SmartSDR and CW Skimmer frequencies not in sync

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Running latest versions of SmartSDR and SDR Bridge, the radio does not follow clicks on the skimmer , Any suggestions? 
Andy K3UK
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Andrew O'Brien

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Posted 2 years ago

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Andrew O'Brien

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Official Response
Solved , I had IQ fed to wrong slices , duh!
Andy.
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Rich McCabe

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Haha,  feel your pain. I thought 12 meters was rolling yesterday with DX. I was calling them on 12 meters to find out my DAX was connected to 17 meter slice B.

Did not make a single contact :(

Rich
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Andrew O'Brien

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BUT... now that the radio and skimmer follow each other,  what I hear via the 6300's speaker is NOT what I am seeing in the slimmer.  The stations decoded in the skimmer are reported by skimmer to remember at a frequency that is about 13 khz different than the frequency reported in the RBN!  

Also.  When using SDR Bridge if I change bands, the "stream" does not change.  Example if I am on 40M and change bands via SmartSDR to 20M...  the stream,listed in the SDR Bridge remains on 40M.  

CW Skimmer as a stand alone always works well , but I have never had it working reliably with the SDR Bridge and SmartSDR.  

Andy K3UK
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K1UO - Larry

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Andy,  I have Skimmer working fine and follows all Band changes and mouse clicks on Skimmer spots perfectly with my 6700 and latest version of SDR Bridge.  However,  until I started opening up things here in the proper sequence, I had all sorts of problems.   What "always" works for me is have the radio on and running SSDR first, then I ensure DAX is running (DAX can be running before the radio is turned on)  and only then I fire up SDR Bridge.  (Do not manually open Skimmer)  Let the SDR Bridge program bring up Skimmer automatically.    Normally, for DXing, I just skim at 48K Bandwidth window (unless I want to skim during a contest).   I have the latest versions of Skimmer and SDR Bridge loaded on the PC and I do not deviate from the suggested storage folders during downloads.   Insure that Skimmer settings and DAX settings are ok  (NN4ZZ has a nice set up tutorial for SDR Bridge and Skimmer he maintains on his Website) and you should be operational without any problems.
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Frank Kirschner

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Larry,

I'm not able to get CW Skimmer working. I tried following NN4ZZ's tutorial, but the responses I got on the screen were different from those in the tutorial. For example, the Telnet tab in SDR Bridge is grayed-out. I have a feeling I'm close, but don't know what to try next. Any ideas?

Thanks.

73,
Frank
KF6E
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k0eoo

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Here's the link to the page Larry mentioned

http://www.nn4zz.com/Data/NN4ZZ%20CwSkimmer%20Bridge%20setup%207-Jun-2017.pdf

Dennis, k0eoo
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Ed W2MKM

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Gents, about 3 hours into getting CW Skimmer 2.0 and SmartSDR v2.1.132 on my new 6400 and  going ok EXCEPT the frequencies are out "not in sycn" for me either .. J

Just going basic installation right now .. no SDR bridge .. that will come for SO2V/SO2R ... config ...

SmartSDR Slice 1 DAXIQ set to Channel 1
DAX control panel IQ Stream 1 enabled and working

CAT is working
Receive and Waterfall working

But the point and click on the CW Skimmer moves me off of the Rx frequency in SmartSDR .. or vice versa when I am tuned in on the SmartSDR receive frequency .. the CW Skimmer signal show about 1000 Hz  above where I am listening .. maddening ..

Shut down CW Skimmer, SmartSDR, rebooted .. as advised .. no joy ..

I love .. ahem these SmartSDR puzzles .. but need help to move forward ..

Some screen shots for reference

Thanks

Ed - W2MKM






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K1DBO

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Here's my shameless plug... give Slice Master 6000 a try. It will configure CW Skimmer for you and automatically launch it when you switch to CW mode.. ...and if it doesn't, I'll double your money back.
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Andrew O'Brien

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There is no "shame" in plugging Slice Master!
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Ed W2MKM

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Appreciate the plugs gents .. and will like likely adopt that tool along with others .. though I need to understand the underpinnings so I can self serve when I have to .. but I'm all about saving time using tools ..

To that end .. still looking for guidance on resolving the problem of synchronization manually .. seems that others have been successful ..

Please let me know what other details might be helpful in debugging .. I will provide later today when I get back to the shack.

Ed

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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ed,
It is my understanding that trying to use CW Skimmer without either SDR-Bridge or Slice Master will have the synch problems.   Here is an older post where FRS (Tim E.) referenced the issues and also suggested that the Omnirig / CAT method is not recommended.

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/cw-skimmer-sdr-bridge-setup


On a related note, maybe someday SSDR will directly support CW Skimmer by integrating the display.  Here is a link to that request for reference.   If you are interested in this feature, you can add your VOTE and comments to the thread.

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

Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 & SSDR-W  V 2.1.30
Win10
(Edited)
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K1DBO

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Hi Ed,

The only way CW Skimmer can communicate with the flex, without the use of a third party program, is through a SmartSDR CAT connection and a 3kHz sound card provided by DAX.  Here's how to do it.


1) In SmartSDR, create a slice and enable a DAX audio channel on it (not a DAX IQ channel on the panafall).

2) In DAX, make sure that channel is enabled (the red "meter" should be bouncing). 

3) In SmartSDR CAT, create a CAT port for the slice. 

4) Start up CW Skimmer and select it's setting dialog. Set the "Hardware type" to "3kHz radio" and the "Signal I/O" device to "DAX Audio RX <X>" where <X> is the DAX audio channel you selected for the slice. 

5) In CW Skimmer's setup dialog, select the CAT tab, pick a "rig" and choose "Smart SDR" and the COM port you created in SmartSDR CAT.

6) in CW Skimmer's main window put the "Start/Stop" button in the Start position.

You should now see a signal moving through CW Skimmer's waterfall and everything should be in sync.

--Don
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Ed W2MKM

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Al / Don,

Thanks much for the replies ... I appreciate it ...

Realizing now that being successful on my Flex-5000A with CWS doesn't translate directly to success on the 6k series given the new architecture and design.

Seeing Tim's comments as well tipping me over to the fact that I need SDR-Bridge, though I still need to know what's going on in that tool that is remedying the disconnects between SmartSDR and CW Skimmer 2.0 .. the new and improved version ...

Let me start with SDR-Bridge and see if that does the trick .. sounds like there is consensus around that point???

Ed

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K1DBO

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Ed,

It's not so much that SDR-Bridge or Slice Master is remedying the disconnects as it is that they are making the connection to begin with.  CW Skimmer can decode an IQ stream.  DAX is able to get that IQ stream from the Flex and present it to CW Skimmer in a form it's willing to accept. This takes the shape of an IQ audio device.  But, decoding the IQ stream is only half the problem. 

The other half of the problem is controlling the radio.  Normally, this is done with a COM port configured to support some variation of a CAT protocol.  But, CW Skimmer doesnt support the combination of an IQ Audio device together with a CAT enabled COM port.

Instead, when set to the 'Softrock' radio type, CW Skimmer expects to control the radio via commands embedded into it's telnet cluster server.  CW Skimmer's help has a section on the telnet protocol and goes into some of the details about the protocol extensions.  

Slice Master and SDR-Bridge connect to CW Skimmer's telnet server and listen there for requests to change frequency.  The same connection is also used to inform CW Skimmer of changes to frequency both of the slice and of the panadapter from which the IQ data is being pulled.

--Don
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Ed W2MKM

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Don,

Thanks much for the description above .. that is new information for me ... as you might have seen above .. I was config'ing CWS as a SoftRock-IF radio type (what I did on my Flex-5000A) and using CAT .. and it sort of worked ... CW got decoded .. CAT worked ... but the two were NOT in synch .. hence this thread and seemingly the advent of Slice Master and SDR-Bridge .. (by the way that combo worked fine on the 5000A)

These seem to be addressing the issue you describe above that in order to achieve IQ Audio and CAT synch .. that must be done via config'ing CWS as SoftRock radio type which then requires CAT through the embedded CWS telnet cluster server ..

Am I getting on track here?

Ed

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K1DBO

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Ed, 

Yes, you are right on track.  So unless you are willing to write your own code to make the CAT connection, there really is no way to do it manually.  You're pretty much stuck using a third party application to make the connection... and I dont see that as a bad thing.  There's a lot of great software out there.

SDR-Bridge is tried and true.  Most of the discussions you'll see here that mention CW Skimmer will also talk about SDR-Bridge.  And, most of those discussions talk about how to configure CW Skimmer and the Flex to work together with SDR-Bridge. 

There are a lot of moving parts.  SmartSDR has to have a DAX IQ channel assigned to the panafall that holds the slice you'd like to connect to CW Skimmer, the DAX IQ channel needs to be enabled and set to the correct rate, CW Skimmer has to be configured to use that DAX IQ device, and the telnet server port must also be set.  If you get everything to line up, and with some luck, it works great.  

Why is luck needed, you might ask?  Who knows, but sometimes DAX just doesnt work and needs to be restarted.  Sometimes the drivers are corrupted and need to be re-installed.  Sometimes the radio doesnt send the IQ stream to DAX.  Sometimes, a leftover CW Skimmer process is hanging about holding a lock on a needed resource. CW Skimmer wasnt designed to run more than one instance at a time so there are other complications associated with that.  Combine these issues with all the possible incorrect configurations and you've got a lot of forum threads to read. 

Slice Master 6000 is the new kid in town, so you wont see many discussions referring to it. I started the project a couple of months ago to help address the CW Skimmer configuration issues.  For the most part, it does all of the configuration for you based on the current operating conditions.  If it detects a problem with the configuration that it cant fix, it usually offers up a helpful message.  It also adds some interesting features for integrating other third party applications with the flex. But, you can read about all that in the Slice Master discussions if you're interested.

--Don
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Ed W2MKM

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Don, a belated Thank You for the details, I appreciate it .. it's been a crazy couple of days here in NW NJ with the recent winter storm that came through .. 12"+ of snow, 22 hours on whole house generator and the cleanup that comes with it .. and hosting some neighbors who don't have a generator .. i'm going to attempt SDR-Bridge tonight but would also be interested in Slice Master 6k.

I'll be sure to let you know how I make out here.

Ed
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K1DBO

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You're welcome Ed.  I hope you recover quickly from the storm.  Here in Boston it wasnt so bad but the storm did take out my antenna.  How 6" of snow can cling to a single 12guage wire is beyond my capacity.  Turns out it was also beyond the capacity of one of the Jackite poles holding up the wire!

Note that a new version of Slice Master just hit the streets.  In addition to CW Simmer and others, it now supports WSJT-X.
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Ed W2MKM

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Mission accomplished .. SDR-Bridge got it going and also thanks to NN4ZZ for his tutorial ... I've got my 5000A now dedicated for FT8 and WSJT-X and the 6400 for CW and SSB .. though I don't do much SSB .. I'll take a look at Slice Master esp since I'm not wed to any program at this time for integrating CWS and SmartSDR

Thanks again

Ed
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Ed W2MKM

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Gents, thought I cracked the code but SDR-Bridge and CWS no longer communicating frequency info.  Win10 helped itself to an update this evening and seemingly after that no dice.

3 hours into following NN4ZZ documentation and shutdowns, restarts and back to where I started surprisingly.

Re-initialized the SDR-Bridge IQ.ini files per NN4ZZ .. getting protection errors and having to shutdown CWS from TaskMgr ..

Does CW Skimmer 2.0 get corrupted?  I am running as an Admistrator so don't know that's the issue. 

Calling it a night, all suggestions welcome.

Ed W2MKM
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K1DBO

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Ed,

Can you be more specific about "no longer communicating"?  Are you saying that the CW Skimmer frequency display doesn't show the slice frequency?  What does it show?  Are you saying that clicking in the CW Skimmer window doent cause to slice to change frequency?  Or, are you talking about the IQ data not showing in CW Skimmer's waterfall? ...or all three?

The first two would be a symptom of the telnet connection not working.  Either it's not configured properly or your windows update reset the firewall settings that allow the telnet connection between SDR-Bridge and CW Skimmer to function.  Any error messages from either?  The third, points to DAX, DAX settings in SmartSDR or the signal device setting in CW Skimmer.

"Protection errors"... if you are talking about a pop up dialog from CW Skimmer, they are usually caused by multiple CW Skimmer instances getting in the way of each other.  Sometimes this is because one is left running windowless and needs to be killed with the task manager.  A reboot of your computer is a sure way to clear up the windowless instances.

There's no reason for CW Skimmer to get corrupted.  

Note also that there is a difference between being an administrator and using the "Run as Administrator" option when starting a program.  The former is fine, the later is often a mistake unless it's known to be required.  The program's author will usually state the need.  I dont believe either SDR-Bridge or CW Skimmer make such a statement.

Good Luck!

--Don
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ed,
Maybe the Win10 update affected your DAX drivers or the Windows audio "playback" assignments.  I've heard that has happened to some although I haven't experienced it.  There are posts here on the forum about that problem. 

A snapshot of the protection errors you are getting might give a clue in case someone has seen it before.

And you might also email Ed / W2RF who is the SDR-Bridge author for assistance if all else fails.

Good luck...keep us posted on what you find. 

Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 & SSDR-W  V 2.1.30
Win10
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Ed W2MKM

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Thanks Don/Al,

Don, my issue is related to CWS not displaying the frequency of the slice anymore ... I see a (-24.0) in the frequency display ... I am decoding signals and pretty confident that the DaxIQ channel is set up properly.

So you hypothesis about the Telnet server in CWS is probably right on since I don't recall EVER config'ing that after I installed SDR-Bridge .. I reread your earlier post last night looking for what I may have missed and that was my hypothesis and glad you are also pointing that out.

Where can I find the details on config'ing CWS Telnet ... I ended up futzing what that just before I quit .. I checked the box .. put in port 7310 which was same as displayed in the SDR-Bridge Settings screen for Slice 1.. but no joy.

Also your hypothesis about 2 instances of CWS running might be right on as I do have the "Skim" box checked in SDR-Bridge and I guess it is launching an instance of CWS and maybe I grew impatient in waiting for it to launch and then started another instance.

So I guess my next move is to properly config the CWS Telnet settings .. (what to do here?) I will see the SDR-Bridge doc .. Al I don't know that you had details here in your doc .. or I didn't read ...

And related to SDR-Bridge auto launching CWS, maybe I should uncheck "Skim" for and launch CWS on my own?  At least until I get this working.

Appreciate you guys hanging in there with me on sorting this

Ed W2MKM

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K1DBO

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Ed,

If your configuration looks correct... CW Skimmer has it's telnet server enabled as shown in the SDR-Bridge docs, and SDR-Bridge is set to connect to that telnet port.  The only other problem would be related to your windows firewall.  Walking you through those changes isnt too hard, but for testing purposes, just disable it and see if things work (dont forget to re-enable after the test)

Or, give Slice Master a try...  It really does cover all of this.  If there is a firewall issue, it will give you an error messages about the telnet connection failing.

--Don
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Ed W2MKM

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Don, One thing that I didn't ask is if I have to have Skimmer Server installed and running to compliment the telnet server in CWS?  I don't at this point, is it needed for basic operation of SDR-Bridge and CWS?
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K1DBO

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Ed,

CW Skimmer Server is a completely different product from the same author as CW Skimmer.  It's like CW Skimmer in that it decodes CW but it doesnt have a user interface aside from a configuration dialog.  It runs in the background and watches the IQ data from the flex.  Your logging program's telnet client can connect to it's telnet server to get the decoded spots.

--Don
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Ed W2MKM

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Don/Al, here is one of the Access Violation errors I received when starting up CWSkimmer .. though not after a fresh reboot ..

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Rich McCabe

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That is a common CWS error. 

May I suggest anytime you are having CWS issues keep Task manager running with the details tab open and watch for Cwskimmer instances.  Sometimes you need to manually like them so you can restart another. You will typically find two for each slice Instance.

I have not seen the access violation issue much lately with Dons recent SliceMaster releases.

Rich
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Ed W2MKM

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 Thanks Rich ... I have been monitoring TaskMgr for multiple instances of CWS and will continue to do so .. though when I have the violation above .. I only saw one instance running each in the Apps Category and again in the Background Processes Category ... however the reboot has cured for now.

I'm now trying to get back to the point where I was where I had the frequencies synching between Flex-6400, Smart-SDR and CWS 2.0 ... I had it going for a bit .. then did the Win10 Update ..

Now I'm wondering if I'm missing another prerequisite for CWS 2.0 to work in this chain and that is do I need CW Skimmer Server running to support the comms between the SDR-Bridge and CWS?
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ed,
Here is something from the troubleshooting pages that sounds similar.  Might be worth a try.

Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 & SSDR-W  V 2.1.30
Win10

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Ed W2MKM

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Thanks Al, I did confirm that I have only 1 account on my Win10 machine and that has Administrator privileges .. I think I may have been running multiple instances of CWS unwittingly .. because I had SDR-Bridge Skim box checked which ostensibly starts CWS after it gets going .. and I grew impatient and started another instance cuz it takes a few seconds to get up and running .. not certain of this yet though ..
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Ed W2MKM

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Ok, did a shutdown and restart of the Win10 machine and brought up SDR-Bridge separately (Skim box unchecked .. presumably no CWS autostart) .. seems to be working fine in showing proper frequency synch with the SmartSDR, then brought up CS Skimmwer 2.0 .. decoding fine, but still showing some nonsense frequency (29.65)

Here's a screenshot evidencing decoding and showing the nonsense frequency .. and CWS 2.0 Network Settings screenshot


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K1DBO

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Unless you know for sure otherwise, you probably dont need the 'Send spectrum via UDP' box checked.  There are some programs, like N1MM Logger+, that use the data to provide a spectrum display with spots overlaid.  Using the same in port in multiple instances *could* lead to startup issues.  But, I havent tested the permutations so I cant be certain.
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Ed W2MKM

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Ok .. you won't believe this but ... I mysteriously or maybe not so much .. got it going again and here's how;

For some reason I unchecked the Skim Box in the Bridge Tab (synch window) of SDR-Bridge as I was of the belief that that is what was launching CWS and possibly creating multiple instances of CWS

I have since been attempting to get CWS frequency synch working WITHOUT the Skim Box checked, despite other items seemingly config'ed appropriately

I was rereading the SDR-Bridge install page and realized it's probably important for me to have that Skim Box checked ...

I did that and SDR-Bridge gave me a busy spiral thingy and I just waited .. and boom .. up pops another instance of CWS with the Flex-6400 frequency or close to it populated ... now i have two instances of CWS working .. one with the correct (almost) frequency 7034.20 and the other with the nonsense frequency of 29.6 ...

I click on the instance of CWS with the nonsense frequency of 29.6 and boom .. the Flex-6400 qsys to 29.6 ... ah .. progress .. I now change bands to 40M and boom .. the Flex-6400 and CWS are now in synch

I then close the new window (I think that's the one I closed .. though not completely sure) and viola... I'm back in business ..

Seems that SDR-Bridge was comm'ing to some shadow/ghost instance (nothing running in TaskMgr) of CWS that was grabbing the channel or however SDR-Bridge comms with CWS and the 6400 ...

I doubt this is the end of this saga .. but now have some insight on how to get back in biz .. it should not be this much of a puzzle though ..

That said this is a new frontier .. we are using the radio as a true server and running client software to access that server ... standards are still developing ..

Any thoughts on the above .. does everybody know this and I'm just payin' dues?  Either way .. Thanks Gents

Stay tuned .. Ed W2MKM