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PocketPC DX spots & Ham Radio Propagation updates (packet not required)

To me anyway, this was one unexpected advantage of using a PocketPC PDA for ham radio activities. There are two ways to approach this, one requires a packet connection and the other simply requires a routine connection to a PC with internet access.

 

Internet approach

Here's how to get DX spots and propagation reports on your PocketPC PDA without a packet connection.  First, register for a free account with http://avantgo.com/ by choosing new user signup at the bottom of the page. Choose "create channel" once you are logged in and simply add the DX Summit spots as an avantgo channel. For example, my DX Spots channel uses the following URL: http://oh2aq.kolumbus.com/dxs/hfdx25.html? and my Propagation channel uses this URL: http://oh2aq.kolumbus.com/dxs/wwv25.html 

 

I've setup the PocketPC PDA to refresh these pages every 15 minutes or so. 

 

What does this mean??? Here's how it works. As I sit in my office, my iPAQ is plugged into my desktop PC, which is connected to the internet. As my office email, calendar appointments, and contact list is periodically updated, so are these web pages. Then, once I leave work for the day, I simply undock my iPAQ and hit the road. If I want to checkout the last WWV or DX Spots to be downloaded, I simply start Internet Explorer and pull up the appropriate page:

 

 

 

         

Advantages: 
- Works great. 
- Automatic. 
- No extra hardware required (packet)
- Propagation (WWV) numbers don't change too quickly anyway.

Disadvantages:
- Static snapshot that loses value over time
- Can't post new spots

 


Packet radio approach

Ok, this shouldn't be too tough. Assuming you already have a good packet feed into your mobile (a 2m radio and a TNC), getting a serial connection to display spots is quite easy. Microsoft lists these simple steps:

  1. On the Start menu, tap Settings, and then tap the Connections tab.
  2. In Connections, tap the Modem icon. A new Settings screen for Modem Connections appears.
  3. In the Select a modem list, select New Connection. Another new Settings screen appears that asks you to Make a New Connection.
  4. Name your new connection “term” and make sure that the modem type is set to “Hayes Compatible on COM1:”.
  5. In the Baud Rate list, make sure you select the maximum speed your appliance can handle. Most appliances support 9600 baud.

     

    The Settings screen for your terminal connection.

  6. Now comes the trick: Tap the Advanced button, and then select the Enter dialing commands manually check box.
  7. Tap OK to accept the advanced settings, and then tap Next and OK on the Settings screen.

Advantages:
- Real-time spots and WWV data
- Can post new spots

Disadvantage:
- Extra hardware required (TNC, VHF radio, packet nodes, cables)

11-Jan-2007

 

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