In reply to G3VQO:
To give everyone an idea of what this looks like, here is a screen capture of my logbook display which shows one of the many ways people can use the data that Andyâ€™s SOTA cluster is generating.
The two small circles towards the middle left of this picture (light blue and red) show that I am connected to two separate â€œDX Clustersâ€. The blue circle is my normal DX cluster connection and it outputs DX spots in the window below (areas that I have boxed off in light blue is the output I see from this particular DX clusterâ€¦in this particular example is it populated with CW skimmer spots). The red circle is Andys SOTA cluster. Its output also shows up in the window below, intermixed with all of the other DX spots. Because I want to see both DX spots and SOTA spots in the same window and because I want to call attention to the SOTA specific information, I have customized the Andyâ€™s SOTA cluster spots to appear as a reddish color to stand out from the other data. With a quick glance I can now tell SOTA traffic from regular DX traffic.
As I am sitting at my operating desk and I glance over to my log screen, I can see that Tom, M1EYP is on the air and making a SOTA activation of G/CD-004 (circled in red). I can also see several other activators out and about too (OK2BTK/P, S57MS/P). I click on Tom, M1EYPâ€™s entry in the DX spots window and instantly, several things happen. First, Tomâ€™s information populates other parts of my log screen. Using automatic callsign lookup in Logger32, Toms address pops up in the ADIF lookup box and I can see Toms mailing address should I need to send him a paper QSL. Since Tom is a LOTW user (the small orange box to the far left of his callsign in the DX spot window tells me this), I donâ€™t have to worry about a paper QSL. If I can make contact with Tom on his activation, once I upload my log information to LOTW (and he does the same), we get automatic confirmation of the QSOâ€¦which is very hand should we need each others contact for DXCC purposes. A couple of other things happened when I clicked on Tom call. My radio (Elecraft KX3) is hooked up to the same computer running the logging program. When I clicked on Toms call, the KX3 switched band, frequency and mode over to where Tom is transmitting. Within a second, I am now listening for Tom and if conditions are good enough, Iâ€™ll be hearing his SSB transmission.
Tom is on 12 meters but unfortunately the band is not open just yet to Arizona from England, so no contact is made. I now click on OK2BTK/P (Petr) and the KX3 jumps instantly to 20 meters where I might have a better chance of hearing him. I can hear stations working Petr but I cant hear him so unfortunately, no contact is made there either. I could try S57MS/P on 40 meters, but the chances of me hearing Marko with my antenna system means its not likely, but I listen anyway. I click on Markoâ€™s call and Iâ€™m now instantly on 40 meters listening to huge S9 static crashes from distant lightning storms. Doesnâ€™t look like Iâ€™ll be able to work Marko today.
All three of these attempts have happened in a time frame of less than 20-30 seconds and Iâ€™ve not had to touch my radio or logbook. Had I been successful with any of these attempts, logging would have taken seconds.
Everyone should understand that none of this amazing work has changed any of the existing SOTA tools, websites or any of the SOTA policies that we already have. None of this impacts the existing DX cluster network so no problems are created there either. What Andy has done is to create a basic way for those of us with advanced logging programs a new way to track SOTA spots and make rig control and logging SOTA contacts much easier.
I know some reading this post are rolling their eyes at why anyone would want this but remember, its entirely your choice if you want to use this kind of functionality. Nobody will force you to use it and you donâ€™t have to use it to successfully participate in SOTA. Its just another tool to have should you want it.