Building an amateur radio app for Linux, part 1

There are several amateur radio apps like Repeaterbook, but oddly enough no native Linux apps for offline map viewing? Why are all the radio repeater apps for iOS or Android? With the Librem 5 phone coming up, this is going to be an important app to make for Amateur radio enthusiasts! So let’s make the most feature-packed and easy to use repeater app using Python 3 and the osm-gps-map library:

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Laravel deployment on your server, step-by-step

Laravel is a widely used, useful web app framework to use, but one thing you may notice is it can be a bit complex to set up on production server. I recently set up a small webapp I had been working on for Amateur radio operators (, and there are several steps that are not so well documented. If you self host or host on Amazon or Digital Ocean these steps should help you to also get a simple webapp up and running:

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Euclid’s Doodle – and writing a visualization with Matplotlib

On page 110 of Professor Stewart’s Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries, he shows a neat visual way of calculating the GCD (Greatest common denominator, aka HCF, Highest common factor. Given a box with sides of two different lengths, draw squares from the lesser side until you can draw no more. Then continue from the corner the other direction. The smallest square has edge length of the GCD!

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Reading Amateur Radio Frequencies with RTLSDR device and Python

There are many cheap ($5-20) USB RTL-SDR devices you can find on Newegg or Amazon that have an unexpected extra of being able to pick up broadcast radio. This is a handy feature, and in fact we can even read ham-radio frequencies by changing the bandwidth and frequency to read. There are excellent howtos on the easy installation of GQRX for just listening to the radio and setting your frequency and listening, and that’s a good way to start with testing your device. In this post I’ll show how to read and listen to radio using just Python and the Python RTLSDR library, which will show a lot more detail in how decoding radio works, and lets you run a clean interface to listen or record radio.

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Adding BLM Land Use Maps to Osmand on Android

In the US, various hunters and fishers use the Bureau of Land Management’s maps. There are of course several apps that can let you add BLM maps…

  • Avenza has some maps provided by BLM specifically for avenza app.
  • Gaia maps pro has had the public lands feature for years.
  • Osmand has not the greatest support for viewing what land area you are in and looking at, but many local points of interest are in this app that are not in others as it uses the Openstreetmap which can be added and edited by locals with places they actually care about. Also unlike most other offline mapping apps it is open-source, available on F-Droid store, and very extensive, and respects user freedoms and an active developer community.

For some time I have wondered why the public domain BLM land use maps aren’t an option in Osmand, I tried mobac but found no way to get the maps I wanted, but after a bit of research I found the answer! Here are the steps to add land use maps to Osmand. Continue reading “Adding BLM Land Use Maps to Osmand on Android”