APRS on Xastir feature.

I’ve run this for a long time and through various versions. It comes ready to install in a Ubuntu distro – In the UK our problem is a lack of good maps – Americans have free open access to public utility created maps, but we have to buy them despite having paid for them already in taxes and to add to that we can’t even use them as we like because of copyright from publicily funded organisations. Surely something wrong there! Anyway.

APRS is packet radio and internet network of unconnected stations – sounds a bit odd I know. Radio stations transmit their location and small amounts of data about themselves, they and others can map this data onto screens using programs linke XASTIR. Serious uses can be search and rescue and emergencies – tracking who is where and passing pack information to cordinating stations. There is no need to hold up a radio data link for any long period – just send the data and confirm and thats it. Another example is the balloon across the Atlantic tracking experiment – but most people just have an equiped radio (like Kenwood TM-D710) radio in their cars or a home base setup or work based setup. APRS is also echoed onto the Internet by various servers and individuals. Indeed at work I’m unable to have a radio permenantly setup (the roofspace is coated with metal which stops me hiding a radio up there). So – I run Xastir on a server which only has an internet connection, it points out a location and runs 24/7.

Here is a screenshot of Xastir with tracking of a a friends communications when he came to visit – as you can see short text-like conversations can be had.

As you can see the map is not very good – its somethnig I put up with and would like to convert Open Source Maps – but don’t know how to at this time.

Anyone interested in this – check out Xastir site for a lot of information here at

Below is an example of what the Americans have to access better maps and levels of detail can be switched on, including weather – which has been more of a concern in the US compared to the UK (that might change though!)

– you can pick out stations and tracking as they drive across Florida state near to Orlando and my American call is located near the centre – you can also on any place interogate stations for information (this can be weather stations, but the below shows the mobile station and its location/speed).

Another image from the UK showing what happens when you get a map with too much detail.

I think you can follow my track (G0CER-3) from the RSGB convention to home (view images full size by clicking on them)

I’ll post more on APRS soon, but please leave XASTIR APRS comment too.

Amateur Radio is an interest similar to Linux – those interested share information, develop new ideas and help each other to learn about this technology we have access too. Dave H G0CER

A high percentage of the Shropshire group are licenced to use amateur radio, so we feature distros which are specific to it or the use of applications on this page.

Ubuntu includes an Amateur Radio section in its repository – typically DX Clusters, AX25, QRSS Morse, rig control, Logging and many more. I would recommend this, mainly because there is a huge community of Ubuntu users, so help and discussion is never too far away.

All distros can have more or less these type of applications installed, depending on use and capability. Naturally we would recommend installing from source or CVS and keeping them up to date, but appreciate people can have library problems.

More here soon. Dave

3 responses

12 10 2008

We recently had a stall at the Telford Hamfest and found that a regular stream of visitors came to us and already knew about Linux – last year was the same, contrary to previous years (back to about 2001) where the majority knew nothing.

27 02 2014

I see your date as 2008. Does interest still continue please? I am experimenting with xastir and, indeed, several Linux-digital projects. Discussion might be helpful at least to me!
Thanks, 73 Bob G3UDI

7 11 2014

Yes it does Bob, Shropsire LUG has over 70 members and many are radio Hams so this is a thing we are always tinkering with :)

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