AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

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VK3DXE
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AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3DXE » Thu May 30, 2013 1:07 pm

http://www.dl0gth.de/software/airscout.zip

Another one found on DJ5AR's site, by DL2ALF. This looks like a great tool. Now to learn how to drive it properly.....

When entering the URL for elevation data, try this: http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Australia/

And for aircraft data: http://planefinder.net

I'm still working on getting it to show me elevation data from my QTH, but I know I'll work it out eventually.
Alan VK3DXE
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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK5PJ » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:05 am

Hi Alan,
VK3DXE wrote:http://www.dl0gth.de/software/airscout.zip
Another one found on DJ5AR's site, by DL2ALF. This looks like a great tool. Now to learn how to drive it properly.....
When entering the URL for elevation data, try this: http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Australia/
And for aircraft data: http://planefinder.net
I'm still working on getting it to show me elevation data from my QTH, but I know I'll work it out eventually.
Downloaded the Airscout package after Arie 3AMZ alerted me to it, I missed your original post while in Vietnam and have re-invented the wheel for the download URL, I found you also have to alter the "Planes Position Range" section of the "Planes" tab in the Options to get it to download the map data for Aust, I changed mine to be:
112
155
-44
-11

I think I bit off more than I should have as this is for the whole of VK and I should have restricted it to be just my local area, may tweak that later on.

Looking back at this, this set of coordinates may also act as a filter for what plane plots are downloaded from flightradar.com but can not be completely sure of that.

After doing that the map data downloaded and I can get the SRTM3 pathinfo data to display on the main screen (very nice).

The map data takes forever to download as it is HUGE (by my standards) over 2.0 GB from the internet in 802 chunks of 2MB each on my slow satellite link.

I did not alter the default plane plotter URL and have had no problems getting the live aircraft to display, I had to say YES to the Airscout prompt from the Windows Firewall to allow AirScout to get internet access.

http://www.flightradar24.com/PlaneFeed.json
http://db.flightradar24.com/zones/full_all.json

Have been watching vk3RGL beacon for a few hours and have noticed when airscout predicts the rise in the path that the beacon is better than normal :D

I did not install to the "C:\Program Files" folder as putting it in there would mean changing read write perms to fit as there is no installer package to do that for you, so mine is in "C:\Ham_radio\Airscout" my "C:\ham_radio folder\" has read/write for the local user set to MODIFY so any programs in there can alter any files it needs to (good for odd ball ham packages)

Callsigns and locations: the Airscout package appears to be able to import the CALL3.TXT style database into its main database (calls.txt) that you find in any of the WSJT packages, so if you have all your locals in there, there should be nothing stopping you replacing the original call3.txt with the one from your WSJT install (do not forget to backup the original files just in case).
144M_VK5PJ_VK3RGL_20130601_223247.jpg
My airscout in operation
Regards,
Peter, vk5pj

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3AMZ » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:41 am

Hi Pete en all....

Well to say that this program is not without it's issues to get going is an under statement (from my point of view). Having that "I'll play around with it first before I read the instructions" mentality didn't help.

OK there's a few things you need to do to get this very interesting software going.

1) Down load the program and unzip the files in some convenient folder, call it Air Scout.

2) Do not run the Air Scout.exe program yet!

3) Go to http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/topo/globe.html and select..... Get data on-line......then Select data for your own area.

4) Select Australia from the drop down menu.

5) Down before you down load the files go to the Air Scout folder you have unzipped your files in....select the ElevationData folder...then select the GLOBE folder and delete all the files in this folder.

6) Down download all three files from the NOAA site for Australia and put them in the Air Scout/ElevationData/GLOBE folder.

7) Once you have done this then you can run the AIrscout.exe application.

You need to do this step first............

Now run the Air Scout.exe app....you'll know if your successful because if you go to Config>GLOBE tab you should have an image of Australia there.
This process does give you terrain elevation information but at low resolution, and it needs to be done or the program won't display any terrain elevation profiles in the Application.

OK ...hope your with me so far?

Now to display aircraft in real time you need to do two things.........

1) In the Config>Planes tab you need to enter a URL.....the only URL that I have found that works reliably is http://db.flightradar24.com/zones/full_all.json

Now you will still not have aircraft displayed!!!

2) You need to enter maps into the SRTM3 folder.......now before you go crazy downing all the files (over 2GB in size) go to this site: http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Australia/ and look for the files that are applicable to your location.

Once you've worked out the file naming convention.....select the file(s) to download. They're about 2MB large...... You need to download and unzip them into Air Scout>ElevationData>STRM3.

Your almost there............

In the Airscout Config>STRM3 tab make sure that the "Use SRTM3 elevation data" is ticked.

Go to the Config>Stations tab and enter a callsign and grid locator (you may find it auto populates if the callsign is in the database otherwise enter grid locator).

Now......click Apply and exit Config window....You should see the callsign of the DX station appear on the RHS of the screen.

Click the > button in the bottom RHS of the screen (below the Save button)....and hey presto!!!!!

It should be working??????

Good luck

It gave me allot of headaches to get it going but it could have been me........ :shock: :shock: :shock:

Many thanks to Al VK3DXE or pointing this software out on the forum and a very big thanks to Pete VK5PJ who helped fill in the gaps.

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3AMZ » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:57 am

Whoops....sorry one other thing I forgot to mention...it's important.

In the Config>Planes tab.....I use
Minimal Longitude 120
Maximal Longitude 155
Minimal Latitude -50
Maximal Latitude -29

This sets up the boundaries for downloading aircraft position information....No need for all of Australia it only increases download and update times

Most important......... the default in the program is for Europe airspace so you won't see any planes either!!

73's

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3XL » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:47 pm

Well done fellas.. I followed the instructions here and have it working fine. Now to work out how best to decipher what it is telling me. Time to do some more reading.
73 Mike

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3XL » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:02 pm

While looking for a bit more info about airscout I came across this page
http://home.planet.nl/~alphe078/planescatter.htm
Where it mentions another bit of software that can be used to predict your AE contact zone, for those who want to compare it to airscout it may be worth a look
73 Mike

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3AMZ » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:10 pm

Hi Mike

Mine is now working like a treat.........

I'm a bit perplexed about what happens when you change frequencies....the spread of the opening increases????

So far it has proven to be pretty close to the "money". It's a little over generous in relation to enhancement timing....but I think it can only educate us and
and improve the contact count!

I believe if nothing else it is a good tool to get an understanding of this propagation medium.

That's great you have it working.

73's Arie :D

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK4UH » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:19 pm

This would be a great short topic for presentation at GippsTech this year

Who s going to step up?

KJ
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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK4GHZ » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:45 pm

VK4UH wrote:Who s going to step up?
Arie! :mrgreen:
Adam, Brisbane
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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3AMZ » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:23 pm

Haaaaaaaaaaaa,,,,Joly Joke ..

Left the run a bit late Adam but I hope to be there this year for the first time.....????....may be???

I'll keep looking into it....now if only someone can transcribe this data with the bi-static profile of various aircraft to give us a predicted footprint...Wow!

If that was the case we'd have the spooks breathing down the back of our necks??

73's :D

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3DXE » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:10 am

VK3AMZ wrote:........
If that was the case we'd have the spooks breathing down the back of our necks??

73's :D
I find lay people become a whole lot more interested in AR and AE when you explain to them that this (often with commercial broadcast TX's) is how they detect stealth aircraft. :wink:

Similar with MS and military use of it for uninterruptible links after an EMP event, which surprisingly many people seem to have at least a rudimentary understanding of.
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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK5PJ » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:22 am

Hello all,
as mentioned by Mike, there is a complimentary resource to airscout for those who just want some help with AE without having to install and configure AirScout. The web page creates a map with the HOT Zone for aircraft between two stations that you have entered in details for[Grid squares].

It does not show any aircraft on the map overlay but the displayed map can be used in conjunction with a live plane display to find which aircraft are in the right location for a contact.

http://sk3w.se/sm7lcb/www-sm7lcb/maps/q ... thmap2.htm

in reality every bit helps :D
Peter Sumner, vk5pj
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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3DXE » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:18 am

A big thanks to Peter and Arie for their install instructions. While otherwise distracted, I managed to get Airscout up and running in around 10 minutes last night without having to RTFM :mrgreen: It's now working very nicely. I was running WSPR last night towards VK5 and at The Rock and found it so far to be quite accurate.

The online link is also really helpful as an additional tool too, thanks Peter and Mike.
Alan VK3DXE
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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK2DVZ » Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:14 pm

Question:

Any way of correcting the height data base to give the correct height of my QTH?

AirScout says I am 200m ASL, but I am only 9m. Is there a way of making corrections or do I have to put up with this large error?

Under OPTIONS-STATIONS-STATION INFO, one is unable to change the height, even if on the page OPTIONS-PATH .... un-ticking "Use best case elevation for each station automatically" - makes no difference.

Suggestions anyone?
Ross, VK2DVZ

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK2XN » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:02 pm

VK2DVZ wrote:Question:

Any way of correcting the height data base to give the correct height of my QTH?

AirScout says I am 200m ASL, but I am only 9m. Is there a way of making corrections or do I have to put up with this large error?

Under OPTIONS-STATIONS-STATION INFO, one is unable to change the height, even if on the page OPTIONS-PATH .... un-ticking "Use best case elevation for each station automatically" - makes no difference.

Suggestions anyone?
Hello Ross,

Did you try zooming the map in to your QTH and then dragging the marker to your exact position on the map?
This can be done while the program is in pause.

Have downloaded the SRTM-3 map files for Australia?
These are much more accurate than the default GLOBE maps.

Cheers.
Wayne.... VK2XN

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3DXE » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:03 pm

VK2XN wrote:
VK2DVZ wrote:Question:

Any way of correcting the height data base to give the correct height of my QTH?

AirScout says I am 200m ASL, but I am only 9m. Is there a way of making corrections or do I have to put up with this large error?

Under OPTIONS-STATIONS-STATION INFO, one is unable to change the height, even if on the page OPTIONS-PATH .... un-ticking "Use best case elevation for each station automatically" - makes no difference.

Suggestions anyone?
Hello Ross,

Did you try zooming the map in to your QTH and then dragging the marker to your exact position on the map?
This can be done while the program is in pause.

Have downloaded the SRTM-3 map files for Australia?
These are much more accurate than the default GLOBE maps.

Cheers.
Wayne.... VK2XN
I'm pretty sure that's what I did and it seemed to fix it.
Alan VK3DXE
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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK2DVZ » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:21 pm

Hi Wayne/all

"Did you try zooming the map in to your QTH and then dragging the marker to your exact position on the map?"

YES - It keeps indicating that my local area is about 200 to 250m ASL, when in fact 30m is about the highest within 1km of my location. The low portion of the property here is 2m ASL and goes under water every flood. Dragging the pointer around onto a tidal stream nearby gives a height of 145m ASL!! Some high tide!


"Have downloaded the SRTM-3 map files for Australia?"

YES I have done that, and that is were the error comes from I guess.
Ross, VK2DVZ

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK2XN » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:48 pm

Ross,

Do you get the same result when using Google Maps?

Wayne.

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK2DVZ » Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:00 pm

VK2XN wrote:Ross,

Do you get the same result when using Google Maps?

Wayne.

Wayne,
Google Earth gives me the correct ASL readings.

Ross
Ross, VK2DVZ

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Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK2DVZ » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:50 am

After much guidance from VK3AMZ the program is now working well - thanks Arie.
Once I down loaded and installed the appropriate SRTM3 files, my initial height ASL issue was resolved.
Now to make good use of the program..
Ross, VK2DVZ

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