DXMAPS.COM web site shows on maps or lists the most recent contacts and reception reports in the different amateur radio and SWL bands. It's aim is to provide a detailed but comprehensive view of the propagation conditions in real time.
When you browse DXMAPS for the fist time you will be presented with the default configuration values and you will get a page like the following. After you make your selections they will be stored in cookies so that next time you visit the site it can restore your configuration. If it doesn't keep your settings it can only be for two reasons:
1.- Presentation options:
Contacts and reports can be shown in several ways:
- On a map (most popular)
- On a list, similar to classic DX-Cluster programs
- On a band graph (time / frequency band scope)
- The Chat tab gives you access to a chat where you can communicate with other users what are also watching that selected band and area.
2.- Area selection:
These tabs allows the selection of the area you are interested in, or "World" for getting information from everywhere in the world.
3.- Create link/shortcut:
Some users like to add shortcuts in their browsers to a certain map or list. Clicking on the "heart" icon takes you a page where a link to the current page is created and shown, together with additional information about how linking works and its limitations.
4.- Band group selection:
Click on one of the two tabs to select the band group you are interested in. "LF - HF" for bands below 30 MHz and "VHF & up" for bands above 28 MHz. Notice that the 10 meter band , being it the frontier between HF and VHF, is shown in both band groups.
5.- Map type:
This is a Google Maps feature and you will possibly be familiar with it. It is not provided nor it depends on DXMAPS.
6.- Information window:
This is the area where additional information is shown when you click somewhere on the map or search information on a callsign, grid square, IOTA, etc. Depending on whether you click on a callsign or on blank area of the map the information shown can be different.
7.- Band selection:
These tabs allow you to select the band you are interested in and they are different depending on the band group you have selected.
For "VHF & UP" apart from the bands themselves there are also other tabs, like the VHF propagation ticker or the "MUF ES" option for showing an estimation of the current Sporadic-E MUF situation.
For ·"LF - HF" there is also and additional tab for the DX news ticker.
8.- Layer selection:
You can choose the maps to be overlaid with one of the following layers:
- Magnetic equator: Shows the location of the geomagnetic equator and tropics that affect north to south propagation and specially Transequatorial (TEP).
- Grey line: Shows the terminator line, useful for determining the areas where grey line propagation is possible, and also the area illuminated by the sun.
- Moon footprint: Shows the area where the Moon is currently visible, specially intended for those interested in EME. For more detailed Moon calculations you can use the on-line EME calculator.
- VOACAP prop (SP): For bands between 3 and 30 MHz it will show the estimated propagation situation from your location in the selected band by the Short Path. Dark areas mean that no propagation is expected. It requires that you are logged in, in order to know your location. Calculations are made using the VOACAP model and due to the huge amount of data calculated , transferred and drawn it will take a while until you get the overlay actually painted, not less than 15 or 20 seconds in the best of the cases (fast PC and fast internet connection). Good news is that this delay is only noticeable right when you select the option. If you leave the map open it will be updated automatically.
- VOACAP prop (LP): Same than the former layer, but for Long Path propagation.
- Aurora forecast: Shows the NOAA 30 min Aurora forecast. Source data belongs to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Colour codes are used to indicate the probability of visual aurora:
- Green: 20-50%
- Yellow: 50-70%
- Orange: 70-85%
- Red: 85-100%
- Time zones: Show the different time zones.
In order not to make the maps unreadable with too much information, layers are exclusive. This means that when you select a layer, the rest are deselected.
If you leave the map open, the layer will be redrawn automatically when there is an update. There is no need you press F5 or refresh the map manually.
9.- Options selection:
Here you can customize what information is shown on the maps/lists and how it is shown. You can select (tick) several options at the same time but you will possibly want to limit their number in order not to get the map overcrowded. To deselect an option simply click on it again. Selected options are indicated by the "tick" character.
- Only DX-Cluster: If this option is selected, only the spots which source is the DX-Cluster will be shown. Use it if you are not interested in automated reports as from the Reverse Beacon or WSPR Networks.
- Grid squares: Shows the grids squares / locators. The level of detail (2 or 4 character squares) adapts automatically depending on the zoom level chosen.
- Grid squares thin: Same that the above, but lines and grid squares names are thinner.
- Prefixes: Show the most usual amateur radio prefixes of each DXCC entity.
- Continents: Show the continental boundaries, according to the WAC (Worked all continents) award.
- Labels: Show geographical names on the maps. This is a feature of Google Maps and the level of detail depends on the Zoom Level.
- Callsigns: Show the callsigns of the stations involved in the contacts/reports shown on the maps.
- Small map: Shows a smaller map canvas, for users with low resolution monitors, tablets, etc.
- Only last 15 min: Only the reports of the last 15 minutes will be shown, instead of the last 60 min.
- Only > 2600 km / 1600 mi: Only the reports above 2600km (aprox. 1600 mi) will be shown.
The options "Only DX-Cluster" and "Only > 2600 km" affect both the maps and lists. The rest only apply to the maps.
Allows you to filter by the mode or modes that you are interested in (CW, Phone, Digital). If you have selected band group "VHF & up" it also allows to filter by the propagation modes you are interested to track (Aurora, EME, MS, Tropo, etc.)
B.- Filter and Search input box:
This is an input box where to enter a text (callsign, locator, IOTA, etc) you want to filter or search (see below)
C.- Filter by callsign:
Enter a callsign in B and click this icon to set a filter by it. Only spots / reports containing that callsign will be shown both in the maps and lists. Use it to see your spots, or who is spotting you. Another use is, for instance, to see who is working, or in which bands, a certain DXpedition.
When filtering is enabled the icon will show a red tick and the input box will be disabled. Click on the icon again to disable the filtering.
D.- Search callsign, etc:
Enter the text that you want to search/locate in B and click this icon to start the search. You can search a callsign, a grid square, an IOTA reference (format XX-NNN) or even a geographical name (town, province, island name, etc.).
When search mode is enabled the icon will show a red tick and the input box will be disabled. Click on the icon again to disable the search mode and go back to the normal map.
E.- Map / List:
This is the area where the map/list will be shown, depending on the option you select.
You can drag and zoom in and out the maps as you do with any other Google Maps. Your customized visible area will be stored for each map area in cookies, so that next time you visit DXMAPS you won't have to configure it again.
You can also right-click on the map and a pop-up menu will appear with some options/functions (in tablets you can click on the map with your finger and keep the pressing for a couple of seconds to simulate the right-click of a mouse)
Notice that the show/hide options are for temporary use. For selecting the option permanently you have to do it with the layer/options selections (see 8 and 9)
You can click on a callsign on the map to get more detailed information and links regarding it. If you click anywhere else you will get more information on that location in the Information Window (6). Clicking on a callsign can be cumbersome until you get used to it. Place the end of the index finger of the hand cursor near the middle of the callsign and then click.
F.- Propagation indexes and space weather:
Most recent Solar Flux, A and K values, and Space Weather forecast.