Windows and Mac have plenty of ham radio applications to be used under their operating systems, but what about Linux users? The following is an interview with Petr, OK2CQR, the developer of CQRLog, the logging program for Linux users.
Tell us something about yourself and how you came to know the ham radio community.
I’m 30 years old, live in Neratovice, Czech republic with lovely wife and three children. My father was a SWL so I’ve heard about ham radio since my childhood. My own ham radio career started when I was 11 and got SWL number and begin to listen on HF with our surplus navy tube receiver. It was very exciting. When I was 16, I passed exams and got call sign OK2CQR. I love CW so you can find me mostly on CW part of bands.
When did you first approach Open Source and Linux?
I learned about Linux in 1997 when I was at high school. But it was not so interesting for me. About 4 years later, I found RedHat 7.0 in book store and bought it. It was my the first used Linux system but in dual-boot only. Later had RedHat 7.3, Mandrake, Slackware, ArchLinux and finally in 2007 discovered Ubuntu. It became primary system on my laptop very quickly. The first Linux distribution where everything was working out of the box.
Which projects are you currently involved with?
I’m one of developers of Linux logging program called CQRLOG ( www.cqrlog.com ) , owner of free online ham radio callbook called HamQTH ( www.hamqth.com ), maintainer of our local HF contest called KVPA, etc. I have many activities but mostly around the radio.
Tell us something about CQR Log, how did it come to be?
I started to work on CQRLOG in 2001. It was only for Windows and in Czech language. Program was very popular in our country. In 2007 I moved to Linux, abandoned Windows version and started to work on Linux version because didn’t find any suitable logging program for me. My friend Martin, OK1RR joined me and we are developing CQRLOG together. Our program has many users world wide and I think, it is the best logging program in Linux world.
What do you think about the relationship between Linux, Open Source and ham radio?
I think Linux is very close to ham radio. We are not ordinary people who just turn something on and don’t care how it works. If we can build our own equipment, we can build our own operating system as well. Linux distributions are open, so we don’t need any permission to explore it into depth, we can modify it to meet our needs. We can share information about what we do and help each other. (Do you know that one of the core Linux developers is ham radio operator? Yes, it is Alan Cox, GW4PTS)
Do you think that under Linux some ham radio applications are lacking? Will you be starting any new projects soon?
We have good logging programs, excellent program for digi modes (fldigi), software for satellite tracking etc (all the mentioned programs can be found at: http://radio.linux.org.au/ ). What we need now, is good contest software. We have tlf, xfktest but we need something like N1MM for Windows. Easy to use, good looking and powerful contest logging software. I don’t spend so much time in contests so I use tlf but I have to compile it from source code. It is not so comfortable. I was thinking about contest software similar to CQRLOG, even started to work on it but didn’t finish it. It is a lot of work and I’m very busy with my current activities. Maybe later.