[Skimmertalk] ViewProp: propagation analysis using Skimmer data
kiessig at gmail.com
Wed Feb 20 00:36:21 EST 2013
I haven't used dxmaps.com much, but here are some of the differences (in
addition to the obvious UI stuff):
1. ViewProp ("VP" for short) is designed to show propagation from
*your* QTH, not a world-wide view of all Skimmer and spot activity (although
it can do that, too). Spots are displayed on the map, Path Grid and charts
only if one end of the spot is near you. The idea is to show which bands and
which parts of the world you're likely to be able to hear.
2. The charts in VP show activity by band and azimuth vs. UTC, again
for spots where one end or the other is near you. That lets you see things
like local grayline peaks.
3. Lines on the map are optional. I actually left them out of early
versions of the software, because I think they can be confusing. They also
age out after a while, so the map doesn't get cluttered.
4. You can hover the mouse over a spot on the map and see a
tooltip-like box with details about the spot.
5. VP operates in true real-time, not pseudo web-page-refresh
"real-time." New spots normally appear in the grid and on the map within a
fraction of a second of when they're posted.
6. Slices are a unique feature in VP that allows you to visualize
propagation. Slices are 2-D arc-shaped regions, drawn at the distant end of
spots and shaded based on SNR.
7. If you have an XML qrz.com subscription, mapping accuracy is
improved considerably, to the point where you can see patterns like how many
hams operate near the coast in certain countries.
8. While VP is running, you can change to different map projections in
DxAtlas other than just rectangular as on the dxmaps.com page. For example,
azimuthal or the 3-D globe view. You can also zoom and pan.
9. VP is designed to be used (and useful) during high-traffic peaks,
such as in large contests.
10. You can continue to use DxAtlas in all the other ways you normally
would while VP is running: to see CQ & ITU grids, day/night/grayline, Ham
Cap / VOACAP overlays, and so on.
11. The Path Grid shows more data than the dxmaps.com "List," including CQ
& ITU zones, lat/lon, azimuth, distance and the operator's name (when
qrz.com integration is enabled).
12. The Path Grid is sortable by one or more columns, and the order and
size of the columns can be customized. For example, sorting by Band and then
Azimuth can help you see which beam headings on each band are most likely to
13. VP can run entirely locally; if you have a local Skimmer, VP doesn't
require an Internet connection (XML info from qrz.com is cached and can be
used even when the Internet is offline).
14. VP also includes the ability to display antenna fields of view (fans),
which is useful for optimizing beam headings based on current spots.
There's more, but that should give you an idea.
I'm happy to continue this here, but for a more in-depth discussion, I would
like to encourage you to join the new VP reflector at
73, Rick ZL2HAM
From: rawilson at gmail.com [mailto:rawilson at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Bob
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:38 PM
To: Rick Kiessig; SkimmerTalk Reflector
Subject: Re: [Skimmertalk] ViewProp: propagation analysis using Skimmer data
How does this compare with what used to be called "DX Sherlock," an
automatic web page that plots RBN and DX Cluster spots in real time on a
On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 5:55 PM, Rick Kiessig <kiessig at gmail.com
<mailto:kiessig at gmail.com> > wrote:
I've been working on some software over the last few months for visualizing
*your* HF propagation using spots from CW Skimmer and cluster servers,
including the RBN. To help me find any remaining issues, I'm looking for a
few beta testers.
The software is called ViewProp. Basically, the way it works is this: You
enter your call and lat/lon and the connection details for up to three
Skimmers or clusters. ViewProp then determines which spots are coming *to
or from* the area near you, plots them in real-time on a map provided by
DXAtlas, and puts them in a sortable table. It also creates real-time charts
that show which bands are open *for you* and how active they are. Would you
like to know when each band is at its peak? Or when certain beam headings
are most active? ViewProp can tell you.
In addition to ViewProp, you will need DXAtlas (you can download a
full-featured 30-day trial, if you don't already have it). If you have a
qrz.com <http://qrz.com> XML subscription, you can use it to enhance the
accuracy with which
ViewProp locates both spotters and spotted stations, but it is not
absolutely necessary, particularly for a trial.
I use ViewProp every day myself, and have found it to be a useful planning
tool for both DX and contesting. There's something very empowering about
being able to instantly visualize current propagation that's based on
measurements rather than simulations.
I'm looking for unfiltered opinions of savvy computer-using DXers and
contesters on how useful the software is for you, what features might make
it better, and help finding bugs or usability issues.
I've set up a simple 1-page Wiki with more details and a few screenshots:
If you would be interested in being a beta tester, please let me know
off-list, and I'll send you a copy.
73, Rick ZL2HAM
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