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Amateur Radio and Creative Zen MP3 player

October 18, 2008

AmateurLogic podcast on Creative Zen

AmateurLogic TV podcast on Creative Zen

A few months ago I bought my first MP3 player, a Creative Zen. It is only a 2 GB version, but the player has a slot for SD cards, so I could boost the memory with cheap SD cards. I had selected the Zen carefully as it appeared to be a good player, with a good user interface and reports indicated that it would work with Linux. Sure enough, it does. I am using Kubuntu 8.04 and have Amarok and they work great together with the Zen. Indeed I was impressed that I could download album covers with Amarok and upload them to the Zen. So when I select one of my albums on the Zen I can see an copy of the cover on the screen.

I took some of my CDs and made MP3 files of them and uploaded the music onto my Zen. It worked well when I went on vacation to the UK and I like having the built in FM radio too. It was also fun to take the SD card out of my digital camera and slot it into the Zen to view the photographs taken. The screen size is the same as my camera but the Zen is less bulky and has a slide show feature that saves repeated button pressing.

What has this to do with amateur radio? Well, recently I have tried to do more with the Zen. I downloaded audio podcasts from Soldersmoke and Resonant Frequency as well as the video podcasts from AmateurLogic.TV (in the small Windows Media format). I put quite of few hours of this material onto an SD card (I did not use Amarok, just a file manager) and then put the SD card into the Zen. Sure enough it all works. I can now listen or watch a few hours of podcasts (stored on a 2 GB SD card which cost $10) using the Zen. Should I be waiting in a doctors surgery, a garage or an airport I now have the chance to not only listen to music or radio, but I can also learn what people are doing in amateur radio. Also uploaded to the Zen are W1AW code practice files, so I can practice my CW too.

I must say, the guys at AmateurLogic.TV are doing a great job and there are some interesting items in their shows. Check out the interview with Martin F. Jue of MFJ Enterprises in episode 16, the MFJ factory tour in episode 17, as well as the QRP presentation on surface mount board etching and soldering (supplemental to episode 19).

If you know of other amateur radio podcasts do let me know.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Scot permalink
    October 19, 2008 8:01 am


    What is acronym SD? I’m not technically savvy but I’m curious.

    Scot, KA3DRR

  2. va3stl permalink*
    October 19, 2008 9:33 am


    Thanks for the question. SD stands for ‘secure digital’. Wikipedia has all the details see

    I have a digital camera, the Asus eeePC, and now the Zen that use these cards, so I have started to standardize on them for portable storage. I have bought a couple of card readers for my PCs to read these cards. The only issue I have with them is their small size, they could be easily misplaced. For $10 Canadian for 2 GB is pretty good value, I feel.


  3. October 21, 2008 7:29 pm

    Hi Alan,

    Nice article as usual. Will download Kubuntu to give it a go. I download the Soldersmoke series for my iTouch and enjoy that a lot – and movies are great too. Wish they had CC – I know there must be a program to rip it down for the iTouch so the closed captioning appears – gotta follow that up.

    73 de Bob VE3MPG

  4. va3stl permalink*
    October 22, 2008 8:55 pm


    Thanks for feedback and continuing to read the blog.

    I like Kubuntu. Some prefer gnome others KDE, which are the two main desktops for linux. My preference is towards KDE – use it at work and on the study machine. On my shack machine (a PIII) I use Xubuntu, which uses XFCE – nice and light desktop. Also just set up a box with openGEU which uses enlightenment E17. Again another light desktop but with a lot of visual appeal.

    You can waste lots of time playing with distros and desktops, hi hi!


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