Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Software Writers Respond to the RBN and CW Skimmer

One of the side-effects of the RBN/CW Skimmer revolution is the dramatic increase in the sheer number of spots received. Since Skimmers at RBN sites worldwide report everyone they hear calling CQ, instead of picking and choosing, logging software is being asked to handle ten times as many spots as before. An added dimension of the problem, for those using the RBN or another aggregator of CW Skimmer spots, such as VE7CC's DX cluster or VE1DX's , is the flood of duplicate spots. It is common for the RBN to collect (and forward) 8-10 near simultaneous spots of the same station on the same frequency. These data are critical for other RBN functions, such as comparing signal strength between stations or across geography, but logging software shouldn't have to cope with all that.

Fortunately, software writers have risen to the task. In a near dead heat, VE7CC's CC User and N1MM's N1MM Logger released updates that handle the problem for different audiences.

First, CC User. I've discussed this program earlier, and advocated using it to set and adjust filters on the RBN Telnet server easily and without having to learn the command syntax. After I wrote that, I learned that it is very simple to use it as a "front end" for your logging program. That way, you can also take advantage of the new built-in de-duping capability, whatever your logging software.

If you're a user of N1MM Logger, then you don't need the added complexity of CC User between the RBN and your logging software. That's because N1MM Logger itself removes duplicate spots, and also does not retain RBN or CW Skimmer spots that are more than 20 minutes old. Before you rise up in protest, that is really a very clever adaptation to how CW Skimmer operates - if a station remains on a frequency and continues to run there, CW Skimmer will re-spot it every 12-15 minutes, so by setting this limit N1MM has ensured that all RBN and CW Skimmer spots will be pretty fresh.

Watching with interest to see what Win-Test and Writelog do with this.

73, Pete Smith N4ZR


  1. Another software author who has responded to this challenge is Dave, AA6YQ, with innovations in his DXLab suite. See Dave's comments at

  2. Please, how do I ifce RBN to N1MM logger?
    Is there an IP address & telnet port I can use to get the data FROM [not TO] RBN?