Beginners Guide To Ham Radio Debian Program List

There is a little know fact about the history of the computer operating system called Linux that I have to mention here at the out set. Debian Linux was built for HAM operators thanks largely to Bruce Perens. I’ve always liked the idea to be able to contact someone on the other side of the world without giving a dime to Ma Bell. The added bonus is being able to do this without being dependent on the grid, and solely self-contained.

There is an often missed topic for Survivalists and that I find unusual, and that being communications. Communications is the root of information, and information is key to survival. As I create How To’s and Guides on this site I will tend to break it up into smaller bits and bites (pun intended), so for the first step in learning about HAM Radio Communications, I am providing a list of free open source programs related to HAM Radio.

If you do not use Linux I strongly suggest that you head down to your nearest ‘FreeGeek‘ for learning all you can about it. You can pick up a really cheap computer there to mess around with Ubuntu, or Debian. (Ubuntu is another port of Debian) You can also buy a used cheap computer at your local thrift store such as the Salvation Army Store, and download a ‘Debian Business Card‘.

Burn the Business Card onto a disc from your “good” computer, and then hook your thrift store cheap computer up to the net, insert the business card, and install Debian. Most of the settings will already be set correctly so you shouldn’t have to much trouble setting up a Linux box. The only recommendation I have that is sometimes skipped on How To Set Up Debian, from a Google search is to give your new cheap computer a unique name during set up, this will make it really easy to network on your connected systems and gadgets. My tower is called “frank’ for example, and it is really easy to send back ups from my laptop to the other computer by using, http://frank.local instead of trying to figure out the current dynamic IP address of that computer on my home network.

By the way, frank is short for Frankenstein, since he was made from thrift store junk parts. Oh, one last thing, if you come up with a nickname for your computer you really like, save it for your ‘good’ windows computer, you’ll be using it with Debian soon enough. 😉

I use Debian exclusively, in fact I am writing this on my laptop with it, and the website you are reading this on is using a port of Debian. Now before you get put off by the list below a couple of important facts. You no longer HAVE TO learn Morse code for the 2 meter band HAM radio to get your FCC license, but that being said you should still give it a shot. Second, a bulk of the programs here do not require you to actually have a radio to begin with, so it will cost you nothing to get started on HAM Radio. (There is even one for use with IRC on X-Chat)

Also, there are other uses for some of these programs, if you install your own satellite transmittable internet, DDS or Free-To-Air dish you can use Gnome Predict to track the positions of satellites. Gnome Predict has other uses, and you can configure, add your own data for other satellites, think big brother here, and you get my meaning.

There are several programs available to learn the ins and outs of using HAM radio on Linux, as well as useful time saving programs, all of them listed here are free under open source licenses. Take note for you Linux geeks out there, I use Debian (etch) hence the list reflects that. (Well actually I use a hybrid of Debian (etch/sarge) / Ubuntu (Hardy/Edgy) … but let’s keep it simple for the list.)

How to read this list:

Each item in this list is highlighted to provide a hyper-linked to the programs source page, immediately following the hyper-link are round brackets with a number or some other kind of code. This code is the program’s generation number for the source code, and in generation I mean in the same context as a family generation or bloodline, the higher the number, the more recent the program’s source code. Check to see if the version number I have provided is the most recent.

Most of these will work on any Debian install, sometimes however the type of computer hardware you are using effects the stability of the program, mainly because it is resource intensive, when that is a factor square brackets are used to provide details as to which systems are provided for, that means if there is a square bracket with i386, and you have a i386 processor on the computer you want to use this program on, use the correct folder (ie: /public/program/src/i386/program.v-0.0.1.tar.gz ) to get the source code. That being said, check out my comment at the bottom of the list on wajig, to make installing all these much easier. Most of these programs have some sort of dependency issue, therefore I strongly recommend using wajig to install them.

One last note on contents within the round brackets after the link, if it contains the word “beta”, do not use the program unless you are a geek. ‘Nough said.

acfax (981011-11)

Receive faxes using your radio and sound card, acfax allows you to receive faxes using your sound card. Typically you might use it to decode faxes sent over HF radio or from satellites.

aldo (0.7.3-1)

Aldo is a morse code learning tool which provides four type of training methods: blocks, koch, file, Call Sign. Blocks: Identify blocks of random characters played in morse code. Koch: Two morse characters will be played at full speed (20wpm) until you’ll be able to identify at least 90 percent of them. After that, one more character will be added, and so on. File: Identify played characters generated from a file. Call Sign: Identify random Call Signs played in morse code.

antennavis (0.3-2)

Antennavis is a visualization toolkit designed to aid the user in better understanding the data output by the NEC2 antenna modelling software.

ao40tlmview (1.03-2)

AO40tlmview decodes the binary telemetry transmitted by the AMSAT OSCAR 40 satellite. It provides an ncurses-based (i.e., text-mode) interface for browsing through the telemetry blocks.

The telemetry blocks can either be read from a file (e.g., downloaded from the AMSAT telemetry archive), or received live through a TCP or UDP connection to a demodulator.

Furthermore, it can produce simple graphs of the telemetry, either through gnuplot if running in a graphical (X11) environment, or as a crude ASCII graph when running in a text-only environment.

aprsd (1:2.2.5-13-3.1+b1 [hppa], 1:2.2.5-13-3.1 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

Internet Gateway for the Automatic Position Reporting System, aprsd is an internet to RF gateway (igate) for the APRS Automatic Position Reporting System. It allows hams on the Internet to send text messages to hams on RF, especially when linked to the worldwide APRServe network (

aprsdigi (2.4.4-1)

Digipeater for APRS, aprsdigi is a repeater for the Automatic Position Reporting System, APRS. It also includes aprsmon, a one-way gateway to APRS on TCP/IP.

ax25-apps (0.0.6-14.1)

AX.25 ham radio applications. This package provides specific user applications for ham radio that use AX.25 Net/ROM or ROSE network protocols:

call: a general purpose AX.25, NET/ROM and ROSE connection program.

listen: a network monitor of all AX.25 traffic heard by the system.

ax25ipd: an RFC1226 compliant daemon which provides encapsulation of AX.25 traffic over IP.

ax25mond: retransmits data received from sockets into an AX.25 monitor socket.

ax25-tools (0.0.8-11)

Tools for AX.25 interface configuration. These are HAM Radio specific tools for setting up and configuring HAM Radio ports that use AX.25 Net/ROM or ROSE network protocols.

ax25-xtools (0.0.8-11)

Tools for AX.25 interface configuration – Same as above but X11-based. These are hamradio specific tools for setting up and configuring hamradio ports that use AX.25 Net/ROM or ROSE network protocols.

This package is created separately for those who do not want to install tools that need X to run.

ax25mail-utils (0.11-3+b2 [hppa], 0.11-3+b1 [alpha, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc], 0.11-3 [amd64])

HAM Radio utilities for fbb. This package provides utilities to download a message list or messages from a fbb AX.25 bbs:

axgetlist – read the message list from the BBS

axgetmail – automaticaly download messages from the F6FBB BBS

axgetmsg – download selected messages from F6FBB BBS

home_bbs – find home BBS or force a home BBS for the callsign

msgcleanup – delete the messages with their lifetime exceeded

ulistd – collect FBB BBS messages list sent via unproto frames

update_routes – update the database of BBS and callsigns

ax25spyd (0.23-7)

AX.25 traffic analyzer, dumper and spy daemon, ax25spyd is a daemon, which analyses, formats and transmit the AX.25 traffic via sockets to other processes. Statistic of heard frames and a simple DX-cluster-spy included.

baken (0.5.3-4.1)

Visualisation of European VHF/UHF and microwave beacons. The idea behind baken is to allow for the visualisation of European VHF/UHF and microwave beacons on a map of Europe. As input it takes the file produced by G3UUT the Region 1 Beacon Co-ordinator, and attempts to extract the beacon data from it.

Most of the program is simple of understand. At any given time the map shows the beacons for any one band from 50 MHz to 47 GHz. By moving the mouse to a square and clicking the left mouse button, another window opens displaying the beacons in that square in more detail, and any cities to be found lying about. By moving the mouse near to a beacon, information about the beacon is displayed in a window below the map.

There is an option to display a list of all the beacons in the current band, sorted by frequency, with their frequencies, callsigns, locators and their bearings and distances.

baycomepp (0.10-9)

Drivers for the HB9JNX packet radio epp modem. This package provides drivers for the baycom epp packet radio modem designed by HB9JNX, see

baycomusb (0.10-6)

Drivers for the HB9JNX packet radio usb modem. This package provides drivers for the baycom usb packet radio modem designed by HB9JNX, see

colrconv (0.99.3-2)

Convers client with curses color support. Colrconv is a modified version of VA3DP’s ttylink client. In addition to the basic split screen session it gives you color and sound support plus some line editing capabilities, a scroll buffer and a status line. Also the default port is changed to 3600 (convers).

colrdx (1.02-1)

DX-cluster client with curses color support. Colrdx is a simple client for amateur radio dx-clusters. In a split-screen display you can type commands for the cluster in the bottom part. Messages from the dx-cluster will appear in the main window. There is also a status line at the top with some basic information.

cw (2.3-3)

Command-line frontend to unixcw. This package contains a simple command line client called cw, which sounds characters as Morse code on the console speaker. The included cwgen binary can generate groups of random characters for Morse code practice.

Included are some examples files with embedded commands. These commands can be used to change speed, tone, spacing between characters and much more.

cwcp (2.3-3)

Ncurses frontend to unixcw. Cwcp is a curses-based interactive Morse code tutor program. It allows menu selection from a number of sending modes, and also permits character sounding options, such as the tone pitch, and sending speed, to be varied from the keyboard using a full-screen user interface.

cwdaemon (0.9.3-1)

morse daemon for the parallel or serial port. Cwdaemon is a small daemon which uses the pc parallel or serial port and a simple transistor switch to output morse code to a transmitter from a text message sent to it via the udp internet protocol.

cwirc (2.0.0-1)

X-Chat morse plugin. CWirc is a plugin for the X-Chat IRC client to transmit raw morse code over the internet using IRC servers as reflectors. The transmitted morse code can be received in near real-time by other X-Chat clients with the CWirc plugin. CWirc tries to emulate a standard amateur radio rig : it sends and receives morse over virtual channels, and it can listen to multiple senders transmitting on the same channel. Morse code is keyed locally using a straight or iambic key connected to a serial port, or using the mouse buttons, and the sound is played through the soundcard.

dgipip (0.1a-4)

AMPRNet dynamic IPIP encapsulation routing daemon. This package provides both a client and server that implement the AMPRNet dynamic gateway routing protocol devised by Barry Siegfried, K2MF, and others.

You will probably only make sensible use of this package if you are an amateur radio operator wishing to operate an encapsulating gateway.

fbb (7.04j-6)

Packet radio mailbox and utilities. The fbb package contains software written by f6fbb for setting up a packet radio mailbox. It is intended for amateur radio operators. A short overview of some of the binaries:

fbb: Script to start the daemon.

xfbbd: The daemon which listens for incoming connects.

epurmess: Delete messages based on age.

epurwp: White Pages maintenance.

reqdir: FBB server which requests directory listings.

xfbbC: B/W Ncurses console for xfbbd.

gcb (1:1.07-1)

Utility to calculate long and short path to a location. Gcb computes long and short path given the latitude and longitude (degrees and minutes). You must input the lat/long of the two stations. The output will then be relative from station1 to station2.

Gcb is used by hamradio operators as a tool for pointing the antenna in the right direction, either by using the short (daylight) propagation path or using the long path, which is almost always via the dark side of the earth.

Gcb believes the earth to be a perfect circle, which means there will be small calculation errors.

glfer (0.3.4-3)

Program for reception and transmission of QRSS/DFCW signals. Glfer is composed of two main parts: a spectrogram window, where you can see the spectrum of the received signal vs. time and transmission functions, to emit cw characters at a slow but precisely controlled speed, using the QRSS (slow CW) or DFCW (Dual Frequency CW) modes.

gmfsk (0.6+0.7pre1-2+b1 [hppa], 0.6+0.7pre1-2 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

MFSK, RTTY and other digital mode terminal for HF/amateur radio. gmfsk is a terminal program for amateur radio digital communication modes for GNOME. It supports MFSK, RTTY, THROB, PSK31, MT63 and Hellschreiber modulations. It is used for keyboard-to-keyboard chatting and not reliable packet communication.

gpredict (0.6.1-1)

Satellite tracking program for GNOME. Gnome Predict is a real time satellite tracking program for Gnome, based on the tracking engine of John Magliacane’s excellent satellite tracker Predict.

Gnome Predict aims to include the following features (not all are implemented yet):

* Be able to track a large number of satellites (only limited by the physical memory of the computer) * Track for several groundstations, not just one. * Show the satellite data using various visualization modules (lists, maps, sky, etc.) * Predict upcoming passes for the satellites. * Automatically update element sets when newer sets are available * Control your receiver/transmitter and antenna rotor using the hamlib libraries ( * Advanced schedule manager for unattended monitoring of satellites. * Any desirable feature that is missing from other programs (feel free to submit your ideas)

gpsk31 (0.3-1+b1 [hppa], 0.3-1 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

A gtk based psk31. This is a PSK31 transmission mode program using the sound card and optionally serial port to PTT the RIG. It has nice functions and listen very well.

grig (0.7.1-1)

Graphical user interface to the Ham Radio Control Libraries. Gnome RIG is a graphical user interface to the Ham Radio Control Libraries, which lets you control your communication radios and/or antenna rotators from a personal computer. Gnome RIG is written using the Gtk+ and Gnome widgets.

Gnome RIG is in a very early stage and it supports only a very little subset of the full Hamlib API, but it can be very useful in testing basic hamlib support for your rig.

hamfax (0.6.4-2+b1 [hppa], 0.6.4-2 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

Receive/send radio facsimile transmissions with Soundcard/PTC-II. With this package you can send or receive radio facsimile transmissions using either a Linux-supported soundcard or an SCS PTC-II data controller.

Radio facsimile transmission are used most commonly by meteorological bureaus to provide weather maps to aircraft and shipping.

HAM Radiomenus (1.0-1)

HAM Radio menus for gnome and kde. This package creates a hamradio submenu for gnome and kde along with a nice icon.

hamsoft (0.2.3-1)

Reader for new HAM Radio linux software, Hamsoft is a reader for new hamradio linux software at, the linux hamradio software database. When you select an entry in the list and click on read, the link will be opened in a mozilla window. Mozilla has to be running.

hf (0.7.3-4)

Amateur-radio protocol suite using a soundcard as a modem. hf is a soundcard digimode program which can monitor and transmit PACTOR I, AMTOR, GTOR and RTTY. It is based on hfkernel by Tom Sailer, with a gtk+ graphical interface, spectrum display, logbook and textmacros.

The package provides hfkernel, which needs to be run as root and hfterm, which communicates with hfkernel through a UNIX domain socket.

Most of this software is still beta quality, which means it can hang your computer. Be sure to join the hfterm-hackers mailing list if you use this package:

Hf does not run with every soundcard, because it uses the mmap() system call (for low latencies, needed for real time mode in Pactor and Amtor ARQ), which is not supported by some cards.

ibp (0.21-5)

Viewer for the International Beacon Project. Ibp shows which of the beacons of the International Beacon Project is transmitting now. The user is presented with a list of Beacons with the current beacon highlighted. In a separate graphical window the position and short/long path to the beacon can be seen.

The list can be viewed in either single or multiband mode, a Maidenhead locator, when used as an argument, shows distance and azimuth to each beacon.

You will need an accurate clock because the beacons transmit at 10 second intervals.

icom (20040912-1)

Software control for ICOM radios with CI-V interface. This program allows you to control many types of ICOM radio (transceivers and receivers) from the serial port on your computer. You need a CI-V interface circuit to connect the radio to the computer (to convert between RS-232 and TTL), which can be easily found on the web.

icomlib-bin (1.0.1-8+b1 [hppa], 1.0.1-8 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

Icom PCR-1000 command line control. Icomlib is the PCR-1000 control suite. It consists of a library, command line programs, and a Qt widget GUI application.

This software controls an ICOM PCR-1000 receiver via a serial interface.

klog (0.4.0-1)

KDE ham radio logging program. This package provides a ham radio logging program for KDE. This application supports logging for HF and VHF operations. It supports many features like QSL, DXCC, IOTA, WAZ and awards. KLog imports from TLF and produces ADIF as default file format. This application also includes a DX-Cluster client fully integrated into the main interface.

kpsk (1.0.1-4+b2 [hppa], 1.0.1-4+b1 [alpha, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc], 1.0.1-4 [amd64])

PSK31 transmission mode Terminal for KDE3. This PSK31 program uses the sound card and optionally serial port to control (PTT) the transceiver. It supports up to 4 simultanous PSK31-QSO and is based on DL9RDZ signal processing routines.

libhamlib-utils (1.2.5-8)

Utilities to support the hamlib radio control library. Most recent amateur radio transceivers allow external control of their functions through a computer interface. Unfortunately, control commands are not always consistent across a manufacturer’s product line and each manufacturer’s product line differs greatly from its competitors.

This library addresses that issue by providing a standardised programming interface that applications can talk to and translating that into the appropriate commands required by the radio in use.

This package provides a command-line utility to test the hamlib library and to control transceivers if you’re short of anything more sophisticated.

linpsk (0.8.1-3+b1 [hppa], 0.8.1-3 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

Program for operating PSK31/RTTY modes with X GUI. linpsk is a program for operating on amateur radio digital modes. linpsk currently supports BPSK, QPSK, and RTTY modes, and it provides an X user interface. linpsk’s main features are:

–simultaneous decoding of up to four channels –different digital modes may be mixed –trigger text can be defined on each channel –each channel can be logged to a file –user-defined macros and two files for larger texts –spectrum and waterfall displays, both scalable in the frequency domain. At the Moment RTTY only supports 45 baud and 1.5 stopbits.

marote (3.0-1+b1 [hppa], 3.0-1 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

Rig Control Program for the Elecraft K2. This program uses a nice Qt GUI to control the Elecraft K2 amateur radio transmitter/receiver. See for a description of the K2. The serial port can be used with marote to control most of the K2’s functionality.

minimuf (3.5-1)

Program to predict high frequency propagation data. This program predicts the most likely operating frequencies and signal levels for high frequency (shortwave) radio propagation paths on specified days of the year and hours of the day. It is most useful for paths between 250 km and 6000 km, but can be used with reduced accuracy for paths shorter or longer than this.

modemp3d (0.1-7)

AO-40 (Phase3D) Soundcard Telemetry Decoder. This software allows a standard PC soundcard to be used as Amsat Oscar 40 (Phase 3D) Telemetry Decoder.

Unlike previous packet radio telemetry decoders, this new release offers several new benefits:

Open Source (Source Code available). Multiplatform builds from a single source code. Can decode from soundcard input or from a wave file. May use MMX or VIS to speed up computation. No tuning required, any center frequency between 1.2kHz and 2kHz detected. Outputs decoded frames over UDP using Phil Karn’s STP protocol

morse (2.1-2)

‘Morse Classic’ is a morse-code training program for aspiring radio hams. It can generate random tests or simulated QSOs resembling those used in the ARRL test (a QSO generator is included). There are a plethora of options to vary the training method. In one of the simpler modes, this program will take text from standard input and render it as Morse-code beeps.

mtrack (0.3-2)

Graphical satellite tracker for X11. Mtrack is a satellite tracking program for X11. The current position of the satellite is shown on a world map, and pass times for the next day or more can be generated and shown in a tabular form.

multimon (1.0-4)

Linux Radio Transmission Decoder. The multimon software can decode a variety of digital transmission modes commonly found on UHF radio. A standard PC soundcard is used to acquire the signal from a transceiver. The decoding is done completely in software. Currently, the following modes are supported:

AX.25 1200 Baud AFSK 2400 Baud AFSK (2 variants) 4800 Baud HAPN 9600 Baud FSK (G3RUH) POCSAG 512 Baud 1200 Baud 2400 Baud Miscellaneous DTMF ZVEI

An arbitrary set of the above modes may run concurrently on the same input signal (provided the CPU power is sufficient), so you do not have to know in advance which mode is used. Note however that some modes might require modifications to the radio (especially the 9600 baud FSK and the POCSAG modes) to work properly. POCSAG (Post Office Code Standards Advisory Group) is a common paging transmission format.

nec (2-11)

NEC2 Antenna Modelling System. The NEC2 (Numerical Electromagnetics Code) is software for modelling antennas using the Method of Moments. It was developed at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, and remains widely used, despite the old fashioned punched card style input required.

This version contains code which hasn’t been extensively tested for errors, which was input by hand from a report — use with care. The numerics are currently only SINGLE PRECISION.

User’s documentation is provided in HTML format (based on OCR text so beware of potential errors).

node (0.3.2-4)

Amateur Packet Radio Node program. The node program accepts TCP/IP and packet radio network connections and presents users with an interface that allows them to make gateway connections to remote hosts using a variety of amateur radio protocols.

p10cfgd (1.0-12)

Remote configuration daemon for Gracilis Packeten. The ‘p10cfgd’ daemon provides support for the ‘rmtcfg’ command in the Gracilis Packeten amateur radio network packet switch. With this daemon, and appropriate entries in the non-volatile configuration memory of a Packeten, it is possible to have the switch load commands and information at boot time. Further, this daemon appends a command which sets the date and time in the clock on the Packeten.

phaseshift (0.40-11)

PSK31 terminal for X11. phaseshift is a PSK31 terminal for X11. PSK31 is a digital modulation scheme popular with radio amateurs on HF radio.

This program implements the PSK31 modem and a terminal to use it. It is intended for keyboard to keyboard “QSOs” (conversations), rather than file transfer.

pileup (1.2-18)

Morse code pileup trainer for SB compatible soundcards. Pileup is a morse code program which generates callsigns using a specified number of the Sound Blaster’s voices.

This simulates the sound of a CW pileup. The greater the number of voices the more difficult the program is. The idea is based on the tapes used at Amateur Radio Conventions to test people’s CW skills. However it is more random and can be made more difficult!

You have to use a Adlib or Sound Blaster compatible soundcard.

pingpong (0.02-1)

Free server for Amateur Radio convers. Pingpong is an attempt to write a convers server for Amateur Radio which is really free. Pingpong is written from scratch with the help of glib.

predict (2.2.3-1)

Satellite Tracking Program with Optional Voice Output. This is a satellite tracking program. It is probably mostly of interest to users of amateur satellites, but includes support for optionally announcing azimuth and elevation to help in manual antenna pointing, or optical observation of satellites.

The upstream predict sources include a front-end called ‘map’, which is called predict-map in the debian package.

The ‘ntp’ package is suggested because accurate satellite tracking depends on precise knowledge of ground station time and location.

predict-gsat (2.2.3-1)

Graphical Satellite Tracking Client Program. The gsat program is a graphical client for the ‘predict’ satellite tracking program running in server mode, built using gtk.

Since this program can be run on a different machine than predict, there is no dependency specified… but you need access to a copy of ‘predict’ installed somewhere on the network for this programs to be useful!

psk31lx (2.1+2.2beta1-7)

Soundcard-based ncurses program for operating PSK31. Psk31lx uses a soundcard to receive and transmit PSK31, an extremely narrow band HF-mode. PSK31 is a mode for keyboard QSO’s.

qpcr1k (1.0.1-8+b1 [hppa], 1.0.1-8 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

Icom PCR-1000 GUI control. icomlib is the PCR-1000 control suite. It consists of a library, command line programs, and a Qt widget GUI application.

This software controls an ICOM PCR-1000 receiver via a serial interface.

qsstv (5.3c-5+b1 [hppa], 5.3c-5 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

Qt-based slow-scan TV and fax. Qsstv is a program for receiving slow-scan television and fax. These are modes used by hamradio operators. Qsstv uses a soundcard to send and receive images.

sgcontrol (0.3cvs-6)

Gui to multiple communications receivers using the Hamlib library. Smart Gnome Control is a graphical user interface to multiple communications receivers via the Hamlib library. The specific purpose is to let you control your communications receiver from a personal computer, and to simplify the hobby of shortwave radio listening.

The Smart Gnome Control interface is designed to automatically reconfigure according to the known capabilities of your receiver. It is also designed to provide database-driven tuning, memory and logging capabilities, based on FineWare’s (discontinued) Smart Control series of receiver control packages for Windows.

soundmodem (0.10-1)

Sound Card Amateur Packet Radio Modems. This package contains the driver and diagnostic utility for the userspace SoundModem suite by Thomas Sailer.

This package allows you to use any soundcard supported by the kernel as an Amateur Packet Radio modem.

splat (1.1.1-2)

Analyze point-to-point terrestrial RF communication links. SPLAT! is a Surface Path Length And Terrain analysis application written for Linux and Unix workstations. SPLAT! analyzes point-to-point terrestrial RF communication links, and provides information useful to communication system designers and site engineers.

tk2 (1.1-6)

Tk GUI for the ICOM IC-R2 receiver. The current, experimental version of tk2 works with IC-R2 models which employ 10 kHz or 9 kHz spacing in the AM Broadcast Band (e.g., USA, Japanese, European, and other models). It permits expanded .005 – 1599.995 MHz frequency coverage (except cellular bands) for memory channels and can:

Read a memory image from an IC-R2 receiver or a disk file. Display data from a memory image and let a user change various settings. Add descriptive labels to memory channels and banks. Sort memory channels by frequency or label. Swap pairs of memory banks. Import memory channel data from a csv or ICF file. Export memory channel data to a csv file. Write the results back to the radio.

tk5 (0.6-1)

Experimental Software for the ICOM IC-R5 Receiver. tk5 is open source software designed for the ICOM IC-R5 receiver. The current version can:

Read a memory image from an IC-R5 receiver, an ICF file, an IC5 file, or a native tr5 file. Using a graphical interface, display data from a memory image and let a user change the limit search bank, television bank, and most other settings. Import memory channel data from a csv (comma-separated values) file. Export memory channel data to a csv file. Enable a hidden 70-channel Television bank. Write the results back to the radio.

tlf (0.9.30-1)

Console mode purpose CW keyer, logging- and contest program. Tlf is a console (ncurses) mode general purpose CW keyer, logging- and contest program for hamradio. It supports the CQWW, the WPX, the ARRL-DX, the ARRL-FD, the PACC and the EU SPRINT contests (single operator) as well as a lot more basic contests, general QSO and DXpedition mode.

It interfaces with a morse code generator, a number of radios, and with a DX Cluster. Contest operation mimics the popular TR-Log program for DOS, the output file is TR- as well as CABRILLO compatible.

The user interface was designed with over 30 years of experience in CW contesting in mind. The program was written for console mode on purpose, to make it run also on smaller machines, or remotely via a modem link.

trustedqsl (1.11-4+b1 [hppa], 1.11-4 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

QSL log signing for the Logbook of the World (LoTW). A QSL is a confirmation of contact between two amateur radio stations. The ARRL Logbook of the World project is a database which collects data about contacts between amateur stations (QSOs). This package provides programs for maintaining your digital certificates for LOTW and for signing QSO log files in ADIF and Cabrillo format for upload.

twclock (2.5-4)

Clock program for HAM Radio operators. This is a clock program which will displays the current time in major cities around the world.

The current time at some point on the globe is determined using the time zone information contained in the files located under the directory /usr/share/zoneinfo. A file selection box allows you to pick the area or city of interest. The clock will then display the current time for the selected location.

twlog (2.3-2)

Logging program for HAM Radio operators. This GUI program records basic Ham log information. It is for day to day logging, not contesting. There is no dup checking and contest related things like that. My keyboard is where my logbook used to be, so why not use the computer to log QSOs!

The interface can be customized without re-compiling. A resource file allows you to modify the menus for the bands, modes, etc. that you use.

Most of the log entries can be made with a button press or a single key stroke. It records the date, start and end times, call sign, band, mode, power, and signal reports. There is also a field for general notes.

A second window allows you to search and edit the log file, and a third window provides online help. The help file can also be view with any unix command or editor at any time.

twpsk (2.1+2.2beta1-7)

Soundcard-based X program for operating PSK31. Twpsk uses a soundcard to receive and transmit PSK31, an extremely narrow band HF-mode. PSK31 is a mode for keyboard QSO’s.

unixcw (2.3-3)

Shared library for Morse programs. Package needed by unixcw, cwcp and xcwcp. It contains a shared library with Morse code functions.

wsjt (5.9.6.r309-2)

Weak-signal amateur radio communications. WSJT is designed to facilitate Amateur Radio communication under extreme weak-signal conditions. Three very different coding and modulation methods are provided: one for communication by “meteor scatter” techniques on the VHF bands; one for meteor and ionospheric scatter, primarily on the 6 meter band; and one for the very challenging EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) path.

wstools (0.4.8d-2+b1 [hppa], 0.4.8d-2 [alpha, amd64, arm, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, sparc])

Digital modes used for DX work on VHF/UHF and Microwave. This package contains 2 binaries:

FSK441 is used specifically for Meteor Scatter, usually on 2 meters its advantage is its very high data rate.

JT44 is the most effective weak signal mode for EME (moonbounce) and Troposcatter, it can typically decode data when the signal is below the noise level for most people.

wwl (1.2-1)

Calculates distance and azimuth between two Maidenhead locators. Given two Maidenhead locators, wwl calculates distance (qrb) and azimuth.

xastir (1.8.2-2)

X Amateur Station Tracking and Information Reporting. Xastir is an APRS client for X. APRS is the Automatic Position Reporting System, a system where objects report their position (usually obtained from GPS) on the air; Xastir displays this information graphically.

xcall (0.18-1)

Packet radio program for X/GTK. Xcall is a packet radio program which supports the AX.25, NET/ROM and Rose protocols.

The current features of xcall are:

Command line history.

Recording of the session into a file.

AX.25 port information read from the proc filesystem.

Changing of the receive window font and colors.

Dutch and French Language support.

Basic support for DX Clusters.

xconvers (0.8.4-1)

HAM Radio convers client for X/GTK. Xconvers is a client to connect to a convers server (port 3600).

In a split-screen session you can type text into the bottom screen. The reply from the server can be seen in the top screen.

The current version features: color support, optional saving of the session to a logfile, history for the connect dialog and the send widget and autologin.

xcwcp (2.3-3)

Qt frontend to unixcw. Xcwcp is an X-based interactive Morse code tutor program. It lets you choose from a number of options for practice, including sending random characters, random words, and characters from the keyboard. It will also receive Morse code that you send using the keyboard or mouse as a Morse keyer, and display the characters it sees.

xdx (2.2-1)

DX-cluster tcp/ip client for amateur radio. Xdx is a client to connect to a DX-cluster. Dx messages will be displayed in a list, announcements will go to a text display.

As well as the usual functions, if you have hamlib installed it can control the radio and set the frequency simply by double clicking a DX-spot (using rigctl).


xlog (1.4-1)

GTK+ Logging program for HAM Radio Operators. xlog is a logging program for amateur radio operators which can be used for dialy logging and contest. Logs are stored into a text file.

QSO’s are presented in a list. Items in the list can be added, deleted or updated. For each contact, dxcc information is displayed and bearings and distance is calculated, both short and long path.

When hamlib is enabled through the menu, you can retrieve frequency, mode and signal-strength from you rig over the serial port.

xnecview (1.34-7.2)

NEC structure and gain pattern viewer. xnecview allows a representation of a NEC (Numerical Electromagnetics Code) structure, such as an antenna which is to be modelled to be displayed on the screen. After an NEC run the gain pattern in various formats can also be superimposed. This can be rotated and translated for viewing from different angles. Plots of SWR and gain as a function of frequency can also be produced. In addition to on screen display, Postscript or PNG output can also be produced.

xsmc-calc (1.0.0-5)

Smith Chart calculator for X. xsmc-calc allows you to perform Smith Chart calculations for RF (radio frequency) circuit design.

xtlf (0.0+1.03beta-2)

Single user (single node) version of tlf. xtlf is a hamradio contest logging program with the look and feel of tlf. It uses a perl based GTK+ X-based gui.

xwota (0.4-3)

GTK client to the WOTA Database. This software is intended for amateur radio operators who want to make use of the WOTA database.

Find out who is on the air, the band and frequency they are operating on, and their location by Country, State, County, Grid, Lat/Long. See

yagiuda (1.19-3)

Software to analyse performance of Yagi-Uda antennas. You give the dimensions and positions of each element, and the program calculates gain, input impedance, front-to back ratio, beam-patterns etc. An optimisation program ‘optimise’ tries to optimise a design. The optimiser can also tell you the sensitivity of a good design, to small mechanical errors.

z8530-utils2 (3.0-1-3)

Utilities for Z8530 based HDLC cards for AX.25 (kernel 2.2.x). This package contains utilities to load, configure and modify the kernel driver for Z8530 based SCC cards.

This version is for kernels above 2.1.6.

It should at least work with the following boards and connected modems:

BayCom USCC. PA0HZP card with and without ESCC and/or external clock divider (up to 19200 baud (loopback)) and compatibles. TCM3105 modem, 4k8 modem, 9k6 DF9IC modem (loopback), HAPN 4k8 modem (connected to a SCC board, of course!).

Wow that was a long list…

A Note on Wajig:

Debian uses a system/program to install and update programs call ‘apt-get’ which isn’t completely user friendly. I would suggest that you install wajig instead. The simplest way to do so after you have created your Debian Linux box is to, believe it or not, use apt-get.

You want to use a terminal to do this, this is dis-similar to DOS command line. It can be found via your desktop menu (assuming you installed a desktop like GNOME of KDE) and you will be left with a little window and a command prompt. There are two default users on a Debian system, the root user (like admin in windows), and whatever username you choose when you created the box. You want to be root to do this.

In the command prompt type: “su”, and press enter. You will be prompted for your root password. No quotes BTW.

After your in type: “apt-get update”, and press enter. This will update your sources.list which is where you get all your programs from depending on where you claimed you were when you installed Debian.

Next type: “apt-get upgrade”, and press enter. This will update everything on your computer, not likely to do much if it is a fresh install.

And now for wajig. Type in: “apt-get install wajig”, this will … install wajig. heh.

Now concerning the list of programs above. Each link word above is in lower case lettering, that’s the important part. Some of these programs have dependencies, and options for configuration during install and you might not be all that familiar with those options or how they effect your system. Well, no more worries, just use wajig.

For example, let’s say you want to install gpredict on your system, but haven’t even installed the gnome desktop, or gdm (another program that is really cool).

Just type in: “wajig install gpredict”, and press enter. And Wham, you have everything you need, just reboot and login to your new graphical cool desktop that can track satellites. (OK, there is a lot of scrolling before the reboot).

That’s it for today folks, sorry for the really long post.

– Wolfe

Posts on Wolfe’s Blog are updated and re-posted when new information is available. Sometimes I break posts into multiple parts as they are expanded in areas such as Do-it-yourself, and How-To’s. Please check back often to see if posts have been updated or corrected. If you see an error or have an idea on how this post can be improved please leave comments below.

This post was last updated on Sunday 4 October, 2015.