Solar-Terrestrial Data

IP address


PayPal expanded

HamSphere uses PayPal for subscription payments.

PayPal is a secure payment system where both Credit cards, Checks and Bank accounts can be used. However, their country coverage has been rather limited in the past.

Today in 2012 they provide a fully working solution for 110 countries and they are still growing.

For this reason we have amended our DX-List accordingly.

The following countries can now use PayPal safely and securely to pay for a HamSphere Subscription


With the HamSphere DX Alert system you can get an alert via email when the country you have been looking for is QRV. You will only get an alert if there has been any change in activity of your selected countries. You can set the start time in UTC and a duration between 1-24 Hours.


The 11-Meter band

Dear operators.

HamSphere is a shortwave simulation.
We mimick Amateur Radio bands as well as the 11 meter band.

The BIG difference between 11-meters and the Ham bands is the Calling frequency which is 27.555 Mhz

Let me remind you of the 11-meter procedure:

1. Find a free frequency on the 11-meter band (not 27.555)

2. Call CQ on 27.555 and say your QSY frequency such as “CQ CQ CQ from 110HS101, QSY 27.540 or “CQ CQ CQ from 110HS101, listening on 27.540″

3. Now QSY quickly to your QSO frequency (27.540) and call “110HS101 standing by for any call”

4. Never establish a QSO on 27.555, if you are called on 27.555 after your CQ, suggest a QSY immediately to a free frequency within the band.

5. If you get no response, go back to 1 and repeat.

The Amateur Radio bands such as 160, 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 10, and 6 meters have no calling frequency. Hence you are supposed to call CQ on any frequency and consequently establish a QSO on the same frequency as you called.

Happy DX-ing


Resolved: Hardware fail

Rackspace has worked fast and replaced the faulty hardware. Thank god for cloud servers. Chicago is back up after 20 minutes downtime.


We have received this message from RackSpace which is one of our service providers:

This message is to inform you that the host server your Cloud Server ‘HamSphere Chicago’ is on has suffered a hardware failure. We are in the process of troubleshooting this failure and we will need to take the host server offline to preserve data integrity. Once the issue has been resolved we will bring your Cloud Server back online. You will be notified once this has taken place.

Best Regards,
The Rackspace Cloud

WB7ECW Special card

Mike WB7ECW has created a special 32nd Anniversary card and he is going to be operating next Friday, May 18th, 2012, from 1432 to 1632 UTC. He will start on the 10M band, on a clear frequency near 28.450 Mhz.

Details can be found in his blog: []


HamSphere on Android

I have finally ordered the Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. It brings an entirely new look and feel to Android. Simple layouts with subtle animations and delightful flourishes make everything feel alive.

As soon as I get it I will start porting the HamSphere Java app to it. I’ll keep u posted.





Android questions

I am currently developing the HamSphere application for Android. I am developing it for the Android 4.0 operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) , but I realize I must make it backwards compatible with the older Android op systems like Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) that is the op system for the older phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S II (GT-I9100)

The Android phone I am currently using is the brand new SamSung Google Galaxy Nexus. It was released in the USA December 15, 2011. But there is apparently a firmware update for the Galaxy SII around the corner.

So bottom line, I need to set my developing system down to 2.3 before I continue writing code. It is basically the same thing, but HamSphere must be able to run on older devices so…

If you are interested in an Android Phone I can definitely recommend the Galaxy Nexus. It is very slick. Very fast. Screen is fantastic and the Android 4.0 op system feels great. Another detail is that they have removed the physical front button on the phone, so the screen feels bigger vertically. Also it goes hand in hand with Google at all times which makes it a very handy tool.


HamSphere on Android

LayOut managers

I have now explored the Android development suite a little more. As you may know, Android is purely based on Java.

The UI design is based on a quite clever XML based concept. But the LayOut management reminds me very much of the initial Java development back in 1996 when Java first saw its light. Actually the Android people have deprecated one of the most tempting Layout Managers called “AbsoluteLayout”. The reason why this manager is deprecated is that Android phones come in so many shapes and sizes. It is virtually impossible to make a “fixed pixel” application for a mobile phone, so I really do not understand why the fixed position Layout was there in the first place. OK, so what are the alternatives then?

The standard Layouts are:


FrameLayout is designed to display a single item at a time.  You can have multiple elements within a FrameLayout but each element will be positioned based on the top left of the screen.  Elements that overlap will be displayed overlapping.  I have created a simple XML layout using FrameLayout that shows how this works.


LinearLayout organizes elements along a single line.  You specify whether that line is verticle or horizontal using android:orientation


RelativeLayout lays out elements based on their relationships with one another, and with the parent container.  This is arguably the most complicated layout, and we need several properties to actually get the layout we want.


TableLayout organizes content into rows and columns.  The rows are defined in the layout XML, and the columns are determined automatically by Android.  This is done by creating at least one column for each element.  So, for example, if you had a row with two elements and a row with five elements then you would have a layout with two rows and five columns.

What Layout to choose for HamSphere?

I have been playing with all of the above, but the Layout Manager that feels the most tempting is the TableLayout. Howevere it may cause the app to look a bit “off” in some phones. The Relative Layout could possibly work if I use the frame outer edges as reference. We’ll see.


Debugging ready

Hi. After like 2 days of debugging I could pinpoint the problem to a mutex variable that was accessed outside a mutex lock = memory violation and failure.

Say that you have  a MUTUAL EXCLUSIVE variable called rmut in a multi threaded environment

Before you do an operation you invike mutex_lock then you do some stuff and finally unlock the variable.


…do something clever …


I realized that I had forgotten to lock one memory area in the logon procedure resulting in memory violation error.

Servers have been up for almost 48 hours without any stops. I think I have solved it.



Database replication

Today I gave up the useless mysql master/slave ring replication. It is unstable and totally unpredicatable. If it syncs out it is a living hell getting it back in sync.
Currently I am using one master, but aiming for a master / master replication between 2 servers for redundancy and divide the access from the radio servers to these.