Linux Pinguin

Linux and Amateur Radio

The Linux Kernel AX.25

My contribution to the Linux Kernel AX.25, the implementation of the amateur packet radio protocol, includes:

Which is, of course, just a minor part of the whole project. There are more then a dozen programmers maintaining the numerous kernel drivers, protocol implementations and programs. Even more people contribute regularly bug reports and fixes, ideas and additional code.

Don't believe the rumours about the kernel AX.25 being unstable. We had an uptime of more than 180 days (before the computer blew up due to a hardware failure again) at I used to experience at least one crash per week of WAMPES before.

Starting with Kernel AX.25

First you should read the AX25-HOWTO written by Terry Dawson. Then get the following:

After that you should configure and compile a new kernel. You can find the necessary instructions in the Documentation directory of the Linux kernel source. Install the new kernel, reboot, then compile and install the ax25-utils. For more comprehensive instructions read (not just glance over) the AX25-HOWTO Please note that the documentation included in the various packages is more up-to-date than the HOWTO. If you find conflicting information notify Terry please. Please also note that I am not your Kernel AX.25 configuration hotline. ;-)

If you have problems to configure your Kernel AX.25 you should ask a local ham familiar with it to help you. Additionally subscribe to the linux-hams mailing list, we will help you there if all else fails. To subscribe, send an e-mail to, leave the "Subject" line blank and enter "subscribe linux-hams" as the message text. You can get help from the list server by entering "help".

Z8530 Network Driver

This is a driver for Z8530 based cards such as the BayCom USCC, the PA0HZP OptoSCC card and others. Please use Klaus' dmascc driver if you own a Gracillis PacketTwin or Ottawa PI card.

To use the Z8530 driver you need to compile it as a module or include it into the kernel. You'll need some additional programs to initialize an configure the driver, available from:

In case you are running a 2.0.x Kernel (and only then) you'll need an older version of the z8530drv utilities:

The utilities for 2.4c will not work with driver 3.0 and vice versa. The driver version 3.0 is not available for the 2.0.x kernels.

There is an online manual for z8530drv-3.0 available. Most of it is valid for z8530drv-2.4c as well.


This is a driver for AX.25 connection over Ethernet. Since G8BPQ was the first one who implemented it (in BPQNODE) it is named after him. There is a program named bpqparms included in the ax25-utils and it even has a manual page (thanks to whoever wrote it).


The program is also included in the ax25-utils. It gets executed from ax25d or node and allows shell logins for users. Please read the man page for more information.


Ax25rtd learns digipeater paths, ARP entries and IP routes by listening to received AX.25 frames. This program is also a part of the ax25-utils and now maintained by Klaus Kudielka. Please read the manual page for this program before using it. It will confuse your routing otherwise.


Last modified: 2010-10-10 Copyright 1996-2010 by Jörg Reuter.

Tux, the Linux penguin, created by Larry Lewing.