides a circuit diagram on how to use your serial port to send Morse through your radio. In my case, I use a piece of ready made hardware called a  USB Interface II which, while it’s designed for use with Windows, works very nicely under Linux as well. It’s just a matter of capturing the correct port. In my case, I send the following command in Terminal:

sudo cwdaemon -d ttyUSB0

Which captures the port that my hardware interface is connected to. You will need to send this command after each reboot, or include it in your boot scripts.