APRS - Using Overlays in XASTIR

Updated 21 May 2011, 0200 UTC

What are Overlays?

Overlay files allow you to show specific information about specific objects on your APRS map which are not transmitted over the air to other stations.

How to use overlay files in APRSIS32
How to use overlay files in UI-View32
How to use overlay files in WinAPRS

Using Overlays in XASTIR

Download Using Overlays in XASTIR in PDF format (2009)

XASTIR makes use of an object file that when a user creates objects are added to it and replacing the object.log file with a text file using the same format renamed to object.log would load objects on startup. It's not the most eloquent solution but it does work.  There had to be an easier way and reading through the XASTIR wiki mentioned loading in log files. Loading in the text files as log files worked partially but noting showed up on the screen.  In XASTIR-Hardy there was a test.log and looking at its format and some testing provided a solution to create overlay files. 

Testing was done using XASTIR-Hardy under VM Ware Player on a windows platform.

Download the overlay files (name.log) and copy these files into the logs directory/ folder in ./xastir/config. For those new to Linux, you may have to turn show hidden files on. This was required in the Xastir-Hardy image.

To see the hidden files, click on File System icon
XASTIR-Hardy main screen

The File System - File Manager window will open
File System - File Manager window

Click on View and ensure Show Hidden Files is checked
File System - File Manager - View drop down menu

Now you will see the hidden files and folders, ie .xastir folder
File System - File Manager - showing hidden folders

These examples are using the KOA overlay file koa.log.

Start up XASTIR

XASTIR - Lake Ontario - (using

Before we use an overlay file you will need to turn off the transmit objects and items in XASTIR. Otherwise, you will be sending all the objects in the overlay out over the air and through internet connections. This would not be good.

Click on Interface on the menu bar. Ensure the button is selected not to transmit - Disable Transmit: Objects/Items (pushed in)
Interface drop down menu

Click on File - Open Log File.
File drop down menu 

This will open up the Open Log File window and list all the logs in the logs directory.  Click on a log file to select it, in this example koa.log and then click on the Open button.

Open Log File window

The overlay objects will load and depending on the map zoom you will see or not see the objects, in this case KOA campgrounds.

XASTIR screen KOA campground objects USA-Canada

The lower status bar will tell you how many objects are visible of the total number of objects (including your station). Status bar not shown here. In this example you can see all the KOAs in US and Canada.

Zoom in or left-click and drag an area to zoom in on.
KOA Campground objects around Lake Ontario

Right-click on the icon beside the text and then select Station Info. If there are multiple icons in this location, a Station Chooser window opens. Choose the object and then the Station Info window will open. In testing, it worked using the object.log file on startup but the Station Chooser did not work when Open A Log File. You had to left-click and drag to zoom in to separate the icons more, right-click then select Station Info.

Station Info window

This will give you all the information about the object. You will see the icon (tent) and text for the icon (/;) and object name (KOA 298).
In the comment lines is the info giving the address in this case of the KOA campground.
Distance from my station will give you the distance and bearing from your station.
The Last position gives the Lat/Long and Maidenhead designator of the KOA

You can see a list of all the objects by clicking on the View menu and selecting either Objects & Items or Own Objects & Items. This opens the Objects & Items or Own Objects & Items window, which gives the icon, object name and comments. You can click in the comments and then right arrow to scroll through the rest of the comment line. The vertical scroll bar allows you to scroll through the complete object list.

Objects & Items window

To remove the overlay objects according to the wiki, Click on Station - Configure - Clear Objects/Items. In testing this did not work.  Selecting Station - Configure - Clear All Stations cleared the overlay away but also cleared away all APRS stations except your own.

APRS Overlay files
How to use overlay files in APRSIS32
How to use overlay files in UI-View32
How to use overlay files in WinAPRS

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