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predict & gsat

by dr last modified 2006-01-01 12:09 PM

How to get Predict and gsat up and running on OSX by Dana Rawding, N1OFZ.

Predict is an open-source, multi-user satellite tracking and orbital prediction program written under the Linux operating system by John A. Magliacane, KD2BD. You can download the source code here

This all started when I was trying to get gsat running on OSX. Gsat is a graphical client for Predict. I asked the great guys on the Mac Ham mailing list for some help. Unfortunately no one had sucessfully in getting it running. However, a number of people had been able to get Predict running. Sergei Ludanov KD6CJI was the first to get back to me with the following instructions:

Predict compiles fine under OS X. However I had to edit installer.c file to remove line:
#include <sys/soundcard.h>

then edit line: cc=system("cc -Wall -O3 -s -fomit-frame-pointer -lm -lncurses -pthread predict.c -o predict"); to look like: cc=system("cc -Wall -O3 -s -fomit-frame-pointer -lm -lncurses predict.c -o predict");

Then all you need to do is './configure'. If you use Fink I suggest that you do './configure /sw'. Predict will prompt you with a license agreement and if you accept it will build itself.

New: As you see above we initially got predict to compile by disabling the soundcard. Therefore predict works but does not announce passes. If you want to reenable sound we need to install MacVocalizer by Paul Williamson, KB5MU. Follow his instructions for replacing vocalizer. Then edit the file predict.h and change the line to say: char *predictpath={"/sw/predict/"}, soundcard=1, *version={"2.2.2"};. If you don't use Fink then change the path to your preference (usually /usr/local). Now when predict is running select track individual satellite "T". It is case sensitive so make sure the T is uppercase otherwise sound is not enabled. Enjoy predict with speech!

After I got Predict running I really dug into gsat. I was able to come up with the following modifications to the source:

configure is not able to find GTK. To fix this edit config.cache and look for the line starting with: ac_cv_path_GTK_CONFIG. Change this line to read: ac_cv_path_GTK_CONFIG=${ac_cv_path_GTK_CONFIG=/sw/bin/gtk-config}. Then run './configure --prefix=/sw'. Configure will then run without complaining.

Once configure finishes you will need to edit the file support.h located in the src directory. Look for libintl.h and change it to /sw/include/libintl.h. Then do 'make'.

When make is done you need to do 'ln -s /usr/bin/install /usr/bin/ginstall'. Then do 'make install' as root.

When you run gsat it will create two files in you home directory: .gsat.prefs and .gsat.db. If you click on the Sat DB button and don't see a list of satellites then you will have to copy /sw/lib/gsat/gsat.db to your home directory as .gsat.db.

The last problem to resolve is to get the plugins to build. The plugins allow for rotor and rig control. Currently they fail to compile. I'm looking at a workaround for this now.

That's it! I think you will find Predict and gsat to be a great combination of programs for your satellite tracking needs. When I get the opportunity I am going to try to build an installer to make this process easier. if you come up with a better way to do this or have any problems, please drop me an email.

Take a look at my ISS page to see how I use these programs for communicating with the satellites, Space Shuttle missions and the International Space Station.

Good Luck,