I’ve updated both the SOTA cluster and my SMS spotter over the last week. The cluster has been running since earlier in the week, the new spotter went live earlier today. Both have changed to use SSO authorisation.
There should be no observable changes to the cluster, it gets its spots differently but the presentation and commands are the same. The bigger plus for me is the way spot fetching is handled better (by me) so the cluster should be (should be) less prone to locking up or hanging when it can’t get any spots updates.
The SMS spotter is quite changed. For a start lots of old code has been removed, this includes support for spotting Wainrights and Humps. WOTA is a little moribund at present but hopefully someone will breathe new life into what was an excellent award scheme for a pretty part of the UK. Spotting support for WOTA can always be re-implemented in the future. Lots of old and ugly code has been put out of its misery and there’s now significantly fewer lines of code doing more useful things.
A benefit of new access is that finally you can now delete a spot you placed using the SMS spotter. Spotting should be exactly the same as before and should work as described in the manual, click the FAQs link at the top of this page and the manual is in the list on the left. If you find you have spotted something incorrectly then you can delete that spot by sending exactly the same spot again but insert a ‘#’ character at the start.
i.e. if you spot the wrong summit with a spot like this
! GM SS-123 5.4035 SSB Calling CQ
then you can delete it by sending the following (ignore the fact it’s now in italics, that’s Discourse being clever)
#! GM SS-123 5.4035 SSB Calling CQ
The spot will be deleted. There are some gotchas though especially as I am still experimenting. Firstly you cannot delete a spot posted by the spotter using SOTAwatch, you can only delete a spot by sending another spot. Secondly, the spotter’s knowledge of spots is not persisted across restarts. This means it stores a small number of spots it posted in its memory and when the program is restarted, that memory is cleared. I have not decided how many spots to save in memory yet, but if you leave it too long to try to delete a spot, the spotter may no longer have it stored and wont be able to delete it. Not perfect but at present you can’t delete them at all.
I have done a number of tests over the last few hours and I’d love to declare it bug free. But there’ll be all sorts of nasties lurking. If you see something not working or strange, drop me an email or PM. If there’s anything really broken I can always switch back to the old spotter so the service remains usable. The note about who sent the spot that is inserted into the comments is now a different format. It leaves more characters for your comment yet still identifiers who spotted and which access point they used.