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Friday, July 11, 2008

Surfin': Still Got User Interface?

In this week’s Surfin’, readers of this column consider the user interface of Amateur Radio software. After you read that, come back here to post your comments, if any.

By the way, Surfin’ is a weekly column published on ARRLWeb features Web sites related to Amateur Radio, specifically, and radio, in general. If you have any suggestions for Surfin’, please contact WA1LOU using the e-mail link to the right.


  1. In the world of Linux, there has been some improvements. While Debian, openSUSE, and Fedora have ham radio repositories, only Debian has a cleared defined Amateur Radio category. Once you add the ham radio repository, openSUSE puts most of the application in a ham radio category under productivity. Fedora now a good collection, but is is under Other, with not subcategory.
    On the graphical interface side, Appendix B of the desktop menu specification at now has a ham radio category for menus. Now, we just need to get all the developers to comply to the specification.

  2. The awkward user interface of conventional VHF/UHF radios, with few button, each of which has overloaded meanings depending on what mode you are in, is exacerbated because there is no automated way to move stored frequency lists from one radio model to another automatically. Not only are various brands incompatible, but different models in the same brand are incompatible. As the number of stored frequencies extends into the thousands, we must have a universal format for exchanging frequency lists, just as we have standard formats like Cabrillo for exchanging log information.

  3. Michael McAllister, KE5EIYJuly 13, 2008 at 4:13 AM

    As operators of equipment in a technical field, I was lead to believe that we were technically knowledgable in that aspect. With the replies that I have seen here, I guess not. Still cannot set the time correctly on the VCR or CD player with 12:00 constantly flashing before our eyes? Oh well........guess they didn't write the software well enough for easy operation. Probably needs a big ole' knob. :)