HamSked Beta V0.5.1

 

Download HamSked Now

 

1         Table of Contents

 

1    Table of Contents.................................................................................................. 1

2    Introduction........................................................................................................... 1

3    System Requirements............................................................................................. 2

4    Setting up Mozilla Calendar................................................................................... 2

5    Installing HamSked................................................................................................ 3

6    Uninstalling HamSked............................................................................................ 3

7    Main Screen.......................................................................................................... 3

8    File Menu.............................................................................................................. 3

8.1    Select Calendar file....................................................................................... 3

8.2    Exit HamSked............................................................................................... 3

9    View Menu........................................................................................................... 3

9.1    Refresh......................................................................................................... 3

10  Tools Menu........................................................................................................... 4

10.1  Time Converter............................................................................................. 4

10.2  Options......................................................................................................... 4

10.2.1  Always On Top................................................................................... 4

10.2.2  Show ToolTips.................................................................................... 4

10.2.3  Show Missed Events........................................................................... 4

10.2.4  UTC/Local Radio Button..................................................................... 4

11  Help Menu............................................................................................................ 5

11.1  Contents....................................................................................................... 5

11.2  About HamSked........................................................................................... 5

12  Specifying a Ham Event in the Calendar File........................................................... 5

13  The Alarm Box...................................................................................................... 5

13.1  Setting the Frequency and Mode of your radio............................................... 5

13.2  Snoozing....................................................................................................... 5

14  Credits.................................................................................................................. 5

15  Copyright and Disclaimer....................................................................................... 6

 

2         Introduction

HamSked is a scheduler program that gets it’s input from a Mozilla Calendar file produced by the calendar plug in for FireFox and produces event alarms to remind of pending events. It may work with other calendar programs that adhere to the iCalendar standard; however, to date it has only been tested with Mozilla Calendar. If you find that it works with another calendar file that is based on the iCalendar standard please notify the author at rich@w3zj.com, or if it doesn’t work please be so kind as to notify the author where to get a copy of the calendar program and attach a copy of your calendar file.

 

HamSked was developed specifically for use by Amateur Radio Operators (hams). It contains one killer feature that allows hams to control their radios from data in the calendar file. However, even if you are not a ham, HamSked is still quite useful. Here are a few of the most important features:

 

·        Starts when you boot your computer and runs in the background so that you can be notified of pending events whether or not Mozilla Calendar is running.

·        Updates itself automatically whenever the calendar file is modified in Mozilla Calendar.

·        Optionally notifies you of missed events that may have occurred while your computer was turned off.

·        Optionally allows you to record ham events in UTC while keeping the remainder of your calendar in local time.

·        Optionally displays Tool Tips on every control that should make this help file almost unnecessary.

·        Provides a snooze capability so that you can reschedule an event for a later time.

·        Allows you to sort your event list by either title or event time in ascending or descending order.

·        Provides a handy tool for converting time from local time to Universal Coordinated Time (also sometimes called UTC, GMT or Zulu time) and Visa Versa.

·        Interacts with Commander by Dave Bernstein, AA6YQ, to set the frequency and mode of a wide variety of radios from data stored in the calendar.

 

3         System Requirements

HamSked will run on any version of Microsoft widows that supports and has installed .Net Framework 1.1 or later. .Net Framework is standard on all recent releases of Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP2. Free downloads are available for older Windows operating systems dating back to Windows 98 from Microsoft’s download site. If you are running an earlier version of Windows, it’s long past time for an upgrade.

 

4         Setting up Mozilla Calendar

Before you run HamSked for the first time FireFox and the Mozilla Calendar plug in must be installed and a calendar file must be created with at least a few alarm events in it. Start with some common repeating events such as your wife’s birthday, your anniversary, Mothers day (the second Sunday in May) etc. You may also want to put in the date when your ham license is due for renewal and have it repeating every 10 years.

 

Mozilla Calendar will create a default calendar file in your Applications Data folder. On Windows XP that folder is in:

 

C::\Documents and Settings\<your user name>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\lpyrkc3r.default\Calendar\CalendarDataFile.ics

 

Note that some of those folders such as “Application Data” are hidden folders and you will have to configure windows explorer to show hidden folders before you can see it.

 

The exact location may vary on other versions of Windows. In any case, that pathname is a mind boggler and you are going to need it when you start HamSked for the first time. Therefore, I recommend that you do not use the default calendar file but create a custom calendar file of your own and put it in a place that’s easier to find such as your “My Documents” folder. You can do this in Mozilla Calendar from the “Preferences” menu.

 

One other thing you will probably want to do is to turn off the alarm box display in Mozilla Calendar. Otherwise when you run HamSked and Mozilla Calendar at the same time you will wind up with two alarms for each event.

 

That’s all we are going to say here about Mozilla Calendar, there is a help plug in for it available at https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=511

5         Installing HamSked

Download HamSked from the software section of http://www.w3zj.com/. Place the “HamSked Setup.msi” file in any convenient folder and click to run it. The installation program will guide you through the complete installation. If you are installing an upgrade of HamSked, you must uninstall the previous version before the new version can be installed. After installation you can reboot if you wish to start HamSked for the first time; however, there is no need to reboot. You will find a shortcut to HamSked in “Start->All Programs->Startup” just go there and click to start it. When you do reboot, HamSked will start automatically.

 

6         Uninstalling HamSked

To uninstall HamSked go to “Add/Remove Programs” in the Windows control panel, find and highlight HamSked, then click the button to remove it.

 

7         Main Screen

The very first time you run HamSked it will bring up an “Open File” dialog where you must choose an existing Mozilla Calendar file as described above under “Setting up Mozilla Calendar”. Once you have selected your calendar file, HamSked will remember it and won’t ask again.

 

With the exception of the first time you run it, HamSked does not open a window when it starts. Rather it places a small clock like Icon in the Notification Tray on the right hand side of your task bar. To open the main window, left click (once) on the Icon. Here you will see the list of upcoming events and be able to configure all of the HamSked options.

 

8         File Menu

8.1 Select Calendar file

When this item is selected an open file dialog box will appear. If you wish to change to a new calendar file, select the name of another existing calendar file to open. Calendar files have an .ics extension. See the section on “Setting Up Mozilla Calendar” for details on where to find your calendar file.

8.2 Exit HamSked

This is the only way to completely close HamSked. Clicking the X in the upper left corner of the title bar will only close the window but HamSked will continue to run in the Icon tray. Right clicking the tray Icon will show a duplicate of the File menu so you can exit HamSked without opening the main window.

 

9         View Menu

9.1 Refresh

Clicking Refresh will cause HamSked to re-read the calendar file and completely refresh the main window.  Since HamSked does this automatically when needed it should really never be necessary to click Refresh.  If you find that you do need to click “Refresh” at some point to resolve a problem please report the details to rich@w3zj.com .

 

10    Tools Menu

10.1   Time Converter

While ham events can be entered in the calendar in UTC as described below, it’s less confusing to keep all calendar events in local time. Time Converter is a very simple but handy tool that will help you make the time conversion calculation quickly and accurately. However, in order for it to work correctly the computer must be properly configured for the local time zone and daylight savings time. As you know President Bush has recently signed a bill into law that changes the rules for the start and end dates of daylight savings time in the United States. However, that doesn’t take effect until 2007 and by that time Microsoft will have undoubtedly provide an update for it. So, if your area uses DST be sure to check the box indicating automatic handling of daylight savings time when you configure your time zone in the Windows control panel.

 

To use “Time Converter”, enter either a local or a UTC time in the appropriate box and the other time will be instantly displayed. Move between the hours and minutes displays using the right and left arrow keys on your keyboard and use the up and down arrow keys to select an hour or minute. Be aware that the date changes at midnight. So, if the two times straddle midnight or one of the times equals 00:00, the two values will represent times on different dates.

10.2   Options

10.2.1            Always On Top

Indicates whether or not HamSked windows should always be displayed on top of

other windows. This setting does not affect the alarm box or other dialog boxes such as “Options” and “Time Converter”. The alarm box and other dialog boxes will always be displayed on top regardless of the “Always on Top” setting.

10.2.2             Show ToolTips

ToolTips are the little yellow boxes that pop up when your mouse curser hovers over an active control. They provide little help tips about the object under the cursor. After you become familiar with the operation of HamSked you may find ToolTips annoying instead of helpful. Thus, this option provides a way to turn them off.

10.2.3             Show Missed Events

HamSked keeps track of the upcoming events that were active at the time you shut it down or turned off your computer, this includes snoozing events. Even if your computer crashes for some reason, HamSked should still be able to track missed events. When HamSked is restarted it will normally pop up alarm boxes immediately to warn of any events that were missed while you were away. If you find this to be a nag, you can uncheck this item to turn off the display of missed events.

10.2.4             UTC/Local Radio Button

Since the times for most ham schedules and contests involve people operating from varying time zones, they are usually given in UTC. Thus, HamSked provides the ability to enter ham events in UTC even when non-ham events are recorded in local time. To activate this feature, check the UTC button, otherwise just leave it at “Local Time” and convert your ham events to local time before entering them into the calendar. To be sure this is done accurately, your can use the “Time Converter” to help you. Note that this feature can only work properly when your computer is configured for your local time zone. If your computer is configured to show UTC, then leave this radio button set at “Local Time” and be sure to enter all calendar events in UTC.

 

11    Help Menu

11.1   Contents

Selecting this item will bring up a copy of this help file in your default browser. Note this file is on your local machine so you do not need to be connected to the Internet to use it.

11.2   About HamSked

Selecting this item brings up the usual about box describing this application. The current version number of the application can always be found here.

 

12    Specifying a Ham Event in the Calendar File

To specify a ham event in the calendar file, enter the following two special items into the description area of the event:

FREQ=XXXX MHz and MODE=XXX. Where the X’s are replaced by the actual values. Frequency must be in MHz and MODE must be one that is acceptable to Commander for your particular model radio. You can put anything else you like in the description just as long as those two items are there somewhere. They are not case sensitive so you can enter Freq=xxxx etc.

 

13    The Alarm Box

Whenever it becomes time for an event to occur the “Alarm Box” will automatically pop up on your screen. It will be on top of all other windows so that you can’t miss it. To dismiss it, you must either click “OK” to acknowledge the event or set it to snooze for a specified period of time as described below.

13.1   Setting the Frequency and Mode of your radio

If you have entered a frequency and mode in the description area of your calendar as directed in “Specifying A Ham Event in the Calendar File” and Commander is running on your computer, the “SetRig” button will be activated in the alarm box. Just click the “SetRig” button and watch your radio respond. If Commander is not running when the “Alarm Box” pops up the “SetRig” button will be grayed out. Just start Commander and when it comes up the “SetRig” button will be activated.

 

13.2   Snoozing

If you are not quite ready to be interrupted by an alarm you may want to delay taking action on it and be reminded again later. This is especially true if you specified in the calendar that the alarm be given some period of time before the event actually occurs. To snooze for a number of minutes, select the number of minutes and click snooze. If you want to snooze for hours or days, select the time units and then choose a number of hours or days. This is useful for events such as birthdays where you might want to be notified days ahead of time in order to have time to make preparations such as getting a greeting card or buying a gift.

 

14    Credits

If it weren’t for the suggestion made by Kevin der Kinderan, KJ4QF on the DXLab reflector, HamSked would not exist. Many thanks Kevin. If it were not for Dave Bernstein, AA6YQ’s excellent radio control program, Commander, HamSked would have no rig control. Dave was also very helpful in providing the information needed to interface with his program via Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE). In addition, a search of Microsoft’s Code Project forum produced an article by Wesner Moise that provided the C# source code for a set of classes designed to provide access the Win32 Application Interface from a C# .NET program. These classes made the DDE interface far easier to implement than it would have been otherwise.

 

15    Copyright and Disclaimer

HamSked is Copyright ©Richard B Drake (W3ZJ) all rights reserved. It is offered free to individuals for their personal use at home. Commercial use is strictly forbidden.

 

Use at your own risk, Richard B Drake accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any damages that may occur as the result of using HamSked.