Create USB Boot Thumb Drive With Ubuntu Live CD – Revisited

I used the method, previously described, to make a bootable USB Ubuntu thumb drive for a co-worker. The process failed for his particular thumb drive, saying “Missing Operating System” when he tried to boot with the USB thumb drive.  After some research on the subject, it seems that a lot of thumb drives have this problem with Ubuntu.  I found the solution at .  Dominique’s step by step “How To” worked perfectly for me.  If you have problems with your Ubuntu USB boot thumb drive, give this “How To” a try and you might be pleasantly surprised.


Create USB Boot Thumb Drive With Ubuntu Live CD

The computers in my Radio Shack and home run on Ubuntu Linux. A great way to share this good experience with others is through the Ubuntu Live CD.  The downside of the Live CD, however, is that no changes are saved.  To get a more lifelike experience in the Ubuntu demo, a bootable Ubuntu system can be loaded onto a USB thumb drive.  With this method, any changes will be kept on the thumb drive.

With the USB bootable thumb drive, it also means that you can carry your operating system with you with all the files you like to use.  There certainly is a performance issue compared with a regular hard drive instalation, but having your e-mail, internet, audio/visual programs, ham radio programs, etc. with you all the time, available to use on any computer that can boot by USB, is an awesome thing.

Here are some detailed instructions to make a bootable USB thumb drive from the Ubuntu 8.10 live CD.

Download PDF of this page.



  • Insert Live Ubuntu CD and allow it to boot up completely

  • Insert Thumb Drive into a USB port and wait for system to recognize it

  • Click “System” on the TOP menu of the Desktop

Click "System"

  • Select  “Administration” under the “System” menu.


  • Click “Create a USB startup disk” under “Administration”

Click "Create a USB startup disk"

  • The “Make USB Startup Disk” program should start

  • CD info for the Live CD should appear at the top

Make USB Startup Disk

  • USB information should appear in the middle. If the USB thumb drive is not inserted, you can do it now and the information should appear.

USB Information Field

  • Make sure “Store in reserve extra space” is selected.

  • Move slider to the right to allocated additional memory on the thumb drive for the Ubuntu system. If you want a bit unused (eg. ½ GB) for other files, do not go all the way to the right. Note – This “unused” portion, or any files on the unused portion of the thumb drive WILL NOT be accessible when Ubuntu is booted from the thumb drive.

Storage Options

  • Click “Make Startup Disk”

Do it!

  • The system will begin to copy the Ubuntu Operating system to the thumb drive.

Progress Bar

  • It may take some time for the process to complete. When it is done, close the program and unmount the USB thumb drive by right clicking on the disk icon on the Desktop, and click “Unmount Volume”

  • This completes the installation of Ubuntu onto the thumb drive. Reboot the computer with the thumb drive in place and enjoy Ubuntu.

ARRLWeb: ARRL NEWS: Classic Exchange — A Vintage Radio Contest

The following is portion of a news entry from the ARRL. Click the link and read the whole post;  and if you have some vintage gear, fire it up and get ready for this fun sounding contest.  I am hoping that I will be able to participate in the fun.  Will you join me?
John – K7JM

Click the picture of my Vintage Heathkit gear and take a tour of my Ham Radio Shack.
Click the picture of my Vintage Heathkit gear and take a tour of my Ham Radio Shack.

Classic Exchange — A Vintage Radio Contest

By Mario Dianora, N2AK

ARRL – January 09, 2009

Warm-up those filaments for the Classic Exchange contest, January 25/26 and February 15/16.

Do you have any old equipment from the bygone days of radio? Are you a homebrewer who likes to make nifty low power (QRP) radios or replicas of old rigs? Well the good news is that you can put those pieces on the air in an operating event that will make you feel like you are in another era. That event is called Classic Exchange (CX) and it is held twice a year. The purpose of CX as described in their newsletter is to “Encourage restoration, operation and enjoyment of older commercial and homebrew ham gear.” Some years ago, I heard stations on 40 meter CW calling “CQ CX.” After some research, I discovered that this was a contest for vintage and homebrew gear. It sounded like a great way to get some use from the old rigs I had in my basement. Since then, I have rediscovered the magic of radio and await the next CX event for more of it.

via ARRLWeb: ARRL NEWS: Classic Exchange — A Vintage Radio Contest.

ARRL Straight Key Night 2009 – N0TU Update

On December 27, I posted a short video by N0TU announcing SKN (Straight Key Night).  He has made an update to that video after the fact of SKN.  View his excellent video and see what you missed if you did not operate SKN.

I operated for a short while and made two contacts using my old Heathkit SB-102, and an old navy key.  It was short but it was a lot of fun!

See you on the air!

John – K7JM

Capturing The Elusive Leap Second

My Leap Second Capture Setup
My Leap Second Capture Setup. Click the picture to see a larger view.

A “Leap Second” was added to our clocks at 12:59:60 on Dec. 31, 2008 (12:59:60 is not a typo).  Leap Seconds are added or subtracted every so many years, to keep our clocks in sync with the actual orbit of Earth around the sun.  There are several different methods to capture the leap second, and I took the opportunity yesterday to see if I could do the same without fancy or expensive equipment.

HERE is a good web site about the “Leap Second”.

And, HERE is a page about how to watch a “Leap Second”.

This is how I did it.  I tuned into WWV on my Ham Radio receiver, and set up a camera to record the time on my GPS.  After looking at the Leap Second web site, I should also have connected my computer to my GPS to capture the NMEA output from it.  Click on the picture to the left to see my setup. View the video below, and you will see that 12:59:59 lasted for two seconds on the GPS.

John – K7JM