Slice Master 6000 v0.10.1 is now available

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Now with spots in the SSDR panafall.  Spots in the SSDR panafall?  Yup, spots in the SSDR panafall!

Head on over to https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 to join in on the fun.  The README file there has been updated a bit but still says how to grab the latest version.

Here's a quick idea of what this release has to offer.  



I wont claim it's perfect, but it sure works for me.

Getting started with the bandmap is pretty easy.  The first thing you'll need to do though is click on the settings tab and select the 'Enable overlays' option in the bandmap section.



Once you do that the internal spot sources will begin to populate the bandmap.  You also have the option of adding a few external spot sources. 

Note that Slice Master (now anyways) will only display spots in a pop-out panafall, so dont be afraid to hit that button in SSDR.  Once the panfall appears, Slice Master will notice and provide an overlay for the window.  Slice Master is usually able to determine which panafall is in which window.  If things seems out of sync, just grab the SM6k label and drop it onto a panafall window.  This should get things back in sync.

The combo box is used to specify which slice you would like to change when a spot is selected (double click to select).  The check boxes properties of the slice will change when the spot is selected.  This means you can have a wide panafall showing the bandmap but have it control a slice in an entirely different panafall.  It's your choice.  If your spot source is able to provide good mode information, give that option a try.  If not, it's better to leave the mode option unchecked.

For this release, two type of external sources are supported: telnet clusters, and the web server in DXLab's SpotCollector.  To enable a telnet cluster, just type in a URI like what's shown above.  I hope there's enough there to make the idea clear.  Specifying a user name, password, server name and port all follow the internet standard syntax for a URI.  Sorry... I havent made the time to write a proper user interface for this sort of thing, and besides, I'm pretty close to liking the ways it is.  

The odd one there is for grabbing spots from the web server built into DXLab's SpotCollector.  If you're not a DXLab user, just ignore it.  If your are, you'll want to open the Spot Collector Config dialog and select the Spot Database tab.  Then, just check the Enable box in the Web Server group.  Slice Master will now be able to access whatever shows up in the Spot Collector window.

It's probably also worth mentioning that WSJT-X is now an internal spot source.  You'll want to zoom in really close to make use of the information.  Slowing the panfall rate down to between 50 and 60 also helps with keeping track of the action.

Quite a bit changed behind the scenes in this release (hmmm I seem to say that a lot, but I really mean it this time) so it's possible some other features have suffered.  So as always, your feedback is important.  Dont let that bug go unreported.

Enjoy!

   --Don
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K1DBO

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Posted 1 month ago

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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Thank you Don. Great work!
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Frank, IZ7AUH/AK1CQ

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we are lucky to have amateur radio stations like you, do a great job, what FRS should do, and to think that they have also had to pay in order to have a 2.0 update which at the end gave us little time again .... congratulations
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Rick, K7FYI

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Don,

I've been trying to find a solution to a problem, and I'm hopeful that Slice Master either does, or could, solve it.  I'm seeking a way to keep the panadapter in the sweet spot on a per-band, per slice basis when running WSJT-X and CW Skimmer.  Flex 6300, v1.10.16 for now; currently using SDR-Bridge, CW Skimmer > RBN Aggregator (...and WSJT-X) - both slices run nearly 24x7.  I'm not seeking to sync settings between the slices.

Example: On 6 meters, the CW / beacons are far away from the FT8 / MSK144 frequencies.  To get the DAX IQ stream in the right part of the band, I've been zooming out and manually adjusting the panadapter.  That gets upended when I change bands, so I have to go back and manually adjust (often via RDP or TeamViewer).  The same is true for other bands, but the zoom / horizontal positions are completely different.  

Oddity:  For some reason (maybe a setting I've forgotten / can't find?), once I've set the position on slice A, the panadapter position stays put if I TX.  On slice B, when I transmit, the panadapter resets to center.

I see the Sync options in Slice Master, but they seem to focus on matching settings between slices - or am I missing something obvious?

I'm also looking for a sort of timer to control scheduled frequency changes via CAT across several radios (6300 / Elad FTM-DUO / FT991 - all connected to the same computer).  That's probably out of scope for what you're doing with Slice Master, but thought you or someone here may know of a solution.  When I'm at work, or traveling, I can't always remote back and manually get the radios on the bands I want them monitoring. Inevitably, something gets left behind when it could be on an active band.

Rick
K7FYI
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K1DBO

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Hi Rick,

That's an interesting use case.  If I'm reading it right, what you are asking for is a way to center the DAXIQ stream under more than one slice... maybe we could call it the average center. 

You've probably noticed that Slice Master has the option to keen the panafall centered under a single slice.  If you enable that option on more than one slice then the center will jump back and forth between the slices whenever one of them changes frequency.  An alternate interpretation would be to center the panafall on the average frequency of all the slices with the option enabled.  I'll have to play with it a bit, but the idea just might work.

--Don
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John - AF3K

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Thank you Don! 

I am having a problem since the last version and just documented it in Github.
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K1DBO

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You're welcome John.  I've replied to your issue.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Amazing work! 
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K1DBO

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Thanks :)
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W2PP

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Well, I'm sure I'm doing something wrong but nothing is working.  First, I had a heck of time getting it installed.  Bitdefender hates it. I had to uninstall Bitdefender to get it in.  Now when I launch SmartSDR and then slice master nadda nothing happens.
What did I do wrong?
Peter
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W2PP

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No soap.  Same result windows error 183 same error message. 
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W2PP

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Check out dropbox, I just uploaded the slice B folder
that was just created
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W2PP

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Don so where do we go from here??  
can you teamviewr in to noodle around or is their more data i can get you on ths error 183??
peter
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K1DBO

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Peter,

Send an email to the address on the splash screen.   I have a few more things for you to try out.  

--Don
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W2PP

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Done should be there now
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Peter Bacon

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Great piece of work.  The first time I opened the software, it says it cannot find Gritty on my PC.  However if I look under the launch menu, I see no option to load Gritty.  Under Launch I only see CW Skimmer, WSJT-X and flDigi.  73 Peter
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W2PP

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I just looked WSJTX is there.  I can launch it OK from there. 
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W2PP

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The error specifically says it can't find the slice B.ini file
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K1DBO

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Ok, that sounds like a permissions problem.  Is there any chance Slice Master doesnt have write access to 
C:\Users\<your name here>\AppData\Local 

That's where WSXJT-X likes to put its settings file?

Please send me an email with the zipped contents of 

C:\Users\<your name here>\AppData\Local\K1DBO\slice-master

There will be some log files in there that might help.

--Don
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W2PP

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OK found the folder.  Here is a dropbox link to all that it contained.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/681df3fegwrf3x1/AAA_V0zMiqP-Wc1XzzozM7Wga?dl=0
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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Got 'em thanks.... give me a bit to look over the logs.
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Ron

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I am trying the program for the first time.  I can see the Mix sliders controlling the slices so the program is talking to SSDR.  I cannot however see any menubars attached to a title bar.  I have checked the enable overlays option in the program options.  Any ideas?

Thanks, Ron
K2RAS
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K1DBO

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Ron,

Do you have a panafall window "popped-out" from the main SSDR window?  Slice Master wont (yet) add an overlay to the main SSDR window.

--Don
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Ron

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No I didn't.  That must be the problem.  Don't want to ask a stupid question, but how do I 'popout' the window.  Dragging the panadapter outside the frame doesn't work.

Ron
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Ron

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Never mind, I just saw the little arrow on the titlebar.

It worked.

Thanks, Ron
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W2PP

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I do see in that directory, local, that WSJTX is there, then WSJTX slice B and another WSTX slice D too.
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Gary NC3Z

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Got it working with Telnet, but for some reason will not work with DXL SC even though I have the web server enabled. Will keep playing. I love this ever since I saw this in the IOS ap. Why in the world FRS can not implement this natively is a huge question!
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K1DBO

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Gary,

Have you tried connecting to the SC web server with your browser?  If that works, and Slice Master is running on the same computer as SC, just enable the default "dxlab" spot source.

But, I have to say that I've had some problems with the SC web server.  After about 12 hours or so it usually stops working.  Some times SC stops working for me too.  When that happens I just re-open the spot database and everything comes to life.  

I'll admit to being a newbie SC user though, so it could all just be me.

If you're just looking for a filtering aggergator, I've also tested with CC User.  But if you use DX Labs for logging, you really cant beat SC's ability to color the spots to show you what's needed.
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Gary NC3Z

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Forgot to include the port of 8080 in the config, now it works.
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K1DBO

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Yup, that will do it.  SC uses port 80 as the default so I made the config default port 80 to match.  Making things easy is really hard ;)
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Gary NC3Z

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I had never used SC web server and it was defaulted to 8080 on mine. Easy enough to discover and fix. I like having SC fill in as well as a Telnet cluster as I may have SC on another radio, so best of both worlds!
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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The dream of the api is being realized due to contributions like this.  These features will not only make alot of flex community members happy, but takes a huge burden off the programming team.  and I would venture to guess made some folks at FRS happy as well.

Well done.
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AA0KM

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I guess I should have held off on my $200 donation to flexradio and waited for all this fancy secondary software and stayed on 1.0 version.


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K1DBO

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Nah... your $200 was well spent.  It's because of the hard work that Flex has done and keeps doing that fancy stuff like this can even happen. It's like Chris just said, the dream of the API is being realized.

Besides... I was just reminded that pop-out panadapter are only available in 2.x, and so far at least Slice Master only supports the bandmap in pop-out panadapters.
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AA0KM

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Awh Ok . It is working nicely with 2.1.33 ssdr I might add all though only for few minutes that I have so far used it. Keep up the good work. Trying to find my need of all this automation at this point. :) Got to keep notes on putting it all together.
(Edited)
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Don I have got this running and as I stated before, I cant emphasize enough that this is really important work you are doing here.  can I PM you?  I have some feature suggestions, and would like to chat with you a bit about this.
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K1DBO

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Hi Chris,

Feel free to use the email address on the Slice Master splash screen... or any other one for me that you can find.  I'm happy to discuss features as well as bugs.

--Don
(Edited)
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Ed - W2RF

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Great work, Don!

On my high resolution screen (4500 x 3000) the spot tags are very small.



Hovering does make them readable in the status line.

Keep it up!

73 Ed W2RF
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K1DBO

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Hi Ed.  

Thanks for the report.  I'm working on a fix.

--Don
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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OMG, this is sooooo cool.  Sorry if I sound like a teenager, but this is great.  I must say that I feel like I am cheating somehow.  Don, I am sorry about the long term for you, however, because you must  have made a deal with the Devil to make this work. Great stuff.

So far the only issue I have run into is that if I have the panadapter popped out and I pop up an email message, spreadsheet, or some other window, the flags are still visible on top of the other window. I have to pop the panadpter back in to make them disappear. 

My other issue is not with the program but myself.  I am naive when it comes to using DX clusters and Telenet.  I got the VE7CC working by copying the template in the email, but how do I find out about the specification for other clusters.  For example, I have yet to get the DXLab connection to work, and despite searching on their pages I can't seem to find what the Telnet command should be. Anyone have some good background references they would suggest for me?

Thanks to all and big big thanks to Don.

73,
Bob, WK2Y
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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Hi Bob.. thanks for the kind words.  I'm pretty excited about this too.  Right now I'm watching the RTTY contest on 20m, normally, I'd be participating.  But it's a great oppertunity to tune the graphics, etc.  And really, it's just fun to watch... hopping around with GRITTY to tune into the action is really painless.  

I did use use an early version of this feature in the EARTTY contest a couple of weeks ago.  With N1MM Logger+ coloring the spots and RTTY Skimmer Server providing only the spots I could hear, it really was like cheating.

I run with four monitors, so stuff popping up in front of my panafalls isnt much of problem.  But sadly, that's the trick that makes all of this work.  For me at least, it's a small price to pay for the feature.  You've probably noticed the small dot up near the "pop back in" button on the panafall. That will at least hide all the spots for you if they get in the way.  I'll probably make so UI changes to get the rest of the title bar overlays out of the way too, but making it automatic is more trouble than it's worth.

As for learning about spotting software, yeah, that another challenge.  It's a big world out there.  Slice Master has ways of getting them in and a way to get them out. So, looping your locally found WSJT-X spots out through Spot Collector works great, and on the way back in they are all colored nicely to indicate their needed status.  The same goes for say CW Skimmer spots and N1MM multiplier coloring.  Problem is, I have to split my time between writing code and writing documentation.  I really like writing code, documentation, not so much ;)

Spot Collector makes it's own connection to the clusters.  Their documentation is well maintained and they have a great user base.  Once it's up and running for you, Slice Master connects to it using a web server that's provided locally by Spot Collector.  There's a sample URI include in Slice Master's default config that should work fine but  other have suggested that the default port number might have to be changed.
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W2PP

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OK so THIS is how ya Flex.  Not seen, two more monitors with PSK 31 copying away and Packet radio on 30 meters packeting away!!!!  Its almost criminal. 
Peter
W2PP


(Edited)
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W2PP

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Their ya go, three monitors all copying stuff. ....
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Gary NC3Z

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What is the persistence of the spots on the overlay? I notice that some spots slide off the bottom of the panafall after a short period of time. Will there be a setting to control how long they stay visible? Currently I am using CC User as my source.
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K1DBO

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Gary,

Spots expire 10 minutes after the last time they were  spotted.  But some spot sources will send spots that are already 10 minutes old or older.  The sweep to remove old spots happens only once a minute.  So some times, right at start up, or when a new spot source is connected, you might see some spots that are removed shortly after they are added.  Right now, I'll call it fun to watch but in the next release or so, spots wont be added unless are under the age limit.  

I've tested with CC User quite a bit and it works great.  If you have it connect to Slice Master's aggregation server then it will add background colors to your internal spots  (CW Skimmer, GRITTY, WSJT-X) when it sends them back.  The colors are derived from CC User's added eQSL and LoTW status.

This trick works just as well with Spot Collector.  But with Spot Collector you can choose both your background and foreground colors depending "needed" status as determined by DX Keeper as well as the eQSL and LoTW status.

N1MM Logger+ can also color your spots for you based on the spot's status as a multiplier.  But it only accepts one cluster connection.  Sometimes, depending on the contest and the rest of your set up, this is all you need.  Just point it at Slice Master's aggregation server and you are done.  But more likely you'd want to have N1MM connect to something like CC User and have that connect out to other sources and to Slice Master's aggregation server.

And dont worry, more spot and "color" sources are in the works.  HRD Logbook is up next. The user interface for all of this will evolve too.  So, yes, you will be able to control the timing.
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Gary NC3Z

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Thanks for the explanation on the aging and timing.
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Juan TG9AJR

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Hello Don, great work and thank you very much for this great add on !!!

73
Juan
TG9AJR
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K1DBO

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Hi Juan, you're very welcome!
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Andy - KU7T

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Very cool. Played with the panafall labels, but I guess this is in beta. When panafall is minimized the labels stay. I had hoped the Flex API allowed to send these spots, but it seems you may be screen scraping. That may be challenging. Anyway, good luck. it is a killer application to show the call signs...

Couple of things that do not work:
1. I started to play with WSJT-X. It launches correctly, but always defaults to Ham radio delux and a port number that is wrong for CAT. When I change it, it does not stick next time I launch it. (I do runas admin if that matters per batch script)

2. CQ Skimmer spots for some reason seem to be reformatted in slice master now. RBN aggregator does not forward the CQ skimmer spots if they are being fed through the slice master. If I go direct from aggregator to CQ skimmer, they are recognized as CQs. This used to work in an older version. 

See illustration:


Thanks and 73
Andy
KU7T
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K1DBO

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Hi Andy, 

Thanks for your comments.  And yes... Slice Master in general and the bandmap in particular are in beta.  I cant code, test, and write documentation all myself.  I'll let you guess which parts fall on the users of Slice Master ;)

The technique used here is more like the opposite of screen scraping.  Slice Master is putting it's own window on top of the panafall and doing it's best to keep track of the panafall window and its contents. 

The Flex API provides plenty of information for tracking the contents and the windows API provides plenty of information for tracking the window.  The challenging bit is knowing which window has which panafall. For the most part it works well enough, but as you noticed, some things could be better and some other things will never be better. 

Usually if you pop the panafall back into SSDR, the bandmap window will close.  Every now and then, the bandmap will attach to the wrong panafall or lose track of its window.  The condition is easy to correct manually.  Just drag the 'SM6K' label and drop it on a panafall.  Slice Master will figure it out from there.

For WSJT-X the behavior you are seeing is correct.  You're not the first to ask about it though.  Any time Slice Master launches an application, it will be fully configured and ready to run.  There's no need for you to configure anything but user preferences and operating modes.  

Slice Master implements the HRD Rig Control protocol and tells WSJT-X to use it to talk to the radio.  That port number you are seeing is one that Slice Master is listening on.  Not only does this make configuration of multiple instances easier for the users, but it gives Slice Master the ability to tweak the commands sent by WSJT-X to the radio.  So, for example, you dont have to worry about making sure the DAX button is pressed before responding to an FT8 CQ.  Slice Master knows that for WSJT-X to work, the DAX must be pressed.  Slice Master also implements the CAT over TCP for similar reasons but to talk to other programs, like fldigi.  But even more importantly, there's not need to allocate COM ports.

So if WSJT-X isnt working for you as soon as Slice Master launches it, let me know, I'd like to figure out why.  

The change to the RBN Aggregrator was not intentional.  CW was added to the front of the comment to aid in mode guessing when a spot in the bandmap was selected.  That seems to be confusing the Aggregrator's parser.  You might want to hang back a version while I investigate alternatives.  It is my intention, however, to keep the RBN Aggregrator happy.  Let me know if you need a copy of an older version.

...and please, keep the bug reports coming.


--Don
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Andy - KU7T

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Thanks Don. I went back to the older version to get RBN working. 

As a suggestion, do not change the formatting of the telnet feeds, just relay them. You know that CW skimmer will give you CW spots, no need to change the formatting to tell you more about the mode.

Thanks
Andy
KU7T
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Andy - KU7T

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Don,
Regarding the WSJT-X integration, here are the two issues that prevent me from using it with SM:

- Audio settings are not persisted.  I always defaults to Desktop Mic, and DAX MIC, both are not correct
- rig control is not working. You explained that I should not change it from Ham radio deluxe. Well, I do not have Ham radio deluxe. In any case, even if I do not change it, the rig control is not working.  CAT button does not light up.  

These are not show stoppers, I can just launch WSJT-X myself and then the settings stay, but since you asked for bug reports.

I am running version 0.9. (because of the RBN issue).

73
Andy
KU7T
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W2PP

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Don and I are working on the audio persistence issue, I think we've exchanged 90 emails and I don't know how many hours over the weekend!!!  Still don't have it though.
Peter
W2PP
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K1DBO

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Andy,

As Peter as said, over the weekend, we identified the audio device problem.  Knowing that it's not just Peter's computer is a big help.  Can you confirm that you are also running Win10?

The rig control behavior you are seeing is new.  If you have the time and want to play along please send me an email so we can work through this issue.

--Don
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Mike Sonn

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I loaded SM6K on my machine this weekend.  SM6K immediately recognized my Flex, and the "Mix" tab controls were active.  The bottom of the program window indicates my radio correctly.

I enabled Bandmap Overlays, entered the Telnet connections, which indicate are "Connected", yet not call outs on my panafall, and the SM6K Header is not there.  All I'm interested in is the overlays.
  • Launch Tab  Lists DM780 (Don't use it), and WSJT-X (I use).  Both are set to "Never".
  • Sync Tab - I've changed nothing.  "Slice -" has only "Frequency" box checked.
  • Mix Tab - Shows "A", "TX", "P", and "M" as active.
  • ... Tab - Bandmap; Enabled Overlays, with 3 different telnet addresses, all indicate as "Connected"

Is there something else in "..." tab that needs to be enabled?  I feel like "Telnet" needs to be enabled, and tried several different ports, but am unsure what port to use, if any.


  I do see two error messages at bottom:
  • Cannot Find Default CW Skimmer configuration file: CwSkimmer.ini
  • Cannot Find Default GRITTY configuration file. Path= 'GRITTY.ini'
  • I do not have either of these programs...never have.

I feel I'm missing something simple.  Any suggestions?

Thank you,

Mike  KF9AF

(Edited)
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K1DBO

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Hi Mike,

It sounds like you're doing everything right.  The only thing you could have missed is that the bandmap can only be used with a pop-out panafall. If you are running SSDR 1.x you'll have to upgrade or wait for bandmap support in the main window.  In 2.x, each panafall has a small arrow in the upper right corner.  If you hit that, it will pop-out to it's own window and Slice Master will find it.

--Don
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Mike Sonn

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Thanks for the reply Don.  That was the hint I needed, and it is working now.

I am running 2.x and that arrow you speak of, only exists IF more than one panadapter is open, AND only in the popped out p.a.

My flags are also small like W32RF mentioned above.

Mike
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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I'm happy to hear you got things working.  The next release will take care of problem with the text in bandmap. You wont have to wait very long.
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KM4CQG

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Don

I am running Flex Smart SDR1.11.12 does this support Slice Master?

No matter what I try it doesn't seem to load the radio?

Ian
KM4CQG
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K1DBO

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While I havent tested it myself, Slice Master should would find with 1.x.  But, since 1.x doesnt support pop-out panafalls, you wont be able to use the bandmap.

Connecting to the radio shouldnt take any effort other than running Slice Master.  Is the Slice Master window showing on the screen?
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KM4CQG

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Nope radio is not showing at all.

I did select DM780 as a test.

Ian
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K1DBO

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Ok so you are connected to the radio.  It sounds like you are able to launch DM780 but that is not working?  Are you seeing a signal in the DM780 waterfall?
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KP2L

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I'm having trouble using wsjt-x as a spot source.   I have overlays enabled. Tried using localhost:2237 as the spot source under bandmap and I get an error. I'd like to see it while using FT8.  Any help appreciated. Thanks

Carl KP2L
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Andy - KU7T

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Don,

Thanks for the excellent work again. 

is there any way to allow JTAlert to run with WSJT-X?  I am asking because that seems to be broken, possibly by the Slice master's rig control (just guessing). I (and many others) use JTAlert to log contacts to their different log book programs...  Maybe I am just missing something....

73,
Andy
KU7T
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W2PP

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Andy, I'm using the most recent beta and its working here a OK.  When you say broken what do you mean, just refuses to hook up to WSJTX?  
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Andy - KU7T

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I would like Slice master to launch 2 apps: WSJT-X and JTAlert.  And it seems JTAlert must be launched first, but I cannot say this for sure. I am pretty new to those digital modes (but my 6600M makes it so easy)...

73
Andy
KU7T
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W2PP

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Oh OK. SM doesn’t launch JTA. Launch SN turn in the ESTX in two slices they will will run. Then launch JTA
A new copy of SM is either out or will be soon that fixes the audio persistent setting issue I ran it today and it’s solid
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K1DBO

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Andy,

A put a bit of time into having Slice Master automatically launch JTAlert.  It almost works but there is show stopping bug in JTAlert that prevents it from attaching to the correct WSJT-X instance.  

I've found that the best workaround is to just launch as many JTAlerts as you might need and let them find the WSJT-X instances are they are launched.  You can keep the JTAlerts minimized when not in use and they will spring to life when needed.

I'm keeping my eye on JTAlert developments and will re-enable the auto-launch for it when it's ready.

--Don