Interacting with Telnet DXClusters

SpotCollector Online Help Contents

SpotCollector provides a window for each enabled DXCluster. Each DXCluster window's caption, which appears in the window's title bar and on its windows task bar icon, is specified by its Caption connection parameter. A DXCluster window is dominated by its receive pane, a rectangular area that displays information received from the DXCluster; the receive pane expands and contracts as you resize the DXCluster window. Clicking the Disable Autoscroll button stops the display of newly-received information so you can scroll backwards to peruse already-received data, and flashes the Autoscroll Disabled warning. Clicking the Autoscroll Disabled warning displays all information received while autoscroll was disabled, resumes the real-time display of newly-received information, and displays the Disable Autoscroll button.

A transmit pane is located immediately below the receive pane; characters you type into the transmit pane are sent to the DXCluster when you strike the enter key; the button labeled X and located to the immediate right of the transmit pane will clear the transmit pane when clicked. You can enter standard DXCluster commands in the transmit pane, e.g. sh/dx; the DXCluster's response will appear in the receive pane. Sixteen macros, accessible via eight macro buttons and a bank selector, provide an alternative means of supplying information to be transmitted; macros can automatically transmit text strings, your callsign, the current UTC time or date, and the contents of files.

SpotCollector interprets and color codes information received from the DXCluster as directed by settings in the DXCluster sub-tab on the Configuration window's Display Fonts tab. Using these settings, unique colors can be assigned to DX spots, WWV reports, transmitted text, and error messages. You can also control the receive pane's background color, font name, and font size, as well as the transmit pane's background color and font name, size, and color.

If you are already connected to a particular DX Cluster from another instance of SpotCollector running on another PC, make your username for that DX Cluster unique from each instance by appending a hyphen and a single digit to your username, for example AA6YQ-2.

If SpotCollector is connected to a DXCluster, you can disconnect without closing the DXCluster window by clicking the Disconnect button in the window's lower-left corner. The Disconnect button will then be replaced by a Connect button, which when clicked will re-establish the connection as specified by the current connection parameters.

You can specify an initial cluster command to be executed after logging in to each DXCluster.

Telnet-accessible DXClusters that utilize DX Spider can be configured to disable the "prompt sequence" that enables SpotCollector to confirm that you've logged in, preventing the cluster's LED-like status indicator from advancing from yellow to green. To correct this, enter the following command:

    unset/Prompt

Telnet-accessible DXClusters that utilize DX Spider software can be configured to append the spotting station's Maidenhead Gridsquare to each spot. DXKeeper can properly decode spots with appended gridsquares, and will record such gridsquares in the DXCC Database's OriginGrid field. To enable a cluster running DX Spider to append spotting station gridsquares, enter the following command:

set/dxgrid

Some DXClusters are parts of a sub-network that permits only a single connection. For example, if DXClusters A and B are part of the same sub-network and you are connected to A, connecting to B will cause the connection with A to silently drop. If SpotCollector is configured to automatically reconnect dropped connections, then when SpotCollector reconnects with A, the connection with B will silently drop - ad infinitum.  Thus after configuring SpotCollector to connect to a new DXCluster, monitor the messages in its Source Window for a few minutes; if you see a spontaneous reconnection, the new DXCluster may be part of a sub-network to which you are already connected, in which case you should choose a different DXCluster.