I’ve had an Xastir APRS client running on my shack’s computer for years. There’s no GPS, so it shows fixed location. There’s no radio either, information flows both ways via APRS-IS server.
My IC-R5 receiver was sitting idle, so I started to wonder how to turn it and Xastir into a minimum hardware iGate. In Greater Helsinki area there’s no need to improve APRS coverage, but when has the real need been the driver in this hobby?
The minimum setup for an iGate requires:
- iGate capable APRS software (there are many options, but since I already had xastir up and running …)
- PC to run the software (ham shack PC is Acer Revo running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS)
- internet connection to an APRS-IS server (choose APRS Tier 2 server near you, most of them require a passcode based on your call sign)
- radio capable of receiving APRS packets (my trusty IC-R5, any 2m FM receiver will do)
- TNC (terminal node controller) to decode APRS packets (soundmodem acts as a minimum/nil hardware TNC)
- interface between radio and PC sound card (audio cable with 3.5mm stereo plug on each end)
The only tricky part is the soundmodem configuration. Instructions found on the net didn’t work with Ubuntu 12.04. In the next post I’ll show how I configured mine.