WSPR on Ubuntu 10.10

Other than completing my 7.5m mast today (more on that tomorrow – and photos) I have been trying to setup a laptop with Ubuntu (10.10) so that I could have a play with WSPR – although until my license upgrade recv mode only. (Although, WSPR does also run on Windows.)

Anyway, as usual Ubuntu install was easy and painless – gets better every version. However the WSPR install was not so easy. In theory there is a Debian Package that works with Ubuntu, but after the Ubuntu Software Center attempting to automatically install it errors were reported. So instead, I followed the dpkg command line instructions in the WSPR User Guide, but that also failed – just quicker.

Eventually I came across a post which basically said that rather than attempting the suggested 'dpkg -i' one should just extract the files 'dpkg -x' and then go into the directory and run the wspr binary from there.

Well, that appears to have worked fine, and so I look forward to tomorrow connecting this laptop up to my FT-817ND and seeing what I can hear. (That said, I also need to try and complete the guying system for my new mast – strapping it to the car will no longer be ideal – so we'll see what time permits.)

For anyone who's not sure what WSPR is all about, I suggest you go and have a look at the following two links:

1. Main site: http://www.physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wspr.html
2. Main tracking site: http://wsprnet.org/

And for those who just want a quick description, it's basically a digital mode that is purely about stations sending out pings and other stations reporting (via wsprnet) which ones they can hear – and visa versa. The more official description from the main site is:

WSPR implements a protocol designed for probing potential propagation paths with low-power transmissions.  Normal transmissions carry a station's callsign, Maidenhead grid locator, and transmitter power in dBm.  The program can decode signals with S/N as low as -28 dB in a 2500 Hz bandwidth.

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