We had our first autox event since replacing AXware yesterday. Light rain during registration and an unexpected downpour just as the first car was pulling up to the starting line made us relocate our electronics in a hurry, but we managed to pull it off operating T&S from the cab of my pickup.
My wife worked the day as car queuer, at first from her smartphone but later changed to her notebook. I did cone counter and timer all day from my notebook, with a tablet computer on the steering column displaying the timing role and tabs on the computer to the cone counter, registration, and chrono screens. We tried to run multiple cars spaced about 20 seconds apart (our usual event pace) at first, but the challenges of the new software combined with wet fingers and touchscreens made us slow down the pace to one car at a time for the first two runs until everything dried out and she was more comfortable with the CQ screen. After that, we ran the rest of the day at normal pace, and I even had time (with cars running!) to check the live.axti.me web site from a spare smartphone to verify that the uplink was working.
My recommendation for anyone else going into your first event or with a new CQ person is to keep the pace slow for the first run or two. As they get comfortable, bump the pace at the start line up. Despite my hopes to the contrary, there is a little learning curve, and a 20-second start pace is prone to missing cars until the CQ person gets settled in.
As I probably mentioned in another thread, we ran the past 10+ years on AXware and one of their AXWRATS wired timing systems. When we bought the Farmtek wireless stuff last fall, I was surprised to find out that the world did not come to an end with missed/false trips like some FUD marketing implied would happen. I'm mentioning this because yesterday's event was the first time that I've ever been to an autox in my 20 years of experience with multiple clubs that an entire event ran WITHOUT ONE RE-RUN FOR ANY REASON! Keep in mind that we were running out of my pickup cab, with the stubby Farmtek antenna on the timer box, a cell phone right next to it tethered to the T&S computer on 2.4 Ghz and uploading via LTE, a wifi access point broadcasting both 2.4 and 5 Ghz signals, three computers running over 5 Ghz wifi, and two FRS radios coordinating cones and every car number as it pulled up to the starting line . If there were going to be RF interference problems, this was the ultimate torture test. The fact that the CQ interface (and software in general) was so easy to use that we didn't even miss a car in staging was just icing on the cake. I'm sure that it is purely coincidence that such a milestone was reached without AXware being in the loop.
The only glitch that we had all day was that our big RaceAmerica scoreboard did not work. I did not have it at home to test before the event, so we went into the event knowing that it was a crap shoot for whether the Y cable that I bought would work with it or not. With the rain, I didn't have a chance to test it before the event started, and I told anyone complaining about it not working to just connect to the event wifi and see their run times. On the way home after the event, I realized that I forgot to enable the display in the AXti.me settings screen. D'oh!!!
Regarding the event wifi access, it was strange to see drivers standing around the trailer staring at smartphone screens and not asking for times to be printed/posted once word spread about the new system and how to connect. Even the techophobes in our club were impressed with our entry into the 21st century. I did not promote or point anyone toward live.axti.me to see the OLR feature, since I wasn't sure that I could keep the LTE link running all day (which I did). For the next autox event, I am going to have some waterproof :-) posters made up with instructions to connect to the event wifi or use live.axti.me, and push live.axti.me on our web site for those who can't make the event.
Do you want to know what the saddest thing about this whole experience is? That Chris still hasn't finished the Rallycross mode support, and our next club event at the end of July is a Rallycross which I'll have to run from AXware..... :-(