Setup Arch Linux for AX25 BBS and TCP/IP with Kissattach and Direwolf

Setup Arch Linux for AX25 BBS and TCP/IP with Kissattach and Direwolf

Welcome the next Part of our Packet Radio Saga. We have already configured IP/TCP over AX25 on debian with tnc attach here. Then we created our very own JNOS BBS instance, and configured it to run with direwolf here. This will not re explain the concepts we talked about before, but will serve as a guide on getting AX25 networking setup on arch linux. We will be able to connect back to our JNOS instance over RF after this.

Install the Tools

We will need to enable the AUR on arch, more information can be found here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Arch_User_Repository. We will run the following commands to enable access to the AUR to install packages easily. If you need pictures, you can see here.

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git
cd yay
makepkg -si

Now we will go ahead and isntall the AX25 Packages from the AUR onto our arch linux system

yay -Ss libax25
yay -Ss ax25-tools
yay -Ss ax25-apps

Now that they are installed, we move on to the configuration:

AX25 Configuration

Open /etc/ax25/axports as root with your favorite editor, and create the following line:
Off course, replace KN4MKB-7 with your own call sign, and modify the description at the end as needed. Comment out any existing interfaces so that this line is the only one active.

ax0     KN4MKB-7        19200   236     7       144.675 MHz (1200  bps)

Start Direwolf and kissattach

Again, we won’t talk about how to configure direwolf as it’s been done to death. If you need help, take a look at a previous blog in this series: https://themodernham.com/configuring-direwolf-for-hf-ip-over-ax25-using-tncattach/ Or find out online how to setup direwolf for your particular radio or interface.

Here are a few options I have that have worked optimally for my Boafeng and digirig:


Start direwolf with a serial console:

direwolf -t 0 -p

Not down the serial device that was given to you on that commands output, in my case “/dev/pts/4”

Start Kissattach:

Remember to use YOUR dev port found above, and YOUR interface name created under AX25 Configuration if you didn’t use mine.

sudo kissattach -l /dev/pts/4 ax0
#We have to run this as well for direwolf to understand the interface
sudo kissparms -c 1 -p ax0

Connect away!

You should now be able to connect to BBS, or other packet systems now by issuing a command like this:

call ax0 kn4mkb

Automating the Startup and shutdown (And Assign Static Serial Interfaces)

You can automate the startup and shutdown by installing screen, socat, and following the directions below. This method was seen on packet-radio.net

Modify your direwolf.conf file and add the following line:

SERIALKISS  /dev/ttyq3 19200

Next Install socat and screen:

sudo pacman -S socat
sudo pacman -S screen

Now you can download the following startup and shutdown scripts and run them instead:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/modernham/modernpacketradio/main/StartAX25.sh
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/modernham/modernpacketradio/main/StopAX25.sh
sudo chmod +x StartAX25.sh
sudo chmod +x StopAX25.sh

You may need to edit StartAX25.sh to point to your direwolf.conf file.

Not startup and shutdown of the AX25 interface is as easy as running StartAX25.sh and StopAX25.sh

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