AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

General Aircraft Enhancement Discussion
User avatar
VK4CZ
Forum Diehard
Posts: 670
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:14 am
Location: Clear Mountain - Brisbane (Nth West) - QG62lp
Contact:

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK4CZ » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:52 am

Frank,

Thanks for the confirmation... appreciate it.
Scott VK4CZ
Clear Mountain QG62lp
http://vk4cz.blogspot.com/

User avatar
ADMIN
Dumb Schmuck
Posts: 545
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:22 pm
Location: Stuck, in the server!

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by ADMIN » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:56 am

DL2ALF wrote:...There were some major changes in behavoir between 0.9.9.4 and 0.9.9.5 hard to explain with some words. I'll try it anyway:
Hi Frank

Great to have you here on the forum! :D

I have created a facility within VK Logger to generate a "calls.txt" file, using the VK Logger database.
It will include any station that has entered an elevation greater than zero into their VK Logger profile.

Image

VK Logger members can enter their elevation and antenna height into their profile.
Don't forget to click Save Changes.

This should be handy for VK Logger members who use Air Scout, especially when a big database of calls outside AE range is not needed.

Members can access this facility by clicking on their "User Control Panel" link (top right), and then click on "Get Air Scout data file" link.
Then Save File.
(Or you can open it, and cut & paste the data)

Image

Copy this file to the AirScout\Database folder.
(It doesn't hurt to rename the original calls.txt file to something else, just to keep it.)

With v 0.9.9.5, when I go to Options > Stations, I notice it ignores the elevation field in most rows of the calls.txt file.

I say "most" rows, because it does read some of them.
At first I thought a non alphanumeric character was breaking the code (eg: the slash in TI5/N5BEK), but this isn't the problem.

At first I thought I had a problem in the formatting of the calls.txt file I am generating, but then I rolled back to v 0.9.9.4, and it reads the same calls.txt data properly.
(The elevation box is still greyed out.)

A picture is 1,000 words, so I have attached some screen shots.
as994.PNG
calls.txt with 994
as995.PNG
Same file with 995
I wonder if this issue can be resolved?

Cheers,
Adam
VK Logger Administrator

DL2ALF
Forum Novice
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by DL2ALF » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:36 pm

Hi Adam,

I try to help as much as I can, so don't hesitate to post your questions here.

The elevation calculation has changed a little bit form 0.9.9.4 to 0.9.9.5.
As you can choose different DIgital Elevation Models (DEMs) in AirScout, different elevation values for any single point on the Earth surface wiil occur.
This will happen for every single waypoint along the propagation path as well as for both station elevation values (which are equivalent to the start and endpoint of the calculated path).
To get a vaild path profile calculation the station elevation values must match with the values taken from the cuurently chosen DEM which is used for path calculations.
This is the reason why the elevation field in Options/Stations is grayed all the time. You cannot enter a value here.
Please do not "correct" obviously wrong elevation data with antenna height as this will lead to the same errros in path calculation as mentioned above.

Starting in 0.9.9.5, the station elevation is recalculated each time the station parameters are touched (while opening the Options/Stations tab or prior to path calculation).
This ensures that all elevation values needed for calculation are taken from the the same common basis.
Therefore, it makes no longer sense to store or maintain a station elevation externally.
The elevation field in the calls.txt is now obsolete. The field must exist for compatibility reasons but you can set it to 0 in all cases.

Regarding your screenshots:
It seems that the shown co-ordinates are out of scope in your local elevation data and therefore a 0 is shown for station elevation.
Please ensure that you have elevation data in your local store for all co-ordinates.

Hope this helps.

73 de Frank, DL2ALF

User avatar
VK3BJM
Forum Diehard
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:08 am
Location: Kyneton, VIC
Contact:

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3BJM » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:13 am

VK3AMZ wrote: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.
A quick question - are these SRTM3 files the same as those used by Radio Mobile?

If so, I may have saved myself a bit of download time...

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.
http://www.qsl.net/vk3bjm/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72319077@N00/

User avatar
VK3DXE
Forum Diehard
Posts: 584
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:35 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3DXE » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:28 pm

VK3BJM wrote:
VK3AMZ wrote: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.
A quick question - are these SRTM3 files the same as those used by Radio Mobile?

If so, I may have saved myself a bit of download time...

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
I believe they are Barry.
Alan VK3DXE
QF21nv

DL2ALF
Forum Novice
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by DL2ALF » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:34 am

VK3BJM wrote:
VK3AMZ wrote: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.
A quick question - are these SRTM3 files the same as those used by Radio Mobile?

If so, I may have saved myself a bit of download time...

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
Yes, they are. Simply copy them over to [AirScout program directory]\ElevationData\SRTM3

73 de Frank, DL2ALF

User avatar
VK3DXE
Forum Diehard
Posts: 584
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:35 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3DXE » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:31 pm

DL2ALF wrote:
VK3BJM wrote: A quick question - are these SRTM3 files the same as those used by Radio Mobile?

If so, I may have saved myself a bit of download time...

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
Yes, they are. Simply copy them over to [AirScout program directory]\ElevationData\SRTM3

73 de Frank, DL2ALF
While on the subject of the SRTM3 files, the program also has a nice little feature of being able to plot your radio horizon for a given antenna height. I've found this really useful while looking for a new house recently. Obviously Radio Mobile will give you more detail, but AirScout makes it a quick and painless task.
Alan VK3DXE
QF21nv

DL2ALF
Forum Novice
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by DL2ALF » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:32 pm

VK3AMZ wrote:
While on the subject of the SRTM3 files, the program also has a nice little feature of being able to plot your radio horizon for a given antenna height. I've found this really useful while looking for a new house recently. Obviously Radio Mobile will give you more detail, but AirScout makes it a quick and painless task.
Hi Alan,

if you are looking for a field strength calculactions, Radio Mobile is the most powerful tool I know but the user interface is rather complex.
Regarding the radio horizion and local obstructions around a given QTH, AirScout should provide quite similar results.

Good luck while searching for a new home!

73 de Frank, DL2ALF

User avatar
VK3DXE
Forum Diehard
Posts: 584
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:35 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3DXE » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:47 pm

DL2ALF wrote:
VK3AMZ wrote:
While on the subject of the SRTM3 files, the program also has a nice little feature of being able to plot your radio horizon for a given antenna height. I've found this really useful while looking for a new house recently. Obviously Radio Mobile will give you more detail, but AirScout makes it a quick and painless task.
Hi Alan,

if you are looking for a field strength calculactions, Radio Mobile is the most powerful tool I know but the user interface is rather complex.
Regarding the radio horizion and local obstructions around a given QTH, AirScout should provide quite similar results.

Good luck while searching for a new home!

73 de Frank, DL2ALF
Thanks Frank!

Yes Radio Mobile is an excellent tool which I will learn with time, but for the average person, your software gives an excellent result with MUCH less learning time :mrgreen:
Alan VK3DXE
QF21nv

User avatar
VK3BJM
Forum Diehard
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:08 am
Location: Kyneton, VIC
Contact:

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3BJM » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:42 pm

DL2ALF wrote:Yes, they are. Simply copy them over to [AirScout program directory]\ElevationData\SRTM3

73 de Frank, DL2ALF
Thanks Frank, and Alan.

My next question, now that "I've done that" - and still not getting a happy ending... The files I have were all ordered in folders, with names designated by latitude (so "e144", "e145", "146", etc). That is how I copied them over to the SRTM3 folder in Air Scout.

Is this actually how Air Scout wants them? Or are the contents of all these folders supposed to be out in the SRTM3 folder, naked and exposed? :shock:

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.
http://www.qsl.net/vk3bjm/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72319077@N00/

User avatar
VK5PJ
Forum Diehard
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:38 pm
Location: Barossa Valley S.A
Contact:

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK5PJ » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:20 pm

Barry,
when Airscout downloads them, each section comes as a ZIP file then they are all expanded into one directory, "D:\AirScout\ElevationData\SRTM3" in my case, I have 870 files in there, with each file being just over 2MB, this grouping covers the majority of Australia (I went crazy)

Regards,
Peter, vk5pj

DL2ALF
Forum Novice
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by DL2ALF » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:11 pm

VK3BJM wrote:
DL2ALF wrote:Yes, they are. Simply copy them over to [AirScout program directory]\ElevationData\SRTM3

73 de Frank, DL2ALF
Thanks Frank, and Alan.

My next question, now that "I've done that" - and still not getting a happy ending... The files I have were all ordered in folders, with names designated by latitude (so "e144", "e145", "146", etc). That is how I copied them over to the SRTM3 folder in Air Scout.

Is this actually how Air Scout wants them? Or are the contents of all these folders supposed to be out in the SRTM3 folder, naked and exposed? :shock:

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
Hi Barry and Peter,

the files must be named like this : "[latidute=N or S]xx[longitude= E or W]xxx.hgt", e.g. N53E000.hgt.
The lat/lon characters are notaded with upper chars and the extension has to be ".hgt" with lower chars.
The files contain plain binary data representing a 1° x 1° tile of the Earth surface, there is no file header included from which I could detect which area they are standing for.
I wonder if you are downloading the files via RadioMobile automatically I thought they'd get the naming as described above.
Sure you can rename them but be sure that you are getting the right tile and that the data format is really SRTM3 - hgt.
Don't mix it up with other elevation data.
Otherwise you will get a complete nonsense in calculation.
If you have got a reasonable number of files in your directory you will get rid of renaming soon, in that case it's easier to download them again with AirScout...

I rememer that your are living in a huge country hard to imaging the size from my point of view in Old Europe :D
May be it's not necessary to cover the whole Australian continent with elevation data. I do restrict the data to about 1000 miles around my QTH.
Simply change the AirSocut coverage to approbiate co-ordinates and then the download procedure will download only the needed files.
It is still a lot, in my case around 3GB.

73 de Frank, DL2ALF

User avatar
VK3BJM
Forum Diehard
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:08 am
Location: Kyneton, VIC
Contact:

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3BJM » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:23 pm

DL2ALF wrote:the files must be named like this : "[latidute=N or S]xx[longitude= E or W]xxx.hgt", e.g. N53E000.hgt.
I think I'll be starting afresh. For example, what I have is a (longitude) folder called E144, and it contains 116 files; the files are named thus: s10.avg, s10.dt0, s10.max, s10.min, and so on for latitudes s15 through to s42. I have 55 longitude folders - they mostly have a similar number of files...
DL2ALF wrote:I rememer that your are living in a huge country hard to imaging the size from my point of view in Old Europe :D
May be it's not necessary to cover the whole Australian continent with elevation data.
Yes, it is a big area... But I'm still tempted by having the ability to model this stuff anywhere on the continent! :D

Well, perhaps I'll start with the SE quarter of the continent, and make a decision based on how long it takes to download them.

Thanks, chaps!

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.
http://www.qsl.net/vk3bjm/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72319077@N00/

User avatar
VK3BJM
Forum Diehard
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:08 am
Location: Kyneton, VIC
Contact:

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3BJM » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:53 am

G'day, y'all.

Well, in the end it didn't take all that long. I ended up downloading everything from Tasmania up to Latitude 25 South, which is where I've paused - for the moment... :lol:

Not sure why, but the programme didn't immediately display aircraft. After loading a couple of different callsigns and hitting the play button 3 or 4 times (and turning the programme on and off... :P ), with no go, I was getting a little worried. Then, after reloading the station details another couple of times, BINGO! We have aircraft! Almost too scared to turn it off now!!

I'm certainly looking forward to playing with this, particularly with regards to the more extreme contacts possible from my QTH. Three spring immediately to mind; to VK5ZPG in Quorn SA, to VK2ZT in Medowie, and to VK2XN near Narrabri. AirScout shows the unlikelyhood of contacts at 144 MHz over these paths. Regardless, I have previously worked VK5ZPG and VK2ZT - Steve and I worked for the second or third time yesterday morning, in fact (sadly, before I had AirScout going). I think it will be very interesting to see what happens with future contacts, and what AirScout makes of the scenario at the time.

I guess the moral of the paragraph is not to give up on a path, just because a prediction programme says "No" - especially if it says "No" by a whisker... On the extremes, AEP is not that binary, and the real trick is trying to figure out what other modes might be co-contributing to the path (tropposcatter is what I'm principally referring to here...).

Frank, this programme is really nice. Love your work!

Is there any chance it might be possible to work in an option to show aircraft altitude in feet or metres, in a future release? It would make it just that little bit easier to compare the AirScout screen to my Basestation ADS-B screen, and feet is still the international unit of measurement for flight levels...

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.
http://www.qsl.net/vk3bjm/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72319077@N00/

User avatar
VK3BJM
Forum Diehard
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:08 am
Location: Kyneton, VIC
Contact:

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3BJM » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:07 pm

Frank,

After playing with AirScout for while this morning, I thought of another possible mod for future version.

The distant end station field has a drop-down menu, so you can select whichever station you may have added into the "database".

The near-end station field doesn't. I realised this after I'd overwritten my home details, first with a potential portable ops site, and then with the details of a nearby amateur (whose "look-out" to a common distant end I was comparing with my own). And yes, I wanted to toggle between these three... :roll:

Any chance you could add the ability to store a few near-end stations into the programme, to cater for us DXpeditioners? Please?

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.
http://www.qsl.net/vk3bjm/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72319077@N00/

DL2ALF
Forum Novice
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by DL2ALF » Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:39 pm

VK3BJM wrote:G'day, y'all.

Not sure why, but the programme didn't immediately display aircraft. After loading a couple of different callsigns and hitting the play button 3 or 4 times (and turning the programme on and off... :P ), with no go, I was getting a little worried. Then, after reloading the station details another couple of times, BINGO! We have aircraft! Almost too scared to turn it off now!!
Hi Barry,

this might be caused be the following issue: AirScout is downloading plane positions only at program startup and then once per minute. So f you are changing the "Enable plane feeds from internet" option on and off it can last up to one minute to see positions on the screen. Sometimes there are problems with the feed itself, seems to be stucky from time to time. Check he status line at the bottom of the main window to see whether positions had been downloaded or not.

73 de Frank

DL2ALF
Forum Novice
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by DL2ALF » Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:50 pm

VK3BJM wrote:Frank,

Is there any chance it might be possible to work in an option to show aircraft altitude in feet or metres, in a future release? It would make it just that little bit easier to compare the AirScout screen to my Basestation ADS-B screen, and feet is still the international unit of measurement for flight levels...

............

After playing with AirScout for while this morning, I thought of another possible mod for future version.

The distant end station field has a drop-down menu, so you can select whichever station you may have added into the "database".

The near-end station field doesn't. I realised this after I'd overwritten my home details, first with a potential portable ops site, and then with the details of a nearby amateur (whose "look-out" to a common distant end I was comparing with my own). And yes, I wanted to toggle between these three... :roll:

Any chance you could add the ability to store a few near-end stations into the programme, to cater for us DXpeditioners? Please?

73,
Barry
VK3BJM
Hi Barry,

i'll put your topics on the ToDo - list.
Regarding the drop down for near end station: I've never thought that this is necessary... :D
But it can be done of course. Meanwhile, I'd suggest the following workaround.:

If you need different locations along with your own call sign, use xxx/1, xxx/2 or similar to separate them. AirScout will treat all of them as different calls and will store all different locations in the database. Then, simply type in the desired call in the MyCall box of the main window for quick change.

73 de Frank

DL2ALF
Forum Novice
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by DL2ALF » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:05 pm

VK3BJM wrote:
I'm certainly looking forward to playing with this, particularly with regards to the more extreme contacts possible from my QTH. Three spring immediately to mind; to VK5ZPG in Quorn SA, to VK2ZT in Medowie, and to VK2XN near Narrabri. AirScout shows the unlikelyhood of contacts at 144 MHz over these paths. Regardless, I have previously worked VK5ZPG and VK2ZT - Steve and I worked for the second or third time yesterday morning, in fact (sadly, before I had AirScout going). I think it will be very interesting to see what happens with future contacts, and what AirScout makes of the scenario at the time.

I guess the moral of the paragraph is not to give up on a path, just because a prediction programme says "No" - especially if it says "No" by a whisker... On the extremes, AEP is not that binary, and the real trick is trying to figure out what other modes might be co-contributing to the path (tropposcatter is what I'm principally referring to here...).
Barry,

that's exeactly what I am observing here as well. Of course AirScout's calculations are digital, but the real world is'nt. That 's what makes our hobby so experimental...
I've played around a bit with the parameters of path calculation. Although the refraction index is not frequency dependent there must be other atmospheric phenomenons which affect the bending of waves, like atmospheric ducting. Recently I've changed the K-Factor to 1.5 on 144MHz and 1.4 on 432MHz. Furthermore, I've reduced the F1-Clearance to 0.2 on 144Mhz and to 0.4 on 432MHz to get more realistic results.

And there is another strange behavoir to mention: there is a long trail of exhausted hot gas from the plane's turbines moving upwards in the sky. It seems that under some circumstances a refraction of the wave front back to earth is possible. I've observed "reflections" from planes that are obviously too low for AS from time to time. I've seen longer lasting but strong fluttering singnals in that case. A beacon monitoring with steady transmissions is useful to see this effect.

73 de Frank

73 de Frank

User avatar
VK5PJ
Forum Diehard
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:38 pm
Location: Barossa Valley S.A
Contact:

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK5PJ » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:15 pm

Hi,
Had the urge to get some elevation data that covers N.Z to allow some path ground plots but the normal URL for the SRTM3 data we have used for Australia does not cover N.Z so you need to use a different URL to populate the directory with information.

this URL lists all Islands, north and south of the equator: http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Islands/ so be careful to what you set the "Area Coverage" values to be otherwise you might end up with more than you bargained for.
Peter Sumner, vk5pj
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
- Winston Churchill

VK3XL
Frequent Poster
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 11:37 pm
Location: Narre Warren South QF21PW

Re: AirScout - Airplane scatter prediction software

Post by VK3XL » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:48 pm

Well I have been using Airscout on my desktop computer in the shack for some time now, but now I want to use it on a netbook and I am having some issues. It seems that the graphic for the program is too large (vertically) for the netbook display and I cannot find any way to scroll down the screen to get to the options button so I can set it up with the various options I need to set. Has anyone else had this problem and found a cure?
I have tried setting the display size to different sizes but to no avail I still cannot get to the options button.
73 Mike

Post Reply