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Reviews Categories | Ham Software - Other than logging | AGWTracker Help


Reviews Summary for AGWTracker
AGWTracker Reviews: 3 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $$49
Description: New APRS Tracking Software from SV2AGW - developer of the widely used AGW Packet Engine Software
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.elcom.gr/sv2agw/tracker.htm
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KI4MCW Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2006 23:45 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding tool for fixed station use on Windows  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I see that no one has reviewed AGWTracker recently, so I thought I would post a few words about the latest version - 2006.609.

Like many others, I have grown tired of WinAPRS's poor graphics, confusing array of configuration screens, and general bugginess (though I still find WinAPRS plus TigerMaps to be difficult to beat for cheap, portable, dynamic street-level mapping and plotting). UIView32 is vastly superior to WinAPRS, but does not do dynamic street-level mapping... and since its author is now an SK, it is unlikely that UIView will ever offer such features. I have been enjoying XASTIR on Mac lately; I've had poor luck with CygWin installations in the past, though, so XASTIR is not an option for my Windows laptop.

Over the past few days I've been playing with AGWTracker, and have been very pleased. The graphics are crisp and clean, with position icons and labels that are easy to read. The tabbed windows are logically laid out and simple to use. Most software settings can be modified from one of two configuration-tree screens, greatly simplifying the work of configuring this feature-rich application.

All of the classic APRS client features are here, including interfaces to TNCs and/or soundcards (through hooks into the same author's popular AGW Packet Engine software), integration with GPS receivers and weather stations, DX cluster decoding, messages, objects, and completely configurable station parameters. A version of Smart Beaconing is here, which provides the ability to transmit your location more frequently when you are turning corners, and less frequently when driving in a straight line (this is in the GPS section, if you're looking). The software also supports multiple languages, though for now the list of languages is short and quirky.

Where AGWTracker really shines, though, is when used with a fast Internet connection. This software has the best online mapping functionality of any APRS software I have ever heard of. Click File... Open... Open Virtual Earth (or Google Maps), and you'll instantly be presented with a map of the world. Click Actions... Connect to APRS Server, and within a couple more clicks AGWTracker will populate your map with every station it hears on the global APRS Internet backbone. In less than a minute, you'll have stations all over the world plotted on your map. Now grab your mouse and drill down to your country, state, city, and even your street. Stations will be plotted all around you, usually with excellent accuracy. Want to get different perspective? Switch from "map" mode to "satellite" mode to get a straight-down aerial or satellite photograph of the area, with stations plotted on top; pick "hybrid" mode to see street names overlaying the photo. Right-click a station and select "Details" to get the scoop on a particular transmitter - if you do this with a weather station, you'll get a graphical display of the latest data.

So, is this a perfect piece of software? No, of course not. There are some minor glitches in the dynamic mapping functions (especially if you scroll around a lot), and the graphical weather display may not be your cup of tea (I prefer XASTIR's plain text and simple graphs, personally).

But if you're looking for an APRS client to use at home, and you're on a Windows PC, do yourself a favor and take a look at AGWTracker - it easily beats WinAPRS at most functions, and the tight integration with online mapping places it light years beyond UIView's static maps. As previous posters have mentioned, this software is rapidly maturing, improving all the time, and is likely to become the client of choice for a lot of hams.

73 and good luck,
KI4MCW
Robert Marshall
 
N0AN Rating: 4/5 Feb 8, 2006 13:23 Send this review to a friend
It's going to become very, very good.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In addition to WB8NUT's review I would only add that it is important to consider that this program is VERY early in its developmental cycle. Its current feature set is quite impressive, but it is only going to get better. Like all early software, it has bugs. I'm running it on two different machines 24/7 and it is quite stable. It is currently able to use two internet mapping sites for street level maps. It also supports static maps (UI-View style) and MapPoint.

It appears to me that this piece of software has an excellent chance of becoming the UI-View of the future. Is it ready for "prime time"? No. I still use UI-View32 for my 24/7 Igate at N0AN.

It is, however, great fun being in on the developmental side of the software. I find myself spending most of my time working to evaluate it, and just plain enjoying it, while UI-View32 is doing the "heavy lifting" in the basement.

Keep an eye on this piece of software if you are an APRS person. It's already very good and it is going to get much, much better.
 
WB8NUT Rating: 5/5 Nov 19, 2005 07:42 Send this review to a friend
Finally, APRS tracking software that can replace UI-View  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been looking for a reasonably priced replacement for UI-View ever since Roger, G4IDE, the developer of UI-View passed away. His request before he died was that the UI-View source code be destroyed. Such a waste that no one could continue his work. The software was priced right then, and is now free, but a donation to the cancer society is requested to use UI-View. That's all well and good, but it's just a matter of time before UI-View will become incompatible with new APRS standards or stops working with new versions of the OS or newer operating systems. As they say in the software world, we UI-View users have been orphaned.

So I began evaluating other APRS software products. Many other APRS applications are too expensive or use expensive mapping systems to make them complete. All can use static maps. Some APRS applications are complex to set up.

When I came across AGWTracker, I had to give it a try. AGWPE or packet engine was already running on my system to use with UISS for digipeating via the space station. I do not use AGWPE with a sound card interface, I use it to interface to my Kantronics KPC3+ TNC and it works very well.

It is very easy to set-up and looks completely up-to-date with Windows application conventions. It allow for multiple maps to be displayed at one time, and it allows you to overlay one map on another! It can use existing UI-View Maps without any conversion. They work right off the bat! Need to be a digi on the APRS network? Just download the free AGWUIDigi module and it will work with the AGWTracker! Using any of these software products requires you to use the AGWPE packet engine which is also free.

It conversations with other hams, they all like AGWTracker, but want a dynamic mapping capability since as of November 19, 2005, AGWTracker only uses static maps just like UI-View did when it first came out. All I can say is try it out now, because you'll probably have that capability in about a month!

Since AGWPE is the interface to the TNC, I am able to quickly shut down AGWTracker when ISS passes are coming over my area, start UISS and digi through the space station. As soon as the pass is over, I close UISS and restart AGWTracker and I'm back on the regular APRS network again.

Uses tabs for things like maps, messages, station list, monitor, DXCluster make it real easy to get to differing data. You can even tile the maps if you like so that multple maps are displayed at one time.

So it time to consider moving from UI-View to AGWTracker. Give it a try, you won't be sorry and you'll probably stick with it going forward.
 


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