As you will be aware, radio wave propagation is dependent on the sun which periodically ionizes certain layers in the ionosphere, that in turn support or prevent the propagation of signals.
To gain a quick oversight over the current status of the ionosphere, several websites use a set of data provided by Paul Herrman, N0NBH, who offers several different sets of data via the website http://www.hamqsl.com/solar.html
Twice now have I run into the situation where I checked the data on another website over several days until I noticed that the hosting website accidentally showed a static picture instead of current data.
To have instant access, I have wrapped Pauls data in a Mac Dashboard Widget which can be accessed with a single keystroke.
The set of data is static at this time, it would be possible though to make the choice of displayed solar picture configurable.
If you have bug reports, suggestions for further functionality or other widgets that could be useful, please let me know through the contact form on this website.
Update September 3rd 2011: New Version 2.6 fixes a bug where the display was stuck with a "SAMPLE" written over the solar image. Thanks to KJ4VFB for reporting..
Update September 6th 2011: New Version 2.7 ensures that no new data is pulled off the website in smaller intervals than 20 minutes. This prevents blocking of a client through the N0NBH website.
If you have trouble with the latest widget (Version 2.7), here are some hints:
- If all you see is a little black dot, most likely the N0NBH website has blocked you because the widget was accessed too frequently. Paul clears his blacklist once a week, after that you should be back in business.
- If you see the word "SAMPLE" accross a solar image and/or your data is from April 22 2011, you either have an obsolete version of the widget or your dashboard cache is corrupted. (1) Make sure you REALLY use the current version of the widget. (2) Clear your cache. This is a good starter. The directory is called com.apple.dashboard.client in more recent versions and the file to be deleted is cache.db. Don't forget to "killall dock".
- If your data seems OK but does not update by itself (say if tomorrow you see todays data) try to deinstall the widget, clear the cache and reinstall the latest version from scratch.
If the above does not help, please let me know:
- Release of OSX
- When did you download the widget (which version)
- What exactly does not work?
One more thing:
If you have trouble with the application, please note that Paul (same as me) provides this service as a courtesy to us Hams. If you have trouble accessing data, please understand that access restrictions have been put in place to ensure that this service can remain operational under high load conditions.
Please support Paul by
(1) directing problem reports with the MAC widget to me via the contact form on this website.
(2) being patient and courteous
(3) helping Paul with paying the server and network costs by using the DONATE button in the top left corner of his website.
Thank you for your understanding! vy 73 de DK3LJ