Installing VARA on Debian 12 Linux

Installing VARA on Debian 12 Linux

I started a project that required I run VARA on linux. I tried following some documentation from winlink, and the first 5 pages of google didn’t get me anywhere. The write ups were old, and there were just too many snags. I got it working, so I thought it best to document it here, and maybe help another poor lsot soul.


  • Debian 12
  • Soundcard and PTT Interface for your Radio.
  • Logged into a non-root user in the sudo group.
  • Good understanding of Linux command line navigation. (You know how to add a user to sudo etc…)

Installing VARA on Linux

Give our current user permissions to use what we need from VARA

sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USERNAME
sudo usermod -a -G tty $USERNAME
sudo usermod -a -G audio $USERNAME

Add the following line to the end of your /etc/apt/sources.list with your favorite editor such as nano

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian bullseye main contrib non-free

Then we add the i386 packages to be installed, as well as install wine, and winetricks.

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get update

Download and add the WineHQ repository key
(Please note that the wget commands may wrap to the next line below)

sudo mkdir -pm755 /etc/apt/keyrings
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/keyrings/winehq-archive.key https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key
sudo wget -NP /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/debian/dists/bookworm/winehq-bookworm.sources
sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

And now, finally installing wine:

sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable
sudo apt-get install winetricks exe-thumbnailer unzip zenity

The following must be ran on a terminal via the desktop (not SSH):

mkdir ~/.win32
WINARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX="$HOME/.wine32" winetricks winxp
WINARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX="$HOME/.wine32" winetricks sound=alsa
WINARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX="$HOME/.wine32" winetricks -q dotnet35sp1
WINARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX="$HOME/.wine32" winetricks -q vb6run

Finally, we can install VARA:

wget https://downloads.winlink.org/VARA%20Products/VARA%20HF%20v4.8.6%20setup.zip
unzip 'VARA HF v4.8.6 setup.zip'
WINARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX="$HOME/.wine32" wine 'VARA setup (Run as Administrator).exe'

About WINE and COM Ports

On later versions of wine, the COM port your radio is using may automatically bind to COM33 or COM44 within wine applications like VARA. Try those if the first several do not work.

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