Happy New Year

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!

Matthew NR0Q

Fix for v1.21.1217 Windows 10

With thanks from all the fast reports of this issue, several members of the team spent most of the weekend testing and researching to figure out the WHY of why some Windows 10 PCs would load and launch GridTracker perfectly ok and others would load but not launch the GridTracker window.

The Problem

We found an upstream bug in NWJS where the Visual C Runtime was omitted from NWJS’s Windows dependency list. This morning Don KB2YSI and I did some testing and confirmed this is the case with GridTracker v1.21.1217 comparing his broken install and my working install.

The good news is that the fix while a band-aid is fairly simple and will not require a new release of GridTracker (or even a re-install).

The Fix

  1. Make sure GridTracker is not running in the background (Launch Task Manager and “End Process” to any GridTracker processes running.)
  2. Download and install the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable
  3. Launch GridTracker normally from the desktop or start menu shortcut

We’ve reported this to the NWJS team to confirm the issue and will be working with them to confirm their fix works long term.

Again, thanks to all the reporters, testers and all the members of the development team that could have done a lot more on-air operating this weekend and instead spent a lot of their time working on this. Hopefully 15 through 10M stays open the rest of the afternoon and we’ll have some on-air fun. See you all on the bands and have a great Holiday week!

Happy Holidays!

From the entire GridTracker team, we wish all the world’s radio amateurs the best during this holiday season. And with that we present the December release of GridTracker v1.21.1217 now available on our Downloads page.

In this release, the biggest change (and it was really big) is not one that is most visible to the end user. But to anyone that has looked at the code for the Call Roster, you’ll notice that code looks quite a bit different now. We grouped together the code blocks for filtering, hunting and rendering the roster into their own files in a process called “refactoring”. We also split rendering into code specific for the normal Call Roster and the compact-mode Call Roster so that we can more easily make changes to either. With this change we did break a ton of stuff and had to go in and fix the stuff we broke. Which is what took up the bulk of the past three months since the September release. Going forward changes should be much easier and less likely to break everything which will allow us to squash any bugs that are found (and all those pending in our Issue tracker) much quicker.

We also added CQ Zone and ITU Zone ignores that works just like CQ, DXCC and Call ignore. This was a long ago requested feature that was started and never finished.

We also fixed the filtering of decode messages into the Call Roster so that only those that containing valid looking callsigns that GridTracker can guess on a DXCC entity for are passed along. This means “WORKED B4” still shows up as possibly being from China but “MERRY XMAS” and “HEY JOE” are silently dropped and not shown.

Speaking of valid callsigns and DXCCs …. Yes we knew that /MM stations do not count for ARRL DXCC credit and we fixed GridTracker so that it now acknowledges that. If you see a /MM station on the air, they will now show up in the roster with a DXCC entity of “NONE” which has special rules where those contacts don’t add to your DXCC tally.

Additional enhancements include the requested feature to have a shorter max age for the call roster. So we made the minimum max age only 5s instead of 15s so that you can now set the max age low enough to display only 1 decode cycle of the very fast FT4 mode. The other requested change was to always highlight CQ in the call roster. Previously we un-highlighted CQ when “Only CQ” was checked thinking that since the calling column is only going to be “CQ” messages but that was a simple 10s change once we had the Call Roster refactor done.

We answer a question quite often about how we figure what county a station is in. Tag wrote a script that runs weekly to pull the latest ULS database from the FCC, decompresses it, parses it and creates a smaller GridTracker version of the database that is downloaded from our servers if you have “United States ULS” enabled in the Lookups tab. In that file we know every US callsign’s State and Zip Code. With that data we populate the state column and then using a lookup table within GridTracker we see what county the Zip Code falls in and display that. But some Zip Codes fall across the county line in 2 or more counties. When that occurs we were displaying the tilde “~” character to the sides of the county name and a click on the county name would make GridTracker do a lookup and retrieve the county from your selected lookup service if available. We changed the “~” to “?” marks and improved the tool tip if you hover the mouse over such an indicated county.

What’s next?

So now that we have the Call Roster refactor done, what is next? As of this writing there are currently 46 open issues in our issue tracker at GitLab that we’re processing through. We’ve organized many of them into categories of “Call Roster” and “Logging” as most fall into those categories, so that we can potentially work on related issues together and prioritize them based on what will have the most impact on the most users and if any depend on others to be fixed first or have potential conflicts.

The other big addition that is ongoing is translating GridTracker into various languages. Now with the biggest code change that we have anticipated this year behind us, we are adding the necessary code to allow GridTracker to be translated. We want to thank a couple of individuals that have already offered their services to translate GridTracker into Spanish (Santiago HI8O and Sebastian KI2D) and Chinese (Lv BD3OOX). If you have the talent for languages and would like to contribute, we ask that you join us in our Discord server using the link to the side and shout out at us.

Release of GridTracker v1.21.0928

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.

September update

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.