Interacting with PacketClusters

SpotCollector Online Help Contents

The PacketCluster window supports interaction with a local PacketCluster via a Terminal Node Controller (TNC) connected to a serial port.  The 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 PacketCluster window is dominated by its receive pane, a rectangular area that displays information received from the PacketCluster; the receive pane expands and contracts as you resize the PacketCluster 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.

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 behave 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 PacketCluster 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 PacketCluster commands in the transmit pane, e.g. sh/dx; the PacketCluster'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 PacketCluster as directed by settings in the PacketCluster 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 SpotCollector is connected to the PacketCluster, you can disconnect without closing the PacketCluster 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 optionally specify a post-connection command to be sent 5 seconds after connecting to the specified callsign; this could be used to connect to a second packet node to reach the PacketCluster. You can also optionally specify an initial cluster command to be executed after logging in to the PacketCluster.

PacketClusters 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:


PacketClusters that utilize DX Spider or CC Cluster 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: