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Major Computer Publication Devotes January 2010 Issue to Amateur Radio


By ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, and ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA

Hams indeed are technical and creative people, consummate MacGyvers. In the past few months alone, George Smith, AA2EJ, won the Nobel Prize for Physics. Computerworld published John Edwards' article titled "Want to Bone Up on Wireless Tech? Try Ham Radio." Diana Eng, KC2UHB, has had her articles published in Make Magazine. Computer giant Hewlett-Packard published a Real Life article "Behind the Voices of Ham Radio." Steven Sande, KC0EZH, wrote "5 Mac Applications for Ham Radio Fans" for TUAW -- a Web site that calls itself "the unofficial Apple Weblog." APRS systems were the theme of Joe Murphy's, N4PAT, video podcast. Popular Mechanics' Glenn Reynolds endorsed Amateur Radio in crises, referring people to the ARRL for information.

Now 2010 is just about here. To kick off the new year, computer magazine Linux Journal has come out with an entire issue dedicated to Amateur Radio and the creative uses of open source computer programs. This 80 page issue features Tux, the Linux mascot on its cover wearing a pair of headphones, holding a microphone -- and even sporting an Emergency Coordinator badge around his neck -- hooked up to an HF transceiver. The issue has headlines on the cover such as "Amateur Radio and Linux -- Open Source for the New Generation," and "Get Started with Amateur Radio," and includes articles like "When All Else Fails -- Amateur Radio, the Original Open-Source Project" by David Lane, KG4GIY.

You might wonder, "What is the connection between Amateur Radio and Linux?" The editors at Linux Journal answer that question, saying that "Linux may be the only O/S out there with an AX.25 packet radio protocol driver, and it's had it since forever. So blow the dust off your license and start reading."

Lane -- who blogs for Linux Journal on open source issues -- told the ARRL that the same day he posted "Open Source Ham -- Is That Like Free Range Chicken?"on his blog, he was chatting on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) with Linux Journal publisher Carlie Fairchild: "She said they were thinking of doing an Amateur Radio-focused issue -- what did I think? I said something to the effect of 'Did you see my post this morning?'"

Shortly thereafter, Lane posted on the ARRL's PR e-mail reflector to see if there was any interest in such an issue. "I was buried in positive responses," he said. "This was near the end of October and any articles we were going to run with had to be in hand the first week of November. But the Amateur Radio community came through -- I forget now how many articles we received, but it was enough that we had some options, eventually choosing three articles to run in the issue. Within two weeks, we put a magazine together with a focus on Amateur Radio!"

Lane said that there is now a "virtual ham shack" on the Linux Journal Web site, as well as a forum where radio amateurs can get together and discuss the "hot topics" of Amateur Radio. "The folks at the Journal have tasked me with keeping the focus on them and keeping them 'lively,' so any help is appreciated," Lane told the ARRL. "In recognition of Linux Journal's efforts, I have awarded them the Prince William County (Virginia) ARESĀ®/RACES Challenge Coin. This recognition is a way of rewarding members of Prince William County ARESĀ®/RACES who have gone above and beyond the call of duty or for those that have aided the cause of Amateur Radio." Lane is the Emergency Coordinator for Prince William County.

Linux Journal can be found on newsstands now. While some articles in the issue can be read online by the general public, most are available only to subscribers.

Allen Pitts, W1AGP, is the ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager. S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, is the ARRL News Editor. They can be reached via e-mail.



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