SOTAMAT out of beta: V1.0 released for iOS and Android (Part 2)

Continuing the discussion from SOTAMAT out of beta: V1.0 released for iOS and Android (Part 1) - #101 by AB6D.

Previous discussions:

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the update, lots of new and interesting features!

I just installed the 1.2 Beta APK version on a Pixel with Android 14. To do so, I had to uninstall the 1.1 version first, since I got the error message, that its package conflicts with an existing one. Never seen this message before, also after updating APKs with the same package name, which is the usual way.
The configuration and data download worked flawlessly and after setting a SOTA test spot, it creates the expected FT8 sound.

I’m happy to test it on several Android devices, with focus on SOTA, but I’ll also conduct some tests with POTA and email messaging.
The sync to time source button on the Setup page is a welcome feature that I will test extensively. I’ll send you my results by email.

As you know, I’m a big fan of your off-grid spotting solution and recommend it to others, at least to give it a try, but before you’re in the boonies.

73 Stephan

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I won’t be testing the beta version, but this sync-to-time feature does sound like a great idea!

Cheers, Rob

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Just done a quick test and managed to post a spot. Very impressive! Less impressive was my ability to add a note to ask folk to ignore it so I posted another spot manually saying this. I will certainly give it a try on the next activation. It is a very useful tool. :slight_smile:

I’ve now worked out how to add comments and change my callsign - done in the SOTA Regions part of the website. But is it possible to change the frequency? The app is offering 14.062 but what if I want to use 14.064?

On the website in the HF preparation “Frequencies and Modes” area you’ll need to set up the frequencies you’d like to use. Then if you set the step size and number of steps it’ll give you a chance to have some frequency agility when spotting.

No point in spotting CW, best just to Alert and let the RBNHole pick up your instantaneous frequency, but for SSB having some steps is handy.

Here’s my table for instance:

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@HB9EAJ Ah, good point before I go to production: there might be a slight incompatibility between the database used in the current version and the upcoming new version. When I do development and testing I don’t normally test that scenario since my environment is either “pure” (not installed) or “new”. I’ll check it before release.
When I upgraded to a new development machine, I somehow lost my original digital signing key that I use to sign the APK’s. So I created a new one. I’m not sure if that confuses Android.

Thanks for testing!
-Brian

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@DM1CM Thank-you. I listen to feedback and heard that the old way was painful for Android users. For some reason I’ve found iPhones don’t drift much. I’ve gone on multi-day trips with no network and the time on my iPhone has been solid. I think they must have some auto-calibration software that watches the drift for each specific device and correct for it (based on temperature curves?? Who knows). Just a suspicion.
-Brian

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@M0WIV If you read the “Getting Started” page there is a section on “Testing 1-way HF commands before a trip”. In that section it talks about using the “Testing” mode so that you don’t need to tell people to ignore it. When you self-spot with “Testing” as the mode, it will automatically post the spot with a message saying “Testing, Ignore”. You can also pick a strange frequency that most chasers won’t subscribe to (6 meters?), but note that it must be a valid frequency that SOTA Watch will approve of as being “real” (otherwise it will reject the test spot).

Note that if you add comments to your “regions” or your “Frequency/Modes” those comments will NOT become part of your spot. Those comments are only shown to you in the mobile app. I like to add comments so I know what all the cryptic Region names mean relative to my home.

The video on the “Getting Started” page explains all this (but I know it is too long for most people).

And thank-you @KB9ENS for correctly explaining the need to create the frequency table to @M0WIV and showing a good example. The “Alert-CW” was made specifically for working with RBNhole.

73 de AB6D - Brian

Here is my Frequency table. Note that I use the “My Notes” for the “Alert-CW” to send a command to RBNhole telling it to have a 12-hour time window. Normally the “My Notes” field is only shown to you and not used in a spot, but “Alert-CW” is special and does send that info to RBNhole via the SOTAwatch Alerts database.

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Yes, this seems the problem (different signing key for the same package name).
Fortunately, when re-installing the app, there is not much more to configure than downloading the configuration and optionally the summit database.

Yes, this seems the case. All my Android devices are pretty bad in this respect and always need a time check and mostly a correction in the app before sending a spot.

73 Stephan

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I found the correct signing key, re-signed the AAB and APK files and re-uploaded them.
I also added the build 61 to the Google Play Store’s “Beta Testing” system. You can go to the Google Play Store’s SOTAmat page, scroll down and look for the section to Join the Beta test. You can join and then Google will take several minutes to add you. You can then use your normal method for updating the app (a new build 61 will appear).
I am seeing a bug when I go through the Google Play Store where the display of maps isn’t working. I haven’t seen that when I don’t go through their store. It looks like the Google Map Key isn’t being accepted. Sigh. Everything else seems to work.

For those who installed the Beta build 61 without using the Google Play Store, do you see maps?

73 de AB6D -Brian

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I presume that is under the “point me” function in spot SOTA?

I just get a gray screen with Google written on it and increasing or decreasing magnification or hitting the “locate here” symbol makes no difference.

73 Ed.

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Thanks Ed. Arghh. I hate bugs that only happen in the release builds. I had one on iOS that took me 2 months to figure out. It turns out it wasn’t even my code but a nuget package update. Now I’ve got a release-only bug on Android. Sigh. Time to read up on Google’s permissions key’s for mapping again…

Thanks for helping alert me to the issue.

73 de AB6D - Brian

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Hi Brian,

This missing/gray map issue is already on my findings list, but let me quickly explain what I just did, in case it helps others:

  1. On play store, I requested to become a Beta tester (in the meantime, I got accepted).
  2. I uninstalled the existing app that I installed manually using your build 61 APK file.
  3. In the play store, I re-installed your build 61 (no Beta version available yet). My previous settings were there and I didn’t get the package warning. So it seems to me that you used the same signing key that was used for the build 61 APK file. Correct?
  4. The map is still gray.

To me this map is a nice-to-have feature, useful mainly at home, since when you’re off-grid, you can’t see the map anyways, but (hopefully) have your off-line or paper maps with you. Further, to avoid this and other issues with Google maps, I would prefer to integrate OpenStreetMap, but again, that’s my personal opinion.

What I really like, is the information on top of the map that shows you the distance to the summit (as the crow flies) and the remaining vertical altitude, very handy and works off-grid!

I hope I can send you my findings this evening, but as of now, there aren’t many findings anymore :wink:.

73 Stephan

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Thank you @HB9EAJ and @dd5lp with the testing data. It appears the Google permission key (OAUTH) that I use is tied to my Development keystore and not the release build keystore. I just added the release build keystore to the Google developer site and it doesn’t seem to fix it. So definitely there was a bug, but with that fixed something else is now stuck. I’m looking into it.
As you point out Stephen the whole mapping thing doesn’t make sense when offline. What you aren’t seeing, due to the bug, is that in addition to the map there is a set of overlaid orientation vectors and pinpoints showing your starting position, the target peak location, and a real-time compass-like heading vector towards the target peak. It is the orientation vector that is more interesting than the map when offline, but due to the bug you aren’t seeing any of it. I may have to redesign how this works since there is a different issue on iOS where the overlay vectors don’t show when the map can’t load.

73 de AB6D - Brian

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New Beta Build-63 released on Apple Testflight and Goolge Play Store (you have to enter the beta program). Instructions on Getting Started – SOTAmāt and release notes on Changelog – SOTAmāt

Your help testing is welcomed! Note that there are a few known bugs in this release, each has a simple workaround and should not prevent testing or use. They are described on the Changelog page, along with work-arounds. Several bugs from the prior built-61 have been fixed.

Oh, and I just discovered that Android still refuses to show the map even with the new API key. Regardless you should now see orientation assistance (online and offline) even without the maps. iOS doesn’t have this issue.

73 de AB6D - Brian

Hi Brian,

Just a quick feedback that may be useful to others.

I updated the app on two smartphones (Android 11 and 14) to build 63, but on both devices, when I started the app, it crashed just after showing the initial screen.
There seems no way to send you the strack trace manually, but I assume you’ll see it in the play console.

73 Stephan

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Hi Brian,

Good news that the new beta is available on Google Play Store. I’ve just uninstalled and re-installed the app, and am waiting for the “Join beta” to do its’ thing in the app install area, but it seems to be taking rather longer than “a few minutes.”

EDIT - OK, I opened sotamat dot com in my Android browser, followed the instructions in the Getting Started page, installed the beta, and joined the beta testers OK. But, it crashes immediately upon opening, just as Stephan has noted.

Cheers, Rob

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@HB9EAJ @DM1CM Hmm. One step forward, one step backward. I normally fight with iOS and Android is usually the easy one. This time it is the opposite. I have a few ideas of what it might be. Thank-you so much for helping with this. It must be frustrating getting crashes and I appreciate my Beta testers! You are protecting everyone else.

It will take several days for me to get the next Beta build out.

73 Brian

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No problem at all, Brian, only too glad to help out. After all, I’ve used the Sotamat system successfully on several occasions from summits, so it’s only right I offer something in return.

Cheers, Rob

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