Live Streams provide a console view of a Club Log callsign in real-time, including a map showing the location of the QSOs. Each time new QSOs are uploaded to Club Log, the Live Stream is automatically updated and a graphical indication of which bands are in use is presented to help DXers.
When used on its most sensitive setting (and the DX station uses software that supports Club Log real-time uploads), the updates will appear within 3 seconds of the QSO being logged.
A good Live Stream example (V31MA) looks like this:
The location of the DX station is signified with a purple circle:
The other points on the map are the locations of the stations that have been logged.
How to Enable Live Stream
Live Streams are disabled by default. The owner of the callsign must choose to enable the feature before it can be used.
Any Club Log user can use the Live Stream feature, by going to the Settings > Live Stream page in their account. The settings for each of your callsigns are listed in a table:
The options are:
- Enable Live Stream: switches the live stream on or off. Switching on takes effect immediately, but switching off takes a few minutes to complete.
- Show QSO Times: Whether to include QSO times in the QSO table. This should generally be disabled, especially on DXpedition logs, to preserve log security and QSLing ethics.
- Show QSO Frequencies: Whether to show the frequency logged. This will be the TX frequency (not the split frequency) of the QSO, so can generally be left enabled without security issues.
- Map Detail/Speed: The number of QSOs (markers) to include on the map, and how often the Live Stream will be updated. To have more frequent updates, you have to accept fewer markers. Note that the list of recent QSOs is always set to 30 and does not vary.
- Banner: If you wish, you can add a text banner to appear under the map. Only the last update is displayed. The maximum size of the banner is 500 characters.
When you have set your Live Stream options, don't forget to click "Update" to commit them to Club Log. You can then begin to use the Live Stream immediately.
Accessing a Live Stream page
The web address of the live stream is in this format:
(change CALLSIGN to your callsign)
You will see an error message if you try to access a Live Stream which has not been enabled by the owner of the callsign.
Note: you can try using the Live Stream page inside an iFrame (for example, on your expedition web site), but this is not recommended. You can't embed it on the popular QRZ.com site, due to security settings.
There is a colour scheme to highlight the time since the QSOs were logged, as follows:
|Time since QSO
|Up to 10 minutes
|Up to 1 hour
|Up to 3 hours
|Up to 12 hours
More recent QSOs (especially 'Green') have a larger marker circle on the map. The smallest dots are for QSOs that are 24 hours+ old. Looking at an example from V31MA: this station has been active on higher HF bands, and then moved to 40m. This map shows amber and dark green (older) QSOs that have been logged on 40m, but notice that the main band slot is lit bright green because there are also QSOs in the last 10 minutes on 40m.
The colour scheme and time frames above are subject to change, as this feature gets more real-world use.
Locators (and how to update the map locations)
Club Log uses a combination of the DXCC of the callsign, CQ zones, locations of capital cities, state capitals and the FCC callsign database to choose a latitude and longitude for each contact. However, these sources are often only approximate (and it can tend to mean that a lot of map pins can fall directly on top of each other).
If you are a Club Log user, you can set the precise locator for your station by going to the Settings > Locators menu in your account. This will move the map pin for any QSOs you make. The same method can be used to set the location of the DX station. The more users set their locator, the better the map quality for all Live Streams!
The Heart Beat
Club Log keeps in contact with every user that has a Live Stream page open, and pushes updates when changes occur. This means you need to have a constant connection to the internet. To help understand if your browser is connected, Club Log shows a health indicator, as follows.
|When the Live Stream is connected, you will see a heart icon and the last "ping" time. It will normally be within the last 30 seconds. This can vary with network load, so don't worry if it's a bit longer.
This is the normal state when everything's working correctly.
|If the connection is lost, you will see a red circle. This means your web browser has not been in contact with Club Log for a few minutes (which might mean there is an issue with the internet connection, or that Club Log's Live Stream server is restarting or unavailable).
You don't need to refresh the page. When the connection comes back, your browser will notice and recover.
If the connection is not allowed (meaning the callsign is either unknown or has not been enabled for use with Live Stream) then you will see a no entry icon.
You will not be able to use Live Stream with this callsign unless the settings are changed.
The rate is calculated across the last 10 QSOs in the log. If they are being logged in real time, this should give a meaningful indication. However, if the log mainly contains DXing QSOs separated by large periods of time, then expect the number to be zero! The rate units will adapt from QSOs/minute for busy stations, down to QSOs/day for less active logs.
The QSO Table
A record of the last 30 QSOs is displayed in a table on the right of the map. This table may include details of frequencies used or QSO times, but these will depend on the settings chosen by the owner of the log.
The most recent QSO is at the bottom of the list, number 01, to emulate the feel of a contest logger.
The order of the QSOs is intentionally like a DX Cluster (e.g. telnet), a paper log, contest logger or a teleprinter. The newest data emerges at the end of the list.
Software to help expeditions upload in real-time
Club Log has an optimised real-time upload gateway, built for Windows, Mac, Linux and ARM (Raspberry Pi devices). You can read more here: https://clublog.freshdesk.com/a/solutions/articles/3000093504. This tool is intended for expeditions (single op or multi-op) using DXLog, Win-Test or N1MM.
For users at home, just use the normal real-time features widely supported in logging software: https://clublog.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/53200-which-logging-software-supports-realtime-uploads-.
Who is using Live Streams right now?
You can see a list of the last 50 active Live Streams here : https://clublog.org/livestreams.php.
If you are integrating with a logging product or another web site, try the API (JSON) version: https://clublog.org/livestreams.php?api=1.
Live Stream uses WebSockets to communicate with the web browser in a persistent, bi-directional protocol. On the Club Log server, we have a central daemon which looks for QSOs changing in the log (this service applies various buffers and caches to prevent excessive load when a busy log is in active use).
Each time a change is ready to publish for a particular callsign, all of the connected clients watching that callsign receive updated information via a "push" of a JSON package to their WebSocket client. The user interface is then built from that data. When the number of pins is set to 1000, the average size of the JSON is 90KB. This is compressed, conservatively reducing it by 90% in most cases. The payload of an update for a map with the pin count set to 150 is around 1KB after compression.
We keep the connections alive using typical Ping/Pong message exchanges. The rate that the data itself is pushed is related to the number of map pins: the larger the data payload, the lower the update rate Club Log offers. For truly real-time users, a faster update rate is desirable, while normal DXing users probably want more map pins and a lower refresh speed.
WebSockets can go wrong. Very old browsers, or potentially web browsers using heavily shaped internet connections over satellite phones, will not do very well with WebSockets. As a result you may see a lot of lost connections or get only one page load, then nothing. As long as you upload QSOs to Club Log though, other users will be able to access the Live Stream from their connection.
The usefulness of the Live Stream increases significantly when the QSOs are being loaded either in true real time, or very close to real time. Club Log has various ways of implementing this. For developers - see: https://clublog.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/54906-how-to-upload-qsos-in-real-time. Please don't upload large numbers of small ADIF files and queue them up for processing; make sure you use the realtime.php API endpoint. Club Log will block misuse of the upload queue, so it's important to take note.
Feedback and ideas on the Live Stream feature can be submitted in the helpdesk. Thanks for reading!