KComm has a built-in DX Cluster client that displays "spots" on the international DX Cluster network, checks the log to see if they are new countries or otherwise of interest, and lets you tune instantly to the spot frequency by double-clicking the entry.
Before you can use the DX Cluster client you must set it up in the DX Cluster Settings.
The DX Cluster window is opened by clicking the DX Cluster button on the status bar. The client will connect to the DX Cluster server that you selected, and then start displaying new spots as they are reported.
The format will be familiar to anyone who has used the DX Cluster before, with one exception. KComm checks the log to see whether the DX is a new country, prefix etc. and replaces any comment that may have been made by the spotter with this information. The original comment is only displayed if the DX is otherwise unremarkable. This functionality can be overridden if preferred, and the original comment always displayed, using an option in the DX Cluster Settings.
The status bar of the DX Cluster window shows information about the last DX to be spotted, such as the country name, continent, CQ and ITU zone, distance and beam heading. This information is also displayed (until overwritten by the next new spot to be received) for any entry you click on.
To QSY to the frequency shown in a spot, double-click on that entry. KComm will try to guess whether the mode is CW, data or phone, and select the appropriate mode, according to the frequency.
If you are only interested in seeing spots for a particular band or mode, you can select this by ticking the check boxes marked for those bands and modes. Again, KComm tries to guess the mode from the frequency. The All bands and All modes check boxes make it easy to set or clear all the band or mode check boxes.
KComm also allows you to filter DX Cluster spots by region. You can show only the spots made by spotters within a certain distance of your QTH.
Status bar icons
The status bar of the DX Cluster window contains several icons. These are (from left to right):
- Pin icon. Click this to keep the DX Cluster window on top of the main KComm window.
- Speech icon. Click this to send a spot to the DX Cluster.
- Notepad icon. Click this to open a window that displays any start-up message sent by the DX Cluster when you log on. It is good practise to check this in case there are any important messages from the DX Cluster operator. If you have trouble receiving spots from the cluster then this window may also contain error messages.
- Window control button. Use this to alternately show or hide the filter check boxes.
Sending a spot
To send a spot to the cluster, click the speech icon to open the Send Spot window.
Ideally, you should send the spot before you click the Save button to save the contact to the log. KComm can then take the frequency, call and QTH locator from the log fields.
If you have logged a QTH locator for the contact, then you may optionally select a propagation mode from the drop-down list. This will then insert a comment containing the locators at each end of the contact and the propagation mode, formatted in a way that can be used by DX Sherlock at vhfdx.net. This information is very useful for VHF propagation analysis and prediction.
You may edit the Comment field if you wish, or it may simply be left blank. Then click Send to send the spot to the cluster.