Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Android App: WiFi Predator Caller

With the winter trapping and hunting, we've been using a hacked "weasel-ball" toy that we can control over Wi-Fi, and a cheap bluetooth speaker for playing predator calls.

There are a lot of calling apps on Google Play, but we wanted one that was simplified and could play ANY call we wanted.  Also wanted to control the weasel-ball (more about that one later).  Most important: NO advertisements and NO in-app purchases.  I think those two factors ruin most of my app usage.

So, here is the app and how to use it.  It will be on Google Play soon as we get the images done.  There is also a FaceTube video demonstrating it here:

The two buttons at the top send Wi-Fi messaging to the decoy, turning it on/off and also lighting a LED on/off for low-light conditions.

The main body of the app displays all the MP3 files in the specified folder, so I can upload all my own calls into the phone.  To play one (or multiple), simply select the filename.  To stop it at any time, touch it again.

The textbox at the bottom is simply the Wi-Fi message sent to the decoy.  Touching the "Send" button sends it, obviously.  We left this message exposed so a user can customize the message to use with ANY other hardware device out there.  There are more and more decoys available, and most do NOT have remote control capability.  It is pretty easy (and cheap) to make them remote control, so I expect we'll see more of them with remote options.  You are carrying your phone already, so why have extra hardware like remote controls?

Simple menu options - the first is "Random Action" which does just that - randomly turns the decoy and LED on/off.

The Settings menu option gives these items.

The command #1 is whatever message you want to send to the Target IP (also specified below).  When you connect to any Wi-Fi device (and that means ANY device), you put in its IP address and then what command you want to send it when you push the first (Snoopy) button.  The 2nd command, "Command #2" is the other message to send to the Wi-Fi when the Snoopy button is UNselected.  Pretty easy.

So in this case, when I push the Snoopy button, i send the Wi-Fi device at "" the message "GPION" to turn the decoy on.  Pushing the Snoopy button the 2nd time sends the command "GPIOFF" and turns off the decoy.  Easy Peasy.

Ignore the Target ID value - it is for our control of cameras and other hardware while we hunt.  Future app releases will make use of this.

The final textbox is where you specify the location of your MP3 files on the phone.  You can change this as you want.

Pretty simple and that is the way we like it.

NO advertisements!  These adds in all the apps now really are annoying and distracting, especially with fat fingers during a hunt.

NO in-app purchases!  Heaven forbid you accidentally click on an add during a hunt...

Regarding the hardware...

The bluetooth speaker we often use is an inexpensive, waterproof model you can find on eBay for ~$5USD.  They are fairly loud at ~80dB and easy to recharge with a phone's cable.  Keep 3 or 4 of them with you, and scatter them about the field to misdirect the quarry.  To connect and use the speaker, use the phone's Bluetooth settings to connect.  Then, any sound from the phone is directed to the speaker.  BE SURE TO PUT THE PHONE IN PLANE-MODE!!!  A phone ringtone will scuttle the hunt quick ;-)

Connecting to the Wi-Fi controller is similar - use the phone's Wi-Fi settings to scan for your device then attach to it.

Here the decoy is called "BaitTender" because I'm also using it as a decoy at trapping spots.  A cheap PIR detector senses a dog within a wide perimeter, and activates the decoy and call to bring them closer.

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