Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Aggregator 2.2 Released

Dick, W3OA has released the latest Aggregator after a substantial period of beta testing.  Let's have a look at the key new features, and then I'll show you some screenshots.

  • The Status tab now includes information for the individual Aggregator op about how accurate the frequency of his spots is currently, as measured against both fixed and dynamic standards on each band.  Note, this is not foolproof.  For example if a CQing station QSYs a short distance and calls CQ again, the Aggregator may temporarily report  a big skew (our term for a frequency discrepancy).  Skew figures are recalculated and sent to each user every 5 minutes, so if you see one that is surprising, just wait 5 minutes and see if it disappears.  With the QS1R receiver, a calibration problem will typically involve excessive skews only on the higher bands, and they will be progressively larger as the frequency increases.  If you think you have a calibration problem, check out this blog post from last year for a quick and easy way to calculate the correction factor to put in your .ini file.
  • Operators can now select the port number they want for local Telnet connections.
  • The Aggregator now shows the validation level set in CW Skimmer or Skimmer Server, and recommends using Normal if not set to Normal.  This is not mandatory, but does help to maximize the number of spots forwarded with seemingly negligible effect on accuracy.
  • Popup windows warn the user if the Aggregator can't connect either to the Skimmer or to the RBN Server for 5 minutes.  Another popup will suggest updating if you are not using the latest Aggregator available on the RBN web site.
  • VHF+ spots than look like grid squares can now optionally be filtered out rather than being forwarded to the server.
  • VHF+ spots with SNRs <+ 1 dB can now be filtered out, to prevent bogus spots of various sorts of spurious signals.
The big changes are summarized on the Status tab:

The red box is just for emphasis, and doesn't actually appear in the Aggregator.  It points out where the frequency calibration summary will be found.

Next up is the Spot Filters tab:

This one is all pretty self-explanatory.  Dick's done a terrific job of making each option pretty self-documenting.  This is where you set up Bad Call lists, useful if RFI in your station causes a lot of false  spots that are corrupted versions of your callsign.  You can also set up a list of Notched Frequencies, and of course the check boxes at the bottom of the page let you set up those lists and then decide whether or not to use them at any particular moment.

And finally, the last tab with changes is the Connections tab:

Again, the red is just for emphasis in this blog.  The rectangle shows much more detail on your frequency calibration, updated every 5 minutes.  The ellipse shows where you can now select the local user port.

So that's the story.  What do you think?

73, Pete N4ZR