N1MM+ and SmartSDR

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Is anyone using N1MM plus and SmartSDR all on one screen during a contest? It seems like most setups are using multiple monitors. I only have one monitor and don't have the room for a second one. Mark Griffin, KB3Z
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Mark Griffin

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Posted 4 years ago

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Walt - KZ1F

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While I don't have N1MM, I do have precisely the same issue with HRD Logbook. Further, the only Windows environment I have is a dual boot on a 15" laptop. Add to that CW Skimmer, SDR Bridge, DM780 and it is practically unusable. I think the best answer is something the good Dr Howard said as far as in a contest, pick a single spot and plant yourself there. In that mode, you will only need the logging program to be visible.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I would add that you will be unlikely to hold a running frequency in most SSB contests unless you are running power and a dominating antenna system
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Mark Griffin

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Howard,
I am a S & P contest operator. If you check my QRZ page you will be able to see my radio and antenna's that I have. Mark KB3Z
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Decent Antenna.. With 1.5kW you should be able to hold a frequency

But I see that you work S&P - in which case you would need to see the band.

The spots band map in N1MM+ is pretty good for hitting all the big stations but clearly inadequate for collecting the little ones where you actually need to see what you are doing.

So you would need to switch between SSDR screen and N1MM+  Definitely a possibility but is will also slow down your rate.  A really useful tool in SSDR is the Focus helper which quickly returns focus (I have mine set for about 200ms for running and 1500 ms for S&P) to N1MM+ after you look at the panadapter.

I tend to alternate between N1MM+ and Writelog for my contest logging program.  N1MM+ does more and does it better, BUT may rate tends to be a slight bit higher when running with Writing mainly because I have used it much longer.  So if I am serious about a contest I run Writelog. 

That said, our big contest station at NX6T runs Wintest.. because it looks the most like CT which most of the guys started with.. Personally I find my rate is much lower on Wintest than either N1MM+ or Writelog. But its hard to retrain the old dogs...

Bottom Line.. you can contest on 1 screen but your rate will be higher with 2 or more.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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While I use two monitors and am looking for a way to add a third....
It can be done.  I would suggest that you use the following procedures.  

1) Make sure you have a FlexControl Knob or MIDI Controller to assist with frequency changes and a few other functions without "focus change" issues.

2) Activate the function that automatically changes focus to N1MM+ after doing anything on the SSDR screen.

3) Have the N1MM panels overlap with the SSDR screen so that you can always find a "top of window" panel of other point that you can click to get quick access to SSDR.

4) If you are doing S&P then learn how to use the band map, spotters network, and control + up/dn/left/right Arrow keys to change frequency to the next available QSO or Multiplier.

5) If you are running CW, learn how to send the codes to CWX or send directly via CAT to send your canned messages so that you do not need to have the focus on SSDR to send them.

6)  If you are running Phone, you can record your canned messages in advance with Audacity and load them into N1MM+ and send them via DAX.

7) Practice, Practice, Practice before the contest to determine how you need to arrange the screens for your own best style of operating.

While I think the ergonomics are more efficient with two monitors, It CAN be done with only one monitor if you plan it out and practice.

Good luck.

Ken - NM9P
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Anthony Bowyer

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I have two monitors, but run SSDR and N1MM+ on a single 24" monitor. It does require some changes in the fonts in N1MM as well as a slight arrangement order that allows you to see what you need to, but it works well for me. I use N1MM+ for general logging as well, so it's always running at the same time. If you want to email me at adb1x1 at yahoo.com, I can send screen shots.

I had this running on a 19" monitor before going to 24. It is a little crowded and small on the 19, but was doable.

Anthony - NT4X
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Mark Griffin

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My dilemma is which flex radio to purchase. It seems that the 6500 would be a nice radio. But the 6300 seems to be more practical seeing that I am starting out with SDR plus, I really don't need to have 4 slice receivers at my disposal.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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6300 is a very good contest beginners radio

6500 is a much better receiver, has better filters and much faster components which can make a difference in contesting.

If you are doing CW Contesting, you can run CW Skimmer on 4 different bands at the same time.. really will help the rate a lot.

I run a 6700 but I can get pretty serious about contesting and the diversity receive on the 6700 might just be worth a couple of extra Q's per hour
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Bill W2PKY

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I recently switched to a 28" 4K monitor. The extra resolution allows 4 times as many windows to be open than with low res monitors. Usually have S/SDR and 4 instances of JT-65 plus a multi tab browser all view-able concurrently.
The sharpness of the windows even up close is remarkable. Don't worry about selecting a screen with average specs, as any 4K monitor will be fabulous!
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Walt - KZ1F

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Something to consider as well, future expansion. In one sense I am hard pressed to come up with a $2500 reason to have two additional receivers. This is precisely why I didn't double down on this conundrum by purchasing the 6700, with 8 receivers. However, now  I am deep into programming for the 6000, consider this. Only 1 displayed panadapter (the visual band you are working. If you are working split, that consumes two receivers, if not, one. However while you are busy working on one band, would it be nice to know when another band is open. You could stop what you are doing and switch, have more monitor real estate used displaying a band you aren't actively using or, have the software let you know when the other bands are open, you stay focused on what you are doing and the software will tell you what is going on elsewhere.  Yes you could bring up a cluster for each band or have the software tell you where whatever band's EU or AS or SA beacons are n db above the noise floor. That's way more appropriate for you at your qth that to find someone in EU worked SA.

The pan or slice receivers don't need to be visible to be used. Well, with SSDR they do however...watch this space. Final thought, the 6500 may well be the good middle ground between a VFO A and VFO B (6300) and eight receivers (6700). 
(Edited)
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Mark Griffin

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I currently have an Elecraft K3. That is my day to day as well as contest rig. I have 2 SSB and 2 CW filters installed. My main question is which Flex radio is equal or better when it comes to receiver specifications? Mark KB3Z
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Walt - KZ1F

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http://www.sherweng.com/table.html

Do you have the synthesizer upgrade? With that I'd say they are about equal. I am certain people on here will disagree. I don't think the answer is in the raw numbers on Sherweng.com...it's more what model you prefer and how much money you want to prepay for potential future enhancements. For purposes of shereng.com, the 6500 and 6700 are the same radio.
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The 6500/6700 still beats the K3. The 6300 does not
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Mark Griffin

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I do not have the synthesizer. It seems that the synthesizer is more of an advantage for high speed cw. Plus, look at the cost difference between the 6500/6700 versus the K3. I think it comes down to personal preference and choice.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Mark

A fully loaded K3 with all the filters is about the same price as a 6500.  Having used both in contests at our NX6T Contest Station, there is no doubt to my mind that the 6500 has superior specs.  It definitely has better and more effective filters and a significantly superior visual display interface.

Of course, there are some members of our contest group who would argue with me but my S&P Q rate is much higher on my 6700 where I can see the weak ones than with the K3/P3 where I am almost virtually blind and miss a lot of weak ones or have to waste time tuning around for them because I cannot see them on the screen...

YMMV....


I might add that our contest group has started to retrofit our K3's with the new front end boards -- mainly because my 6700 blew away the K3 on specs without it...
(Edited)
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Mark Griffin

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Howard,
I do not have the Sub Receiver on my K3. I am not a diversity receive operator. Not to say that a second slice receiver wouldn't be nice. But with ACLog I can see with the spots what is going on with the other bands. Plus, I keep the spots window open when I use N1MM Plus.

My chances of purchasing a 6700 is not a possibility, because of the cost. If I was to upload a picture of my station I have to the right of my computer monitor my K3 and the P3 sitting on top of that. That works very nice for me. I would like to purchase a Flex to basically play around with the SDR Technology plus use it for day to day operating. Then once I become more comfortable with it, then slowly but surely incorporate it into contest operations. Perhaps the minor contests at first, and then once my confidence builds maybe use it in a major contest. Right now, a 6500 would be nice, but a 6300 seems more realistic.

I appreciate your thoughts and opinions. Mark Griffin, KB3Z
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Eduardo Carvalho - KC8R

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Mark,

Attached is a picture of my station running the 2015 ARRL RTTY Roundup. The picture is from when I was running SO2V with my Flex 6300 and a 13" Macbook Pro with Windows on Bootcamp. I make use of the shortcuts to go through the spots, without having to have the band map open. Also, I think the waterfall also helps spotting signals without having to use the cluster, so you can just move up and down the band. 

I have also ran a similar setup for the CW contests. Most CW contests I ran with CWSkimmer feeding into N1MM along with VE7CC cluster.

I have a pretty modest setup, running 100 watts into an attic antenna. 

I hope this helps. 

Eduardo Carvalho - KC8R
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Mark Griffin

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Eduardo,
That is what I would call one full and busy computer screen. Thanks for the screen print. It gave me an idea how I can do things in the future. Mark KB3Z