SmartSDR for Windows - requested enhancements

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  • Updated 6 months ago
  • (Edited)
Enhancement 1 - As others have already requested, it would be nice to have the option to toggle to an analog style S-meter similar to the one found on the IC-7610.  This presumably would be fairly trivial to implement.

Enhancement 2 - Eliminate the two stand alone windows of DAX and CAT and merge the same functionality directly into the main window of SmartSDR.  DogparkSDR is an excellent example.  His GUI is highly functional without having to resort to too many stand alone windows.  Being able to access all SmartSDR functionality from a single window would be more efficient, and would also make it more aesthetically pleasing.
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W8QB

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Posted 6 months ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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#2 is probably not going to happen because the modular design of DAX and CAT allow them to run on different PCs and connect to the radio.  I use this feature all the time when running 4 instances of CWSkimmer waterfall with SDR bridge; Bridge and CWSkimmer run on one PC and SmartSDR-Win runs on another because the CPU load of doing everything on 1 PC is just too great.  By integrating it into SSDR, you will not be able to do this since only one instance of SDR-Win (a GUI client) can connect to a radio at a time.
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Bill Hickey

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I have tried to do this SDR/bridge/skimmer and run into problems.  Tim-do you have a Wiki or some instructions?


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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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It is on the SDRBridge web page
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W8QB

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What percentage of your user base uses this level of (relatively complex) functionality?
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K3SF

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Speaking of the s-meter...peak-hold would be a welcomed addition. Where hold only last a few seconds ( or user defined time even better)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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What percentage of your user base uses this level of (relatively complex) functionality?

I would think everyone who uses a Maestro or M model 6400 or 6600 and connects their radio to their computer for digital modes or logging.
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Wayne

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Yep, just like everyone who lives in the middle of the dessert has 24/7 internet. Not!  Wake up America!

However, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few :-)

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Yep, just like everyone who lives in the middle of the dessert has 24/7 internet. Not!  Wake up America!
I'd say that the use case of Maestro or 6400M/6600M with the need for sound card modes or computer logging is fairly common. 
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Yep, just like everyone who lives in the middle of the dessert has 24/7 internet. Not!  Wake up America!
I'd say that the use case of Maestro or 6400M/6600M with the need for sound card modes or computer logging is fairly common. 
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Doug, I would think for most of us we would not need to do what Tim does. But to his point in doing it the way it is made lets users have all kinds of options. I would expect many DX contest stations using Flex and there are more of them all the time, that they use these options a lot.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Doug, I use it. The ability to direct audio and control without running the main client is a powerful tool. DAX and CAT take up very little resources, are normally loaded at startup, and provide good, stable performance.

By the by, I primarily use Dogpark SDR. xDAX and xCAT, by an excellent third party developer, bring greater flexibility and capability to the Mac platform. Like their Windows counterparts, they run discreetly and reliably without the main GUI client.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I gotta throw my 2 cents into this discussion

 I find the current Line Meters - red on black invisible to me albeit it is corrected with alternative colors on SSDR/iOS

There are already several analog meters available.. the best being Woodbox and Denzone

Yes they are not integrated

I prefer the Denzone because it reads out digital numbers which are so much more useful.


PLUS this is the 21st Century...  Who really needs these analog approximations anymore.

I want Large DIGITAL NUMBERS for SWR, POWER and S-METER. 

Better yet.. remove the Analog Meters completely - why copy the clutter of the 7610

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W8QB

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One man's (analog) clutter is another's pleasure...and they are indeed far more visible!
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I agree, but here is the thing Doug. for some time people have been complaining about how visible and easy things are seen on the SSDR software. Most resent is the colors of the meters. So it seems a signal meter if changed should be very easy to see at a glance. This is why clear digital readouts are a better choice. If I look at the meter on the 7610 I see a multi meter with very small increments, something you have to study to see what it says.
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W8QB

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Good points! But in my opinion, a software rendered needle and underlying increments can be discerned at a glance, contingent only on selecting a color scheme that preserves legibility.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I like the PGXL style of meters - and also similar ones like power/SWR meters with bar graphs. An approximate level is good for a quick glance. This is why most speedometers are still analog. 
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Digital is best for accuracy, analog is best for seeing changing patterns. That is why many people like both. 5hey have different functions.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Digital is best for accuracy, analog is best for seeing changing patterns. That is why many people like both. 5hey have different functions.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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By the way. I totally agree that eye candy sells better than actual working features.
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Paul

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The ananlogue vs digital meter debate has been going on since digital meters were first implemented. I find them both to be useful in different scenarios.
Analogue; better when tuning for a peak or dip. Eg. Tuning in an AM station or matching an antenna. The (albeit, slight) delay inherrent in a digital meter makes it harder to discern where the peak or dip happens.

Digital; better in applications where adjusting to a particular level. Eg. Adjusting PA transistor bias current. Also, not prone to parallax error. I avoid the use of "precise level" because digital meters have quantisation error so they're only accurate to +/- 0.5 of the least significant bit.

But it's clearly subjective. I would therefore like to see both available on a user selectable basis. Even though in the context of an s-meter/power meter 'laboratory precision' is superfluous.

Footnote on "eye candy": the 'swoosh' on the front of the the new 6400/6600's is a classic example ;-)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Paul,
Here is a mockup from an idea posted a year ago.  It also recognizes the advantages/preferences of both analog and digital.   And the importance of using colors that provide better visibility.  

Here is a link to the idea:  

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/-dbm-readout-up-all-the-time

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




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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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As long as I can turn off the high contrast colors, have at it. I would really hate for that to be the default, fixed option. 

Meters showing dBm and "S" units are a good idea. I think the top scale is superfluous, however. 
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W8QB

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To clarify, in my view, the dpSDR (Mac) interface is more aesthetically pleasing, intuitive and legible than the Windows alternative.  The same is true of SmartSDR for IOS.  On the Mac, settings not used frequently are neatly tucked away out of sight but can be accessed on demand through the dpSDR settings menu.  Also, and irrespective of the OS, once the equalizer has been configured, most of us seldom need to adjust those settings.  Compare to the SSdr (Windows platform) where equalizer settings take up valuable screen real estate in the form of a dedicated panel.  Why not move equalizer settings to a drop down within the menu bar?  This would free up space that could repurposed for inserting a legible s-meter...a full pane to enhance legibility and accessibility.  The new pane could be toggled--analog or bar graph s-meter--at the user's discretion.  Yes, functionality is the top priority, but functionality needn't be implemented at the expense of aesthetics.  Anyone who's ever used a Mac knows that functionality--and aesthetics--need not be mutually exclusive.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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In my opinion smartsdr for windows is in need of a design overhaul. Customization being the key word. I bought into the Flex idea because the potential to customize and make the radio unique to my operating style and taste.
It is not about what is better which is clearly debatable (as seen in all the post above) but what is flexible to work for many different users.... In summary what I perceive as best for me. The typical legacy radio didn't offer much in customization and smartsdr had the potential.... Unfortunately it has not been realized yet. I support the request even if I personally do not like needles.
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Paul

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Thanks for the link Al. Hopefully they will eventually incorporate something along those lines.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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 DogparkSDR is an excellent example.  His GUI is highly functional without having to resort to too many stand alone windows. 
I thought it was the exact opposite with dpSDR. It has a separate HUD, and pan window. Then you have to use the menus accessible from the top of the mac screen to do some functions. BTW dpSDR doesn't have DAX and CAT built in. These are third party apps which also need loopback or some other program for them to work.
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Don Agro

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Then you have to use the menus accessible from the top of the mac screen to do some functions.
All menu commands are available with a right-click on the panadapter contextual menu - anyone who actually used dogparkSDR would know that.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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HI Don, I have actually use dogparkSDR in trial mode. Thanks for the note, I will try that. 
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Don Agro

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Bill -VA3WTB

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Some people do not understand the philosophy behind Flex radios. Most of the things mentioned are not oversites or un finished work on the SSDR. They are mostly intended, but in saying that I am sure Flex has some things they want to change. The idea of using 3rd party software with the Flex is what is hopped for. There are some wonderful software out there that allows us to do almost anything.

Keep in mind that SSDR is much different than PSDR were PSDR was computer based and all the hard work was done in the computer. Not so on SSDR, it is a light or thin client that runs independent of a computer for processing. So now we are only using the resources with in the the radio it self.

so in deciding what features to address it must need to be understood if we are just talking about a visual thing or will it effect in the radio resources to get it done, and by how much. Very careful planning is needed.

So, take advantage of the feature your radio has in it's ability to use other software to get what you want.
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Rich McCabe

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"The idea of using 3rd party software with the Flex is what is hopped for. There are some wonderful software out there that allows us to do almost anything." 

You have mentioned that a few times before. I personally am surprised/disappointed in the lack of third party support. Not blaming the 3rd party guys or Flex but I was expecting more.

And regarding the comments about Icom's meter. I think they have more work in that meter than most people would expect.  That is a fine piece of work !
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Me too, I wish there were more software as well to work with the Flex.
I think Icom missed the boat on that meter. It is trying to stay with the old meter stile that many hams are used to. But it is not easy to read at a glance, too busy. or from a arm distance away. That is why I always use the Flex Bobs meter, it is large and very clean, and I looks great. If I want that type meter. And I can park it any were on the screen.
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W8QB

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The old style analog meter has vanished.  In its place stands the relatively new option, which is the software simulated analog S-meter...something that is every bit as accurate as a bar graph, does not suffer from parallax like the discontinued mechanical meters, and which can be read at a glance (so long as the color scheme is optimal).  These simulated analog meters appear on some of the most popular radios released over the past five years including the IC-7610, FTDX 3000 (148 reviews, rated 4.7 on Eham)...and for those with around $6k to spare, the SunSDR MB1.  People who shell out thousands of dollars for a transceiver want the freedom to choose the style of meter that best suits their needs, and without having to resort to an orphan window that is not integral to the radio.   
(Edited)
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James Whiteway

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Because SSDR is a "thin client" it can do things like an analog meter without impacting the preformance of the radio. Analog, digital, whatever method of Displaying signal strength, requires no resources in the radio itself that are not already being generated in the radio's internal software.
So, other than the time to write the code for an analog meter,(and debug it) there is no reason it could not be done. If FRS wanted to do it.
James
WD5GWY
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W8QB

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I respect your argument, but some of us prefer the efficiency that comes from accessing functionality through fewer windows, not more windows.
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K5ROX

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Exactly Doug, having to open other windows especially for something as basic as a squelch is just crazy.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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It will likely be this way for some time. In time we will see what Flex wants to do in regards to many of the things discussed here. The way SSDR works well with SSDR apps is something planned. As far as Flex features still to come they will be built in to the SSDR.
(Edited)
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Thomas NE7X

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For the record, I vote YES for an analog style S-meter. 
NE7X...
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K5ROX

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No need to vote..... it could be a choice since its software.
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W8QB

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Agreed: I vote YES to have a choice, analog or digital depending upon personal preference.