This Christmas holiday I took a break from building and designing electronics. Although I was suffering a bit from burn-out from working day and night with my electronics for many month I could still muster enthusiasm on the software side of it.
So I used the free time during the Christmas to improve the Software for my WSPR transmitters and get some new features in it.
This post describe the new features and improvement that has gotten in to version 0.82 of the PC software.
Altitude coding using the WSPR power field.
This option takes the current altitude as read from the GPS and encodes it in to power. Every 900 meters of altitude will add 3dBm of power up to the maximum of 60dBm (18km)
This is useful when the WSPR transmitter is used in flight applications, there is an upcoming product - WSPR Pico - that is custom designed for balloon flights were this option will be used. This new feature require that the transmitter has at least firmware version 0.81 so if you want to use this option check the Firmware version information to make sure it supports it. If you need to update your WSPR transmitter you can download pre-compiled Hex files on the download page to be able to make an easy update using the "Xloader" software. More info on the Download page.
Satellite position plot.
This new status area shows the position in the sky of the GPS satellites that is known to the GPS receiver. Color indicate the signal strength from red to green. If the mouse is placed over a satellite dot a pop-up field will display the direction to the satellite and the Signal-To-Noise ratio as received right now.
I have added several indicators and graphics to show the flow and progress of the WSPR beacon. The race-track image tries to convey the order of the transmissions followed by the optional pause before the cycle starts over again from the top. As the WSPR beacon runs on each band there will be a green progress bar that updates during the 2 minute transmission. There is also chevron that blinks during transmission or pause. The vertical position of the chevron is a visual cue of what band is being transmitted on. To see progress updates the WSPR transmitter needs to have firmware 0.82 or higher.
As a help to understand what a specific settings do or what a status field is displaying there are now so called "Hints" that pop-up when you position the mouse on an object and let it sit over it. After a brief time a small one line field is shown that gives a brief description what the object does or shows. In the example below the mouse was brought over the GPS signal strength meter and not moved for a while to case the hint to pop-up. You can explore and get small hints on nearly all objects in the GUI this way (GUI = Graphical User Interface)
GUI Information buttons.
When a more complex setting or topic needs to be explained the above mentioned hints may not be enough. For those cases I have placed an Info button next to GUI element. The button is a small "i" in a ring. Clicking this button will bring up an information window that explains the topic in more detail.
I hope these new features will make the configuration software a bit easier to use for you all and that the WSPR Beacon will be easier to follow while it is running.