Add an NCDXF Beacon monitor function into SmartSDR

  • 3
  • Idea
  • Updated 2 months ago
The NCDXF runs a group of HF beacon transmitters strategically located around the world, transmitting at specific time slots at various power levels.
How about adding a native feature into SmartSDR where the operator could start this "NCDXF Monitor" mode when not in the shack and upon return to the shack, charts or graphs would be available to clearly plot the received signal levels verses time for the bands selected to monitor.
Now the operator would have real time NCDXF monitor history to know what bands are open to what areas of the world at their own home QTH.
Having the NCDXF monitor function available in SmartSDR to "switch ON" with a mouse click when not in the shack would be an easy and unique feature to have available.
The 6700 could run this NCDXF monitor mode continuously in the second receiver section.
The key here are display charts or graphs with signal level received per band verses time in GMT to see clearly what was heard.
An omni vertical antenna would be the preferred receive antenna to use for this monitor mode of course.
Yes, there is a 3rd party program called Faros to do this through a sound card/cat interface.
Flex could do this much better and more conveniently as a built-in native function in SmartSDR with preset filters and other internal receive optimizations.
Photo of Steve W4YHD

Steve W4YHD

  • 7 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 2 years ago

  • 3
Photo of Cliff

Cliff

  • 40 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Hi Steve,

I for one like the idea, MacloggerDX has a function but just cycles through them.

Now I have joined the Flex owners with my own 6500 would think this would be a useful addition.

Cliff VK2NP
Photo of Bob Wright, N7ZO

Bob Wright, N7ZO

  • 268 Posts
  • 66 Reply Likes
A lot of work went into Faros to make it work as well as it does.  Alex, VE3NEA, is a talented guy, as is demonstrated by his entire DXAtlas suite.  I think it would take FlexRadio a lot of time to match or improve upon Faros's performance.

73, Bob, N7ZO
(Edited)
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3541 Posts
  • 1396 Reply Likes

While I have not tried to do it yet, I would think it would be incredibly easy to interface FAROS to DAX and SMARTCAT.   Frankly I am sure someone has already tried this...


The immediate benefit would be that you would have your beacons now and Flex would not have to waste time and effort programming something that already exists..

Photo of Bob Wright, N7ZO

Bob Wright, N7ZO

  • 268 Posts
  • 66 Reply Likes
Steve,

I just realized one of the benefits of your idea.  The Flex 6000 series could monitor all five of the NCDXF bands at once!

73, Bob, N7ZO
(Edited)
Photo of Lee - N2LEE

Lee - N2LEE

  • 275 Posts
  • 143 Reply Likes
Steve while this is a great idea I am not sure this is something that would be part of Flex's core business. Their business is and should be about building a robust platform that software developers can build on. Plus they have their hands full with SmartSDR.
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9148 Posts
  • 3466 Reply Likes
This would be an easy FlexLib API project for someone to do.  Create the panadapters and the slices on the beacon frequencies, use the PC clock for the timing requirement and monitor the slice signal level at the appointed time mark.  If you "hear" a beacon, you could e-mail a band open message to the operator.
(Edited)
Photo of Steve W6SDM

Steve W6SDM

  • 622 Posts
  • 280 Reply Likes
I set this thing up just to see how it worked and I got division by zero errors and a message saying that an outgoing call cannot be made since the application is dispatching an input-synchronous call.
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9148 Posts
  • 3466 Reply Likes
Since this is an Idea post, if you need troubleshooting on a different program, it might be best to start a new question or problem topic for a third-party app.
Photo of Steve W4YHD

Steve W4YHD

  • 7 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I agree that the Flex radio could indeed use a single slice receiver to monitor all of the NCDXF beacon frequencies (14.1, 18.11, 21.15, 24.93, 28.2 MHz), even though each transmitter location transmits only during its assigned time slot. Flex could do some clever receiver preset that has all of the optimized receiver bandwidths, unique signal processing/averaging used to optimize s/n ratio used only for this application, and measure received power accurately for each Beacon signal.  Then display a chart/graph with rolling last hour GMT time on the X axis, and Beacon callsigns on Y axis, and a continuous color temp signal power plotted on the chart for each received beacon signal versus time.  This would be a "one click" operator mode to run briefly or leave running when not in the shack.  Just a cool idea, with Flex taking care of all the radio settings to optimize receiver performance and received signal power measurement. 

I can see the contest op's loving this real time received propagation data to know when to concentrate on a particular part of the world, and what band to use, during a contest.
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3541 Posts
  • 1396 Reply Likes

This is clearly a 3rd Party Application rather than a function that needs to consume Flex's limited programming resources.  

There are already excellent tools available in the Flexlib API to accomplish most of this.. it just takes a motivated programmer with a HECK of a lot of time on his hands to program it...

Photo of Ken ve7kwa

Ken ve7kwa

  • 97 Posts
  • 32 Reply Likes
Wonder if Darrin KE9NS would be interested in moving up a platform. Folks would likely pay for some of his PSDR magic added to the the 6000 series   Or maybe we could chip in and buy him a radio... B)     (sorry PSDR people) 
Photo of Rick - W5FCX

Rick - W5FCX

  • 202 Posts
  • 50 Reply Likes
FAROS works perfectly via CAT and Omnirig. SmartSDR is instantly recognized and DAX audio works just fine.