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FlexRadio Systems Knowledge Center

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    MiniDeluxe - A lightweight CAT interface for HRD Components

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.X.0
    Applicable Hardware: All FlexRadio Systems SDRs

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    What is MiniDeluxe?
    MiniDeluxe is a light-weight replacement for Ham Radio Deluxe that provides interoperability with FlexRadio's PowerSDR and Ham Radio Deluxe's Logbook and digital mode programs. It is currently a work in progress, but contains all the necessary functionality to connect to HRD Logbook and DM780.


    MiniDeluxe Features
    • Queries PowerSDR for radio information at user-defined intervals.
    • High priority updates include frequency and mode, while low priority updates include display mode, DSP filter, etc.
    • Runs in the background with a notify icon to stay out of the way.
    • Small footprint and low CPU utilization.
    • Provides data to HRD Logbook about frequency changes, mode, AGC, Preamp, Display, Band and DSP.
    • Receives frequency and mode changes from HRD Logbook and forwards them to PowerSDR.
    • Compatible with any virtual serial port repeater, such as Serial Repeater or DDUtil.

    Where to get MiniDeluxe?

    You can downolad MiniDeluxe from the VHF Wiki web site

    MiniDeluxe Download and information


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file.You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    None Referenced



    0 0

    How to Configure Fldigi with PowerSDR

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.X.0
    Applicable Hardware: Any FlexRadio Systems SDR

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    There is a detailed "how to" wiki article authored by Brain, WB6RQN/J79BPL that describes the detailed step-by-step procedure for configuring Fldigi with PowerSDR including the virtual com port configuration needed for CAT control of Fldigi and VAC that is needed to transfer audio to and from PowerSDR and Fldigi.

    Use the following URL to access the Fldigi wiki article, Using Fldigi with PowerSDR


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file.You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    None Referenced



    0 0

    Interfacing a Yaesu MD-100A8X Microphone with a FLEX-3000/1500

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: N/A
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-3000 & FLEX-1500

    Content provided by: Brad, AI0BP

    I have a Yaesu MD-100A8X microphone and was interested in connecting it to my FLEX-1500.

    The mic has a RJ-45 port and an 8-pin Foster jack on the base of the mic. For my [old] configuration, I had a conversion cable that connected the RJ-45 port on the mic to the 8 pin connector on my FT-1000. W0VB and I traced and mapped out this RJ-45 to 8 pin (Yaesu) conversion cable and applied to to the Flex RJ-45 pinouts:

    Purpose 8-PIN Foster (Yaesu)
    RJ-45 (Yaesu) RJ-45 (FLEX)
    UP 1 1 1
    Down 2 2 2
    +5V 2 3 3
    MIC (-) 7 4 4
    MIC (+) 8 5 5
    PTT 6 6 6
    Ground 5 7 7
    Fast 4 8 8


    As expected, the RJ-45 connections are identical. I built a straight through Cat5 cable (I'm a bit rusty - it only took 3 tries. ... but it was worth the laughs with Terry.) After final verification that cabling was correct, I plugged the mic into the FLEX-1500. I didn't spend much time on the up/down switch, but PTT and the mic are working. The audio sounds really good.



    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file.You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    None Referenced



    0 0

    What kind of computer should I buy for a FlexRadio Transceiver?

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.X.0
    Applicable Hardware: Any FlexRadio Systems SDR

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    When buying a computer that will become the other half of a software defined radio system, it is important to understand what characteristics are needed. A software defined radio runs a real-time audio processing application (PowerSDR) and there are numerous factors that effect how well it will run, such as operating system type, system I/O throughput, and internal system latency. All of the factors are interdependent so you can not focus on just one metric such as CPU type; you must consider the whole system.

    First, the "ideal" computer or PC configuration is a very subjective thing to quantify. We are bounded by things like trading cost vs. performance. Also, PowerSDR will operate at a very acceptable performance level on a wide range of computer configurations. There are also other compromises that have to be factored in.

    One of the trade offs is sampling rate. A lesser PC that is not properly running PowerSDR at 96 or 192 KHz (audio drop outs) may work fine at 48 KHz.

    Below are some some guidelines that you want to consider when getting a computer that will be able to run at the highest sampling rate of 192 KHz. Please note that these are only recommendations and not strict hardware endorsements from FlexRadio Systems. Selecting a computer with requirements less than what is suggested is not recommended.

    Rule of Thumb - "Get the highest performance PC you can afford and get one that allows you to upgrade if necessary"

    PC Resource

    Recommended Components
    Comments
    CPU / Processor Type
    Multi core processors from Intel or AMD with a fast front side bus. Hyperthreaded CPUs are acceptable too. Some examples are:
    • Core i7 processors
    • Quad core processors
    • Intel Core 2 Duo
    • AMD Phenom II
    • AMD Athlon 2x
    • Multi-core CPUs are needed for operating at higher sampling rates or when using other third-party software with PowerSDR like digital mode programs
    • Select a CPU with a large (3MB or greater per core) L2 or L3 cache.
    RAM
    (random access memory)

    2-4 GB of high clock rate DDR2 or dual-channel RAM or DDR3 Tri-channel RAM for 32-bit operating systems. 4-8 GB or RAM is recommended for 64-bit operating systems. PowerSDR does not need this much RAM, but the operating system runs faster with the proper amount of RAM and that does effect the operation of PowerSDR.

    Make sure the RAM is qualified by the motherboard manufacturer. All RAM is not the same. For Dual and Tri Channel operation, the RAM chips should be "matched".

    Video cards / Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)

    Min. Resolution:
    1024x768
    Medium high-end graphics engines that use AGP 8x or PCIe x16 bus slots. GPUs that use chipsets from the following companies are known to work well
    • NVIDIA
    • ATI
    • DirectX 9.0c or higher support is required
    • You want to get a graphics card that has very fast (DDR3) memory on board.
    • Multiple digital monitor outputs for connecting multiple monitors is a very useful option
    Firewire Host Controller
    (FHC)

    Needed only for the FLEX-5000 and FLEX-3000
    Most Firewire adapter that uses the Lucent Agere or Texas Instruments (TI) Firewire Host Controller chipsets.
    • If you have an existing FHC, try it before purchasing a bus connected FHC.
    • PCI and PCIe bus connected cards seem to perform better than motherboard integrated FHCs.
    USB Controllers

    Needed only for the FLEX-1500

    USB 1.1 Controller
    The FLEX-1500 has a USB 1.x full speed interface so there are no special USB requirements such as needing a USB2. or 3.z controller.



    CPU type and Speed:
    You used to be able to tell if a CPU was a better performer if it had a higher clock speed. Multi-core processors have changed this tried and true metric. You definitely want to use a multi-core (AMD or Intel) processor since future versions of PowerSDR will be taking advantage of the technology provide by those chips. You also want to get a CPU that has the largest L2 or L3 (or combination of both) on-chip memory cache available, depending on CPU manufacturer.

    Video Graphics Controller:
    PowerSDR currently utilizes only non-hardware accelerated 2-D graphics, but this could change where the display could support OpenGL 3-D rendering. A mid high-end video card that has an NVIDIA or ATI graphics engine (GPU) and has fast graphics memory on the card is recommended. The cards that use the PCI-E x16 slots will provide faster performance over the older AGP based cards. It is also recommended that you get a video card that will allow you to connect two or more monitors to it at one time. Many people are using dual monitors with PowerSDR to allow other programs to easily fit on the screen like logging and digital mode programs.

    RAM:
    PowerSDR does not use a lot of it, but the operating system (Windows) likes to have it available. Get the fastest DDR2/DDR3 RAM your motherboard will support and get at least 1 GB of it for Windows XP; 2 GB is highly recommended. If you are using Windows Vista or Win7, 2 GB is the minimum for 32-bit versions and 4 GB is recommended for 64-bit versions. 32-bit operating systems can only address up to 4 GB of RAM so adding more than 4 GB of RAM to a 32-bit operating system does not provide any benefit.

    FireWire Host Controllers (FLEX-5000 and FLEX-3000 only):
    One of the more critical elements for determining if a computer will run PowerSDR with a FlexRadio Systems Firewire based software defined radio is the throughput achieved from the Firewire host controller. Most computers today come with an integrated Firewire interface. In general, these integrated peripherals are usually not optimized for high throughput data rates. Using an a bus connected Firewire host controller card that is PCI or PCI-E based is recommended for optimum data throughput. For laptops, you want to get an ExpressCard Firewire host controller rather than a PCMCIA if at all possible.

    The second thing to consider are Firewire chipsets. The manufacturer of the FireWire interface used in the FLEX-5000/FLEX-3000 recommends FireWire cards based on the Lucent AGERE chip set. Texas Instruments (TI) has the most compatible chip set across a wide variety of Firewire devices.

    Refer to the following Knowledge Center article Selecting High Performance Firewire Cards for FlexRadio Transceivers for more information regarding selecting a Firewire host controller for your PC.

    Monitors:
    The most important consideration for a monitor other than size is how much EMF it radiates and the resultant RFI to the software defined radio hardware. LDC displays seem to have lower EMF than CRT type displays, but the resolution of LCDs is less than that of CRTs (a trade off). You want a lot of monitor "real estate" consider one of the new HD wide screen type monitors that are at least 20". Refer to the Video Graphics Controller section above.

    Hard Drives:
    PowerSDR does not utilize a hard drive to any great degree after the program has started and is running. Windows on the other hand does use the hard drive for managing memory utilization by creating virtual memory with a "swap file". If your PC is low in the amount of RAM it has installed, Windows will swap out RAM to the hard drive. This hard disk activity has the over all effect of slowing down your PC causing PowerSDR to momentarily freeze up causing disruptions. Even systems with sufficient amounts of RAM will still experience Windows swapping memory out to the hard drive's swap file, but to a lesser extent.

    It is important to get a fast hard drive to mitigate the effects of Windows using virtual memory. There are several characteristics of hard drives that should be considered. The first is interface type. Older computers use IDE data interfaces. Newer computers use SATA. SATA is faster than IDE and should be used. There are different speeds for SATA drives. Get the fastest SATA drive that your PC supports. Platter rotational speed and seek times are the two other primary factors for selecting a hard drive. You want to choose a hard drive that has the fastest platter rotational speed (measured in RPMs) and has the lowest seek times (measured in milliseconds).

    Laptop or Desktop:
    In general, a desktop computer does not have the power and heat constraints that are taken into account when engineering a laptop computer, therefore desktop computers are higher in performance when both have comparable CPUs and RAM. Recent advances in laptop technology have been producing some laptops with very high performance that have been known to work well with PowerSDR especially ones that incorporate multi-core CPUs but this is not true for all laptops even from the same manufacturer that have the same CPU architecture. Additionally, Firewire performance on laptop computers with integrated Firewire controllers has been reported to be lacking. This issue is easily corrected by using either an ExpressCard or PCMCIA (PC Card) Firewire host controller rather than the integrated Firewire port on the laptop. This is usually not an issue with USB controllers that are used with the FLEX-1500


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file. You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    None Referenced


    0 0

    FlexWire v2 Connector Pinout for the FLEX-1500

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: N/A
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-1500


    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    The FlexWire connector on the FLEX-1500 utilizes the version 2 standard (v2) which is slightly different than the v1 standard used on the FLEX-5000 and FLEX-3000 software defined radios. The major difference is that pin 3, which was either grounded, un-used or physically blocked in some FLEX-x000 models, is now utilized as a PTT OUT for keying transverters and amplifiers.

    Pin 3 is now connected to an "open-drain" which will provide a closure to ground during transmit for a positive voltage source. If you use this output to directly drive a relay, you must add a diode across the relay to limit the inductive "kick" upon releasing the relay. This protection diode is NOT provided internal to the FLEX-1500 and must be supplied by the operator.

    FlexWire v2 connector

    Specifications for the Pin 3 (keying relay) interface are:
    • Maximum current: 0.25 Amps
    • Maximum open circuit voltage: +30 Volts (DC)
    • Maximum "ON" resistance: 1 Ohm

    Also, pin 8 has a higher output voltage (13.8 VDC or the value of the external VDC input for the radio) than the Version 1 standard which is 5 VDC.

    The FlexWire v2 connector is a standard DB-9 female connector

    Pin 1 - Ground
    Pin 2 - Transmit Audio Line Input
    Pin 3 - PTT Output (Open Drain)
    Pin 4 - PTT Input (Also I2C interrupt request input, if used)
    Pin 5 - Ground
    Pin 6 - I2C Bus, Serial Clock
    Pin 7 - I2C Bus, Serial Data
    Pin 8 - +13.8 Volts Out (Same as voltage into power connector)
    Pin 9 - Receive Audio Line Output



    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file. You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

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    0 0
  • 08/11/10--06:53: Squelch Encoding Schemes
  • Squelch Encoding Schemes

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: N/A
    Applicable Hardware: N/A

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    CTCSS
    CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System), which continuously superimposes any one of about 50 low-pitch audio tones on the transmitted signal, ranging from 67 to 254 Hz, is used to reduce the annoyance of listening to other users on a shared two-way radio communications channel. The original tone set was 32 tones, and has been expanded over the years. CTCSS is often called PL tone (for Private Line, a trademark of Motorola), or simply tone squelch. General Electric's implementation of CTCSS is called Channel Guard (or CG). RCA Corporation used the name Quiet Channel, or QC. There are many other company-specific names used by radio vendors to describe compatible options. Any CTCSS system that has compatible tones is interchangeable. Old and new radios with CTCSS and radios across manufacturers are compatible.

    DCS
    DCS (Digital-Coded Squelch) superimposes a continuous stream of FSK digital data, at 134.4 bits per second, on the transmitted signal. This data is sub-audible with most of its energy below 300Hz. However is does have a wide bandwidth from 2 to 300 Hz. Unlike CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) which uses continuous tones below 300 Hz., DCS uses digital data or code words. In the same way that a single CTCSS tone would be used on an entire group of radios, the same DCS code is used in a group of radios. DCS is also referred to as Digital Private Line (or DPL), another trademark of Motorola, and likewise, General Electric's implementation of DCS is referred to a Digital Channel Guard (or DCG). DCS is also called DTCS (Digital Tone Code Squelch) by Icom, and other names by other manufacturers. Radios with DCS options are generally compatible provided the radio's encoder-decoder will use the same code as radios in the existing system. Be aware that the same 23-bit DCS word can, for example produce three different valid DCS codes.


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file.You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    None Referenced


    0 0

    PowerSDR v2.x Installer - Internal Error 2908

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 2.X.0 (Installer)
    Applicable Hardware: N/A

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    When running PowerSDR v2.x Integrated Installer, you may receive a "internal error 2908". This as been linked to a known problem overwriting a .NET assembly that does not need to be overwritten. You can ignore this error message and continue the installation process and PowerSDR v.2x should install properly or you can run a small utility to correct the condition. You can download the utility using the link listed below.



    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file.You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    MSXMLfix.exe



    0 0

    K9DUR PowerSDR Data Transfer 4.x Utility

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version:
    Any Version
    Applicable Hardware: N/A

    Content provided by:Ray, K9DUR

    The SDRDataTransfer v4.x Utility is an advanced database management program that allows you to transfer data from one PowerSDR™ setup database to another. Certain data in the PowerSDR setup database should never be transferred to another database. In some cases, the decision as to whether it is safe to transfer the data or not can be determined by which table the data is stored in. However, a couple of the tables have a mixture of data that is safe to transfer and data that is not. Unfortunately, this includes some of the more popular custom settings that are rather tedious to re-enter by hand when moving to a new database. The filter settings are just one example. SDRDataTransfer decides which tables and which records within each table can be safely transferred based on information stored in a setup database, SDRDataTransfer.mdb. Optionally, v4.x allows you to select only certain types of settings to be transferred. For example, you could choose to transfer only your filter settings, or your filter settings & VAC settings.

    Version 4.x of the SDR Data Transfer Utility allows the transfer of settings between both types of databases used by PowerSDR. PowerSDR v1.18.0 and earlier used a Microsoft Access database file named PowerSDR.mdb. Starting with v1.18.1, PowerSDR uses an XML file named database.xml to hold the setup data. SDRDataTransfer v2.x allows all 4 types of data transfer: .mdb -> .mdb, .xml -> .xml, .mdb -> .xml, & .xml -> .mdb.

    As newer versions of PowerSDR are released, all that is necessary is to update the SDRDataTransfer.mdb file with the new data. If a new version of PowerSDR is released with new features, SDRDataTransfer will still work, but the settings for the new features will not be transferred until an updated version of the SDRDataTransfer.mdb file is installed.

    This program replaces the PowerSDR 1.x Database Transfer Utility which only transferred data between Microsoft Access databases.


    NOTE: This program requires the Microsoft .NET Framework Version 3.5 SP1 which must be downloaded & installed separately. You may download the installation package directly from Microsoft or from this website. The file is about 237 Mb in size. If you already have PowerSDR v1.18.1 or later installed and working (or any other software that requires Version 3.5 of the .NET Framework) , then you do not have to download & install the .NET Framework again.

    You can download the installation package and the user documentation from the Related Links listed below.


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file. You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    None Referenced


    0 0

    SidSpeed Warning message from FLEX Firewire driver

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: N/A
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-5000 and FLEX-3000;

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    The FLEX Firewire driver, version 3.5.0.7171 and above has a Firewire chipset applet that will identify possible configuration and or Firewire card incompatibilities with the FLEX Firewire driver.

    Error Condition:
    If you are using Windows XP with Service Pack 3 loaded, you may receive the following warning if you do not have MS Hot Fix # 955408 loaded on your system:

    SidSpeed: ** Warning ** SidSpeed registry entry is missing or illegal.
    1394 devices may not work, or may have limited channel count.


    This is a warning message and will not prevent you from using your Firewire based FlexRadio Systems SDR. It is recommended that you revolve the issue so that you are operating the Firewire host controller at it maximum performance level.

    Resolution:
    For XP SP3 users, obtain Hot Fix # 955408 from Microsoft and install it on your system as per the Hot Fix instructions. A reboot will be required after the installation of the Hot Fix. http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=955408

    For XP SP2 users, obtain Hot Fix # 885222 from Microsoft and install it on your system as per the Hot Fix instructions. A reboot will be required after the installation of the Hot Fix. http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=885222

    Even though the Hot Fix refers to 1394b adapters, it is applicable to 1394a adapters as well and should be loaded.


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file.You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    None Referenced



    0 0

    How to Configure WSJT with PowerSDR and VAC

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.14.0
    Applicable Hardware: All transceivers

    Content provided by:Tim, W4TME

    The intent of this article is to describe in detail the setup and configuration of WSJT with PowerSDR. The configuration of WSJT's parameters other than the audio and PTT are out side the scope of this article.

    Configuration Overview and Required Software
    Configuring WSJT for PowerSDR is a five (5) step process. In this procedure we are assuming that you have your software defined radio and PowerSDR properly communicating and are using the most current versions of PowerSDR. This procedure was developed using the FLEX-5000, so it is important that you have the latest Firewire driver and firmware loaded for your radio as well.

    Step 1. Download and install the latest version of WSJT
    You can download WSJT software from theWSJT home page. For this procedure,WSJT 7.02was used.

    Step 2. Download, install and configure a virtual com port software (Com0Com or VSPmanager) for PTT Control
    Although there are several different free software packages for enabling virtual com ports, I have prefer to useCom0Comor VSPmanagerbecause they provide better control over the com port configuration, the configurator works under Vista and Win7 (vCom does not) and they come in a 64-bit and 32-bit version. You can download the virtual com port software from theCom0Com SourceForge project page. For this procedureCom0Com 2.1.0.0was used. The VSPmanger software along with configuration documentation can be obtained from the K5FR web site.


    Step 3. Download, install and configure the Virtual Audio Cable software (VAC)
    VAC is a program that transfers the RX audio from PowerSDR to WSJT and subsequently transfers the TX audio from WSJT to PowerSDR without using a physical interface between the radio and a computer sound card. VAC makes PowerSDR"look"like a sound card or Windows audio device to WSJT. The benefit of VAC is that the audio exchanged between PowerSDR and WSJT stays entirely in the digital domain resulting in high dynamic range signals and there are no wires to introduce RF into the software defined radio system.

    VAC isnotfree open source software. It must be purchased from the authorsweb site. There is a demo version of VAC butit can not be usedbecause the demo version corrupts the audio I/O with a pre-recorded voice telling you it is demo software, essentially making it crippleware. For this procedure,VAC 4.09 (4.90)was used.

    NOTE: Some earlier version of VAC less than 4.08 have been known not to work properly with WSJT.


    Step 4. Configure PowerSDR to use VAC and Com0Com to interface with WSJT
    Once the required software is downloaded and installed on your computer, the next step is to configure PowerSDR to use the VAC virtual audio cable for audio transfer and to configure a PTT line so that WSJT can key the transceiver. For this procedurePowerSDR 1.14.0was used.

    Step 5. Configure the Audio and PTT ports in WSJT
    The final step is to configure PTT control and the audio input and output connections for WSJT. This is probably the most confusing part of the WSJT configuration since the audio setup interface is very rudimentary.

    Step 1. Download and install the latest version of WSJT
    Using the URL listed above in Step 1 of theConfiguration Overview and Required Softwaresection for the WSJT home page download and install WSJT. As of the date of this article, WSJT 7.0.2 (r383) is the released version of the software.

    The installation instructions for WSJT are located in theWSJT6 User Guide and Reference Manualthat can be downloaded from theWSJT web site's documentation pages. There are translations of this manual in several different languages.

    For additional information regarding the installation and initial setup of WSJT, please seeThe Complete Bozo's Guide to HF JT65A(a work in progress) byAndy K3UK. This is a very comprehensive, well written and humorous guide for setting up WSJT for HF using the JT65A mode of operation.

    For additional information, it is recommended that you visit the HF Link home page where there is a detailed description of how to operate JT65


    Step 2. Download, install and configure a virtual com port software Com0Com for PTT Control
    If you are unfamiliar with the concept of virtual com port pairs that are sometimes called virtual null modem cables, you can refer to the Knowledge Center article,What is a virtual com port or null modem emulator?, for a detailed description of how virtual com port software works.

    As noted above, in this example,Com0Comvirtual com port software is used. You can refer to this Knowledge Center article,Virtual Serial Port Driver (com0com)for additional information about Com0Com.

    Using the Knowledge Center article,Com0Com Installation and Configuration Guide, download and execute the instructions for obtaining the Com0Com software, installing, configuring and optimizing a virtual com port pair. For this configuration only one pair is required. I have configured my virtual com port pair as 8/18.


    Step 3. Download, install and configure the Virtual Audio Cable software (VAC)
    As noted above, youmustpurchase VAC as it is a commercial product. Using the URL listed above in Step 3 of theConfiguration Overview and Required Software section for the VAC home page you can purchase your copy of VAC if you have not already done so. If you have VAC 4.x, but it is not version 4.09, you are entitled to get minor version upgrades. To get them, you must contact the company or software distributor from whom you purchased VAC from initially as the upgrades are not directly available from the VAC home page. This procedure has not been tested with the 3.x version of VAC and some older versions of VAC 4.x have been reported not to work for whatever reason.

    The VAC package is distributed as a ZIP archive. Simply unpack it into an empty folder, runsetup.exeapplication and follow the instructions displayed. If you are installing VAC for the first time, please review thereadme.txtandvac.chm(Windows Help) files before installation. If you have already installed previous version of VAC 4.x, don't forget to uninstall it before installation.

    Using the Knowledge Center article,How to Setup Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) 4.0x with PowerSDR 1.x, execute steps 1 through 3 for the instructions to configure the two (2) VAC audio cables. The instruction in the KC article represent a very "conservative" configuration. For the WSJT configuration, we will use a more optimized configuration.
    Make the following changes:
    1. Ms per Int = 5
    2. Stream Fmt = Cable Range
    3. BPS = 8 .. 16

    Step 4. Configure PowerSDR to use VAC and Com0Com to interface with WSJT
    Configure the PowerSDR sampling rate to96 KHzand the audio buffers to1024. Make sure the FLEX-5000 Firewire device driver is set to the same parameters andSafeMode 1is the operating mode. If you are unsure how to do this operation, refer to the Knowledge Center articleHow to Configure Hardware Sampling Rate, Hardware Buffers and Operation Mode in the FLEX-5000 Control Panel.

    Using the same Knowledge Center article referenced in Step 3,
    How to Setup Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) 4.0x with PowerSDR 1.x, execute steps 4 through 6 of the instructions to configure the PowerSDR VAC Audio parameters. As with Step 3, we need to modify the default configuration to a more optimized one for WSJT.
    Make the following changes:
    1. Driver = Windows WDM-KS
    2. Virtual Audio Cable Setup (Input) = Virtual Cable 1
    3. Virtual Audio Cable Setup (Output) = Virtual cable 2
    NOTE: Do not worry about the TX and RX Gain (dB) values, those will be set later

    Configure PowerSDR to use a com port for external keying by configuring. PowerSDR will use thevirtual com port 18of the virtual comport pair 8/18.
    1. Start PowerSDR and open the Setup form
    2. Select the CAT Control tab.
    3. In the PTT Control section, click on the drop down box and select the virtual com port of the virtual com port pair defied previously in a step above. In this example I used COM18.
    4. Check both the RTS and DTR check boxes.
    5. Check the Enable PTT check box.
    6. Check on the Apply button and close the Setup form

    Step 5. Configure the Audio and PTT ports in WSJT
    First, we will set up the PTT port for WSJT since that is the most straightforward process.

    PTT Port Configuration
    1. Start WSJT
    2. From the main WSJT window (GUI), left click on Setup and choose Options
    3. In the Station Parameters Section, enter 8 , the other half of the 8/18 virtual com port pair defined previously.

    Now comes the part that isn't so intuitive; setting up the audio input and output channels in WSJT

    Audio Channel Configuration
    When WSJT is started, Windows command window (aka "dos" box) is displayed that shows all of the audio devices configured on your computer. There can be a lot of them. The ones that concern us are theVirtual Cable 1andVirtual Cable 2which are the VAC audio channels for PowerSDR. See the screen shot below



    What we have to do is set up WSJT so that the PowerSDRVACoutput channel(Virtual cable 2 in this example) is configured to send audio to theWSJT INPUT channel. Since the audio is bi-directional the PowerSDRVAC input channel(Virtual cable 1 in this example) must be configured to receive audio from theWSJT OUTPUT channelas well.

    Using the display shown above, the WSJTinputchannels are devices numbered 0 to 4 (NOTE: audio devices 0-4 have "0" output channels). Since the PowerSDR VAC output (VAC virtual cable 2) needs to be directed to the WSJTinput, we need to select audio device4for theWSJT input.

    Again, using the display shown above, the WSJToutputchannels are devices numbered 5 to 10 (NOTE: audio devices 5-10 have "0" input channels). Since the PowerSDR VAC input (VAC virtual cable 1) needs to receive audio from the WSJT output, we need to select audio device9for theWSJT output.
    • WSJT Input = VAC Output (virtual cable 2) = Audio Device #4
    • WSJT Output = VAC Input (virtual cable1) = Audio Device #9
    ===>>> DoNOTuse the audio channels labeledFlexRadio Flex-5000 Audioor FlexRadioFlex-5000 SPDIF/AC3.

    Now that we know (hopefully) what audio devices are required, we have to set them up in WSJT:
    1. Start WSJT
    2. From the main WSJT window (GUI), left click on Setup and choose Options
    3. Enter the number 4 in the Audio In Station Parameters data entry field
    4. Enter the number 9 in the Audio Out Station Parameters data entry field
    5. Close the Options dialog box and shut down WSJT
    6. Restart WSJT
    7. Verify that the devices listed in the "Will Open Devices" line reports Input=4 and Output=9 (See the screen shot above)
    NOTE: The ordering of the audio devices is not permanent. Adding or changing an audio device on your computer WILL change the number associated with the audio device requiring you to set the audio channels up again

    To test the configuration, start up PowerSDR and WSJT in this manner
    1. Start PowerSDR
    2. Switch to DigiU mode and make sure VAC is enabled
    3. Start WSJT
    4. Confirm that the WSJT audio input and output device number are correct
    5. In the main WSJT window (GUI), click on the Monitor button.
    6. In the SpecJT window, you should see signal in the lower right hand corner bar graph.
    7. Adjust the PowerSDR VAC RX Gain until you achieve a signal input reading of between -4 and 0 dB.
    If you do not see any output from PowerSDR in the SpecJT window, recheck that you have the WSJT audio channels setup correctly. 99% of the time this is the reason for not receiving any signals.


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

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    0 0

    USBDeview - USB Device Enumerator Utility

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 2.0.0 and above
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-1500

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    USBDeview from NirSoft is a small "freeware" utility that lists all USB devices that currently connected to your computer, as well as all USB devices that you previously used. For each USB device, extended information is displayed: Device name/description, device type, serial number (for mass storage devices), the date/time that device was added, VendorID, ProductID, and more...

    The primary use for this utility is so you can easily identify which USB hub and port the FLEX-1500 is connected to in your computer. It is best that the FLEX-1500 not share a USB hub with other devices, because connecting a lower speed USB device into the same hub with a higher speed device may lower the performance of the USB Hub.

    The USBDeview utility comes as both a 32 and 64-bit application and works with all versions of Window except Win98, so make sure you get the one that is appropriate for the operating systems installed on your computer. You can download either version from the USBDeview product home page located towards the bottom.

    Download and unzip the USBDeview utility to a folder on your computer. Refer to the application's read-me file for information on running and using USBDeview.

    NOTE: This utility allows the user to uninstall USB devices that you previously used and disconnect USB devices that are currently connected to your computer. Use these features with caution. In order to disable/enable/uninstall USB items under Vista or Win7 with UAC turned on, you should right click on USBDeview and choose 'Run As Administrator'. In order to disable/enable USB items on x64 systems, you must use the x64 version of USBDeview.


    Using USBDeview to Identify Which USB Hub the FLEX-1500 is Connected To

    • Start the USBDeview Utility
    • From the Option menu option, un-select Display Disconnected Devices. This will make USBDeview show only the currently connected USB devices.
    • Locate the FLEX-1500 by finding the entry that has the VenderID=2192 and the ProductID=150x
    • To the right locate the Hub/Port column. This will show the USB hub and port where the FLEX-1500 is connected.

    In the example shown below, the USB hub is #4 and the Port is #2. Refer to the information in red box.


    (Click on image to enlarge)

    If the FLEX-1500 is sharing a USB hub with other connected devices, you can plug the FLEX-1500 into a different USB port while the SDR is powered up and the information will dynamically update in the USBDeview viewer.


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    0 0

    Enabling the Debugging for the FLEX-1500 USB Driver

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 2.0.16
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-1500

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    If you are experiencing problems with the kernel mode streaming USB driver for the FLEX-1500, you can enable a debugging mode that will create a log file which can be used by FlexRadio support engineers to troubleshoot the problems. By default the driver debugging mode is not enabled. The following procedure will describe how to enable and disable the debugging mode for the streaming USB driver.

    NOTE: This procedure is applicable or PowerSDR v2.0.16 and above.

    Step 1. Shut Down PowerSDR 2.x.x and Power Down the FLEX-1500
    Make sure you have shut down PowerSDR and powered off the FLEX-1500 before proceeding

    Step 2. Define the FLEX-1500 USB Debug Environment Variable

    1. Right click on Computer or My Computer, and then click Properties depending on OS version.
    2. Click the Advanced System Settings option (left hand side) or the Advanced tab depending on OS version.
    3. Click on the Environment variables option.
    4. Click New to add the new variable name FLEX1500_DEBUG and give it a value of "ON" (the value is not of any importance and can be anything).
    When done debugging remove the FLEX1500_DEBUG environment variable by clicking on it in the display and then clicking Delete to remove it.

    Step 3. Power up the FLEX-1500 and Restart PowerSDR
    Turn on the power to the FLEX-1500 and then restart PowerSDR v2.x.x. Once you have experienced the error, then you will need to send the debug file to FlexRadio Support.

    Step 4. Locate the FLEX-1500 USB Driver Debug File
    The name of the debug file is flexusb.log and it is located in your user's "Home Path" folder. The actual location of the Home Path folder varies with the Windows operating system version.

    The easiest way to determine the absolute path of the %HOMEPATH% environment variable and all of the other defined environment variables, just issue the set command from the Windows Run applet (WinKey + R), Windows Search box or a command window.

    For Win7 operating systems, the path is usually c:\Users\<User_Name>


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    0 0

    How to Repair a Failed PowerSDR v2.0.16 FLEX-1500 USB Driver Installation

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 2.0.16
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-1500

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    In some situations, the old driver from a previous version of PowerSDR 2.0.x will not be correctly uninstalled when 2.0.16 is installed. To determine if this has happened, check the following:
    • With your radio powered on, check in Device Manager and make sure there are two components listed under the FlexRadio hardware category.

      1. FLEX-1500 Software Defined Radio
      2. FlexRadio USB Kernel Driver

      The FLEX-1500 Software Defined Radio driver is the low level driver that is responsible for low-latency radio control and with a properly installed driver, will always be displayed even if the FLEX-1500 is not attached and powered up. The FlexRadio USB Kernel Driver is the high level device specific portion of the low-latency radio control driver. Both of these drivers work together to provide hardware control of the radio from the PC.

      If both of these driver components are displayed, then the driver is installed correctly and the FLEX-1500 is properly communicating with the PC.

      If the FLEX-1500 Software Defined Radio and the FlexRadio USB Kernel Driver entries are not displayed, then the FLEX-1500 driver did not load properly and will have to be reloaded using the procedure below.
    NOTE: If both drivers are present (two lines under FlexRadio), this is not your problem. The procedure below will not help, but also will not hurt your installation


    Manual Driver Re-load Procedure

    Step 1. Download the FLEX-1500 Driver Patch Kit
    Using the link below, download the FLEX-1500 Driver Patch Kit for PowerSDR v2.0.16

    Step 2. Install the Updated USB Drivers
    Unzip the FLEX-1500 Driver Patch Kit into the PowerSDR 2.0.16 application directory located in c:\Program Files (x86)\FlexRadio Systems for 64-bit operating systems and c:\Program Files\FlexRadio Systems for 32-bit operating systems. This will replace files in the two 1500 DriverXX directories -- allow this to happen

    Step 3. Select the Proper Driver Folder for your Operating System
    After the files are unzipped, navigate to the proper FLEX-1500 driver folder located in the PowerSDR 2.0.16 application directory using Windows Explorer. If you are using a 64-bit operating system, select the 1500 Driver64 folder. If you are using a 32-bit operating system, select the 1500 Driver32 folder

    Step 4. Repair the FLEX-1500 Driver Install
    Right Click on the repair.bat file and select "Run As..." and use the Administrator account
    This will uninstall all previous drivers and install the proper driver.

    Step 5.) Verify the Driver Properly Installed

    Returning to the Device Manager with your radio powered on, check in Device Manager and make sure there are two components listed under the FlexRadio hardware category.
    1. FLEX-1500 Software Defined Radio
    2. FlexRadio USB Kernel Driver
    You should now be able to start and run PowerSDR v2.0.16 properly.


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

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    0 0

    An Explanation of Diversity Reception Techniques for the FLEX-5000

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.14.0
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-5000

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    Diversity reception is a set of techniques using multiple receivers connected to separate antennas for improving the intelligibility of received signals by improving the signal to noise ratio and mitigating signal fading and drop outs. Below are descriptions of several diversity reception techniques that can be employed using the FLEX-5000 and the RX2 (second independent receiver).

    These techniques can be used in combination for increasing levels of signal reception enhancement. Below are three different combinations of diversity reception techniques that are possible with the FLEX-5000 and the RX2.
    • Stereo or Dual Diversity Reception - Good
    • Stereo/Dual Diversity + Antenna or Space Diversity Reception - Better
    • Stereo/Dual Diversity + Antenna/Space Diversity + Polarization Diversity Reception - BEST!

    Stereo or Dual (Receiver) Diversity Reception
    To accomplish stereo or dual diversity reception, it requires two receivers that are frequency and phased locked on the same signal outputting the demodulated signal to two discrete audio channels. Optimally both receivers need to be virtually identical in hardware and configuration (demodulation mode, filter characteristics, preamp, AGC setting, etc) in order to create a sense of "stereo spatial depth" for the listener. Humans are very good at localizing sounds and quickly estimating their direction and distance because we have two ears that allow for multi-path reception of audio frequencies. The end result is by being able to hear stereophonically, our brains can use this information to extract intelligibility from weak and noisy signals.

    When experimenting with diversity reception, establishing the ability to achieve stereo or dual diversity is the prerequisite for being able to utilize all of the other diversity reception techniques listed in this article.

    Stereo or dual diversity is easily accomplished with the FLEX-5000 with the optional RX2 (second independent receiver). The RX2 is identical to the primary receiver (RX1) and using SDR software their local oscillators can be frequency and phase locked to enable stereo or dual diversity reception.


    Space or Antenna Diversity Reception

    Space or antenna diversity is accomplished by simultaneously receiving on two or more antennas separated in distance by several wavelengths of the received signal. Even though it mat be difficult to have two antennas separated in distance by multiple wavelengths on the longer wavelength frequencies (hundreds of meters), good results can be achieved when the antennas are separated in distances as small as a quarter wavelength (1/2 λ). This diversity reception techniques is used to mitigate the effects of ionospheric multi-path fading, shadowing and signal drop-outs (path loss) which serves to enhance the overall signal-to-noise ratio and readability of received signals.

    A transmitted radio signal can be reflected along multiple paths before finally being received. Each of these "bounces" or reflections can introduce phase shifts, time delays and signal strength attenuation that can destructively interfere with one another at the receiving antenna. Antenna or space diversity is especially effective at mitigating these multi-path situations. This is due in part because multiple antennas afford a receiver multiple reception points in 3-D space of the same signal. Each antenna will experience a different interference environment. Thus, if one antenna is experiencing a deep fade, it is likely that another has a sufficient signal for adequate reception. It should be noted that unidirectional antennas are best suited for this purpose since directional antennas receive only a fraction of all scattered RF energy.


    Polarization Diversity Reception
    As noted with stereo or antenna diversity, signals reaching the multiple receiving antennas will not necessarily be in-phase with one another, therefor they will have different degrees of polarization from vertical to horizontal. It is well known that receiving vertically polarized signals with a horizontally polarized antenna (and visa versa) will result in a lower signal strength. In a linearly polarized system, a misalignment of polarization of 45 degrees will degrade the signal up to 3 dB and if misaligned 90 degrees the attenuation can be 20 dB or more! This is a significant amount of signal loss.

    You can minimize these polarization losses by using two antennas that are of different polarization. Therefore polarization diversity is the technique of simultaneously receiving on horizontally and vertically polarized antennas. If one of your antennas is a vertical loop (fed to have vertical polarization) or a multi-band vertical antenna and the other one a dipole, vertical loop (fed for horizontal polarization), horizontal loop or a broad beam width yagi it will increases the statistical probability that a selective fade will only affect one, but not both receiver systems.


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    0 0

    10 MHz External Frequency Reference Input for the FLEX-5000 and FLEX-1500

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: N/A
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-5000 & FLEX-1500

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    Both the FLEX-5000 and FLEX-1500 have the facilities for connecting an external precision frequency reference for increased frequency accuracy and stability.

    The specifications on the external frequency reference input are as follows:

    • The input frequency is 10 MHz (sine wave)
    • The signal strength range is between 0 and +10 dBm

    After connecting an external frequency reference, you must configure PowerSDR to use the external reference by selecting "Use Ext. Ref Input" from the Setup->General->Hardware Config tab. See the Screen shot Below.


    Since not all external frequency references are 100% accurate for their 10 MHz RF output, it is recommended that you run a frequency calibration using a known frequency source such as WWV.



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    0 0

    How to Configure N1MM with PowerSDR and VAC for Voice Keying

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.14.0
    Applicable Hardware: All FlexRadio SDRs

    Content provided by: Mack, WB4MAK

    The intent of this article is to describe in detail the setup and configuration of N1MM for voice keying with PowerSDR. The configuration of VAC’s parameters other than the audio and PTT are outside the scope of this article.

    Configuration Overview and Required Software
    In this procedure we are assuming that you have your software defined radio and PowerSDR properly communicating and are using the most current versions of PowerSDR. It is also assumed that you have VAC and your virtual COM port program properly configured. This procedure was developed using the FLEX-5000, so it is important that you have the latest Firewire driver and firmware loaded for your radio as well. It should work equally well on any Flex radio.

    Step 1. Download and install the latest version of N1MM
    You can download N1MM software from the N1MM Home Page . For this procedure, N1MM 10.10.2 was used.

    Step 2. Download, install and configure a virtual com port software (Com0Com, VSPE or VSPmanager) for PTT Control
    Although there are several different free software packages for enabling virtual com ports, I prefer to use VSPE because it support Win 7 x64 and is very fast. You can download the virtual com port software from the VSPE Home Page. For this procedure VSPE 0.938.4.846 was used. Any of the virtual port packages should work fine.

    Step 3. Download, install and configure the Virtual Audio Cable software (VAC)
    VAC is a program that transfers the TX audio from PowerSDR to N1MM and subsequently transfers the RX audio from N1MM to PowerSDR without using a physical interface between the radio and a computer sound card. VAC makes PowerSDR "look" like a sound card or Windows audio device to N1MM. The benefit of VAC is that the audio exchanged between PowerSDR and N1MM stays entirely in the digital domain resulting in high dynamic range signals and there are no wires to introduce RF into the software defined radio system.

    VAC is not free open source software. It must be purchased from the authors web site. There is a demo version of VAC but it can not be used because the demo version corrupts the audio I/O with a pre-recorded voice telling you it is demo software, essentially making it crippleware. For this procedure, VAC 4.09 (4.90) was used.

    Step 4. Configure PowerSDR to use VAC and VSPE to interface with N1MM
    Once the required software is downloaded and installed on your computer, the next step is to configure PowerSDR to use the VAC virtual audio cable for audio transfer and to configure a PTT line so that N1MM can key the transceiver. For this procedure PowerSDR 1.14.15 was used.

    Step 5. Configure the Audio and PTT ports in N1MM
    The final step is to configure PTT control and the audio input and output connections for N1MM. This is probably the most confusing part of the N1MM configuration since the audio setup interface is very rudimentary.


    Step 1. Download and install the latest version of N1MM

    Using the URL listed above in Step 1 of the Configuration Overview and Required Software section for the N1MM home page download and install N1MM.

    Step 2. Download, install and configure a virtual com port software VSPE for PTT Control
    If you are unfamiliar with the concept of virtual com port pairs that are sometimes called virtual null modem cables, you can refer to the Knowledge Center article, What is a virtual com port or null modem emulator? , for a detailed description of how virtual com port software works.

    As noted above, in this example, VSPE virtual com port software is used. For this configuration only one pair is required. I have configured my virtual com port pair as 2/18. Ensure you configure VSPE to NOT assert RTS or DTR.


    Step 3. Download, install and configure the Virtual Audio Cable software (VAC)
    As noted above, you must purchase VAC as it is a commercial product. Using the URL listed above in Step 3 of the Configuration Overview and Required Software section for the VAC home page you can purchase your copy of VAC if you have not already done so. If you have VAC 4.x, but it is not version 4.09, you are entitled to get minor version upgrades. To get them, you must contact the company or software distributor from whom you purchased VAC from initially as the upgrades are not directly available from the VAC home page. This procedure has not been tested with the 3.x version of VAC and some older versions of VAC 4.x have been reported not to work for whatever reason.

    The VAC package is distributed as a ZIP archive. Simply unpack it into an empty folder, run setup.exe application and follow the instructions displayed. If you are installing VAC for the first time, please review the readme.txt and vac.chm (Windows Help) files before installation. If you have already installed previous version of VAC 4.x, don't forget to uninstall it before installation.

    Using the Knowledge Center article, How to Setup Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) 4.0x with PowerSDR 1.x , execute steps 1 through 3 for the instructions to configure the two (2) VAC audio cables. The instructions in the KC article represent a very "conservative" configuration. For the N1MM configuration, we will use a more optimized configuration but it will work with the conservative configuration.

    Make the following changes:
    1. Ms per Int = 5
    2. Stream Fmt = Cable Range
    3. BPS = 8 .. 16


    Step 4. Configure PowerSDR to use VAC and VSPE to interface with N1MM
    Using the same Knowledge Center article referenced in Step 3, How to Setup Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) 4.0x with PowerSDR 1.x , execute steps 4 through 6 of the instructions to configure the PowerSDR VAC Audio parameters.

    Make the following changes:
    1. Driver = MME
    2. Virtual Audio Cable Setup (Input) = Virtual Cable 1
    3. Virtual Audio Cable Setup (Output) = Virtual cable 2

    NOTE: Do not worry about the TX and RX Gain (dB) values, those will be set later.


    Configure PowerSDR to use a com port for external keying by configuring. PowerSDR will use the virtual com port 18 of the virtual comport pair 2/18.

    1. Start PowerSDR and open the Setup form
    2. Select the CAT Control tab.
    3. In the PTT Control section, click on the drop down box and select the virtual com port of the virtual com port pair defied previously in a step above. In this example I used COM18.
    4. Check only the DTR check box.
    5. Check the Enable PTT check box.
    6. Check on the Apply button and close the Setup form


    Step 5. Configure the Audio and PTT ports in N1MM
    First, we will set up the PTT port for N1MM.

    PTT Port Configuration
    1. Start N1MM
    2. From the main N1MM window (GUI), left click on Config and choose Configure Ports, Telnet Address, Other
    3. Check the CW/Other box that corresponds to the virtual serial cable pair that you set up previously. In this example check Com2.

    4. Now left click on Com2 Set. Set DTR to PTT.

    5. Audio Channel Configuration

    Within N1MM left click on Config, and choose Configure Ports, Telnet Address, Other. Left click the Audio tab.

    Configure as shown in the following screenshot.

    1. 1 – Zero or Single Card
    2. Select Device Line 1 (Virtual Audio Cable)
    3. Select Input Line Line 2
    4. Radio Input Port Line 1



    To test the configuration, startup PowerSDR and N1MM in this manner

    1. Start PowerSDR
    2. Switch to LSB or USB mode and make sure VAC is enabled
    3. Start N1MM
    4. Using your preconfigured audio files (I use Audacity to record) configure N1MM Config select Change CW/SSB/Digital Function Definitions to point to your sound clips and map them to an F key on your keyboard.
    5. Press one of your F-Keys that you previously defined and test that PowerSDR transmits the audio properly. You may enable MON within PowerSDR to monitor the audio on your signal.
    6. Adjust the gain within PowerSDR VAC to the properly level.


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    0 0

    Description of the Operation of ALC in PowerSDR

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.X.0
    Applicable Hardware: All FlexRadio Systems transceivers

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    The purpose of ALC is to limit AF input beyond a certain defined limit, which in this case is 0 dB; the point where the DSP begins to "clip". By doing so, the secondary affect is that you are not over driving the PA which could induce a decrease the linearity of it causing splatter and RF output is reduced accordingly eliminating RF "spikes" or overshoot.

    ALC is a "safety mechanism" built into the radio and is used differently that with traditional radios where driving the radio into ALC was a method of getting the max power out of your transmitter. Software defined radios operate differently where driving the radio into ALC actually creates distortion in your transmitted signal. With a properly configured AF input signal path, you should never exceed 0 dB of AF input gain causing the ALC algorithm to be invoked. You get no appreciable improvement in output talk power by setting your mic gain to the point that it is hitting the 0 dB ALC threshold limit causing the radio to attenuate your input mic gain. By driving the AF input gain too hard to invoke ALC the result will be distorted audio from the time between clipping the DSP and having ALC kick in and attenuate the AF input gain. Peaking your mic input gain at -2 dB results is plenty of "drive" and will result in getting the full 100 watts PEP out of your radio.It is recommended that you use the ALC TX meter rather than the MIC meter to monitor your AF input gain to make sure that it never exceeds -1 dB under any circumstance (voice peaks).

    The algorithm that is responsible for controlling the ALC function has to do several things.

    First it has to monitor the AF input gain in the TX audio chain. If the AF input gain threshold is exceeded (0 dB), then it has to reduce the AF input gain by a certain amount in order to be below the AF input gain threshold value. Obviously it would do no good, just to turn off the AF input resulting in no RF output and some really choppy audio, so the ALC algorithm has to gracefully ramp down or decrease the AF input gain by an amount (aka the ALC clamping value) that is in excess of the AF input gain threshold point. These operations do not happen instantaneously and there are variables that control this behavior.

    The ALC algorithm has three variables that are exposed to the user for adjustment; attack, decay and hang. All of which have units in the time domain (milliseconds (ms).

    Here is an explanation of how ALC works using an example where the AF input gain threshold has been exceeded by +3 dB

    The ALC algorithm detects that the AF input gain has exceeded the threshold limit by +3 dB

    How quickly ALC responds to this event is determined by the ATTACK parameter. The default value for this variable is 2 ms. So when the AF threshold has been exceeded by 2 ms, the ALC clamping or gain reduction of the AF input signal reduces the AF input gain by -3 dB achieving the threshold limit of 0 dB.

    Once the ALC has clamped the AF gain "spike", it will continue to attenuate the AF at that clamping value for a fixed amount of time. This is the HANG parameter and the default value for it is 500 ms.

    Once the HANG time has been exceeded, rather than setting the clamping value back to 0 immediately, it slowly decreases the AF gain clamping value back to 0 over a specific time period. This is so there isn't an abrupt change in your AF input gain, making audio transitions smoother and more natural sounding. This is the DECAY parameter and the default value for it is 10 ms.

    So the net effect is that your AF gain input being sent to the transmitter does not exceed 0 dB, even on multiple voice peaks within the HANG period, making you audio sound better due to not clipping of the DSP and reduces RF spikes or overshoot in excess of the RF drive value you have set.



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    0 0

    How to create a FLEX-1500/3000 Microphone cable for Icom Microphones

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.X.0
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-5000

    Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

    The following is the pinout for creating a RJ45 to 8-pin Foster connector (female) that will accept Icom microphones.


    FLEX-1500 Icom
    RJ45 Connector (male) 8-Pin Foster (female)

    Pin 1: <-----[ Up ]------------------> NOT CONNECTED
    Pin 2: <-----[ Down ]--------------> NOT CONNECTED
    Pin 3: <-----[ +5 VDC ]------------> Pin 2
    Pin 4: <-----[ Mic - ]----------------> Pin 7
    Pin 5: <-----[ Mic + ]---------------> Pin 1
    Pin 6: <-----[ PTT ]-----------------> Pin 5
    Pin 7: <-----[ Ground ]------------> Pin 6*
    Pin 8: <-----[ Not Used ]----------> NOT CONNECTED

    * - If using a shielded cable, connect the shield to Pin 6 and to the metal shell of the 8-pin Foster connector

    Do not connect MIC(-) and Ground together.



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    0 0

    Interfacing the FLEX-1500 to a Transverter

      System Dependencies
      Minimum PowerSDR Version:     2.0.16 
      Applicable Hardware:     FLEX-1500  

    Content provided by: Greg Jurrens, K5GJ

    The FlexRadio Systems FLEX-1500™ QRP Software Defined Radio is ideal for interfacing to VHF transverters. Papers have been presented on the subject (i) that covers various implementations in great detail. This article focuses on the basic HOWTO to get your FLEX-1500 on the air with your favorite transverter. For this example, I will use a DownEast Microwave(ii) 1296-28 1296MHz to 28Mhz IF transverter. A typical configuration is pictured below.


    FLEX-1500 Interfaced to DEMI 1296-28


    All transverter connections to the FLEX-1500 will be through the Rear panel of the radio. Please reference the pictures below for connector location.


    Front Panel View


    Rear Panel View


    STEP 1: Build an interface cable

    The interface between the FLEX-1500 and the transverter can be as simple as a PTT Out signal. For the DEMI, the cable will be as pictured below.



    For a complete description of the FLEXWIRE v2 interface on the FLEX-1500, please review the KB article FlexWire v2 Connector Pinout for the FLEX-1500.

    NTOE: PLEASE pay careful attention to the pinout of the DB-9 connector. If you connect the wrong pins to ground you can damage the FLEX-1500. The good news for this application… Pin 3 is the TOP-MIDDLE pin and both Pin1 and Pin5 are ground.


    STEP 2: Connect the IF (FLEX-1500) to the Transverter
    The FLEX-1500 will support both a “COMMON IF” or “SPLIT IF” interface for transverters. This will vary based upon your design. Here are 2 examples: (Courtesy DownEast Microwave)

     

       

     

     Common IF Transverter I/O

     

     Separate RX and TX IF I/O


    COMMON IF:
    For the Common IF configuration, simply connect the FLEX-1500 XVTX/C BNC to the COMMON IF BNC using a BNC male to BNC male coax jumpers.

    SPLIT IF:
    For the Split IF configuration, connect the FLEX-1500 XVTX/C to the Demi TXIF and the FLEX-1500 XVRX to the Demi RXIF connectors using BNC male to BNC male coax jumpers.


    STEP 3: Configure PowerSDR™

    The FLEX-1500 will operate as a 28MHz IF frequency to the transverter. Usually, the operator must know (and remember!) his LO frequency to calculate the true RF frequency. Often, LO frequencies are chosen so that the IF lands on 28.1MHz for the desired frequency band. In my DEMI example, 1296MHz is mixed with a 1268MHz LO to yield 28MHz. Thus 1296.1MHz appears as 28.1MHz to the IF radio. PowerSDR can help keep up with this and even make the readout read your RF frequency. See below


    PowerSDR in 1296MHz transverter mode

    The trick to setting up PowerSDR is in the XVTR form. Click on the “XVTRs” tab at the top of the main PowerSDR screen. Then set up the form as shown below.


    PowerSDR XVTR form

    You will need to set the following:
    1. BUTTON TEXT – Name the button something short and easy: “23cm” or “1296” works.
    2. Calculate and enter the LO Offset in MHz. In my example 1296 – 28 = 1268.0MHz.
    3. Enter the BEGIN FREQ of your Transverter’s band. It’s 1240MHz in my example.
    4. Enter the END FREQ of your Transverter’s band. 1300MHz for the 1296 band.
    5. Check the RX ONLY box if your transverter doesn’t transmit.
    6. Set the POWER to the maximum power level. The FLEX-1500 puts out around +3dBm at the “100” setting. This will vary by transverter. WARNING: Be sure you know what you are doing here. You can ‘toast’ your transverter mixer if you put too much power into it. (NOTE: PowerSDR V2.0.16 currently does NOT support high power TXIF through the FLEX-1500 ANT port. We are evaluating a change for an upcoming release. )
    7. Check the “use XVTR Pwr for TUNE” box if you want to have the TUNE function use the Power level you set in step 6.
    Next, we need to set up the proper ANTENNA port configuration. From the main PowerSDR screen, click on ANTENNA. Configure the form as shown below depending on your IF configuration.

     
    Antenna Config: COMMON IF

        

     
    Antenna Config: SPLIT IF


    Notice for this example, I have checked the “PTT OUT Enable” box and entered a delay of 100ms. This will vary by transverter, external amplifier, pre-amp, and sequencer configuration. As my kids say “YMMV!” Your Mileage May Vary!


    STEP 4: BEGIN TRANSVERTER OPERATION

    Start PowerSDR normally an configure the XVTR and ANTENNA forms as described previously. On the PowerSDR main screen, select the “VHF+” band button. You will then see your newly created “1296” button as shown below:

     
    PowerSDR VHF+ Band Selector

     


        


     PowerSDR Transverter Bands


    At this point, you should be ready to get on the air with your VHF tranverter! Generate an appropriate test signal into your transverter’s RF port and you should see the signal appear on the Panadapter. PowerSDR will perform just like normal including the great filtering and Panadapter display. If you don’t see a signal, check the XVTR form to make sure you entered the proper LO offset. Check the ANTENNA form to make sure you configured for your IF configuration.
    To test the TRANSMIT, start by running the DRIVE level down to zero. Also, Click the SETUP then TRANSMIT tabs to set the TUNE power level to a low value like 10. See below.


    PowerSDR /SETUP/TRANSMIT Form

    Press the MOX button. The PTT light on the transveter should light up. If not, troubleshoot your cable, then check the ANTENNA form for proper PTT out settings. Once you have good keying, connect an antenna or load to your transverter’s RF output. This would be a great time to use or borrow a wattmeter or power meter to properly set your drive level. On the DEMI transverters there is a TX LEVEL Pot that adjusts the amount of drive that gets to the mixer. Follow your transveter’s instructions. (WARNING: KNOW how much power your transverter can handle. The XVTX port on the FLEX-1500 will generate a maximum of around +3dBm. It’s a good idea to set your transverter up so it can handle the maximum power the FLEX-1500 XVTX port can deliver) Press the “TUN” button. This will key the FLEX-1500 and generate an RF signal with a CW tone. Slowly increase the DRIVE and verify you are getting the proper transverter output.


    STEP 5: OPERATE!

    As a final test of your FLEX-1500 transverter interface, point your antennas at EM10 and call K5GJ/r. I can really use the extra Grid multipliers! HI HI!

    REFERENCES
    (1) 2010 Central States VHF Conference Proceedings – “FLEX-1500 Software Defined Radio Use in Weak Signal Operations”, Steve Hicks – N5AC; Pg. 198-204.
    (2) DownEast Microwave – www.downeastmicrowave.com
    (3) FlexRadio Systems


    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file. You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

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    0 0

    CW Skimmer Configuration using VAC Direct I/Q

    System Dependencies
    Minimum PowerSDR Version: 1.14.0
    Applicable Hardware: FLEX-5000/FLEX-3000

    Content provided by: Tim, W4TME

    As noted previously, CW Skimmer is a program that decodes multiple CW signals all at the same time. It uses I/Q data streams for the decoding of multiple CW QSOs. PowerSDR v1.14.0 and later has the ability to send the digitized I/Q data stream generated by the SDR hardware directly to CW Skimmer via a VAC audio channel. This allows for wide-band reception of CW signals.

    Prerequisites:
    • PowerSDR version 1.14.0.
    • VAC 4.09 (also listed as v4.90)
    • PowerSDR must already be setup to operate CW with either a key or using the CWX (keyboard) form to send CW.
    • A virtual com port must be setup for CAT control. (Com0Com was used for this setup)
    • The CAT parameters must be setup in PowerSDR (port, baud rate, and number of stop, data and parity bits)

    Third-Party Software Configuration

    Before starting and configuring CW Skimmer, you must install and configure VAC for digital audio transfer and a virtual com port for CAT control. In this example, Com0Com is used for the virtual com port.

    VAC Installation
    Please refer to the KC article, How to Setup Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) 4.0x with PowerSDR 1.x, for instructions on how to configure VAC.

    NOTE: For this configuration, select the Windows WDM-KS driver in the PowerSDR VAC Cable setup described in step 6.

    Com0Com Installation
    Please refer to the KC article, Com0Com Installation and Configuration Guide, for detailed instruction on how to configure a virtual com port pair.

    NOTE: You can also use VSPmanager for creating virtual com port pairs.



    PowerSDR Configuration

    Main Console
    PowerSDR is setup in CW mode (U is preferred) with VAC enabled.

    NOTE: Turn *
    OFF* Spur Reduction (SR) to prevent a 3 KHz variation in the CW Skimmer frequency readout.


    Below is the PowerSDR console in CW mode configured for use with CW Skimmer.


    Figure 1

    Firewire Audio Configuration

    Set the PowerSDR and Firewire sampling rate and buffers to 96 KHz and 1024 respectively.

    VAC Configuration
    After installing VAC and configuring two (2) audio "cables", start PowerSDR v1.14.0 and open the Setup form. Select the Audio->VAC tab. Configure the Audio-VAC settings as shown below.

    Make sure the Direct I/Q settings are set correctly.


    Figure 2

    CAT Configuration
    Start PowerSDR v1.14.0 (or higher) and open the Setup form. Select the CAT Control tab. In this example, I have created a Com0Com virtual com port pair 7/17. Configure the CAT Control settings as shown below.


    Figure 3


    CW Skimmer Configuration

    Open CW Skimmer and click on the View menu option and select Settings...

    Click on the Audio tab
    For the Audio settings (Figure 4), set it up as shown below:
    • Soundcard Driver = WDM
    • Signal I/O = Virtual Cable 2
    • Audio I/O = Virtual Cable 1
    • Channels Left/Right = I/Q
    • Shift Right Channel Data by = 0 samples


    Figure 4

    Click on the Radio tab
    For the Radio Settings (Figure 5), set it up as shown below:
    • Hardware Type = SoftRock-IF
    • Audio IF = 9600 (calculated from the 9000 Hz PowerSDR IF + 600 Hz CW sidetone offset = 9600 Hz)
    • Sampling Rate = 96kHz (same sampling rate as Firewire hardware driver),
    • CW Pitch = 600 (same as the Pitch frequency in PowerSDR CW Mode Controls - see Figure 1)

    Figure 5

    Click on the CAT tab
    Select Use Radio 1 and click on the Configure... button

    For the Rig 1 Settings (Figure 6), set it up as shown below:
    • Rig Type = PowerSDR
    • Port = Com 7 (the other half of the virtual com port pair)
    • Baud Rate = 9600 (matches the PowerSDR CAT parameter)
    • Data Bits =8 (matches the PowerSDR CAT parameter)
    • parity = None (matches the PowerSDR CAT parameter)
    • Stop Bits = 1 (matches the PowerSDR CAT parameter)
    • RTS = High
    • DTR = High
    • Poll Int, ms = 500
    • Timeout, ms = 4000

    Figure 6

    CW Skimmer In Operation:




    This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

    An Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to open the file.You can download Adobe Acrobat from here.

    KB Source Document(s):

    None Referenced


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