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Author Topic: Seeking better spot-filter-alert software  (Read 4603 times)
WX2S
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« on: June 30, 2013, 03:19:42 PM »

I've been using SpotCollector pretty much since I went QRV last year. It is missing one crucial feature: the ability to filter spots before alerting by email. Instead, it sends all needed spots, and there are simply too many of them at the moment to make it worthwhile to use for messages to a cellphone.

Instead, I'd like to personalize the filters for email. For instance, I'm looking for zone 29 spots from North America, and additionally filter out beacons. I can do this with SpotCollector SQL, just not for the email alerts. (AFAIKN.)

Any suggestions?

Thanks and 73, -WX2S




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W2IRT
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2013, 04:13:26 PM »

Use VE7CC's software for that. You can set up a large number of individual filters based on callsign or DXCC entity (though not on zone). You can specify whether to alert with just a sound in the shack or also with an e-mail. You need to have prety tight filter sources set up, though, in order for this to be effective. Select origin states that are close enough to share propagation characteristics, band opening/closing times, etc. And use Lee's or another CC-cluster type as a source (as opposed to Spider or AR). In your case, just set up callsign filters for VK6*, VK8* and RI1ANP, with each one alerting you by e-mail when the spot is received. Since that software is *only* monitoring relatively-local sources the spots should be somewhat accurate.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2013, 09:15:15 PM »

I've been using SpotCollector pretty much since I went QRV last year. It is missing one crucial feature: the ability to filter spots before alerting by email. Instead, it sends all needed spots, and there are simply too many of them at the moment to make it worthwhile to use for messages to a cellphone.

Instead, I'd like to personalize the filters for email. For instance, I'm looking for zone 29 spots from North America, and additionally filter out beacons. I can do this with SpotCollector SQL, just not for the email alerts. (AFAIKN.)

You can configure SpotCollector to ignore beacons by adding B to the "Special Callsign" list with no tags. Configure DXLab to include WAZ in your award objectives, and set the Origin filter to the North American east coast, mid-west, and west coast; you'll then be notified when an active DX station in a needed zone is QRV and spotted by a station in North America; logging a QSO with a needed zone will automatically update the definition of "needed".

     73,

         Dave, AA6YQ
« Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 09:18:08 PM by AA6YQ » Logged
VK3HJ
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 12:03:26 AM »

I've just started using CC User to filter spots before feeding to HRD.
It has lots of features I have yet to learn, but the first thing I did was filter out all spots to/from Italy, and time bands for 160-40 m.
Saves a lot of useless clutter in my cluster window. I also have DX Summit running on another PC, in case I something. HRD runs audible alerts for a watch list.
I haven't felt the need to set email or SMS functions. I'm either in the station and able to work DX or away from the station and not.
73,
Luke VK3HJ
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N7SMI
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 08:32:58 AM »

I've been pretty happy with the CC User software. The interface and usability leaves lots to be desired (but hey, what ham software doesn't?), but it's quite flexible once you get it figured out. I have alarms set up for some DX and the few remaining states I need on CW for Triple Play. It's the only software I could find that allowed state filters/alarms.

The biggest problem I have is that only about 1 out of every 10 e-mails actually gets sent. The others all fail without any explanation or reason. Anyone else have this problem?
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W3NCR
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 02:46:59 PM »

I've had luck with VE7CC, too. FWIW, I also recently tried Log4OM (http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?394057-New-release-of-Log4OM-free-logging-software), which allows you to filter by spotter continent (NA, in my case) and band segment. What I like about that program is that it has push notification for iDevices/Androids independent of e-mail/SMS. For whatever reason, e-mail coming into my phone/iPad is slow and the alerts were buggy via HRD (probably operator error). Anyway, setting it up as a push notification solved that and I find it easier to manage than an e-mail or SMS inbox. It requires installing Growl on the desktop and handshaking that with Log4OM and then installing an app (I use Prowl) on the device. Based on my own spots I find I consistently get them within 10 seconds. The Prowl app sends a visual notification even if the iPad/device is off and sounds an alarm. I haven't actually used the logging function of the program, just the cluster interface and alerts.

73,
W3NCR, John
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WX2S
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 09:03:30 AM »

Use VE7CC's software for that.
Better, but a bit of a PITA to set up multiple spot sources. Nonetheless, it does what I wanted.

With DXlab, it looks like I'd have to accept notifications from every unconfirmed spot in my award objectives, which is more than what I wanted at the moment -- to stalk zone 29.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 09:07:31 AM by WX2S » Logged

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W2IRT
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2013, 10:54:08 AM »

Use VE7CC's software for that.
Better, but a bit of a PITA to set up multiple spot sources. Nonetheless, it does what I wanted.

With DXlab, it looks like I'd have to accept notifications from every unconfirmed spot in my award objectives, which is more than what I wanted at the moment -- to stalk zone 29.

There really are two very different schools of thought in terms of alerting. Dave's method is great if you have great antennas and/or a lot of free time. Often a spot from one distant region might be enough to make the difference. For compromised stations, though, this will lead to a an awful lot of frustration over infinte "false alarms." Not false in that the DX isn't there, but that the DX is constantly inaudible to your vertical or wire, so you ignore the alarms after a while. That's me with Zone 24 on 80m, incidentally. Plenty of spots come through for BV and VY stations as the equinox approaches and late autumn sets in, but not a single one of them is ever audible to my 70' high dipole or 25' high K9AY loops. Ditto for the other needed zones.

For smaller stations, filtering out everything except locally-spotted stations (where 'local' is within about 500 miles) does work well. Yes, you can set the ODX value for <500 and in theory that should work fine, but one spot from an RBN to go along with the 200 spots made in southern Europe and JA clusters will trigger constantly, whereas that single local RBN will trigger once and that's it.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2013, 11:48:17 AM »

Use VE7CC's software for that.
Better, but a bit of a PITA to set up multiple spot sources. Nonetheless, it does what I wanted.

With DXlab, it looks like I'd have to accept notifications from every unconfirmed spot in my award objectives, which is more than what I wanted at the moment -- to stalk zone 29.

That's not correct. For example, you can configure SpotCollector so that with one click you will see only active zone 29 stations that have been spotted by stations within X miles of your QTH, where X is a number you specify.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2013, 11:51:54 AM »

Use VE7CC's software for that.
Better, but a bit of a PITA to set up multiple spot sources. Nonetheless, it does what I wanted.

With DXlab, it looks like I'd have to accept notifications from every unconfirmed spot in my award objectives, which is more than what I wanted at the moment -- to stalk zone 29.

There really are two very different schools of thought in terms of alerting. Dave's method is great if you have great antennas and/or a lot of free time. Often a spot from one distant region might be enough to make the difference. For compromised stations, though, this will lead to a an awful lot of frustration over infinte "false alarms." Not false in that the DX isn't there, but that the DX is constantly inaudible to your vertical or wire, so you ignore the alarms after a while. That's me with Zone 24 on 80m, incidentally. Plenty of spots come through for BV and VY stations as the equinox approaches and late autumn sets in, but not a single one of them is ever audible to my 70' high dipole or 25' high K9AY loops. Ditto for the other needed zones.

For smaller stations, filtering out everything except locally-spotted stations (where 'local' is within about 500 miles) does work well. Yes, you can set the ODX value for <500 and in theory that should work fine, but one spot from an RBN to go along with the 200 spots made in southern Europe and JA clusters will trigger constantly, whereas that single local RBN will trigger once and that's it.

What does "one spot from an RBN to go along with the 200 spots made in southern Europe and JA clusters will trigger constantly, whereas that single local RBN will trigger once and that's it" mean?

SpotCollector's "distance to closest spotting station" filter considers the distance to the station closest to your QTH that reports hearing the DX.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2013, 01:01:49 PM »


For smaller stations, filtering out everything except locally-spotted stations (where 'local' is within about 500 miles) does work well. Yes, you can set the ODX value for <500 and in theory that should work fine, but one spot from an RBN to go along with the 200 spots made in southern Europe and JA clusters will trigger constantly, whereas that single local RBN will trigger once and that's it.

What does "one spot from an RBN to go along with the 200 spots made in southern Europe and JA clusters will trigger constantly, whereas that single local RBN will trigger once and that's it" mean?

SpotCollector's "distance to closest spotting station" filter considers the distance to the station closest to your QTH that reports hearing the DX. [/quote]

Unless I'm mistaken, this is something I believe I asked you about a month or so back, though I forget the precise context. The explanation that I recall is that let's say I have a filter set up for Z29 (as Steve is looking for) using the expression ((CQ=29) and (ODX < 500)). A bunch of guys on the west coast are hearing a VK6 CQing on 20 CW. One particularly prolific skimmer receiver within 500 miles also hears the CQ from the VK6 as well; this will trigger Spot Collector, but then won't every further spot from the left-coast guys who hear him clearly not continually show up as an alert? It was heard--once--by a superstation within 500 miles, so wouldn't SC see that as a valid trigger, enabling further alerts? Am I forgetting something, because I seem to recall a filter not working as I'd expected using the ODX expression.

If I'm wrong, then there's another side to that equation. If in the above scenario that SC only triggers once on the <500 mile skimmer spot, and not repeatedly with every non-local spot thereafter, what happens if propagation shifts and suddenly locals are hearing and spotting the VK6? Would he still only get that initial first alert?

Put another way, is there a scenario within SC that will email him every time a Z29 spot shows up that was spotted by real stations (i.e. not skimmers/RBNs) within x miles? And maybe sound the voice alarm but not email if a Z29 shows up spotted from outside that circle?

The way I have things set up is I use S.C. to alert for whatever my needs are in general (using audio only) off 5 different clusters. So far I think I'm seeing most stuff I need, although I know there have been a few Marathon spots that I never saw. One of the five clusters is a local connection to VE7CC's filters, and I have them set up to send email and audibly alarm when needed prefixes or band/entities show up that have been spotted from certain neighbouring states. That combo of coarse and fine filtering seems to be OK, though the real test will occur when something shows up that I need in the fall.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2013, 01:02:27 PM »


For smaller stations, filtering out everything except locally-spotted stations (where 'local' is within about 500 miles) does work well. Yes, you can set the ODX value for <500 and in theory that should work fine, but one spot from an RBN to go along with the 200 spots made in southern Europe and JA clusters will trigger constantly, whereas that single local RBN will trigger once and that's it.

What does "one spot from an RBN to go along with the 200 spots made in southern Europe and JA clusters will trigger constantly, whereas that single local RBN will trigger once and that's it" mean?

SpotCollector's "distance to closest spotting station" filter considers the distance to the station closest to your QTH that reports hearing the DX.

Unless I'm mistaken, this is something I believe I asked you about a month or so back, though I forget the precise context. The explanation that I recall is that let's say I have a filter set up for Z29 (as Steve is looking for) using the expression ((CQ=29) and (ODX < 500)). A bunch of guys on the west coast are hearing a VK6 CQing on 20 CW. One particularly prolific skimmer receiver within 500 miles also hears the CQ from the VK6 as well; this will trigger Spot Collector, but then won't every further spot from the left-coast guys who hear him clearly not continually show up as an alert? It was heard--once--by a superstation within 500 miles, so wouldn't SC see that as a valid trigger, enabling further alerts? Am I forgetting something, because I seem to recall a filter not working as I'd expected using the ODX expression.

If I'm wrong, then there's another side to that equation. If in the above scenario that SC only triggers once on the <500 mile skimmer spot, and not repeatedly with every non-local spot thereafter, what happens if propagation shifts and suddenly locals are hearing and spotting the VK6? Would he still only get that initial first alert?

Put another way, is there a scenario within SC that will email him every time a Z29 spot shows up that was spotted by real stations (i.e. not skimmers/RBNs) within x miles? And maybe sound the voice alarm but not email if a Z29 shows up spotted from outside that circle?

The way I have things set up is I use S.C. to alert for whatever my needs are in general (using audio only) off 5 different clusters. So far I think I'm seeing most stuff I need, although I know there have been a few Marathon spots that I never saw. One of the five clusters is a local connection to VE7CC's filters, and I have them set up to send email and audibly alarm when needed prefixes or band/entities show up that have been spotted from certain neighbouring states. That combo of coarse and fine filtering seems to be OK, though the real test will occur when something shows up that I need in the fall.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2013, 03:32:52 PM »

Unless I'm mistaken, this is something I believe I asked you about a month or so back, though I forget the precise context. The explanation that I recall is that let's say I have a filter set up for Z29 (as Steve is looking for) using the expression ((CQ=29) and (ODX < 500)). A bunch of guys on the west coast are hearing a VK6 CQing on 20 CW. One particularly prolific skimmer receiver within 500 miles also hears the CQ from the VK6 as well; this will trigger Spot Collector, but then won't every further spot from the left-coast guys who hear him clearly not continually show up as an alert?

No. The entry for the VK6 will remain hidden until that station is spotted by someone within 500 miles of your QTH. At that point, the entry for the VK6 will be visible, SpotCollector will audibly announce the VK6 on 20m CW, and an email message will be sent. Subsequently spots of the VK6 near the same frequency in the same mode within the specified time window will not trigger additional audible or email alerts.

It was heard--once--by a superstation within 500 miles, so wouldn't SC see that as a valid trigger, enabling further alerts? Am I forgetting something, because I seem to recall a filter not working as I'd expected using the ODX expression.
You recall incorrectly.

If I'm wrong, then there's another side to that equation. If in the above scenario that SC only triggers once on the <500 mile skimmer spot, and not repeatedly with every non-local spot thereafter, what happens if propagation shifts and suddenly locals are hearing and spotting the VK6? Would he still only get that initial first alert?

SpotCollector will alert you the first time the VK6 is reported by a station within 500 miles of your QTH. At that point, it would be wise to right-click the now-visible entry for the VK6 and enable SpotCollector to display all spots of the VK6 received so far and as they arrive, annotated with each spotting station's location. This makes it easy to track changing propagation, as well as the DX station's operating pattern.

The way I have things set up is I use S.C. to alert for whatever my needs are in general (using audio only) off 5 different clusters. So far I think I'm seeing most stuff I need, although I know there have been a few Marathon spots that I never saw. One of the five clusters is a local connection to VE7CC's filters, and I have them set up to send email and audibly alarm when needed prefixes or band/entities show up that have been spotted from certain neighbouring states. That combo of coarse and fine filtering seems to be OK, though the real test will occur when something shows up that I need in the fall.

As you gain experience, you will discover that pre-filtering spots is generally a bad idea. You are discarding potentially useful data, and you must manually maintain the filter settings after you work needed DX. SpotCollector captures all the data, and enables you to view the subset that is currently relevant. The relevant subset often changes with conditions and activities (e.g. planning vs. listening vs. breaking a pileup).
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W2IRT
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2013, 04:33:47 PM »

It was heard--once--by a superstation within 500 miles, so wouldn't SC see that as a valid trigger, enabling further alerts? Am I forgetting something, because I seem to recall a filter not working as I'd expected using the ODX expression.
You recall incorrectly.

Hmmm...I think I may have confused ODX<x with Source region (NA-E). I will try to find the relevant email or forum exchange at some point.


The way I have things set up is I use S.C. to alert for whatever my needs are in general (using audio only) off 5 different clusters. So far I think I'm seeing most stuff I need, although I know there have been a few Marathon spots that I never saw. One of the five clusters is a local connection to VE7CC's filters, and I have them set up to send email and audibly alarm when needed prefixes or band/entities show up that have been spotted from certain neighbouring states. That combo of coarse and fine filtering seems to be OK, though the real test will occur when something shows up that I need in the fall.

As you gain experience, you will discover that pre-filtering spots is generally a bad idea. You are discarding potentially useful data, and you must manually maintain the filter settings after you work needed DX. SpotCollector captures all the data, and enables you to view the subset that is currently relevant. The relevant subset often changes with conditions and activities (e.g. planning vs. listening vs. breaking a pileup).

I find the system I'm using now is the best of both worlds. S.C. gave me aggregated cluster spots and early alerting; having one of those five filters pre-set to also email me on each local spot lets me know that I really need to get on the radio now, because there are guys all around me working/spotting something I absolutely need for more than just for a bandfill, mode or Marathon point, but rather a new DXCC counter or one of the last four 80m Zones or something I'm after on 160.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 04:37:55 PM by W2IRT » Logged

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WX2S
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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2013, 05:00:12 PM »

Use VE7CC's software for that.
Better, but a bit of a PITA to set up multiple spot sources. Nonetheless, it does what I wanted.

With DXlab, it looks like I'd have to accept notifications from every unconfirmed spot in my award objectives, which is more than what I wanted at the moment -- to stalk zone 29.

That's not correct. For example, you can configure SpotCollector so that with one click you will see only active zone 29 stations that have been spotted by stations within X miles of your QTH, where X is a number you specify.
Can I configure SpotCollector so that it will only call my cellphone under those conditions? That's what I was looking for.

If so, I haven't found the right incantation.
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