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This is the Xastir APRS client repository.

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Please at least SKIM this document before asking questions. In fact, READ IT if you've never successfully set up Xastir before. PLEASE! READ IT! If you haven't read this file, and ask for help expect to be told to READ the README file first! or RTFM :)


  1. Important notice
  2. What is Xastir?
  3. How do I get Xastir & Git usage
  4. Quick startup
  5. Upgrading
  6. Identification notes
  7. OS-specific notes
  8. Gating weather alerts
  9. Boring legal stuff
  10. Mailing list
  11. Documentation
  12. Obtaining help


Please read this file carefully before trying to set up Xastir. This software was developed to be used by licensed amateur radio operators. You are responsible for any information transmitted or propagated on any network.


Xastir is an open-source project to create a free X11 graphical APRS(tm) client. APRS(tm) use amateur radio and Internet services to convey GPS mapping, weather, and positional data in a graphical application. It has been developed by and for amateur radio enthusiasts to provide real-time data in an easy to use package.

Xastir currently runs under several flavors of Linux and BSD Unix. A few people are running Xastir on Solaris Unix, FreeBSD, Lindows and Mac OS X, but there may be small changes necessary in order to get Xastir to configure/compile on some systems. There are a few notes below which may help in this task. Most of the developers use Linux which makes it the best supported platform at the moment.

Xastir is an open-source project: Most sources, documentation, and binaries are available under the GPL license, with a few modules available under other open-source or public domain licenses.

More information on Xastir can be found here:


including the latest releases, Git access (lets you download the latest developers' code), and information on how to join Xastir mailing lists. Note that you must be subscribed in order to post to the mailing lists.

SmartBeaconing(tm) was invented by Tony Arnerich (KD7TA) and Steve Bragg (KA9MVA) for the HamHUD project. They offer the algorithm to other authors as long as proper credit is given and the term SmartBeaconing(tm) is used. Thanks to Tony and Steve for that contribution!

-- The Xastir Group.


Xastir is currently developed at You can get the latest version of Xastir from there.

You might try for help and information, particularly the Xastir mailing list (listed near the bottom of the page).

  • Git USAGE

    Obtain the very latest version of Xastir under development by using Git.

    See the file README.GIT for more details.

  • Release version tarballs

    You can get the latest packaged release source code without git at Be warned that packaged source tarballs may be quite old and not representative of the current state of the project. We highly recommend not using this method unless you have a specific reason to stick to official releases.


See README.Getting-Started for a relatively quick overview of how to build and use Xastir.

Check the Xastir wiki ( for OS-specific guidance for building Xastir on your system.

WINDOWS USERS: Please refer to the "README.CYGWIN" file for specific instructions.

See the 'INSTALL' file in the Xastir source tree for detailed information about configure.


Upgrading Xastir that has been built from a recent Git clone is as simple as running "git pull" in the source tree and recompiling.


Packet radio modes, by their very nature, typically identify themselves with every transmission. Xastir has a few features targeted to people who used Xastir in demonstrations and other broadcasts where Xastir itself is used over radio.

Xastir can auto-ID via voice if Festival is compiled in and/or via a message splashed across the screen. It does this identification every 9.5 minutes if enabled. These identification modes were designed for broadcasting Xastir across fast-scan television (for events perhaps). Set the "ATVSCREENID" variable to 1 to enable the screen message, and "SPEAK_ID" variable to 1 to enable festival to speak the message. These variables are in the ~/.xastir/config/xastir.cnf file.


[The OS-specific notes that were here were horribly outdated and not maintained. That text has been removed. Please see the Xastir wiki at in the "Installation Notes" section for OS-specific build guidance.]


## Gating NWS Weather Alerts to RF:

If you wish to gate NWS weather alerts from the Internet onto RF, you'll need to create a text file in the users directory as ~/.xastir/data/nws-stations.txt List each NWS station that you would like to transmit via RF. Wildcards are implied for lengths of 3 or greater. Here's what an example file looks like:

   # Seattle, WA
   # Portland, OR (any alert type)
   # Pendleton, OR
   # Medford, OR

All text should start at the beginning of the line.

Once that file is in place, you'll need to hook up to at least one Internet server that is feeding you the weather alerts. You'll also need to have at least one RF interface up and running with transmit enabled on that interface. Make sure that "Interfaces->Disable Transmit: All" is not selected. You should now be gating NWS weather messages to RF.

Turn on igate logging and look at that log file to view what you're sending out via RF. Don't forget to turn off logging or set up auto-rollover of the log files, else your hard drive might fill up with logging info. Auto-rollover of log files is typically accomplished via CRON.

## Gating Stations, Objects/Items to RF:

The latest code also allows gating packets from specific stations to RF using the above method (except object/item packets). You can also gate objects/items to RF by name. The same wildcarding rules apply as listed above. Callsigns or object/item names listed in this file are case-insensitive, so they'll match any case in received packets.

Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, recommends gating these calls to RF:


See his link: "Generic Callsigns for National Events" off this web page for his current list of recommended callsigns:


Xastir is Copyright © by Frank Giannandrea. Xastir is distributed according to the GNU General Public License. There should be a copy of this license in the file COPYING. If not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

As of Xastir 0.4.0 all changes made by the Xastir development team to the Xastir source code and any related files are Copyright (C) 2000-2019 The Xastir Group. The source code will still be distributed according to the GNU General Public License as Frank Giannandrea did in the past.

There is no warranty, implied or whatever. You use this software at your own risk, no matter what purpose you put it to.

You didn't pay for it, so don't expect magic.


There are currently a couple of mailing lists about Xastir. [email protected] is the one relevant for most users.

The [email protected] mail-list is dedicated to Bug reports, technical questions, your thoughts or suggestions on new features being added to Xastir, things that should be removed or fixed, amazing problems that even stump the guru's, etc... are what we want to see here. You must be subscribed to the list in order to post messages.

To subscribe to the Xastir mailing list, send email to: [email protected] In the body of the message, put "subscribe xastir"; or go to and click on "XASTIR MAILING LISTS" (in the "Resources" section near the bottom) to subscribe.


Frank is no longer developing the Xastir code (although he does put a word in every now and then) so don't bother e-mailing him. If you have a serious problem, email the Xastir mailing list and it will get to the coders.

Please, before posting to this list, see what things are like, and when you do post, read over your post for readability, spelling, and grammar mistakes. Obviously, we're all human (or are we?) and we all make mistakes (heck, look at this document! ;).

Open discussion and debate is integral to change and progress. Don't flame others over mere form (grammar and spelling), or even substantive issues either for that matter. Please read and follow the mailing list rules.

A second mailing list, [email protected] is intended for developer's discussion.


    We're trying to get the documentation up to date. If you feel that anything is missing here, or that anything should be added etc, please email [email protected] about it, thank you.


    Please read the file FAQ, and make sure you've followed any relevant instructions in INSTALL. If the problem still exists, feel free to ask on the Xastir mailing-list, as described above.

APRS(tm) is a Trademark of Bob Bruninga

Copyright (C) 1999 Frank Giannandrea Copyright (C) 2000-2019 The Xastir Group

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