Sunday, January 12, 2014

Terminator - Android App

Several years ago I found myself writing applications for the Android platform as part of the professional side of my life. My original career path was software development, which I abandoned after several years to switch my career track towards business and management roles in high tech. I reentered the software world with reluctance. But in business you often do things because you have to, not because you want to.

I have several published apps at this time, most of which I wrote either as personal training or out of personal interest. The business apps I wrote are separate from this activity, none of which has been published. Over a year ago I decided to develop an app that I wanted to facilitate my resurgent interest in amateur radio. That application is titled Terminator. Like all my personal apps I published it under the umbrella of one of my businesses: FullQuieting Inc.

After using it myself for many months I decided it was time to make it public. This fall I polished it up and got out the last (I hope) of the bugs and published it on Google Play over the holidays. Since app discovery is a challenge for any smartphone app nowadays I am engaging in some shameless self-promotion in this post. This is only to increase awareness, not enrich myself. The app is free and ad-free, and will stay that way.


The app is not dissimilar to some others, although I haven't seen one for Android with the set of features that appeal to my DX needs. It was also an opportunity to experiment with some heavy duty real-time graphics.

The features of the app that are most oriented toward amateur radio and DXing include:
  • At a glance view of night, day and terminator around the globe. This gives a strong hint of which bands and compass directions to focus on for best results.
  • You can "drag" the shadow to see where the shadow and terminator at any chosen time of day. The reset button at the upper left returns the view to real time.
  • The date up and down buttons (week or month) do the same but for other times of the year. The reset button returns the view to real time.
  • Enable grid squares in the Settings (lower right button). This is used for manual entry of your location, if you like, and will also show the grid when you touch the location icon on the map. You can see where that it is focussed on FN25bi, which is where I am. If you don't know your grid square, the device's GPS is used to find your location, and you can discover your grid square and sub-square.
  • Also in Settings you can set the time format to UTC (z).
  • In the Layers screen (lower left button) you can select a world map labelled with country prefixes. It is best to to set the shadow to "light" so that the map is easily read for areas where it is nighttime.
  • Touch the sun icon to get the sunrise and sunset times for your location. Pressing for ~1 second and the current solar indices and solar image are retrieved. This data -- flux, A, K -- is from the WWV report.
As I said above, I know that this is shameless self-promotion. However, the app is free and ad-free so I am not feeling guilty writing this post. If you like it, use it. One of the challenges of mobile app development is app discovery: there are hundreds of thousands of apps out there so even many good apps are simply not found by people who would like them. If it does get popular I may add more features.

This is my sole attempt at marketing this app. You can find it on Google Play on your Android phone or tablet. Just search for apps by FullQuieting and download.

I'll get back to 40 meter loops in my next article.

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