Who is responsible for FreeDV Waveform?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I am having good success with FreeDV on my '6500.  You plug it in and it runs.  I understand it's unsupported software, but it would be useful to know more about how best to use this mode.  In particular what are the differences between the Flex FDV mode and FreeDV that you can run in your PC?  What version of FreeDV is implemented?
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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Posted 4 years ago

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N4FP

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The FreeDV Waveform Installer add the FreeDV mode to FLEX-6000 Signature Series SDRs - FreeDV is a free, open source, digital voice communications system for HF amateur radio, which uses the CODEC2 low bit rate VOCODER (Voice Coder Decoder) developed by David Rowe, VK5DGR.

NOTE: This version is EXPERIMENTAL code and should be used with caution.  If you experience crashes, simply uninstall it using the Waveform manager in SmartSDR.

More info here:  http://freedv.org/tiki-index.php?page=FreeDV+Specification

Wayne Brown, N4FP

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Martin Ewing AA6E

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I should have been clearer.  I know about freedv.org, but the software appearing in SSDR is a particular packaging of freedv.  It does not seem to implement all the features of the PC client.  For example, it does not show the receive bit error rate.  I would like to know what version of freedv is being used, and how it could be accessed via an external API.  Apparently, the FDV PC client that runs with the SSDR Waveform uses such an API to get the received text data.  Maybe the BER is available the same way? 

Being "experimental" is fine; I suppose FRS does not want to commit lots of manpower now.  But this code seems to be a good beta version and deserves at least some documentation.  It's a really neat capability that brings even more glory to the Flex 6000 platform!
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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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Official Response
We grabbed the then most recent version of  CODEC2 and FreeDV from the website and implemented the code we saw at the time.  FreeDV is more of a full-featured client that draws a waterfall, etc. and we did not repeat all this with another external client.  The CODEC2 team has volunteered to keep the software up to date moving forward, but we have not met with them yet to hand this off.  It will involve the release of the full waveform SDK with a VM which we just haven't finished yet (we're hard at work on v1.5).  

Because everything is open source, anyone could take what we've done and upgrade it to use the newer waveform in addition to the one we have or expand it and serve up multiple modes.  We'd help someone with the skills and desires to do this, but we've just not had the time to do it here yet.

The BER is likely in the code we have and we've just not exposed it.  I think we originally added a bar graph to the client and I'm not sure we are sending out the BER though.
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John

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Tonight I loaded up FreeDV and talked to a few guys on 20m (I've have used it before with my TS-590).  Works fine on the Flex-6700, but they said that I was not running the codec with the latest improvements.  I followed the thread here, but wonder whatever happened to the promised support?  And, if they provided the latest codec, would Flex do whatever they need to do to make it Flex-ready?  I would like to see an update.
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KG9DW

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Hi John - I recently purchased a 6500 and I also tried the FreeDV waveform. I did have success on 20m, after switching to a USB headset from the hand mic. After chatting for a bit, I also heard talk of the other codecs. I ended up downloading the FreeDV client and using DAX to pipe it into the radio. It worked ok, but it wasn't the earth shattering improvement that was spoken of. Anyway, there is "support" for all of the codecs through DAX. And as Steve said above, it is open source so anyone could hack away at making a new waveform for SmartSDR. 
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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Steve - Thanks for the clarifications.  There is indeed a bar graph shown in FDV, but it's not labelled and it doesn't seem to measure anything. (It doesn't change.)  I look forward to seeing the waveform SDK. 

This is wonderful stuff, promising lots of new modes -- PSK31, RTTY, JT65 ...?  And, just personally, it's more interesting than remote Internet operation. :-)
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Burt Fisher

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Stupid question what is involved to have it work on the 6300?
Need to use sound card?
Cables?
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Bob Wright, N7ZO

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Burt, Complete instructions are in the current software manual starting on page 107.
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Burt Fisher

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Great, I got it now, thanks
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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No cables, No Sound Card

Just download the waveform, load it into SSDR and away you go
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Burt Fisher

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I got an error, no FREEDV slice, how do I load it in?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Did you download the Free DV installer from Flex?

http://www.flexradio.com/downloads/freedv_waveform_installer-msi/

Then run the MSI and load the waveform
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Burt Fisher

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Great help when I listen to it on another receiver the "buzz" does not seem to change when I speak? I also read I would see  16 sub carriers. I seem to need to reload the waveform each time I bring up SMARTSDR?
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James Whiteway

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It should become another mode selection. No reloading required.
James
WD5GWY
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Burt Fisher

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I can load it but where does the receive audio come out, the FDV application? What is text line for in the FDV application?
(Edited)
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James Whiteway

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Receive audio is same as with other modes, thru your speakers. It is controlled thru SSDR. You won't see or need anything different than normal.
All the FDV install does is add the digital mode to the list of modes in SSDR. Other features in FDV are not setup in SSDR as far as I know.
James
WD5GWY
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Burt Fisher

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That is helpful, what about transmitting? I don't hear any change when I speak into the mike or see any change in the panadapter
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James Whiteway

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As far as I know Bert, you shouldn't see any difference. It should just work. Have you made any contacts yet? That would tell you if it's working right or not. Using another radio to receive your signal won't help unless it is setup for FDV.
James
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P

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When transmitting, you should see the multiple carriers on your panadapter and you should register power output on the power meter.  You will not see any variations in the transmitted waveform because your voice is digitized and spread across the multiple carriers in ones & zeros.  But you should see power output.

Be sure you have FDV selected in the mode selector, and when tuning, center the "group" of carriers in the filter stripe.  For initial tests, look for the tale-tale pattern at 14.236 and tune right there.  You need about S5-S7 signals to get reliable decode with the current implementation.  At least I have needed that much signal to decode.

On transmit, you might want to set up a special transmit profile that rolls off additional lows from your signal -- more than your standard SSB Rag chew profile, perhaps not as much as a "super-crunch" DX/weak signal profile.  I have found that too much bass tends to mush-up the transmitted signal and produce harmonic artifacts that add to the "Mister Roboto" effect. 

Good luck. 

FDV is an interesting mode that has potential for great improvement.  Until they come up with versions that allow for 1) better fidelity, and 2) better weak-signal decoding, perhaps with automatic switching between the two, it may remain an interesting experiment to play with.  But we are very early in the game.  I look forward to additional releases as the mode matures.

Ken - NM9P
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Burt Fisher

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I did make one contact but the other station said he only copied about 25%. How do I adjust the mike level? I see none of these multiple carriers on either my or the other stations signal. What is the deal with the QSO finder? I see several stations there but they say nothing either there or on the air?
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Burt Fisher

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It seems to work fine now. Is the processor and equalizer disabled in this mode?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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No but PROC should be turned off.
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N5LB - Lionel B

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I have used it on my 6300 and it works fine, there isn't much activity, and I found the codec very susceptible to QRN and QRM.   Signal strength needs to be high for reliable use, in my opinion.