Tuesday, March 20, 2007

DXLab suite

My local radio club held its monthly meeting tonight. The guest speaker was David Bernstein (AA6YQ), author of the DXLab suite of software tools. The software, which runs on MS Windows-based PCs, is a collection of separate tools which work together. They can be run individually, you can pick-and-choose subsets to run, or run all of them depending on your needs.
The tools in the DXLab suite are:
  • Commander - Commander is a rig control applicatoin that allows you to manage most any modern radio with a serial port. It provides banks of memories, works with SpotCollector to show spots in a band-map, and allows you to switch between up to four transceivers.
  • DXKeeper - DXKeeper is a logging program that integrates with callbook CDROMs and services. You can print QSL card images, labels, and envelopes, upload to eQSL and LoTW, and track your awards. It works with most of the other tools in the suite.
  • DXView - DXView gives you instant information when you enter a call sign or call sign fragment. Just enter in the call sign and it pops up the main country prefix, country name, grid scquare, distance, long path and short path headings, and your progress towards awards for that entity by band, mode, QSL sent, QSL received, and even ARRL credit verified.
  • Launcher - The Launcher isn't really a DX tool. It is a utility that provides the backbone for the other tools to work together. It also serves as the one-stop-shopping place for updating your software with just a push of a button.
  • Pathfinder - Pathfinder locates QSL routing information from a variety of sources.
  • PropView - PropView includes the IonCap engine. It cranks through all the propagation predictions and presents you with graphs that tell you instantly when band openings are likely to occur. If you look at nothing else in this suite, check this one out!
  • SpotCollector - SpotCollector is a data aggregation tool for the DX spotting sources. It can watch up to six different DX spotting resources combining, compressing, and filtering data as necessary. The results are stored in a database allowing you to examine spotting data days or even weeks later to see trends (when is that rare DX station typically on) or even notify you when that one special country (or station) is spotted.
  • WinWarbler - WinWarbler is yet another digital mode interface nicely integrated with the rest of the package.

You can find out more about this program at the supported DXLab Yahoo group. David claims that there are no outstanding defects at this time and that any defects found are fixed within 24 hours if possible. Updates are frequent so you'll want to pay attention.
David's talk at tonight's meeting was wonderful. Though he emphasized that this work was a hobby, you can tell that there is lots of polish on these programs. I've not used them (yet), but was very impressed by the presentation and demos. Give them a look.


Blogger Steve Weinert said...

Did AA6YQ comment on any possibility of an OS-X version of DXLab?




March 22, 2007 10:17 AM  
Blogger NE1RD's Blog said...

There was no comment specifically about porting the application, but I doubt it would happen. The work began about 10 years ago and has been done in Visual Basic. While it is possible he could port the code to RealBasic to get cross-platform builds (Windows, LINUX, MacOS), he has no incentive to do it. Black Cat Systems has DX Toolbox which does some of this, though it is not free.

March 22, 2007 11:02 AM  

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