Idea to improve the SWR and Power Scale readability.

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  • Idea
  • Updated 9 months ago
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Idea to improve the SWR and Power Scale readability.

Maybe low priority but it seems like a simple change.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

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Al / NN4ZZ

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Posted 5 years ago

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Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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Yes, after all, the reason for uncluttered design is to make the system more usable.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Even better, allow user selection of the color scheme.

I like the design with fewer bars and more clarity for the numbers. Perhaps slightly wider bars at 1.5, 2.0, & 2.5 on SWR, and a thin line every 5 watts and a thicker one every 10 watts on the power display.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Ken,
Is this close to what you had in mind for the POWER bar?

The mockups are just to suggestions to give the general idea. I like the idea of user selectable color themes but figure that is a much bigger discussion. My initial thought is just to change the background which should be a pretty simple change and a big improvement.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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It is what I had in mind, but now that I see it, it just looks a little strange, like a zebra. hi hi. I think just the thinner marks every 5 watts might be better. Perhaps with a color change at the 20's.

Perhaps they can put labels above the meter for 10, 20, 30, etc. Or at least for 20 if it is too crowded to have them every 10 watts.

Having a wider line or different color line every 5 points on the SWR meter would still probably be good.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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It is very readable though! Keep in mind it is enlarged in the snapshot and everyone loves zebras (hihi).
Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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How about getting rid if those virtually unreadable analog meters and replacing them with readable digits like in PowerSDR
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Numbers are great, unless you are looking for a visual indication of movement, in which case bar or needle meters are superior. I actually like having both at the same time, as in PowerSDR's S-Meter. Just watching numbers change doesn't give any "visual presence" of the movement of signal strength or power output. It is the same reason that I sometimes prefer an old style VOM to an digital electronic volt meter when adjusting a circuit.
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Greg

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Hows 'bout get rid of the numbers alltogether. Just a high contrasting LED bar with the corresponding peak indicator. Add a box that automatically corresponds with the position of the peak and average indicators and display the numerical values for each?

73
Greg
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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My favorite version of the PowerSDR S-meter was the Classic bar graph meter, in averaging mode with the peak hold bar. It also had a box to the right that could be set to read the averaged S-meter reading in -dBm with or without a decimal point. But there were markings on the s-meter for major units.

Having the bar graph meter with no unit markings would force the eye to try and look at two different places at the same time. I find that ergonomically confusing and brain-tiring. But having the option of BOTH meters allows my eyes to drift to the format I want when I want it.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I really want NUMBERS... especially with the SWR Meter...
Just too hard to see those small invisible color lines on my 27" ,monitor

The dull red on black with faded blue lines is impossible to see even on my 27" monitor

Really need to allow us to pick colors like PowerSDR and have NUMBERS so we can get an actual reading all the time without having to mouse over.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Howard,
Does either of these meet the requirement?

BAR graph and numbers...something for both camps.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Dave - WB5NHL

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Al, white on black is big improvement for both SWR and power. I like the the idea of both bar graph and number in title. Drop RF for space in Power title. We know it's RF.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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definitely a heck of a lot better than the current invisible incarnation albeit I would love to also get rid of the black background

I definitely prefer the numbers on top as I would be looking at the numbers rather than the bar graph.... in fact, i would be very happy to do away with the analog graphics altogether...

BTW... all my shack SWR meters are digital numbers
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NM1W

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I favor numbers; I just want to glance and see what they are, but having the meters and numbers is fine too
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Charles - K5UA

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How about the last NN4ZZ graphic design with a peak hold rectangle like the mic level has. For the digital readout guys just have an option for that. Like in PowerSDR. Just a little tweaking when the big things are done.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Would be nice to see this move from "under consideration" to "planned".

Can the next road map update include an item for "UI Improvements" added for items like this ?


Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com


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Al / NN4ZZ

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I updated the POWER pic to include the numeric display also.  



Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I like it. I would also like to see the meter be able to switch when operating low power so I can calibrate a five Watt QRP level at full scale.
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NM1W

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totally agree. make it readable and useful for lower power modes
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ken,
For your idea of switching scales for QRP.  Does this capture what your were thinking about?  See pic and notes:

- modify the RF Power slider to show the level below 10 Watts in a different color.

- add line to indicate the 10 Watt level (end of the low power region)

- when the slider is in the HIGH power area, display the 0-120 watt scale.

- when the slider is in the LOW power area, display the 0-12 watt scale.

- if you and others agree with this basic idea, I'll copy it to the other thread.

- I picked 10 watts in this mockup for the automatic cut off point since some folks like to run above 5 w for QRP.  There could be more options for the scales (i.e. 0-1 watt, 0-5 watts) but I didn't want to make it too complicated for the illustration. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com


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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Yes, I like it. Now if it only had peak hold capabilities, too!
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km9r.mike

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Looks great
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Guy,
Ok, here is an update with 3 scales.  

0 - 120 WATTS
0 - 12 Watts
0 - 1.2 Watts

The scale would automatically switch depending on the POWER level you select with the RF  POWER slider.  If this idea get implemented I'm sure the developers will make it look better but at least this gives you the idea.    Easy to read, digital and analog, a scale legend automatically selected depending on the power level.  

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com

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km9r.mike

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Sorry for the extra work : ) Again looks awesome. I think it is value added and kills the proverbial two birds with one stone.

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km9r.mike

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I was not thinking this initially, but I think this would also be a great tool for those who utilize low power digital mode like jt65 and others.
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Jim Hawkins / K2JHV

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Heh, believe it or not, I wasn't even aware that those tick marks were there!  My vision is fully corrected and recently examined.  It's a matter of attention.  The change to white and lower granularity makes total sense. The addition of the digital readout on the lower left should also be implemented.

Having been a former C++ programmer, my guess is that the meters are objects all derived from a single class called, say, class meter.  An additional member function can be added to indicate whatever the units and formats are, such as %, or %.%.  The meter levels must be already available because external programs like SWPlotter6K use them.  It's been a long time, but I have written such classes and objects and don't remember it being all the difficult.  The meter class is probably a window.

Just guessing.  I don't know when 1.4 is planned, but I'll bet this could be squeezed in.  Another member function could be classic(BOOL type) so that, if the user wants the old type, it could be in settings SWRmeter.classic(TRUE) can override the new design to show the old type.

The radio may be FPGA, but, the interface, is most likely C++.

I realize, I'm totally guessing what's inside the mystery box and could be wrong, but the control classes are pretty common from my memory.  It's been a very long time.  I have a feeling that the meters are not simple graphics, but drawn by software. ;-)

All that being said, I might be talking through my hat and totally wrong about the implementation.

Al, This is one of the best design change Ideas I've seen and it may be very simple.
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Rich McCabe

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I think this is a big improvement. However its not a huge deal to me as I only use rig meters for ALC and have used a quality power/SWR meter for everything else for the last 15 years . Am I the the only one that ignores meters in the rig?

My second rig is a 7800 and it would be hard to beat it for configuration, accuracy and design in the meter category . And I still don't use them.

Don't get me wrong, I look forward to the day for a little more bling in the interface :)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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V1.5 appears to have made some improvement to the scales.   I didn't see any mention in the changelog but may have missed it. 


V1.4 looked like this.





V1.5 looks like this - notice the darker blue bars





The suggestions to change the color and add a digital readout are still valid.  Much easier to read and provides a digital readout for those that prefer it in addition to the graph. 



Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW V 1.5.0.65
SSDR V 1.5.0.145
Win10
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DrTeeth

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There has been some tinkering, but the scales and the bars at the lower ends have become darker making them more difficult to read even in these dark London evenings.
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Here it is, not beautiful, but an idea ;-)

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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DIGITAL PLEASE AND READABLE COLORS.

The current color scheme is impossible to see
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Al / NN4ZZ

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@Tim,
The primary request for my idea here was to make the scales more readable.   Version 2.1.30 does make this much better with the WHITE lettering and cleaner BLUE bars.  So feel free to mark this one IMPLEMENTED.  (again when you get a minute).

@Howard, I know you would like to see these meters also show the values digitally.  It might be worth submitting a separate idea to add the digital read outs.  I made a digital readout mockup below with the new 2.1.30 version you can use if would like.  



Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 & SSDR-W  V 2.1.30
Win10
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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From 4 years ago.... patience is the keyword here! :)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I would also like to see numerical values. Although it's more critical with PGXL so I can make sure I'm putting out 1450W and not 1200W.