SmartSDR v1.2.1 available on time and exceeding promised feature set – again!

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  • Announcement
  • Updated 5 years ago
  • (Edited)
FlexRadio Systems is pleased to announce the availability of SmartSDR v1.2.1 as the SmartSDR v1.2 Roadmap release.  SmartSDR v1.2.1 for both the FLEX-6500 and FLEX-6700 contains a wealth of new features - and for the second time in a row there are a number features which are over and above those promised in the develpment roadmap for release v1.2.  

In the installation package are the release notes which have important information about the features and caveats that are important to know.  Please read the release notes as there are several important notices with v1.2.1.  Our team has worked hard to provide not only the features promised with v1.2, but many new features that we feel will enhance your operation and provide more fun for your operation.  Here's a partial list of the new features we are releasing with SmartSDR v1.2.1:

High Resolution Waterfall/Panafall display with Waterfall Memory: In addition to the promised high resolution Waterfall display, we accelerated the delivery of the Panafall display and included it in this release. There are five (5) unique features of the SmartSDR Waterfall that we think you will find enticing.

Variable Precision -- the waterfall adjusts both the sampling rate and the bin size to suit the current zoom level in the spectrum display to provide a constant look and feel at different zoom levels.  This allows for one spectrum display to be zoomed out for a wide view and another one zoomed in to the highest resolution, both operating independently.

Waterfall Memory -- allows you to freeze the waterfall at any point and scroll back in time to see what has happened in the past. As you switch between Waterfall Memory and the live display, legends on the display show you how far back in time you are looking, either relative time for the live mode or absolute UTC time for the time machine mode.

Optimized Network Bandwidth -- the waterfall consumes a fraction of the network bandwidth as compared to other waterfall implementations. This sets the field for full networking where you may not always have gigabit speeds at your disposal.

Fully Synchronized Panafall -- The waterfall shifts as you tune or zoom to stay lined up with your current panadapter settings. Whenever possible it also buffers data to either side of your current display so that as you tune beyond what you can currently see, you have waterfall data already waiting for you.

Advanced Gain and Black Level Controls -- The gain and black level controls affect the history of the waterfall as well as new data. This allows changes to be made after you have displayed data and have the data re-rendered with the new settings. So if you see a signal in the noise and you want to give it some more detail, you can adjust the waterfall until the signal sticks out of the noise.  Also there is a feature that automatically adjusts the black level based on the noise floor and display zoom factor so manual tweaking of the waterfall colors is not required on band changes.

Simple Mode FlexControl: The FlexControl dialog, similar to what we have in PowerSDRTM, allows for setting up the FlexControl with more detail to match your operating style. Buttons may be set to control specific settings in the radio as can the knob.  For most operators this allows plenty of flexibility.

Synchronous AM (SAM): With v1.2.1 we are adding synchronous AM detection. With this mode, we lock to the AM carrier and then demodulate both sidebands. This provides much greater immunity to selective fading of the AM signal, giving up to a 3dB SNR improvement. It also uses the carrier to tune the AM signal automatically so that when you are in a group with everyone off of the correct frequency by a few Hz, synchronous AM will automatically tune in each signal as they transmit.

Tracking Notch FilterTM (TNF): The TNF feature which is very similar to the one originally implemented in PowerSDR allows you to place an RF notch filter on a frequency that will remain on that frequency independent of the dial setting of your radio. With a typical notch in an amateur rig, you must readjust the notched audio frequency each time you tune. But with TNF, if you move off frequency and come back, the notch remains. This allows for the removal of local birdies or other interfering signals in a more permanent fashion. One other advantage is that the offending signal is removed before the AGC to prevent AGC pumping of strong intermittent carriers.

Quick Record/Playback: We looked over the typical uses for quick record/playback and realized that we could implement the most common and easiest case and have it available in the v1.2 release. What we've implemented so far allows you to record a receiver off the air and then play that back locally or play it back over the air to someone else. When recording, we record both sides of the conversation in the case where you are alternating between receive and transmit.

Downward Expander Control: We also moved the ability to control the downward expander from v1.4 into v1.2. The downward expander has the effect of increasing your mic dynamic range when adjusted correctly and allows less gain to be applied to background noise that may be picked up in a room while applying more gain to desired signals such as your voice.

New Speech Processor/Limiter: We were approached by David Hershberger, W9GR, about a new speech processor/limiter concept he was working on that  increases SSB envelope power by 2.5dB. We were very impressed with the performance claims and decided we wanted to give it a try. We coded up the algorithm and did a series of tests and the performance was so amazing we decided to replace the existing compressor with it.  The new speech processor is enabled with the PROC button and has settings of "NOR" for normal, "DX" and "DX+" for more aggressive applications that further assist in producing higher output power with the same speech waveform.

There are many more features packed in this version of SmartSDR. The release notes that accompany the software will give you all the details on what we've added and fixed since the last release.

The SmartSDR Software Users Guide v1.2.1 is also available for download from the FlexRadio web site downloads page. It contains the latest updates for SmartSDR v1.2.1.

This version of SmartSDR for Windows contains an updated version of SmartSDR CAT (v1.2.8) which will need to be installed after SmartSDR v1.2.1 has been installed.

There are several sub-procedures described below that are outlined in greater detail in the SmartSDR v1.2.1 Release Notes. Make sure you review the Release Notes before updating the FLEX-6000 radio software and SmartSDR CAT. 

Upgrading SmartSDR for Windows 
  1.  Shut down SmartSDR for Windows if running.
  2.  If SmartSDR CAT is running, close it too
  3.  Power cycle the FLEX-6000 by pressing the front panel power button, waiting several seconds and then pressing it again to reboot the radio. Wait until the radio has finished booting before continuing. 
  4. Run the SmartSDR v1.2.1 Installer (see bottom of post for link)
  5. At the end of the installation process, display the release notes (A PDF reader is required) and run SmartSDR for Windows. 
  6. You should see your FLEX-6000 in the chooser indicating that an upgrade is required. If you have never done a FLEX-6000 software upgrade, you may what to review the FLEX-6000 Upgrade procedure on page 8 in the Release Notes which can be also found in the Windows Start Menu -> FlexRadio Systems -> SmartSDR v1.2.1 -> Release Notes folder.
  7. After the FLEX-6000 software has upgraded, you should see the radio in the SmartSDR Radio Chooser indicating it is "Available". If after 5 minutes or so and you do not see the radio become "Available" (the yellow Update bar will have completely traversed to the right hand side), power off the radio using the Power button and power it back on. 
  8. You can now run SmartSDR v1.2.1

Upgrading SmartSDR CAT
  1. If SmartSDR for Windows is running, shut it down now. 
  2. Follow the procedure "Uninstalling SmartSDR CAT" starting on page 10 in the SmartSDR v1.2.1 Release Notes. Make sure to reboot the PC when done (this is very important). 
  3. Follow the procedure "Installing SmartSDR CAT" starting on page 11 in the SmartSDR v1.2.1 Release Notes. 
  4. Start SmartSDR CAT by selecting the SmartSDR CAT program from the Windows Start Menu -> FlexRadio Systems program folder 
  5. If needed, configure the virtual com ports as per the SmartSDR CAT documentation 

Release Specific Information
Please review the Known Issues, Caveats and Limitations section in the SmartSDR for Windows Release Notes on page 5 for a comprehensive listing of release specific information regarding the operation of your FLEX-6000 Signature Series SDR. 

Where to Download SmartSDR v1.2.1
SmartSDR v1.2.1 is a smaller download that previous versions. It is approximately 45 MB in size. You can download SmartSDR for Windows from: 

Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Posted 5 years ago

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Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

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Thanks, and so it begins!
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Can't wait to roll out the bits and give 'e am whirl.
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Ted, NX6C

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Ok, downloading the newest radio software as I type.

I am closing down:
SDR with 8 pan adapters showing me 8 bands so I can visually follow my propagation.

4 slices feeding the digital programs
1 slice following the local 40m afternoon crowd.
3 instances of FLDIGI, following PSK-31, Olivia, and RTTY on 20 meters.
WSJT-X following JT65 and JT9 on 20 meters, a learning process.
DAX control panel 
COM port control panel
Yep, I'm am really enjoying this radio.

Thank you Tim and the FRS team!


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