I’ve heard about doing this for a while, but I haven’t been able to make this work until recently. In today’s technological world, I found out it was possible to send an email to someone using JS8. More specifically, you can send a radio signal, from your JS8 computer controlled radio, over the airwaves, to another station, who takes that email and puts it on the web, through an automated system known as APRS.

APRS has been around for a long time, but what was surprising to me, was that I could send a JS8 encoded message which would be picked up by JS8 stations and then handed over to APRS. The reason that is really cool to me is because I can use JS8 to talk to people in Australia, from Alaska. I can consistently chat with folks that are up to 7000 miles away, and on a good day get a little farther, all with less than 100 watts from my FT-991 and a home made antenna.

That means a person could send APRS messages, such as grid updates for location, emails, and text messages (yes, sms text messages to cell phones), as well as standard JS8 information from just about anywhere on the planet, and it will get routed to the appropriate system and given to the recipient. That’s pretty cool.

However, try as I might, I couldn’t get the APRS email command to work properly. I successfully send grid coordinates, and other APRS messages, but I couldn’t get the email portion to work. Fortunately, a web search brought me to “Modernham’s” channel on Youtube, which led me to his program APRS-Call.


Unfortunately, as with most things that you compile or run from code, it doesn’t always work the first time around. The read me file said that you needed to install python, which I already had installed on my Ubuntu 22.04 system, so I gave it a run:

alaskalinuxuser@alaskalinuxuser-CF-52NKE102M:~/installed/APRS-Call-main$ python3 ./main.py
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "./main.py", line 7, in
import tkinter
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'tkinter

Fortunately, this error is quickly resolved by installing python3-tk:

sudo apt install python3-tk

And now the program works. I guess it is hard to determine what you will need on each distro, or even each version of each distro, so hopefully this information will help out the next Ubuntu 22.04 user. After installing python3-tk, simply running the $ python3 ./main.py worked well for me. After putting in my information, the program has an output text box where you can copy and paste the information into your JS8 program and hit send. It will look something like this:

APRSIS CMD :EMAIL-2 :test@email.com This is my test.{03}

I was able to send an email via JS8 from Alaska to Idaho, where it was put into the APRS system and routed back to my email box!

I can imagine use cases where one might go to a remote cabin or be at sea, and still be able to send short emails to family members to let them know you are okay. The messages do have to be short, but I’m not sure what the character limit is. I can think of lots of use cases, though: “I’m ok”, “Send help”, “Be home in 3 days”, and that sort of thing. Of course, they can’t respond directly to your email, but even one way communication is better than none.

Linux – keep it simple.

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