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Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.


Steve Saner

Host Image
Host ID: 334

I am a farm kid from south-central Kansas. I currently live near the city of Wichita and I am a Systems and Networking Administrator for a local ISP. I have a number of "hacker friendly" hobbies that include Amateur Radio and Model Rocketry.

episodes: 5

hpr2518 :: Converting My Laptop to Dual Boot

Released on 2018-03-28 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Converting My Laptop to Dual Boot


In this episode I describe how I converted my Linux-only laptop to dual-boot with Windows 10. Specifically, using information from a previous HPR episode.


The procedure used in this project drew heavily from the information presented in HPR episode 2305 by Mongo.

Target Laptop

  • Lenovo Thinkpad T550
  • Intel i7-5600U Dual-Core
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD

Laptop was purchased in Jan 2016 as a factory refurb unit from an Ebay seller. The model was about 1 year old at the time. As soon as I got it, I summarily removed any trace of Windows, with prejudice, and installed Linux.

The Problem

I am needing to run some Windows software that doesn't work in either Wine or a virtual machine environment. Specifically Autodesk Fusion 360.

Some Challenges

  • No longer have Windows install media. I was able to download a Lenovo recovery USB image.

  • I didn't think that a 256GB drive would be big enough for both Linux and Windows. I purchased a 512GB SSD drive.

  • I was happy with my Xubuntu setup and configuration and didn't want to have to start all over on that. I hoped that restoring my home directory would take care of that.

The Procedure

  1. Backed up my home directory, just in case.

  2. Replaced the hard drive.

  3. Tried to boot from Lenovo Windows thumb drive.

  4. Found that the BIOS was set to legacy mode, so reset BIOS to factory.

  5. Told the installer to use the entire drive.

  6. Went through the entire Windows install and update process.

  7. Used the instructions provided by Mongo to resize Windows filesystem size.

  8. Used the instructions provided by Mongo to turn of fast boot.

  9. Used the instructions provided by Mongo to turn of Secure Boot in BIOS.

  10. Booted from Xubuntu 16.04 thumb drive.

  11. Did Xubuntu install as normal, choosing the install type of installing along side Windows Boot Manager.

  12. Installed all of the updates.

  13. Mounted the old hard drive with a USB drive enclosure, which was a bit of a challenge because that drive was encrypted. The drive has 2 partitions. A small boot partition and then a large LUKS encrypted partition.

    This is a procedure that can be used to mount such a partition.

    • First you must decrypt the partition and map it to a device. This can be done with the following command (assuming the partition mount point is /dev/sdb2):

      cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdb2 cryptdrive

      This command will map the partition to the following device:

    • Normally you could then mount the filesystem as follows:

      mount /dev/mapper/cryptdrive /mnt
    • However, in this case the encrypted filesystem is actually an LVM volume that contains two volume groups that made up the partitions of the previous Linux install, so you can't directly mount it.

    • I had to first install the LVM tools, which had not been installed by default.

      apt-get install lvm
    • Then I had to issue the following command to activate the LVM volume groups.

      vgchange -ay

      That resulted in two more devices being created.

    • I could then finally mount the old root filesystem with:

      mount /dev/xubuntu-vg/root /mnt
  14. Copied by entire home directory from the old hard drive to the new install.

    cd /home
    cp -rp /mnt/home/username .
  15. Rebooted computer and Xubuntu came up will all of my desktop settings intact. Just need to install non-default packages.


This ended up being a totally successful process. The computer is now dual-boot. It boots into Xubuntu by default, but you can choose Windows. Xubuntu system is mostly restored back to the way it was.

hpr2383 :: What's In My Ham Shack

Released on 2017-09-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

What's In My Ham Shack

In this episode I am starting what I hope will become a series where Amateur Radio operators talk about what equipment they have and use in their Ham Shacks.

Ham Shack Definition

A good definition of exactly what a Ham Shack is can be found on Wikipedia.

Categories of Ham Radio gear

I tend to divide gear into the following categories.

  1. Portable - hand-held devices designed for carrying.
  2. Mobile - equipment that is designed to be used in a vehicle.
  3. Base - gear used in a fixed station environment.
  4. Miscellaneous - other stuff.

My Ham Shack

You can google any of these model numbers to see what the hardware looks like and learn more about it.

Portable Gear

  • Allinco DJ-190 Handy-Talkie
  • Yeasu VX-6R tri-band Handy-Talkie

Mobile Gear

  • Yeasu FT-8800 dual-band radio
  • New Motorolla Mount (NMO) antenna mount
  • Comet B-10nmo mobile antenna
  • Comet SBB-5nmo mobile antenna

Base Station Gear

  • ICOM IC-746 HF+6m+2m radio
  • Grasshopper II vertical HF antenna
  • Unknown brand vertical 2-meter/70-cm base station antenna
  • MFJ-4225MV Switching Power Supply
  • MFJ-949E Manual Antenna Tuner
  • LDG Electronics AT-200Pro II Automatic Antenna Tuner
  • Computer running Xubuntu 16.04
  • West Mountain RIGblaster Advantage digital interface

Miscellaneous Gear

  • MFJ-269C Antenna Analyzer
  • Stereo head-phones and microphone
  • Push-to-Talk pedal
  • RTL-SDR Dongle
  • Collection of various connectors and adaptors

hpr2254 :: Introduction to Model Rocketry

Released on 2017-03-23 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Introduction to Model Rocketry

In this episode I introduce the hobby of model rocketry. I specifically highlight some of the advanced elements of the hobby to show how model rocketry goes from being a fun activity for kids to a serious hobby enjoyed by many adults.


  1. History of model rocketry.
  • Early amateur experimentation with rocketry.
  • G. Harry Stine develops the model rocket motor.
  • Vern Estes develops a way to mass produce motors.
  1. Basic model rocket components and flight.
  • Airframe, nose cone, and fins.
  • The part of the model rocket motor.
  • Recovery mechanism (parachutes and streamers).
  • The launch pad
  • The basic flight profile of a model rocket.
  • Building a typical model rocket kit.
  1. Scratch building your own designs.
  • Using commercial components.
  • Using ordinary materials for rockets.
  • Fabricating components: Lathes, laser cutters, CNC machines, etc.
  • Using CAD and simulation software.
  1. Craftsmanship and scale modeling.

  2. Model rocket competition.
  • Regional, national, and international meets.
  • Events: Altitude, duration, advanced recovery methods, payloads, egglofting.
  1. High power rockets.
  • Large rockets.
  • High altitude rockets.
  • Supersonic rockets
  • Composite motors.
  • Regulations
  • Certification
  • Materials
  1. Complex rocketry.
  • Motor clustering.
  • Staging.
  • Dual deployment.
  1. Electronics
  • Altimeters
  • Flight computers
  • Tracking
  • Cameras
  1. Experimental motors.

  2. National associations.
  • National Association of Rocketry (NAR).
  • Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA).
  • Safety codes.
  • Liability insurance.
  • Local clubs.
  1. Safety.

  2. A little about my personal interests in model rocketry.


The following is a non-exhaustive list of companies that manufacture and/or sell model rocket kits and suplies. I've primary listed those that I'm most familiar with. There are certainly others.

These are some of the major manufactures of high power composite motors.

These are the two United States national model rocketry associations.

Resource for competition rocketry.

Here are a number of other interesting links


In the show I said that G. Harry Stine worked at the White Sands Missile Base. The correct name for that facility is White Sands Missile Range. But, during the time that Stine worked there, it would have been called the White Sands Proving Ground.

hpr2172 :: Dutch Blitz Table Top Game

Released on 2016-11-29 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Dutch Blitz Tabletop Game


Dutch Blitz was created by Werner Ernst George Muller, from Pennsylvania, in the United States, in 1959. It is similar to the game Nertz, which is played with standard playing cards. Nertz had been around since the 1940s. It isn’t totally clear to what extent Mr Muller was influenced by the game of Nertz. He was an optometrist and it is said that he thought the game might help his children learn about colors and numbers.


The game has a theme that originates with the Pennsylvania Dutch culture, which was formed by early German immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania in the United States. The symbols used on the cards are representative of that culture, which tended to be agricultural and of a conservative protestant Christian faith.


Each player has their own deck of cards. The standard set has 4 decks, so it can accommodate 2-4 players. There is an extension pack that adds 4 more decks, supporting 4 more players. Each deck has 40 cards made up of number cards from 1 through 10 in four different colors (suits): red, blue, green, and yellow. Additionally, the red and blue cards have a picture of a boy and the green and yellow cards have a picture of a girl. The decks are differentiated from each other by a symbol on the back side of each card. The four standard decks have the following symbols: pump, buggy, plow, and bucket.


  • Blitz Pile - A pile of 10 cards that are dealt by each player before game play starts. One of the goals is for the player to get rid of their Blitz pile. When one player clears their Blitz pile, the round is over.

  • Post Piles - Three piles of cards to the left of the Blitz pile that are used by the player to help sort through cards during the game play. These piles begin as 3 cards dealt out by the player before game play. Cards can then be added to these piles in descending order and alternating “gender”. If one of the Post piles is cleared, the player may take a card off of their Blitz pile to start a new one.

  • Wood Pile - During game play, the player rotates through their deck by taking 3 cards, face down, and turning them face up and placing them on the Wood pile. The top most card is available to be played.

  • Dutch Piles - During game play, players can start a Dutch pile when they have a playable card with the number 1 on it. These piles are placed in the middle of the table. The piles can then be built up, in sequential order and of matching color. Any player can play a card on any Dutch pile.

Game Play

The game is played in rounds. The players do not take turns. When play starts, all players begin playing at the same time as fast as they can. When a player is able to clear their Blitz pile, they shout the word “Blitz” and all play must then stop. That is the end of the round.


When the round ends all of the cards that have been played on the Dutch piles are sorted into their representative decks. Each player counts the number of cards that they have played and then subtracts two times the number of cards left on their Blitz pile. That is their score for the round.

In order to maximize one’s points for a round, the objectives are two-fold. You want to play as many cards as possible on the Dutch piles, but you also want to get rid of as many cards on your Blitz pile as possible.


hpr2032 :: How I Came to Linux

Released on 2016-05-17 under a CC-BY-SA license.

I tell the story of how I learned about computers and eventually came to be an avid Linux user.

I've been using Linux as my primary operating system for almost 20 years now. My primary distribution of choice has always been Slackware, but I have branched out to some more "modern" distributions as well, particularly for workstation environments.

I have been an HPR listener now for several months and this is my first show. I enjoy the podcast very much and hope to see it continue for many more years. Thank you to the administrators and leaders to make it all possible. And, of course, thank you to everyone that contributes shows.

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