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Proposal: QSO recording stream

John G3WGVJohn G3WGV Member ✭✭
edited May 16 in New Ideas
I propose an enhancement to generate a new class of audio device stream that permits the recording of QSOs, including sidetone and using stereo to carry audio from two slices.

Functional analysis
There is no audio device available via SSDR or DAX that provides the necessary audio components to properly record QSOs. DAX channels are mono, single slice audio streams that do not include sidetone. The remote audio stream does provide the necessary audio components but cannot be used in conjunction with the analogue audio outputs on the radio.

Operational requirement
It is increasingly common for radio amateurs to wish to record their QSOs for whatever reason. On traditional radios, with a main and sub VFOs, this is generally done by recording a stereo stream, with the main VFO on the left channel and sub VFO on the right channel.

Competitive analysis
Most traditional radios and, research indicates, other SDR radios support this functionality. It is an important and potentially sales inhibiting shortcoming that this is not supported on the Flex 6000 radios.

A separate class of audio stream should be provided that provides the following functionality
  1. Stereo support
  2. The ability to map any single slice to the left channel and any other single slice to the right channel
  3. Audio from the slice assigned to the left channel to also be supplied to the right channel when the slice allocated to the right channel is not active.
  4. Stream output level to be controlled independently of slice audio gain/pan controls
  5. Side tone (regardless of mode) to be sent to both left and right channels
  6. Side tone level to be controlled by a separate gain control (permitting the side tone level to be adjusted relative to the slice audio level(s)
  7. The stream to be presented as a standard audio device (as per DAX)
It should be unnecessary to have to connect one of the analogue audio outputs to a sound card in order to record QSOs properly, requiring digital to analogue to digital conversions in addition to physical wiring.  Currently this is the only feasible solution.

I commend this proposal to the development team and welcome discussion from the community.

73, John, G3WGV


  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Hi John,

    Doesn't Audacity allow you to do this already? You can select different audio sources, for example DAX1 and DAX 2 and even MIC so you can record several slices and your own transmission. I re read your synopsis and text but I still fail to see how you cannot do this already....

    I record videos of the Flex radio all the time, I use ManyCam and I can select different audio sources and record everything that comes from the Flex radio and even my own mic.
  • Steve G1XOWSteve G1XOW Member
    edited May 16

    You can already record both TX an RX audio via the DAX ports to any audio app on the PC. I use Audacity and it works very well for what I need.

    73 de Steve G1XOW

  • John G3WGVJohn G3WGV Member ✭✭
    edited November 2018
    Steve and Salvador,

    Yes, I know it is possible to concatenate several audio streams together into a single stream using external software such as Audacity. In my case, and I suspect for others too, it is my logging program that does the recording, and while I could certainly write the code to do the same thing in my program, users of other logging programs won't have that luxury.

    A further complication is that the CW side tone is not sent to any DAX stream. I don't do phone operating but I can see that mic audio is indeed streamed to DAX.
  • Lee - N2LEELee - N2LEE Member
    edited November 2018
    Not to derail this proposal but I have asked for "rewind audio" capability. The concept would to write active frequency audio to a buffer and if you miss the guys call or some thing else you could rewind the last 30 secs or what ever the amount of memory would allow.

    This seems like a basic feature that would be extremely valuable. My fear is the reason this is not available is because of some patent troll who has this patented.  My car radio even has this feature now. 

  • Al_NN4ZZAl_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
  • John G3WGVJohn G3WGV Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Ah well, that's one of the features in my logging program. Not for instant replay but because I need to buffer audio from the start of the QSO until the end of the QSO when it's saved as the QSO recording.
  • Lee - N2LEELee - N2LEE Member
    edited December 2016
    Al, yep that would do it !  The idea is if turned on it would always be buffering (looping) but you could go back and get the last X seconds of audio.

    There are so many times when I thought I heard something someone said.

  • K3ZJ - DaveK3ZJ - Dave Member
    edited January 21
    Note that recording is necessary for serious single operator competitors in the CQ Worldwide and CQ WPX contests, both phone & CW.  Recording capability should provide full compliance with this rules requirement.  The rule in WPX is a mirror image of that in the Worldwide:

    "Audio Recordings: Any single operator entrant . . . competing for a top three finish at the (a) World, (b) Continent, or (c) USA levels, must record the transmitted and received audio as heard by the operator for the duration of the contest operation. The recording must be in a common format (e.g., mp3) and should include the audio to each ear as a separate channel. The recording may be requested by the Committee within 90 days after the log deadline to help adjudicate the log. The recording files must be provided by the entrant within 5 days of the request. If no recording is made available, the Committee may reclassify or disqualify the entry."

  • John G3WGVJohn G3WGV Member ✭✭
    edited November 2018
    Ken, NM9P made the following proposal on another thread. I think he has better articulated the way in which the audio stream could be constructed and I would like to add this as an update to the proposal:
    A digital audio output that is identical to the stereo output of the Powered Speaker output, (but at a constant digital level). This would include L/R panned audio as well as MON and CW Sidetone output to whatever position it is panned, and the outputs of all of the slices that are unmuted, at whatever location to which they are panned.)
    Thanks Ken: I think that is a better solution.
  • dan flynndan flynn Member
    edited November 2018
    I agree with all the posts...  But think about it... this is a  basic application type of function...   How hard is it to open up a file and stream to a drive?   Not many lines of code... There must be something below the surface that's holding it back.. contest rules..... big brother.. etc.  Dan ww3n

  • Tim - W4TMETim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    Brain surgery is easy too. Just hack a hole in someone's head and remove some brains.  The devil is in the details ;-)

    Seriously, it isn't about simple or hard, but about priorities.  With unlimited programming resources, we could do all these things is a very short amount of time.  Unfortunately, our programming resources, like all companies are finite os we have to prioritize on criticality and ROI.

      This feature is on the to do list.  it just hasn't risen to the top of the pile yet.  It will get there eventually.
  • dan flynndan flynn Member
    edited August 2016
          100% devil in the details... agree ... and the back end testing is costly and time consuming.  But really,  create file, open  file, write data , close file.   I don't think it gets much more basic than that..   With that said, I completely understand and respect your position... you guys have much on your plate, respect your priorities  and over all we're cheering for you.....but us operators are obligated to push a bit.. keep up the good work!  Dan ww3n
  • Roger Rockwell/na4rrRoger Rockwell/na4rr Member ✭✭
    edited October 2016
    I am confused. According to a post 6mo ago you cannot record both TX and RX audio with Audacity.  Is there a new version?


    ........If you are wanting to record from the DAX MIC line, simply select that as the Record Input in Audacity's config panel.

    If you are wanting to record received audio, select a RX DAX channel on the receive slice flag and then select the same record input channel in Audacity.  Be sure that the proper channel is also turned ON in the DAX control panel.

    Unfortunately, you cannot record BOTH channels at the same time, as far as I Know.
    I would love to put my mic audio on one channel and the Receive audio on the other.
    There may be a mixer plug-in for Audacity that will do that.  I just haven't found it yet......


  • Roy LauferRoy Laufer Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Audacity does not seem to be able to record two mono sources simultaneously into a stereo stream (unless I am missing something).

    I have tries a kludge using Virtual Audio Cable, but it introduces a significant amount of noise to the output (it might be a setting problem that I have yet to solve).

    It would be really nice if there was a feature to merge the mic stream into the DAX RX stream without the need of another kludge.

    Yes, I know, software engineers can only do one thing at a time. I just think it would be a REAL nice feature.

  • K3ZJ - DaveK3ZJ - Dave Member
    edited July 2018
    Just be aware that, as earlier posted with the rules for CQWW & CPWPX, the top competitive single operators using a FLEX-6700 for SO2R require recordings that include audio from both receivers, each on its own channel, as well as the transmit audio.  SO2R is one of the Flex-6700 advertised uses, including in this month's FlexRadio ads featuring K9CT.  (Top competitive multi-operator and single operator assisted entries do not require recording, but single operators do.)
  • John G3WGVJohn G3WGV Member ✭✭
    edited November 2018
    This feature is on the to do list.  it just hasn't risen to the top of the pile yet.  It will get there eventually.

    That's good to hear, thank you. I hope my proposal and the ensuing conversation has helped to inform the requirement and perhaps give it a bit of a boost up the said pile!
  • Jim G3YLAJim G3YLA Member
    edited August 2016
    John & Co, Interested to see the comments and proposals in this thread.

    I am mainly a CW operator and miss a feature which was available on my previous Flex 3000, which was to periodically use CWGET, to monitor my outgoing CW to keep on top of any bad habits or symptoms of old age!, I don't mean record and review afterwards, but to use in real time during a QSO.
    After a week battling the recent Win10 in BOOTCAMP upgrade with great support from Dudley I am now moving onto other little wish list items which would make my Flex 6500 'even more perfect'. Your proposal and subsequent modifications sound like what I need to achieve an input stream for CWGET, which combines RX audio and TX sidetone. 

    Have to also say a big thank you all the contributors on here over the years, a much valued resource and I feel very lucky to have such knowledge and experience on tap...

    73 de Jim, g3yla
  • Marty RayMarty Ray Member
    edited July 2018
    Has this ever been resolved? Is there any way to stream CW sidetone via DAX?
  • WayneWayne Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Sounds like opportunity for 3rd party app.
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Yes, if we can get the maker of Audacity to make a few changes,,such as allowing recording the TX and RX at the same time.
    Being a thin client SSDR has no connection to memory or HD for storage?
  • John G3WGVJohn G3WGV Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    The problem is that the CW side tone is not streamed on any DAX channel, so there is no third party solution using digital audio. The only way I can find to do it is to take the analogue headphone audio and re-digitise it.

    It's a bit surprising that something so fundamental is still not resolved.

    73, John, G3WGV
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Not to surprising considering it is likely not at the top of their list.
  • Brian VK3MIBrian VK3MI Member ✭✭
    edited January 21
    As already mentioned, a capability to record both received CW audio and transmitted CW side tone is needed - to meet the CQWW and WPX contest recording requirements, as well as for reviewing and archiving other non-contest CW QSOs. It would be great to have this feature in place before the 2020 CQ contests.
  • Johan _ SE3XJohan _ SE3X Member ✭✭
    edited January 21
    K9CT with owner Craig is a very competetive station and he is a Flexradio user. Would be interesting to know how they have solved this. They must record as they are a top contestant in most contests requiring recorded sound.
  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin
    edited January 21
    You may want to test QSOOrder and see if it meets your requirements.

    It interfaces nicely to N1MM and makes it very easy to find a QSO should you need it.  The only issue you need to work around it capturing the CW audio being sent since that is not on a DAX stream.

    You will have to use another sound card device to capture the CW Monitored audio.

    I have done it with CQ SSB contests and it I really liked how it work.  

  • Andy - KU7TAndy - KU7T Member
    edited January 21

    you wrote:

    "You will have to use another sound card device to capture the CW Monitored audio."

    How do you do that?  I was not aware there is a different stream just for the CW monitor. 

  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin
    edited January 21
    Hi Andy

    I did it years ago.  I used to record contests, but I stopped.  It was cool to do but then I had all this data that I never used.  :)

    I had a 2nd Mic at my desk that recorded my voice plugged into my PC Mic in.   I think QSO order only captures 1 audio stream, so I might have had to use a virtual audio mixer to mix both inputs into 1 stream.  

    I don't have time to set it up again for a while, but it is doable.    Essentially you use a virtual mixer like Banana to mix the DAX 1 stream to the local Mic stream.  That will produce a new audio stream that QSOOrder can record from.

  • John G3WGVJohn G3WGV Member ✭✭
    edited January 22
    The WHOLE issue is that the CW side tone is not available as a DAX stream. If it was then third party solutions would be possible without having to turn digital audio into analogue just to then digitise it again in a sound card. That's the only solution to CW QSO recording and it is what I have no option but to do.

    I really cannot see how something so simple can be so hard to do and take three years on the "to-do" list to NOT happen.

    73, John, G3WGV

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