Contest Knob – Announcing the Product
Revelations of a secret FlexRadio 6700 alpha tester

K6TU.NET - Propagation as a Service

There are two reasons why I haven't been posting regularly - last year I was asked to step in as Vice-President & Contest Chair of the Northern California Contest Club.  As a club we decided to go all out for the ARRL RTTY Roundup and the members asked for propagation charts to help with strategy and band planning.

I had produced propagation predictions using VOACAP before and so I volunteered to develop predictions for each of the 5 contest bands for a full 24 hours.  Wow!  It took me forever!  VOACAP runs very quickly on a reasonable CPU computer but generating the graphics required a lot of hand manipulation using VOACAP's image generator and Photoshop.  All in all, it took me half a day to produce all the graphics.

The graphics were a a great success and NCCC won the 2012 RTTY Roundup hand down - setting a new record!  The propagation charts were such a success that the club members wanted them for the next contest - that took me about 6 hours to generate.

At that point, I was hell bent on finding a way of automating the entire generation process - that took me almost 2 months of night & weekend coding but by late March I had it done.  Now generating the predictions took less than 10 minutes using the capabilities of my MAC under its UNIX colors!  Then one of the members asked me if I could get the same thing running under Windows...

By the time I looked at all the different packages I had used, I came to the conclusion that what was really needed was a web service.  With a web service, I could remove the learning curve of customizing VOACAP predictions to a level where it would be as simple as filling in a form and clicking a button.  No learning curve, no software to install.

I started work on K6TU.NET - Propagation as a Service web site at the end of March.  I launched the site into a closed beta in September after 6 months of heavy lifting coding and assembling an industrial grade web site.

I'm delighted to announce that the site went live into production this last weekend.  Stop by and take a look what you can achieve at the click of a button - a good way to do that is to visit the Quick Tour page and see the forms and graphics.

Here are a couple of examples to whet your appetite...

This is an example of the regular prediction you can run - this is a screenshot of a single band/hour combination where you can see the predicted propagation by visualizing YOUR signal strength across the world.


And here is an example of the Contest Strategy Prediction - this is perfect for planning which bands to use for either search & pounce or CQ running during a contest.



K6TU.NET supports many different types of propagation predictions and has both free and premium features.  I hope you will stop by and take a look!



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