Some Notes on Programs


gMFSK, by Tomi Manninen, OH2BNS, is the workhorse of this distribution. It does just about everything except slice bread and brew coffee! Those may be in the next edition. Just now, it does RTTY, PSK 31 (BPSK and QPSK), PSK 63, MT63, MFSK16, MFSK8, Olivia (new), Throb 1,2, and 4, FeldHell, AND CW! All these programs have a bunch of preferences and parameters to set up before operation. In order to save yourself all the work of re-entering them each time you boot the CD, check out the "Persistent Directory" feature of Knoppix. For general ragchewing, DXing, and keyboarding, this is the program I like best. It fits together with XLog, XDx, and hamlib to run your rig and make operating a breeze. No need to spends thousands on special controllers, interfaces, modems, or programing. Between them, Tomi and Joop have put together an almost seamless package.

HFTerm - Pactor/AMTOR

HF is a program originally conceived and written by Tom Sailor, HB9JNX/AE4WA and currently maintained and massaged by Gunther Montag, DL4MGE. The program was originally designed to enable RTTY and AMTOR operation thru a sound card. Since the first release, GTor, Pactor, and MT63 have been added to the mix as well as interfaces for mailbox capabilities like F6FBB.

Be prepared to play with this program. Pay close attention to the help and "HowTo" files. At this date, most problems seem to revolve around sound card configurations and capabilities. You'll likely have to edit the config files (/etc/hf.conf) several times before you achieve any results. This is truly a work in progress. Check out the online FAQ and HFTerm home page and subscribe to the HFTerm-Hackers list if this program starts to look interesting and becomes an obsession.


XDx is a DX Spotting Cluster tool by Joop Stakenberg, PG4I. It is a specialized telnet program. You'll need to have your Internet connection up and running. You can do a GOOGLE and find a server in your area. The one I've been using the past few months for general DXing is "" Sponsored by the Twin Cities DX Assn. Look on the "Cluster" page for details

On the program's menu bar, click "Host", enter the URL for the server ( The port number will usually be "23". When you connect, you'll be asked to "log in". Usually, all that is required is that you enter your callsign. Send the server a "/help" or "/h command" if you need help. Simple enough. Follow the bread crumbs.

Andy, K3UK, sponsors a spotting cluster dedicated to digital communications modes. It is used by folks trying to find others interested in on-air testing of the new digital modes as they spring up. There is no server name at this time. Just plug in the IP ... Again, port number is 23.


qTel, by Tobias Blomberg, SM0SVX, is an "EchoLink" clone for Linux. It will ask you to enter your call and other information on first start up. So far, The things I've noticed are these: You can expect to wait for a few minutes while the server validates your call for the first time. You'll be actively using any number of VHF repeaters ... world wide ... thus the need to confirm your data entries. My understanding is that this is HAND PROCESSING on the EchoLink end, and so the delay. Try clicking "Directory" and "Refresh" to speed things along. OH! ... you'll need to get a mike and a set of head phones plugged into your sound card. Expect to fiddle with the mixer a bit to get everything to work right. The settings may be different than those you've been using (hopefully) with gMFSK, KPSK, or QSSTV. Check the EchoLink pages for more info (it'll be directed at Windows users, but now that you do Linux, you'll figure it out pretty quickly)

If you can't get "qTel" to run by clicking the desktop icon, try running it from a terminal window. Just click the shell icon and type "qtel"

knoppix@[knoppix]$ qtel

and hit "Enter/Return". You'll be able to see any error messages that get generated and you may be able to determine what is amiss. If you still can't make it go, try rebooting and running qTel without running the "alsa" configurator. You'll be using the default OSS. If it still won't go, send me the error and I may be able to hunt up a remedy.


KPSK by Luc Langenhergermann, LX2GT, is a neat little PSK 31 package. It can have a colorful waterfall if you wish, sometimes helpful in distinguishing weak signals in the noise. Another feature is that you can copy up to four different signals at the same time. This is useful for contest operations. You can QSO each station "tail end fashion" with your pre canned contest message, and use the time between QSO's to dupe each station in the log before you hit the switch.

International Beacon Project

The IBPis an International Ham Radio Project to create a "real time" propagation index or survey. To use the IBP program most effectively, you system clock should be as accurate as possible ... see "Setting the Time" elsewhere in these pages. You can get additional information from the program ... beam headings, etc. ... by starting the program from a shell prompt and entering your Maidenhead grid locator. Open a shell window and at the prompt enter:

knoppix@2[knoppix]$ibp en46nq

My grid square is "EN46nq". Make the entry above as I have, substituting your grid info. Hit the enter key. If your clock is set correctly, you'll get a chart showing which station is currently transmitting, the frequency, and a beam heading. Tune your radio to the band of most interest and see what you hear. It'll be a pretty good indication of what sort of DX you'll be working today. Check the IBP home page for more information