In this tutorial I will demonstrate and explain how to set up minimodem a linux data program to operate on a Windows 10 machine.
What is Minimodem and why is it useful?
Minimodem is a command line based Linux application which allows data to be sent and recieved in various encoding formats, It was created by Kamal Mostafa and their website can be viewed here http://www.whence.com/minimodem/
We can utilise this for amateur radio purposes to send and receive data using RTTY and other data formats such as TDD and Bell modem. There exists a multitude of settings to adjust the speed and frequency tones of the format, this is incredibly useful for radio as for example if there is a noisy environment with a low signal to noise ratio, we can set our transmitter and receiver to be of a lower data speed, this is to compensate as a lower speed allows less chances of errors occuring in the transmission.
Inital set up using cygwin
Minimodem is a linux based application, the code for the application itself is hosted on Github. In order to operate minimodem on a windows based machine, we have to install an intermedium known as Cygwin, Cygwin is a Windows program developed to allow us to compile and operate a Linux based program as if it was running on a Linux machine. We will use Cygwin to compile the source code of the minimodem and then subsequently operate it.
To install cygwin, first of all navigate to one of these two links then return to this page, Do NOT skip through all the installation instructions at once as there exists important steps to configure Cygwin for the Minimodem installation process.
32 bit Cygwin
64 bit Cygwin
If you are unsure whether you are on a 32 or 64 bit machine, install the 32 bit version as it will operate without issue on both a 32 bit and 64 bit machine.
Run the installer as administrator and press next until you reach this specific page.
Cygwin needs to know which Mirror site to use to download the dependencies, you can click on any and they will operate although it’s best to choose the one closest to your geographic location. To view a list of the mirror sites and their geographic location visit this link https://cygwin.com/mirrors.html
I live in the United Kingdom so I will select cygwin.mirror.uk.sargasso.net as my mirror site of choice
In the next installation page we now have to select the dependencies we will need to install Minimodem. Here is the list of dependencies that we require to operate MiniModem. I’ve also added git to the list, git will allow us to download the MiniModem files from Github without having to manually extract and place them in the folder.
To install a package navigate to the top left of the catogory drop down and change it to “full” to view the packages, then use the search bar to search for the package name
Once you have found the package, in this instance gcc-core, change the drop down menu from “skip” to the higheset version number of the package without it being appended by “(test)” in this example it would be 10.2.0-1
Repeat the process for each of the packages on the list. NOTE: some packages may already be set for installation and do not have “skip” by them, in that case, leave them as they were.
Once you have selected all the packages, double check before proceeding by searching each package, once you have ensured that, proceed to finish the installation.
Once it is installed to confirm installation, run the Cygwin terminal from your new applications or desktop icon a black CMD-like terminal should appear.
Now that Cygwin is installed, we are now going to download and install MiniModem itself.
The first command we must enter is to download the MiniModem code files from Github, copy and enter this command into the Cygwin window
Press enter and Cygwin will begin to download the MiniModem code.
Now we must navigate to the minimodem directory, type “ls” and press enter to view the current directories/files, you should observe a singular folder named “minimodem”
To change into this directory, enter
Type ls to view the files and folders inside that specific directory your output should mirror the screenshot.
Now we must proceed to compile the MiniModem code into a usable application. We must first create a configuration script for the installation. Type and enter these commands consequatively.
./configure –without-alsa –without-sndio
There will be a lot of output, do not be alarmed as this is all normal. Once the last command has finished running it’s time for us to install the program itself, before it is done if you would like to check that all of the tests have passed for the application you may type “make check”
When you are ready to install the application type and enter this following command:
If all is successfull then type “minimodem” and enter into Cygwin to test it has been installed successfully, it should return this following output.
Minimodem is now installed
You have now successfully installed MiniModem on a Windows 10 machine. In a later tutorial I will explain usage of the varying commands and how it can be used to send and receive data over a radio transmission.
If you encounter any issues with the installation please leave a comment on this article and I will attempt to troubleshoot and resolve it.