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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

From 101 Geeky Things to Do With Your PC: Number 11

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm a computer geek. Not only that but I also hold a ham radio license. My callsign is KG4ZNV. Recently I downloaded a program developed by Simon Brown, HB9DRV called Ham Radio Deluxe. Using this program, I can control my Yaesu FT-817. For the uninitiated, the FT-817 is handy little portable radio that covers 160m - 70cm bands.

Anyway, while playing with the software I found out that it could be used to remotely connect to the radio via the Internet. The geek that I am, I decided to try it out. All it took was connecting the radio to my webserver's serial port, loading a copy of Ham Radio Deluxe, and setting some configuration parameters for security and ports and I was in business. The only problem, I needed a way to stream the audio back and forth between the computers.

No biggie really. My webserver is set up with Darwin, Flash Communication Server, and JMF. I started to use one of those options to create a live streaming setup. And then, I came across a simpler solution: Skype. I set up a Skype client on my server with an auto answer option. I also set up a Skype client on my laptop. Using a mic adapter from Heil, I was able to connect the microphone to the line out jack on my webserver and connected the speaker to my webserver's mic jack. Now, I can use Ham Radio Deluxe on my laptop and Skype to connect to my ham shack when I'm away from the house...ok I confess...I also use it when I'm elsewhere in the house via a wireless network.

Geeky huh...

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