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Everyone already knows that I am a serious hater of Microsoft Windows platform.  Its big, slow, power hungry, and seems to want to update itself, in the worst possible moments.

Anyone who reads my blog or watches my videos also knows that I promote the Android operating system. The idea is a good one and it’s still in a positive direction, although Google does whatever it can to become more Microsoft like in regards to the Android OS. Still we are not here to bash Microsoft or Google, in fact without them we wouldn’t have these technological opportunities that we have now.

With all that said, today I’ve started researching the idea of using Linux for emergency communications (which should come as no surprise to many of you). So I’ve taken my wifes old Asus Eee PC 1000H, it’s a 1.6Ghz netbook with 2Gb of RAM and 11 hours of battery life. I installed AntiX-15 Linux, which to my surprise runs amazingly fast, on this old machine.

Here is the list of apps that I want to run on Linux:

FLDigi, FLMSG for EMCOMM

CCW APRS Messenger for HFAPRS, tactical messaging

Chirp Radio programming and RepeaterBook management

APRS with mapping ( but I don’t know what solutions are available on Linux yet)

Not all the tools that I would use if I were using Windows, are available on Linux. Specifically Cross Country  Wirerlesses “APRS Messenger”. It’s a Windows only app but it’s a damn good one. I often think people failed to understand its significance, as and alternative is still missing from Linux and Android. APRS Messenger is the critical link between my NVIS research with the Chameleon MPAS and APRS on HF. Like its VHF counterpart, HFAPRS provides tactical messaging and near real-time asset tracking on HF,  where we find ourselves beyond APRS-VHF range!

Radio interface

Just like with Android I’m going to try to use the WolphiLink interface between the Yaesu FT-8×7 and the Netbook. I really don’t want to use any type of external USB audio interface, simply because they draw more power and add an additional layer of potential failure.

What about Android?

The Android operating system is still my everyday OS.  I write my blogs, manage my youtube channel, edit videos, images, and most importantly interact with the rest of the world, all using Android OS. Unfortunately amateur radio development in Android is coming along slowly. Thankfully it is moving forward, but in regards to emergency communications I need a more robust operating system which is well supported, with standard tools like FLDigi.

So the go to OS for EMCOMMS ( at least at the moment) is Linux! When I’m out for fun Android OS will still be my HAM radio OS of choice!

I mean let’s be completely honest, Android OS isincredible! It’s highly portable, lightweight, and has conservative power requirements. It allows you to do things with a tablet or smartphone that we were doing with enormous desktop machines less than a decade ago. Yes Android OS is incredible, it’s just going to take us a little bit longer to get there than I initially thought.

Why didn’t I use Windows? Seriously?

The truth is Windows is excellent idiot-proof  operating system! It’s great for gaming or surfing the net or having standardized operating systems and tools in an office but, Its constant nagging, endless updates, and its demand to be connected, is not the right kind of operating system needed for emergency communications. Moreover, Microsoft Windows was never designed as a portable operating system. Although improvements have been made, it’s still a power-hungry OS, which I wouldn’t like to try to keep going with a solar panel! Especially when my life depends on it!

So what’s all this have to do with Prepping and Survival?

The prepping community can learn a lot from emergency communications and ham radio. For decades, these groups have been involved with emergency, disaster, and  off grid communications. From a prepping perspective, there’s no reason to try and reinvent the wheel, when methods and standards have already been laid out for you. Learning and practising Ham radio and emergency communications is critical which can be likened to going to the gun range for firearms training.

What do I hope to achieve?

As I’ve done with Android for nearly three years, I now want to show people the possibilities, giving them examples of alternatives to the status quo. I suspect I’m going to get a lot of heat from the WinLink crowd. That’s okay because I also shoot back!

Stay tuned for more articles and videos about Linux for Emergency Communications!

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