a quick look at the new SSDR v.1.6.17 - a lot of praise and a few bugs.

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  • Praise
  • Updated 2 years ago
I have only had a few days to play with the new 1.6 software.  but here are a few impressions and a couple other comments.

1)  WOW!  There are some really nice refinements.....

2) I really like the new profiles (with a couple of assignment suggestions below).  It makes a lot of sense to separate the mike/audio profile from the other Transmit profiles that deal with amplifier timing, antenna tuning, etc...This was a very good move.

3) The new DAX & CAT formats are wonderful!  it is much easier to set up my DIGI programs when I only need to select ONE TX DAX channel.  Having fewer RX DAX Combos to wade through is also very handy!  I like the new DAX & CAT control panels, and the fact that it is much easier to redefine CAT channels, delete and recreate them, etc.

4) I REALLY like MIC Audio DAX Channel.  I tested it by recording something with Audacity and it works so well that I can now take my Behringer Q802USB mixer out of the line!  That will free up some space on the deck and reduce some of the wiring rat's nest.  I hope to test it our with N1MM+ this weekend to see how easy it is to record contest voice keyer files.

5) The Auto-TX switching from CAT is nice and seems to work well.

6) A byproduct of the changes is that it seems to me that the NR is working even more smothly than before.  Is this my ears going, or has anyone else noticed this?  I know that it wasn't part of the planned changes, but as Steve has said, sometimes other functions unintentionally benefit from streamlining elsewhere int he program.  (and sometimes they get broken, too!)

7) I have not done much with the new Transmit Profiles, yet, other than erase most of my old ones.  I need to program a few, but I don't need a lot of complexity because I am not using both antenna ports yet, and I have no amplifier to mess with.  I DO plan to set up a transmit profile as a QRP profile that limits me to 5 watts on all bands...just for fun. 

I also plan to make a GLOBAL profile for when I am operating remote that drops all of the FPS and Averaging to lower numbers, and eliminates the Waterfall, in order to save bandwidth..

8) Thank you for allowing me to delete unneeded MIC profiles.  I am experienced enough in building MIC profiles that I don't need the Default ones any more.  I DID export them for future reference before I deleted them.

9) So far, it seems that the persistence is more consistent in remembering various settings than the previous version.

10 I played with the WIN-KEYER and at last I can send CW from within my ACLog program.  It works so well that I now withdraw my request for direct CW keying via a Serial port RTS line.  It is not necessary any more!  Thanks! (and thanks for patiently enduring my nagging about the Serial CW Keying) 

While this was billed as a "Contest Friendly" update, most of it is not exclusively contest related.  All of the things I have mentioned are useful to simplify and improve most of what I do in my normal operations.


Now...Here are a few bugs, breaks, and suggested improvements....(I am always looking for ways to improve things.)

1) On LSB the Slice information flag has gone back to covering up the slice filter display.  This makes it hard to see the whole audio pattern of received stations, and my own TX audio pattern. (It is nearly impossible with multiple panadapters open.)  In the previous version, the LSB flag was to the upper side of the carrier frequency, unless the slice was tuned far enough to the right side of the pan that it needed to flip back to the left side of the center frequency.  The receive filter passband should never be obscured unless necessary due to screen crowding.

2) I would suggest that RX EQ be moved from the Global profile to the MIC profile.  This could be renamed "Audio Profile" to allow linking various RX EQ settings to various modes and purposes.  As someone who bounces about the bands following the DX spots, i may change between SSB, RTTY, & CW as many as 20-40 times in an hour or two on a busy DX-hunting evening.  Having RX EQ linked to the global profile doesn't help.  But linking it to a mic or AUDIO profile or to the mode would allow the EQ to change whenever I change to a different band/mode.  It would also allow me to have a relatively flat RX EQ when ragchewing (associated with my rag chew MIC profile, and a more agressive high boosted RX EQ when digging weak signals out of DX pileups (associated with my DX MIC profile) and an even more aggressive boost for contesting or extreme weak signal VHF work (associated with my DX Narrow MIC profile) and one for CW that has 500 HZ boosted all the way up and all the rest cut all the way down, (associated with a CW audio profile)  Having easily selected receive audio profiles is as important as having easily changeable MIC profiles.  As it is, I must manually change 8 RX EQ sliders every time I change modes.  And I must retune them every time the band changes or I want to correct someones poor audio so that I can understand them.

3) I would suggest putting the CW speed, offset, delay, and sidetone in either the Global profiles or the Transmit Profiles.  There are many hams who want to be able to personalize a shared station. (either multi-ham families, or contest stations with multiple operators).  if each operator could save a global profile that included all the CW parameters as well as CWX memories, that would be very handy.

4) It would be nice to have the ability to define a CAT Channel (Either Serial or PTT) that is not linked to a specific slice, but floats to whichever slice is active TX.  This would be handy when using something like K9DUR's Voice Keyer.  If it could be keyed and transmit to whichever slice is set for TX, then it would make the voice keyer more effective.  As it is, I can only use it on one slice at a time without needing to go back in and change a slice linkage. 

The easiest way to put it in the control parameters might be to add an option in the pull down menu that defines which slice this CAT channel is linked to.  So it would have the options....Slice A, Slice B, Slice C..........and finally .... TX Slice...  (The programming to make it happen is another story!)

Usage example....Sometimes I monitor 4 different frequencies on 6 meters when there may be a band opening or meteor scatter event.  It would be very nice to be able to click one slice as active TX and then hit the proper buttons on K9DUR's Voice Keyer to handle the exchanges.  As it is, I must change parameters in the CAT channel definition linking it to a slice before I can use Voice Keyer on slice 'C' instead of 'A.'  This possibility is brought about now because we have a single TX DAX audio channel that doesn't need to be switched. Now all we need is the ability to link TX status to a CAT/COM port and allow a program to key which ever slice is active TX.

5) When I delete a CAT Channel and recreate or add new ones, they do not appear in the CAT control panel in numerical order.  They seem to stay in the order in which they were created.  This may change after a reboot of the computer.  I will check it later.

I will need to re-post some of my bugs, improvements as separate threads so they can receive the attention they need.

Overall I am VERY please with this release. 
I will have additional praise and feedback after I get to play some more.  In fact, this is my second post on the subject, but my first one was accidentally erased before sending when I hit the wrong button on my ipad yesterday!  Old fingers sometimes get in the way!

Thanks to the FRS team on a job well done.

Ken - NM9P
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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  • Very satisfied...

Posted 2 years ago

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Sergey, R5AU

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I am with you Ken !
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Jim Gilliam

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Very nicely written, Ken. You are a tremendous asset to the group! Keep up the wonderful work!


Jim, K6QE

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Thanks for the kind feedback. 
Ken - NM9P
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Al K0VM, Elmer

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Ken,
  I think one of your 'improvements' is already taken care of...
  For a CAT port ( ptt), if you disable 'Auto Switch TX Slice' then the PTT goes to which ever Slice is selected for TX..

AL, K0VM
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Hey.  I'll try that.  I must have missed it!
Thanks.
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KF4HR

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Good summary Ken.  Being new to the Flex community I'm curious... for issues (bugs) that are found in v.1.6.17, does FRS send out bug fixes as periodically, or do bugs fixes just get rolled into their next major software release?  
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I am not speaking officially or FRS.  My opinion is that it depends upon the severity of the bug.

Major, "show-stopping" bugs may receive a quick repair and release.
Some that are mere "annoyances" often wait until the next release if there is an adequate work-around.

The process of vetting any release is very involved and complicated, due to the multiple systems within the rigs themselves.  It wouldn't make much sense to go through all of that for a "simple" fix for a minor issue when there are major updates in the work that can incorporate minor fixes.

Fortunately, the past history has been that there have been very few "show stopper" bugs, and regular updates have come fairly often.  (more often at first, and less often the past year.)

Ken - NM9P
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Jim Gilliam

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned was the mixing of audio on multiple slices. Before it was necessary to change mode and back again to get the audio to have the same level as the first slice. That has been corrected. Thank you, Mr. Flex!


Jim, K6QE

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Al K0VM, Elmer

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Unless the bug is really impactful, the bug fixes come with a 'point' release.. e.g. 1.6

AL, K0VM
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Ken - I am glad you like the release.  I'll try and address your suggestions

#1 - I am fairly certain that this has always behaved like this and it did not change.  This is a complex issue to resolve because it is a "three body problem".  Meaning we can handle 2 slice flags in close proximity easily, but once you add the third (or more) the logic on which side of the carrier line to flip the flag becomes complex.  We have a feature request to look into this, but being that it is technically cosmetic, it has a low priority right now.

#2 & 3- These are in the feature request DB to be discussed when we review how well the new profile feature is working.. 

# 4 - Also already in the feature database.  This would be a new type of CAT port that tracks the TX slice independent of the slice designation.  It could be used for consolidated logging when using multiple CAT ports or connecting to devices that consume band data via a CAT protocol.

#5 - Since CAT "channels" are no longer bound to a physical layer device (example: the CAT protocol can operate over a serial device or a TCP socket), the base construct is the channel itself and the high level communications protocol (CAT, OTRSP or WinKeyer).  The physical layer property of the channel is secondary.  So they are shown in the order that the channel is created.  I am sure we could ad some sort of sorting capability, but again, this is cosmetic so it would be a low priority item.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Thanks, Tim.
#1 - I appreciate the increasing complexity of the logic.  I can see how it could become a nightmare with 4 or more slices on a pan!  Thanks for looking into it.

#2 & 3 - Excellent!  Overall the new Profiles are a great leap forward.  With just a little more tweaking they will be perfect.

# 4 -glad to hear that.  This only became a real option when the single TX DAX channel was released. 

#5 - I will probably just kill all of the CAT ports, reboot, and remake them in the proper order now that I have a better idea which ones I need.  My CAT port assignments are able to change now that I can define the "split" between COM in and COM out to be wider than before.  It is now very easy to format the CAT ports and it doesn't take long.  A major increase in convenience!

As usual, any of my suggestions are "positive dreaming," not gripes and complaints.  (If I ever have a real negative complaint, you will know it when you hear it!  ha ha.)

Thanks.  I do really like the new release and am just getting started mastering it.
Keep up the good work.

Ken - NM9P
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Rob Fissel

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Ken, NR sounds a lot better to me than it did in 1.5. Could be placebo effect, but just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in that thinking...
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Nice to know.  It just seems smoother and has even less distortion.  1.5 was pretty good.  but this seems even better.  Correct, it may just be the placebo effect.  But I appreciate it in any case.  I find that i am using it a lot more on both phone and cw.

Another slight glitch I have noticed is that when selecting profiles from the pull down list, I cannot use the mouse wheel any more, only the new scroll bars.  I keep trying to use the mouse wheel and it changes the frequency on my rig.  The scroll bars are a little difficult to hit just right because they are narrow.  This is the only big drawback to the new profiles that I have seen so far.

Overall this is a fine update with only a few bugs here and there.  I wonder what the next one will be?  This one was a very nice belated Christmas present.

Ken - NM9P
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Rob Fissel

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I share your sentiment, Ken. Also an avid digital guy here, and the CAT/DAX improvements are so nice, allowing me to truly run multiple sessions of WSJT-X, or FLDigi. Love it.