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Linux® / Amateur Radio Information

Here is a collection of links to help you integrate Linux with Amateur Radio operations. This mostly involves packet radio and the AX.25 protocol for moving TCP/IP over radio.

Separately, I've put together a diary about my own efforts to get this up and running.

If you know of any good links, feel free to e-mail them to me. Suggestions on how to improve the layout for this page are also welcome.

Now, for the shameless plug. Please take a moment to use the links on the right side of the page. These links will help to get this site known and hopefully, in time, pay for some operational costs.


This page is growing long quite fast, so here are some shortcut links to get you down to the sections you may be interested in.

How-To & FAQ

Here is the quick help references for getting packet radio up and running under Linux.

Linux AX25-HOWTO (23 Apr 2001)
How to install and configure AX.25 under Linux.
Netrom-Node mini-HOWTO (24 Apr 2001)
"This document describes how to setup the ax25-utilities package for Amateur Radio such that it makes Netrom Nodes for the Node program and the BBS software from John-Paul Roubelat, F6FBB."

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Implementation Information

These links provide information on how to setup and use packet radio services under Linux.

Amateur Packet Radio (AMPR) and net 44 (23 Apr 2001)
To run IP traffic over Amateur Radio requires a reginally assigned IP address. These addresses are assigned to your Ham call sign. AMPR coordinates these address assignments.
AX.25 Tools and Library (23 Apr 2001)
These are the tools needed to work with AX.25 under Linux.
Linux AX.25 Configuration (23 Apr 2001)
Information on using AX.25 under Linux.
1409.org amateur radio software (24 Apr 2001)
A group of developers writing quite a bit of software for making Linux work with packet radio.

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Developer Information

These links deal specifically with amateur radio under Linux development. Anything here will support development of open drivers that can be incorporated into the core kernel and/or included with any major distribution without unusual or costly licensing.

Kernel AX.25 documentation (23 Apr 2001)
Documentation for the AX.25 protocol present in the "doc" directory of the Linux 2.4 kernel.
Linux's Packet Radio Support homepage (03 May 2001)
This is the home page for the kernel packet radio support effort. The page shows as not being updated since early 2000. It's possible that since this software is part of the kernel now, the separate home page may no longer be maintained. Still, some of the information may be useful for historical research.
Kernel soundmodem documentation (23 Apr 2001)
Documentation for the "soundmodem" driver in the "doc" directory of the Linux 2.4 kernel. This driver allows you to use a sound card as a packet radio modem. Unless you already have a TNC or other equipment to interface your Ham radio into the computer, this is the easiest place to start. Note: The link provided for a computer controlled PTT (push to talk) circuit is incorrect. Go here for the circuit diagram.
Source code for Linux Ham radio drivers (23 Apr 2001)
All the available drivers for using Ham radio with Linux are in one directory.
SourceForge - Hamradio Software for Linux (23 Apr 2001)
Project to develop software tools to tie Linux into Amateur Radio operations. This is where the AX.25 tools for Linux are being developed.
Freshmeat - ax25-apps (23 Apr 2001)
Announcements on new releases of the appliations for AX.25 under Linux will appear here.
Freshmeat - ax25-tools (23 Apr 2001)
Announcements on new releases of the tools for AX.25 under Linux will appear here.
Freshmeat - libax25 (23 Apr 2001)
Announcements on new releases of the AX.25 library for Linux. This library goes along with the ax25-apps and ax25-tools listed above.
SourceForge - GNOME Hamradio Utilities (GHU) (23 Apr 2001)
Graphical tools for working with Ham radio under Linux.
Ham radio under Linux discussion list (23 Apr 2001)
E-mail discussion list regarding Ham radio under Linux.
Freshmeat - Ham radio category (23 Apr 2001)
This is a category under Freshmeat for grouping Ham radio related applications. Oddly, the AX.25 tools and apps are not present here.
Linux's Packet Radio Support (23 Apr 2001)
This site may be outdated being that it doesn't mention anything about kernels beyond the earlier 2.3.x series. It's possible this project was rolled into the core kernel, so it might provide good historical references.
Search maillist archives (23 Apr 2001)
Search the mail list archives at The AIMS Group for "AX.25" and "AX25". This archive contains more than just Linux groups, so pay attention to which list a match comes from. Try running the same searches with either "AX.25" or "AX25", but not both of them. You may get different result sets.
IRLP - Internet Radio Linking Project (01 May 2001)
This is a project to link together radio systems using the Internet as a backbone. Naturally, it runs using Linux servers. This article was found do to a feature on SlashDot.

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Supporting Information

These links don't provide direct information about providing support for amateur radio under Linux. However, they are relavent and may provide good insight and paths to other information resources.

K4ABT's Packet Radio (24 Apr 2001)
Introductory information to several forms of packet radio. BIG collection of links!
Oregon Packet Radio Links (24 Apr 2001)
Collection of links to information and software about generic packet radio operation.
PSK31 Tutorial (24 Apr 2001)
An introduction to doing PSK31 (phase shift keying) packet operation using a PC soundcard to handle the modulation (no TNC).
Yahoo! Packet Radio Category (24 Apr 2001)
More links to packet radio resources.

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Other OS Implementations

These are links relavent to amateur radio on other operating systems. This information is provided to help with compatability testing.

Amateur Radio Soundblaster Software Collection (24 Apr 2001)
Very little of this software is Linux related, so it's being put in the 'Other OS' category. That said, this a good collection of resources for someone wanting to play with interfacing their amateur radio and computer together on the cheap.

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Hardware Products

These are some amateur radio related hardware products which may be of interest to the Linux community.

Bavarian Packet Radio Group (23 Apr 2001)
This group (in Germany) has developed quite a bit of hardware for interfacing packet radio equipment to computers. Their hardware all has open specifications and Linux drivers exist for several of their products.
High Speed Packet Radio (23 Apr 2001)
A very outdated (1996) list of equipment options for doing high speed packet data. Pay attention to the vendors listed more than the products. They may have newer models available.
MFJ-8621 Packet Radio (23 Apr 2001)
If you get serious about running a 24/7 packet radio operations, this this radio may be worth looking at. It is hard fixed at the common 2-Meter packet radio frequency (using a crystal rather than a tuner) and provides only the essential functions. Low price, simple features, good way to free up your voice radio set. Cost is approximately $130 US.
MFJ-1270C Packet Controller (01 May 2001)
Low cost packet controller (TNC) that will work well with the MFJ-8621 packet radio. Supports KISS for Linux operations in AX.25 mode. Considering picking up the version with a built in modem (MFJ-1270CQ approx $250 US).
Kantronics KPC-9612+ Packet Controller (01 May 2001)
High quality packet modem. Contains both a 9600 baud and 1200 baud modem. Cost is approximately $370 US.
PacComm Packet Radio Systems (24 Apr 2001)
RF Modems and TNC hardware.

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In Association with Amazon.com
Books of Relevance

Here are some books which may help you to start working with packet radio under Linux. My thanks go out to Amazon.com, who's 'Associates' program has made it very easy to provide cover art graphics and links directly to book reviews. There appears to be a definite lack of books on the packet radio topic that are in print. Please, if you know of any good ones, let me know.

Now You're Talking (23 Apr 2001)
Published Apr 2000. This is where a Linux person should start to learn about Ham radio. Before you can play with data transmission from Linux, you must have a Ham license. This is the place to start for getting that license.
Basic Packet Radio (23 Apr 2001)
Published Jul 1994. An older reference to generic packet radio technology. The information here is probably very dated, but I'm having trouble finding more current books. If you know of any, please let me know.
Practical Packet Radio (24 Apr 2001)
Published Dec 1995. No Description available.
Search for more books (23 Apr 2001)
This will search Amazon.com for more links about Linux and packet radio.

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Press Stand

Here are some articles appearing in the online press regarding Amateur Radio with Linux.

Linux Journal - Packet Radio Under Linux (23 Apr 2001)
Published 17 Feb 2000. One person's experience getting packet radio working under Linux.

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Space Station Radio

Hearing about the Ham radio setup on the space station, and the ability to exchange data through it, is what started my interest in Amateur Radio with Linux. Here ar some links regarding the project.

ARISS - Amateur Radio on the Interntional Space Station (23 Apr 2001)
It is possible to talk and exchange data with the International Space Station using Amateur Radio. This was the application that got me interested in Amateur Radio.
Quick instructions (23 Apr 2001)
Some quick insturcitons are available to help get you going.
ARISS main website (23 Apr 2001)
The main website for ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station). You can see a map of contacts made to the space station here.
Important status message (23 Apr 2001)
In early April, 2001, an important message was sent out regarding the current status of the radio equipment on ISS. Note: APRS available on up frequency of 145.990 and down frequency of 145.800 (on the 2M band) using the callsign of "NOCALL".
NASA page about ARISS (27 Apr 2001)
NASA web page talking about the radio equipment on the International Space Station.
KC4COP page on radio to ISS (23 Apr 2001)
More information about how to talk to the International Space Station (ISS) using Amateur Radio.

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Links of Curiosity

These links don't provide much information specifically for radio under Linux, but you might find them interesting.

KG7FU's Linux Ham Site (23 Apr 2001)
Another individual's list of Linux related Ham information.
FlexNet Software (03 May 2001)
Software used to create the FlexNet networks. FlexNet is a communications network that takes from several other Amateur Packet-Radio communications standards. It is not TCP/IP, so you won't be running standard apps over it. This software is written for (gasp) DOS and not Linux. Of interest, these are the people who created the 6pack TNC control software. 6pack is supported on Linux. Hopefully, we will see the FlexNet software ported over to Linux in time.
Northeast FlexNet (03 May 2001)
A project in the Northeast part of the United States to connect together many computers via Amateur Packet-Radio in a BBS and chat type of system. As you can probably guess by the name, it uses the FlexNet software package.

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Generic Links

These links are not specific to Linux and Amateur Radio together, but they do involve one or the other technologies.

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This page copyright Delbert Matlock. Permission is given to reuse original text providing credit is given and links are present pointing to this page.

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