Slice Master 6000 v0.9.0 beta release

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Every new program needs an exciting name... how does Slice Master 6000 sound to you?  Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

I was playing with the idea of launching a CW Skimmer instance per slice, rather than per DAX IQ channel because I wanted multiple skimmers but also wanted to run CW Skimmer Server in the background on as many bands as possible.  Slice Master 6000 let's me do this.  I thought others might like this too.

I'm calling this a beta release though alpha might be even more appropriate.  But, let's not get bogged down in naming conventions.  What you might choose to experience has not been widely tested.  I'm running it on Win7 and it seems to work well enough for me.  If you're up for an adventure give it a try and let me know if it works at all or how it can be improved.

The Getting Started instructions at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 should tell you the rest of what you need to know.

Enjoy.  


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K1DBO

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Posted 11 months ago

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Mark WS7M

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Hi there!

I was curious to give your program a try.  I downloaded and installed it and I have a registered copy of CW skimmer.

I have used SDR Bridge in the past with varying success.  Some days it works fine, other days it refuses to do what I understand it should do.

But honestly I cannot seem to understand exactly what Slice Master is supposed to do.  It does connect to the radio, it does open a skimmer, once I got IQ setup right it does decode but it does not track the slice.  IE I move the slice the skimmer decode point stays right where it was.  Likewise if I move the skimmer decode point the slice does not change.

Perhaps I simply don't understand what Slice Master is supposed to do.

Mark - WS7M
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K1DBO

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Hi Mark,

Your description makes it sound like you may have hit the start up bug in CW Skimmer.  Sometimes, CW Skimmer doesnt launch properly... regardless of how you initiate the launch.  Trying again usually works.  On the tab for the slice try selecting "never" to terminate CW Skimmer then select "when active" to re-launch.  However, when CW Skimmer does this, it usually posts an error dialog as a clue.  Since you didnt mention this, the other possible problem is that you didnt accept the firewall changes when you first launched Slice Master.  Do either of these issues seem likely in your case?

Unless you are talking about the "DAXIQ channel" setting in SmartSDR, you shouldnt need to change any IQ settings.  As long as the slice you working with is in a panadapter with a DAX IQ channel enabled, and DAX is running, it should just work.  Slice Master will configure CW Skimmer for the slice prior to launch.  

The only other thing I can think of that might cause trouble is the location of the configuration files.  Can you verify that Slice Master was able to create a folder and config files in

    C:\Users\<your-user-name>\AppData\Local\K1DBO

If all of this seems good, there's a chance you are running another service on port 7300.  Under the settings tab, try changing the port number to something else, say 6300.  Then force a re-launch of CW Skimmer using the method I described above.

I should also ask which operating system you are running.  All of my testing has been on Win7 only. I'm sure the trouble you are having is due to the lack of testing on my end.

SDR Bridge usually works great for me but uses too many DAX IQ channels in some use cases. Slice Master is similar in what it does but allows multiple CW Skimmers to use the same DAX IQ channel, leaving the others available for use by Skimmer Server.

Thanks for playing along!
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Mark - WS7M

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Hey back.  Sorry for the delay.  I was out of town for a couple days.

I am running on Windows 10.

I've tried this on two different computers.  1) Win10 desktop that is at my station  2) Win10 laptop.  I get the same behavior on both.

Now before we start blaming slice master I do need to say that SDR Bridge and CW skimmer have been acting up on BOTH computers for some time.  It acts up so much so that I rarely use it.

The behavior I get from SDR bridge / skimmer is that the link between skimmer and SmartSDR seems broken.   Back when it used to work I could click on a place in the skimmer and my slice would move there and vice-versa if I moved my pan the skimmer moved.  All that is broken for some strange reason that nothing seems to repair.  I have re-installed, removed all data files, etc and it still remains broken.

Now with Slice Master the behavior is similar.  However with your advice above selecting "never" then back to active did bring up a skimmer and it seems to have some data coming in but from what I can see it is not correlated in any way to the data in the pan where I/Q channel 1 is selected.  Also like with SDR bridge there is no linkage between skimmer and SmartSDR.  Nothing stays in sync.

For example, right now there is a very strong CW signal on 7.024.48 and on the skimmer with Slice Master running I can't see that signal anywhere.  If I scroll up and down in the skimmer it is still not present but I do see some CW signals I just can't figure out where they are in the pan.

I also tried setting the "follow" slice to A and also changing to port 6300 as suggested.  I see the same behavior.  I have also verified as you asked that data files do exist in appdata.

Here is a movie showing what I see if it helps:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/fhc08x7xpn3zna0/SliceMasterTest.mp4?dl=0
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K1DBO

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The movie helps a lot.  Thanks for taking the time to post it. 

It's pretty clear both from your description and the movie that telnet connection between CW Skimmer and Slice Master is not working. I'm going to make a wild guess... if you open the settings dialog in CW Skimmer and switch to the operator page, your callsign field is either blank or set to an invalid callsign.  If so, try putting your callsign in there and re-launch from Slice Master.

I've uploaded a new version of Slice Master to fix this problem and a couple of other little things.  

The initial CW Skimmer slice configurations are derived from your default CW Skimmer configuration.  So if your callsign isnt set there, it wont be set in the configurations that Slice Master generates.  

The 'follow' option in Slice Master wont change any of the behavior you are seeing.  It's there to synchronize the frequency of multiple slices.  Using it with two slices on the same panadapter doesnt make a lot of sense, but works.   It make more sense when you want to keep two different panadapters in sync.  So if you want slice B to change when ever slice A changes, just set slice B to "follow" slice A.

 
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Mark - WS7M

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Ok well that was it.  No call sign.  Put that stuff in and restarted the skimmer and it appears to work as I would expect... In fact I think it is perhaps better than SDR Bridge.

I did have a call and stuff in when running via SDR bridge so this must be using completely different settings and I should have realized that.

Ok I'll play with this and get you some feedback but it does seem to be working!
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K1DBO

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Fantastic!
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Mark - WS7M

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A couple feedback items:

1) It certainly seems that I need to re-input my call and op info for each of my four possible slices.  Today I opened a pan on 14 mhz and selected it on SliceMaster and it again would not sync.  Checked the info and it was all blank.  Probably not a bug but it could be confusing.

2) I had slice A running on 40m at 7.050.  I opened a pan and set Slice B to LSB 7.164.  Was listening to a friend.  I setup a new pan and slice C on 20m, 14.050.  I selected tab "C" and set that up to skim 20 m.   All working nicely except if I select a frequency on the skimmer, for 20m it changes both the pan for 20 (slice C) and also the plan for LSB, slice B to the 20m frequency I clicked on.  I have tab "B" setup to "Never".  
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K1DBO

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The per slice CW Skimmer config files are generated only once from the default CW Skimmer configuration.  So after that's happened there are two options: change them using CW Skimmer, or delete them and let Slice Master re-create them.  Your previous comments made it sound like Slice Master wasnt finding the default config file.  I'll have to do a Win10 install to see if it's an OS specific issue to confirm.

Assuming Slice Master can find the config file it's a good idea to first make sure the CW Skimmer is set the way you like it. Otherwise, you'll have to go through all the slices and adjust things like the location for your MASTER.DTA file. 

If I am reading your second point correctly, it sounds like you have slice B set to follow slice C.  The "never" setting only means to never launch a CW Skimmer for the slice.  The "follow" setting, if set, is always active.  Try moving slice C in the panadaper... does slice C follow along or does it only happen when you click in CW Skimmer?
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Ed - W2RF

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Are you guys using the new SDR-Bridge v1.6.4 beta? There have been some system changes that cause some startup and synchronization problems. For many testers the new version works much better. It is available at http://www.qrv.com/download/SDR-Bridge_v1.6.4_beta_Setup.exe. Let me know your experience.

Happy new year!

73 Ed W2RF
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Ed,  I have not and will give it a try.
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Ed, is 1.6.4.129 the lastest version?
73 and HNY, Alex - DH2ID
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K1DBO

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I havent tried the 1.6.4 beta, but the 1.6.3 beta fixed all the trouble I was having with Skimmer Server and RTTY Skimmer server.
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K1UO - Larry

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Do you have a cheat sheet made up as to how to get RTTY Skimmer server operating on a 6X000  radio?   I have yet to make that happen correctly.
HNY,
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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SliceMaster connects to my Flex6k5, but does not start CWSkimmer and CWS does not get any audio from the radio. DAX is streaming IQ, all telnet settings are correct and my callsign is set in CWS. 
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K1DBO

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Hi Alex, 

With the lastest download (0.9.2) the callsign issue is no longer a problem.  Slice Master creates it's own CW Skimmer config files and sets everything needed to make the necessary connections.  By default, Slice Master will only start CW Skimmer on slice A and B when either of those slices are in CW mode. This, of course, is configurable.

If Slice Master is still not launching CW Skimmer for you, please tell me which OS you are running and the full path to the CwSkimmer.exe in your installation. Slice Master exepects to find it in "C:\Program Files (x86)\Afreet\CwSkimmer\CwSkimmer.exe".  If it's not, the Slice Master config file can be adjusted.
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Mark - WS7M

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Don, (I hope that is the name you use), I will check out "follow" to see if it is the problem with slice C and B that I described above.

But in case I did not say it, thank you for making a new utility and making it available.  I think personally, this is what makes the flex amazing compared to any other radio.  We have the people and the power to create cool little utilities that make things more usable, better, whatever.

Anyway thanks!

I don't know if you are willing to share it but I'd love to see the code behind this.  I have been working on an I/Q decoder without much time or luck so far.   My biggest issue has been sorting out the data in the I/Q stream.  Read lots, just have not had time to play.

Mark - WS7M
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Chris DL5NAM

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Mark, the Source code he offer for download:

https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000/releases

Chris
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K1DBO

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Mark,

Yes, Don is fine and you're quite welcome.  

I've been working on accessing the streaming data and plan to add some of that to Slice Master in the coming days.  I'm also willing to entertain request for other features suitable for inclusion in something named Slice Master.  Of course I have some ideas already but just wanted to get the ball rolling with a feature set that I have an immediate need for.  Hence the early release.

My plan is to release all of my Flex related source code.  I'd be willing to release both Push to VOX and Slice Master source code now but havent yet because the library they are based on is not yet ready for prime time.  It's the library (all Python) that is getting most of my attention and would be most useful to the community.  But, I still have some kinks to work out.  Once I can use the library to put something like Slice Master together without having to fix problems, add features, or change interfaces I'll release it.

But before the library goes out, keep a look out for a too early release of Midi Master 6000. It's the real test bed for the library.  Once I remove some overly ambitious UI features, I'll probably post a link. That one, however, might require a limited alpha release before a general announcement.  We'll see.

It takes a community to build community software.  I appreciate your (and all other) efforts in helping to work out the bugs.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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If by "MIDI Master" you are talking about a link from various DJ MIDI controllers, I might be interested in helping test it, as much as my busy schedule allows.  I have a Hercules DJ 2LE and a Behringer PL1.

I have experimented with modifying software in "Processing" created in a thread by William a couple of years ago.  I changed a lot of lines of code and had something working somewhat to my liking, but I got stalled in other pursuits.

Ken - NM9P
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K1DBO

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Hi Ken,

That's exactly what I'm talking about.  We have a similar collection of midi controllers too.  The idea is to be truly configurable.  It shouldnt matter much though which controller is being used or even how many for that matter.  I've use a PL1 along with a CMD micro and even two CMD micros.  A large collection of "macro" functions can be mapped to any of the midi controls through a set of config files.  I'll get back to working on it in the coming weeks and let you know when I have something worth testing.
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Mark WS7M

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It is funny you guys are talking about this... A friend ham who ops ONLY old gear like 1980's kenwoods and older was fascinated by another ham's DJ controller controlling an Anan 8000.

I told him this stuff was pretty easy to do on the flex.  He challenged me on it so I ended up buying and receiving today:

https://www.amazon.com/Numark-Party-Mix-Controller-Software/dp/B01FHJLE6M/ref=pd_ybh_a_5?_encoding=U...

It is a much lower cost unit than I have seen the Cmd Micro go for.  Using C# and the FlexLib I had this thing basically working in about 30 minutes.

I have not decided on all knobs, buttons and sliders yet but so far I was able to program:

Slice A - frequency
Slice B - frequency

Both of those use the turntable wheels

Slice A - volume
Slice B - volume

Sliders on each side

Center knob - CW speed

pad buttons on each side - Send different CWX macros.

I still have a ton of buttons, knobs and sliders available.  

I do like having the two turn tables changing frequency.  Pretty nice.

M
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Mark - WS7M

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Here is a kind of long movie on what I've been able to do with my little NuMark party mix controller in just a few hours of programming time:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/oin8md8712t0xir/NuMarkMovie.MOV?dl=0
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K1DBO

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Out with the old and in with the new.  I've fixed a few bugs and likely added a couple more.  Slice Master 6000 v0.9.3 has been up loaded to https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000/releases 

In this version, you'll see some changes to the user interface layout and some new features.  




The Launch page has been simplified and a new Sync page created.




From here, for any slice, you can choose which slice you'd like it to follow and what should be updated when the followed slice changes.  In this example, anytime the frequency of slice A changes, the frequency of slice B will be changed to match.  Likewise, if 'Panadapter center' is checked and the center of slice A's panadapter changes, the center of slice B's panadapter will be changed to match.  If the 'Keep centered' option is checked, slice B's panadapter will be recentered on slice B's frequency anytime slice B's frequency changes.

The Fade page provides a convenient place to adjust the audio gain, audio pan, and mute setting for all slices.



The indicators tell you a bit about each slice, if it's the active slice or if tx is enabled there.  The vertical slider controls audio gain, push button will reset the gain to 50, while the dial control the L/R pan.  The M button will mute the slice while the S (solo) button will mute all other slices.

The settings page hasnt changed much



Here you'll find a way to specify the starting port number for configuring the CW Skimmer telnet ports.  Since each skimmer needs a new port, this is just the starting port number.  It will be assigned to skimmer associated with slice A.  Slice B will be assigned the next one and so on.

Enjoy!
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Hello Donald,
I have CWSkimmer 2.0 running here and SmartSDR 2.0.19.98 on a Win7 64bit I7 machine. My Flex is a 6k5. All settings are correct, as they work with SDRBridge an it's telnet connection. But I can't get SliceMaster 0.9.3 to connect to CWSkimmer. It connects to
my radio, shows all settings, the telnet connection should work, but it doesn't start
CWSkimmer and when I start it manually, CWSkimmer settings show no audio tab and
the receive window shows only noise and no signals.
Any ideas? Do I have to change the CWSkimmer settings beforehand?
Vy 73, Alex - DH2ID
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K1DBO

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Hi Alex,

The install location for the CW Skimmer executable changed between version 1.9 (what I am running) and 2.0 (what you are running).  I've just uploaded Slice Master v0.9.4. It should be better at finding CWSkimmer.exe.  Please give it a try.

  --Don
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Chris DL5NAM

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Yes, now Skimmer starts ! TNX
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Chris, can you post your settings here (for CW Skimmer and Slice Master) ?
And add screenshots, if possible? I can't get the connection to CW Skimmer working,
whatever I do.
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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Alex,

With v0.9.4, is CWSkimmer launching for you now?

In SmartSDR, make sure there is a slice A and that the panadapter that contains it has it's DAXIQ channel set. Then, in Slice Master, under the 'Launch/A' tab, select 'When active'.  That should be all it takes to get CWSkimmer running.
(Edited)
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Yes, Chris, all set as you wrote. CW Skimme won't start and has lost it's audio tab in settings.
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K1DBO

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Alex,

Ignoring Slice Master for a moment.  Can you can get CW Skimmer to run manually?  Is that when it doesnt have an audio tab in it's settings?  If so, it sounds like a problem with your CW Skimmer installation.  I'd try to uninstall it first, then re-install it. I cant think of any reason for it's audio tab vanish.

But, even then, Slice Master should still launch your (broken?) CWSkimmer if every thing is set as described.  There should be a log file named

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

Can you open this file with notepad and take a look for any 'ERROR' lines? 

    --Don
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Chris DL5NAM

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Alex, give me your PM i will send what you want
DL5NAM@gmx.de
or
Facebook: FlexRadio DL
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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I was a bit short sighted when I named this thread.  Slice Master 6000 v0.9.5 is now available.


I've added an offset field to modify the follow frequency for any slice following the frequency of another.  



There was another thread where Dave K3ZJ asked if it was possible to have two slices keep their frequencies in sync but maintain a 75hz offset.  It sounded like fun to me, so here you go Dave.





The big change for this release is the addition of an aggregation server for the telnet servers in the CW Skimmer instances launched by Slice Master.  With CW Skimmer instances coming and going along with their slices, I thought it would be helpful to give logging programs and telnet cluster clients a single place to connect.  Not all clients automatically reconnect.  With this server enabled, that doesnt matter.  So long as Slice Master stays running, it's telnet server is there.  Just point your client to the 'Start port'.

So far I've only tested it with VE7CC's CC User cluster client.  It works well enough there, so if Slice Master's telnet server doesnt work directly with your client program, you can always put CC User in between.  I wouldnt mind putting a bit more effort into directly supporting other clients.  So let me know what works and what doesnt.  Since it's mostly just a pass through for the server in CW Skimmer, if a client works with CW Skimmer's telnet server, it has a pretty good chance of working with Slice Master's.

There's also an option to append the slice label to the spotter's call sign.  Whenever CW Skimmer spots some DX it post a spot to the telnet server.  This will be attributed to the call sign associated with your radio.  But with multiple skimmers running, it might be useful to know which skimmer found the spot.  Comparing two receive antennas is one case that comes to mind.  If you are going to feed your spots to an upstream cluster server, you might consider disabling this option.

This past weekend I worked the RTTY Round Up contest and had Slice Master running the whole time.  While I had no need for the CW Skimmer features, I did make use of frequency following and especially the panadapter 'keep centered' feature.  With all the click tuning I usually do during search and pounce, I used to find myself recentering the panadapter quite a bit.  Not this time.  For each of my two VFOs in N1MM+ I used a small pop-out panadapter from SmartSDR and dropped it right over the top of the MMTTY waterfall to use for tuning.  Everytime I clicked either in the panadapter or the bandmap, the signal I was working ended up right in the middle.  Pure joy!

The new release can be found at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000/releases


    --Don 
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Don,

SliceMaster is definitely pretty cool.   It seems to be more robust to me than SDR Bridge that I used for a long time.  

I'm going to download the cluster client and give that a try.

There is one thing I really want to do but so far the only one that is doing it that I've found is N1MM using their rather slow spectrum display and that is to only spot stations that are showing signals above a set threshold.

I realize slice master may not be the agent to do this but I got to thinking about the CW skimmer UDP spectrum output and if it could be used to do such a thing.

The idea I have is that if you look at your flex pan, on the right is your DBM.  Right now on 40m CW my average noise line is at about -113.  So when I look at a DX cluster and some station comes in at 7012.5.  What I want to do is to go and sample the signal at that point and if it is not peaking above some value I set like perhaps -110 then I really don't want that DX station spotted.  I can't hear them anyway.

N1MM is doing something like this on their spectrum but the first time I tried it, it was pretty slow.  I mean kind of painfully slow to watch it work.  I'm just wondering if with your wonderful skimmer integration and the use of the UDP output from skimmer is something like this could filter the output from the DX client feed?

Mark
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K1DBO

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(sorry for taking this one out of order, I missed it completely)

Thanks for the kind words about Slice Master. 

I like your suggestion but do agree that Slice Master isnt the right agent for the job.  I'm trying to focus Slice Master on the user interactions with slices. 

The current set of tabs in the UI are about all I can imagine for it, with one exception.  I'll probably get around to adding my push-to-vox functionality to it, which would mean adding a tab with some TX related features.  Other than that, I expect there will be more options for synchronizing slice and panadapter attributes.  I'm also thinking about adding to the launch tab... being able to invoke Fldigi simply by switching to DIGU might be worth the effort.  Launching MMVARI when switching to RTTY would be just as much fun.

Push-to-vox, btw, while I still use it largely became unnecessary when SmartSDR CAT grew the ability to use a local COM port with a PTT foot switch.  Besides that, it has a "smart" ID timer and the magical ability to turn VOX on and off with the tap of your foot. Well I find it useful anyways.

The UDP spectrum output from CW Skimmer is nice, but entirely unnecessary with the flex.  All of that data plus more is available over UDP directly from the radio.

I might have mentioned before that the point of both push-to-vox and Slice Master, aside from providing some useful functionality, is to help be build a framework for building these kinds of application... even ones that play with meter data or spectrum data.  I'm still working out the kinks in the lower level APIs.
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Mark - WS7M

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Ok I installed ve7cc client.  I'm not exactly sure what I should see.  I told the logging portion to connect to port 7300.  I am also looking at 7300 on a telnet viewer and I see skimmer spotting some calls but am I supposed to see them in the ve7cc client?
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K1DBO

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Mark,

What do you usually use to look at the spots generated by CW Skimmer?  It should work just fine with Slice Master without the help of CC User.

That said, VE7CC's CC User client is a fine piece of software both for watching spots scroll by and for aggregating multiple servers.  So, if for example, you would like to combine your CW Skimmer spots with the RBN spots, CC User is a great way to go.

Since you are just starting out with it you'll have to configure it.  Click on it's 'configuration' menu and select the 'Node (telnet)' option.  You'll get a dialog asking you to chose a telnet server from a list or to add a new one.  Type 'slicemaster' into the field and press 'Add'.  You'll get another dialog where you can fill in the hostname and port.  If CC User is running on the same computer as Slice Master, just enter 'localhost' and '7300'.  Hit 'apply'.  This newly created entry will now show in the 'outgoing connections' dialog.  Press the 'conn' button next to the entry and you'll be connected to the Slice Master telnet server.  

From here you can add other servers if you like, either by choosing them from the node list or adding another of your own.  CC User will then combine all of the spots from these servers and make them available on it's own telnet server.  You've already configured it to do that when you though you 'told the logging portion to connect'... What you really did was tell it to accept connections from logging programs.  So a quick change is needed there.  Either uncheck the 'Enable Telnet' option, or select 'Use Custom Port' and enter 7310 as the port number.  If you dont plan to connect with a logging program just disable the telnet option, if you do, the custom port option is the way to go.

The only reason I mentioned CC User because I tested it with the server in Slice Master.  If you already have your CW Skimmer spots showing up somewhere else, that software should would with Slice Master just as well.  Before having the telnet feature in Slice Master I'd had to add four different CW Skimmer nodes to CC User then tell my logger to connect to CC User.  Now, it's just one entry in CC User, and Slice Master will combine all of the spots from the CW Skimmers it controls into that single connection.

It's starting to sound like this features solves a problem you never had.
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Mark - WS7M

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Don... Cool.  Well to be honest I have in the past avoided many dx spot things simply because they usually spot stations I have no hope of hearing.

Skimmer and slice master make this much better as I can now spot, for my use, the stations that skimmer decodes.  That is a huge step forward and may do all I need.

But as I mentioned above in the ideal world I'd love to have a way to connect to one of the primary DX spot servers like ve7cc but have the incoming spots somehow measured in my pan.  If no signal exists on that frequency above a threshold I set (like the N1MM line) then that spot is not feed into the spots window.  This would make use of dx spots both from skimmer and remote servers absolutely amazing.

As it has been requested many times on this forum adding spots to the panadapter like the iPad application does is what we all want eventually.

I asked Marcos about using a level on the spots on the iPad and he feels the iPad does not have enough processing power to analyze the signal at each spot.  I see is his point.  

So this is where having a "server" that could bring in skimmer spots and remote spots but filter the remote spots to a signal level on your current pan and feed that output to the iPad would solve that problem.  IE only give the iPad spots that meet your setup criteria.

This is all just brainstorming and one thing I would like to do is to be able to group spotted stations some how.   I mean the dx spot network is a fantastic idea but it could be more.  In the design of it they tried to solve a single problem and did so fairly well but like many ideas there are other possible uses for it that they never planned for.

The grouping idea could be used for any purpose.  In my first example posted a few months ago I would like to allow us "flex users" to somehow spot ourselves.  So if I'm on CW on 40m at 7.026 I would like to send a spot to the network with a special tag like "FLEX" in the remarks.  

Then in whatever we receive spots with to be able to find all the FLEX users would be cool.  This could be extended to clubs, SK operators etc.  So more than just DX spots, spots of any kind.   

Without modifying the DX spot network which would break everyone the only way to do this is to embed into the remarks custom tags and have software that could select on those tags.

The end goal for me, probably never reachable, would be to have spots on my pan adapter in smartSDR for windows that meet criteria I set including is there a signal present and is it above some DBM level.  Then have a way to flag each spot as "DX" (the current spots), or "TAG" whatever tag is present like "FLEX".

Also, currently DX spots are mostly "user generated".  IE some station hears or works a "DX" and either through their logging program or manually they "spot" the station giving call, frequency and remarks. 

Again this is great.  If you have a 2000' antenna and can hear everything then it is amazing you can move to that frequency and work that station if you can get through the pileup.  With a 2000' antenna and 200kw amp (like maybe Howard has LOL) then you will get the station.

But for me with my little loop I hear a lot but not everything.  I want to control what spots I see.  To me the spots seen by other users skimmers in my local area are far more valuable.  AND I'd love to be able to try and find stations of interest by that tagging system.

Anyway, these are just ideas, things that would make our wonderful flex radios even better.
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K1DBO

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Your antenna situation sounds similar to mine.  The vast majority of the spots out in the cluster are useless to me.  During contests, it's all my own spots from Skimmer Server or RTTY Skimmer Server.  If they dont see it, I cant work it. Period. For non contest cases, having the cluster spot can be useful for dreaming about those rare DX stations.  I can usually find the pile ups, but the cluster often knows their TX frequency.

I'm pretty sure the newer versions of N1MM+ have the filter feature you are looking for as part of it's 'Spectrum Display'.  It will put spot call signs next to symbols any filter out any that dont have a strong enough signal.  I like the concept.
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K3SF

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Actually you are most likely see a false positve based on signal strength. The signal may actually be a station QRM'ing the DX station and not the DX station itself.

i have found having my own skimmer is much more effective.

I use macloggerdx combined with extra-cluster app which allows me to combine data from ve7cc and my own skimmer. This all appears on the panafall when i use this setup with dogparkSDR with my flex

K3SF
Paul
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Mark - WS7M

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That is a good point except that most spots are the DX tx frequency and they are operating splits.

But even then there are locals that can't understand UP and transmit on freq.  LOL
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K3SF

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of course there are the DX police with constant UP UP UP
and
assort LID embellishments :-)

actually the best way to sort this all out is ones own ears

based on the old adage..."cant work'em if you dont hear'em"



Paul K3SF
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Mark - WS7M

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Yep... Exactly right.  There is not a skimmer or decoder that can decode as weak a signal as I can.

I guess my whole point of posting here is this:

We have a great radio providing lots of data.  Virtually all of us have internet.  We have logging programs, DX spotting programs, skimmers, decoders and everyone is separate and getting them all to work together can at times be a chore.

I totally get that this is the way it happened and that each vendor of each tool had a specific problem to solve and it is us users trying to use them all together but in the end that is what we all seem to fight.  Most of the posts on forums are about:

I have program XXX running just fine, but when I startup YYY it doesn't connect.

I think the OmniRig and HamLib things were early attempts to pull everything together.  It seems or feels like most of those focused on rigs.  Now we need something that focuses on pulling software together.  SliceMaster is doing that for SmartSDR and coordination of skimmer.

I'm sure this will come it just is one of those little frustrations about the hobby.  It is in some ways like if you bought a car but each time you went to drive it you had to manually screw on the rear view mirrors cause they are very useful and maybe even needed but when your car went in for service the mirrors no longer fit so you had to wait for an update or uninstall the mirrors and re-install them.  LOL.

Anyway have a great day!  
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Success: I have had problems starting CW Skimmer with the appropriate settings until this morning.
Then I connected CW Skimmer to my RFSpace SDRIQ. There is a driver for this great little SDR built into CW Skimmer.

After a while I closed down this connection and started SliceMaster again - it started CW Skimmer and gets the audio IQ stream from DAX now. Only the frequency is wrong and gets no updates.
Well - I can start working with SliceMaster now.

Thank you for this great program, Donald! Vy 73, Alex - DH2ID
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K1DBO

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That's great news Alex, and you're welcome. 

But I think it's too early to call it a win.  Being able to launch CW Skimmer is a good start.  If the frequency is wrong it could be because the CW Skimmer configuration is set to 'Left/Right = Q/I' instead of 'Left/Right = I/Q' which is what DAX produces. 

But, since you said "gets no updates", it sounds like the telnet connection between Slice Master and CW Skimmer is broken.  So, try changing Slice Master's 'Start port' to 7400 and relaunch CW Skimmer.
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K1DBO

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I've uploaded a new release.  Slice Master 6000 v0.9.6 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000

The Fade page now includes controls for the master volume and headphone volume.  The 'Reset gain' button now let's you adjust the value the gain will return to.  Just press the shift key while clicking the button and it will remember the setting.

I've added some error reporting to the status line.  If you are having trouble with getting CW Skimmer to launch, keep an eye on the status line.  It might give a clue as to why things arent working.

There are a couple of new options in the CW Skimmer section of the launch page.





RIT and XIT are now supported.  I'm still working on the logic but so far I think it might be useful.  With an option selected, any time a click is made in the CW Skimmer window that is withing 500hz of the current slice frequency, the RIT/XIT offset will be adjusted instead of moving the slice frequency.  I can imagine this would be useful for working either side of a pile up.  Of course working split using two slices is still supported by the 'Follow' settings on the Sync page.  I'd welcome feedback on this idea.  Is 500hz about right? ...or should it be adjustable?  

With luck, this release will get Alex (DH2ID) working or at least provide an explanation for why it's not.

Please keep the feedback coming, and thanks again for playing along.

   --Don
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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 Slice Master 6000 v0.9.7 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

There was an annoying problem with the RIT logic that I just had to fix.  If you update now, you'll also get an option for keeping the panadapter's visible bandwidth (zoom) in sync with the visible bandwidth of another slice.



Enjoy!
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Rich McCabe

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Don, struggling with a few issues. If I enable all 4 slices when the fourth instance starts it crashes along with one of the previous ones.

Be happy to help shake some of this out and if you would rather not do it here you can contact me via QRZ

Rich
kdz0v
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K1DBO

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Rich,

When you say "it crashes", can I assume you mean CW Skimmer, not Slice Master? If so, I've found that it's not completely unusual for CW Skimmer to put up a dialog box with an error message about an access violation.  When this happens I just acknowledge the dialog and let Slice Master restart CW Skimmer.  Toggling the launch setting will do this or just changing frequency in the slice should do it too.

--Don
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Rich McCabe

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Yes, I meant CWskimmer. I am used to the access violation dialog that Skimmer puts up but this is not it. Two instances of CWS just close.
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K1DBO

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You've go mail....
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Rich McCabe

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Thanks. Now that I have a few things shook out this is working very well.
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K1DBO

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Great!
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K1DBO

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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.8 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

This version provides N1MM Logger+ multiplier coloring in CW Skimmer.



You'll have to go into Configurer dialog of N1MM Logger+ and select the Broadcast Data panel to enable sending the information to Slice Master.  The default setting for the IP address and ports is fine, just click the check boxes and you're ready to go.

Keep the feedback coming!

  --Don
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Rich McCabe

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Downloading :)
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K1DBO

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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.10 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

There are couple of interesting changes in this release and a couple of boring ones too.  Fans of  AGC might like the ability to display these controls along with the audio gain in the newly renamed Mix tab.  If you liked the simplicity of the old Mix tab, don't worry.  There are options on the settings tab to put things back the way they were.  For those who really dont like the clutter, there is now an option to hide the Mix controls of inactive slices.




While I haven't received many comments about the synchronization features I'm moving ahead in that area just the same. 



A new option on the Sync page provides the ability synchronize the vertical scale of one panadapter with that of another.  If you have a dual SCU radio and like to compare antennas, you might appreciate the ability to keep the panadapter view attributes associated with each antenna completely in sync.  On a single SCU radio these options can be used keep a zoomed in, fine tuning, view in sync with a broader view of the band.   

Version 0.9.9 went out unannounced to address a start-up race condition that was reported.  This made Slice Master unusable for some but luckily was only lightly reported. The startup code and especially that around CW Skimmer has been revised even more in version 0.9.10.  Slice Master now handles and prevents even more start up errors.  

Enjoy!

--Don
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Andy F5VAI

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Flex 6300

Don, having been using SDR Bridge for some time I was intrigued to try your new Slice Master.  The initial setup did not work properly with several odd errors, like frequency not syncing all the time.

I then uninstalled SDR Bridge and CW Skimmer and used CCleaner to get rid of any residues.  Re-installed CW Skimmer and everything worked as it should be.   My previous installation of CW Skimmer with SDR Bridge was not that stable and would necessitate a re-installation from time to time (Win 10). 

Having run Slice Master now for a few days it seems to be very stable and responsive.  I have not had one problem.

Thank you.

Andy F5VAI  (G3HCU)  
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K1DBO

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Andy,

You're welcome.  

The frequency not syncing is almost always indicates a telnet port issue.  If SDR Bridge was running when you had the trouble, that might have been the cause.  Otherwise, SDR Bridge and Slice Master should co-exist.  The early versions of Slice Master didnt do much to check that the telnet configuration would work.  Now, it will report a problem rather than launch a broken CW Skimmer.

I am happy to hear that it's all working for you now.

  --Don
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Don, I am still using SDRBridge, which works without any problems.

Starting the newest slicemaster 0.9.10 it connects to my Flex-6500 but does nothing else, CW Skimmer is not started and the following error is shown:

I really would like to try slice master, but this python error seems to inhibit that :-(
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K1DBO

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Hi Alex,

The good news is that it's not your configuration but a programming error on my part. Your screen grab is probably all I need to make a fix. Thanks for providing it. I'll get a new release ASAP.

--Don
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K1DBO

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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.11 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

Version 0.9.10 didnt last nearly as long as I had hoped.  Alex (DH2ID) reported a bug that I felt was worth fixing sooner rather than later.  The bug is likely to only show up in non-US configurations where audio devices might contain non ASCII characters.  I hope this is the only one of it's kind.

--Don
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Don, thank you for v0.9.11. CW Skimmer starts now, but terminates with an "Access violation" error and slice master shows: CW Skimmer process killed. Changing launch between "CW only" and "never" does not help. I think there still is a problem with the telnet connection. --Alex - DH2ID
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K1DBO

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Well, it was worth a try ;) ...can you send me an email with a zip file containing all of the log files from

C:/Users/<your logon>/AppData/local/K1DBO/slice-master

It will give me a better idea of what's going on.  I am working on another report of an access violation on Win10.  Which OS are you running?

Thanks
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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I've sent the mail to your QRZ.com mail address, Don. My OS is Windows 7 64bit HE.
Got to sleep a bit now (it's 0351 local here) :-)
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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Thanks Alex, got 'em.  The problem, as it turns out, is your configuration (I think)!

If you go into SmartSDR's main menu under Settings/Radio Setup...  There's place for a Nickname and a Callsign.  It looks like your Callsign is set to DH2ID-ALEX.  Try changing that to just DH2ID then see if Slice Master works correctly.
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K1DBO

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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.12 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

SmartSDR's Radio Setup dialog lets you choose a callsign to assign to your radio.  This callsign is used by the telnet server in Slice Master when reporting the spots received from CW Skimmer.  

This version of Slice Master fixes problems related to starting CW Skimmer when a badly formed callsign is stored in the radio.

...this time for sure.

--Don
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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That did it, Don! SliceMaster works here! That badly formed callsign (DH2ID-ALEX) was in my Flex-6500 when I got it :-) I never would have thought that it would be the cause of the whole problem! Thank you very much, Don!
Vy 73, Alex - DH2ID 
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K1DBO

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You're welcome! 
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Andy F5VAI

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Hi Don,

Flex announced a new SmartSDR upgrade today.  This I have done, but now Slice Master V0.9.13 is totally empty apart from the Telnet Port tab.  It says no connection.  I have gone back to V0.9.12 and this works.   

73 Andy F5VAI  (G3HCU)
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K1DBO

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Hi Andy,

I'm sorry to hear that.  I havent done the SmartSDR upgrade yet but it sounds like I should get on it.  Your's is the first report of this problem.  The v0.9.13 release was to fix the long standing issue that caused CW Skimmer to crash when closed by it's 'X' button.  I cant think of any changes that would make it fail and but not cause v0.9.12 to fail too.  I'll do the upgrade and try to reproduce the problem.  But if you dont mind, please try a reboot and give v0.9.13 another chance.

Thanks.

--Don
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Andy F5VAI

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Yes I have done a reboot.  It could be my end as after new SmartSDR, on run it crashed and I had to reinstall it again.  All seems to be fine now though.  This was the first time I have ever had a failure with SmartSDR in 3 years.  

73 Andy F5VAI  (G3HCU)
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Andy F5VAI

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Sorry badly written, I meant SmartSDR now working OK, your Slice Manager V0.9.13 not but V0.912 OK. 

73 Andy F5VAI  (G3HCU) 
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K1DBO

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Thanks for the update.

In case others are having the same trouble, I've put v0.9.12 back in the download area.
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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No problem here with SSDR 2.1.30 and SM 0.9.13. I always uninstall SSDR, keeping DX and CAT, then clean up the PC and then install the new version. I have never had any problems that way. And I run Windows 7 64bit, of course.
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K1DBO

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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.14 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

With luck this one will fix the start up issues some were having.  I've fixed a couple of bugs and extended the start up delay to help prevent CW Skimmer from tripping over itself.  

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me during these rapid updates.

  --Don
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Andy F5VAI

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Don, I had a bit of time last night to investigate why V0.913 was not working.  Found the problem - BitDefender antivirus had blocked the new version, but allowing previous version to work.  All OK now.

73 Andy F5VAI 
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K1DBO

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Andy,

Thanks for tracking that down.  

It might also be worth noting here that while working with Rich, we discovered that OmniRig can get in the way of starting CW Skimmer.  Killing it's process and letting it restart on its own seems to clear things up.
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Eduardo Carvalho - KC8R

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Don,

Thank you for releasing your software free of charge. I have been experimenting with it and so far I like it. 

I would like to know if you have ever tried to use your program with the Aggregator from RBN? I have tried to connect the aggregator to the telnet port on Slice Master and have not been successful, the aggregator continues to try to connect endlessly.

Regards,

Eduardo Carvalho, KC8R
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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I think that the RBN aggregator, which connects to CW Skimmer via it's telnet port, is capable to connect to one slice only. It connects without any problems to SDR Bridge, which follows one slice only.  
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K1DBO

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Eduardo,

I just tried connecting the RBN Aggregator to Slice Master's aggregation server and it appears to work fine.  There is a catch however.  The RBN Aggregator needs a different configuration when connecting to another aggregation server rather than directly to a CW Skimmer instance.  

In RBN Aggregator, select the 'Combined Skimmers' tab and fill out all of the fields and enable the check box at the top.  When connecting to a CW Skimmer instance the RBN Aggregator pulls most of this information from the login handshake.  Since Slice Master doesnt provide this information in the handshake it's necessary to add it manually.

Thanks for asking the question... I've been meaning to get around to testing it.
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K1DBO

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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.16 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

This release is mostly about internal changes that were needed to support adding new programs to the launch tab.  First up is GRITTY.  This would have been much more fun if I could have managed to release it a couple of days ago.  On the other hand, the WPX RTTY contest gave me an opportunity do some testing of the changes as well as some testing of the other kind.



GRITTY is great at decoding RTTY but doesnt offer a lot for controlling the slice.  Call signs that it finds calling CQ will be added to the aggregation server as spots.  Because GRITTY decodes only one signal at a time it's not as useful as you might hope.  You can, however, point Bandmaster at the aggregation server and then watch as it updates the DX Atlas display.  Alex (VE3NEA) writes some really nice software.

For the WPX contest I tried a new screen layout that made use of the sync features in Slice Master.




At the top you can see the entire 20m band with slice C following slice A and slice D following slice B.  I do a lot of search and pounce so this helps me to visualize where each of my two working slices are in the big picture.  I dont see the need to display the user interfaces from the RTTY decoders.  N1MM Logger+ does a good job of putting the decoded signals where I can read them and the panafall offers all the precision needed for tuning.  It's a bit much but here I am running a copy of 2Tone, MMTTY, GRITTY, and MMVARI for each slice.  

Slice Master lets me tune by clicking on a signal in the smaller slice A/B windows or by moving around the C/D slices in the larger window.  Either way, the linked slices follow each other.  The zoom factor and scale are coordinated here too.  Auto centering is usually on for the smaller panafalls but it looks like I took the screen grab while it was off.

My upper monitor was busy displaying the less important information.



It was great fun putting some of these features to use.  Though working on the software during the contest put a large dent in my score!

  --Don
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Don, I just tried SliceMaster with GRITTY. Great! Looking forward to try this during a contest.
Vy 73, Alex - DH2ID

P.S: The RBN aggregator also works following your instructions above. Thanks!
(Edited)
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Chris DL5NAM

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Don, looks great. Will it be possible also that you can add 2-Tone Rtty ?
It's more used RTTY engine after MMTTY

73 Chris
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K1DBO

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I'm playing with both MMTTY and 2-Tone.   MMTTY has the interface for sending RTTY, but when enabled it doesnt allow remote control.  2-Tone, I think, can send through remote control too but doesnt seem to have a user interface for it (but I just started looking into it).  They both use the XMMT.ocx control.  My development version of Slice Master has support for XMMT.ocx but since it's receive only it's not all that useful.  Neither does anything to identify call signs or post spots.  So for a first pass at read-only RTTY support GRITTY was the clear winner.

fldigi is another option. I currently have it mocked up with Slice Master but requires VOX for TX.  It seems to work but I would prefer more direct TX control.  Since the source is available I was able to build a custom version of fldigi for a different project.  I could go that route here too. I also like that fldigi can decode multiple signals at once.

The alternative to all of this is to write a separate program that acts like the DI window in N1MM Logger+ and have Slice Master launch that.  That would mean writing code to deal with macro buttons, interface to loggers, etc.  Does the world really need another way of sending macros out as RTTY messages?  Maybe ;)

I'd like Slice Master to be able to launch one or more programs that are able to send RTTY as well as decode it and do it all with no or very minimal configuration from the user.  Of course making PSK and other digimodes available is also desirable. I'm not seeing this as a real contesting solution but more of a tool for chasing DX or for just cruising the bands with easy access to any mode at any time.
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Andy F5VAI

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Don,

With latest version I get "slice_master returned -1"  Not antivirus problem this time!  Any ideas?  Otherwise previous versions have been working superbly.

73 Andy F5VAI  
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Rich McCabe

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Andy, make sure you already do not have slicemaster running. I think you can get that error if you try to start it twice.

Rich
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Andy F5VAI

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Thanks Rich, but no I didn't have slicemaster running already.  I deleted the 2 cwskimmer files A and B  in users and rebooted.  This did the trick.  So all working OK now. 

73 Andy F5VAI  
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K1DBO

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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.17 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 

This release adds an HRD TCP listener option to the sync tab for each slice. 



Instead of running HRD Rig Control you can point your HRD clients at Slice Master.  Slice Master lets you choose which slice to use and also provides a few more control options than the HRD TCP listeners in DDutil or MiniDeluxe.  It's lightly tested at this point but might be worth checking out.

I struggled a bit with the user interface and the inclusion of some advanced features.  So, I'm getting the basic functionality out now but expect to make some changes in how things tie together, how ports are chosen, etc.  I'd like to get some feedback here too from folks who are using HRD clients without the Rig Control component. On a related topic, I've started another thread asking for information about running multiple instances of DM780.  The HRD TCP Listener is a key part to getting this to work with our radios but DM780 still hides many mysteries.

A minor change was made to the GRITTY and CW Skimmer settings.  There is now a way to control which spots make it to the aggregation server.



The DX Lab suite was mentioned in a different thread so I checked for compatibility between its Spot Collector and the Slice Master aggregation server.  v0.9.16 worked but had a minor login issue that has now been fixed.

--Don
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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KB1DO - if I may make a recommendation.  If you have a new version, post a new topic with that version number in it.  The reason is that you end up getting "scope creep" and when a post becomes really long it is difficult for customers to digest the entire post to find information on a specific version.  I think this idea will help disseminate your information more efficiently and effectively.
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K1DBO

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Hi Tim,

Thanks for the suggestion.  The next version will be the topic of a new post.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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:-D
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Chris DL5NAM

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Disadvantage is then: i have to check daily if a new version (new thread) exit.

Still i follow automatically - every new entree gives me a message 
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Dan -- KC4GO

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Write a mail rule to put all the Slice Master in the message to a separate folder. 
I do this for for topics I'm interested in and some of the  the trolls 
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Chris DL5NAM

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I using CHROME and have now add the plugin "Page Monitor" [http://visualping.io/] and watch now GitHUB page of Don

Chris
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K1DBO

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Slice Master 6000 v0.9.18 is now available at https://github.com/K1DBO/slice-master-6000 and, as promised, a new thread was started.
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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With version .18 I get a badly mangled launch screen on my PC with OS Windows 7 64bit HE.(see attached screenshot). Version .17 was ok.

When I started version .19 on my Windows 10 notebook, it also was ok.
Seems to be a Windows 7 problem ?

(Edited)
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Chris DL5NAM

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Font or screen size problem!
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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I did not have that problem up to version .17and I have never seen this with any
of the other programs. Furthermore this problem concerns only the "launch" tab,
not the other ones in .18
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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The bad rendering is one thing, but having just a "D" slice shows an earlier problem. There's probably an error message hiding in the status line that will offer a clue. If you could pack up all the log and config files from C:\Users\\AppData\Local\K1DBO\slice-master (leave out CwSkimmer.*) into a .zip and email it to me, it would help me identify the issue.
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Rich McCabe

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Don,  I have same issue. 

You have my email if you want to work through this.

Rich
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Don, I've sent the requested file.
Hope it helps :-) Vy 73, Alex - DH2ID