Active SmartSDR operator status on the web

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  • Idea
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Under Consideration
I would imagine most SmartSDR users are at home or at least operating while connected to the Internet. Would it be possible for SmartSDR users to be able to opt-in to allow their operating status to appear on a FlexRadio.com website somewhere? Status could be pushed from SmartSDR to the web service in near real time. Frequency, Mode, Callsign, Name etc. It would make finding other SmartSDR users a real breeze.
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Danny K5CG

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Posted 3 years ago

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Photo of Mark - WS7M

Mark - WS7M

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Interesting idea.  I can see some being interested and others not wanting to even come near such a thing.

I don't think Flex would want to put something like this in the SSDR software but it would not be hard at all to write a small utility that people could run that would do this.  It could connect to their radio, get the current TX slice and mode and under the operators control publish that you are active and the frequency you are working.

I will try putting something like this together for fun and see if we get any interest.  You get credit for the idea of course!

Mark - WS7M
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Terry K8EET

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Might be fun. Put the location on a Google map Mark.
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Danny K5CG

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Sounds great guys. I really see this as a help for newbies like myself. It would be much easier to get on the air help with settings and "how to's" if you could get help specifically from another SmartSDR user. Compare various mic setups etc. Make a sked, come find me on the SmartSDR Status page.

If it helps any I have virtualized infrastructure (XenServer 6.5) at home and I can offer hosting the web server on a Ubuntu VM.
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Jay / NO5J

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As an alternative, there's a few Flex operators that roam through #FlexRadio on freenode from time to time. We might be able to coordinate Skeds there.
Not being done at the present time, but I don't think anyone would mind the traffic. 
If they did, creating a #FlexRadio-Skeds channel would solve that problem.

73, Jay - NO5J
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Mark - WS7M

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This sounds like a fun project and I'll do a little work on it.

I think I'll start small.  The first version will simply upload to a web server and I'll provide a page with a table listing so you can go there, refresh the page and see at the top who's on and where. 

I think the little app could have a button you could press to upload a line like "Hey I'm on 7.050 and calling CQ"  the alternative would be just an upload of where you last transmitted.

Once we get that working then I'll look at populating a google map.

Anyway I'll keep this open to suggestions on features but the basic functionality would be:

A place to input your call, locator, perhaps lat/long and save it
For you guys lucky enough to have 5 or 6 flex radios a way to select which radio to monitor
A checkbox to enable updates to the web service
A button so send an immediate update that you are on freq xx.xxx calling CQ
Updates would include date/time,call,locator,lat,long,mode,comment (like calling CQ)

On the web side first pass will just be a latest first table showing updates perhaps from the last 30 minutes.  Other web pages would allow bigger ranges of search.

Once the idea seems to be working and we like what we see then we'll populate a google map on a map page.

Any other thoughts?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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You might want to take a looks at CommCAT which has already implemented this exact feature for COMMCAT users.
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John Leonard

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I like this idea..... any kind of Flex users live on the air functions would be great! 
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KM6CQ - Dan

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I think Gerald should get right on this. Since he wrote PSDR, he could do this easily. He could also include an integrated chat service. It would position Flex another step ahead of the pack, by providing additional value to their user base. A good example of this is our user community here, in contrast to the E radio company. It is incredible they still use "Yahoo Groups" and a outdated reflector system. Our site here is clean, unfragmented and easy to use. Great innovative idea Disiminuk. Now Flex needs to consider it.

Dan
(Edited)
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Ali - 9K2WA

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HRDlog.net pushes the station status on  the web, I use Log4OM external logs settings to send the status, QRG and mode to the HRDlog.net and display that on my QRZ.com page.

Remotehams has a web page http://www.remotehams.com/online.html which lists all active radios on their website pages displaying the status, QRG and mode with the user message as well.  I tried their free software to control my Flex from my own web QRZ.com page.

And yes indeed I confirm CommCat mobile lists active users  as Howard stated above, I used that software also.

I think an RSS feed would be a must so that one can be alerted automatically every time some one logs in.

It would also be nice to have the ability to be able to listen to the audio stream as well.

HNY to all.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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In December 2005, N3FJP and others tried to get this going in a project called WOTADB (Who's On The Air DataBase)  It was an effort to link subroutines in many different logging programs to a common data server that would allow everyone to list their call, frequency, mode and some comment, such as "CQing" "DXing" "Looking for Rag Chew" "Hunting Meteor scatter" etc. in a format that was searchable and flag-able, and displayed like many of the spotters networks.  The parameters would automatically update with activity status.

The goal was to be able to enter a request "NM9P" and a display would show where NM9P was, and a history of operation for the day, (if NM9P allowed it in his setup parameters.)

It generated some short-lived enthusiasm and then died for lack of interest/programmers/server availability.

I thought it was a great idea and followed the yahoo group reflector for some time.  I think that is was perhaps a great idea that was a few years ahead of its time.

Ken - NM9P
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Others have simply tried to set up go to Freq that Flexers could meet, but I don't think it panned out.
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Nicholas Parry

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I really like this idea as individual users could choose to use this service or not.  I think that a support network with other flexers online could be useful in exploring emerging data communications protocols with other SDR users.

Nick- M0NAG 

(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Everyone,

I have a little agent program mostly done that connects to your radio and monitors changes.  It will be a few days before I'm ready to let you guys have a shot at it.  I still have to get a web service running before it will be useful.

What I could use is a few of you willing to try the agent program and see if it provides updates for you to it's local GUI.  If it is doing that then it will be able to send up to the web service when ready.

So if you are willing to try the little agent out let me know and I'll get you a dropbox link in a day or so to download it and give me some feed back.

As I mentioned above I'm starting small.  The first pass at this will monitor all of your slices and simply upload a data stream of your slice data (not all of it, just frequencies and modes) to my web service (yet to be created).

After we get the basic idea working we can begin to expand on it with chat and rss feeds etc.  For now I'm planning to provide two web pages:

1) Just a tabular list of the reports latest first.  Using this page you can just look at the list to see who is where.  Simple.  It will just be a query against the database to show latest reports first and show the columns of interest from the table.

2) A page with a map.  This one will come later but I think it is a cool idea.

Now a few details:

We can start with a simple system that requires no authentication.  The issue I see here is that we will get hackers trying to corrupt it.   Perhaps we start this way knowing it could be a mess and plan to add authentication in a later release.

I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to make hacked data a little harder to upload.

For authentication I'm thinking something simple where you just go to the site, register with your call, email and name and the system validates you.  Then your uploads from the agent would need to use your unique key as part of the upload provided with your registration.

The benefit of this system is we lock out to some extent the hackers that might want to upload bogus data.  Anyway I think we'll start small, add features as we go.

So I'm having fun with this.  I think it will be a cool tool once we get it tweaked to work.  The cool think is you choose if you use it or not and what data you report.  Want to do some private operating?  Don't run the agent and connect it to your radio.   Want to let other flexers know where you are and what you are up to then run the agent and perhaps do a few manual uploads asking for help or contacts on specific modes.

Anyway it is a great idea and one I think I will use.  I will gladly welcome all input in this effort and also those of you wanting to add technical input and help all is welcome.

Mark - WS7M
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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How does one get added to your Alpha List?
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Mark - WS7M

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Let me check.... hum... Howard... It seems you are already on the list!  :-)

Actually anyone interested send me a note with your email address to  ws7m@arrl.net
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Mark - WS7M

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Guys (and gals!) if you are interested in checking out the agent and helping me debug and improve, send me a note so I have your email at:

ws7m@arrl.net
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K2CM

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Just one more way to give up my privacy. Why not cut out the middleman, automatically work stations found online, automatically QSL them, all the while you are sitting in front of the fire with a beer and chips. That works for me!
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Mark - WS7M

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Now there is an idea!  Fully automated ham radio!  I could make multiple DXCC while lounging on the beach in Hawaii!  
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Danny K5CG

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More than just status information, the real power of this idea comes from finding other users who are looking to start a QSO in a particular mode; in the same sort of way that Xbox Live has a "beacon" feature advertising the player's desire to start a game of Halo 5 or Call of Duty. Something like "Help with RTTY on 40m anybody?" would be appropriate for this venue.

And to assuage those with privacy concerns it would be really good if the operator can decide what details are published right down everything except nothing. For that simply don't use it.

Danny
K2DMS
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Mark - WS7M

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Ok everyone, a very early initial version of the Agent is available for download and testing.  Email me at ws7m@arrl.net if you desire a copy.

I'm going to start working on a web service to gather the data and will wait to see if any of you have issues with the little Agent program.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Hi Mark,

I already have comments. Do you want to open a thread in this forum to share info between users of your software?

Thanks
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Larry da Ponte

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It would be nice to see this project on GitHub where some of us could comment and contribute.
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Mark - WS7M

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Larry, It is on github.  Once I get it organized a little I'll make the repository public and let everyone know where it is.
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Mark - WS7M

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@Salvador

Will do.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Up and running with 6 panadapters.
(Edited)
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Norm - W7CK

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The WSPR group uses something like this on their web site.  Their WSPR software has a check box that can activate reporting if and when desired.  When it is activated, your call and location and all WSPR contacts are uploaded to the site.  The data is placed on a map with lines between stations indicating a contact was made between them.  Maps are separated by band.  Its pretty cool really and I use it to see when certain bands are open and into what areas.  Taking a look at their web site might give some ideas. Their site can be seen at http://wsprnet.org/drupal/

Another really cool technology is WebSDR.  I really like how you can see who is using the WebSDR radio and see them on the waterfall.
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Terry K8EET

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This could be a tremendous marketing tool for flex, if all hams were able to see where flex operators were on the air and available to contact. Prospective customers would be able to contact flex users for their input. With the "Flexers" locations appearing on the map, they would probably be interested in contacting those user nearby.
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Walt

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As long as there is another checkbox so a Flex radio user can decide if the info they are sending goes to ONLY other Flex radio users, or to the general public. 

Cheers
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Mark - WS7M

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Well I think this request is out of scope Walt.  The idea proposed was an option/sw to upload your current radio data along with call and optional location to a web service.

By the very nature of publishing it to the web you become somewhat public.  

There is the option that the website could be protected and require a login to view the data but that would be further down the road.
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Walt

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Thanks Mark - I misunderstood when I read a user would need a flex radio to make the reports - I was thinking that only people that made reports would see the results.  Thanks for the clue-in.

Cheers - and have a good new years eve !
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Danny K5CG

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Really, there is no requirement that this be a website accessible to the public or even by an approved user account. This was just a simplistic suggestion.

Since an application is being created to query connect to a 6000 series radio, I could see that the application might also be the user interface to find other users in addition to posting your own status. It could then be security constrained to only users who are connected to a Flex 6000 radio. Likely, there would still need to be a centralized database, perhaps with an XML API/WSDL which this application leverages, but with some TLS/SSL magic that could all be secured and thereby not usable by anybody other than a real Flex user with an actual radio in their possession.

Don't let my original suggestion about a web page put a box around what could be so much more.

For example, wouldn't it be cool if you could see other SmartSDR users appearing in the panadapter at the frequency and mode they are on as you are browsing the bands? WOW, that would be Smart.

Danny
K2DMS
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi all,

I have a new version of the Agent and I've sent email links to those of you I have emails for to download and install it.

I have a basic website up and running.  If you are running the latest agent and you have stuff enabled on it, your station status will show up at:

http://www.hamradioinfo.net/index.php/activity

If you don't have the agent and want to give it a try, send me an email at:  ws7m@arrl.net
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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That's darn impressive Mark!  Very nice work.

Peter
K1PGV
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Mark - WS7M

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Thanks Peter, you'd probably take one look at my C++ and run away screaming.  I am from the "old" C++ and it is taking me a while to learn the 11 ways.
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Mark - WS7M

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A picture of the early adopters:

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Phil m0vse

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Thought I would check that it works with transverters :) Great work, looking forward to the map!
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Phil, I had no way to test that and was happy to see you up on 2m DSTR and FM!  Thanks for doing that!
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Dan -- KC4GO

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Mark,

I installed the client on my small server "Odd Job" in the closet and it's function great. Thanks for all  your efforts in this task.  Amazed on how much you managed to do in a few days. Took me over a month and some help just to get C# to connect to my radio...

Our hopes that you have a Happy and Prosperous New Year..

Dan --- KC4GO
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Dan, Thanks.  I program for a living and when I have an interest in something I generally dig in and can get it done quickly.  It is how I made my living for years.

The program has bugs and weaknesses that will need to be addressed.  We'll get there but for now it is basic and working.

Thanks for being a part of this.  I am excited to hear if this helps people to setup a contact.

Danny K2DMS was the first on after I posted the update.  I used the comment feature to ask him to go to a clear frequency so we could try to link up.  Unfortunately he doesn't have a working antenna but the website allowed us to link up and communicate.  Had he a working antenna we would have tried an air link.
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Ali - 9K2WA

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Thanks for the agent Mark, I am testing it with the 6700 on the PC and the 6300 on K6TU iPad Remote App, I got  2 duplicate entries in the agent, for the 6700 but not the 6300, I restarted the agent but no change!
double clicking on either entries shows the 6700 data.
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Ali, Located in 

c:\Users\<your user>\AppData\Local\HamRadioInfo\HRIAgent\

Are some app log files.  Can you email me that latest one.  Ideally if you can stop the agent.  Then start it, double click on the 6700

Then go and get the file and send it to me that would be great.  ws7m@arrl.net
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Ali - 9K2WA

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Mark,

Issue is resolved now by changing the Nickname for each radio according to your advise.

Many thanks, excellent job
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Remote installed to La Jolla m

Not reporting my slice nor is it updating to V0.53.
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Mark - WS7M

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Howard, please email me your applog from 

c:\Users\<your user>\AppData\Local\HamRadioInfo\HRIAgent\
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi All,

I've updated the website:  www.hamradioinfo.net to have a support page as well as an agent page.  On the agent page you can download installers.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Hi Mark,

I had HRI running overnight and this morning it was using 325K memory




Restarted now and it starts at different values. As low as 8k or even at 15k.

memory leak?
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Salvador.  Yes I think so and I think it is related to behavior I've seen where a timer problem occurs.  Working on it.  Thanks!
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I just installed this morning and working fine!  thanks!
Ken - NM9P