AB9IL.net: Skywave Linux v5.0 Released 2024/01/30

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After more than a month's delay and some interesting times working out the kinks in the new configuration, Skywave Linux version 5.0.0 was released today, January 30, 2024. It is lighter and faster than version 4, and based on a rolling Debian Sid / Unstable distribution. For version 5, this distro has a tighter focus, bringing the world's best internet connected software defined radios (SDRs) to users who have internet access, but may not have space to erect large antennas or posess expensive communications equipment.

Watch the Skywave Linux v5 Demo Video

Skywave Linux (version 5) uses a different username and password than earlier releases! You normally will not need these, except to get back in after logging out of a running system.

Live system credentials are username:  user    password:  live
Skywave Linux version 5 has Fldigi. Here is some NAVTEX coming in on a
distant SDR.
Skywave Linux version 5 has Fldigi. Here is some NAVTEX coming in on a distant SDR.

Do you want to tune in shortwave broadcasts from around the world and listen from the best locations? You don't have to be in the best location; Skywave Linux is a bootable live environment which brings the best listening posts to you.

The upgraded Linux configuration includes the Calamares installer, to put Skywave Linux on bare metal for best performance. Not that it needs to be installed; it runs fine as a humble bootable USB stick.

Software in Skywave Linux 5 has undergone some debloating. Prior releases had too many SDR interfaces. There was Gqrx, wich was easy to use and had nice features. But along with that came a lot of Gnuradio packages. Then there was a RemoteSDRclient, plus a Gui for HPSDR gear. In 2024, you can do almost anything with CubicSDR an SDR++ and don't need mush else for plugged in SDR devices. That's a much smaller footprint without so much excessive redundancy.

One notable absence in the updasted distro is the SDRplay API. Because there are so many SDRPlay clones on the market these days, and especially because the SDRplay API and driver are closed source, Skywave Linux excluded it. If you visit the SDRPlay website and check their terms for allowing use of their drivers or API, they have emphasiszed that the software is not freeware. They expressly forbid use with unendorsed hardware clones. Okay, fine; Skywave Linux is for people all over the world to enjoy software defined radio on lots of different kinds of hardware. It is not necessary at all to bother with non-free and closed source drivers. That would suck as badly as using a non-free and closed source operating system...

What the distro really aims to do is make it easy to access WebSDR, KiwiSDR, and Spyservers around the world, for shortwave listening and tuning in things like amateur radio, maritime, military, and aviation utilities. If you are in Indonesia, you can easily tune in AM talk radio in Canada or the United States. From Los Angeles or Dallas, you can tune in the BBC or Radio Caroline from either WebSDRs or KiwiSDRs within groundwave distance to the transmitters. Five by nine signals all the way!

Skywave Linux version 5 has decoding software ready for people who monitor digital modes on the amateur bands. Fldigi is there for modes like RTTY or OLIVIA. WSJT and JS8Call are installed for users of the more modern digital modes. For people interested in weather satellites, SatDump is a newly integrated application for the distro. SatDump is a comprehensive software package, as it can do a lot of things which were handled by multiple apps in ealier versions of Skywave Linux. For aviation and maritime trackers, Skywave Linux continues to carry tools for ADS-B, ACARS, AIS, and multichannel voice monitoring.

Skywave Linux version 5 will arrive in a matter of hours. Get ready to enjoy global short wave radio at your fingertips, free, open, and no questions asked.

The SDR Map in Skywave Linux version 5 and a KiwiSDR client in
The SDR Map in Skywave Linux version 5 and a KiwiSDR client in operation.

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