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SmartSDR v1.1 available on time and exceeding promised feature set

Steve-N5AC Community Manager admin
edited December 2016 in SmartSDR for Windows
FlexRadio Systems is pleased to announce the availability of SmartSDR v1.1.  SmartSDR v1.1 for both the FLEX-6500 and FLEX-6700 contains a wealth of new features - a number of which are over and above those promised in the public roadmap.  In the installation package are the release notes which have important information about the features and caveats that are important to know.  Please read the release notes as there are several important notices with v1.1.  Our team has worked hard to provide not only the features promised with v1.1, but many new features that we feel will enhance your operation and provide more fun for your operation.  Here's a partial list of the new features we are releasing with SmartSDR v1.1:

Double the number of panadapters and receivers for a total of four (4) of each for the FLEX-6500 and eight (8) for the FLEX-6700.  With more panadapters you will be able to simultaneously view up to 4/8 bands at once to monitor band conditions.  Increased slices opens the opportunity to monitor digital portions of multiple bands or the same band, have multiple receivers setup to work liaison on HF nets with multiple stations, etc.

Add Digital Audio eXchange (DAX) for seamless support of 3rd party digital programs.  With DAX, digital sample streams are routed directly from the radio to your PC and made available on DAX channels.  Much of the confusion about cable numbers and which virtual cable belongs to which receiver and transmitter is gone.  Each DAX channel is clearly labelled appropriately such as "DAX Audio RX 1" and "DAX Audio TX 1".  Each slice can be routed to a DAX channel on the fly in the SmartSDR client and all of the channels are created for you on installation of SmartSDR.

Promised with SmartSDR's introduction was up to two simultaneous digital channels for digital software out of the radio.  We are pleased to announce that every slice receiver in SmartSDR has the capability to run DAX simultaneous to other receivers.  So on a FLEX-6500, up to four (4) DAX Audio channels may be run at once and on the FLEX-6700, up to eight (8) DAX Audio channels may be run at once.   

DAXIQ streams added for wide-band data output.  In addition, with SmartSDR we promised DAXIQ streaming of I/Q samples at up to 96ksps (96kHz).  We're pleased to announce that we have DAXIQ streaming running at up to 192ksps in v1.1.  For v1.1, we have DAXIQ streaming at your choice of 24, 48, 96 or 192ksps.  You may have up to four (4) total streams running simultaneously, but only up to a combined output rate of 384ksps today.  This allows you to run 96kHz of four bands into CW Skimmer from a single radio.
Both DAX and DAXIQ are network clients and may be used on multiple PCs on the network.  That means that you can run multiple digital mode applications all talking to the same radio but using different bands and modes at the same time and on different computers if desired.  We believe this is ground-breaking technology for amateur radio.

New filtering algorithms with sharper filters in all modes plus lower latency for digital modes.  With SmartSDR v1.1, we are introducing variable sharpness filters which offer the best filtering when needed to eliminate incursion of sideband splatter from adjacent channels or very narrow CW filters, but also relaxes for lower latency with wider CW filters and latency-sensitive digital modes such as PACTOR.  The filter sharpness is automatically selected based on operational mode and filter width as selected by the operator.

Active Slice Control Panel.  A new Active Slice Control panel has been added to the right side of SmartSDR for Windows giving you immediate access to most slice controls in a single location without having to open up slice panels.  This allows the operator to collapse all slice panels and operate receivers entirely from the Active Slice Panel which will follow the selected slice receiver. 

Tabbed control panels in SmartSDR.  All control panels on the right of SmartSDR are now under a tabbed control that lets you add or remove these panels at will.  In addition, you may rearrange the panels by dragging them to a desired location.  This lets you customize the layout of the SmartSDR control surface to match your preferred operational environment.

Advanced SmartSDR Persistence memorizes previous states.  Persistence capabilities in SmartSDR now remember key details about your operation on each amateur band.  Power, filter, and slice settings, panadapter levels, etc. are all remembered by amateur band so returning to the band later will quickly restore all the values back to their previous settings.  When appropriate, settings such as microphone and CW settings are memorized by mode rather than band or slice.

Enhanced panadapter display averaging.  With SmartSDR v1.1 you have control over both the speed of panadapter updates as well as the degree of averaging on top of the speed.  When reducing the panadapter update rate, all frames are used in the radio for better averaging, but preserving network bandwidth.  The additional averaging control adds a peak-weighted average which emphasizes signal peaks as it smooths out the noise baseline in the panadapter.

CW Audio Peaking Filter.  A new CW Audio Peaking Filter has been added which emphasizes audio
signals at the pitch frequency of CW reception.  The APF raises the level of the desired CW signal. adding gain above adjacent signals to help you pick out weak signals in the presence of other signals or noise.

Add hardware ALC for external power amplifier operation.  ALC provides a convenient way to reduce the output power of the FLEX-6000 Signature Series transceiver when driving external power amplifiers.  

Automatic re-centering of Panadapter on Zoom.  Now when zooming in on a panadapter, the active slice or alternately the closest slice receiver will be re-centered before the zoom to quickly close in on the signals of interest.  Zooming without re-centering is still provided by using a click-drag on the frequency scale at the bottom of the panadapter.   

New REMOTE POWER ON capability.  The remote jack on the back of every FLEX-6000 has now been enabled as a method to turn on or off your FLEX-6000 transceiver on or off. Now with a simple relay or external control device, your FLEX-6000 can be started and stopped under your command. 

Add master oscillator calibration capability.  Each FLEX-6000 Signature Series transceiver has a ultra-low phase noise oscillator for the best low-noise reception.  Unlike other transceivers that must be opened on a periodic basis to adjust the frequency of the master oscillator, SmartSDR now allows frequency calibration with just a software control.  Simply provide a reference signal or use WWV and enable frequency calibration.  SmartSDR will measure the offset and update the master oscillator and store the result to ensure you are always on frequency.

Improved Antenna Switching Logic with broad QSK support.  With new antenna switching logic, every conceivable operating condition has been considered individually and the optimal radio antenna solution that ensures the best operation is now computed automatically by the radio.  Even better support for QSK has been added with this change including support for QRQ QSK up to 100WPM using different receive and transmit antennas.  

Updated SmartCAT for increased third party software support.  Several new commands have been added to CAT to support additional software programs and broaden the software that works with the FLEX-6000.

Add RIT/XIT support including operation with FlexControl.  Both RIT and XIT have been added including basic operation with the FlexControl 

Improved slice display for narrow band operations (CW, digital modes).  The slice receiver indicators have been updated to include clarity for narrow band modes and some digital modes such as PSK-31.  Key down to RF and slice tone output for CW is world class at less than 8ms.

There are many developers now working on solutions that interface directly to the SmartSDR API to provide new and unique capabilities that take advantage of the flexible architecture of SmartSDR and the FLEX-6000 Signature Series platform.

If you have not used DAX during the Beta period for v1.1, it is highly recommended that you take a few minutes to watch the YouTube video FLEX-6000 SmartSDR DAX How To to get a basic understanding of how DAX works with the FLEX-6000 Signature Series SDR along with setting up a digital mode program. 

The SmartSDR Software Users Guide v1.1 is also available for download from the FlexRadio web site downloads page. It contains the latest updates for SmartSDR v1.1. 

This version of SmartSDR for Windows contains an updated version of SmartSDR CAT which will need to be installed after SmartSDR v1.1 has been installed. 

Installing SmartSDR for Windows no longer installs SmartSDR CAT automatically due to a virtual com port driver dependency that requires SmartSDR CAT to be uninstalled and the PC rebooted before a SmartSDR CAT can be installed. If you have previously installed SmartSDR CAT, please follow the instructions in the release notes for first uninstalling the previous version before installing SmartSDR CAT, detailed below and in the release notes. 

There are several sub-procedures described below that are outlined in greater detail in the SmartSDR v1.1 Release Notes. Make sure you review the Release Notes before updating the FLEX-6000 radio software and SmartSDR CAT. 

Upgrading SmartSDR for Windows 

1.) Shut down SmartSDR for Windows if running.
2.) If SmartSDR CAT is running, close it too
3.) Power cycle the FLEX-6000 by pressing the front panel power button, waiting several seconds and then pressing it again to reboot the radio. Wait until the radio has finished booting before continuing. 
4.) Run the SmartSDR v1.1 Installer (see bottom of post for link)
5.) At the end of the installation process, display the release notes (A PDF reader is required) and run SmartSDR for Windows. 
6.) You should see your FLEX-6000 in the chooser indicating that an upgrade is required. If you have never done a FLEX-6000 software upgrade, you may what to review the FLEX-6000 Upgrade procedure on page 7 in the Release Notes which can be also found in the Windows Start Menu -> FlexRadio Systems -> SmartSDR v1.1 -> Release Notes folder.
7.) After the FLEX-6000 software has upgraded, you should see the radio in the SmartSDR Radio Chooser indicating it is "Available". If after 5 minutes or so and you do not see the radio become "Available" (the yellow Update bar will have completely traversed to the right hand side), power off the radio using the Power button and power it back on. 
8.) You can now run SmartSDR v1.1

Upgrading SmartSDR CAT

1.) If SmartSDR for Windows is running, shut it down now. 
2.) Follow the procedure "Uninstalling SmartSDR CAT" starting on page 7 in the SmartSDR v1.1 Release Notes. Make sure to reboot the PC when done (this is very important). 
3.) Follow the procedure "Installing SmartSDR CAT" starting on page 8 in the SmartSDR v1.1 Release Notes. 
4.) Start SmartSDR CAT by selecting the SmartSDR CAT program from the Windows Start Menu -> FlexRadio Systems program folder 
5.) If needed, configure the virtual com ports as per the SmartSDR CAT documentation 

Release Specific Information 

Please review the Known Issues, Caveats and Limitations section in the SmartSDR for Windows Release Notes on page 5 for a comprehensive listing of release specific information regarding the operation of your FLEX-6000 Signature Series SDR. 

Where to Download SmartSDR v1.1

SmartSDR v1.1 is a large download. It is approximately 80 MB in size. You can download SmartSDR for Windows from: 



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