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Problems when operating Remote in SSB contest.

Andy M5ZAP
Andy M5ZAP Member
edited February 2020 in SmartSDR for Windows

Last week I had to move my computer equipment into different room than my flex 6500. I then tried operating LAN "Remote" in the WPX contest at the weekend.

Some questions and observations, sorry if they have already been answered but a search of forum revealed nothing. 

Note .. Everything network related is wired gigabit Ethernet with <1mS latency, zero dropped packets.

1 - I have always used a PTT foot switch but being remote this was not an option. I tried....
  a) VOX but as always just couldn't get on with it especially with extra latency etc. (I know some people get on with VOX but unfortunately I don't)
  b) Mouse click on MOX just wasn't a acceptable process when having to type etc. The Focus helper function to N1MM stopped the spacebar repeat of last operation working.
  c)Tried using the USB Flexcontrol with one button programmed to PTT but the latency was very poor. USB 2.0 latency can be <1mS so must be either slow polling of buttons or software delays.

2 - The power meter(I think all meters) had a noticeable latency and as I was often looking at it and ALC it messed with my head and could actually make me stutter hesitate my speech when it didn't react to my voice  as my brain expected it to. Ok the answer is don't look at it, but as it was a new setup operating audio through computer I wanted to check I was driving the radio correctly etc, and why have a meter if you can't look at it. Of Interest the iOS app doesnt have this latency.

3 - The audio in through my Realtek on-board sound card ( Upto date Windows 10 and latest drivers) seemed to have high latency. Even though Windows 10 has improvements that should allow it to present the audio to the flex software in an acceptable time (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/drivers/audio/low-latency-audio). Does the flex software take advantage of this. I will conduct some tests on the sound card card to measure the windows OS / driver latency.

4 - Wasn't too sure of the receive audio latency but assume that was again high. (I had filters set to default Auto)

In the end I gave up and moved temporally next to the radio and used my laptop with the foot switch and Mic/Headset hard wired into the flex.

I know people contest LAN and WAN remote how do you get around the problems listed above or do you learn to live with them?

How does the Maestro perform over LAN Ethernet with regards to PTT and audio latency ? Is this a sensible option?

I could possibly move my flex next to the computer but it is now in an attic room so not a perfect location. I found the whole experiment / experience really rather frustrating and disappointing, I was expecting much better system performance hopefully I will be able to resolve the issues.

Any comments or advice would be greatly accepted.


  • Larry _ NY8T
    Larry _ NY8T Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018

    I use this, it works well.

    In Mark - AA3RK

    FRStack program

    The MOX COM Port feature allows you to use a hand or foot switch to key the transmitter using your remote PC’s serial port (or USB port using a inexpensive USB to RS232 Converter) . Consult the FRStack Help for additional information.


  • Andy M5ZAP
    Andy M5ZAP Member
    edited February 2020
    Thanks Larry,

    I will set that up and try this week. What is the Lag / Latency like for the PTT operation ?
  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Hi Andy

    I have been running remote for over 11 years and the last year using my 6300 and Maestro.  My remote station is 140km's away.  Others have described PTT solutions when using SSDR remote.  For me and the Meastro, my average RTT (round trip time) is about 51ms.  

    I have not seen significant latency with SSDR and a laptop sound card.  That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, as it always will.  However it has never been an impact to my SSB  operations in either rag chewing or contesting.  

    I hope that helps some.

    Mike va3mw
  • Andy M5ZAP
    Andy M5ZAP Member
    edited February 2020
    51ms seems very good. 

  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    I am pretty pleased with it.  However, it has pushed me to understand network communications, bufferfloat and QOS in Network routers.  I have actually enjoyed the experience.  I also learned that basic home internet is not anywhere optimized correctly and at the best of times runs at about 30% efficiency.  This is not about bandwidth measurements, but latency measurements and how to fix them.

    many 73
  • K3ZJ - Dave
    K3ZJ - Dave Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Michael: Is there 1 or 2 good articles or primer on these issues?  I'm not an IT person, so would have to be basic level stuff, but seem to constantly have issues with router and LAN.  TU.  73, Dave K3ZJ
  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    I will try to write up some more in the future.  I just hack at this but I am starting to figure out what I don't know.  :)  Not really true, but I understand some things based on what I have done for a lot of small companies to fix this.

    First, get off the router you are using that came from your ISP.  Apple Airport express seems to be the worst.  Here are the things that work for me:
    • Replaced 1 router with a DD-WRT V2 (or v3) router so I could tune QOS http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index (I will replace this with a pfSense box in the summer)
    • Replaced a different router with a PFSense router/firewall.  Out of the box, this worked really well.  https://www.pfsense.org/products/
    • Others have flat out replaced their router with one from IQ Router.  This worked out of the box  to help  http://evenroute.com/iqrouter/
    • Turned on QOS where I could and limited my upload and download bandwidth to 80% of what I have measured (sometimes slowing down makes you go faster)
    • Measured it with http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest You need a bufferbloat number that is A, B or even a C.  Don't be surprised if you see an F.
    If you get this improved, your home internet will also improve. Netflix works better too (XYL factor).

    That is the highilight.  It was not plug and play and required some playing around.  For me, it is difficult as I am tuning from 100 miles away.   

    I'm sure others with more experience may comment on what has worked for them.  This is what has worked for me.  Keep an eye on the gamer sites as they don't like any latency.

    73  Mike va3mw

  • K3ZJ - Dave
    K3ZJ - Dave Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Michael: TU, I've added this to my "to-do" list!  73, Dave K3ZJ
  • K6HN
    K6HN Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Thanks for the info. I was getting an F, not I have A's after some tweaking!

  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017

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