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VarAC V9.1.0 is here!

With EmComm mode, Vmail templates/forms, Auto ALC per band, frequency hint, Log4OM lookup, Hamlib support, 2m/70cm Calling frequencies and much more!



Hello fellow VarACiers!

 

We're excited to unveil a plethora of surprises in this latest Version update. However, amidst the multitude of enhancements, there are several significant announcements we're eager to share.

 

VarAC has solidified its position as a primary EmComm platform, serving various groups for over two years. It's increasingly recognized as the benchmark, not only within the amateur radio community but also among non-amateur radio EmComm organizations.

 

At VarAC, we don't settle for being just another participant; we aspire to lead the way.

 

That's why today, we're delighted to introduce the "VarAC EmComm mode." Activating this mode transforms your familiar Daily-Fun-VarAC into a powerful EmComm tool. But what exactly does this entail?

Let's delve into the details of the new EmComm mode and explore the myriad other features included in VarAC V9.


📢 Introducing: EmComm Mode

 

At the top right corner, you'll notice the "Mode" dropdown menu. Now, you can effortlessly switch between Simple, Advanced, and our latest addition - EmComm.

 

The EmComm mode introduces several features tailored to emergency communication:

 

  • Special EmComm Beacons: Your beacons will stand out in red, clearly indicating an EmComm station for improved visibility among VarAC users.

  • EmComm VMail Templates (Forms): Compose VMail using predefined templates in ICS style, or customize your own templates by editing the "VarAC_templates.ini" file.

  • VMail Reply with Original Message: Include the complete received VMail in your reply for better context.

  • Minimum 5-Minute Beacon Interval: Reduce your HF beacon time to a minimum of 5 minutes while in EmComm mode.

  • Streamlined Main Screen Layout: Unnecessary buttons, such as the QSO Log, are removed to provide a cleaner interface, as all contacts are automatically logged in the background.

  • Printing VMails: Easily print VMails with the newly added PRINT button.  

It's worth noting that the Alert tags and Alert Center, which have been available for over a year now, remain essential features in every EmComm operation.

 

If you haven't explored the VarAC EmComm page and the VarAC EmComm tactical guide yet, we encourage you to visit the designated page.

 

Below are some screenshots showcasing these latest EmComm-related enhancements:


EmComm Mode and Beacons


Printing VMail



VMail templates/Forms & Load original VMail


Rest assured, we are committed to further developing and investing in EmComm features.

 

Now, let's shift our focus away from EmComm and explore the array of other new features.


📢 Introducing: Auto Audio level per band

 

This update is specifically for users with a VARA license. You're probably aware that you can conduct a TUNE operation and adjust the VARA modem audio level directly from the VarAC console.

 

However, we're introducing another exciting feature today. With VarAC V9, the software will now remember the last audio level you selected for each band. So when you switch bands, the audio level will automatically adjust to its previous state for that band.

 

If you prefer not to use this feature, you can easily disable it in the settings.

 

VARA Auto audio level per band



📢  Introducing: Frequency hints

 

Recall the frequency dropdown?

Now, it can also display the corresponding frequency information.

 

Hence, when you're adding your own frequencies to the "VarAC_frequencies.conf" file, you can now include this additional detail:

 

14.108.750|Sunday roundtable

 

Frequency hints


📢  Introducing: 2m/70cm calling frequencies

 

The updated VarAC now includes four additional recommended frequencies in the "VarAC_frequencies.conf" file:

 

  • 144.170.000 - 2m SSB

  • 144.950.000 - 2m FM

  • 432.550.000 - 70cm SSB

  • 439.600.000 - 70cm FM


📢 Introducing: Auto Log4OM callsign lookup

 

For all Log4OM enthusiasts, activating this new feature will automatically trigger a callsign lookup in your Log4OM application upon connecting to a VarAC station.

 

Please remember that you'll also need to enable this feature within Log4OM itself. Further details can be found HERE.

 

And in case you're wondering, we're considering expanding this feature to other QSO loggers as well.


Log4OM auto callsign lookup



📢  Introducing: Hamlib (Rigctld) support

 

Finally, VarAC now offers compatibility with Hamlib by utilizing the rigctld TCP-based daemon. You can configure this option within the settings menu.


Hamlib-Rigctld configuration


📢 Introducing: QSY sniffer timer

 

To incentivize users to invest more time in QSY sniffing before sending a QSY invitation, a small countdown progress bar will now appear upon sniffing the QSY frequency.

 

QSY Sniffer timer


📢  Introducing: Spanish and French UI

 

Our beloved friends EA3OG and F1SKF have generously devoted their time to enable VarAC UI support in Spanish and French. You can now find both options available in the languages dropdown menu within the appearance settings.


But wait, there's more! Check out this comprehensive list of all the exciting new features and enhancements in VarAC V9:

New Features summary:

  1. QSY Sniffer Timer - Displays a progress bar to encourage longer sniffing time before QSY/CQ.

  2. Automatic Log4OM Callsign Lookup upon connection. (Find new settings under settings -> Logging)

  3. Hamlib-Rigctld (TCP) support.

  4. Automatic settings of VARA audio level per band (For VARA licensed users only).

  5. New UI language support: Spanish (by EA3OG), French (by F1SKF).

  6. Frequency Hints - Add a text to a frequency in the drop-down frequency list.

  7. Official 2m & 70cm calling frequencies.

  8. New EmComm Mode:

  • Special EmComm beacon for better visibility on receiving stations.

  • EmComm VMail Templates (Forms) - ICS style messages.

  • Minimum 5 minutes beacon interval.

  • Slightly different main screen layout - removing non-EmComm related features/buttons.

  • Printing VMails.


Enhancements/Changes

  • SA (South America) included in the special CQ options.

  • Disabled PTT feature is now more prominently displayed.

  • VarAC screen can now be downsized to 870 x 520 pixels to accommodate smaller screens.

  • Tooltips added on callsigns in the broadcasts window, providing information such as name, QTH, country, etc.

  • VMail receiving frequency is now stored and displayed.

  • New button added when replying to a VMail, allowing the full original message to be loaded into the composing section.

  • VMail form can now be resized to compose large messages in EmComm mode.

  • Pathfinder usage limited to one per minute to prevent spamming.

 

To upgrade from an existing VarAC version:

  1. Download the VarAC Installer and run it.

  2. Select the current folder where your VarAC resides.

  3. The installer will keep your existing settings and history.

  4. VarAC will ask you to upgrade your VARA modem to the latest version (if you haven't done so already)

 

If you prefer the traditional method, we've got you covered as always with a ZIP package (see link below the download button) but please note that this version requires to also deploy 2 additional files:

  • VarAC_templates.ini

  • VarAC_frequencies.conf

 

 

Just reminding you all that we are always there for you on our Forum, our Facebook group, and also on our Telegram group.

 

Our esteemed team member Pat ON2AD, is delighted to present the V9.1.0 user manual. You can access it by clicking HERE.

 

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our Beta team & Translators for their outstanding contributions. The Beta team has invested their time to ensure a seamless VarAC experience for you, while our translators have diligently worked to offer the VarAC experience in over 11 languages.

 

73,

Irad 4Z1AC & the VarAC team.  





Bug fixes

  • Fixed typos all around

  • Narration of path finder requests & replies did not work correctly

  • BeaconGraceTimeSeconds parameter did not affect frequency change made by the "frequency scheduler"

  • OmniRig tests under settings did not work.

  • Connecting old CQ, when choosing "no - connect on the CF" it still moved to the slot.

  • Change Profile screen showed the UI language file "VarAC_UI_languages.ini" as a VarAC profile


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