[amsat-bb] Re: APRS and Tracking Software for Linux?

Art Goldman aegoldm at verizon.net
Mon Jan 14 20:30:24 PST 2008


I've written a satellite tracking program in Java, that will work on Linux.
The problem I ran into is that Java has terrible support for hardware like
serial ports and USB ports, which we have historically used to control
radios and rotators.

My program (I call it JSatTrack) was written to control the FT-847, IC-910
and TS-2000, and also several rotator protocols. Because I have the serial
drivers for windows, it controls those devices when run on windows. But not
on a MAC, and not on Linux, because serial port classes aren't there.

It will work without controlling any radios/rotators, but Java will complain
about the serial driver classes not being there, so I would have to remove
all the code that relies upon those driver classes.

It reads the KEPS from AMSAT or CELESTRAK, and will track any 'reasonable'
number of satellites simultaneously. It maintains a sorted list of upcoming
passes for the satellites being tracked, and shows their location on a world
map. The currently visible, highest priority satellite is shown with the
uplink and downlink frequencies adjusted for Doppler and for any

I was working on an easy way to sync the TX and RX in order to make QSOs
easy and still follow the "one true rule for Doppler tuning". That feature
may still need a bit of touchup, but it won't matter if you're not
controlling a radio.

What I've been doing is changing the program to talk over the internet
(local or long-distance) to a small microcontroller with an Ethernet port
(I'm using the Modtronics (www.modtronix.com) SBC65 board). That board has a
serial port, multiple common collector ports, and multiple A/D converter
ports - all that I need to control a radio and an az-el rotator. That work
has been started but there's a lot to do, so it will take some time.

If you want to play with what I have, I will have to make the serial port
mods before I can make it available. It also has a licensing scheme that
requires a license file (I was planning on either selling it or donating it
to AMSAT so they can profit from sales, but I can't do that until it is
complete.) But I'll create a license file for you so you can play to your
heart's content, and possibly give me feedback on the program. It needs at
least the Java 4.1 runtime, but I've been compiling it with 5.0. Not sure if
it will complain on 4.1 now or not.

Let me know if you're interested and I'll look into removing reliance on the
serial port classes.

Art N3OY

-----Original Message-----
From: amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org] On
Behalf Of John Heaton
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2008 9:39 AM
To: amsat bb
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: APRS and Tracking Software for Linux?

Hash: SHA1

On 12 Jan 2008, at 03:07, George Henry wrote:
> Look at http://packages.ubuntu.com  and click on the name of the  
> version you
> have (7.10 is hardy, not sure what 6.06 is) and then hamradio...   
> you will

6.06 LTS is Dapper Drake
7.04 is Feisty Fawn
7.10 is Gutsy Gibbon
8.04 LTS will be Hardy Heron (due out in April)

LTS is the Long Term Support version.

6.06 LTS and 7.04 are the most stable.  7.10 is a vast improvement  
but contains several buggettes

For some that I've found: http://www.phers.co.uk/content/view/79/1/

8.04 LTS is available as Alpha 3 now, but DON'T USE IT AS YOUR MAIN  


Version: GnuPG v1.4.3 (Darwin)

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