One of my projects on this site is a program to create a locator database for various contest programs. The project is already from 2011, but it is still in use and there are some new things.
This article is mainly for radio amateurs interested in contesting. For the uninitiated reader here is a short introduction what this is all about.
In VHF amateur radio, the aim of contests is to make as many connections as possible over as long distances as possible within the contest time (24h). In the final result the bridged kilometers are added up. Each connection consists of the exchange of a serial number and the locator – the GPS position in Maidenhead format. The connection is recorded by a special program (contest log program, common are mainly WinContest, Win-Test and the N1MM logger) and the results are uploaded for comparison. There the sequence number and also the Locator must be correct, otherwise the connection is not evaluated. In addition, we usually use antennas with high directivity on these frequencies. If you have fished a callsign out of the noise, it is quite useful to know the location of the antenna in order to turn it correctly. Besides, you don’t need to spend so much time for a connection with a station 50km away in the valley, while the effort for a station 500km away is already worthwhile. In other words, there are several reasons to have a database in the contest with callsigns and the locator usually used by the station. The creation of this database is what this is all about.
Recently the DARC server, where the results of the contests are published, makes all submitted logs available for inspection. It takes a bit of brain power to download them all automatically, but in principle the info is public. This gives now completely new possibilities to create an own locator database. Driven by these new perspectives, I have reworked my program from 2011 and provide the new version on the project page.
Most important new features:
It is now possible to use multiple directories of data (e.g. competition log files or results lists). This makes it easier to separate different data sources and, if necessary, create customized databases from different sources for different competitions. For example, many stations use different sites in March and November due to limited mobile activity on mountain tops.
Logs can in principle contain errors and extraneous logs are beyond control anyway. However, with the amount of data now available, the program can detect errors statistically. This has been improved and will certainly be further improved in future versions.
The program can be downloaded from the project page.
If you are looking for suitable data sources, please feel free to contact me.
Since a good database is a competitive advantage in the market, I will not make the finished databases freely available here 😉