Keyboard shortcuts (who needs knobs)

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I'm sticking this in the api forum since it is directly related to the powershell module I've been working on. But eventually a similar topic will probably end up in the main forums.

Now that I have the primary powershell cmdlets working (finally.. i'm a slacker, I can't help it).  What do we do with them?

Well one idea I had was this. People complain about knobs or no knobs, but we have like 101 (or whatever) keys on the keyboard to work with, so why not use them?  I was thinking about making a script that accepts keyboard input (lets just call them shortcuts). pressing A-H would select slice A-H and maybe set TX=on.  Using the left/right arrow keys would step the active slice receiver up/down the step amount, like 100 khz or whatever. Then maybe use other keys for fine tuning, or creating a notch filter, enabling/disabling NB, etc, etc.

Doing this using a keyboard (after memorizing the keys) would be *way* faster than using any gui with a mouse or even using the flexcontrol knob, and definitely faster than using a knob radio.  I haven't been into contesting yet, even though I want to but lack the time, but I wonder if something like that would be useful to contesters. 

What other keys would make sense to map to various functions? The cool thing with scripting is that we can make it do whatever we want and change it at any time.

-Robbie
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Posted 3 years ago

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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering

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Most contesters have their hands on the keyboard so they can type into and use shortcuts in a logging program.  In fact we added a feature in v1.4 that will always return focus to a logging program (when enabled) if anything has been done with the mouse in SmartSDR.  So if this is enabled (typical for contesting), the keyboard shortcuts would never make it to the application.  

In short, the keyboard is in great demand by other applications during contesting as a general rule.  
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Oh, that's a good point about logging. I guess a key could be assigned to switch focus to the logging software window after the initial contact was made (maybe using the "L" key for "log", not sure which windows API that is in but I'm sure it is possible to do.

Maybe the workflow could be (for example):

1) arrow left/right to search/pounce for a contact 100 khz at a time, another key could toggle "center" to keep the slice centered.
2) use +/- to use a smaller step to "zoom in" to the right freq.
3) use N key to toggle NR, or N to toggle ANF filter (?)
4) use L key to switch focus to logging app
5) use a touchscreen to quickly go back to the powershell window :-) (yeah i'm talking crazy now)

I dunno, I'm just brainstorming thinking of neat new things to do.  Guess I should really do a few contests to get some experience. I'm just a huge introvert and talking to people freaks me out. haha.

-Robbie
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Robbie,

I was going to make the same point as Steve but he beat me to it....

In a contest (and I am a die hard contester), I never want to touch SmartSDR at all - I want the window focus and ALL keystrokes to go to the logging program.  I don't have time to wait for the focus to return to the logging program.

As a consequence, I never command the radio via SmartSDR - SmartSDR simply serves as a display and I control the radio with a combination of the FlexControl and the K6TU Control iPad app.

The iPad gives me an independent control system for the radio that doesn't require a focus change.  The app knows when power is applied to the iPad and disables the screen lock while power is applied.  With a simple stand next to my keyboard, the iPad provides a virtual front panel to the radio as well as enhancing the capabilities of the radio - for example, the app allows me to configure and store custom filter settings by mode.

This coming weekend is the CQ WPX SSB contest - its a full weekend effort for me and I will make something better than 1500 contacts.  If I had to change window focus for every contact, even using the focus return feature in SmartSDR and set it to 1 second, thats 1500 seconds - almost half an hour of time across the contest.  

My average QSO rate will be something better than 60 contacts and hour... so that's around 30 contacts worth of time...

Now add fatigue and short sleep hours on top of this and you see why I want to keep everything simple and focused.

With my original Flex5000 and PowerSDR, the first thing I did after every new release was to go and turn off all the keyboard shortcuts so they were disabled.  Without the iPad app in those days, I still had to touch PowerSDR from time to time and there was no window focus helper.  If I forgot to return the focus to the logging program and started to type... very had things happened!  For example, if I remember correctly, the W key caused the frequency to change by +100KHz - a very bad thing to happen when you are in the midst of a contact and trying to add the guys callsign to the log...

Try the WPX contest!  The exchange is very straight forward - 59 <sequence number> and the points rack up in a hurry as each new prefix you work (like K6, KI4 etc) is a new multiplier.  So building a good score is a function of strategy (higher points for different continents on low bands), rate and accuracy.

No conversation required (and even deprecated)...  just a short contact and on to the next...

ME:   CQ WPX, KILO SIX TANGO UNIFORM CONTEST
YOU: KILO INDIA FOUR TANGO TANGO ZULU
ME:   KI4TTZ 59 123
YOU:  59 222
ME:  KI4TTZ - THANKS - K6TU QRZ

Note that I try and avoid repeating anything, including extra words or even using phonetics when I don't need to... even the difference between K6TU and KILO SIX TANGO UNIFORM adds up across a 36 hour operating time in a 48 hour contest.

Obviously you have to adapt for poor conditions, QRM etc but the majority of QSOs look like the one above.

Grab the mic and have a go!  Once you get the hang of it, the introvert will disappear and you'll have a lot of fun.

I like contesting because of the focus and effort that contributes to building a good score - I may not win the contest but I have placed first in California in this contest and others.  

It's like golf... one good putt, one good drive and you keep coming back for more!

Hope to work you in the contest!
Stu K6TU
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Walt - KZ1F

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I like that analogy Stu
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Burt Fisher

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It's not like golf, golf requires you to get off your butt and get exercise, fresh air, a life.

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George - AB4FH

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Burt,
Sorry to butt-in, but when I was playing golf and walking the links carrying my own bag for exercise, the other guys were riding golf carts.  Agreed on fresh air part, though.  BTW, the reason I only operate a few hours in contests is so I can do outdoor activities (sports).
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WX7Y

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I would LOVE to have the Keyboard commands back, this is probably the very last thing I miss about running PowerSDR over SmartSDR.
Running remote with out a mouse with a scroll wheel or with just a mouse pad or touch screen really sucks with out these keyboard commands. 
I am no programmer as my time is limited or I would have tried to do this my self. 
73's
Bret
WX7Y
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W5XZ - dan

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me too, Bret; my favorite PowerSDR keyboard short cuts were + / -, vol control, and asterisk = mute...both 'mouse-less'...Surely, we're not contesting ALL the time, right?

73
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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i would HATE to have Keyboard Commands in SSDR.. 

In fact one of the greatest improvements of SSDR over PowerSDR was the total elimination of Keyboard Commands.

Why?

For Contesting Keyboard Commands were a disaster waiting to happen.. So many times i had PowerSDR make unwanted frequency changes because of Keyboard Commands not being turned off..

As you probably know, I run remote much of the time.  

if I need to access a command quickly I can always use the macros in DDUTIL for one source or for another source most of the logging software has their own commands..

The last thing I want is to have focus on SSDR and have one of its keyboard commands as a third source doing something I did not want..

As Steve said so eloquently "the keyboard is in great demand by other applications "
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Mike Meeks

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Have an option to enable or disable them!
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David

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Agreed, enable (regular mode) or disable (contest mode) would seem like a good solution. For casual conversations having to hunt down the PTT or trying to fine tune a setting with the mouse can be frustrating. Having two options for PTT one of lock so when you move to another window transmit continues and you just have to return to SSDR to press the key again to unlock. Another to press and hold while transmitting yet staying in the SSDR window.
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