Looking for a good Raspberry PI 4 Image Optimized for SOTA

After being a bit disappointed with the MFJ-1234 and after watching an inspiring youtube video I decided to get the suggested W3JDS image and put it on a Pi 4 for a handy little FT-8 SOTA rig.

The only problem is that the image won’t unzip as the .BZ2 file appears to be corrupt.

So my question is, has anyone made available a PI 4 Image for a portable setup ideally suited to SOTA?

Having a SOTA optimized image out there making a PI 4 portable setup with GPS dongle ready to go in minutes and setup for control from a smartphone in the field would really be great and would appear to be not too hard for an experienced PI person to put out there…

Tom, N2YTF

I had no issues and am running the same image. Try this download link…


Are you sure that you are extracting it with a tool that handles .tar.bz2 correctly such as ‘tar’ in compatible linux distribution ?

The original download seems to be very slow (I gave up waiting) the alternative link from N1RBD works faster.

Unless I missed it the site and docs DO NOT say what size micro SD is required, but as the extracted file is 18GB is size it must be at least 32GB.

Well having manged to download the W3DJS image and write to a 32GB micor SD card (the image being 18GB). So far I have a few problems getting it to do anything useful.


I have been trying to use Winzip in windows to unzip it, and then the plan was to use Balena Etcher to put it on a 64gb card…but my progress stops when I try to unzip it with Winzip.

How did you unzip it? Did you unzip it in windows?


I see that there is a groups.io list with a long thread about rthe image


So far I can’t get it to connect properly to my router - using ethernet it gets and IP address, but doesn’t get any DNS configuration so can’t access any NTP servers or anything like that (I can do a few things that get me past that point, but after a reboot it just does the same again). I can’t connect via WiFi as it seems to be doing something with the WiFi interface itself and not allowing the normal tools for connecting to a router on WiFi work.

It is set not to connect to the router I believe. It is set to connect “ad hoc” to a smartphone in the field. If you want it on the net at home I believe you must connect an Ethernet cable.

One of the reasons I want the image is that the wifi is setup in that “ad hoc” mode that one would use in the field.

Why not just setup the Pi as a Wifi router? You simply connect your phone to the Pi then. It’s how I run my Pi plus its satellite modem. You can have security if you want but when I’m on top of a mountain that is remote enough to have no cellular coverage, there are few Wifi router hackers within range of my unsecured router!

It seems that WinZip which cost money was the problem. The free 7zip program uncompressed the file no problem.

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Hi Andy - That is my next step with the PI - Any hints or tips? - So far making my own image for A pI 3

Started with a clean download of Buster and then set it up as a headless so I can get to it from the PC or phone - on the wifi network. Added WSJT-X building and following instructions on Building and Running WSJT-X for Raspberry Pi and after some trial and error now have completed a couple of QSO’s using the Raspberry Pi with CAT fully working and the FT817 in the shack. Next stop is sorting the pi as a router - so that my phone will connect. Then a trail on the hill!

ps used 7-zip and balena etcher to get the image on the card - then win32 imager to make sure I had a backup on the PC!

ps 2 - any hints on time syncronisation in the field - without adding an external GPS?



It was relatively painless. I followed someone’s guide and then fixed the bits that had changed from when they wrote the guide.

sudo vi /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev


sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces

source-directory /etc/network/interfaces.d

auto lo
auto eth0
auto wlan0
auto uap0

iface eth0 inet dhcp
iface lo inet loopback

allow-hotplug wlan0

iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

iface uap0 inet static

sudo reboot

sudo apt-get install hostapd dnsmasq
sudo vi /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf


sudo vi /etc/default/hostapd


sudo vi /usr/local/bin/hostapdstart

iw dev wlan0 interface add uap0 type __ap
service dnsmasq restart
sysctl net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s ! -d -j MASQUERADE
ifup uap0
hostapd /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

chmod 775 /usr/local/bin/hostapdstart

sudo vi /etc/dnsmasq.conf


sudo service dnsmasq start

sudo vi /etc/rc.local

/bin/bash /usr/local/bin/hostapdstart


I turn my phone into a NMEA over bluetooth GPS. The Pi will connect at startup using some commands I added on rc.local that will configure the BT serial connection and then pull the time from the phone’s GPS data that is being sent to the Pi. Works great and one less piece of hardware.

As long as the phone is in range, NTP will keep the time in sync.

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Oh please I want details on this! What a nice solution.

This is the sort of thing that ought to be in a SOTA optimized image.


After a bit of fiddling I managed to the W3DJS iamge to work and built the latest V2.1.2 of WSJT-X and it is working fine with my IC-9700 or IC-7300.

I used an Android App called Bluetooth GPS Output on my phone. It has some pretty straightforward internal documentation for pairing with a Linux box, but I had to do a little bit of scripting because the channel number for the SPP (Serial Port Protocol) Slave service is not consistent.

I’ll see if I can get time this evening to post my scripts. In the meantime you can go ahead and download the app (or it’s IOS counterpart) and start playing with it.

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Not specifically for Just SOTA but a Raspberry Pi build for and including Ham Radio Apps is being discussed on qrz.com, here: Easy Raspberry Pi Build Version 2 | QRZ Forums

73 Ed.

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