Friday, September 30, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 and Remote X applications : lightdm

And now for something completely obscure ...

I recently attempted to telnet from an Ubuntu 11.10 workstation to a Solaris 10 server and found that I could not run X applications that displayed back to my Ubuntu workstation's X server.
In previous versions of Ubuntu the fix for this is well documented but the current version of Ubuntu uses LightDM instead of GDM and a completely different configuration.
Long story short, the fix involves editing /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf and adding the following line:
Reboot or restart lightdm and you should be good to go!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Retro QSL card design

I was looking through my hard-drive today and came across this QSL card I printed up and mailed off a while back.

Vintage style QSL card.
If you've never seen a QSL card before they are basically a postcard, sent by one amateur radio operator to another, that confirms a two way radio contact.

Although we have electronic logging nowadays there are still some situations where it is nice to get a real physical card in the mail. This particular one was sent to an ham on the occasion of his first digital mode contact.

I made the card using a program called GIMP (very similar to Photoshop, but free) and a teletype font I downloaded from here.

I've always liked vintage radio and this card is designed in that 1920/30s style. Printed out on heavy card stock they are very similar to the original and make a nice souvenir.

In case you're wondering, that is the Southern Cross in the top left hand corner. If you know me, you'll know why its there.



Hallicrafters S-85

I recently purchased a Hallicrafters S-85 radio receiver. I was lucky enough to find one in excellent condition that hadn't been modified by its previous owner. In fact, it even had its full compliment of paper labels and was only missing the owners manual which I was able to download from the net and make available here : Hallicrafters_S-85_Manual
Hallicrafters S-85 Receiver - Sold 1954 through 1959
While I'm slowly assembling the pieces of a vintage amateur radio station I have been researching what it would have been like for a ham around the period of the equipment I have accumulated. One thing I just started thinking about now was the cost of this equipment when new ...

The Hallicrafters S-85 was sold between 1954 & 1959 for USD $119.95. This relates to about USD $1014 in 2011 dollars! That is a lot of money for a young ham to come up with and perhaps explains why more modest receivers were used in novice stations. A more advanced ham would probably purchase something with crystal filters, which the S-85 lacked, like the Hallicrafters SX-99

From the little time I have had with this receiver I have been impressed by its performance. For a receiver that is over 50 years old it has withstood the march of time and performs very well. Although it is possible to listen to single side band transmissions it is really suited to AM and CW reception.

Listening to AM broadcasts is where it really shines, the generous bandwidth and tube audio make the most of shortwave broadcasts and listening becomes a pleasure rather than something you have to work at.

Hopefully one day it will be paired with a yet-to-be-acquired transmitter and I'll participate in a few AM QSOs