SpotCollector Online Help Contents
SpotCollector can capture spots from
a local PacketCluster, by way of a Terminal Node Controller (TNC) attached to one of your PC's serial ports
up to four telnet-accessible DXClusters.
Spots are merged and stored in a Spot Database on your PC, enabling you to monitor, sort, and filter them in real time. If you are using DXKeeper to log QSOs and track progress against DXing awards, SpotCollector will automatically "color" each spotted station to indicate whether its DXCC entity is unworked or unconfirmed on the spotted band and mode, and whether that band or mode matches your specified DXCC and TopList award objectives. If the currently-open log provides realtime award tracking for the ARRL VUCC, ARRL WAS, CQ DX Marathon, CQ WPX, CQ WAZ, or RSGB IOTA award families, SpotCollector will also automatically "color" each spotted station to indicate whether a confirmed QSO would advance your progress towards one of these awards, based on the objectives specified on the Awards tab of DXKeeper's Configuration window.
SpotCollector includes a built-in web server, allowing you to monitor incoming spots from any PC connected to your LAN.
Collecting spots from multiple sources is useful because any one source provides only a subset of all spots, and because individual sources can occasionally become unavailable or inaccessible. By retaining spots, one can observe propagation patterns over time, or discover a needed DX station's operating habits. To make this retained data accessible, SpotCollector stores it in a database, and provides powerful filtering and sorting mechanisms. SpotCollector can be configured, for example, to continuously display
only 6M CW spots posted by stations located in South America
only spots of DX stations located in Temotu
only SSB spots of P5/4L4FN
only spots of stations whose callsign suffix is YQ
only spots of stations operating within 5 kHz of 14195 kHz
only spots of stations needed for the 15m DXCC award
only spots of stations not located in North America
If you are monitoring more than one spot source, some spots may be reported by multiple sources. SpotCollector detects and eliminates such duplicate spots. SpotCollector goes one step further and combines spots of the same DX station into a single Spot Database entry if the spot frequencies and spot times are close, where close is defined by settings you can adjust. For example, a spot of P51DX on 14195.6 kHz at 0220Z and a spot of P51DX on 14194.6 kHz at 0300Z would be combined into a single Spot Database entry for P51DX if the Combination Criteria setting for time exceeds 40 minutes and the similar setting for frequency exceeds 1kHz. Each Spot Database entry records both the first and last time the DX station was spotted close to a particular frequency. In the above P51DX example, the entry for P51DX would show a first time of 0220Z and a last time of 0300Z. The frequency shown in the Spot Database entry will be the most recently reported frequency; in this case, 14194.6 kHz. Similarly, spotting notes, spotting station callsign, and the source DXCluster shown in a Spot Database entry are taken from the most recent spot of that station close to the frequency.
You can configure SpotCollector to audibly announce spots that meet your criteria.
To use SpotCollector effectively, you must specify a set of spot sources, and then learn to use the Spot Database.
The Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) is a network of stations listening to the bands and reporting what CW, RTTY, FT4, and FT8 stations they hear, when, and how well. The spots generated by this network are accessible via many DXClusters. See SpotCollector can utilize the RBN as a spot source.
SpotCollector's Main window provides a Spot source status panel containing six LED-like indicators to show the status of your spot sources, where red means "disconnected", yellow means "connecting", and green means "connected". Clicking one of these indicators activates its associated source's window; double-clicking the panel's caption displays the Config window's Spot Sources tab, from which you can specify and select spot sources.
SpotCollector's continuously adds information to its spot database; left to grow without bound, this will eventually reduce your PC's performance. You can manually prune the spot database, or configure SpotCollector to automatically prune it to a specified time interval on your behalf. If you are seeking understand a needed station's activity pattern, you can prevent pruning from removing Spot Database Entries for that station.
SpotCollector provides a window for each spot source that displays all incoming DX spots, WWV spots, announcements, and messages. If desired, you can configure one of these windows to only display incoming announcements and messages.
SpotCollector expects to run continuously; via the Power Options section of the Windows Control Panel, configure Windows to never put your computer in hibernation, sleep, or standby mode. In order to maintain connections with DXClusters via the internet, configure the Network section of the Windows Control Panel to never power down the wired or wireless adapter by which your computer is connected to the internet.