Great new toy

Last Friday I received a package with a great new toy for my shack.

It's an IBM Customer Display used with cash registers in shops. The display is a VFD type with 2x20 characters and suitable for displaying much more than the amount of money you'll have to pay in shops.

The VF Display is connected via a serial cable to the PC and can be controlled via software like LCD Smartie. With that, a lot of information can be displayed, mostly related to your PC health and RSS feeds. But the information you would want to know in your shack is quite something else.

I got the display as a present from Tomas OK4BX and I'm him very thankful for this great present! Tomas wrote a Perl script for displaying live DX Cluster spots on the VF Display. And it's working great! The Perl script connects to a telnet DX Cluster and puts all the spots on the display in real time. On the first row the frequency, spotter prefix and DX callsign are displayed. The bottom row shows the comment.

The display can be viewed even from outside of my shack and gives information about the DX spots and current conditions. So even when I'm not in my shack I can react on DX spots!

More information can be found on the website of Tomas OK4BX and his father.