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Is anyone using Flex for CW Skimming in contests?

Ignacy
Ignacy Member ✭✭

I tried to use the CW skimmer with the Flex via Slicemaster or directly. In casual operations the Skimmer works very well. But in contests it generates 75% wrong spots, negating any benefit from its use.

Is anyone using CW Skimmer via Flex in contests successfully? Any tricks learned?

Ignacy NO9E

Answers

  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭

    I think I will have to write up how to use SDC Skimmer through SDR-Bridge for Flex. It is free and very nearly totally accurate. I gave up CWS 5 years ago in preference to SDC Skimmer and never looked back. For contests its a blessing.

  • WK2Y
    WK2Y Member ✭✭

    SDC Skimmer? Do tell!! This is the first I have heard of the program.

    73,

    Bob, WK2Y

  • Wayne VK4ACN
    Wayne VK4ACN Member ✭✭

    Eric. Please do. I find CW Skimmer flaky at best

  • Ignacy
    Ignacy Member ✭✭

    Perhaps SDC is here: http://sdc.qrz.ru/en/ It main target appears to be ExpertSDR.

    I don't have any problem with the CW Skimmer working through another SDR. Only bad spots from Flex under contesting. Sometimes multiple spots for the same callsign all across.

    Ignacy NO9E

  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭

    You can tell CWS is inaccurate by the number of DX Clusters fed by CWS that output Spots that are patently in error. Such as those P5 Spots because it drops the 'S' from SP5. The Skimmers in EU that are accurate are derived from SDC Skimmer.

    Wayne is in my camp: not only inaccurate but 'flaky'. Of course, you'll say its me and you may be right but I sometimes found it to not start or have some configuration issue even though 'it worked last time'. SDC is reliable.

    It is at the link Ignacy shows, though it won't be usable with Flex immediately. I have hijacked Ignacy's thread - sorry - don't forget he is looking for tips to make CWS successful in contests when in use with Flex. Meanwhile I will prepare a write-up on what to do with SDC and let you know where to download these instructions. You will need SDC and SDR-Bridge. Give a me a day or so.

  • Ignacy
    Ignacy Member ✭✭

    I used CWS with SDR IQ while running K3. SDR IQ was connected to a Wellbrook loop and was catching signals that my ear had trouble with. Zillions of useful sports for contesting. So few false signals that I can't remember. Perhaps many false spots from CWS on the cluster because CWS is run on mediocre equipment.

    Again, CWS on Flex is pretty good in casual operating, but terrible in contests. This can be due to TX interruptions when contesting, or due to artifacts in DAX. Not sure why. Perhaps another bug although DAX has progressed enormously from 3.1.8.

    Audio signals in Flex from the back of the radio and from SmartSDR for MAC are exceptionally clear. Not so remote. This morning I was operating remotely using SmartSDR 3.2.39. The receive audio had a strong distortion unless the volume in the RX slider was below 50. What is the problem with digital transfer from the Flex under Windows as music from the computer is very clear. Perhaps same problem in SmartSDR with audio and DAX, which feeds CWS.

    Ignacy NO9E

  • Dave KC9EI
    Dave KC9EI Member ✭✭

    Erik, I will be watching for your instructions for running SDC the FLEX. I am very interested and a few of my local ham friends are as well. I have been looking for an alternative to CW Skimmer.

    Thank you... Dave KC9EI

  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Dave, I will sort it out. I have the instructions written to PDF but need to add some extra pictures. However, my new Flex 6400M was delivered with a fault and went back to the dealer for repair. To cut a long story short, currently it is missing in transit back to me since 22 June. So I cannot open SmartSDR to get those screen-shots just now. When someone decides that there must be a resolution I will finish the document and advise you.

  • Ed Stallman
    Ed Stallman Member ✭✭

    I'm like what I'm reading here . Been using CWSkimmer since 2008 , worked very well with my Flex 5000 , Elecraft K3 and SSDR 6600 works good with a windows 7 computer . Windows 10 and CWSkimmer do not play well together . As you can see to much noise .

    Ed N5DG

  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭

    There is an optional noise blanker in CW Skimmer that I see you do not have set to ON.

    In SDC, the threshold of S/N can be set for situations where noise is real, so that there is no triggering of false decodes. It also verifies calls against master.scp so it is pretty much flawless.

  • Ed Stallman
    Ed Stallman Member ✭✭

    Erik , I'll keep looking for your PDF setup , can't wait to give it a try

    Ed N5DG

  • Dave KC9EI
    Dave KC9EI Member ✭✭

    Erik,

    Have you received your radio back yet?

    Inquiring minds would like to know. :)

  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Dave, I did and have finished an install document. The download link was posted in Forum message

    SDC Skimmer for Flex Radios — FlexRadio Community

    Since it became available, a number of Flex users have suggested some extra detail but I have not yet had time to add them. Mainly the ability to open additional Skimmers on other slices for split working or monitoring several bands. I will update it soon. As it stands, it should give you an indication of whether SDC Skimmer is useful to you or not.

    Erik.

  • Larry W6UB
    Larry W6UB Member ✭✭
    Erik, with Windows 10 Defender disabled, Windows would not allow "sdc.qrz.ru/en/" installation.
  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭

    Hello Larry, I cannot explain your issue. In the 5 years of using SDC I have never heard of anyone not being able to install it.

  • Larry W6UB
    Larry W6UB Member ✭✭

    Thanks for your feedback, Erik.

    73,

    Larry W6UB

  • Dave KC9EI
    Dave KC9EI Member ✭✭

    Larry W6UB and Erik EI4KF

    I was able to install a trial copy on my WIN10 computer. However, I need to run it on my WIN-7 computer that is running SmartSDR. A couple moths ago I installed it on the WIN-7 computer but couldn't get it to work. Erik has now published the how-to paper but now the program just flashes at me (if I see it) but won't run. I suspect it sees the old expired installation file somewhere.

    I have uninstalled and reinstalled the software but it doesn't run.

    I have requested a license key twice now but have not received it. I searched my spam filter but it doesn't show it being trapped.

    Hopefully the key will fix my issue.

    I'll update you if I get a key.

    Dave

    KC9Ei

  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 26

    Hello Dave,

    The license key is not required to install SDC. I will email Yuri about your key right now but the install fail is a completely different issue. For one thing, the key is applied after SDC is installed and launched. Until you and Larry, I had not heard of anyone experiencing an install fail issue (and I have been a member of the SDC user group, where everything gets posted,for 5 years). But clearly something is amiss - possibly a required Microsoft Library but I that is a guess. I think if anyone has this install issue, and is keen to try the program and has TeamViewer installed or can install it, to email me direct to arrange a session where I attempt to install for you. I can then see first hand and report to Yuri accordingly.

    Also Dave, have you checked Task Manager to see if SDC is running? Maybe it is but it requires the GUI bringing up via the system tray icon. Of course if the program does not appear in Task Manager or there isn't an icon then the program isn't starting when you launch it.


    Erik EI4KF

  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭

    I have been corresponding with Yuri, the SDC author. It is now a moot point but installation failures might be due to needing a x64 library at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/the-latest-supported-visual-c-downloads-2647da03-1eea-4433-9aff-95f26a218cc0

    The bad news is that SDC for Flex radios is at an end. There will not be any further licenses issued. Many 10s of Flex users have recently requested licenses. I asked via the documentation that if use was to be continued that a small donation be made to Yuri. Of all these licenses issued he received only 2 donations. Donations were not mandatory, however Yuri has decided that whichever is true - that either many Flex users are now working with SDC but not donating, or that they did not find SDC useful - he will no longer allow it to be used outside of the Expert Electronics environment where it works without a license.

  • John K3MA
    John K3MA Member ✭✭

    He is the developer so can make whatever decision he wants but I also requested a key from Yuri a couple weeks ago (a day or two after your original posting) but have not had a reply. It certainly does not help his case for donations if he does not respond to requests.

  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭

    Yes John, I am sorry. I asked him about sharing SDC with Flex users before my very first post and he said it was ok with him providing that I asked for voluntary donations. That I did. It seems to me that if donations are so important that he make a $10 charge prior to giving a key or make SDC time limited to allow for a trial. I have had the greatest respect for Yuri since 2016 but not any more.

  • Dave KC9EI
    Dave KC9EI Member ✭✭

    Thank you for your great efforts Erik. I was willing to pay much more than $10 considering what I paid for CW Skimmer. Unfortunately I was never able to try it out.

    I never received a license and now I understand why.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Dave

    KC9EI

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