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RBNHole

I have spent the week in Singapore on a work conference where WiFi was banned and sleep optional. I would have fixed it earlier but I crawled into bed at 6pm yesterday and haven’t surfaced since.

Singapore does have some very restrictive restrictions.

Glad you can communicate with us again :slight_smile:

73, Mark G0VOF

Singapore restrictions are bad enough, but these were definitely work enforced :smile:

RBNHole is back up and running. I will be pushing a few changes this weekend in a bid to increase reliability of the service long term (most of the problems now are on the hosting provider side, not in the software)

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I’ve moved RBNHole to a different hosting provider which will hopefully provide a more reliable service.

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Dr OM Andrew,
Many thanks for all your Good Work. I work with my Elecraft KX1 with 3 W output and RBNHole is a Big Help!
vy 73 de geert pa7zee

I have just pushed out a new version of RBNHole - one that should in theory be a lot more supportable, and has so far proven to not require me to reboot it every few days. In addition, I’ve implemented most of the functionality from RBNGate now:

  • The RBNGate 1 hour same-frequency-no-re-spot lockout is now in place, rather than the 10 minute lockout RBNHole originally used.
  • The “S+XX S-XX” syntax in comments will now work
  • Activators not wishing to participate can be excluded from being spotted
  • A particular activation can be excluded using the 'RBNN" or “NoRBNHole” syntax in your comment. (“NoRBNGate” also will work)
  • I’ve also done a bit of logic to spot the activator on the most common frequency that they are heard on, rather than just the first one that comes through from the RBN (to handle slightly offset skimmers). I also report the skimmer with the strongest SNR rather than just the first one.

There may well be teething issues as the weekend rolls around: there’s not a hell of a lot of traffic during the week to exercise the thing with real world data. I will try to fix them as soon as possible.

I encourage everyone wishing to use RBNHole to read Eric’s FAQ as this is still largely relevant: http://www.grizzlyguy.tv/RBNGate.htm

The only feature that Eric had implemented that I have not (as yet) is stopping an RBNGate spot if a self-spot is present.

Please note that we do NOT have a list of the activators that were excluded under Eric’s system: if you want to be excluded, you will need to let me know. If having to do this again annoys you, then I suggest a small dose of perspective :slight_smile:

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Bravo… The disc we got from Eric’s widow did not include the latest version, and the RBNGateway was missing. Looks like we are in business. A very big thank you.

Elliott, K6EL
Sota MT

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THANK YOU for your efforts!!!

Thanks indeed!

You may say so, Andrew, but this morning RBNHole spotted DL6FBK/P on 40m CW 4 times between 0911 and 0919 UTC. Also HA5AZC/P on 40m CW 3 times between 0941 and 0944 UTC.

I am sure many activators will find RBNHole useful and we are all grateful for your efforts. However, I should be obliged if you would exclude G3NYY/P and GW3NYY/P from being spotted. (I was indeed on Eric’s original exclusion list.)

Many thanks,
Walt (G3NYY)

Actually, the frequency was varying 1KHz between successive spots in the examples you cited.

Where can I down load what I need to run the new RBNHole?

That was most likely because the calibration of the spotting receivers varied by about 1 kHz.

BTW, also it posted the incorrect summit reference for HA5AZC/P at 1029 UTC.

Thanks for your efforts. They’ve been a great help for all but especially for those of us with limited self-spotting capability.

Andrew, a huge thanks for all your efforts.
Very grateful this service is in place.
73
Pete

This is because there were multiple alerts for HA5AZC, and at this point, the alert would have been closer to the latter summit.

I do say so, because I can see in the logs the lock-out being in place and being triggered. But, because the skimmers vary more widely than anticipated, I’ve pushed the bandwidth out to 2.5kHz (1.25kHz either side of the spotted frequency). Over time, I may build up a list of excluded skimmers, but I’d hate to not spot an activation because it was only heard on a skimmer that’s set up a little skewed.

You are now added to the list. I did test this functionality, but if it accidentally spots you, let me know and I’ll chase down any bugs there may be.

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Thanks! 73 Hal n6jzt

Andrew,

Many of us are really grateful for your hard work in restoring the RBN spots. I currently have no way to self-spot, and many of our wilderness summits in Colorado have little cell, VHF, and UHF coverage anyway. Getting spotted by the RBN makes our CW activations more fun and efficient.

Another big benefit is that when propagation is poor, a spot facilitates getting contacts in a much shorter time. When the RBN Hole has been down, I’ve sometimes called CQ for 10 minutes or more on 40 and 30M CW, and even though I’ve posted my intended frequencies in my alerts, no chasers found or spotted me. Each time this has happened, I later saw decent RBN spots that would have spotted me. The reverse has also been true - some of my sharper chasers often have found me on my Alert frequencies, spotted me, quickly, and made the day!

The effect of the automatic or self spots is especially important late in an activation, when we’ve contacted most of our eager chasers, but we’re still interested in making more contacts. This is what I call an extended activation. The RBN Hole makes changing to new bands - perhaps frequencies not mentioned in the Alert - a reasonable idea. Without the ability to get spotted on a new frequency, there’s little incentive to try to make a few contacts up on 15M or 17M, late in the activation, where no one is listening. Calling CQ into the void is not why we do SOTA activations. With a spot, it’s possible to get a surprise call from someone on another continent!

I especially want to thank you for sending the link to the original RBN Gateway Instructions!! I was not aware this information was accessible - I knew other activators were using the tools offered - but I didn’t know where to find these details. Perhaps at some point a link to these instructions can be provided from the page where we post Alerts. Perhaps it’s there and I never saw it…

I’ve saved this link where I can find it.

Your comments about which RBN spots to list and to ignore shows that your approach is very reasonable and balanced. You’re aware of the key things that we like and don’t like about these automatic spots - we know that some fine-tuning may be needed. I hope everyone will be patient as improvements are made.

Yes, some of the skimmers are not dead-on frequency. I’ve been spotted on frequencies I never was on! There are many small errors and occasional gross errors. As a chaser trying to find a weak CW activator deep in the noise on 40M, even an spot error of 100 Hz matters, with the receiver bandwidth narrowed down, and my brain processing near its limit.

You will be blamed for some of these spot errors, even though the individual receivers feeding the RBN are off-frequency or make glitches. Some of the comments today reflected that lack of understanding. Self-spots have errors too - especially errors in the summit reference - wrong letter, wrong digit, cold fingers, etc.

Others have said that not knowing whether the RBN Hole will be operational or not is much of our frustration, and I agree - yet we have to accept that this happens. Please continue supporting and improving this worthwhile tool, and know that we appreciate your work! Every time I’m doing a cold or windy activation, near the edge of my patience - or watching a thunderhead growing nearby - running out of time - I’m thinking what a huge difference getting spotted quickly makes.

73

George
KX0R

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Dr Om Andrew,
Yesterday I was activating in DM/NW. That is a drive of about 4 hours from near Amsterdam were I live. The planning was to activate 3 summits. Thanks to your RBNHole it was a very succesfull day. Many thanks for the Good Work Andrew!
73 de geert pa7zee

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Thank-you Andrew. It is very much appreciated.
73, Malcolm VE2DDZ