New Feature Request - Selectable PTT Action

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Please add an option to allow the PTT to stream the audio from whatever mic is selected, even if the selected mic is coming from a PC (which is as it should be anyway, but it currently isn't).

I believe this could be accomplished with the addition of a simple software selector switch which would allow the user to select whether the PTT would stream audio from the selected mic or from a local mic.

I further believe the selector switch should have the default set to stream audio from whatever mic is selected.

Such a scenario would have the following benefits:

1)  The program would operate as expected (and as intuition says it should) for new users.

2)  A seasoned user could change the switch setting if and as he wished.

3)  Users who have their mic connected to their PC and want to use a PTT hand/foot switch would not face the challenge of devising a way to connect the PTT to their computer, they could simply use the built-in PTT port on their Flex 6000.

4)  New users would no longer potentially waste time and effort trying to get the program to operate as they expect it to (and as common sense and intuition says it should).  I speak as one who has expended considerable energy on such a pursuit.

Thank you very much for your consideration,

Mark KF5VQY
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Mark K1LSB

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Posted 9 months ago

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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One of the reasons that it is the way that it is currently is because many people use logging/contesting software that incorporates Digital Voice Keyer (DVK) features.  

In this case, they choose their regular Mic input (either front panel MIC, back panel BAL/Line, or AUX) and then activate the DAX button.  When the DVK activates, the computer keys the rig via CAT or API Commands, or via a COM PTT port and the TX Audio comes via the DAX TX Audio port from the computer.  But if the Mic PTT, Footswitch PTT port, or VOX are activated, then the hardwired Mic takes over.

This has been the standard operating procedure for a couple of years.

However, A feature could be implemented that allows the choice of:

1) The way it is now - favored by most hams who use DVK features on their logging programs for contesting or DXing.

2) a mode where the Footswitch always activates audio from whatever Mic is selected - including "PC"

3) a mode where the Footswitch always audio from whatever Mic is selected UNLESS the DAX button is selected, in which case, it operates like #1 above.

4) the rig operates as in #1 above, unless "PC" is the selected Mic, in which case an external PTT uses audio from the PC.

I think the main issue in all of this is deciding what to do with PTT and audio routing when PC is the selected Mic....

We may find that the current mode of operation may be a requirement needed for future feature implementations, such as multi-client, etc.?

Personally, I have never found a good reason to use external computer audio processing with my Flex-6500, other than briefly playing with "Stereo Tool." In the long run, I found that I could get better audio much more easily by simply using the internal TX EQ, PROC, and DEXP. 

But that is another matter of personal preference.  

Along those lines, I have though that it would be really neat to have an option for an "Audio LOOP" where the rig would be able to take the audio from one of the MIC inputs, send it via an audio port like "DAX TX LOOP" to the computer and then return the computer processed audio for TX using the "PC" Mic input.  This option would also be able to use the external PTT. 

Ken - NM9P
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Mark K1LSB

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Ken,

Thank you for the reply.

1)  Your items 2 and 4 appear to be saying the same thing.

2)  I understand that the current arrangement is tailored to suit the preferences of specific users.  However, to deny all of the other users any other option on how the PTT behaves is to do them a disservice.

3)  You say the current mode of operation may be required for future features.  Please see the second sentence in my #2 point above.

4)  You say you've never found a good reason to use any external audio processing.  Well, I have.  Firstly, by using an external EQ I can tailor the audio exactly how I want it before it enters the Flex audio stream, so when I engage the SSDR Monitor function I can hear exactly how my transmitted audio will sound.  You can't do that if you're using the internal EQ, as that feature is downstream from the Monitor function.  Secondly, I find the flexibility and tunability of EqAPO to be superior to that of the EQ in SSDR.  Not ragging on SSDR, just saying.

Regards,

Mark  KF5VQY
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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One thing we know from the Flex world is: Creating features is extremely expensive, coding. So what Flex tries to do is create features where most users will use, to create a feature that would be used by a small number of people has a very large cost.

As for the audio, I really hope Ken will talk about that here to help clear up a few points you made, such as monitoring your audio is very easy on the Flex to hear just what you sound like.
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Mark K1LSB

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Bill,

1)  I'm not asking Flex to create a new feature.  I'm asking for a switch to allow the user to select between features already in existence.  It's not "extremely expensive" to add a switch.  It's a switch.  There's no "very large cost".  If you're trying to tell me that Flex doesn't have the resources to add a switch, then they sure don't have the resources to tackle anything bigger.

2)  You say the users who would use the PTT to stream audio from a PC mic are only a "small number".  Firstly, how do you know that?  Secondly, if the number is so small, then why did Flex ever bother to add in the PC mic as an option in the first place?

3)  As to the audio, the Monitor function doesn't hear any changes to the audio made by the TX EQ.  You yourself said the very same thing in a thread 2 months ago discussing the very same subject.  So tell me, exactly how is it "very easy on the Flex to hear just what you sound like"?  Don't just hope that Ken will tell me, I'm asking you to tell me.  In your own words, if you can.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Whether to use external EQ/Processing or the internal processing is indeed a matter of personal preference.  I will not argue which is the superior or "correct" way of doing it.  I doubt that my preferences are any more "correct" than anyone else's!

Mark is correct in that you cannot monitor your exact transmit audio "live" while in operation because the MON function taps into the audio stream before any filtering, EQ, or Processing.  So if you want to hear EXACTLY what you sound like ALL the time, then you would need to somehow use an external processor so you can use the MON live.

However, what is lost with this method is the excellent ACSSB processor that is one of Flex Radio's proprietary features.  It gives almost 3 dB increase in talk power on SSB and introduces very little distortion.  

In my own practice, I only use MON to assure that my voice levels are correct, and to monitor my Voice Keyer to be sure I know what is going on.  When I want to adjust my Transmit Audio profile and need to know exactly what I sound like, I use the Full Duplex technique I documented on my YouTube Tutorials, (Or use the onboard record & playback), then I fine tune my TX audio profile, save it, and them move on.  Unless I change something on purpose, the TX audio is going to stay the same and I don't need to monitor it all the time.

But I understand that others like to keep closer watch on their exact audio.  I can see the value of such an addition to the PTT logic.

However, I don't think it is such a simple matter of "adding a switch."  It would be a bit more involved, requiring modifications in the TX keying and audio switching routine. (and making sure that the changes don't foul something else up.)

I would like to see this feature added to the list - and have asked for something similar a long time ago - but it is one of a great many feature requests that is on the FRS request list.  Many of them are much higher on the "most wanted" list.

Ken - NM9P
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KC2QMA_John

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I  have wanted this feature since I bought my 6500/6700 over 4 years ago.
Just have a check box in the MENU for Transmit so for people who want the PTT/DAX  have a choice how the PPT works.

"One thing we know from the Flex world is: Creating features is extremely expensive, coding."

Well since many of us have spent Thousands of dollars on radios and now $199 for each significant SSDR version I don't think it wrong to ask! After all it is "Software Defined Radio" and we are the customers!

And please don't tell me about FRS stacks or any other external software I can use to do this. If I wanted to piggy back a ton of apps on to SSDR just to get it to do simple things I could go with an old Flex 5000.

I think I can speak for many of us and say I think we all want to see more features integrated into SSDR so we don't have to use 3rd party apps all the time for simple things like for example the PPT/DAX feature.
(Edited)
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Mark K1LSB

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John,

As I'm sure you're aware, the functionality I'm asking for is already there, it's just disabled.

And to your point, the solution could be as simple as a checkbox in one of the Settings menus.
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KC2QMA_John

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Yes Mark, I know this can be done setting up PTT in CAT and by connecting a serial cable to the PC and short pin 7 & 8 but I like many don't want to have to do it that way.
And I know I can manually click the MOX but again don't want to do it that way.
We want to use the darn PTT on the radio!
(Edited)
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Mark K1LSB

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John,

Agreed.  My computer doesn't even have any serial connections so I had to buy a RS232-to-USB cable so I could access pins 7 and 8.  The cable will arrive tomorrow.  I put in the feature request here mainly for the benefit of others to come.  I wouldn't want them to go through what I've been through.  I spent hours tracking down non-existent hardware and driver bugs in my computer, trying to find the reason why my PC mic audio wasn't getting through to the 6300 when I squeeze the PTT switch.  It was especially maddening to eventually learn that that feature had been disabled in SmartSDR, and there had never been anything wrong with my computer all along.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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You have now posted this...

Let's see how many likes you get as the number of LIKES votes give Flex an idea as to the real world desirability of this feature so that they can give it a development priority

Having been a alpha tester for this and many other products.. NOTHING is SIMPLE when it comes to changing software - you have to be very careful that even when enabling a feature it does not break something else.

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KC2QMA_John

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"Let's see how many likes you get as the number of LIKES votes give Flex an idea as to the real world desirability of this feature so that they can give it a development priority"

Howard as you well know the voting feature on the forum is basically useless and most people either don't’ know what it is or that it’s even there.

"Having been a alpha tester for this and many other products.. NOTHING is SIMPLE when it comes to changing software - you have to be very careful that even when enabling a feature it does not break something else."

Software development is not easy but it that a good reason not to try? Just because something is hard doesn't mean you shouldn't try!

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Mark K1LSB

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Howard,

Of course you are correct -- nothing in coding is ever "simple", and I never meant to imply that it was.  I was merely letting Bill know that I wasn't buying into his "extremely expensive" and "very large cost" statements.  People who speak in such extreme terms simply lose credibility with me.

To your point of the number of LIKES, IMO it isn't simply a matter of how popular a particular enhancement might be that should be given consideration, but also how much aggravation or angst the lack of such a feature might cause even a few users, some of whom who might not even be Flex users yet (I'm referring to those future Flex owners who likely won't even be reading this thread but will want to do the same thing that John and I are wanting to do -- namely, to have the selected mic's audio come through when they squeeze the PTT switch).

Best regards,

Mark  KF5VQY
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Mark

I understand your agony and its likely that some others may need this feature. 

 Personally I had not even thought about this feature until I read your original posting above as I have never tried to route audio that way before. 

OTOH.. set up my mikes via Ken's duplex method a few years ago and had have no reason to ever want to monitor them again except perhaps to double check audio prior to a contest. So I never use MON

Still think its a good idea to post these things and get as many followers and likes as possible so Flex can get an idea of the desirability as its really had to spend money on things that only 2 or 3 people will use

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@John NY

The amount of traffic on a posting is definitely a factor.  Likes are part of the traffic measure - in making a decision to implement a feature.

Didn't say they should not try because software development is not easy.

I said, that Flex needs to understand how desirable a feature may be to the widest possible audience to make it worth the investment in software development time and money.

I suspect the fact that only two of you are currently hot for this feature will put it far down on the development desirability list as there are many other features with many more likes and many more people expressing the desirability for the feature.

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KC2QMA_John

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"I suspect the fact that only two of you are currently hot for this feature will put it far down on the development desirability list as there are many other features with many more likes and many more people expressing the desirability for the feature."

When I search "PTT DAX" there are hundreds of post's going back years on this very subject.

Give it a Try. Type "PTT DAX" in the search bar and look how many people have posted the same question.
https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/search

When I search I see :
3284 results
Conversations = 1 - 15 of 3284
Looks like more than just Mark and I.

Even if only 25% of these result are for the "PTT/DAX qustion thats still a LOT of people!
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Wow I sense so much anger from my comments. Sorry to tell you but software coding is many times the most expensive part of developing these radios. Anything they do takes man hours and each hour is $$$$$. If you don't believe me then I will just let Gerald confirm it. If he has time.

I think your idea may be good, just mentioning from past statements from Gerald one of the things they consider when looking into such a project.

Mark, the reason I asked Ken to say something about the audio part is because Ken has spent many hours researching this subject, audio and Flex Radios... I respect his information and he has done more work in this regard then I.  One area I have spent time on is learning the relationship between the PROC and the EQ and how they react to each other.
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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"Wow I sense so much anger from my comments."


I think it's because you feel the need to comment on almost every topic on this forum all day and night long.
Also you regularly act as if your a moderator or employee and just cant resist to just comment for the sake of commenting.

I don’t know and I’m probably wrong but You have just got to be a plant hired by FRS pretending to be a customer to handle public relations on the forum and move the topics in favor of FRS even when no one asked you.


Yes Ken’s tutorials are very helpful and I like many are thankful for Ken’s great Videos.

But Bill, Ken's videos have nothing to do with this topic.


Here is just a sample of some of the posts on this topic.

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/dax-tx-with-hardware-ptt

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/mic-ptt-not-working-when-dax-enabled

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/dax-doesnt-work-with-ptt-v1-6

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/mox-button-as-ordinary-ptt

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/software-audio-processing-help-needed

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

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/audio-input-vrs-ptt-question

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/dax-and-vox-simultaneously-not-work

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/mox-button-dont-work

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/external-ptt-doesnt-allow-pc-mic-audio-through-to-tx


You get it now. This has been talked about for years.

I will stop now otherwise I will be guilty of doing the very thing you do.


(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@John NY

I can vouch for the fact the Bill is only a good customer of Flex and neither an employee or a shill

But I also agree with Bill that your posts are often tinged with one might say earnestness. which is why you end up goading Bill to reply.  


@john @Mark

I do agree that your links make your point that there is clearly a significant demand to be able to optionally enable DAX so that it works with PTT.  (In the trade these are called Nerd Buttons or Nerd Switches)

I also agree that there could be several use cases for PTT via DAX albeit there are also work arounds that I use that seems to satisfy my needs but clearly direct PTT would be easier.

Ken did point out that there are at least 4 or as you say 3 different ways to implement this feature.  Plus there needs to be an obvious placement for the Nerd Button.  Obviously Engineering at Flex will have to look at determining the best way to actually do it.

Bottom Line: I think you made your point very effectively.

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KC2QMA_John

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"But I also agree with Bill that your posts are often tinged with one might say earnestness."

 Thank you Howard I’m very proud of my “earnestness”.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/earnestness

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Bill -VA3WTB

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John I am sorry your so angry with me. How ever I plan to continue helping others if I can. Giving as good information as I can...

Correction...
Mark said: so when I engage the SSDR Monitor function I can hear exactly how my transmitted audio will sound.  You can't do that if you're using the internal EQ, as that feature is downstream from the Monitor function.  

Kens tutorials do speak to Marks comment. SSDR allows us to hear just what we sound like in a couple different ways, Record and playback and Full Duplex method.