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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.0 beta release

K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
edited June 26 in New Ideas
Every new program needs an exciting name... how does Slice Master 6000 sound to you?  Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

I was playing with the idea of launching a CW Skimmer instance per slice, rather than per DAX IQ channel because I wanted multiple skimmers but also wanted to run CW Skimmer Server in the background on as many bands as possible.  Slice Master 6000 let's me do this.  I thought others might like this too.

I'm calling this a beta release though alpha might be even more appropriate.  But, let's not get bogged down in naming conventions.  What you might choose to experience has not been widely tested.  I'm running it on Win7 and it seems to work well enough for me.  If you're up for an adventure give it a try and let me know if it works at all or how it can be improved.

The Getting Started instructions at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 should tell you the rest of what you need to know.

Enjoy.  


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  • Mark WS7MMark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited December 2017
    Hi there!

    I was curious to give your program a try.  I downloaded and installed it and I have a registered copy of CW skimmer.

    I have used SDR Bridge in the past with varying success.  Some days it works fine, other days it refuses to do what I understand it should do.

    But honestly I cannot seem to understand exactly what Slice Master is supposed to do.  It does connect to the radio, it does open a skimmer, once I got IQ setup right it does decode but it does not track the slice.  IE I move the slice the skimmer decode point stays right where it was.  Likewise if I move the skimmer decode point the slice does not change.

    Perhaps I simply don't understand what Slice Master is supposed to do.

    Mark - WS7M
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Hi Mark,

    Your description makes it sound like you may have hit the start up bug in CW Skimmer.  Sometimes, CW Skimmer doesnt launch properly... regardless of how you initiate the launch.  Trying again usually works.  On the tab for the slice try selecting "never" to terminate CW Skimmer then select "when active" to re-launch.  However, when CW Skimmer does this, it usually posts an error dialog as a clue.  Since you didnt mention this, the other possible problem is that you didnt accept the firewall changes when you first launched Slice Master.  Do either of these issues seem likely in your case?

    Unless you are talking about the "DAXIQ channel" setting in SmartSDR, you shouldnt need to change any IQ settings.  As long as the slice you working with is in a panadapter with a DAX IQ channel enabled, and DAX is running, it should just work.  Slice Master will configure CW Skimmer for the slice prior to launch.  

    The only other thing I can think of that might cause trouble is the location of the configuration files.  Can you verify that Slice Master was able to create a folder and config files in

        C:Users<your-user-name>AppDataLocalK1DBO

    If all of this seems good, there's a chance you are running another service on port 7300.  Under the settings tab, try changing the port number to something else, say 6300.  Then force a re-launch of CW Skimmer using the method I described above.

    I should also ask which operating system you are running.  All of my testing has been on Win7 only. I'm sure the trouble you are having is due to the lack of testing on my end.

    SDR Bridge usually works great for me but uses too many DAX IQ channels in some use cases. Slice Master is similar in what it does but allows multiple CW Skimmers to use the same DAX IQ channel, leaving the others available for use by Skimmer Server.

    Thanks for playing along!
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited December 2017
    Hey back.  Sorry for the delay.  I was out of town for a couple days.

    I am running on Windows 10.

    I've tried this on two different computers.  1) Win10 desktop that is at my station  2) Win10 laptop.  I get the same behavior on both.

    Now before we start blaming slice master I do need to say that SDR Bridge and CW skimmer have been acting up on BOTH computers for some time.  It acts up so much so that I rarely use it.

    The behavior I get from SDR bridge / skimmer is that the link between skimmer and SmartSDR seems broken.   Back when it used to work I could click on a place in the skimmer and my slice would move there and vice-versa if I moved my pan the skimmer moved.  All that is broken for some strange reason that nothing seems to repair.  I have re-installed, removed all data files, etc and it still remains broken.

    Now with Slice Master the behavior is similar.  However with your advice above selecting "never" then back to active did bring up a skimmer and it seems to have some data coming in but from what I can see it is not correlated in any way to the data in the pan where I/Q channel 1 is selected.  Also like with SDR bridge there is no linkage between skimmer and SmartSDR.  Nothing stays in sync.

    For example, right now there is a very strong CW signal on 7.024.48 and on the skimmer with Slice Master running I can't see that signal anywhere.  If I scroll up and down in the skimmer it is still not present but I do see some CW signals I just can't figure out where they are in the pan.

    I also tried setting the "follow" slice to A and also changing to port 6300 as suggested.  I see the same behavior.  I have also verified as you asked that data files do exist in appdata.

    Here is a movie showing what I see if it helps:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/fhc08x7xpn3zna0/SliceMasterTest.mp4?dl=0


  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited December 2017
    The movie helps a lot.  Thanks for taking the time to post it. 

    It's pretty clear both from your description and the movie that telnet connection between CW Skimmer and Slice Master is not working. I'm going to make a wild guess... if you open the settings dialog in CW Skimmer and switch to the operator page, your callsign field is either blank or set to an invalid callsign.  If so, try putting your callsign in there and re-launch from Slice Master.

    I've uploaded a new version of Slice Master to fix this problem and a couple of other little things.  

    The initial CW Skimmer slice configurations are derived from your default CW Skimmer configuration.  So if your callsign isnt set there, it wont be set in the configurations that Slice Master generates.  

    The 'follow' option in Slice Master wont change any of the behavior you are seeing.  It's there to synchronize the frequency of multiple slices.  Using it with two slices on the same panadapter doesnt make a lot of sense, but works.   It make more sense when you want to keep two different panadapters in sync.  So if you want slice B to change when ever slice A changes, just set slice B to "follow" slice A.

     
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited December 2017
    Ok well that was it.  No call sign.  Put that stuff in and restarted the skimmer and it appears to work as I would expect... In fact I think it is perhaps better than SDR Bridge.

    I did have a call and stuff in when running via SDR bridge so this must be using completely different settings and I should have realized that.

    Ok I'll play with this and get you some feedback but it does seem to be working!
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited December 2017
    Fantastic!

  • Ed - W2RFEd - W2RF Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Are you guys using the new SDR-Bridge v1.6.4 beta? There have been some system changes that cause some startup and synchronization problems. For many testers the new version works much better. It is available at http://www.qrv.com/download/SDR-Bridge_v1.6.4_beta_Setup.exe. Let me know your experience.

    Happy new year!

    73 Ed W2RF

  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Hi Ed,  I have not and will give it a try.
  • DH2IDDH2ID Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Ed, is 1.6.4.129 the lastest version?
    73 and HNY, Alex - DH2ID
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    A couple feedback items:

    1) It certainly seems that I need to re-input my call and op info for each of my four possible slices.  Today I opened a pan on 14 mhz and selected it on SliceMaster and it again would not sync.  Checked the info and it was all blank.  Probably not a bug but it could be confusing.

    2) I had slice A running on 40m at 7.050.  I opened a pan and set Slice B to LSB 7.164.  Was listening to a friend.  I setup a new pan and slice C on 20m, 14.050.  I selected tab "C" and set that up to skim 20 m.   All working nicely except if I select a frequency on the skimmer, for 20m it changes both the pan for 20 (slice C) and also the plan for LSB, slice B to the 20m frequency I clicked on.  I have tab "B" setup to "Never".  
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    I havent tried the 1.6.4 beta, but the 1.6.3 beta fixed all the trouble I was having with Skimmer Server and RTTY Skimmer server.
  • K1UO - LarryK1UO - Larry Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Do you have a cheat sheet made up as to how to get RTTY Skimmer server operating on a 6X000  radio?   I have yet to make that happen correctly.
    HNY,

  • DH2IDDH2ID Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    SliceMaster connects to my Flex6k5, but does not start CWSkimmer and CWS does not get any audio from the radio. DAX is streaming IQ, all telnet settings are correct and my callsign is set in CWS. 
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    The per slice CW Skimmer config files are generated only once from the default CW Skimmer configuration.  So after that's happened there are two options: change them using CW Skimmer, or delete them and let Slice Master re-create them.  Your previous comments made it sound like Slice Master wasnt finding the default config file.  I'll have to do a Win10 install to see if it's an OS specific issue to confirm.

    Assuming Slice Master can find the config file it's a good idea to first make sure the CW Skimmer is set the way you like it. Otherwise, you'll have to go through all the slices and adjust things like the location for your MASTER.DTA file. 

    If I am reading your second point correctly, it sounds like you have slice B set to follow slice C.  The "never" setting only means to never launch a CW Skimmer for the slice.  The "follow" setting, if set, is always active.  Try moving slice C in the panadaper... does slice C follow along or does it only happen when you click in CW Skimmer?


  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Hi Alex, 

    With the lastest download (0.9.2) the callsign issue is no longer a problem.  Slice Master creates it's own CW Skimmer config files and sets everything needed to make the necessary connections.  By default, Slice Master will only start CW Skimmer on slice A and B when either of those slices are in CW mode. This, of course, is configurable.

    If Slice Master is still not launching CW Skimmer for you, please tell me which OS you are running and the full path to the CwSkimmer.exe in your installation. Slice Master exepects to find it in "C:Program Files (x86)AfreetCwSkimmerCwSkimmer.exe".  If it's not, the Slice Master config file can be adjusted.
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    Don, (I hope that is the name you use), I will check out "follow" to see if it is the problem with slice C and B that I described above.

    But in case I did not say it, thank you for making a new utility and making it available.  I think personally, this is what makes the flex amazing compared to any other radio.  We have the people and the power to create cool little utilities that make things more usable, better, whatever.

    Anyway thanks!

    I don't know if you are willing to share it but I'd love to see the code behind this.  I have been working on an I/Q decoder without much time or luck so far.   My biggest issue has been sorting out the data in the I/Q stream.  Read lots, just have not had time to play.

    Mark - WS7M
  • Chris DL5NAMChris DL5NAM Member
    edited January 2018
    Mark, the Source code he offer for download:

    https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000/releases

    Chris
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Mark,

    Yes, Don is fine and you're quite welcome.  

    I've been working on accessing the streaming data and plan to add some of that to Slice Master in the coming days.  I'm also willing to entertain request for other features suitable for inclusion in something named Slice Master.  Of course I have some ideas already but just wanted to get the ball rolling with a feature set that I have an immediate need for.  Hence the early release.

    My plan is to release all of my Flex related source code.  I'd be willing to release both Push to VOX and Slice Master source code now but havent yet because the library they are based on is not yet ready for prime time.  It's the library (all Python) that is getting most of my attention and would be most useful to the community.  But, I still have some kinks to work out.  Once I can use the library to put something like Slice Master together without having to fix problems, add features, or change interfaces I'll release it.

    But before the library goes out, keep a look out for a too early release of Midi Master 6000. It's the real test bed for the library.  Once I remove some overly ambitious UI features, I'll probably post a link. That one, however, might require a limited alpha release before a general announcement.  We'll see.

    It takes a community to build community software.  I appreciate your (and all other) efforts in helping to work out the bugs.

  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited April 3
    Out with the old and in with the new.  I've fixed a few bugs and likely added a couple more.  Slice Master 6000 v0.9.3 has been up loaded to https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000/releases 

    In this version, you'll see some changes to the user interface layout and some new features.  

    image


    The Launch page has been simplified and a new Sync page created.


    image

    From here, for any slice, you can choose which slice you'd like it to follow and what should be updated when the followed slice changes.  In this example, anytime the frequency of slice A changes, the frequency of slice B will be changed to match.  Likewise, if 'Panadapter center' is checked and the center of slice A's panadapter changes, the center of slice B's panadapter will be changed to match.  If the 'Keep centered' option is checked, slice B's panadapter will be recentered on slice B's frequency anytime slice B's frequency changes.

    The Fade page provides a convenient place to adjust the audio gain, audio pan, and mute setting for all slices.

    image

    The indicators tell you a bit about each slice, if it's the active slice or if tx is enabled there.  The vertical slider controls audio gain, push button will reset the gain to 50, while the dial control the L/R pan.  The M button will mute the slice while the S (solo) button will mute all other slices.

    The settings page hasnt changed much

    image

    Here you'll find a way to specify the starting port number for configuring the CW Skimmer telnet ports.  Since each skimmer needs a new port, this is just the starting port number.  It will be assigned to skimmer associated with slice A.  Slice B will be assigned the next one and so on.

    Enjoy!

  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    If by "MIDI Master" you are talking about a link from various DJ MIDI controllers, I might be interested in helping test it, as much as my busy schedule allows.  I have a Hercules DJ 2LE and a Behringer PL1.

    I have experimented with modifying software in "Processing" created in a thread by William a couple of years ago.  I changed a lot of lines of code and had something working somewhat to my liking, but I got stalled in other pursuits.

    Ken - NM9P
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Hi Ken,

    That's exactly what I'm talking about.  We have a similar collection of midi controllers too.  The idea is to be truly configurable.  It shouldnt matter much though which controller is being used or even how many for that matter.  I've use a PL1 along with a CMD micro and even two CMD micros.  A large collection of "macro" functions can be mapped to any of the midi controls through a set of config files.  I'll get back to working on it in the coming weeks and let you know when I have something worth testing.
  • Mark WS7MMark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    It is funny you guys are talking about this... A friend ham who ops ONLY old gear like 1980's kenwoods and older was fascinated by another ham's DJ controller controlling an Anan 8000.

    I told him this stuff was pretty easy to do on the flex.  He challenged me on it so I ended up buying and receiving today:

    https://www.amazon.com/Numark-Party-Mix-Controller-Software/dp/B01FHJLE6M/ref=pd_ybh_a_5?_encoding=U...

    It is a much lower cost unit than I have seen the Cmd Micro go for.  Using C# and the FlexLib I had this thing basically working in about 30 minutes.

    I have not decided on all knobs, buttons and sliders yet but so far I was able to program:

    Slice A - frequency
    Slice B - frequency

    Both of those use the turntable wheels

    Slice A - volume
    Slice B - volume

    Sliders on each side

    Center knob - CW speed

    pad buttons on each side - Send different CWX macros.

    I still have a ton of buttons, knobs and sliders available.  

    I do like having the two turn tables changing frequency.  Pretty nice.

    M
  • DH2IDDH2ID Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Hello Donald,
    I have CWSkimmer 2.0 running here and SmartSDR 2.0.19.98 on a Win7 64bit I7 machine. My Flex is a 6k5. All settings are correct, as they work with SDRBridge an it's telnet connection. But I can't get SliceMaster 0.9.3 to connect to CWSkimmer. It connects to
    my radio, shows all settings, the telnet connection should work, but it doesn't start
    CWSkimmer and when I start it manually, CWSkimmer settings show no audio tab and
    the receive window shows only noise and no signals.
    Any ideas? Do I have to change the CWSkimmer settings beforehand?
    Vy 73, Alex - DH2ID
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Hi Alex,

    The install location for the CW Skimmer executable changed between version 1.9 (what I am running) and 2.0 (what you are running).  I've just uploaded Slice Master v0.9.4. It should be better at finding CWSkimmer.exe.  Please give it a try.

      --Don

  • Chris DL5NAMChris DL5NAM Member
    edited January 2018
    Yes, now Skimmer starts ! TNX
  • DH2IDDH2ID Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Chris, can you post your settings here (for CW Skimmer and Slice Master) ?
    And add screenshots, if possible? I can't get the connection to CW Skimmer working,
    whatever I do.
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Alex,

    With v0.9.4, is CWSkimmer launching for you now?

    In SmartSDR, make sure there is a slice A and that the panadapter that contains it has it's DAXIQ channel set. Then, in Slice Master, under the 'Launch/A' tab, select 'When active'.  That should be all it takes to get CWSkimmer running.
  • DH2IDDH2ID Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Yes, Chris, all set as you wrote. CW Skimme won't start and has lost it's audio tab in settings.
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Alex,

    Ignoring Slice Master for a moment.  Can you can get CW Skimmer to run manually?  Is that when it doesnt have an audio tab in it's settings?  If so, it sounds like a problem with your CW Skimmer installation.  I'd try to uninstall it first, then re-install it. I cant think of any reason for it's audio tab vanish.

    But, even then, Slice Master should still launch your (broken?) CWSkimmer if every thing is set as described.  There should be a log file named

       C:Users<your name>AppDataLocalK1DBOslice-masterlog

    Can you open this file with notepad and take a look for any 'ERROR' lines? 

        --Don

  • Chris DL5NAMChris DL5NAM Member
    edited January 2018
    Alex, give me your PM i will send what you want
    [email protected]
    or
    Facebook: FlexRadio DL

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