CW Skimmer Problems

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I am trying to get CW skimmer running and it appears to work fine when going to slice A but not other slices. I am using skimmer V2.0 and sdrbridge v1.5.1. Slice A is running in one panadapter and slice b in a second panadapter. The slice A pa is configured to dax iq1 and the slice B pa is configured to dax iq2. Skimmer is configured  to port 7310 for A slice and 7320 for B slice. DAX shows both iq channels are streaming and set to 96K. I can bring up skimmer just fine on slice A but when I enable slice B no data is transferred to skimmer. Any help as to what I might be doing wrong would be most welcome....

Thanks and 73's,
Harry
W0LS
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Harry Williams

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Posted 2 years ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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K1DBO

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Give Slice Master 6000 a try.  It does about 95% of the CW Skimmer configuration for you.  It can usually tell you what went wrong if it cant manage to get it running on it's own.

You can find the README and download information here: https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000

 --Don
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Harry Williams

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Well got Slice Master running and it's pretty neat but since I am a new user of cwskimmer and now your app I have a lot of learning to do. It appears that one slice or multiple slices work fine on one panadapter. However when I open a second pan adapter I can not get any data to appear in skimmer from slices opened in that pan adapter. I get something in the skimmer window but its not signals its just a bunch of gibberish. The freq displayed in skimmer is correct. Could there be something wrong with DAX. Should I maybe reinstall it? The DAX window does show streaming enabled for both panadapters and rate is set to 96K for both.

73's,
Harry
W0LS
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K1DBO

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You seem to have enough in place for Slice Master make it all work.  On rare occasions I've had to restart DAX, and sometimes even reboot the radio.  

But... if you have a slice on your second panadapter set to launch CW Skimmer in 'CW only', then in SmartSDR, try going in and out of CW mode on the slice. CW Skimmer should close and reopen with the mode change.  When you do this, keep a close eye on the status line of Slice Master.  If Slice Master notices any configuration problems it will update the status line with an error message that might be helpful.

I doubt you'll need to reinstall anything.  But if the status line isnt helpful, first try restarting DAX, then the radio if that doesnt fix the problem.
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Harry Williams

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I did what you suggested and status line says "no connection". 
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Harry Williams

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Where as in the other panadapter that works it will briefly give the radio name/id and then go back to "no connection".
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Harry Williams

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Well...I did somemore of what you suggested and now I do not see the "no connection" status. Status line just shows my radio/id and does not change. Did not see anything change in status line...
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K1DBO

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Harry,

I hate to ask, (and if you havent already) but how about rebooting your computer and your radio, and then start SmartSDR and Slice Master?  (Im assuming DAX auto-starts, if not start that too) If things arent better then, tell me which DAXIQ channel your slice's panadapter is using and what CW Skimmer's setting for "Signal I/O Device" is set to.  It should say "DAX IQ RX" followed by the DAXIQ channel number your panadapter is set to.
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Harry Williams

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Don...thanks for all the help...so I rebooted the PC and reloaded all the software with the same results. The first panadapter DAXIQ channel is set to 1. The skimmer that comes up with slice on that panadapter has Signal I/O device set to " DAX IQ RX 1" and the telnet port is 7312. The 2nd panadapter DAXIQ channel is set to 2. The skimmer that comes up with slice on that panadapter has Signal I/O device set to " DAX IQ RX 2" and the telnet port is 7313. So I think all of that looks correct unless I have missed something. Is there anything else in DAX or SSDR that would affect the DAX IQ functionality?

Harry
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K1DBO

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Harry,

It sure sounds like Slice Master is writing a good config file for CW Skimmer.  I'm at a loss for why it cant read data from the DAX channel.  

I do remember reading a post, though, where someone mentioned that their choice of "Audio I/O device" in the CW Skimmer settings caused a problem similar to yours.  But in your case, your working CW Skimmer is probably set to the same device as the non-working one.  It might be worth a look.

Another thing that makes no sense but sometimes helps is to go to DAX and toggle the stream on and off a couple of times.  This will usually cause Slice Master to stop and restart any CW Skimmers that are using that channel.

While in DAX what do you see when you hover the mouse over the button for the channel?  The button should be blue, it should say 'streaming' to the right and the hover will tell you about the current connection.  ...any chance something else on your network is using that channel? (Slice Master usually notices the busy condition)

Finally, shut down Slice Master and bring up the windows task manager. Look for any CWSkimmer.exe's that are running and kill them.  Since you just did a reboot, there shouldnt be any but... I've noticed that sometimes it will look like CWSkimmer is not running, but a process is left behind.  Usually when this happens, things dont work right.

Good luck!
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K1DBO

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That's great news Harry.

I'll have to add that to my list of trouble shooting question. 

I'm wondering though, did you look at the list of playback devices before running the uninstall scripts?  If you did, were there double entries for the DAX devices or did you have to remove the good ones before you could see the bad ones?
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Harry Williams

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Hey Don...no I could see the duplicates before I went into delete them...thats why I did it....

Harry
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K1DBO

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Good to know... my guess then is that I could write a test to check for the condition.  Were the duplicates showing up in CW Skimmer as "Signal I/O Device"  choices or only under the windows "Playback devices" settings?
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Harry Williams

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I was seeing the dups under windows playback devices. That display just seemed to be more readable. They might have been there in "Signal I/O Device" but that display was a little muddy...
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Harry Williams

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Thanks for the info...Tim I installed the sdrbridge beta but still have the problem but thanks for that. Don I will download your app and give that a whirl...and let you know the results...

Thanks,
Harry
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Rich McCabe

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I am having issues as well.  In my case the first instance (the one related to the IQ1.ini file) is slow. As soon as I enable it, the skimmer slows down to a crawl and looks smeared.  IQ streams 2,3 and 4 work fine.

I can check the box on SDR-Bridge for IQ1 and it will work as long as the slice is set to anything but IQ1 and CWskimmer is set to that IQ port as well.

I did a clean install on Smart SDR stripping out everything per Flex's instructions, did the same with SDR bridge and CWskimmer. I thought it was going to work, but did not last long before it deteriorated.
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John, G3WKL

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Rich, I've noticed a similar problem to the one that you describe.  If I have two slices with a similar setup except for the IQ number I would expect to get similar decodes on each instance of CW Skimmer.  However, whilst the CW Skimmer instance on IQ1 works fine, that for IQ2 often runs slow and, when it does, the waterfall has noise artefacts in the vertical plane (frequency). Not clean CW like the waterfall for IQ1.   I've also noted that when the waterfall slows down and looks noisy the CW Skimmer decodes drop right down.

I used the word 'often' above, as this behaviour doesn't always occur.  I can't though pin it down to anything else running on the PC.  This seems to be sharing its CPU load amongst the 7 processors fairly evenly, which are running at about 25%.  

73 John, G3WKL
(Edited)
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Rich McCabe

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Mine was often so slow it would take about 30 seconds to draw across the screen.

Something is not right. Getting tired of rebooting, standing on my head and holding my mouth just right to get it to work.  When it does work its  game changer, however it only runs perfectly 1 out of 10 times for me.
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k0eoo

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That's been my experience with CW Skimmer, not ready for prime time....
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Rich McCabe

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You would think that $75.00 means its ready for prime time !

:)
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K1DBO

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In all fairness guys, most of the CW Skimmer problems reported here in the community are related to configuration issues, not CW Skimmer itself.  The issue that started this thread (Harry's) turned out to be a Flex problem related to DAX drivers.  I'll even go out on a limb here and guess that Rich's problems are not directly related to CW Skimmer either. 

There are a lot of folks who have CW Skimmer working flawlessly with our radios and running on computers nearly identical to the ones having trouble.  The trick is finding the problem before giving up in frustration.  Working together as a community, I'm sure we can get to the bottom of this.  I'm also sure that if a particular problem can be attributed to CW Skimmer, Alex (VE3NEA) will put in the effort to correct it. 
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Rich McCabe

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I wish I could agree with that Don.

Even your CWS installation crashes with that error about 1 out of 10 times. That's a pretty poor track record.

If the program was not so powerful I think most people with give up on it.

But its an amazing program and I give Alex credit for his outstanding work.  However to think its OK for a $75.00 program to crash 1 out of 10 times (worse in my case) is just not acceptable.
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K1DBO

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I've put a bit of effort into trying to get CW Skimmer to crash when not run from inside Slice Master.  I'd like to send Alex a copy of the CW Skimmer log file when it happens.  Since I started the effort, I've been unable to do it.  I can, however, get it to crash consistently if after Slice Master launches it, I hit the 'X' button in CW Skimmer. So for now, I'm willing to blame that one on Slice Master.   
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Rich McCabe

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One thing you might try is shut down the skimmer and SDR-Bridge and see what ports are being used.

I just ran netstat and found my teamviewer is using port 7310 !

So I just changed my ports and going to see how that goes.
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Harry Williams

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Official Response
Well the problem has been solved after lots of fooling around. I finally discovered that I had duplicate DAX playback devices. So I used the scripts provided by Flex to uninstall the DAX drivers. Then I went into windows and looked at the list of playback devices and found I still had a number of DAX devices. So I highlighted each one, right clicked, and clicked on disable which got rid of it. I then rebooted the machine and checked again and all was well so then I went back in and ran the manual install scripts. Brought DAX back up and played with skimmer and now am able to run skimmer ok in multiple panadapters. Don't know how I ended up with duplicates but it was relatively easy to get rid of them.

Thanks,
Harry