What is DWatcher?

DWatcher is an application for Microsoft Windows PCs you can use to watch for when up to 6 callsigns are reported as being on the air (DSTAR stations appearing in dstarusers.org) and DX stations (being reported on the DXCluster network). If the program detects one (or more) of the callsigns you are watching for, information about the station (date/time heard, reflector/repeater/frequency, and location) will be displayed on the screen.  With a bit of effort, you can configure the system to send you an email or SMS text message when one of the callsigns is reported as on the air. This means you don’t have to sit by the radio constantly to monitor for a friend or a coveted DX station.

The system has been tested on Windows 7, 8, and 10. It requires the dot-NET framework 4.5.2 or higher (if you don’t have dot-NET, the installer package should automatically download and install it for you). Note for Geeks: the application was developed using Visual Studio 2015 and uses Windows Forms. Task Factory is used to provide asynchronous screen updating.

DWatcher is unsupported freeware. As I mentioned above, it has been tested to work on various platforms, but if you find a bug, you may report it to me (but I can’t guarantee a fix). If you are not technically skilled, you may find the installation or email/text notification challenging – in which case, please ask an IT-skilled friend for help. I am not able to provide extensive support.

Installing and Using DWatcher

Installation

1.       Download the zipped installation package. Click here to download.

2.       Extract to a location of your choice.

3.       Open the extracted folder.

4.       Run (double-click) Setup.exe :

a.       You may see a message to the effect “Publisher cannot be verified; do you really want to install?” – if so, click the Install button. Some anti-virus programs will scan the installation before the installation completes; in most cases, this is no problem. If you find that the anti-virus program you are using forbids you from installing, you may need to disable your anti-virus long enough to do the installation.

b.      The program should install an icon in your Start programs list and/or on your Start screen (depending on Windows version):

                                   dwatcher.exe                  

 

 

 

Using DWatcher

 

When you run DWatcher, you should see a screen like so:

 

 

“Out of the box,” with the default configuration, DWatcher lets you watch for up to 6 callsigns. It checks the dstarusers.org web site (for DSTAR stations), and the dxdisplay.caps.ua.edu web site (for DX stations reported on the DXCluster network). You control whether the system watches for DSTAR stations and/or DX stations using the DSTAR and DX check boxes.

 

After you have filled in one to six of the boxes on the left with the callsigns of interest, click the Monitor button. You may use upper or lower case for callsigns.  In the Status box, you will see a brief appearance of “Getting DStar info” and “Getting DX Cluster info” as the system attempts to contact the respective data sources. Note that you need a working internet connection for the system to be able to work.

 

 

Above is a screen showing where DWatcher has detected several stations of interest.  The first one (blanks on the right) has not been detected. The next 3 are DSTAR users; you can see the date/time last heard, the repeater or reflector the station is using, its location, and the time (in minutes) since it was seen.  The bottom 2 are DX stations, where you can see the date/time last heard, the frequency reported (in DXCluster) and the location (based on qrz.com or the station prefix).

 

DWatcher will check its data sources regularly (see Configuring section to customize this) until you click the Stop button or close the app. After each check, it will update the screen information. If a station is not heard for more than 60 minutes, its information will be cleared and it will not be further updated until it is again detected as on the air.

 

Callsigns to be monitored, as well as other settings, persist between runs of Dwatcher.

 

 

Configuring DWatcher

 

You find the configuration options under the Configure menu.

 

Pause time: you may select the time DWatcher pauses between checking data source(s) in seconds (10, 20, 30, 60, 120, 180, 300)

 

Data sources: DWatcher uses two data sources to check for callsigns of interest. The default configuration is shown below. It is not meant for you to change these until (in the future) the web site names of the data sources change.  If you accidentally corrupt these settings, you may bring them back to the default settings by clicking the Restore Defaults button.

 

 

Notification: If you wish to receive email or text message when a callsign of interest is detected, you need to fill out the Configure Email Notification screen (below).

 

 

Settings are:

 

SMTP Server hostname: this is the URL of your email service. (Note: many commercial email services such as AT&T will not let you send mail sent this way, due to the prevalence of spammers. You will probably need to use one of the several free email services such as SMTP2GO Free).

Email(from) : this is the return email address that will appear in emails sent through the email service.

Email(to): this is the email address that emails will be sent to.  If you want to receive text messages, here you should put the email address provided by your cell carrier for email-to-text messaging. (This is often your cell number @ the carrier email-to-text domain, such as, for example: 3055551234@tmomail.com).

SMTP Server port#: this is the IP port used for mail transfer by your email service; provided by your email service.

Timeout (minutes): specifies, in minutes, how long DWatcher will wait for a response from your email service before giving up trying to pass mail. Timeouts often mean that you have an error in your SMTP server port#, User-ID and/or SMTP Password.

SMTP User-ID: this is the User-ID with which you have registered with your email service.

SMTP Password: this is the password you set up when registering with your email service.

After you have entered your configuration information, you may test it by clicking the Send test message button. Assuming everything is configured correctly (a big assumption!), a test message will go either to the specified email address, or to your cell phone (if you have configured for email-to-text).

 

 

 

Here is an example of a filled-out configuration (with fictitious addresses)

 

 

This will send an email to 3345551234@tmomail.com when a station is detected; this is the email-to-text port of T-Mobile. Your settings will be different!