One or Two Monitors for SO2R Contesting with 6600M?

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As I wait for delivery of my 6600M next month, I am trying to decide whether I should configure my station for one (large) monitor or two medium size ones.  I've read some of the other comments here and it seems like the most popular approach is multiple monitors.  Is there a good case for a single (larger) monitor?  Almost all of my operation is contesting with N1MM+.  I try to do SO2R as much as possible in most contests.  I do understand that I will have to decide whether it is easier to use the front panel of the 6600M or the screen to control the radio as both at the same time is not currently possible.  I like to think I will come comfortable using the screen.  I should add that my shack does not have an abundance of space.  So - what is the case for one large monitor with the 6600M?
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Al Dewey

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Posted 8 months ago

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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Depends on what you have for real estate in the shack and what fits your budget.

I sold my pair of 24" gaming monitors and it paid for a 49" 4k Sony TV being used as a monitor. You don't need to run all programs full screen.

Dave wo2x

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I don't even run SSDR full screen, but only about 3/4 of one 23" TV/monitor has SSDR, then I have rotor PSTRotatorAZ, and my clock.  On the 2nd 23" TV/Monitor screen I have my logger, and WSJT-X in one or two instances, sharing/overloapping the logger.  WHen I call up the web browser, it goes over the SSDR window and I switch back and forth.

I really could use a 48" 4K or at least another 23" TV (or two?)

Once you start using multiple monitors with SSDR, then the fun really starts!
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Clay N9IO

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Dave's right about the real estate issue being the driving factor. Either would work for me. I run a pair of 25" monitors and really wish I could fit a third in.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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The 49" Sony is same width as the pair of 24's I had. It is like having two 24's over 2. Some video card drivers and third party apps allow you to divide the screen into separate "virtual" desktops if you want to have a program docked in a certain area.

Dave wo2x
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Clay N9IO

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2 over 2, hadn't thought of it like that.
Will keep that in mind.
Although now using the Maestro I can make the two work comfortably.
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Rob Monsipapa

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Very interested in what others are doing also.  I have a 32" Samsung 2k.  I don't contest but still would like to know how others have their QTH set up.
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Clay N9IO

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Although I usually use the Maestro every day, when I RTTY contest I much prefer point and click on SSDR so a little extra room helps a bunch.
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Steve - K6SRS

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I use one big monitor (home) and two medium monitors (work). Surprised to say I find it easier to place multiple programs where useful on the two monitor system.
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Stan - VA7NF

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My preference is two monitors + Maestro or FlexControl knob;  all ergonomics.

During high rate times my sight line is the the bottom of the centre screen (N1MM+ entry panel) with glancing down the Maestro panadapter (for CW to see someone answering outside the 100hz filter) and the keyboard where my left hand is hovering around ESC and F1.

The SO2R entry panel would be beside the primary entry panel with band spots further over. 
The upper portions of both screens are used while being bored waiting for a reply.  
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Paul Staupe

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Al,

As you've seen at my QTH, I've got both the 32" Samsung 4K Ultra monitor and the LG wall mounted TV for the 6600M video.  Now that I sold the Alpha and have moved the 6600M to the left on my desk, it's much easier use both knobs on the Flex, look up at the small TV monitor to see where the pileups are and keep the keyboard out of the way.  Also, the Flex control is now to the left and the Schurr key is on the right.  It's much more ergonomic.  The new amp will auto-tune so it no longer will take up real estate on the desk.

I've found that I like the two TV approach rather than just one big monitor.  The wall mounted TV is right where I would naturally look when I tune the knobs which by the way are much nicer to use than the Flex Control.

73,

Paul W0AD

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Al Dewey

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Thanks, Paul.  I like your new layout.  Lots of good responses but the approach you describe sounds like it would work best for me.  I like the idea of using the knobs on the Flex but still seeing the big display of the panadapter, etc.  While contesting, I really don't change much other than frequency most of the time so I think that switching in a filter, etc, from the 6600M front panel would work for me as opposed to doing this from the SSDR app.  Of course, I'll run N1MM+, etc. on the second monitor but will move it closer to the 6600M monitor and make sure I have the N1MM+ entry window on the far left side so my eyes do not have to move much as I look back and forth the between the Entry window and the 6600M band display.

Fun to think about this stuff now as I wait for the radio.  The cool thing is that there is so much flexibility if I find I don't like my initial approach.
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Clay N9IO

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OK Paul you got my attention with the Twins. Very Pretty!

I made my first 3rd party phone qso on a TR4cw right after I passed my 5wpm code test for my novice back when I was 14 at WA9YRV's house.

Absolutely nothing like that cool blue glow of the 4 series Drake and now Flex put the cool blue swash LEDs. On the face of my 6600. Appropriate in my mind...
(Edited)
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Paul Staupe

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Thanks Clay,

Same story here, the R-4A and a Johnson Ranger were my first rigs at 15, then a T-4X until I graduated from college and then moved up to a C line! 

I worked 3B7A barefoot (!) with the 6600M on 40 just before I took this picture. It wasn't quite shooting fish in a barrel, but with the expanded spectrum and the quick tuning with the knobs I was in the right place at the right time.  The Drakes sure are fun to use when I don't need to work an ATNO though!
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Wim

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I'm a three monitor fan, as when running multiple digital modes or WSJT-x instances plus logger
and such simultaneously one needs a lotta screen real estate. 
So the three 22 inch monitors give me 66 inch diagonal if you will ...

See a lotta shack pictures in this thread to get some ideas also
https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/show-us-your-flexradio-in-your-shack


My setup
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Robert Lonn

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For me, it  was a Sony 62" 4K HDR, 3D TV set.. That way I can watch TV when needed, movies, or enlarge my Laptop screen or the 6600M screen..  I also feed the Video from my Universal M-8000 equipped with Military Software, into a VGA to HDMI converter... Like some have mentioned,, with Windows 10 you can have several windows open at the same time, and on a 60" screen, everything still looks BIG and Sharp!!! 

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-60-class-60-diag--led-2160p-smart-4k-ultra-hd-tv/5900138.p?skuId=5...
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Andy - KU7T

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I hung a 55 inch 4k TV on the wall and the experience could not be better. It's a different world. I can't believe I didn't do this earlier. See my screen with N1MM, Green Heron, Dxlab, Wsjt, skimmer, voacap, w2. In the near future, XL amp software will fit nicely too.

Andy
KU7T
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Al Dewey

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Andy.  Very nice.  I've been playing around with this also (using dual monitors rather than one big one).  One question.  During SO2R contesting, do you use the front panel of the 6600M to run the radio or do you use SmartSDR software from the screen?  I tried using the SmartSDR software and found that it was tedious always having to change the focus between N1MM+ and the SDR application.  Even using the 6600M touchscreen, I find it is easier (and faster) for me to make band changes during the heat of battle by just typing the new frequency in the N1MM window.

I understand there is a way to embed the Flex Panadapter within N1MM?  Has that proved beneficial to you during a a competitive SO2R effort?

73,

Al, K0AD
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Andy - KU7T

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Al,
I go back and forth between running SmartSDR on the computer vs. on the radio front. 

Currently I am settled running SmartSDR on the radio and not the computer. Two reasons: 1) the focus switches are not good. I like to be in N1MM+ all the time, but needing to go over to SmartSDR with the mouse is not very efficient. I actually have to do that anyway with switching my antenna with the GreenHeron client, and  that is already tedious enough... 2) Some operations that need to be very quick, like adjusting volume, bandwidth, frequency are just only inches away for my hands. I can do this as fast as reaching for the mouse, but then I have not even moved the mouse to SmartSDR yet... So, the front is faster for me. I really look forward to the multi-client feature where I do not need to make this decision anymore. The large screen is awesome to show the whole CW band segment in a contest (and with the new spots features coming, will even be better).

Yes, I do use N1MM to swtich frequencies, modes, etc. That's what it is designed for. Minimal messing with the radio.

The flex pan adapter cannot be embedded into N1MM+. However, flex can send data to N1MM+ that it then use to show the so-called Spectrum window.  You can see it on my photo on the left of the left N1MM+ bandmap. Its the vertical window with the spectrum and the signals are shows in black thin lines. The nice thing about this window is that during S&P you can jump to stations first that are the loudest AT YOUR RADIO. That increases your S&P rate. You can find more info at N1MM+ site or youtube (http://n1mmplus.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php?page=Spectrum+Display+Window&structure=N1MM+Logger+Do... and https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=n1mm%2B+spectrum+window).  If you also can use a local skimmer to feed the spots, you got the best for assisted operating...

73
Andy
KU7T
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Al Dewey

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Andy;

Thanks.  Good stuff and pretty much aligned with the way I see SO2R operation with the 6600M.  Yes - I look forward to the multi-client version of the software also.  Thanks for the clarification on the Spectrum window in N1MM.  I'll take a look at that.

Two questions on your response.  Have you ever considered (or tried) the external knob that Flex sells for contesting?  Also, does the local skimmer put a big load on your contesting computer?  I am using a 2.7 GHZ box with 4 gig of RAM.  Is that enough?  I mainly run only radio / contesting SW on that box.

73,

Al, K0AD
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Andy - KU7T

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Al,
I have not tried the FlexControl. Have considered it, but not really needed it. 

Regarding your other question (skimmer), it depends.  CW skimmer is less of a resource hog than RTTY skimmer server. For each band I add CW skimmer, it uses up about 5 - 10 % of resources. RTTY is heavier.  I suggest you just try it out how it works for you. 

I have found that running even quite a few ham programs is not that much load on the computer as you would think. I am running a 5 year old work station Xeon Z400.  I have more RAM though (I think 32). I suggest you try to run what you want and see if 4 GB RAM is enough. Also, attaching the 4K TV required me to invest in a $200 graphics card (GeForce GTX 1050 Ti).  


73,
Andy
KU7T
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Kari Gustafsson SM0HRP, Elmer

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Hi, I do mostly remote SO2R contesting with two 23" LCD displays. That is on the edge too little display area. Again I do it remotely and that requires lots of windows; sdr cat, 2 x OM2500 Amp, N1MM/DXlog for SO2R, three rotators, beverage controll, dx atlas etc...
See at http://remotedxandcontestblog.sm0hrp.se.