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Setting up Xastir for DRAWS™ #draws #direwolf #compass #xastir


Jack Spitznagel
 

All DRAWS owners,

 

Setting up xastir for the DRAWS board was not a slam dunk! This message is longish but my discoveries and explanations here may help if you are relatively Raspbian naieve. If you hate reading and want to risk it,  just “fly the doghouse”, skip to the short “how to” section at the bottom. Warning – this was my solution, you may or may not find it works for you.

 

Below you will find a clip that may or may not help someone new to DRAWS getting xastir configured. I was able to bring the Compass install up and change it as in John’s instructions so the DRAWS board features are in the device list with the GPS and PPS0 outputs available. Also quickly got DireWolf working in receive with a venerable FT-817 (original model, not ND). I am playing with transmit next… but I had trouble getting xastir installed, configured, and working. I thought a “sudo apt-get install” approach would be a cakewalk… but it wasn’t. Here is the outcome as reported in a thread in the Compass subgroup:

Nota Bene: Please Please Please remember that NW Digital is not the author of the application software that you want to install on Compass for your new DRAWS/RPi system. You will need to 1) go to the specific application website/wiki to understand and perform an install 2) ask the authors/contributors on their email support groups if 1) does not help you.

I must give some explanation for what came before success finally happened: xastir was not installing properly with the usual tools – in addition, the online info about xastir on Raspbian was most unhelpful. I had to flash a new copy of Compass after doing what the when the online instructions said to do: that is to use the “startx” command to bring up the X environment, period. It did not say “if you are in the CLI”. I was already in the GUI. Running startx in a terminal window bombed the OS and left it stuck asking for my log in repeatedly, even after a reboot. My password would not work.  I sent the issue to the NW Digital Compass group where after some discussion, John reminded me that the Compass/Stretch GUI is an X environment. My “X problem” was really just a PEBCAK situation.

------ snip from the Compass subgroup thread “Compass image 2018-11-18 X issue on #raspberrypi”  -----

- Learning some obvious points and walking the following steps has now got xastir “mostly working”:

  1. When using the GUI, “startx” already is done for you. Thanks John! I had not remembered that the GUI is X.<headsmack> I built a new Compass install and got the Dire Wolf baying again.
  2. After attempting xastir installs using both the graphical “Add/Remove software” app and the command line “sudo apt-get install xastir” – I could not find any proper trace of xastir files where they should be and nothing was added to the menu. I conclude those installations were botched by something in the package install tool or associated scripts even though I received no apparent error.
  3. I then “removed” xastir using the Add/Remove app and reinstalled using Synaptic Package Manager (this needs to be installed). This time I had files and menu entries… BUT (always a but…)

The menu entries point to a xastir.desktop file in /home/pi/.local/share/applications that throws an “Invalid desktop entry file:” error.

Looking at the original xastir.desktop file pointed to by the graphical menu entry:

[Desktop Entry]

Name=Xastir

Comment=X Amateur Station Tracking and Information Reporting

Exec=xastir

Terminal=false

Type=Application

Categories=Network;HamRadio

Keywords=APRS;AX.25;HamRadio

StartupNotify=false

Path=/usr/bin

 

I did not see anything obvious, but after comparing with the direwolf.desktop file that does work, I created a backup and began to tweak things until the file and an executable worked. First, I copied the xastir executable to a non-protected Exec path, then changed its execution permission to “all”.  It was set to “owner only” in /usr/bin. I also took out any mention of a Path in the .desktop file.

[Desktop Entry]

Type=Application

Exec=/usr/bin/xastir

Name=Xastir

Comment=X Amateur Station Tracking and Information Reporting

Terminal=false

Categories=Network;HamRadio

Keywords=APRS;AX.25;HamRadio

StartupNotify=false

Path=

 

With that mod, the xastir started working in receive with direwolf. So, I went back to the /usr/bin/xastir file and used “sudo chmod a+x xastir” to set execute permissions to “all”. Why this was not the case after installation, I don’t know.

 

I still have to set the DRAWS board up to transmit using the keyline in the miniDIN cable.

 

For the sake of those who have no Linux skills at all, I hope the software in the forthcoming DRAWS Compass image will be less challenging to set up.

 

Here is a “short” version for those who are too impatient to understand what is going on:

  1. Install Compass and configure DRAWS drivers as John has instructed in his emails and support pages at NW Digital. See https://nw-digital-radio.groups.io/g/udrc/message/2023.
  2. Install and use the Synaptic Package Manager to install Dire Wolf and xastir the email reference above is a good start.
  3. Configure and get Dire Wolf working as instructed by John’s help emails in this group
  4. Open and use Geany or nano to change /home/pi/.local/share/applications/xastir.desktop file in to read:

[Desktop Entry]

Type=Application

Exec=/usr/bin/xastir

Name=Xastir

Comment=X Amateur Station Tracking and Information Reporting

Terminal=false

Categories=Network;HamRadio

Keywords=APRS;AX.25;HamRadio

StartupNotify=false

Path=

  1. If clicking on the xastir icon in the Internet or HamRadio GUI menus does not work, open a terminal window and do a sudo chmod a+x /usr/bin/xastir so that xastir may be executed by any user.

That should do it.

 

KD4IZ

Jack Spitznagel

FM19oo

 

 


--
J Spitznagel
Science River LLC
KD4IZ