More APRSdroid on RPi 3 B…

Got the neat little case for the RPi “official” touchscreen and put that all together yesterday.  So I now have a nice little desktop APRS tracker.
Pretty nice, right?

Now I just need to figure out a way for APRSdroid to start at boot time instead of having to open an adb session and start it manually, and how to hook up a GPS to it, and the best way to hook it up to a radio so it’s not “crippled” by having to use APRS-IS.

The first may be fixable by writing a small “wrapper” program with the appropriate default activity to run at boot time.  The wrapper would then start APRSdroid.

The second may or may not already be fixed; I have a USB GPS puck hooked up, but since it won’t get a signal indoors, I’ll have to test that outside.

The third may be tricky, since either the Pi or the touchscreen is really sensitive to RF.  It may be something that can be solved by using a remote antenna, or I may have to find a better way to shield the assembly.

Optionally, I also need to add the open source maps that are supposed to work with this version of APRSdroid.

Anyway it’s been fun messing with this.  And yes, eventually I’ll take the protective wrap off the screen 🙂

LATER:  Added the open source map for Indiana.  Works fine.

That said, it’s a little frightening that you can get superuser in adb by simply typing “su”.  Boom, you’re root, no questions asked.  No wonder people are starting to look askance at the whole IoT thing.


  1. Wire Fox

    In regards to easy root access, most linux distributions have “set a new root password” as one of their first steps after the OS is actually installed. It’s pretty easy to make secure; however, I can echo the concerns people have because not many people actually take the time to secure their devices. What’s worse is if you buy a device that has some linux distro embedded in it, and the manufacturer never secured their own device before shipping…

  2. Nathan Brindle - KC9YTJ

    I work with Linux every day, so I’m aware of that. I have a CentOS 6 machine running for work purposes (which is about to be supplanted by a CentOS 7 machine), and I just got done installing Ubuntu on the two computers at the WD9BSA shack a couple of weeks ago. I started working with Linux in 1994-ish with a 0.something Slackware distro that my boss told me to install on a development machine (I was exclusively a DOS and Windows guy before that, with some OpenVMS and VM/CMS experience to boot). Just so you know I’m not some talentless hack working with an OS I don’t understand 🙂

    Of course this is not a Linux distro per se. But Google provided no explicit opportunity to secure the root login after the installation and first boot. Android Things doesn’t have a UI like Android on a phone does, so the only way to “talk” to it is via the adb application after you’ve loaded the API tools onto a computer and made a connection. When you log in via adb, you log in as some non-privileged user (I’m nowhere near the Pi right now so I can’t recall the username, but it was something like “console” or suchlike) that nevertheless has authority to install software. It’s when you need to access other functions (like copying the map file into the designated directory) that you need to be ‘root’. The fact that it is so simple to become ‘root’ and there is no up-front step to set a password for ‘root’ after you first install AT is what concerns me, and a lot of IoT skeptics as well.

    But I’m less concerned about IoT here than I am about the possibilities inherent in being able to run APRSdroid on a Raspberry Pi. The IoT comment was simply an off-the-cuff observation.

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