Interacting with Telnet DXClusters

SpotCollector Online Help Contents

SpotCollector provides a DXCluster window for each enabled DXCluster. Each DXCluster window's caption, which appears in the window's title bar and on its windows task bar icon, is specified by its Caption connection parameter. A DXCluster window is dominated by its receive pane, a rectangular area that displays information received from the DXCluster; the receive pane expands and contracts as you resize the DXCluster window. Clicking the Disable Autoscroll button stops the display of newly-received information so you can scroll backwards to peruse already-received data, and flashes the Autoscroll Disabled warning. Clicking the Autoscroll Disabled warning displays all information received while Autoscroll was disabled, resumes the real-time display of newly-received information, and displays the Disable Autoscroll button. Checking the Ann/Talk box in the window's upper-left corner will limit the information displayed to the cluster's announcement and talk messages; received DX spots will still update the Spot Database, and received WWV spots will still update the Main window's WWV panel and history recording.

If an incoming spot does not specify the spotting station's grid square and the spotting station matches the callsign specified in the Operator Callsign box on the Configuration window's General tab, then SpotCollector behaves as if the incoming spot included the spotting station grid square associated with the Latitude and Longitude specified in the Operator location panel on the Configuration window's General tab.

A transmit pane is located immediately below the receive pane; characters you type into the transmit pane are sent to the DXCluster when you strike the enter key; the button labeled X and located to the immediate right of the transmit pane will clear the transmit pane when clicked. You can enter standard DXCluster commands in the transmit pane, e.g. sh/dx; the DXCluster's response will appear in the receive pane. Sixteen macros, accessible via eight macro buttons and a bank selector, provide an alternative means of supplying information to be transmitted; macros can automatically transmit text strings, your callsign, the current UTC time or date, and the contents of files.

SpotCollector interprets and color codes information received from the DXCluster as directed by settings in the DXCluster sub-tab on the Configuration window's Display Fonts tab. Using these settings, unique colors can be assigned to DX spots, WWV reports, transmitted text, and error messages. You can also control the receive pane's background color, font name, and font size, as well as the transmit pane's background color and font name, size, and color.

If you are already connected to a particular DX Cluster from another instance of SpotCollector running on another PC, make your username for that DX Cluster unique from each instance by appending a hyphen and a single digit to your username, for example AA6YQ-2.

If SpotCollector is connected to a DXCluster, you can disconnect without closing the DXCluster window by clicking the Disconnect button in the window's lower-left corner. The Disconnect button will then be replaced by a Connect button, which when clicked will re-establish the connection as specified by the current connection parameters.

You can specify an initial cluster command for each DX Cluster to execute after logging in.

Telnet-accessible DXClusters that utilize DX Spider can be configured to disable the "prompt sequence" that enables SpotCollector to confirm that you've logged in, preventing the cluster's LED-like status indicator from advancing from yellow to green. To correct this, enter the following command:


Telnet-accessible DXClusters that are controlled by DX Spider software can be configured to append the spotting station's Maidenhead Gridsquare to each spot. DXKeeper can properly decode spots with appended gridsquares, and will record such gridsquares in the DXCC Database's OriginGrid field. To enable a cluster running DX Spider to append spotting station gridsquares, enter the following command:


Besides DX spots, Telnet-accessible DXClusters also report WWV spots that convey the solar flux, geomagnetic A index, and geomagnetic X index. SpotCollector collects and displays this information, and makes it available to PropView. Most DXClusters have WWV spots enabled by default, but it may be necessary to re-enable this service by issuing the following command to DXClusters that are controlled by DX Spider or CC Cluster management applications:


To enable WWV spots to DXClusters controlled by the AR-Cluster management application, issue the command

    set/wwv/output on

Some DXClusters are parts of a sub-network that permits only a single connection. For example, if DXClusters A and B are part of the same sub-network and you are connected to A, connecting to B will cause the connection with A to silently drop. If SpotCollector is configured to automatically reconnect dropped connections, then when SpotCollector reconnects with A, the connection with B will silently drop - ad infinitum.  Thus after configuring SpotCollector to connect to a new DXCluster, monitor the messages in its Source Window for a few minutes; if you see a spontaneous reconnection, the new DXCluster may be part of a sub-network to which you are already connected, in which case you should choose a different DXCluster.

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 requires your callsign to be present the DX Cluster's prompt, so when using an instance of the Remote Beacon Network Aggregator as a spot source, check the Check here if users on this port should be asked for their call when connecting box under the Local User Port on the Aggregator's Connections tab.