Focus Helper - Great Feature

  • 4
  • Praise
  • Updated 3 years ago
One of the early problems noted when using Flex SmartSDR in contests is having to shift the Windows focus with constant mouse clicks between your logging program and SmartSDR. During contests I have regularly started typing a station's callsign only to suddenly realize that I hadn't shifted to my logging program.

Well, Flex has addressed this issue by the Focus Helper feature in Settings -> Radio Setup ->Radio tab.

There is a pulldown menu called Program.  The default is none but if you pulldown the selection you will see some logging programs available. Just select one. But, what if your program isn't listed e.g. popular N3FJP logging programs. In this case select Other.
When Other is selected a text entry box opens labeled Window.  Here is the key.......  you need to type in the title of the program (exactly) as it is shown in the top of the program window. For example with N3FJP's field day program the entry is     N3FJP's ARRL Field Day Contest Log 4.7
Now just close Settings

So what will happen.   Notice that text entry box on the logging program has the flashing cursor.  Go ahead use your mouse to do something in SmartSDR, notice as soon as you're finished (in 100 ms) the logging program cursor is ready for text entry!

FlexControl will change frequency without moving focus from the logging program. Of course, you can use a mouse drag to change frequency. Holding down the left mouse button and using the mouse roller wheel also works.

Focus helper has no impact on other programs you have running. Only between SmartSDR and the program you have specified in SmartSDR settings.

Great operating aid.

Dave   WB5NHL
Photo of Dave - WB5NHL

Dave - WB5NHL

  • 274 Posts
  • 61 Reply Likes

Posted 3 years ago

  • 4
Photo of Duane, AC5AA

Duane, AC5AA

  • 386 Posts
  • 84 Reply Likes
Thanks, Dave - saw this, but wasn't sure how to use it!
Photo of Don WB3FTQ

Don WB3FTQ

  • 59 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
wow. i never would have guessed how to get it working. i use FJP's software for MDC QSO Party. i am running Windows 8.1 which allows me to change focus by moving the mouse to the program but this is much easier.
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9129 Posts
  • 3453 Reply Likes
The Focus Helper feature is documented in the SmartSDR for Windows Software User's Guide in section 28.4, page 123.
Photo of Don WB3FTQ

Don WB3FTQ

  • 59 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Gee, maybe i should read the manual. too busy having fun with the "new" radio. 73
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 3905 Posts
  • 1187 Reply Likes
I had tried to use the "other" feature before but always got hung up on the exact entry. Thanks for the help.

I did make good use of focus helper with N1mm+ in the last two contests. It is a very handy feature!
Photo of Jay / NO5J

Jay / NO5J

  • 1467 Posts
  • 219 Reply Likes
AutoIt...
https://www.autoitscript.com/site/autoit/

A Windows Keyboard and Mouse Macro and Scripting Language. Which can be used in many Interesting ways to manage and manipulate programs, and windows, etc.
Includes a Utility called AutoIt v3 Window Information, that can be used to find out what windows uses internally to identify the windows of the running programs on your desktop. 

To capture the Information you just left click and drag your cursor on the "Finder Tool icon" and drag it to the titlebar of the window you need the ID of. Here it shows the Info windows has for the DX Keeper Capture window. In this case you can just Copy/Paste the "DXKeeper Capture" from the Title: box under Basic Window Info, upper left. into the Window "text entry box" on the Radio panel of SmartSDR/Radio Setup. Take a look at it If you've been wanting to automate/script some features for Amateur radio desktop. Need to rearrange all the open windows on 2 monitor displays into your favorite starting positions with all the windows sized exactly the way you want them and give focus to one of them. or maybe start 7 different programs in sequence arrange them on the desktop with one click and then close them all in sequence when your thru, by turnng off the first in the shutdown sequence. and then turn off your PC too. AutoIt can do that, it can click any button in a window it can click anywhere on your desktop using x, y postion of the pixel on the desktop. But it can also give you the exact spelling and capitalization of the titlebar text, even when the text include those pesky trademark and copyright symbols you don't seem to have a key for on your keyboard, it correctly determines the spacing in the titlebar text so it its "Program     X.1.4" it knows how many spaces between the m and the X "5" you wont have to eyeball it and guess.

73, Jay - NO5J  
Photo of Terry K8EET

Terry K8EET

  • 92 Posts
  • 12 Reply Likes
Great information, Dave. Thank you I hadn't taken the time to figure out how to work it.
Photo of Ray Andrews, K9DUR

Ray Andrews, K9DUR, Elmer

  • 238 Posts
  • 61 Reply Likes

HIP HIP HOORAY!!!  Thanks for pointing out this GREAT feature!  This change along with the fix to the FlexControl scrolling is going to make a HUGE difference in the contests.

73, Ray, K9DUR

Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 3905 Posts
  • 1187 Reply Likes
Ray. Wait till you get William's DJ controller program working with the flex. That will be really cool! I hope to fight with it this weekend if I can learn the programming language enough.....but first I must find my Hercules installation disk....
Photo of Steve N4LQ

Steve N4LQ

  • 568 Posts
  • 92 Reply Likes
Jaw dropped here. This is the best feature of 1.4. 
Photo of T.H. Bauer

T.H. Bauer

  • 13 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
This would also be a welcome feature addition to PSDR. Yes, there are still a bunch of us using F5K and F3K rigs for contesting. I don't feel like a 2nd class citizen using mine; in fact, compared to what I use at most M/M stations, the "legacy" FRS rigs are BETTER.
Photo of W5UN_Dave

W5UN_Dave

  • 315 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
works great with M1MM+
Photo of Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis

  • 495 Posts
  • 117 Reply Likes
Hi Dave didn't know you were on here .. have you tried the 6000 series off the moon at all ?? cheers Simon ZL4PLM
Photo of W5UN_Dave

W5UN_Dave

  • 315 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Hi Simon, yes I use my 6700 exclusively for 2 meter eme work. Have made many QSO's with it
Photo of Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis

  • 495 Posts
  • 117 Reply Likes
great :) I'm thinking of a 6500 to utilise my Kuhne TRxxx transverters for 144,432 and 1296 for EME - are you using WSJT with it? 
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 3905 Posts
  • 1187 Reply Likes
I Just tried it with N3FMP's ACLog 5.2 and it works like a charm.  
0.1 second after I do anything in SSDR, the focus is back to ACLog.  I can even move the mouse over the main SSDR pan screen and use the mouse wheel to fine tune a station and it works.  and focus still goes back to ACLog for text entry.  Very nice.  I tried it on ACLog in the previous version, but it either wasn't working properly, or I never used the correct name for the program screen.
The only problem is that ACLog will not send CW text to CWX and the focus is always on ACLog so I cannot use the Function Keys to send CW with CWX this way.  I will need to find a work around.

Of Course my contesting program of choice is N1MM+, but ACLog is still my day to day & DXing logger.

I wonder if it will work with FLDigi, too?  I will give it a try later.

Ken - NM9P
Photo of Mike Hoing

Mike Hoing

  • 249 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
Just set your CW macros up in side the logger and use theirs. I use n3fjp works slick

Mike
N9DFD
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 3905 Posts
  • 1187 Reply Likes
It only works if I have a physical wire going to the keyer input of 15 pin jack in back of the rig, unless something has changed lately.  If so, please instruct me!
Photo of Dave - WB5NHL

Dave - WB5NHL

  • 274 Posts
  • 61 Reply Likes
Another way to use CWX is program the buttons on FlexControl