Accessibility of DXLab
for Sight-Impaired Hams

 

   DXLab is a suite of useful applications for amateur radio DX operation. It combines transceiver control, logging, and automated access to a range of resources on the Internet—current DX activity, contact information, propagation predictions, maps, paths, etc.

   This article for vision-impaired DXers is about

          • visibility of the DXLab user interfaces

          • voice announcements when stations of interest
                  are spotted, and

          • linking Ham Radio Deluxe to DXLab.

Software

   DXLab is freeware developed and distributed by AA6YQ. It consists of eight inter-operating applications:  Launcher manages software downloads and updates. Commander is a rig control program used by the other applications. The other six modular programs are tools for DXing:

                Program                    Example

               DXKeeper                  logging
               Pathfinder                 QSL information
               SpotCollector            DX activity reports
               DXView                     display DX spot locations
               PropView                   propagation prediction
               WinWarbler              digital modes

   Convenience and efficiency are achieved by automatic data sharing among the programs. For example, when you click on a DX station in SpotCollector, DXView can display a map showing the location and path from your QTH.

   The full range of features in each application is covered in detail on the Web site.

Visibility

   All measurements in this article are for images on a typical 22" screen with a "Larger Scale" 120 dpi setting in the Windows Operating System (instead of the default 96 dpi). All DXLab images scale up in size as the dpi setting is increased. 

   Standard text in all applications is 0.1" high. Three programs have Font/Style/Size options for some text, although the size is limited by available space:  In DXKeeper and SpotCollector, the fonts used in the log/database and for data entry can be customized. In WinWarbler the received and transmitted text fonts are selectable.

   SpotCollector, DXView, and WinWarbler also offer color options for parts of the displays.

   The Launcher application makes it easy to download and evaluate the applications.

Voice Announcements

   SpotCollector can use a Windows sound card to alert you when a DX station of interest appears in one of the DX cluster databases. A filter of your choice can determine which stations are displayed, and the details are announced as they arrive.

   SpotCollector can also announce the current frequency and mode when they change.

   When a digital mode program is running, the SpotCollector voice announcement feature can not share the sound card.

Linking Ham Radio Deluxe

   Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) can be customized to provide a high-visibility rig monitor. You can use it along with DXLab by downloading a bridge that allows HRD to provide transceiver control for the applications.

For More Information

   The documentation on the Web site is organized, well-written, and very detailed.

   The developer, AA6YQ, participates actively in the Yahoo DXLab User Group.

Summary

   DXLab is a suite of sophisticated, useful DX tools with professional quality documentation. The control panels and configuration screens hold a lot of information, so a large screen and magnification may be helpful. SpotCollector can announce stations of interest when they are spotted in DX cluster databases.

Acknowledgment

   Thanks to Dave, AA6YQ, for developing and supporting DXLab.

 

Author Information

   AE7PD is an Extra Class amateur radio operator in the U.S. This Web site has no ads or conflicts of interest.
Gmail:  HamRadioAndVision "at" gmail "dot" com.

rev. 1/13/2012

                           Related Article:  DXLab Commander

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