It’s been a busy holiday season with the GridTracker team, a couple of us are settling into new jobs, one of us moved to a new state. And we’ve been working on old bugs and new features as well. We’ll continue to work on those with testing on some changes currently ongoing. The plan is to release a version before Spring.
What started as one hams way to not get buried in highlighters and printed off gridquare maps 4 years ago has evolved into the hamshack companion for operators of all kinds, we still track grids, but also now DXCCs, states, counties, CQ Zones, ITU Zones, WPX, various other awards, we have filtering and sorting that’ll make it much less intimidating for operating on today’s very crowded digital sub-bands.
So to celebrate as we’re testing all the new features and bug fixes we’re working on from February 1st through the 14th, members of the development and test teams will be signing with special event callsigns. Afterwords we’ll collect all the log files and prepare a nice certificate to email out to anyone that worked us.
The best part is that we’re going to make a lot of fun QSOs with everyone which to me is one of the best aspects of amateur radio!
The GridTracker team is excited to announce the release of GridTracker v1.21.0928 with a couple of bug-fixes and the availability of packages now for 64 bit ARM architectures.
ARM builds now use NWJS 0.54.2 which introduced support for 64 bit ARM processors and OSs. Until now, we were using the 32 bit version on 32 bit OSs with 64 bit hardware. There could be performance improvements with using 64 bit software on 64 bit hardware.
Bug fixes include a fix for malformed ADIF records when special characters where included in the record. That has been fixed and the length counting of the record should be correct and allow the entire record to be sent including the full “<EOR>” tag at the end.
The other bug fix is further improvement to doing differential downloads from LoTW, we look at the ADIF headers provided by LoTW and save a “last fetch” date-time stamp to use to refer to pull records only since the last check. That code has been simplified for reliability.
You can find GridTracker v1.21.0928 in the Downloads page.
There has been a lot still going on behind the scenes as we are working on some fixes for some issues that have been reported having to do mostly with logging and missing QSLs or QSLs disappearing. We are looking at our process to update GridTracker’s logging with online services and looking at cache data in that process. There has been some limited beta testing as we are getting closer to the final solution for this.
Also over the last few months one of our team members was clicking every button, widget and control in GridTracker to figure out what everything does and write about it! Our lead “Document Doctor” as we often refer to the members of the Documents Team, Sarah N6OPE, has been spending lots of time in her hamshack trying nearly every feature of GridTracker that she can and writing all about it in our new “GridTracker User’s Guide”. The first thing you may notice if you’ve seen any of our previous documentation is that we’ve moved to a wiki format to make updates easier as the software is updated.
The other big update in the works is a refactoring of the code that drives the Call Roster. Refactoring is where we re-arrange the code and logic into well more logical order and organization for us to better process what exactly every bit of the code is actually doing and to make changes or updates. This refactor has several benefits even though they won’t be apparent to most end-users at first.
- Easier for developers to find and fix bugs in the code and/or logic
- Easier for developers to add new features or improve existing options
- Easier to port code over to new platforms
- Code runs more efficient, faster and more reliably (this is the thing end users notice)
Support update: Please note that in our new help documentation we are referring all support to three channels, Facebook Group, Discord and Groups.IO. We ask that support requests, questions, new feature requests be directed to those channels and not to team members personal emails or social media accounts. They may offer support through those other channels when they are available but that’s on their own schedule and if they are busy with other life demands may not respond. Requests sent to the three channels above go to all members of the team and even other users. Also those all have a search feature that allows someone to search to see if their question or problem had already been asked (and usually answered). We are in the process of taking the most frequently asked ones and adding them to the FAQ section of the new User’s Guide (mentioned above).
As such commenting here on GridTracker.org website has been disabled because there was only 2 people that were getting notifications of comments here and providing support through the post/page comments became unsustainable. If you asked a question here in a comment that has gone answered, we apologize that has happened and encourage you to join the Groups.IO or Discord and ask it there if you hadn’t already found an answer.
The June general update v1.21.0620 is now available on the downloads page. This update contains a more permanent fix for downloading logs from ARRL’s Logbook Of The World (LoTW) that doesn’t require GridTracker to pull down the entire log. GridTracker did several versions ago pulled down only what we thought were changes since the last time logs were downloaded, however there were reports that QSOs and QSLs were missing so we went to pulling down the entire log which did insure we didn’t miss any QSOs or QSLs that had changed but put an additional load on the LoTW servers. Last week we disabled automatic loading of LoTW logs on startup to alleviate that load and allow other logging programs to sync on startup. Now with the improved code in v1.210620 we have re-enabled loading of LoTW logs at startup but we only pull the changes since the last time logs were downloaded reducing the load on the LoTW severs further. This version also implements a cool-down timer that doesn’t allow logs to be downloaded from the LoTW servers within 5-minutes of the last download.
We want to thank everyone that has contributed and that has been a lot of you. Your contributions are a great help in maintaining this website and the Off-Air Message Service (OAMS) servers. We made a change in how we update the file in GridTracker that contains the list of our contributors so now once a day GridTracker pings us and get’s an updated list (except when in off-line mode).
We are already thinking of what to put in our next update which wont’ be until July because who wants to download new software during ARRL Field Day this next weekend! If you have any comments, suggestions, ideas or constructive criticisms, you can drop us a note in our Groups.IO email group, in our Discord server or in GitLab.
Speaking of ARRL Field Day, we’re looking forward to getting on the air this weekend as we’re sure most of you are. If you are using GridTracker at your Field Day setup, take a photo and share it on social media (which counts as Field Day bonus points) and include the hash tags #ARRLFD and #GridTrackerFD.
A hotfix release v1.21.0613 was released tonight to address an issue where when launching GridTracker and other logging programs that all try to sync their LoTW logs at the same time, the LoTW download abuse mechanism is triggered causing errors. This is a temporary fix where we’ve disabled automatic downloading of LoTW logs at start-up. LoTW logs can still be downloaded by clicking the LoTW icon in the control panel. The long term fix is in the works and should also speed up the time it takes to pull down LoTW logs.
This new version of GridTracker can be downloaded here.