PFSkimer - What is the possibility for a SmartSDR display that combines: - Panadapter - Waterfall - CW Skimmer

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PFSkimer - What is the possibility for a SmartSDR display that combines:

- Panadapter
- Waterfall
- CW Skimmer

It seems like it would a great feature for DX pileups and a combination I'd be happy to pay a little extra for. (assuming there could be a licensing consideration) Below is a crude mockup -- click to ENLARGE.

Thoughts?

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

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Al / NN4ZZ

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Posted 5 years ago

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Michael

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Hello,

with writelog and sdr--Bridge:

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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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I think that having CW Skimmer and SSDR on the same screen is not a good idea, as it clutters up SSDR, which should be standalone, without JT65 and other modes and programs attached to it.
Working with SDRBridge and CW Skimmer is easy and WSJT-X also works, as does fldigi and HRD and all the other modes. I do that on my main screen, having SSDR running on a side screen. So what if I work about 100% digital modes, being RF output and antenna restricted? I wouldn't want to force digital modes on someone who wants his Flex6k for SSB contesting only!
And anyway, FRS have given us an API, which makes great programs like FRStack and SDRBridge possible.
If FRS wants to integrate any extra programs into SSDR, that should be optional and anyway IMHO be at the very bottom of a list of more useful things to do while improving SSDR.
Alex - DH2ID
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Alex,
Agree that the live spots and CW spots should be optional.  This is from a post earlier in the thread....

******************************************
Combining the ideas, it would be nice to have the Skimmer integration for CW mode and use the LIVE SPOTS for other modes.  

On a related note, with all of these options "display persistence" is really a necessity.   Users should be able to select what they want to see (and NOT see)  by mode.  And using persistence, the system should remember the setting.  Some examples:

- Panadapter only
- Panadapter and waterfall
- Panadapter, and live spots
- Panadapter, waterfall, and live spots
- Panadapter, waterfall, and Skimmer (for CW mode)
- Panadapter , waterfall, Skimmer, and live spots (for CW mode)

*******************************************

A benefit of having the spots integrated in SSDR is that depending on the zoom you can have a wider range of spots shown than is possible on the vertical CW Skimmer display.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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Lee, Elmer

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Have you asked the question what it's going to cost in terms of SSDR computing power?  How many slices are you willing to give up?  How much CW performance are you willing to give up?  How much network performance are you willing to give up?  

73  W9OY
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Lee,
Since it is optional,  it wouldn't impact anyone that didn't want it.  Some users turn off the waterfall now.  Even though I have a 6700 I often just use 1 panadapters and 2-3 slices.   And with the integrated spots there would be one less program ( CW Skimmer) to require monitor space providing room for additional panadapters.  

It may turn out that integrated spots uses less CPU than running three programs ( SSDR, SDR-Bridge, and CW Skimmer) .   And it  wouldn't require the DAX IQ feed to CW Skimmer.  (assumes "skimmer server" would be running in the background and use less CPU and video than CW skimmer)

At some point, maybe this will bubble up on the list and FRS will have time to look at the technical integration options.   But it seems like it could be a nice option for CW users and anyone that would like to see live spots integrated in the display like some other SDRs offer. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
(Edited)
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Lee, Elmer

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Optional or not my question has yet to be answered. What is the performance hit?

73. W9OY
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Ed - W2RF

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Performance hit would be negligible.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Using Skimmer and spot display in DogPark SDR, I don't detect any performance hit. It's a very nice feature that I have a sneaky feeling will wind up in SSDR someday. Al, NN4ZZ's mockup is awesome & would be great, but probably requires at least an agreement with the owner of CWSkimmer.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi George,
I ran this idea by Alex / VE3NEA ( the author of CW Skimmer and Skimmer server )  a while back.  Here is an excerpt from his reply below.  I had some other other idea and questions in the email so didn't include the full reply for brevity

******************************************************************************
Hi Al,
The idea to integrate spots in the Flex software is a good one. I do not see any licensing issues here, the RBN network delivers tons of Skimmer spots for free. There are also PSKReporter and WSPR spot feeds for those who use digital modes.

......

73 Alex VE3NEA

******************************************************************************

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I would love it if FRS would devise a way in their API to open a TCP port for skimmer, skimmer server, DX spotter, RBN, etc, that would syncronize information to the display on the carrier frequency location on the panadapter/panafall. It might be easier as a starting point to do this for access by "outside programs" than to incorporate the skimmer decode into the rig itself.

But then, having internal CW or RTTY skimmer or other digital modes, with no need for additional programs, would be a dream! Especially if there was a scroll line for decoded text......

It seems to me the first step is to open a port syncronize to the pan display at the correct frequency points. This would be mode independent. Just a data point at the carrier frequency and a text tag with whatever info is desired -- call, country, bearing, or whatever. It could even be color coded by some sort of flag so it could indicate worked/not worked, confirmed or not, needed multiplier, npota, lotw user, etc. user selectable either in SSDR, or in the provider program/logger/contest program.....

Then they could work to incorporate internal decoding/interfaces for skimmers, RBN, or even a DX spotting client.

And Yes...I would love to have SSB DX spots underneath the pan display also!
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Ed - W2RF

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In WriteLog 12 Wayne W5XD has integrated the spectrum display with the bandmap. This is a good start, but the real integration should take place in or with the SSDR spectrum/waterfall.

The original design of SDR-Bridge was to sit in-between SSDR, Skimmer, Telnet, and other integration sources, and do just this. The framework for this is built in to its design.

73 Ed W2RF
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Ed,
That's encouraging.....especially your comments about integration using SDR-Bridge.   I hope we get to see this some day.  

I know FRS has a full plate now but it would really be a super nice feature.  

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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DrTeeth

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Al, nice mock-up as usual. Is there such a thing as an SSB skimmer?
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Guy,
Adding "live spots" from one of the cluster programs to the SSDR panadapter is possible and listed as an option.   That's not really an SSB skimmer (i.e. language translator or speech to text) but it would be helpful.  

You never know --- someday in the future even speech to text might be possible.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Another good idea....add CW decoding also as suggested by VE7ATJ.



Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................. V 1.8.4.84
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.8.4.168
Win10
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Alex said he will be releasing an all new skimmer product in 2017 or 2018. This would be a great opportunity to integrate his decoding server software with SSDR for this PFSkimmer idea.

IMO, The key to staying in the SDR lead is to be the system that provides the most integrated product. One that works well and reliably and keep complexity to a minimum. One that doesn't require a collection of auxiallary program to provide the functionality. Some external integration is fine and there are examples like the logging programs.

An integrated SSDR display with live cluster spots and/or CW skimmer spots and optionally CW decoding would one example where it makes sense, IMHO.

Maybe the timing is right for FRS to implement this.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Martin Monsalvo - LU5DX

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Hello Al,
Integration with CW Skimmer is okay.
However, I think that it could be better to actually provide an interface to communicate with logging software, both, general and contest related.

Here is why,
if you connect to Skimmer directly there would be no way for SSDR to filter out DX Spots based on what you need for either DX chasing or contest purposes.

Users may want to see DX spots for what they are missing based on their needs.

Letting the DX and Contest Logging software do the filtering seems to be the natural way of doing it in terms of the data flow and efficiency since those programs already have the filtering capabilities built in and it would be just a matter for them of sending the filtered DX spots data to SSDR.

Since the new models are actually servers I'm pretty sure there should be an easy way to send the data over TCP/IP to the API.

73,

Martin LU5DX
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Martin,
There are clearly some different use cases.  If you are running an SSDR client but not running an integrated logging program having the radio server interacting with the new skimmer server would still provide the spots.  You may be using a client remotely with SmartLink like an iPhone, iPad, etc and not have a logging program in use. 

If SSDR is integrated with the skimmer server, and a logging program you could do the filtering. 

With the remote capabilities of V2.x (i.e. SmartLink) you also have to think about where the logging program is located and now it would interact with the radio server. 

So some good thoughts to consider.  

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Lou Dietrich

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Martin,

I tend to agree with your approach.  The need for a 'universal' front end for SSDR. 

For the most part, it is already there...and not complex. 

For instance, I currently run Slicemaster and multiple CW skimmers. As the calls are decoded in Skimmer, they are passed off to Slicemaster which has internal aggregation . SliceMaster then hands off these calls to ARusers' Node Connections. Slicemaster simply looks like a node to ARuser. 

ARuser has the ability to combine these local spots with external (packet) spots and deliver them to Logger32. Logger32 gets these calls and looks at my logbook to determine personal DXCC needs, wants, worked. DX spots are colorized accordingly.

For contests, I simply point N1MM+ to ARuser. All CW calls, those generated locally by my Skimmer are combined with the cluster spots. I never look at CWSkimmer...nor look for any spots to be delivered to SSDR.  I simply follow the N1MM+ Mult/ Need and Bandmap windows.

Having a SSDR CW waterfall filled with calls, for me, is simply too distracting and has little value. In fact during CW contests, Skimmer spots actually clutter up SSDR (IMHO)

In the DX pile-up use case, I simply have SliceMaster running with two instances of CWSkimmer.  (Slice A and B). One for the DX station and one for the pile-up. When you see a 599 in the pile (slice B), simply click on it and you are there. For me, I really don't need to see callsigns on SSDR. 

As for the need for an internal telnet capability within SSDR, I agree. The are occasions where that would be useful. 

We all have our preferences....some want SSDR to be all encompassing...some want the ability to tailor SSDR to individual tastes...some want SSDR is be the software that simply runs the radio and 3rd party software which fill in the gaps.

Interesting discussion.

73  

Lou N2TU