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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.0 beta release

24

Comments

  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Here is a kind of long movie on what I've been able to do with my little NuMark party mix controller in just a few hours of programming time:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/oin8md8712t0xir/NuMarkMovie.MOV?dl=0

  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    I was a bit short sighted when I named this thread.  Slice Master 6000 v0.9.5 is now available.


    I've added an offset field to modify the follow frequency for any slice following the frequency of another.  

    image

    There was another thread where Dave K3ZJ asked if it was possible to have two slices keep their frequencies in sync but maintain a 75hz offset.  It sounded like fun to me, so here you go Dave.


    image


    The big change for this release is the addition of an aggregation server for the telnet servers in the CW Skimmer instances launched by Slice Master.  With CW Skimmer instances coming and going along with their slices, I thought it would be helpful to give logging programs and telnet cluster clients a single place to connect.  Not all clients automatically reconnect.  With this server enabled, that doesnt matter.  So long as Slice Master stays running, it's telnet server is there.  Just point your client to the 'Start port'.

    So far I've only tested it with VE7CC's CC User cluster client.  It works well enough there, so if Slice Master's telnet server doesnt work directly with your client program, you can always put CC User in between.  I wouldnt mind putting a bit more effort into directly supporting other clients.  So let me know what works and what doesnt.  Since it's mostly just a pass through for the server in CW Skimmer, if a client works with CW Skimmer's telnet server, it has a pretty good chance of working with Slice Master's.

    There's also an option to append the slice label to the spotter's call sign.  Whenever CW Skimmer spots some DX it post a spot to the telnet server.  This will be attributed to the call sign associated with your radio.  But with multiple skimmers running, it might be useful to know which skimmer found the spot.  Comparing two receive antennas is one case that comes to mind.  If you are going to feed your spots to an upstream cluster server, you might consider disabling this option.

    This past weekend I worked the RTTY Round Up contest and had Slice Master running the whole time.  While I had no need for the CW Skimmer features, I did make use of frequency following and especially the panadapter 'keep centered' feature.  With all the click tuning I usually do during search and pounce, I used to find myself recentering the panadapter quite a bit.  Not this time.  For each of my two VFOs in N1MM+ I used a small pop-out panadapter from SmartSDR and dropped it right over the top of the MMTTY waterfall to use for tuning.  Everytime I clicked either in the panadapter or the bandmap, the signal I was working ended up right in the middle.  Pure joy!

    The new release can be found at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000/releases


        --Don 
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Hi Don,

    SliceMaster is definitely pretty cool.   It seems to be more robust to me than SDR Bridge that I used for a long time.  

    I'm going to download the cluster client and give that a try.

    There is one thing I really want to do but so far the only one that is doing it that I've found is N1MM using their rather slow spectrum display and that is to only spot stations that are showing signals above a set threshold.

    I realize slice master may not be the agent to do this but I got to thinking about the CW skimmer UDP spectrum output and if it could be used to do such a thing.

    The idea I have is that if you look at your flex pan, on the right is your DBM.  Right now on 40m CW my average noise line is at about -113.  So when I look at a DX cluster and some station comes in at 7012.5.  What I want to do is to go and sample the signal at that point and if it is not peaking above some value I set like perhaps -110 then I really don't want that DX station spotted.  I can't hear them anyway.

    N1MM is doing something like this on their spectrum but the first time I tried it, it was pretty slow.  I mean kind of painfully slow to watch it work.  I'm just wondering if with your wonderful skimmer integration and the use of the UDP output from skimmer is something like this could filter the output from the DX client feed?

    Mark
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited March 20
    Ok I installed ve7cc client.  I'm not exactly sure what I should see.  I told the logging portion to connect to port 7300.  I am also looking at 7300 on a telnet viewer and I see skimmer spotting some calls but am I supposed to see them in the ve7cc client?
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Mark,

    What do you usually use to look at the spots generated by CW Skimmer?  It should work just fine with Slice Master without the help of CC User.

    That said, VE7CC's CC User client is a fine piece of software both for watching spots scroll by and for aggregating multiple servers.  So, if for example, you would like to combine your CW Skimmer spots with the RBN spots, CC User is a great way to go.

    Since you are just starting out with it you'll have to configure it.  Click on it's 'configuration' menu and select the 'Node (telnet)' option.  You'll get a dialog asking you to chose a telnet server from a list or to add a new one.  Type 'slicemaster' into the field and press 'Add'.  You'll get another dialog where you can fill in the hostname and port.  If CC User is running on the same computer as Slice Master, just enter 'localhost' and '7300'.  Hit 'apply'.  This newly created entry will now show in the 'outgoing connections' dialog.  Press the 'conn' button next to the entry and you'll be connected to the Slice Master telnet server.  

    From here you can add other servers if you like, either by choosing them from the node list or adding another of your own.  CC User will then combine all of the spots from these servers and make them available on it's own telnet server.  You've already configured it to do that when you though you 'told the logging portion to connect'... What you really did was tell it to accept connections from logging programs.  So a quick change is needed there.  Either uncheck the 'Enable Telnet' option, or select 'Use Custom Port' and enter 7310 as the port number.  If you dont plan to connect with a logging program just disable the telnet option, if you do, the custom port option is the way to go.

    The only reason I mentioned CC User because I tested it with the server in Slice Master.  If you already have your CW Skimmer spots showing up somewhere else, that software should would with Slice Master just as well.  Before having the telnet feature in Slice Master I'd had to add four different CW Skimmer nodes to CC User then tell my logger to connect to CC User.  Now, it's just one entry in CC User, and Slice Master will combine all of the spots from the CW Skimmers it controls into that single connection.

    It's starting to sound like this features solves a problem you never had.
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Don... Cool.  Well to be honest I have in the past avoided many dx spot things simply because they usually spot stations I have no hope of hearing.

    Skimmer and slice master make this much better as I can now spot, for my use, the stations that skimmer decodes.  That is a huge step forward and may do all I need.

    But as I mentioned above in the ideal world I'd love to have a way to connect to one of the primary DX spot servers like ve7cc but have the incoming spots somehow measured in my pan.  If no signal exists on that frequency above a threshold I set (like the N1MM line) then that spot is not feed into the spots window.  This would make use of dx spots both from skimmer and remote servers absolutely amazing.

    As it has been requested many times on this forum adding spots to the panadapter like the iPad application does is what we all want eventually.

    I asked Marcos about using a level on the spots on the iPad and he feels the iPad does not have enough processing power to analyze the signal at each spot.  I see is his point.  

    So this is where having a "server" that could bring in skimmer spots and remote spots but filter the remote spots to a signal level on your current pan and feed that output to the iPad would solve that problem.  IE only give the iPad spots that meet your setup criteria.

    This is all just brainstorming and one thing I would like to do is to be able to group spotted stations some how.   I mean the dx spot network is a fantastic idea but it could be more.  In the design of it they tried to solve a single problem and did so fairly well but like many ideas there are other possible uses for it that they never planned for.

    The grouping idea could be used for any purpose.  In my first example posted a few months ago I would like to allow us "flex users" to somehow spot ourselves.  So if I'm on CW on 40m at 7.026 I would like to send a spot to the network with a special tag like "FLEX" in the remarks.  

    Then in whatever we receive spots with to be able to find all the FLEX users would be cool.  This could be extended to clubs, SK operators etc.  So more than just DX spots, spots of any kind.   

    Without modifying the DX spot network which would break everyone the only way to do this is to embed into the remarks custom tags and have software that could select on those tags.

    The end goal for me, probably never reachable, would be to have spots on my pan adapter in smartSDR for windows that meet criteria I set including is there a signal present and is it above some DBM level.  Then have a way to flag each spot as "DX" (the current spots), or "TAG" whatever tag is present like "FLEX".

    Also, currently DX spots are mostly "user generated".  IE some station hears or works a "DX" and either through their logging program or manually they "spot" the station giving call, frequency and remarks. 

    Again this is great.  If you have a 2000' antenna and can hear everything then it is amazing you can move to that frequency and work that station if you can get through the pileup.  With a 2000' antenna and 200kw amp (like maybe Howard has LOL) then you will get the station.

    But for me with my little loop I hear a lot but not everything.  I want to control what spots I see.  To me the spots seen by other users skimmers in my local area are far more valuable.  AND I'd love to be able to try and find stations of interest by that tagging system.

    Anyway, these are just ideas, things that would make our wonderful flex radios even better.
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Your antenna situation sounds similar to mine.  The vast majority of the spots out in the cluster are useless to me.  During contests, it's all my own spots from Skimmer Server or RTTY Skimmer Server.  If they dont see it, I cant work it. Period. For non contest cases, having the cluster spot can be useful for dreaming about those rare DX stations.  I can usually find the pile ups, but the cluster often knows their TX frequency.

    I'm pretty sure the newer versions of N1MM+ have the filter feature you are looking for as part of it's 'Spectrum Display'.  It will put spot call signs next to symbols any filter out any that dont have a strong enough signal.  I like the concept.
  • K3SFK3SF Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Actually you are most likely see a false positve based on signal strength. The signal may actually be a station QRM'ing the DX station and not the DX station itself.

    i have found having my own skimmer is much more effective.

    I use macloggerdx combined with extra-cluster app which allows me to combine data from ve7cc and my own skimmer. This all appears on the panafall when i use this setup with dogparkSDR with my flex

    K3SF
    Paul

  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    That is a good point except that most spots are the DX tx frequency and they are operating splits.

    But even then there are locals that can't understand UP and transmit on freq.  LOL
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    (sorry for taking this one out of order, I missed it completely)

    Thanks for the kind words about Slice Master. 

    I like your suggestion but do agree that Slice Master isnt the right agent for the job.  I'm trying to focus Slice Master on the user interactions with slices. 

    The current set of tabs in the UI are about all I can imagine for it, with one exception.  I'll probably get around to adding my push-to-vox functionality to it, which would mean adding a tab with some TX related features.  Other than that, I expect there will be more options for synchronizing slice and panadapter attributes.  I'm also thinking about adding to the launch tab... being able to invoke Fldigi simply by switching to DIGU might be worth the effort.  Launching MMVARI when switching to RTTY would be just as much fun.

    Push-to-vox, btw, while I still use it largely became unnecessary when SmartSDR CAT grew the ability to use a local COM port with a PTT foot switch.  Besides that, it has a "smart" ID timer and the magical ability to turn VOX on and off with the tap of your foot. Well I find it useful anyways.

    The UDP spectrum output from CW Skimmer is nice, but entirely unnecessary with the flex.  All of that data plus more is available over UDP directly from the radio.

    I might have mentioned before that the point of both push-to-vox and Slice Master, aside from providing some useful functionality, is to help be build a framework for building these kinds of application... even ones that play with meter data or spectrum data.  I'm still working out the kinks in the lower level APIs.

  • K3SFK3SF Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    of course there are the DX police with constant UP UP UP
    and
    assort LID embellishments :-)

    actually the best way to sort this all out is ones own ears

    based on the old adage..."cant work'em if you dont hear'em"



    Paul K3SF

  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Yep... Exactly right.  There is not a skimmer or decoder that can decode as weak a signal as I can.

    I guess my whole point of posting here is this:

    We have a great radio providing lots of data.  Virtually all of us have internet.  We have logging programs, DX spotting programs, skimmers, decoders and everyone is separate and getting them all to work together can at times be a chore.

    I totally get that this is the way it happened and that each vendor of each tool had a specific problem to solve and it is us users trying to use them all together but in the end that is what we all seem to fight.  Most of the posts on forums are about:

    I have program **** running just fine, but when I startup YYY it doesn't connect.

    I think the OmniRig and HamLib things were early attempts to pull everything together.  It seems or feels like most of those focused on rigs.  Now we need something that focuses on pulling software together.  SliceMaster is doing that for SmartSDR and coordination of skimmer.

    I'm sure this will come it just is one of those little frustrations about the hobby.  It is in some ways like if you bought a car but each time you went to drive it you had to manually **** on the rear view mirrors cause they are very useful and maybe even needed but when your car went in for service the mirrors no longer fit so you had to wait for an update or uninstall the mirrors and re-install them.  LOL.

    Anyway have a great day!  
  • DH2IDDH2ID Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Success: I have had problems starting CW Skimmer with the appropriate settings until this morning.
    Then I connected CW Skimmer to my RFSpace SDRIQ. There is a driver for this great little SDR built into CW Skimmer.

    After a while I closed down this connection and started SliceMaster again - it started CW Skimmer and gets the audio IQ stream from DAX now. Only the frequency is wrong and gets no updates.
    Well - I can start working with SliceMaster now.

    Thank you for this great program, Donald! Vy 73, Alex - DH2ID
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    That's great news Alex, and you're welcome. 

    But I think it's too early to call it a win.  Being able to launch CW Skimmer is a good start.  If the frequency is wrong it could be because the CW Skimmer configuration is set to 'Left/Right = Q/I' instead of 'Left/Right = I/Q' which is what DAX produces. 

    But, since you said "gets no updates", it sounds like the telnet connection between Slice Master and CW Skimmer is broken.  So, try changing Slice Master's 'Start port' to 7400 and relaunch CW Skimmer.

  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    I've uploaded a new release.  Slice Master 6000 v0.9.6 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000

    The Fade page now includes controls for the master volume and headphone volume.  The 'Reset gain' button now let's you adjust the value the gain will return to.  Just press the shift key while clicking the button and it will remember the setting.

    I've added some error reporting to the status line.  If you are having trouble with getting CW Skimmer to launch, keep an eye on the status line.  It might give a clue as to why things arent working.

    There are a couple of new options in the CW Skimmer section of the launch page.


    image


    RIT and XIT are now supported.  I'm still working on the logic but so far I think it might be useful.  With an option selected, any time a click is made in the CW Skimmer window that is withing 500hz of the current slice frequency, the RIT/XIT offset will be adjusted instead of moving the slice frequency.  I can imagine this would be useful for working either side of a pile up.  Of course working split using two slices is still supported by the 'Follow' settings on the Sync page.  I'd welcome feedback on this idea.  Is 500hz about right? ...or should it be adjustable?  

    With luck, this release will get Alex (DH2ID) working or at least provide an explanation for why it's not.

    Please keep the feedback coming, and thanks again for playing along.

       --Don
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
     Slice Master 6000 v0.9.7 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

    There was an annoying problem with the RIT logic that I just had to fix.  If you update now, you'll also get an option for keeping the panadapter's visible bandwidth (zoom) in sync with the visible bandwidth of another slice.

    image

    Enjoy!


  • Rich McCabeRich McCabe Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Don, struggling with a few issues. If I enable all 4 slices when the fourth instance starts it crashes along with one of the previous ones.

    Be happy to help shake some of this out and if you would rather not do it here you can contact me via QRZ

    Rich
    kdz0v

  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Rich,

    When you say "it crashes", can I assume you mean CW Skimmer, not Slice Master? If so, I've found that it's not completely unusual for CW Skimmer to put up a dialog box with an error message about an access violation.  When this happens I just acknowledge the dialog and let Slice Master restart CW Skimmer.  Toggling the launch setting will do this or just changing frequency in the slice should do it too.

    --Don

  • Rich McCabeRich McCabe Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Yes, I meant CWskimmer. I am used to the access violation dialog that Skimmer puts up but this is not it. Two instances of CWS just close.
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    You've go mail....
  • Rich McCabeRich McCabe Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Thanks. Now that I have a few things shook out this is working very well.
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Great!
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Slice Master 6000 v0.9.8 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

    This version provides N1MM Logger+ multiplier coloring in CW Skimmer.

    image

    You'll have to go into Configurer dialog of N1MM Logger+ and select the Broadcast Data panel to enable sending the information to Slice Master.  The default setting for the IP address and ports is fine, just click the check boxes and you're ready to go.

    Keep the feedback coming!

      --Don

  • Rich McCabeRich McCabe Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Downloading :)
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Slice Master 6000 v0.9.10 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

    There are couple of interesting changes in this release and a couple of boring ones too.  Fans of  AGC might like the ability to display these controls along with the audio gain in the newly renamed Mix tab.  If you liked the simplicity of the old Mix tab, don't worry.  There are options on the settings tab to put things back the way they were.  For those who really dont like the clutter, there is now an option to hide the Mix controls of inactive slices.

    image


    While I haven't received many comments about the synchronization features I'm moving ahead in that area just the same. 

    image

    A new option on the Sync page provides the ability synchronize the vertical scale of one panadapter with that of another.  If you have a dual SCU radio and like to compare antennas, you might appreciate the ability to keep the panadapter view attributes associated with each antenna completely in sync.  On a single SCU radio these options can be used keep a zoomed in, fine tuning, view in sync with a broader view of the band.   

    Version 0.9.9 went out unannounced to address a start-up race condition that was reported.  This made Slice Master unusable for some but luckily was only lightly reported. The startup code and especially that around CW Skimmer has been revised even more in version 0.9.10.  Slice Master now handles and prevents even more start up errors.  

    Enjoy!

    --Don



  • Andy F5VAIAndy F5VAI Member
    edited June 26
    Flex 6300

    Don, having been using SDR Bridge for some time I was intrigued to try your new Slice Master.  The initial setup did not work properly with several odd errors, like frequency not syncing all the time.

    I then uninstalled SDR Bridge and CW Skimmer and used CCleaner to get rid of any residues.  Re-installed CW Skimmer and everything worked as it should be.   My previous installation of CW Skimmer with SDR Bridge was not that stable and would necessitate a re-installation from time to time (Win 10). 

    Having run Slice Master now for a few days it seems to be very stable and responsive.  I have not had one problem.

    Thank you.

    Andy F5VAI  (G3HCU)  
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Andy,

    You're welcome.  

    The frequency not syncing is almost always indicates a telnet port issue.  If SDR Bridge was running when you had the trouble, that might have been the cause.  Otherwise, SDR Bridge and Slice Master should co-exist.  The early versions of Slice Master didnt do much to check that the telnet configuration would work.  Now, it will report a problem rather than launch a broken CW Skimmer.

    I am happy to hear that it's all working for you now.

      --Don

  • DH2IDDH2ID Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Don, I am still using SDRBridge, which works without any problems.

    Starting the newest slicemaster 0.9.10 it connects to my Flex-6500 but does nothing else, CW Skimmer is not started and the following error is shown:
    image
    I really would like to try slice master, but this python error seems to inhibit that :-(
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Hi Alex, The good news is that it's not your configuration but a programming error on my part. Your screen grab is probably all I need to make a fix. Thanks for providing it. I'll get a new release ASAP. --Don
  • K1DBOK1DBO Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Slice Master 6000 v0.9.11 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

    Version 0.9.10 didnt last nearly as long as I had hoped.  Alex (DH2ID) reported a bug that I felt was worth fixing sooner rather than later.  The bug is likely to only show up in non-US configurations where audio devices might contain non ASCII characters.  I hope this is the only one of it's kind.

    --Don



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