|Echolink on Linux - SvxLink and Qtel|
|Articles - Technical|
|Written by Bryce Salmi|
|Tuesday, 17 November 2009 03:49|
Radio amateurs who run Linux often find that Echolink is missing from the repositories a source for software on many distributions. There are a few pieces of sofware that try to fill in this gap but only one seems to be keeping up. Qtel which means "Qt EchoLink" is a Graphical User Interface or GUI program for the Svxlink echolink program written by Tobias Blomberg SM0SVX. Documentation and software are available from the SourceForge SvxLink website. I highly recommend using the documentation found on SourceForge in addition to this article.
What is SvxLink?
SvxLink is a command line amateur radio application that has many features beyond just Echolink capabilities:
SvxLink can be setup as an Echolink node, client, simplex link, repeater link, etc. The only downfall for most people is that a GUI Echolink program is much easier to use. Tobias therefore wrote a module for SvxLink called Qtel. Short and sweet, Qt or "cute" is a cross platform GUI developed by Trolltech and now owned by Nokia. KDE desktop environment for Linux is based on Qt, many Nokia phones have Qt on them too.
Building SvxLink and Qtel
If you run Fedora you are in luck because the SvxLink SourceForge website hosts several prebuilt SvxLink binaries. However, I will walk you through step-by-step to build and install SvxLink and Qtel so that you can connect to Echolink stations with GNU Linux. I am using Debian Linux 5.0.3 "Lenny" which means that the instructions here should work for any Debian based Linux distribution such as the popular Ubuntu distribution. Read through the instructions first, it may be intimidating to compile source code but it's only several commands to do!
In order to build and run the echolink for linux program you need to get the dependencies for the program. Enter the following command as root, you may need to add "sudo" to the beginning of each command:
apt-get install g++ make libsigc++-1.2-dev libgsm1-dev libpopt-dev tcl8.4-dev libgcrypt-dev libspeex-dev alsa-utils libqt3-mt-dev
Download The Source Code
Get the source code and save it to a convenient folder (directory). Navigate with terminal to the directory containing the tar file:
Check the SvxLink SourceForge website to confirm this is the latest release of SvxLink and Qtel.
Configure and Build SvxLink with Qtel
Provided that all the dependencies are met, the next two commands will compile SvxLink and Qtel source code resulting in two executable files:
Qtel should be installed to the Applications menu under "Internet" and also the "Ham Radio" section if you have the Ham Radio Menu application installed for Debian. You can also start Qtel by entering
One of the trickiest parts about Linux and Echolink are the audio settings. First of all no other program can be using audio devices at the same time as Qtel and SvxLink. If so, there will be an error message about this. Next you need to make sure the audio settings are correct.
Use alsamixer or another program such as alsamixergui to adjust the input and output volumes while connected to the echolink test server. This is often a trial and error step, it took me about 30 minutes to get correct. Your results may vary.
Qtel is pretty simple to use. It's a basic graphical user interface made fot simple Echolink capabilities. A bookmarks function exists which is handy. There are improvements that can be made but we will have to wait and see what happens in future releases.
Enjoy using Echolink with GNU Linux without having to deal with WINE to run the Windows version of Echolink. If you need any help installing the software or have suggestions don't hesitate to comment on the article. Members of www.CollegeARC.com can also start discussions in the forums if needed. I hope that if your goal was to have an Echolink program installed then you were successful.
Bryce Salmi KB1LQC
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 December 2009 03:59|