FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does XSquawkBox cost?
XSquawkBox does not cost any money; you do not have to pay for XSquawkBox to use it. The network for which it is intended (VATSIM) also does not require payment.

XSquawkBox does come with legal restrictions, however; please read the EULA carefully before downloading it. In particular, you may not redistribute XSquawkBox; other users who want XSquawkBox must download it from this site.

What Version of X-Plane can I use XSquawkBox with?
XSquawkBox currently works with all versions of X-Plane 10.  It has been lightly tested with the X-Plane 11 beta and generally works on single-headed systems.  Older versions support X-Plane 8 and 9 and probably earlier, but no support is offered for these versions.  Make sure to update to the very latest (stable) version of X-Plane!

Does XSquawkBox work on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macintoshes?
As X-Plane no longer works with PowerPC based Macintoshes, the latest releases of XSquawkBox no longer work with them either.

What networks does XSquawkBox work with?
XSquawkBox works with the VATSIM network. While it was initially used for IVAO, that organization has developed their own client and XSquawkBox is no longer used.

Do I need broadband to use XSquawkBox
No. You can use XSquawkBox on a modem, as long as it doesn’t disconnect frequently. Broadband is highly recommended.

How do I use voice-over-IP with XSquawkBox
For VATSIM, configure your microphone and speakers using the Audio Setup dialog box. Voice features will work automatically as you tune your Com1 radio to controllers that are using voice.

What ports do I have to open in my firewall to use VATSIM voice?
In some cases, in order to reliably use voice on VATSIM, you need to open port 3290 for UDP traffic in your Firewall, and forward this port if you have a NAT router. However, in many cases with a modern router, no changes are necessary. We recommend you just try connecting to voice first and see if it works reliably for you. If it does, no changes are necessary.

If you do end up doing port-forwarding, to check if you are correctly forwarded, check the web page of a voice server while flying. If your port is listed as 3290 you are correctly forwarded. If your port is some high number in the ten-thousands range, your port is not forwarded correctly. If your port is not forwarded correctly then you may experience voice disruptions based on your firewall’s firmware.

To see your port in a voice server room, use the URL:

http://server.ip.address:18009/?opts=-R-D

Can I use XSquawkBox’s voice-over-IP capabilities with networks other than VATSIM?
No.

Can I extend XSquawkBox or make add-ons for it?
Yes. XSquawkBox supports interplugin communication. By writing your own X-Plane plugin you can communicate with XSB. If you are a programmer, please email me to receive the XSB communication APIs.

My friends and I don’t want to fly on VATSIM, can we just fly by ourselves?
Yes and No. XSquawkBox is only designed for use with VATSIM at this time, as such, XSquawkBox cannot be used in this way.

That said, if you only want to fly with your friends, you can use X-Plane’s integrated multiplayer support for that without the need for XSquawkBox.

Why don’t I see the right airplanes out the window.
XSquawkBox can only load 8-10 models into memory at once. It will pick the closest model it can find for any given plane, but with only 10 models there may not be a good model to pick from. XSquawkBox only makes a basic attempt to match liveries based upon the airline and livery codes as broadcast by other pilot’s clients – it can’t use the livery name to perform any matching.

If a user on Microsoft Flight Simulator or Prepar3d has misconfigured their aircraft type, or it’s an aircraft for which you do not have a CSL model available, you will see them with the default aircraft you have configured in XSquawkBox , regardless of what plane they are actually flying. The XSquawkBox manual (which comes with the plugin download) features some trouble-shooting tips that can help resolve most of these issues.

Some aircraft appear to float above the ground.
This is a combination of a limitation of the network protocol, and differing terrain elevation data between X-Plane and FSX/P3D.  The network protocol limitations arise from the fact that the protocol does not clearly define where the altitude is measured from for any given aircraft (is it from the wheels?  from the CG?).  The terrain elevation data differences arise from the relative age of the simulator data – X-Plane uses fairly recent, very high quality terrain elevation data, whereas the FSX data is quite old and low resolution.  As a consequence, you will most likely see aircraft from other flight sims appear to hover or be buried in the ground. We will continue to improve this as technology and time allow.

VATSIM weather is not up-to-date/not conducive to flying? Can I use another weather source?
Yes.  If you set the weather update interval in XSquawkBox’s settings to 0 first, XSquawkBox will stop trying to control the simulator’s weather.  From there, you can use the real-weather support, or a third party weather plugin.

I want to get a copy of the XSquawkBox code and I’d be a great help. Can I have it?
Maybe. Some portions of the code are open source. Some of the code is proprietary to VATSIM and requires an NDA to view. To be able to actually build XSB requires an NDA. If you have serious interest, email Wade Williams at wade@dogwatchsw.com and we’ll talk. Note that XSquawkBox is written in C++.

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