Curious About SSDR Direction

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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Kind of a soapbox here. Ignore me if your already tired of hearing my complaints. I won't mind. Really I won't.

It strikes me as odd how much further ahead things like PowerSDR (I understand the irony) and SSDR for iOS not to mention other SDR frontends are when compared with the look, feel and function of SSDR for Windows.

Out of curiosity I followed some links related to the Griffin PowerMate and found a whole host of tools for SMARTSDR FOR IOS. Tools like a logbook, dx cluster, band plan. Things that seem to have been on wishlist topics since SSDR for Windows first came out.

I am really frustrated with being fed minor features month after month and having to pay the price of ghost com ports and ghost sound cards and glitchy GUI not-so-good-working tools and then see things like this:

or this:

I'm not resentful. I'm envious of iOS SSDR advanced features and smooth GUI and apparently virtually bug-free implementation.

Are we seeing SSDR Version 2.x in the iOS product? Should we expect to see the 2.x product come in line with the current iOS product so customers, whether they own Apple or Windows computers can have a similar experience with their equipment?

I'm not a Apple fan and I'm not a Windows fan. In fact I'm an anti-fan fan. If you tell me your OS is better than another OS I'll tell you to grow up or, maybe I'll just ignore you. But, if you are going to offer a product across multiple platforms, please have some parity between those platforms. I bought in before there was an iOS product available through Flex. If I had known there was an option and I had reviewed the differences between the version for my selected OS and what's available on iOS I would have said this is just another Apple company with a half baked windows port and moved on to something else. I'm like that. There's some beautiful Apple software out there but I'm not in that world.

My point, if I can figure it out in all this rambling is, when are Windows users going to be treated to a good looking, well built, extensible, modern, feature rich, mostly-glitch-free GUI. How much have your Windows users contributed to the success and profits of FRS compared with iOS users? When do we get shown some love? If I could keep the panafall and throw away all the other goofy pieces of SSDR they'd be in the garbage disposal right now. But alas, I'm trapped.

I hope 2.0 doesn't disappoint. 

Have a nice weekend!

Kev K4VD
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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  • slight fever, clammy skin, little headache and very hungry

Posted 2 years ago

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Ted, NX6C

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Finally a contest I can participate in. :-)

I learned programming on a Bendix G-15 computer with paper tape input from punched tape teletypes.  The G-15 had a cylindrical drum for memory and ( I think) used 12AV7 dual triode vacuum tubes that were configured as flip-flops.  Graphics output?  We used to plot asterisks on the paper printer to make our graphs and charts.
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Mark WS7M

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Lucky you... You had a printer!  :-)   I remember getting our first printer and I think the department went through $5000 in paper in a week.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Love this contest

I built my first computer in 1958 and interfaced it to a radio to send counts. 

Worked on several analog computers which were incredibly fast for solving complex differential equations...Then we got a Ferranti Packard...Teletypes took hours to interface and the boot loader patch panels were painful.. one wrong wire and smoke..  I recall operating a computer with a bank of tubes on top... If they stayed Blue it was OK.. if not, you used a glove with an asbestos palm to quickly change them out.. if you did it in about 30 seconds the computer continued to work without missing any counts... if not, then you had to start over again...

Still remember getting one of the first ever Intel 8008 development systems in 1970.  It was so rare and fragile we drove it across the continent rather than trusting it to baggage...

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Steve Gw0gei

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Interesting thread

I havnt bought another Icom product new since I bought a new ic7400 and found it drifted on 6m and 2m plus their continual denial on the screen and blown driver issues. The second hand pro3 was a lot better but after trying my first flex 6300 the screen on the pro 3 looked like a toy.

I have stuck with flex as my main radio since 1.3 ssdr and its got a lot better both in terms of general use and for contesting (my main pastime). Dx lab integration with flex  persuaded me to move from logger 32 as my main log.

I have since been through a 6500 (wanted to try the bandpass filters and atu and four panafalls for multi band hf contesting)  and now back on a 6300 for a while pending a 6700 purchase this year. The contesting side on both hf and on 6m plus transverting onto 4m has got a lot better, and I chose the flex over the anan mainly due to better cw latency (lack of) and the ability to use older pc.

Just upgraded to a quad core pc with NVidia 10 graphics card and back on a single 42inch hd tv screen for now. Antenna genius getting ordered this week as part of my 2017 upgrade programme in the shack. I keep looking at the anan but I prefer the cleaner look of ssdr and the improvements to cat and dax have been great.

No good for contesting? I currently just use low wire dipoles and wire verticals in trees here and in 2016 season I came out top and cup winner  in the rsgb hf championship series (mainly 100w 80m domestic contests with some high power 400w ones on 160m and commonwealth dx cw), including another cup win in the October dx contest, and top five finishes in some 4m short contests. Top assisted single op in first 2017 rsgb 160m contest too with just a low dipole (I can hear the weak ones with flex 6300).

I used a friend's shack in arrl ssb this last weekend as my valley bottom qth doesn't cut it due to big hill to north west direction behind the house. He runs a big optibeam (40ft boom) and a legal limit OM amp, but I struggled with running on both days as his ic7800mk2 just wasn't up to the job of hearing weak 100 usa and ve stations with big eu stations on either side of my run frequency. Even with the narrowest of filtering and shift etc (and yes I do know how to use all of the icom facilities) it wasn't a patch on my 6300 on a busy 20m or 40m band, even though I was using a big beam at 80ft with heavy duty front to back rejection.

The bottom line here is what would I move to if I left the flex platform? Tried k3 many times in contests and don't like the ergonomics. There is a ft5000 in my friends shack as well - that just feels too awkward to use, compared to the several ft1000d radios I have previously owned and loved. The anan 8000? Nope, not enough support for a non techie like me, and I just don't like the power sdr variants layouts even though there are some features that ssdr doesn't yet have. New icom 7610? Nope, I wouldn't trust icom again and even if it gets rave reviews I would leave it more than a year to see if any hardware problems arise. I have thought about a pair of ts590sg radios for so2r, having liked the ts590 I had for a while - but then I remembered the cost and sound card nightmare I had with microham so2r delux box and all those interface wiring looms between it all!

I would still like all mode squelch too though so I can listen to 6m on one slice whilst tuning 10m on the other:-)  But overall my 2017 plan is to enjoy the continuous improvement journey with flex as I upgrade my contesting hardware ahead of a house move (I cannot put towers up here and the bottom of valley is not the place for a keen vhf operator or hf contester!). Just need the pound sterling to recover against the dollar now so the £7100 price of a 6700 comes back down to its previous £4400 price tag! But if anyone has a mint second hand 6700 that you want to sell drop me an email :-)

Steve gw0gei / gw9j in major contests
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Andy M5ZAP

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Hi Steve. Very interesting informative post.
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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I think this was a great conversation. It was a chance to voice some customer expectations, concerns and cares. I'm hoping FRS found some interesting and useful comments for their consideration.

There was some mention of someone being assigned to UI design within FRS. If so, I think this is definitely a great step.

I was hoping FRS would have jumped into the conversation with some comments or re-commitment to the UI and fundamental SSDR issues that have been brought up here and in past posts. The silence is rather deafening.

Thanks to all who joined in. Thanks to FRS for providing an open forum for discussion.

Kev K4VD
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Asher - K0AU

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Others have already said it well.  The ham software ecosystem is in the VFO-A/VFO-B paradigm.  Even though Flex is far ahead of the competition in hardware and platform capability, they appear to not have the resources to rapidly develop all the features the hardware could support.  (I know I can carefully curate a bunch of GUI clicks to set up 8 pans and appropriate slices, but the minute I click on a DXLabs spot all bets are off on what will happen.  The capability may be useful to others but for me not so much).  Free software is great until you find a bug or disagree with the direction the developer wants to take the software. Better connectors than SmartCat and DDUtil (please!) and I’d like to see an API to SSDR (in addition to the radio API) to simplify writing workflow management software.  My big wish list item right now is full autonomous operation... It’s coming and I’d like to see it on Flex first.

I think the no roadmap disclosure policy is a mistake.  To take just one example: I don’t really care when it’s released, but has Flex ever said if “2.0 WAN Remote” is for travelers like Howard, mega-station-by-the-hour businesses, or multi-multi remote station contesters?  Can anyone draw a station diagram of how antenna switching, amp control, rotators, antenna tuners, watt meters or other accessories integrate into 2.0 WAN Remote station?  I’m sure there will be amazing features in 2.0, but I have no idea if it’ll play well with others, if it’ll address any use cases I have for my station or if it will work with other choices I’ve already made, like preferring RS-232 accessories over USB because RS-232 over Ethernet is more robust.

These aren’t complaints.  I have no insight into market size, market segmentation or aftermarket ham software business models.  I applaud Flex for running an open forum for us to discuss our discoveries and our desires.  More public communication from the factory would be useful to help us plan and future-proof our station designs and software investments.

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Ross - K9COX

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I shudder when thinking of the complexities of 2.0 WAN remote when the current LAN version has Wi-Fi connect issues that Flex will barely admit to. My Maestro is consistently having different issues when connecting to 5 GHz  while the 2.4 GHz is fine. The signal is 100 percent with absolutely 0 packet loss when it does connect over hours of use. Can you imagine the variables over the internet! 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Since it appears that the replies to this post are beginning to veer off topic and that there has been more than sufficient time to allow for all points of view to be expressed, I am inclined to close this topic.  You can be assured that all points of view have been received by FlexRadio and taken under consideration.  Thank you.  

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