[pskmail] jpskmail 2.1.0-a running

  • From: Bob Morgan <wb5aoh@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: pskmail@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2013 15:51:55 -0500

I finally managed to get jpskmail installed and functional
on the laptop that I had been working on a few weeks ago.
I also got xastir loaded on it, and have xastir connected
to jpskmail as described in the manual.  I love that interface
between those two programs.  I have been using aprs and xastir
for many years.  The problems on the laptop (ubuntu 12.04 lts)
were mostly a matter of making the right guesstimate to get
jre 7 actually installed on it.  jpskmail came up and ran after
I finally got to that point.

That means that I finally was able to start using, or really for
now just listening on pskmail.  Last night, I managed to copy a
few frames on 30 meters from KB1NCJ in Florida.  I am in
Austin in central Texas.  So far I don't have a hardwired interface
hooked up but that is next, this is just a mike plugged into the
laptop laying next to the radio speaker, just acoustic coupling
to test with.  So far I was pretty pleased.  It is a sign of
a well designed dsp system when it will copy things that you
can't tell are even there down in the noise, and this one does that.

I still have the interfacing and radio problems to solve,
and since it looks like for now I am copying pskmail servers on
30 meters, I need to work on a real 30 meter antenna, then I can
actually try transmitting.  Like I have said this has been a
long term project, and now I can start tinkering with the ham radio
part of things.

I have seen a few little rough edges since the last list I put up.
I had the dsp process lock up completely a few times, the waterfall
quit scrolling, it sort of just seemed to quit running.  It would
restart ok if I shut the program down and restarted it, but a few
minutes later it would freeze again.  I finally tracked it down to
an improper choice on the audio choice selection for TX audio output.
It was acquiring audio fine from the computer soundcard, but it
was not finding the proper device to SEND audio to, and I guess when
a buffer got full, pskmail (or java) ground to a halt.  But it wasn't
obvious and I didn't get any error message or anything, I just had
to hunt around for whatever wasn't right.  It would freeze just
shortly after making a "transmission", instead of squirting psk audio
out of the computer speaker, and I finally guessed that the events
were related and that is what I found.  Haven't seen it since.
About that time I found the separate dsp-save button and found out
what it did and I think now I have that all tied down.

I had things totally lock up in a loop of endless error windows
just now when I was experimenting with the rig control menu.
I wasn't sure if hamlib/rigctl was installed or not (it apparently isn't)
and when I selected a serial port, I got an error window that would
keep coming back so quick I couldn't get back to the edit preferences
menu I was working on so I could unselect it.  I had to finally
get to another window and get a commandline, and track down jpskmail
by process id with ps, and just kill it.  Fortunately I hadn't made
it as far as the save-prefs choice so the problem was gone the next
time I started jpskmail.

Apparently either hamlib/rigctl isn't on ubuntu's package system, or
I don't know how to find it if it is.  This isn't a showstopper yet,
but I would like to know if I have to fetch and compile the source
to it or if ubuntu has it packaged under some name I am not looking for.

Please keep working on pskmail.  I want an alternative to winlink and some
more tools in the toolbox, and I like having gpl tools in it.

73 de Bob WB5AOH
Austin TX

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