GridTracker: A WSJT-X Mapping Program

Thanks to RTL-SDR.com reader Henry for letting us know about the release of a new piece of Windows software by Tag Loomis (N0TTL) called GridTracker. GridTracker is a live mapping program for WSJT-X which is a software decoder for low power weak signal ham communications modes such as FT8, JT4, JT9, JT65, QRA64, ISCAT, MSK144 and WSPR. Although these are low power modes, the protocols are designed such that even weak signals can potentially be received from across the world. Mapping the received signals can be interesting as it may give you an idea of current HF propagation conditions.

GridTracker is a Windows (XP or above) companion program for WSJT-X. It listens to WSJT-X or JTDX decodes and displays them on a map.

A great way to visualize communicating amateurs around the world!

Display on a large second monitor in your amateur radio club, hamfest or as a demonstration in a classroom. Everyone gets excited when they can see what you’re doing!

You can also load your ADIF log files from WSJT-X, Qrz.com, LoTW, PSKReporter and others to get a visual view of ‘stations worked’, stations that can hear you and more!

It might be an interesting project to set up a permanent GridTracker display using an RTL-SDR V3 in direct sampling mode, or RTL-SDR with upconverter. Low cost x86 single board PCs that can run Windows 10 such as the LattePanda, UP board or Udoo might be possible candidates for host hardware.

Henry warns us that the software is still new, so it may be a little buggy.

GridTracker Mapping out Weak Signal Communications.
GridTracker Mapping out Weak Signal Communications.

11 comments

  1. Steve

    I’ve been using this now for a few days and what a cool way to watch whats going on on the bands. Yes I do use JTAlert when operating and no, this can’t be used with JTAlert at the same time. WSJT-X uses multicast (I think thats what it’s called) to send UDP data. Many programs will use it and allow other programs to access the data (sorta what multicast is designed to do). The problem is JTAlert grabs and hangs onto the UDP port so that no other programs can use the UDP data. To be able to use the two together it would I can see where one of two things would need to happen, 1) JTAlert starts to use multicast UDP such that other programs can also read the data, or 2) WSJT-X sends the data out two UDP ports if possible.

    That said, Tag please keep up the work on this. This is a fantastic and fun program to watch run when I’m not making QSO’s with WSJT-X.

  2. atouk

    GridTracker updated.

    * UDP message forward support ( optionally forward messages to another IP:Port )
    * 6 character wide Maidenhead gridsquare support when loading ADIF log files
    * Load ADIF on startup changed to its own selectable file
    * WSJT-X and JTDX configuration aware
    * Complete overhaul of startup process
    * …

  3. Freddy

    Nice.. BUT … if u use JTALERT with WSJTX it doesnt work well.
    I use JTALERT to get QSO logged in the HRD Logbook.. and when i start the tracker it wont log the files anymore and there will be no data displayed in the tracker.

    • atouk

      The problem with JTALERT is that the UDP listening port is non-configurable. It tracks the active configuration of the WSJT-X UDP port. The next release of GridTracker has UDP forwarding to a user configurable IP:port so it can be setup as a “man in the middle.” But until JTALERT includes the ability to manually change the default port, configuration may be difficult.

  4. European ham

    Linux would be great! Let’s install it on a Raspberry Pi and just connect it to a monitor at your field day!

  5. Jon

    Interesting for offline usage, or folks who don’t have a license and can’t upload their data to pskreporter.info (which wsjt-x can do automagically). Would love to see a Linux version, which would open up the low-cost side of things even more.

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