Starting APRS on Linux

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According to Wikipedia, Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) is an amateur radio based system for real time tactical digital communications of information of immediate value in the local area. In addition, all such data is ingested into the APRS Internet system (APRS-IS) and distributed globally for instant access. Hmm, interesting, now can we make it work?


Discovered server addresses and port numbers on the APRS Australia web site. Discovered several Debian GNU/Linux packages with APRS support.

Test #1, aprsd reference data validity

Do you have a working internet connection and is the APRS infrastructure on the internet working?

% telnet 14579
This gets you the data stream of packets reported by nodes of the network. The packet addressing is by callsign, how cute.

Test #2, xastir receive configuration

  1. start xastir, a Configure Station window appears, above a main window,
  2. click on the OK button to dismiss the Configure Station window,
  3. select Interface menu, Interface Control option, a window appears,
  4. click Add, a Choose Interface Type window appears,
  5. select Internet Server, then click Add, a Configure Internet window appears,
  6. turn off Allow Transmitting? (unless you have a license and pass-code),
  7. set the Host to,
  8. set the Port to 14579,
  9. clear the Filter Parameters,
  10. set a meaningful Comment,
  11. click on OK button to dismiss the window,
  12. close and re-open the Interface Control window (seems to be a bug preventing the buttons from being visible),
  13. click on Start All, then Close, and data should begin to arrive, filling out the map on screen.

Test #3, xastir transmit configuration

Note: you should not do this unless you are licensed, or it is an emergency.

  1. configure callsign,
  2. run /usr/bin/callpass to generate passcode,
  3. configure interface to transmit, including passcode,
  4. stop and start interface,
  5. monitor the data stream from another system,
  6. hit transmit now and see your callsign appear.


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