Pete Smith

Gee, Dave, you'd think you maybe had something to do with the writing of SpotCollector ;^). 

I have tested, and see no noticeable benefit to being connected to W3LPL 30 miles away versus NC7J in Utah. 

73, Pete N4ZR
Check out the new Reverse Beacon Network
web server at <>.
For spots, please use your favorite 
"retail" DX cluster.
On 1/2/2022 8:56 PM, Dave AA6YQ wrote:

+ AA6YQ comments below

Rich, FWIW, I think there is very little benefit from using multiple clusters, or ones in distant locations.  Now that the whole system is Internet-based, rather than the old RF cluster network, it makes a lot more sense to choose a cluster based on the filtering that it offers for choosing which spots you want - location of the spotter, band, mode and so on.

+ Had I followed your advice, Pete, I'd be several entity-bands short of DXCC Challenge 3000. In my experience, it is still the case that clusters close to the spotter of a needed DX station convey spots of that station faster than clusters further away. Double-click on a Spot Database Entry, and the difference can be enough to get you a QSO before the cluster hordes arrive on the spotted frequency.

+ Using a cluster's filtering suboptimal. The spots it discards are lost forever, and so cannot be used to identify operating patterns of needed DX stations, and band openings between your QTH and that of needed DX stations. For example, when I was pursuing ZC4GR on FT8 last summer, I filtered SpotCollector to show me all times when ZC4 was active - as reported by stations anywhere the world -- yielding his "activity pattern".  I then filtered SpotCollector's Spot Database Display to show me active stations in ZC4, 5B4, SV, TA, OD, 4X, and SU that were spotted by stations within 500 miles of my QTH. The result in SpotCollector's "Propagation View" showed me exactly what bands were likely open to ZC4, and when. Combining that with ZC4's "operating pattern" focused my patrolling to several hours daily on 20m; I made the QSO after a few days of patrols. Had I configured my spot sources to ignore spots from the US, I'd have been missing several of the reports that established ZC4GR's activity pattern. I have each of 5B4, SV, TA, OD, 4X, and SU confirmed on every band I pursue except 6m; had I configured my spot sources to ignore HF spots from those countries, I would not have the days of data in my Spot Database that identified the propagation opening that produced the QSO with ZC4GR.

+ If you're an aggressive DXer using SpotCollector, filtering at the spot source is like going racing with your Corvette being towed by a lawnmower.

+ Yes, some pre-filtering does make sense: VHF and UHF bands on which you're not QRV, for example; they won't ever illuminate HF propagation openings. Spots of active North American stations may not be of use if you're not pursuing WAS or VUCC awards. That's why SpotCollector provides a pre-filtering option:

+ Why using SpotCollector's pre-filtering rather than that of your cluster? SpotCollector's pre-filter is managed by a simple set of check-boxes whose configuration is visually obvious, not by text commands that vary based on the flavor of cluster management software running on each of your spot sources. Should you forget that you directed your cluster management software to ignore spots of stations in Asia (or not realize that you inadvertently did so), you won't be happy when you learn that P5DX made a surprise appearance.


                  Dave, AA6YQ


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