Loading QUISK on your SBC

(Single Board Computer)


The reason for the Title is that there are several SBC's that have been used with my SDR RADIG's including the Raspberry Pi2, Pi3 and the ASUS Tinker Board. These are all Linux based SBC's and aside from the difference in loading the basic operating systems all load QUISK in the same manner and the very same files. The Quisk Software can also be loaded onto a Windows platform. I have not been successful in doing that so using Windows for me has been a complete bust!

First things first and that is the loading of the basic OS Software. In the case of the Raspberry Pi's ( 2 or 3) Then you should load NOOBS 3.0.1 or later. A download of the OS is accomplished from the Raspberry Pi Foundation website. It is a Zipped File and must be extracted. I usually use my main Windows 10 computer to do that and have a folder entitled RPi.

Prior to the extraction you should prepare SD card starting by formatting a minimum of 32GB SD Card. In time you will find out that the Pi or Tinker Board is a computer just like others you have only, it costs a lot less. You could squeak by on an 8 GB card but that is cutting it close. The cost difference between a 16GB and 32GB is small. Later on you will thank me. With the formatted SD Card in the computer, extract the files within the RPi folder and then open the folder and copy and paste the files onto the SD card. Luckily I have a small slot on the front panel of my computer where I can format and load data onto a SD card. If you lack that slotyou can purchase a small accessory that looks like a USB Thumb Drive and it wll do the same job.

Next take the SD card and insert it into the RPi that has been fitted with a keyboard/mouse. HDMI monitor, 5 VDC 3 Amp supply, and a WiFi or Ethernet connection. Do Not forget a heat sink on the Raspberry Pi3 --otherwise you may smoke it and see the note below

[Important note you need a heat sink on the RPI!!!! In fact later on I will share how to modify your RPi Case to add a fan in addition to the heatsink. Interestingly Adafruit Industries sell a small fan that plugs right into the 40 Pin GPIO header so that is a possibility as well. Initially when I ran the Pi3 with a heat sink after about three hours of cranking away a thermometer appeared on the screen. I believe when the Pi gets too hot -- internally the speed of processing is reduced to prevent smoking the board.]

Once the power is applied with the SD Card installed in the slot on the underside of the board, it will boot up and indicate it is about to load the software. Assuming you have the Pi3 or the Ethernet connected to a Pi2, at the top of the panel that is on the screen you will see a tab to install the Internet connection.

Do that now for two reasons. One, the data on the SD card only enables installing two pieces of the OS which is all you need for QUISK. When you have the internet connected you now have about 6 optional pieces like KODI. This is where you are supposed to thank me for recommending the 32GB SD.

I understand the RPI4 has no limitation --imagine a 256GB SD card on your Pi4. Also because the Pi4 has faster access to the SD card it is about 2X times faster than on the Pi3. The second reason is that as a part of the NOOBS install it will automatically add the latest updates. Not to worry you can always update later but you will not automatically install the adjunct OS pieces.

Once NOOBS is installed check to see if you are able to make it function. Assuming a connection to the internet, connect to the internet using Chromium and see if you can connect to some websites like http://www.n6qw.com. You can fiddle with appearance features like homepage backgrounds etc. Assuming this is all good we will now get on with the serious stuff and that is to prepare for and install QUISK.

But first some things that will need to be done with just the RPi OS, First you really do now need the internet connection for the following. Start by opening an LX Terminal (top of Browser header) If you did not have the internet installed previoulsy you need to do that so you can proceed with the following steps

  • Enter the following at the command prompt sudo apt-get install updates
  • Once that is completed sudo apt-get install upgrade
  • Next on our list is to direct the use of the USB controller for frequency changing and other controls like TR sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/local.rules This will cause a new window to open and type this excatly as you see it below
  • SUBSYSTEM=="usb",ATTR{idVendor}=="16c0",ATTR{idProduct}=="05dc",MODE="0666",GROUP="dialout" Do NOT miss any comma's or other punctuation some have == others =.
  • When you are done entering hit Ctrl and X and then Shift and Y and finally enter. Now is a good time to "reboot".
  • Next using Chromium go to https://pypi.org and when you see the page type in quisk in the dialog box. This will take you to a link for the latest QUISK 4.1.41. Click on it and it will download into the Download Folder on your Pi. Now up on top of your Pi homepage you will see an Icon for File Manager. Click on it and it will open. Right click on an open area and you want to create two items: one a new folder and two an empty file. First we will create a folder named quisk. and secondly an empty file named .quisk_conf.py Do NOT MISS the period in front of the file! This empty folder can later have all sorts of info placed in the file relating to your specific Quisk setup. But even though empty --when quisk launches it asks do we have the file - check -- it will then read the contents but at time it does not matter if there are contents -- the file just has to be there.
  • Next go to the File Manager and open the DOWNLOAD file and in there you should find the Qusik files. Right Click and select Extract to another folder. Make that selection and then navigate to the quisk folder just created and make that the selection for the "extraction to". When that is done go to the quisk folder and see if the extracted file is there. If it is open it in another window and select all of the individual files and copy them back into the quisk folder. The final quisk folder will contain the source folder plus all of the individual files. This is like an insurance policy. If the quisk folder is empty repeat the extraction process.
  • This would also be a good time to download the WSJTX software from the following location. You get install this right from the download folder. Simple right click on the file and one of the options is to install the software right then and there. Do it and it will ask for a password -- if you haven't chnaged it then the pasword is raspberry


  • This completes the inital RPi3 OS install and we now move over to the QUISK installation. I have taken the installation instructions from N2ADR's website and converted them to a PDF file which you can download from HERE . This is the complete instructions for both Windows and Linux. Scroll down to the Quisk Linux install. Now one additional file to download which is not in the instructions is to provide an Pulse Audio Control Panel on the menu. You will need this to make adjustments for the various levels and to control the Microphone gain. There is an entry in the list of files to be installed ~ sudo apt-get install python-pip
    Add one more line following that: sudo apt-get install pavucontrol Then continue with the installation instructions. Print out the PDF file and have it handy during the installation.

Once all the software is installed there are two ways to launch Quisk (maybe more). The first is to call up the LX Terminal and type in: cd /home/pi/quisk ENTER. This will change the directory to the "quisk directory". Do you remember earlier I had you create an Empty FOLDER and then an Empty File. I also had you extract QUISK to the Empty Folder. This is the why. Now the LX Terminal should show you are in the quisk folder so now type in python quisk.py . This should now launch the program. In the second link I will go through these steps and it will be a video. The second way is to clcik on the Raspberry in the upper left hand corner of the screen. A drop down menu has as a selection near the bottom a tab marked RUN . Clcik on that tab and a dialog box will appear simply type in quisk and click on OK. The program will now run. You will get a screen but now spectrum will be showing or will you hear any sound -- this is where we will have to enter values and make changes. The next link will cover this.

ASUS Tinker Board

I would now spend a bit of time on the Non-S ASUS Tinker Board which is a step up from a Raspberry Pi3B. For one it has a musch faster Processor at 1.8 GHz and it has 2GB of RAM. Loading the OS software is a lot easier too! But it costs about 2X the price of a Pi3B. Now with the RPi4 hitting the market look for deep discounts on the existing stocks of RPi3B's.

First you need a computer with disk imgaing software installed. One such piece of FREE software in Win32DiskImager and that is what I have installed on my Windows 10 main computer. My ASUS Tinker Board has a 64 GB SD Card installed. I would imagine you could even add a bigger size --but 64GB is big enough (and cheap enough).

Start by Formnatting the 64GB SD card. Next connect to the ASUS Tinker Board wesbite and download the Current OS Image 2.0.8 (or later) which is a Zip file. Extract the Zip File to a location on you computer and the using the disk imaging software load the OS onto the SD Card. Once you install the 64GB (with the image) into the ASUS Tinker Board and also provide the router info for the on-board WiFi you are more or less ready to go.

You can call up the LX terminal and like with the RPI: sudo apt-get update and the OS will be updated. There are some functions not found on the RPi3 such as the Synaptic Program Manager which lets you search for available software. Quisk is in the list BUT DON'T download it -- the version is a much older version.

You will have to create (using the File Manager tab) the empty quisk folder and the empty .quisk_conf.py file. Download the latest quisk from the https://pypi.org and go through the extraction process and the same with WSJTX. Big difference here -- you cannot install WSJTX directly as you can with the RPi3. I have not figured out how to take a tarball and make it sing like a canary, so more work needed there to do FT8 with a ASUS Tinker Board. All of the QUISK installation steps are excatly the same as for the RPi3 except that the Pulse Audio control panel is built into the ASUS Tinker Board OS. Thus you do not need to add the pavucontrol!

Interestingly enough, I have had the Tinker Board for close to a year and the earlier OS distributions did not work well with QUISK. The very latest distro (2.0.8 and later) has resolved those issues.