Integrating DX Cluster Spots with SmartSDR v2 (demo)

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Here is a quick demo showing the cool integration of SmartSDR v2 with the Spectrum Monitor in N1MM+.  Among other things, this enables limiting the display of cluster spots to the ones you can hear on your radio!

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John - AF3K

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Posted 1 year ago

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K1UO - Larry

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Thanks John...  very neat...  Have not set up N1MM+ yet...just resting after getting everything else back to working with my remote radio and local programs :)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi John,
Thanks for posting, it shows that integrating spots is clearly doable and they did a good job with the movable floor.

I don't use N1MM or contest and would like to see the spots integrated into SSDR.  That way the panadapter is not duplicated or triplicated if you are also running CW Skimmer  ( why waste screen space with 2 or 3 copies of the panadapter/waterfall)  

The request to integrates Skimmer spots and/or DX spots is the number 5 request on the list by user votes.  

If you are using N1MM you could display the spots in either place and turn it off in SSDR or N1MM as you prefer.  

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/pfskimer_what_is_the_possibility_for_a_smartsdr_dis...

The idea of the moveable floor for the DX spots is a good one and that comment should be added to the PFSkimmer idea. 

It FRS decides to implement this idea it would result in a clean display with everything in one place and minimal use of screen space.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Norm - W7CK

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I'd like to see some focus on noise reduction.  Especially the Spectral noise reduction.  Since it might take a bit of processing power, I'd like to it done before spots etc.

The 6000 series has a finite amount of processing power.  It would be nice to know if Spectral noise reduction can be added and if so, will there be much more room for other processes.   Not likely we'll ever know that though.

Norm - W7CK
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I agree on that, Norm.
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Paul Bradbeer

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I agree with you, Al; nice idea. 

N1MM+ integration seems good for contesters but it is not for me (even though I use N1MM+ fed with telnet CW Skimmer). I wonder if CW Skimmer integration would be best for DXers. Either way, it would be nice to reduce the number of panadaptors covering the same frequency range.

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Mark WS7M

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Thanks John!  It is reassuring to see that your 20m is as dead as mine is...  sigh...
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John - AF3K

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Mark - So you noticed the lack of real signals!! :) Truly one of the worst propagation days I've seen in a while too.
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Mark WS7M

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Yep.  One time I actually went outside to see if my antenna was still up it was so flat.
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Norm - W7CK

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On the brighter side, 6 & 10 were both open today!
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Yep, just started using that feature. Perfect example for the use of a pop out panadapter. I would like the ability to change the font size of the spots though.
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John - AF3K

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I think these little up/down arrows in the upper right let you do that....

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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Geez, sometimes you do get what you wish for :) Thanks John
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Michael Aust

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I rather have CW Skimmer since many DX stations never get reported but CW Skimmer gets them for CW but guess for SSB operators this helps a little bit but no guarantee you will hear the DX with lousy band conditions

i.e: Spots on East Coast not heard by West Coast !
(Edited)
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John - AF3K

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Agree CW Skimmer is very cool and better for CW for most cases.  With the N1MM spectrum display, the issue of "spots on east coast not being heard on the west coast" is creatively addressed though.  You can set N1MM up so it only displays dx cluster spots on frequencies where the Flex detects a signal. That seems useful for non CW spots.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The Current GOLD STANDARD for Spots on the display in the Flex World is SmartSDR for iOS which integrates Spots into the Flex display where they belong not in yet another external panadapter...  If you have ever used NAP3 (abandonware) on a K3 you will also see a totally integrated Spots on the Display

USE CASE:  I chase DX even when travelling I do not have the time or inclination to scroll the bands to hear things.. I do look at the spectrum display and wonder what I am seeing.  Putting up a Spots listing really does not do much good as you have 2 screens and have to mentally coordinate which is what.

I do not have screen area to have multiple extraneous displays for spot... Marcus got it right... with SSDR for iOS.. a single display where you can see everything

NOW it ONLY it could happen on SSDR...V2.1


BUT ONLY AFTER THEY FIX THE INVISIBLE METERS AND GIVE US AN ALTERNATIVE COLORS OPTION SUCH AS IN SSDR FOR IOS

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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Howard,
Agree with having one seamless display and ideally we should be able to choose what we want to see there:

- DX spots and / or 
- CW Skimmer  spots 
- or No spots at all 

in one display, the SSDR display.

Alex (CW Skimmer author) is working on a new version slated for 2018.  Ideally FRS will use his new server code and link it in seamlessly with SSDR.  

So it could take a while but wouldn't that be a nice feature, something for everyone whether you favor CW, SSB, Digital, etc.   I think all of these options are covered in the PF Skimmer idea.

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/pfskimer_what_is_the_possibility_for_a_smartsdr_dis...


Given the effort and timing there are definitely other easier and high ranking feature that would / should likely come first.  

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Might be gold standard for those who have Apple products. Certainly not my preference. I'm sticking with Windows and Maestro, that's my story and I'm sticking to that too.
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Ernest - W4EG

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Me too!
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John - AF3K

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While this particular new N1MM+ feature may not satisfy the needs of non-contesters, to be fair, it wasn't designed to do that. I doubt Tom/N1MM would have developed it if he didn't think it would improve N1MM+ (N1MM+ is the leading contesting app right?).  By Flex adding a new CAT feature in v2 (not a huge investment in time I'd bet), Flex becomes one more reason to be the radio of choice for contesters. 
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KE0U

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Agree regardless if used for DX or contesting the common dependency for intelligent spots is access to the log. In order to suppress dupes, DXCC already worked etc. I only want to see new and only display new in N3FJP. This would be quite the challenge for FRS to implement across the number of loggers in use.

By adding the CAT feature the log developers are free to implement enhanced spotting in the logger where IMHO is where is belongs.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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By adding the CAT feature the log developers are free to implement enhanced spotting in the logger where IMHO is where is belongs.
I fully agree!
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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When I was testing this with Tom, he recommended that I keep the "grass" nice and low. The software is able to then pick out what is a usable signal and then what is not. You can then press Shift+up and work your way up the band.

Ria
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Of course. I disagree.

There is definitely a USE CASE for spots on the display.

When remote on a limited size display you do not have screen area for multiple displays.

Lots of hams look at spots all day. But they are disconnected from the visual representation of the signal. Hence the popularity of Spots on the SSDR for iOS and NAP3

Just because your use cases do not need them. Mine and many others do need them.
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KE0U

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Howard,

I am in agreement that spots on the display makes for an easier workflow and is a common use case for many hams casual, DX and contesters. However the implementation model is fraught with difficulty due to the need to consolidate three streams of data.

1) The applicable log
2) Spotting data - with all of the preferences and stuff associated with it. 
3) Radio data mode, panadapter bandpass data etc.

As two of the three streams are already implemented in modern logging apps. I would look to the log authors to do the heavy lifting to implement a single consolidated view overtime. With FRS expanding as needed the interfaces needed to allow external apps to display content/attributes on a slice.

Today however, the added ability to pop out a slice works well for me as I can stack the slice above a horizontal spotting list and quickly see if a play exists for a given station. 
 
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Howard, I take it you're not a contester.

The N1MM+ feature was designed with contesters in mind. Your focus (computer and brain) should be on the logging software. This is why the spectrum display in N1MM+ was created.

Ria
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I do Contest a fair bit and have won some or been at the top in the past albeit recently been traveling too much to be serious. I use Writelog from habit at KY6LA and we use Wintest at NX6T. When doing S&P I use the spotting display aof NAP3 on the K3 as it speeds up Q's

When NOT contesting I want an NAP3 Tyler Spots on my spectrum so I can see exactly where the DX is. I talked Marcus into doing this on SSDRfor iOS and its excellent for my remote usage.

As you can see from the likes, a lot of hams want to operate from spots on the display rather than from a disconnected list or second art display
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Al / NN4ZZ

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I feel the same way Howard....

a lot of hams want to operate from spots on the display rather than from a disconnected list or second art display

And if you are a CW Skimmer use it would be a THIRD display....why waste the space?

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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John - AF3K

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Latest news -- The August 1 build of N1MM+ adds a waterfall to the Spectrum Monitor. The data path being two-way between: Your Flex <--> the Flex API <--> N1MM+ <--> +N1MM Spectrum Monitor.

Tried it this time using Maestro and it seems to work ok. i.e. whatever changes you make in the Maestro or Spectrum Monitor are reflected in the other. So it's also kind of a "poor man's multi-client" (but definitely not really because this is built for N1MM+ users only, and not the general case)

The release notes mention more to come, including being able to fine tune via the mouse wheel.  

Pretty cool.


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Steve Jones

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That is really cool ! I hope frs will include the new cat command in with the 1.11 maintenance release so that those of us who are not currently needing 2.0 for wan use and just waiting for the 6300 performance upgrade can make use of this new n1mm integration facility. As it works with an out of the box ic7300 the purchase of a 7300 as a back up radio and 4m tx is now looking like a no brainer. Its a pity frs are not including 4m tx in the new 6600 for european countries that have the band.
Steve gw0gei / gw9j
(Edited)
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John - AF3K

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Re: waiting for 1.11 vs buying 2.0 - I faced the same decision and decided on 2.0 now.  My logic is that if I thought I was eventually going to buy 2.0, I might as well buy it now as waiting means I'd just have less time to get my money's worth before 3.0 is released!   It's clear 2.0 is the best/cleanest all-around version of SmartSDR yet, and the focus now is on 2.1, 2.2, etc. so why be left out of the fun?
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Steve Jones

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Glad that decision has worked out for you John. In Europe we get stung with a 20% "value added" tax - on balance, given that the random crash issue and other problems don't appear to have been solved for some existing sufferers in 2.0, and some users have had install issues, I prefer to wait a while longer before upgrading. I did a full uninstall and install of 1.10.16 some weeks back after yet another dax issue occurring, and so far my 6300 has behaved itself, so I am reluctant to change anything much at present until I see how long I can go without the random crash issue occurring. Call me over cautious but as a regular contester if something works I tend to leave it alone until there is a real pressing advantage to upgrade hardware or software. Same reason I haven't yet ordered a 6600 - I will let others do the live testing on the early units of the radio and the new amp. I have some antenna work to do over the next couple of months whilst I wait to hear how others get on with the early radio and amp units. We have our main HF convention here in the uk in early October so I hope frs will have got one of the pre production units of both the 6600m and the new amp over to the main uk dealer ready for that - so we can have a hands on play at the convention and try 2.0 out in the flesh with some remoting etc.
73 Steve gw0gei / gw9j
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John - AF3K

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Steve - Completely get it why you are waiting to upgrade. Makes perfect sense.  If the UK dealer is able to arrange it for the show, I think you will enjoy seeing the new rigs and amp.  I enjoyed the Flex booth at Dayton and am now in line for a 6600. 
73,
John
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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" In Europe we get stung with a 20% "value added" tax - "

Yep, you do. We also pay state sales tax here. But this is also beyond the control of Flex radio. There is also nothing such as tax free shopping in the USA either. If it isn't collected at the point of purchase, the tax is due with your state income tax return. In fact, states have sued Amazon and credit card companies to get customers' data to collect the tax. So you can understand what Flex will be dealing with. Imagine the EU or your country's Government deciding to tell Flex they can't do business until they hand over customer data and/or ask for the taxes with penalties and interest. Not a pretty scenario. It's why they have no choice but to collect the tax, and as has been said - it costs them money to collect the tax so they are making out worse than if they sell to a US customer.

Ria
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Steve Gw0gei

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Yes we have to pay it on domestic purchases too so no escape. I plan to buy a 6600 which will come with 2.0 and have no immediate need to upgrade my 6300. Instead the £250 paid for 25% of a new ic7300 - which gets me back on 4m and gives me a non crashing radio that now has a large spectrum window and waterfall in N1mm for contesting. My 6300 is still in daily use on lf and hf but will only be upgraded when I need my second flex to have whatever future facilities 2.xx comes up with.

In the meantime I am playing with the new Lin amp uk Gemini 1.2kw solid state pa on 2m which is already proving to be a worthwhile purchase whilst the hf bands are in poor shape