Linux and ham radio go together very well. They share much of the same spirit of freedom, independence, and "do it yourself" attitude. Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a great deal of radio-related software available for Linux, much of it high quality, FreeSoftware, and free of charge. Some of this software is interesting even to non-hams - satellite tracking programs, for instance, or PC programs for listening to special modes, or for receiving WEFAX (weather faxes). Linux also offers a great deal of engineering-related software, such as circuit-design and diagramming programs.

Linux is beginning to get broader attention in the amateur radio community. See, for instance, "Digital Dimension", March 2004 QST, where Stan Horpeza WA1LOU writes, "In the days that followed the posting of my Linux Surfin' columns, I received more mail than about anything I've written in over a quarter of a century."

GNHLUG Involvement

It has been announced that the Hosstraders event itself has been discontinued.

GNHLUG usually had a booth at Hosstraders Hamfest, to spread the word about Linux and GNHLUG, and (when possible) to demonstrate radio-related Linux software. We used our ArtWork, banners, business cards, BrochureWare and current Linux distributions.

We were there for Spring 2006. See Hosstraders report.

We sampled the first year of NEAR-Fest, too. However, we reached the conclusion that the time for GNHLUG involvement in hamfest has passed. Linux was gone mainstream; handing out CDs and advocating Linux is no longer needed. This decision was reached mostly independently of the Hosstraders/NEAR-Fest transition.

See also: HosstradersAnnouncement, PastHosstradersPhotos

More Stuff

More information on radio-related software for Linux is available at many sites on the Web.

Software Directories

These sites are directories (listings) of radio-related software for Linux. If you are looking for a program to do a particular thing, try looking here.


A German ham, Hubert Fink (DG7MGY), has created a customized version of the Knoppix Linux system, called AFU-Knoppix. Knoppix (and AFU-Knoppx) are "Live CD" systems. You can boot (start) you computer, and run all the software, right off the CD, with no installation required. AFU-Knoppix includes many ham and GPS applications ready to run, complete with icons on the desktop. It has most of the standard Knoppix applications as well.

Harv's Hamshack Hack

Another Knoppix-plus-ham Live CD, created by Harv AI9NL. It appears to be tracking Knoppix releases more quickly then AFU-Knoppix. Harv is also an English-speaker, which makes his stuff easier to read for people who don't read German.


Debian-Ham is a floppy-based Linux ham radio software system. It was conceived as an alternative to to K1EA's well-known "CT" program for Microsoft Windows.

Debian Dxpedition Disk

This is a CD-based system designed for ham radio operations, especially DX Expeditions. It relies upon the use of a USB Memory Drive (commonly called "key drives" or "pen drives") to store data, config files, and the logging program TLF. It enables anyone to slip a CD into a laptop and boot into a Linux system with ham radio software loaded without touching the hard drive. TLF is a very full featured contest loging program, and worth using at the base station as well.

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Topic revision: r21 - 2023-12-13 - BenScott

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