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Less PTT delay with MAC versus Windows?

Johan SE3X
Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭

I'm very pleased with my remote setup except when SSB contesting. In contest when everyone works crazy fast, delay in my PTT causes a problem. Almost all the time I miss the begining of the other stations over. Not much, but enough to make it irritating and forcing me to ask for repeats.

I use SSDR and SmartLink on local computer with a PC Headset. Then N1MM and all other peripherals on a PC local to radio accessed with AnyDesk.

Have found this to give the shortest delay possibel. A lot slower using my Maestro B with headset and PTT attached.

I have a reasonably fast Internet connection at home QTH, 40/20 mBps with 25-30 ms Ping. I have tried both mobile Internet and fiber connection in my remote end, almost no difference in delay. I use DSL Reports speed test to keep track of the mobile Internet performance. A for BufferBloat and A+ for Quality.

Home QTH and the Flex 6700 on a wired network, no WiFi. Logg, peripherals etc on a pretty powerful Workstation and on remote side a new laptop. Both sides Windows 10Pro and loads of internal memory.

I wonder if using an iPod or similar would work better, iE less delay in PTT, using f.ex. Marcus software? Anyone with experience from both environments? Before buying new software and hardware, expensive stuff, any advice would be much appreciated.

Johan, SE3X

Comments

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Hi Johan

    Using an Mac for the Audio path will be quicker than using Windows. The MAC os processes the audio much faster than Windows and it isn't related to processor speed at all or band width. The Mac will accept an external footswitch too.

    The details are in this post https://community.flexradio.com/discussion/8023291/rx-audio-latency

    When the Maestro was designed, remoting wasn't a big thing and remoting for contesting was almost non-exhistant. The fastest audio is via the audio connectors on the back of the radio. Sadly, that leaves us with a bit more audio latency than we want at times, especially during a contest.

    73

  • Johan SE3X
    Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭

    Hi Mike

    Tnx for answering. Yes I suspected that would be the answer. If I continue to be away working this much next year I will have to invest in some Mac equipment.

    A follow up Q Please. If going for it, I'm only doing it for being able to do SSB contesting with less PTT delay. MAC Book's are very expensive, iPad a lot cheaper. Are there any reason, from a practical point of view doing contest, to spend that extra money for the MAC Book? Thinking about possibility to use Flex VFO and head-set with an iPad. I know nothing about Apple products and don't know if it's possibel to attach such devices to an iPad?

    Appreciate your input as the experienced remote contester you are.

    73

  • Johan SE3X
    Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭
    edited November 2021

    Just to add to this .. I do belive I have a pretty good connection betwen radio and remote QTH. But not sure, have nothing to compare with. What do you think, am I good?

    This is with Mobile Internet connection at radio QTH and 100/100 Mbit/s fiber at my office.

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Audio delays are not related to the transport side of things but internally to windows.

  • Johan SE3X
    Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭
    edited November 2021

    I appreciete that Mike and I will borrow a MAC Book to see what difference it makes compared to my Windoz laptop. But just out of curiosity, should I consider my network data god, bad, average?

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Your network data screen looks good.

    Also, we have others playing with Mumble for TX and RX audio if speed is a requirement.

  • Johan SE3X
    Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭

    Tnx Mike

    I'll take a look at Mumble during the weekend. Any chans you have heard about someone using Remotrig-microbit's remote solution with Flex?

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Remote rig works fine. The stereo version is recommended and you only need to use it for Mic Audio, RX Audio and PTT. It is expensive hardware and requires either a VPN or Port Forwarding (or both) as well as a DynDNS setup.

  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭

    The iPad works well for me, but don’t do a lot of contesting, mostly casual dx and pota. Tuning on the iPad/iPhone is kinda clunky and I’m not sure about contest logging with either of those devices.

  • Johan SE3X
    Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭
    edited November 2021

    Tnx John and Mike for your comments and help.

    @Mike-VA3MW I will try Remoterig. Good friend Adde, SM0SHG, will borrow me spare units he doesn't use himself. He use both SSDR on Windoz as MAC Book and iPad and will make a comparisson betwen them. Saves me from buying a MAC Book without knowing the difference.

    Pretty sure I will be able to find a solution on this annoyance when SSB contesting.

  • Tonno Vahk
    Tonno Vahk Member ✭✭

    Maestro or PC Audio is useless for serious SSB contesting. The unacceptable delay is there and it does not matter if you connect remote over Smartlink or in LAN. It does not depend much on the quality of the network and speed. So when Maestro was designed it was not about not expecting the importance of remote operations to go up but the whole Windows based solution was flawed from the very start.

    I can only use Maestro for Smart Control for knobs and buttons. That is the only thing it is good for.

    And naturally there is not much hope for anything being done about this by Flex.

    So Apple is the only solution now and it may well be Ipad. Finns have developed a super elegant remote station to CR2X for example where Ipad is the core. No latency, everything works.

    73

    Tonno

  • Johan SE3X
    Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭

    Hi Tonno, great to read your comments. I and several others, probably not only in Sweden, would be very interested in learning more about your experience and the experience/solution of CR2X. Any chanse we could get in touch and talk? Or if it is something that could be shared here in the community?

    Johan

  • Tonno Vahk
    Tonno Vahk Member ✭✭

    I only got some pics and videos from OH2BH about it. I think it was OH2GEK who built this setup, you may try to contact him!


    73

    ES5TV

  • Johan SE3X
    Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭

    Tnx Tonna, I will do that. Take care and 73! Johan

  • Jon_EA2W
    Jon_EA2W Member ✭✭

    Hi all,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I´m also looking for solutions to avoid Flex latency as I call it. Flex says the main factor for latency is Windows and there is nothing Flex can do about, but I totally disagree.

    I compared the latency between Flex6600 over VPN or Smartlink versus a colibriNano from ExpertElectronics. Both audios are going through Windows 10 and come out from the PC soundcard. The difference in latency is huge! So if Win10 is the issue, how can it be that the Expert Electronics device has much less latency?

    Another test that I will be doing in the coming days is to use RemAud by DF3CB. I got reports from some colleagues that they get less than 100ms latency taking the audio from the back of the Flex and connecting to the PC Line IN. Both Server and Client running in Win 10.

    So, will Flex will still point Win10 and look away? Or will they take this issue seriously and try to improve latency for serious contesting? Flex is not being considered by the contesting community as much as they could because of this issue, improving this will for sure atract much more contesters.

    I will try 2BSIQ remote with Flex 6600 in the next CQ WW CW, but definetely not with the Audio coming from SmartSDR as the latency is too much.

    73! Jon

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    @Jon_EA2W

    We are aware of the concerns with Windows audio latency and concerns with it. It is something we will address in time. I suspect in your tests with the Expert, you are seeing about 150ms improvement. That is what I saw with my tests when I owned an Expert a few months back.

    We have always stated that the fastest audio was from the back of the radio, not via the Maestro of the PC, and that was great back in released V2 of SmartSDR. You will also see that using a Mumble solution is a viable alternative for a remote solution if you have the networking skills.

    BTW, I have run many a contest on just a Maestro with the latency you see (since 2015 or so). I can honestly say that it has not impacted any score enough to make a difference in any placing. I personally can make enough mistakes that easily cause a greater error rate.

    Don't forget, the listening station doesn't call back the first one to call him. He calls back the first call he copies completely and if not that, the first part of the callsign he copies to focus on the next QSO. If you have ever been on a serious run (I was doing 200 q's/hr in CQWW SSB last month) you will know what I mean.

  • Jon_EA2W
    Jon_EA2W Member ✭✭

    @Mike-VA3MW

    Thank you for your inputs.

    I read in another post that you were pointing Windows10 as guilty for the latency and that there was nothing more Flex could do to improve it: https://community.flexradio.com/discussion/8023291/rx-audio-latency

    I only wanted to state that this is not true, based on my findings with the Expert Electronics device and now with RemAud by DF3CB that runs over Win10 (both server and client).

    You can see the difference in the video I recorded:

    I usually use Dual CQ (also called 2BSIQ) in CW contests, with 10 min rates up to 400-450 qso/hour.

    Maybe for casual contesters and S&P it is ok, but not when running from a DX location or Dual CQing.

  • Johan SE3X
    Johan SE3X JP63oj, Åre SwedenMember ✭✭✭

    Short update. Have bought an iPod Air 2 and installed Marcus software. Problem solved, no delay or latency in audio at all. New station set-up for contest will be: Maestro for trx control and iPad for audio. N1MM on local computer together with software for remote control of amplifiers, antenna switching etc. Do look forward to Flex solving this in a future release of SSDR. Until then I will use my iPad and be a much happier contester.

  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭

    Well, with all the issues associated with DAX, if I were troubleshooting this, that’s where i would start.

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