30005 and beast binary format should indeed work and in fact we favour this over 30003 data coming from clients, before you had tried port 30005 and 30003 format it seems.
Our .deb "just works" out of the box for a raspbian install so if you haven't got a /var/log you will have to create it or modify the init script to point to that location, on a vanilla OS this just works and so it sounds like you are doing something different and will have to modify paths yourself.
OK, just to be clear on what I think is going on here:
1) The 'default' (?) mode when I installed 'pfclient' (I think) was '30003 (Basestation)' mode, which (I guess) naturally means that I should be using port 30003 for my port number (and, which works just great). Any thoughts on why using 'Beast' mode (and port 30005) is preferred?
2) The issue is not that '/var/log' doesn't exist -- the issue is that the subdirectory '/var/log/pfclient' does not -- and the client assumes that it does (and fails to start when it does not). My suggestion would be to make it easy by just putting it into '/var/log', which I think every Linux system will naturally have existing. In any case, I was going to ask you what/where the script is to change this, but I figured out that it is '/etc/init.d/pfclient'. I am just surprised that no one else has run into this (at least on a Raspberry Pi) -- since during the next reboot the '/var/log/pfclient' subdirectory would be missing? Anyways, I think I am OK now!
I hope that my questions and answers will help future Raspian plane tracker folks running PlaneFinder