Working With Windows Software

I’ve been using various Linux logging packages for my radio hobby over the years, but none have been up to the ease of use and features of a Windows package that I’ve used for almost 20 years, on my lone old Windows machine.

Really wanting to dump that machine, it was time to really work on getting the Win program to run happy on Linux!

The program is called XMLog, a logging and award tracking software package. The program will also control my radio, changing the frequency, filling in dynamic fields like frequency, mode, time, date, etc.

XMLog

XMLog

The software has always run semi-okay using Wine, but several of the features didn’t work properly. This made it unsuitable for production use on a Linux machine.

In the example below, the data window would never display:

3 W1AW QSOs_005

And in this example, the antenna bearing and distance never showed up either:

XMLog program features

XMLog program features

Oh my joy when I tried to run this software yet again, with a brand new Mint 17.1 install on my computer, the latest Wine upgrades, and the Software itself using some more compatible libraries!

Next of course was to get the software talking to my radio. To do this, you need to tell Wine what communications ports you wish to map to what devices. This is done by navigating to your ~/.wine/dosdevices directory as shown here:

Wine configuration directory

Wine configuration directory

Right click in an empty spot in the window, and select: Open In Terminal which will open a Terminal window where you will then define the communications port mappings.

In my case, I wanted Com1 to provide remote control to my radio, using the USB device called ttyUSB1. To map this, in Terminal, in the dosdevices directory, I simply type:

ln -s /dev/ttyUSB1 com1

Which will map USB1 to Com 1, so that the Windows software can find it.

Likewise, because I wanted to be able to send Morse Code using my computer’s keyboard, I also mapped a separate port for that. It this case:

ln -s /dev/ttyUSB0 com8

If you make a mistake, or the port is not correct, then Linux will actually tell you it’s bad, right in the directory listing. Here I mapped a port that I knew did not exist on my computer. See how it says link(broken) in the description. Tells us we need to delete it, and try again:

Bad Mapping

Bad Mapping

So that’s it, I can now run my favorite radio software, on my favorite operating system and dump Windows in the ham shack for good!

XMLog running on Linux Mint 17.1

XMLog running on Linux Mint 17.1

Of course you should also join Logbook of the World, and install the Trusted QSL software (in the repositories or use the link above) as well, to really get your radio fun going!