Have some suggestions for the upcoming Contest Focused SmartSDR v1.6
It is pretty apparent there are varying levels of personal ability to perform well in contests, the various contest types require differing resources at the station & operator level and many of us hope to learn to be better contesters.
Could the upcoming v1.6 Contest SmartSDR be configurable with a separate Contesting Profile?
Basically a way to store sets of present for only the contest specific configuration selections in SmartSDR, perhaps ranging from "No Contest" to typical configurations for various modes/contests.
Second suggestion is could those contest modes include a notes field that would display until release when the mode is selected? Idea being is that the particular operator/station's checklist of shack configuration changes to go to a specific contest mode would be displayed until released as a reminder to do the steps the operator had recorded.
I had some further thoughts on how to reflect Maestro presence for contest modes, and ditto with the SO2R Board.
It can't be that it's that big a market. Or IS it? Or is it so Flex can say in their ads "<station-xyz> won <major-contest> using the Flex-6700... so if it's good enough for THAT, it'll be great for your weekly 40M sched."
Really... I'm curious.
ELECRAFT's entir business model focused their K3 boxes around winning contests and their sales refect the fact.
For Flex to be taken seriously they need to win major contests. Until,they do, Flex SDR's will be considered to be a nice experimenters and hobbyists toy but not ready for prime time. Our Contest Station has a number of K3S but only my 6700... My partners let me use it for S&P but are too traditional to let me use such an unproven radio as the major run radios.
If FLex wins some major contests. There is no doubt we will dump the K3 for the BEST radio.
hEnce the contest focus of Flex.
SPOTS INTEGRATED DIRECTLY INTO SPECTRUM DISPLAY
Yes!!! it could be the best improvement in SSDR gui.
I use the small DUO on vacancy and mobile and I think that spots integrated into spectrum display are a great help also in expeditions and field day activities.
Horizontal position is the best pattern, as you can see in this picture.
I hope, also, that Flex one day would consider the idea to open a part of SSDR gui and give opportunity to develop components inside SSDR.
At the moment it doesn't make sense, for me, developing an external program that print the same SSDR spectrum and just adds spots to it.
As with most things, it's not really the technology. The 6000 platform has already shown great ability, and helps folks win contests, work DX, and shoot the breeze on a score of modes and bands.
It's the user experience, the ergonomics and the interface that sets the truly great ideas apart. Optimizing SSDR for enhanced rate and flexibility, by whatever means, will be of great value to a lot of non-contest users, too.
Consider that skills for contesting & DX also play well in public safety communications. Optimized workflows will help all of those operators. A streamlined application will also help visually challenged hams and those that just don't need every function "right there."
UI work would no doubt be a great benefit for version 2.0's introduction of WAN connectivity, too. Faster response, less clutter, more intuitive operation on multiple fronts.
Most of the things hams now take for granted came from the contesting world
Automated logging,, Keyers. Spots. Automatic everything such as rotors, antenna. Switches my etcm etc.
Basically anything you think of that makes your life easier started with contesters so that they could,increase their rates.
Perhaps they needed to include a label "Invented by Contesting" so that you,would not forget where it came from.
BTW. When I don't work as part of the NX6T contest station it's just a lot of fun to win #1 in San Diego ARR L Section where I have to just compete against others in the San Diego DX Club. It can be quite a challenge for me because my location while I usually win Win ASIA Pacific does not favor the East or Europe.
With traditional so2r (two separate radios) I can set unique cw sidetones for each radio (i.e. 500 hz for the left radio and 700 hz for the right ). I found this to be a useful and possibly essential technique especially wrt instantly recognizing which radio information is coming from w/o the need for visual confirmation.
If I open two pan adapters for two separate bands in my 6300, I have found that the same cw sidetone selected in SSDR is applied to each pan adapter with no ability to retain a separate unique sidetone for the other band.
In short , I would like my SS flex to have the ability to select and retain a unique cw sidetone for two separate bands being displayed.
Another nice so2r feature w/o having to go into SSDR menus would be an automatic selection of audio dependent upon operator focus. There are times while employing so2r, it makes more sense to direct all focus on the run frequency ( i.e. high rate of qsos per hour ) vice listening to the separate search and pounce band for multipliers. During these times, it would be nice to have audio from the run freq in both the left and right channel w/o having to change settings in SSDR. Vice versa, if the run freq slows down ( subjective and dependent upon each operator) and I now decide to start searching for multipliers on a different band while continuing to call cq on the run band, I now need audio from one band in one channel and audio from the other band in the other channel. Again this would be nice if I did not have to go into SSDR menu to accomplish this. Perhaps it could be incorporated in both maestro and flex control. If I remember correctly, I can change vfo focus for two separate bands via my flex control. Now if separate audio settings could be retained dependent upon which band has vfo focus then that would be great because it would mirror operator focus.
#2 assistants. These could be spots, others calling out freqs and calls (like we used to do in the old days), etc. N1MM attempts to do much of this for you.
#3 Seemless automation - This also is in N1MM. Once you get it setup you can run an entire contest with very minimal interaction.
Normally I am all for technology and I think the idea of spots labeled by calls probably set in colors so you know instantly if you've worked them or not is very cool indeed, doesn't it take a little out of the spirit of the contest?
I mean with this feature the op is almost becoming useless. I mean why not write an app that connects to a spot looks for all reported calls you have not worked, tunes to the freq, begins to analyze the incoming signals, looks for a break, transmits your call, upon hearing your call back transmits the exchange and moves on to the next one.
I mean you as the op sit back and watch the points rack up! The only time you'd be needed is if the automated routine was stuck and could not decode well enough to work. Then you just lean forward, put your coffee down and press a few buttons and then it continues on automatically.
While this is a very cool idea it seems that it sort of removes the op from the contest and would not labeled spots in the display almost do the same?
Don't get me wrong... If I could do I I would and I'd enjoy it but wonder if the progress we are making is taking the op out of the loop. I mean with a reasonable antenna, amp, and software like I described above I think even I could place very high in a contest since my software would nail every contact I had not made in S&P mode.
Without any doubt still a very skilled op would top me because they can use the one thing software can never provide, the power of the human brain to make intuitive decisions like changing bands or antennas or whatever.
Anyway it would still be fun to see something like this!
73, Barry N1EU