Our recent move to a new QTH exposed my embarrassing stash of way too many computers, all of the laptop variety save one, an old iMac. These started collecting dust some years ago when I had no safe or reliable way to dispose of them. Who knows what hidden secrets and passwords remain on those now dormant storage devices? It’s been easier to pile them up than to properly dispose of them, but now I guess I’m compelled to destroy and discard these…

Among my active laptops is a relatively new MacBook Air (2020 M1) running some beta version of macOS Sonoma. I also have a slightly newer Lenovo ThinkPad running Windows that I purchased strictly for ham radio purposes. A few of the old laptops have Linux (Ubuntu) installed, but I’m now thinking of picking up something new to serve as the development machine for a few SDR projects I’d like to explore.

See how the collection grows?

Of course I’ll install Linux on the new laptop, probably Arch because I’ve heard many good things about it as a development environment. Ubuntu has served me well for many years as has Debian, but I think this particular fork in my ham radio interest stream might be best served by Arch Linux.

I’m none too pleased to have fallen into the pattern of the appliance operator, preferring to operate standard fare radio equipment instead of spending adequate time learning and developing technical skills when it comes to software defined radio. There are endless paths one could take over multiple lifetimes without reaching the end of this quest.

My immediate want is a new development workstation and I’m leaning toward another Lenovo machine and bending it into the needed environment. I might be willing to sacrifice the one I have for the task, but that would leave me a ham radio operator without a Windows machine and that doesn’t seem like a great plan. So what, buy another ThinkPad or would you recommend something else? I’ve wanted to support System76 but the time was never right. Maybe now?

Drop me a note if you have suggestions on hardware or opinions about Linux distros. Thanks.