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About WA5PB

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Bill Allen and I am an Amateur Radio operator, call sign WA5PB. I hold an Extra class license and have been operating since 1993. Currently I serve as president of the Tarleton Area Amateur Radio Club (TAARC), am a member of the local Volunteer Examiner (VE) team that conducts amateur radio licensing exams, and am an Assistant Emergency Coordinator for Erath County, TX in the North Texas District 3 Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). Additionally I am also a member of the local Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES). I love radio communications and specialise in radio data communication modes such at PSK31. You can regularly find me on the K5IIY 2m repeater which covers Erath County, TX and portions of several surrounding counties. The repeater frequency is 147.360+ 110.9 tone. If you are not in range of the repeater, I can also be contacted via an echolink from the KD5HNM repeater which links into the K5IIY.

I am also a Unix systems enthusiast. At work, I administer HP-UX systems and I regular use Ubuntu Linux for my home system use. I began using Unix systems in 1990 when my first IT job caused me to need to replace an old TI990 data system with a newer one based on a SCO Unix running on an Intel 486 based server which I had to learn from scratch, install, do all the serial cabling, etc. Later, in about 1996, I again crossed paths with the Unix world when I found that Linux CDs were cheaply available for home use. So, ordered a set of Slackware CDs and began a love affair with Linux that continues to this day. Slackware was VERY good to me. I learned so much, particularly in the old days where the installs and configurations were mainly manual and there was lots of tweaking of configuration files. All that work in learning Slackware Linux actually prepared me for my current career in Unix Systems administration with HP-UX systems.   During that time I also began using Mandrake (now Mandriva Linux) quite a bit.  The truth is that most Unix-like system are very much the same and most of what you learn on one easily translates to the others. Sometime in 2006, a fellow ham radio and Linux geek friend of mine, Joe – KD5NRH, introduced me to the Debian GNU/Linux system and its sibling system – Ubuntu. I had been a pretty hardcore Slackware Linux user so it took him a while to convince me to give these a try, but I am glad I did. Ubuntu is simply the best Linux system I have every used, and I have tried out several distributions of Linux over the years. I was so impressed with the power an ease of use I found in Ubuntu that in 2007 I scrubbed my last Slackware system and put on Ubuntu. I have been there ever since as my main personal operating system. Now, that does not mean that I still do not try new things occasionally. Like I said, I am a Unix enthusiast and I still find scrubbing a system and loading it up with something that is completely new to me to be a fun and educational experience. Yes, that’s right! I am a true GEEK!

My latest geeky endeavours have been in the area of web development.  While I had created some simple web pages in the past, I want to learn how to do a more professional job of it.  I found I needed to learn HTML in greater depth and learn how to better layout pages using CSS.  I also found that to get some functionalities that I wanted I needed to learn some CGI programming and even gain experience with databases.  To those ends I began learning PHP and MySQL.  The end result of that has been that I have built a much better website for myself that heavily utilizes PHP scripting and even has an online database for data management of the local Ham Radio club that I mentioned earlier.  Lately, I have added new features such as a phpBB3 forums system and this WordPress blog.  My website is listed below.  Please give it a visit if you have the time! On this blog, you will find items about Ham Radio, Unix & Computing, Politics, Religion and virtually anything else that might interest me enough to blog. Please check out the links, various categories, archives and latest posts.

Bill Allen – WA5PB