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This page provides instructions for a base install of Compass Linux.

Compass Linux is an update to Raspbian Linux with support for NW Digital Radio products such as the UDRC Raspberry Pi (audio and GPIO) hat and the UDRX™ radio.

The Compass Linux packages include a variety of amateur radio applications including, but not limited to:

  • dstarrepeater (with UDRC™ and UDRX™ enhancements)
  • ambeserver for the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™
  • ircddbgateway
  • dummyrepeater
  • direwolf packet modem
  • Xastir APRS GUI
  • fldigi (soon)



Supported Raspberry Pi Processors

Compass Linux may run on older ARMv6 processors, but is not recommended or supported for Raspberry Pi devices using this processor family.  ARMv6 devices include:

  1. Model A
  2. Model B
  3. Model A+
  4. Model B+
  5. Raspberry Pi Zero

Compass Linux is built and tested for Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 generation systems, which are recommended.

Raspberry Pi Model Hardware Comparison

Create the Boot Image

  1. Obtain a high quality microSD card.  A Class-10 card of 8GB or more is recommended.
  2. Download a Compass Linux image from
  3. The full version has graphic configuration tools for those new to setting up dstarrepeater and ircddbgateway and is recommended for the new user. The raspi-config tool will allow switching between GUI and non-GUI bootup. The 'lite' version is without a GUI and will require hand editing of configuration files and management through the use of the command line. 
  4. Unzip and copy the uncompressed image to the SD card using the procedure outlined on the Raspberry Pi site.

Boot for the First Time


  1. Place the microSD card in the Raspberry Pi.
  2. Attach a monitor and keyboard/mouse to the Raspberry Pi
  3. Attach Ethernet via the RJ-45 jack to your network.
  4. Allow the Raspberry Pi to boot up
  5. Login  (User: pi, Password: raspberry) and update the password.  It is very dangerous to keep the default password. Open a terminal and issue the command:
  6. You may wish to edit the /etc/hosts file and add a reference to the hostname, for example if you keep the default 'compass' hostname, add a line    compass
  7. To gracefully shutdown the Raspberry Pi, you may use the command sudo halt, or reboot with sudo reboot
  8. Upon reboot, the image will automatically increase the filesystem to fully occupy the SD card.
  9. Edit the file /boot/config.txt with sudo nano or sudo vi and comment out dtparam=audio=on and add force_turbo=1, save and sudo reboot

Update All Installed Software

Open a terminal and issue the following commands:

Current libasound2 has issues, so issue

sudo apt-get remove bluez pi-bluetooth
sudo apt-mark hold libasound2 libasound2-data


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade # OPTIONAL sudo reboot

Your Compass Linux installation is complete.

Install Applications

You may now install applications, for example

sudo apt-get install direwolf xastir ircddbgateway

Miscellaneous Configuration

Perform any Linux configuration specific to your installation, e.g. assign specific network addresses, install favorite tools, etc. (This is beyond the scope of NW Digital Radio support, please use Linux support resources for assistance.) Do not overclock if using the GPIO system for UDRC or PiDV.

We recommend doing the minimum customization necessary until you have your applications up and running.

Enable SSH

The newest versions of Compass / Jesse default with the SSH daemon disabled.  If you want to login remotely you should enable ssh.

This can be done when creating your boot image, by mounting the /boot partition and creating an empty file named ssh - when Compass boots ssh will be running. From operating systems that support bonjour/avahi/zeroconf you should be able to ssh in using ssh pi@compass.local from a terminal window.

MS Windows users can get bonjour by installing the latest iTunes from Apple.

Alternately, you can boot your Raspberry Pi and incorporate ssh by typing the following from the command line

sudo systemctl enable ssh
sudo systemctl start ssh

This will enable automatic startup of the ssh service on reboot and start it immediately. 

Enable VNC

On the Raspberry Pi

sudo raspi-config

Select option 5 Interfacing Options, then select P3 VNC, and enable Yes, save and exit.

Install the RealVNC Viewer client on your personal computer to access the VNC server on the Pi.



Note: DO NOT RUN raspi-update - it may break your install

NW Digital Radio is in the process of setting up various community groups at Please create a personal account at Join the main NW Digital group by sending an email from your registered email account to and then send an email to Please use the group for questions and to share your experiences, so that all Compass Linux users can benefit from the replies.