GPS Information Display

Data received from the GPS as well as the results of calculations are shown on the GPS Status Panel that is contained in a tabbed display area on the left side of the main user interface screen. Here is a screen shot of that panel with a brief description of the most important items:

GPS Panel

At the very top of the panel is an indication of whether the GPS is OFF,  ON(Local) which means the client is receiving data via a direct connection to the GPS, or ON(Remote) which means the client is receiving GPS data from the server module over a network with the server module providing the direct connection to a single GPS. 

This status is followed in the upper section by GPS outputs including number of satellites in view, time as provided by the satellite, latitude and longitude, speed, and heading. The Grid Square is calculated from the latitude and longitude provided by the GPS.

On the GPS setup menu the user can specify an alert range in miles and two update rates (periods) a nominal value and an alert value. When the distance to the next county is greater than the alert range the update period is set to the nominal value and when the distance becomes less than the alert range the update period is set to the alert value. This tends to reduce the effect of the speed of the moving vehicle on accuracy of the county changeover.

The user can define any number of way points using a sub menu item from the GPS menu. During operation either the combo box on the GPS status panel can be used to select the way point to monitor or the waypoint may be selected from the Multi-Waypoint Tracker if it is being used. The distance to the selected way point is shown just beneath the combo box.

During the planning phase prior to the QSO party the user develops a route plan and, using a mapping program, converts that route into an ordered sequence of county line crossing lat/lon points. Although this information is not necessary for automatic county detection it is useful in calculating an estimate of the distance and time to the next county. The resulting distance is shown in the next section of the panel. The small circle next to the distance has three possible color values (green, yellow, and red) based on how well the number of QSOs in the current county is doing against a specified goal and the color of the circle indicates a recommendation to either continue at the current or higher speed, reduce speed, or stop. Details of how the color values are determined may be found in the help file.

Total accumulated time in each county is maintained by the program and the value for the current county is shown in the next section. Also shown in this section is the estimated time to next provided that the closing speed toward the next county line crossing point exceeds a certain user-configurable value. The current value of the closing speed is shown just below the time values. Just beneath this section is a panel showing the name of the next county line crossing in the format From County-To County - Hwy. When the distance to this crossing exceeds the alert range the panel is green and then turns red when the distance becomes less than the alert range.

Just beneath the next county line crossing panel is a panel indicating the action the Automatic County Detection logic will take when it detects a new county. The action can have three possible values: 

  • OFF which indicates that no action will be taken, 
  • MANual which indicates that the only action that will be taken is to pop up a reminder message to the user that a change has occurred but leaving the user with the responsibility for actually changing the county (a function key can be assigned this task)
  • AUTOmatic which indicates that the program will automatically change the county and all associated messages, etc when it detects a new county.
At the bottom of the GPS Status panel is a grid showing the results of the automatic county detection with the current county (the IN county) being always shown at the top of the list followed by other counties whose circumscribing circles contain the current position but failed the wrapping number analysis described on the Technical page. The ratios in the grid indicate the distance from the current point to the center of the county's circumscribing circle as a fraction of the total radius of the circle and the arrows indicate whether this ratio is increasing or decreasing on the last two updates. Of course as the ratio associated with a county reaches 1.0 the county will fall off the list.

County info in QSO areaIn order to tab the area taken up by the GPS Status panel to show other information such as the current score and progress against QSO goals for the county, the essential information from the GPS Status panel is also shown near the QSO Entry area as shown on the next screen shot. The entries in the left hand bracket are the name of the current county and the accumulated time in the current county. The three entries in the right hand bracket are the distance to next county, the estimated time to the next county and the abbreviated name of the next county.

Copyright: C.W. Sanders, NO5W
Last Updated: 10-March-2014