A Pre-Built Raspberry Pi Image for using an RTL-SDR as an APRS RX iGate

Keith Maton (G6NHU) wrote in and wanted to share his new ready to go APRS RX iGate image for the Raspberry Pi. APRS stands for “Amateur Packet Reporting System”, and is a type of packet radio communications system used by Amateur Radio operators. They often use them to transmit short mail messages, weather sensor updates, track vehicles and for various other purposes. An iGate allows APRS messages to be transmitted over the all world via the internet via a signal chain such as: RF->iGate RX->Internet->iGate TX->RF.  To run an iGate you should be a radio amateur with a callsign. A global aggregation of APRS broadcasts received by iGates can be seen at aprs.fi.

An RTL-SDR can be used to receive APRS packets easily and many amateur radio enthusiasts have been setting up APRS RX only iGates using the “direwolf” decoding software. Keith’s image simplifies the process of installing and configuring software significantly by proving a plug and play image that you just burn to an SDcard and plug into your Raspberry Pi. His post also explains how to configure the iGate correctly.

iGate Raspberry Pi Image Running
iGate Raspberry Pi Image Running

8 comments

  1. Brian

    I am not having much luck, I am able to burn the image and then get through the initial setup, but when I run the test I get this.

    [email protected]:~ $ rtl_fm -f 144.39M – | direwolf -c sdr.conf -r 24000 -D 1 –
    Dire Wolf version 1.4

    Reading config file sdr.conf
    Audio input device for receive: stdin (channel 0)
    Audio out device for transmit: null (channel 0)
    Channel 0: 1200 baud, AFSK 1200 & 2200 Hz, E+, 24000 sample rate.
    Note: PTT not configured for channel 0. (Ignore this if using VOX.)
    No supported devices found.
    Ready to accept AGW client application 0 on port 8000 …
    Use -p command line option to enable KISS pseudo terminal.
    Ready to accept KISS client application on port 8001 …

    End of file on stdin. Exiting.
    [email protected]:~ $

  2. Steven

    After some Raspberry PI WFi issues. Everything is running fine! Anyone able to build this with inputting GPS location? I want to use this for weather balloon tracking on a mobile. TRhank you for everyone that worked on the build!!

  3. Grover K7TP

    It seems to be working finally, but the operative word is “seems”. I see a lot of traffic going by on the pi screen but how can I tell if the traffic is being gated?
    K7TP

    • Grover K7TP

      Further info: I am successfully connecting to the noam network and my igate is showing up on aprs.fi. I see a ton of traffic flying by on the terminal but apr.fi says I have received practically nothing on rf! Is that accurate?
      If it is then I have a bit more work to do on the receiver end of things. FWIW the receiver is connected to the antenna that I use for 2m packet and it works fine in that regard.
      Help greatly appreciated.
      K7TP

  4. Rearden

    Thank you for this post. I added an igate to my adsb pi and it is up and running. That makes 3 active RTL dongles on that pi 3. The trouble is that there seems to be very little APRS traffic.

  5. Stormy Dayton

    I’m looking to build a combo Raspberry Pi and a SDR play to monitor my local W6DRA repeaters via the net, when I’m out of town. Has anyone already invented this wheel ??

    Stormy Dayton
    KF6BM

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