How do I do the basic, gettting going configuration for CW Skimmer for Flex 6300?

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I am trying to do something very basic and my Google-fu is failing.

I see many examples that answer questions, but they all seem to answer questions that would occur to me _after_ I get to this point.

What I want to do is blindingly simple:  I want to do basic, CW Skimmer configuration.  Just CW Skimmer and an audio stream as provided by SmartSDR.  Nothing else.  Just those two.  I want my SmartSDR to feed CW skimmer _and that's all_.

I don't see where this is described.  And, it seems like I should be able to get it to work, but no luck.

What I have tried:

1.  Select DAX IQ RX1 for the "Audio I/O device" and "SDR IQ" as the radio.  No audio seems to be present (waterfall is dark blue).  Signals are clearly present on SmartSDR panadapter.  When I try to start/stop the radio I get an error:  "Unable to create SDR14x object".

2.  Select DAX Audio RX1 for "Audio I/O device" as well as for "Signal I/O device".  The radio is "3-kHz Radio."  On this one, I also set up cat for TS2000 on a dedicated port.  The CAT part, at least, works.  On this one, again, no signals are present on the panadapater.  On this one, start/stop radio gets the message "Cannot negotiate input format with DAX Audio RX 1: error 1169"

Do I need some sort of intermediary to make this work?  Something obvious I missed?  I would have thought that the second option, particularly, would have been downright trivial as it made to appear just like "any old radio".
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Posted 3 years ago

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Larry da Ponte

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In SmartSDR enable DAX IQ from either the pan adapter or the DAX audio from the slice depending on your CW Skimmer settings. Open the DAX control panel that's hidden in the Windows system tray. It will tell you what DAX is doing.
(Edited)
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Steve W6SDM

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Larry,

Mine works.  Here's the configuration I am using:  Radio is SoftRock.  Sampling is 192 kHz.  Under the Audio tab, WDM is checked, DAX Audio RX1 is under Signal I/O Device, Channels Left/Right I/Q is checked.  0 Samples is checked.  It's been a long time since I have used it, so the settings may need some tweaking to optimize.

Steve
W6SDM
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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http://www.qrv.com/sdrbridge.html Everything you need to know, and a great way to do it.
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Well, I tried SDR Bridge and it helped.  It is "almost working" except that now I get this insane endless set of "Read of Address 0" messages.  I can see the skimmer display almost working (it briefly did), but I can't seem to stop it from accessing address 0.  Worse, it may be restricted to the functions involved with Telnet and setting my callsign.  When I use SDR bridge, I get an infinite number of these messages.  If I bring it up standalone, I get about two, then I can sort of kind of reconfigure it and I don't get the messages again until I try to deal with that stuff.  BUT without SDR Bridge, I don't seem to get any output either.  What did I get wrong?  I tried a reboot without any success.  The really helpful stuff in the SDR Bridge guide helped -- I do seem to have the IQ stream set up correctly now (and I see dots and dashes on the waterfall).

The manual references a similar repeating error near the end, but I have different audio devices set, so that isn't the reason.

What now?
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Larry,
As George/KF2T  mentioned using SDR-Bridge is the way to go.  I had trouble running CWS before I made that change and added the SDR-Bridge.  I believe FRS also recommends this approach now.  

On the web page George sent is a "quickstart guide"  I put together.  Ed added to his web page and as things change I'll keep it up to date.  I put it together initially for my own use but you may find it helpful too. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW......... V 1.5.1.70
SSDR / DAX...... V 1.5.1.152
CAT................... V 1.5.1.0
Win10
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Larry,
Ed / W2RF is very good about helping.  If you have checked all of the troubleshooting tips (versions, settings, etc) and still get the error maybe a snapshot of the error and your settings will help spot the issue.

If it's something new, I'll add the symptoms (snapshots) and solution to the guide.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW......... V 1.5.1.70
SSDR / DAX...... V 1.5.1.152
CAT................... V 1.5.1.0
Win10
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Larry Loen WO7R

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I've been using the quickstart guide and I believe I got all the settings correct in all those obscure places.

I will see if W2RF can help me along.  Here's the screenshot for what it is worth:

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Larry Loen WO7R

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Well, tried the obvious -- uninstalled and reinstalled CW Skimmer and it seems to be working.  On its own without SDR bridge for the moment.  I'll keep you posted if the bad bug comes back.

Discovered one more thing about it -- it for sure happens when you "start" the radio, though I have hints it may happen at other times.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Larry,
I went back thru some emails I had that listed a problem that sounds similar.  I was on the copy list between this ham and Alex (author of CWS).  There was a long trail of correspondence but here are some excerpts. .  

The problem description (short version) was this:

When I went to load CW Skimmer version  1.8.3.350  I come up with an access violation at address 00404DD3 in model ‘CwSkimmer.exe’. Read of address 00000000.I can get the error to go away and the CW Skimmer screen comes up.  Attempting to enable the telnet server port also brings back up the the address error, and it never gets set. The error shows up if I start CWSkimmer stand alone or thru your SDR-Bridge program.

Alex (CWS Author) commented:

This is a very unusual error, I have never seen anything like this before. It looks like the error occurs when CW Skimmer tries to list the WDM audio devices available on the system. Please try to eliminate as many audio devices as you can, and see which one causes the problem. Unplug all USB soundcards, remove virtual audio cables, etc.


The solution was:

I went into the audio drivers and deleted a Gigabyte audio driver and Realtek driver.
It still didn’t work, however when I went into my sysadmin account and ran the bridge program it didn’t give me the error message and I was able to follow the quick start notes, selected channel 1 from the DAX, synced up the 96K sampling rates between Smart SDR and CWSkimmer  and got it to come up.  It’s working, decoding and CW Skimmer is able to control  up and down frequencies with the mouse clicks, changing bands on the radio changes it CW Skimmer. 



Larry,
While this is not exactly the same as what you described, the error snapshot was for the same address and library so it may be of some relevance.  I didn't add it to the troubleshooting guide because it was not a clear cause and effect solution and seemed to be a one-off.  (but maybe not).  
Good luck and let me know what you find.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW......... V 1.5.1.70
SSDR / DAX...... V 1.5.1.152
CAT................... V 1.5.1.0
Win10
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Al, thanks for all that.  This does have the look-and-feel of the same problem.  Hope it is not caused by all of those Flex audio drivers, especially the 'idle' ones you get a a 6300 owner.  Anyway, working for now.
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Larry Loen WO7R

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OK, now it is failing again and uninstall/reinstall brings no relief.  I basically have a pet rock right now as far as CW Skimmer goes.  What's the next step?  The only audio I could get rid of, perhaps, are the old Virtual Audio cables, but I disabled the devices and it made no obvious difference.
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Uninstalling Virtual Audio Cables made no difference.  I'm out of drivers I can remove.

Is there a way we can point "Alex" at this thread?
(Edited)
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Tried the MME drivers as a workaround .  Same symptoms.
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Ed - W2RF

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Hi Larry,

I've read over this thread. It appears that CW Skimmer runs correctly on its own, but has problems when starting from SDR-Bridge. This is usually because of the audio output device selected in Skimmer.

It is not usually a matter of uninstalling drivers. It is getting one selected that works. When SDR-Bridge starts, it searches for a good audio driver to assign for output. However sometimes the choice it makes fails. There is not a known problem with selecting a VAC cable, for example.

There is also a possibility that the INI file you are using does not have correct settings. Some users try to fix things by changing settings, which updates them in the IQx.INI files and make things worse. The solution here is to restore the original INI files.

Of course it is possible that there is some other problem unique to your installation. I suggest that you follow all procedures in Al NN4ZZ's excellent manual. If the problem still exists, open a case on the QRV.COM web site. From there I will work with you directly to resolve the issue.

Tks & HNY,
73 Ed W2RF
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Ed, thanks for your kind reply.  I get the identical symptoms whether I run the SDR Bridge or not.  I have done my best to follow Al's manual.  Without it, I would not have gotten this far.  My symptoms do match the symptoms he gave above for the "zero reference" problem.  I will see what I can do if I try again.  The reason I dumped the VAC is that I no longer use it and the symptoms given by Al suggest that somebody's software is confused by having too many drivers on the system.  I was hoping that reducing the "menu of choice" of audio drivers would prove a work-around. 

So far, nothing is working.  It worked briefly a couple of times yesterday, but has failed solidly since my last report.  In my brief intervals of success, it has worked both with and without the SDR Bridge, so my attention has been focused on CW Skimmer itself.  Perhaps the weirdest thing is that while it is in this 'infinite zero reference loop' I can see signals being decoded (dots and dashes on the waterfall) but no actual character decode.  So, a lot is working.  Just not quite enough.
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Duane N9DG

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Are you running CW Skimmer as an Administrator? I see that kind of error whenever I try to run it with my normal non Admin level account that I always log into the machine with. So I always have to start CW Skimmer by right clicking and doing "Run as administrator".
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Duane N9DG

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In fact the error message I see is exactly the same as shown in the screen shot a few posts back. And any manipulation of controls, settings etc. in CW Skimmer spawns more of those error messages. And in my case it is entirely caused by not running CW Skimmer as an Administrator.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Larry,
It does sound like a driver problem for the device you have listed as the "audio I/O Device" based on the error code and feedback from Alex / VE3NEA noted above. 

I don't think you mentioned the Windows OS version but if you are running Win10 that may be related. There have been a number of driver issues in Win10.   By the way I run Win10 and don't have any issues.  Here are my audio settings with a Realtek HD Audio output. 



Maybe Alex has some additional troubleshooting information and suggestions.  HIs email address is posted on his web page so I don't think it's a problem for me to show it here.

ve3nea@dxatlas.com

http://www.dxatlas.com/CwSkimmer/


Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW......... V 1.5.1.70
SSDR / DAX...... V 1.5.1.152
CAT................... V 1.5.1.0
Win10
 
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Larry Loen WO7R

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OK, reviewing Al's excellent manual gives an important clue.  It says:

"If skimmer is up but not displaying the calls and other data, be sure to check the TELNET settings tab on CW Skimmer. Be sure they match the telnet settings in SDR-Bridge.  Also check program versions"

The current state of the bug (I believe this was NOT true while it was briefly working) is that I CANNOT set the telnet.  It is still unchecked and defaulted to 7300.  I can't set it to 7310 or 7320 depending on which DAX IQ stream I have active at the moment.  I get the same "zero reference" error when I try and set those fields.  Alas, trying the SDR Bridge alternate INI files (via the shortcuts) provides no relief, but at least the Telnet fields are set.  So, it isn't quite that, but it is still a clue, I think.

Exact version of CW Skimmer is: 1.8.3.350 and the file date is 2/18/2014.  Smart SDR is 1.5.1 and SDR bridge is 1.1.3.118  "Blind Mode" is not set at CW Skimmer

I should also mention I'm running Windows 7.
(Edited)
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Somehow missed Duane's excellent note.  I am indeed running as a non-administrator as I always do.  Maybe this program has a hidden dependency on that.  Or, maybe I have to start up the server as administrator??
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Duane N9DG

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I also run SmartSDR the same way FWIW. That is, I explicitly use "Run as administrator" for starting SmartSDR. Minor inconvenience, but not a big deal.

I first ran into the administrator privilege issue with CW Skimmer prior to getting the 6500. I never took the time to fully understand or figure out why there appears to be a need to run it as administrator.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Larry,
The problem scenario I posted above also made mention of the "administrator role"   You should be able to "right click" on the .exe file and "run as administrator."  

It will be interesting to see if that is the issue.  My PC login runs as administrator so never ran into that here.  

Will be waiting to see if that is the issue.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW......... V 1.5.1.70
SSDR / DAX...... V 1.5.1.152
CAT................... V 1.5.1.0
Win10
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Running it Duane's way seems (so far) to be working.  Thanks Duane!

It also appears that SDR Bridge is necessary, at least in my case and maybe for everyone, to get it to work right.  But, the big key seems to be not to run CW Skimmer as non-admin.

It actually is enough to right click on the _shortcut_ provided by SDR Bridge and run _that_ as administrator (which seems to propagate, as one might expect, to the program so it has the right authority).  The nice thing about that is that I then get to use a known, good .INI that SDR Bridge understands because it wrote it.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Larry,
Keep us posted on the results.  I'll add your error snapshot and the solution to my troubleshooting notes if it proves to be the fix.

Thanks Duane for the tip.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW......... V 1.5.1.70
SSDR / DAX...... V 1.5.1.152
CAT................... V 1.5.1.0
Win10 
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Larry Loen WO7R

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I've been advised that running CW Skimmer also invokes OmniRig, something I validated by looking at Task Manager.  It has been suggested that OmniRig, CW Skimmer, and SDR Bridge all run privileged to be most sure of it all working. 

So far, running CW Skimmer as admin seems to invoke OmniRig as admin and that is "good enough" -- leaving SDR Bridge as non-admin has "so far" worked.  But, I will keep an eye on this.   It ran all evening without incident.  Progress!

Duane, do you run SDR Bridge as admin or non-admin?
(Edited)
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Duane N9DG

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No I do not run SDR Bridge. And I don't actually run CW Skimmer that much either. As previously mentioned, I first encountered the admin user account issue prior to getting the 6500. I was seeing it with various versions/branches of PowerSDR and VAC as well.