Posted 12 Mar 2012 — by Alex
Cloud RF is something that I stumbled over and to be honest I’m not sure where so if I’m telling you something you already know then I’m sorry, its a function of me not concentrating.
Anyway the blurb from the Google marketplace / Google play site indicates that the app is for all sorts of RF planning and I quote ‘DAB, DVB, GSM 2G/3G/4G/LTE, Marine VHF, PMR, TETRA, PTT, WiFi, WiMax
Groups: Emergency services (Ambulance, Coastguard, Fire, Forestry, Police), Amateur/Ham enthusiasts, Armed Forces/Military, Construction industry, Event organisers, Government, Maritime/Private Security, WISPs.’
For me its a way of simply checking the coverage I’m expecting. there are 2 applications for your Android phone and a web based offering to boot. The programme is squarely aimed at the corporate market and the trial offshoot for hams is either a 12km limited plot for free or for a fiver you get 100km of signal plotting. I guess you could reduce power to minimal levels and attempt to extrapolate but it doesn’t seem worth it if you’re into planning for a RAYNET or emergency communications type situation.
Still for the casual user there is at least something to wet your appetite and the operation couldn’t be simpler on your phone. Use the GPS or map to locate where you are / want to be. Entering in the frequency and power as well as height above ground for the rudimentary settings and press the button to calculate your plot. Other aspects can be changed such as type of ground and the usual modelling parameters that you’d expect from a simplified model that bears a similarity to Radio Mobile that Julian, G4ILO posted a while ago. I’m only guessing but I’d image its a similar if not the same engine that delivers the plots (Irregular Terrain Model).
Have a play with the trial version and see if that takes you fancy and if you dip into the paid for version then let me know what you think.
Posted 22 Feb 2012 — by Alex
I’ve long been a user of smartphone’s and always felt that in the past they were able to offer a lot in terms of being able to make and receive calls then the applications or apps that run on them we additional bonuses. Nowadays the primary selling point of a smartphone is not to do the basics like calls and text (SMS) messaging are the apps. My HTC desire S is like many other that run the Android OS in that it has access to the Android Market and its ever growing list of extras. A little run down on the ham radio one I have is as below. There’s no great explanation as to their functionality as its all on the Android Marketplace
APRSdroid – APRS on your phone. Well worth the money especially now that it supports messaging.
Echolink – Ro real need to introduce this application. Just does what you need to make use of the Echolink network
Electrodroid – A collection of electrical references
Hamsatdroid – Satellite prediction for your phone. Very effective with a simple interface.
Morse code reader – Like all readers its not as good as your ear and as such is limited but a simple application
Morse CT – The trainer that if it was a person would have given up on me learning the code a long time ago. A very patient trainer.
Repeater – Repeaters in you local area. Shows you the distance to your nearest repeater.
Satellite AR – A mixture of Google sky maps and hamsatdroid with a nice ‘point at the sky and see where the satellite is in real time’ interface. Does more than amateur radio satellites.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but these are the ones that have been installed and used. I’ve tinkered with the idea of a log book for when I’m portable but nothing so far has stood up to the old pencil and paper. If a developer makes one that can pick out call signs then that would be smart but I can imagine that’s not going to happen in the near future.
I know there are apps for digimodes like PSK-31 but nothing for things like WSPR or any of the exotic ones. As the next generation of phones come out and these become functional but obsolete the ability to repurpose them must be on someone else’s mind and not just mine.
Posted 19 Dec 2011 — by Alex
Android phones provide many opportunities to expand the capability of what is already a pretty handy phone. Adding Echolink to the long list of Apps makes it easier than every to make use of the system.
The App comes from the Android market place and a pinched image is below. the layout is great as are the features it packs.
I tried a couple of QSO’s with it and managed a brief one through one of the IoM repeaters (I don’t know why I chose that one as you can obviously go anywhere in the world and choosing one that is over the water from St Bees didn’t really make much sense).
The audio wasn’t ideal according to the signal reports but adequate, I was using my house WiFi which isn’t exactly blistering so that may have had something to do with it. I doubt I can do much about that in the short term.
There isn’t much to add apart from I didn’t like the way the back button offers to close the application down rather than go back to the start of the directory tree (for example) but that is just a personal perspective. It just works and works well. Something to keep and use when I don’t have a rig handy. All I need is to develop a network of users to have QSO’s with and Echolink will become a keeper.
Posted 06 Oct 2011 — by Alex
I’m a bit of google reader fan. Its not something to be embarrased about by the way, and it delivers the news or rather my chosen news through to my outlook inbox at work as well as on the web. Now then, the reason for this post isn’t google reader, in fact I don’t know why I even mentioned it as it doesn’t really add anything to the post.
Anyway, Southgate ARC delivers news to my inbox every day, although it does only manage to give me the abridged headlines and one of those headlines caught my eye ‘AndPskmail - a PSKmail app for your phone’. When it said lightweight for bicycle / mobile operation I thought this might be a handy addition for SOTA and WOTA activations. Well worth a closer look I think. At some point I’ll collect together the Android applications that I use and which ones I’ve downloaded and rarely used. It’s always interesting to get a look at what is on offer and I have a bit of a soft spot for PSK31 on the shack machine anyway so this might be handy for when I’m away on holidays.
A direct link is here to the developer’s website if you fancy a look yourself.
Posted 18 Jul 2011 — by Alex
For those of us lucky (or unlucky as you may see it) Google have made a couple of updates to their mapping software that you probably know as Google Maps for Android users. The main feature is offline mapping. In other words the ability to download portions (or tiles as they are sometimes known) whilst you have a connection and to recover them when you don’t.
I’ve long hankered after a decent mapping application that can be used as a backup to the map and compass I prefer to use. GPS units tend to be quite expensive and there is no real need for me to have yet another gizmo in my pocket that needs electricity. Yes it would be lovely and would almost always get round the common mistake of missing out on Burnbank Fell, but I can’t help but think it takes away a bit of the fun.
Perhaps one day.
Offline maps provides a step into the world of using your phone where there is no signal and hopefully it will help to bring this feature into the ‘must have’ apps for phones. I’ll try it out next time I’m out and about and see just how useful it really is. Not forgetting its the lake district and the phone is less than waterproof. Not to mention quite heavy on battery drain.