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Hamclock Joggler by Jonathan, 2E0LXQ

Despite being out of production for nearly a decade, the O2 Joggler is still a useful & capable device that was probably a little too expensive for what it did when it launched in the early 2000s. However, being well-made and with good components, it means there's still quite an active hacking community around the devices, mainly centred on the Jogglerwiki site; there are plenty of resources there for tinkering with the operating system, and many owners have adapted them as media players.

It occurred to me that the elegant Hamclock app by Elwood Downey, WB0OEW, could probably run well on the device, and with a bit of persuasion, it does. The advantage of using the Joggler is that you instantly have a neat, self-contained unit that combines a smart case & touchscreen in one.

Hamclock is, to quote from Elwood's page: “a desk clock that could show accurate time, geography, time zone, solar activity, sunrise and sunset times, Maiden- head locators, beam heading, Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF) beacons, news headlines, and other timely information in one small device”, which it does very effectively. The display is customisable by simply tapping on the information you want to change (there are five configurable data panels, a large map that shows satellite tracks, DX clusters etc & a personal information section that displays your callsign, UTC & date). Panels can be changed show sunspot activity, local weather, moon phase & so on. The app is designed to self-update when changes are made & there is even an option to display radio news via an RSS feed, although I find this rather US-centric, but that's not surprising. It's a great clock to have on your desk.


05/08/2023: Complete package now available on the Joggler Wiki - Pete, who tested my build earlier (see below) has now compiled the whole package onto a downloadable image for Jogglers. Now you can just download this image onto a memory stick, plug it into a Joggler and have HamClock working in minutes. It's a fantastic piece of work, so many thanks to Pete for putting this on the Wiki.

I posted the links to this page on the Joggler Wiki, and a contributor, Pete, has got the clock running on his Joggler using the instructions, so it's good to know this is working for others.

Planned upgrades:

This project is a work-in-progress, so if anyone has any tips on fixing or improving the following, please feel free to contact me via the OARC Discord group:

1. Can I change the screen timeout delay? It's annoying to have the screen go blank, but quite good power saving. Could this time be adjusted ?

2. Can I do away with the keyboard log-in step?

3. Could the internal memory be flashed with the complete package? Internal memory is only 512K, so it suggests to me that it might not.

If you would like to make your own Hamclock on a Joggler, please follow the steps below. Warning: I am not a coder, and my way to make this work was to simply find which modules or parts the system needed, and to load them until I had a working system. There will likely be more elegant ways to achieve any of this, and if there are, please do tell me & I will edit this page accordingly.

I am going to assume that someone following this page is fairly confident with using apps like Terminal & finding their way around command-line instructions. If you need more help, drop me a line via the OARC Discord group & I will try to do what I can.

To build your own HamJogglerClock, you will need the following:

  • An O2 Joggler. Often available on eBay for less than £30, and don't overlook 'broken' ones - usually the issue is internal memory, and we will be using an external memory stick for the app, which will circumvent this.
  • A USB memory stick for the OS. This needn't be large, but should be a decent brand. I am using 16GB sticks.
  • A small USB hub, as you will need to connect a keyboard as well as the memory stick, temporarily
  • A keyboard, to log in past the greeter page

Steps needed:

1. Download the Ubuntu kernel from Birdslikewires site; follow the configuration advice for setting the wifi information.

2. Plug the USB stick into the hub and plug that into the Joggler. Power up. If successful, the O2 splash screen will be replaced by a couple of lines, identifying the Ubuntu build and asking you to log in.

3. Follow the instructions on Birdslike wires to expand the memory storage, then update and upgrade the OS. From this point, I switched to SSH, and connected to the Joggler from my desktop.

4. From the Hamclock site, follow the guide for providing the upgraded operated environment by installing the extra apps given in the line:

 sudo apt install curl make g++ xorg-dev

5. Install the Hamclock app, following the guide on the Hamclock site.

6. Install the following apps as well:

 lightdm, lxsession, xorg, openbox

7. Enable lightdm:

 sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

8. Install the greeter

 sudo apt-get install -y lightdm-gtk-greeter

9. If all goes to plan, when you reboot the system, the two lines of Ubuntu code should now be replaced a simple graphic box, asking you to provide the password for the 'of' user. Using your keyboard, type in the password, and the screen should be blank at this point. (I have tried doing this without a keyboard, via SSH, but I get a 'magic key' error at this point; only the keyboard entry appears to work for this)

10. From your Terminal or PuTTy app, start the Hamclock app. You should see the Hamclock setup screen appear very shortly on your Joggler. Using the user guide, enter the items you want to change (callsign, location etc.), then let the app start.

11. The app will continue to run, but to disconnect your terminal window, use an instruction like nohup to keep the app running, otherwise shutting it down will also stop the Hamclock app. You can also disconnect your external keyboard.

That should work. As I said, I am no coder, so there may be steps here that are not needed, duplicate things done previously or are just plain dumb, but this is the way I got my Hamclock to work, and I have built this on two separate sticks now to test it out.

Please do get in touch with tips or improvements - Hamclock looks great on the Joggler, runs really well, and even auto-updates. And it's a great way to give a new lease of life to old tech, rather than just binning it.

73 de 2E0LXQ (now G5LUX)

hamclock_joggler.txt · Last modified: 2023/08/05 12:27 by 2e0lxq