Multi Slice Operation

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Hi All,

I've been trying to get my head around some of the multi-slice options available, and have a couple of questions the manual and general fiddling don't answer:

- Is it possible to connect two flex knobs to a single machine to control the two slices, and if not, why not? They seem to just be USB to Serial converters and a multi-button serial input, so surely there should be some way to configure this? Am I missing something, or does the software just not support this?

- With a single flex knob connected, I can see there are button mappings for many things, including changing the active slice (ie the slice being tuned), however I can't seem to find a button assignment to change the transmitting slice. I want to run with a friend assisting me in a contest this weekend, and our thought was that whilst I'm running a pile, he could tune slice B for mults, and when he spots one and gives me a nod, I could tap a button to switch TX to slice B, work the mult there, then tap it again to go back to my pile.

If anyone has solutions for these, be they natively integrated into SmartSDR already, or third party addons that will make this work, then please do let me know - I'd love to get the full use out of the capabilities of our 6500, but it seems at the moment that the software is letting the radio down.

Many thanks,

John (2E0XLX)
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John 2E0XLX

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Posted 2 months ago

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The two knobs on the Maestro do exactly what you wish. Which is SO2R.

IiRC Al NN4ZZ uses 2 Flex knobs Maybe he will give us insights.
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John 2E0XLX

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You're spot on - it does, and indeed has a dedicated 'switch tx' button (albeit pressing the TX button for the slice I want to TX on).

What it doesn't do, however, is let me stick slice B on a second dedicated monitor, run win-test on a third monitor all interconnected, and when the Maestro is connected I can't run SmartSDR on the same radio on another computer either to get around that. My partner/spotter needs to be able to see spots on the band (either in the contest software or in the panadapter window, which 2.3 supports) so he can be sure he's not pulling me away from the pile for a mult I've already worked and don't need.

If NN4ZZ uses twin knobs successfully, I'd love it if he could chime in. Alternatively if there's a way to expose the hardware controls from the maestro and feed them into SSDR on a PC to work with, that'd also be awesome!

Thanks for the swift reply :)

John
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Here is an idea I posted a few years ago for SSDR to add support for more than 1 Flexcontrol knob. It also lists some options to do that today with third party applications. So controlling 2 or more Flexcontrol knobs from SSDR may be possible in the future, it’s just a matter of programming and priorities.

https://community.flexradio.com/flexr...

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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John 2E0XLX

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Al,

That's awesome. I'll definitely look into this tonight to see if it covers what I need - it looks like it's almost there.

Just need to figure out TX Slice switching assuming two-knob-two-slice works the way your post suggests and it translates to what I need.

Thanks!
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Here is another idea for a new Flexcontrol that builds on Howard’s Maestro comment. It would be very nice and is a popular idea based on the votes. But again, there is no way to know if it will happen or when.

https://community.flexradio.com/flexr...

Regards A/ NN4ZZ
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John 2E0XLX

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Wow. An excellent thread. And interestingly you mention concurrent clients... If that ever comes into play all my problems are solved - maestro client connected for the hardware buttons and a dedicated screen for my assistant, and the main client and usb knob for me on my PC... That would sort it out perfectly (ish).

Thanks!
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi John,
For SO2R the multi-client feature will be ideal.  In my case the new Mega-flexcontrol (basically 1/2 of a Maestro) would be better since I don't do SO2R and the full size Maestro is overkill for my use.  Also it would take up twice as much space on the desk.  

But maybe we'll get both the mega control and multi-client....

One of the existing options should do what you want in the mean time.  DDUtil provides a macro capabilty for the Flexcontrol that you can basically program so that may be worth looking at. 

Al / NN4ZZ 
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 & SSDR-W  V 2.3.9
Win10
 
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@John

It sounds like you want what is called Multi-client. It’s planned for V2 but as per policy no promised date.
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John 2E0XLX

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Howard,
Yes, multi-client would certainly work (if only so that I can use all the controls from the Maestro). I'm able to split the panadapters onto two screens already and my laptop can drive three, so there's no problem with that part, but it's the 'switch tx' control I'm really lacking. I even figured out a fall-back for tuning just the second slice (as I don't need to tune the main slice when I'm CQing on it), but it's that multi-button-press that's a nuisance.
Alternatively if the RX output could be wired up to the main ANT input, I could feed that to a second rig to RX on (and do SO2R that way), but again from searching the Flex forums, whilst the hardware chain would support it, the software does not.
In all honesty, I really do love the Flex hardware, and SSDR is a great program to use, but everything seems to just be 97% finished. There's a whole list of things that seem logical to me that the rig ought to be able to do, but it's let down in so many ways by the software functions feeling like they've only been partially implemented. I won't go into more detail here though, so as not to dilute the purpose of this thread.
Thanks,
John
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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There are some other options, too.

The writer of the Pegasus software has a module that will allow using a DJ MIDI controller. The author of Slicemaster has said he is planning one, too, someday.

SSDR-iOS has a module that will support two or three models of controllers.

There are three major threads in the community where people have been experimenting with other software to translate midi controller commands to the API for control.

I played with william’s Software for a while and modified it for my own uses, but got stalled and quit about two or three years ago. It may become a winter project, but my plate is full at the moment.

There are many separate tracks going on this development, but only a couple seem to be working well at the moment.

Ken - NM9P
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John 2E0XLX

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Hi All,

So I tried SDR-Bridge this weekend, and it was all but unusable. Two knobs fed into it for the two slices caused so much latency in the SDR software that it was unstable, the software was showing red on the latency meter, and even dropping connections. A couple of times it even crashed completely! We tried hard-wiring, suspecting a network switching issue, and the issue persisted.

Dropping the SDR-Bridge app, and reverting to one knob natively controlled, everything was far more stable, but irritatingly clunky!

Please please please Flex, add some extra controls to the Flex Knob - a "switch TX" button to change TX from one slice to the other which works in the same way as the "change active slice" mapping would be fantastically useful, and would have saved a load of time for us this weekend. Better still, allow the use of two flex knobs simultaneously with different mappings. They have different virtual serial ports, so assigning them to different functions within SSDR should be ridiculously easy at the software level!

Thanks,

John (XLX)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Did you try Slice Master?
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John 2E0XLX

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I couldn't see a way to configure the Flex Knobs with it - the version I got seems not to deal with things like which knob is tuning which slice... Unless I'm missing something obvious?

It also couldn't see the radio when I tried to use it yesterday, although it now seems to be able to.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I also find FRstacks works well as well, you can tell it to mute slices that are not selected for instance. What radio were you using? I just use the mouse to control things.
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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You can use DDUtil to control a second FC., via the "Knob" tab. It also provides more programmable functions than the native FC setup. Form the most part, it works quite well.