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Blind Skimmer Option for Unassisted Categories

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  • bill_w4zv
    I ve used Skimmer, PowerSDR and Winrad waterfalls for some time now. I very much prefer Skimmer s display and rig interface. I find it very easy to click on
    Message 1 of 19 , Oct 21, 2008
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      I've used Skimmer, PowerSDR and Winrad waterfalls for some time now.
      I very much prefer Skimmer's display and rig interface. I find it
      very easy to click on the dots to send my K3 to exactly the right
      frequency (versus attempting to line up the crosshairs using PowerSDR)
      and then decode the signals by ear.

      I have no interest in using Skimmer's decoder since I normally operate
      in Unassisted categories, but I would really like an option to put
      Skimmer into a waterfall-only mode (i.e. no decoding). This might
      also relieve some of the CPU burden when using less than a 2 GHz machine.

      I suspect others might be interested in the same option. Alex, is
      there any chance you might consider such an option for those of us who
      love Skimmer's display and interface, but don't want to put ourselves
      into Assisted categories by using Skimmer as presently configured? Do
      any others feel the same?

      73, Bill W4ZV
    • Alex, VE3NEA
      Hi Bill, The Blind option has been requested by José CT1BOH and is currently being developed. 73 Alex VE3NEA ... From: bill_w4zv To:
      Message 2 of 19 , Oct 21, 2008
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        Hi Bill,

        The Blind option has been requested by José CT1BOH and is currently being
        developed.

        73 Alex VE3NEA



        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "bill_w4zv" <w0zv@...>
        To: <dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 11:12 AM
        Subject: [dxatlas] Blind Skimmer Option for Unassisted Categories


        I've used Skimmer, PowerSDR and Winrad waterfalls for some time now.
        I very much prefer Skimmer's display and rig interface. I find it
        very easy to click on the dots to send my K3 to exactly the right
        frequency (versus attempting to line up the crosshairs using PowerSDR)
        and then decode the signals by ear.

        I have no interest in using Skimmer's decoder since I normally operate
        in Unassisted categories, but I would really like an option to put
        Skimmer into a waterfall-only mode (i.e. no decoding). This might
        also relieve some of the CPU burden when using less than a 2 GHz machine.

        I suspect others might be interested in the same option. Alex, is
        there any chance you might consider such an option for those of us who
        love Skimmer's display and interface, but don't want to put ourselves
        into Assisted categories by using Skimmer as presently configured? Do
        any others feel the same?

        73, Bill W4ZV
      • bill_w4zv
        ... being ... Great news Alex! I hope you can get it done a little before the CQ WW CW at the end of November. Thanks for all your work with Skimmer and I
        Message 3 of 19 , Oct 21, 2008
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          --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "Alex, VE3NEA" <alshovk@...> wrote:
          >
          > The Blind option has been requested by José CT1BOH and is currently
          being
          > developed.

          Great news Alex! I hope you can get it done a little before the CQ WW
          CW at the end of November. Thanks for all your work with Skimmer and
          I believe this will be a great option for those of us who like your
          waterfall implementation but don't want the decoding. I assume you
          will also find a way to disable the "dot and dash" display in addition
          to the alphanumeric calls...all we really need are the encoder dots
          and maybe some indication of signal strength.

          73, Bill W4ZV
        • Graham
          Regarding future versions, what is the policy for existing registered users? I.e. register now or wait for a future version before registering to keep costs
          Message 4 of 19 , Oct 21, 2008
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            Regarding future versions, what is the policy for existing registered
            users? I.e. register now or wait for a future version before
            registering to keep costs down? I had a look around
            http://www.dxatlas.com/CwSkimmer/ but couldn't see any information on
            this.

            Normally I wouldn't worry too much but the pricing, while undoubtably
            worth it, is above my threshold for having a real think about this and
            getting XYL authorization :-o

            Also, am I right in thinking that CW Skimmer isn't ever going to
            integrate with Ham Radio Deluxe?

            Thanks,
            Graham G3ZOD


            --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "bill_w4zv" <w0zv@...> wrote:
            >
            > --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "Alex, VE3NEA" <alshovk@> wrote:
            > >
            > > The Blind option has been requested by José CT1BOH and is currently
            > being
            > > developed.
          • Alex, VE3NEA
            Hi Graham, All 1.xx upgrades are free for the registered users. Currently I have no plans re. v.2.0. CW Skimmer has an open programming interface, the authors
            Message 5 of 19 , Oct 21, 2008
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              Hi Graham,

              All 1.xx upgrades are free for the registered users. Currently I have no
              plans re. v.2.0.

              CW Skimmer has an open programming interface, the authors of other Ham
              software can integrate their products with the Skimmer with little effort.
              Please ask the author of HRD if he is interested in doing so.

              73 Alex VE3NEA




              ----- Original Message -----
              Regarding future versions, what is the policy for existing registered
              users? I.e. register now or wait for a future version before
              registering to keep costs down? I had a look around
              http://www.dxatlas.com/CwSkimmer/ but couldn't see any information on
              this.

              Normally I wouldn't worry too much but the pricing, while undoubtably
              worth it, is above my threshold for having a real think about this and
              getting XYL authorization :-o

              Also, am I right in thinking that CW Skimmer isn't ever going to
              integrate with Ham Radio Deluxe?

              Thanks,
              Graham G3ZOD
            • ct1boh
              Bill There is nothing wrong with havind the dot and dash on the waterfall display. If the operator reads the code on the display fine, it was him and not the
              Message 6 of 19 , Oct 22, 2008
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                Bill

                There is nothing wrong with havind the dot and dash on the waterfall
                display.

                If the operator "reads" the code on the display fine, it was him and
                not the decoder (i.e. the machine).

                The waterfall display of skimmer should stay as it is now. It is the
                text of the CW from the decoders that must be removed in the Blind
                Skimmer.

                Also a faster way to tune the lines in the display, represented by the
                dots and dashes is a must. Using the mouse to click on the lines, it's
                not the most eficient way in a contest. I have suggested to Alex, that
                the arrow up/arrow down buttons in the keybord would be the ideal way
                to move the radio frequency into the next adjacent signal represented
                by the circles next to the line of each signal with the dashes and dots.

                73
                José CT1BOH

                --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "bill_w4zv" <w0zv@...> wrote:
                >
                > --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "Alex, VE3NEA" <alshovk@> wrote:
                > >
                > > The Blind option has been requested by José CT1BOH and is currently
                > being
                > > developed.
                >
                > Great news Alex! I hope you can get it done a little before the CQ WW
                > CW at the end of November. Thanks for all your work with Skimmer and
                > I believe this will be a great option for those of us who like your
                > waterfall implementation but don't want the decoding. I assume you
                > will also find a way to disable the "dot and dash" display in addition
                > to the alphanumeric calls...all we really need are the encoder dots
                > and maybe some indication of signal strength.
                >
                > 73, Bill W4ZV
                >
              • Jarmo Blomster
                Hello Alex, ... I would like to examine the API you mention, can I find a description somewhere? 73 s oh8kva/jarmo
                Message 7 of 19 , Oct 22, 2008
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                  Hello Alex,

                  2008/10/21 Alex, VE3NEA <alshovk@...>:

                  > CW Skimmer has an open programming interface,

                  I would like to examine the API you mention, can I find a description somewhere?

                  73's oh8kva/jarmo
                • bill_w4zv
                  ... Jose and Alex, after thinking about this, I agree. This should also make implementation of the Blind option easier. ... Yes, but move up/down only to the
                  Message 8 of 19 , Oct 22, 2008
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                    --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "ct1boh" <ct1boh@...> wrote:

                    > There is nothing wrong with havind the dot and dash on the waterfall
                    > display.
                    >
                    > If the operator "reads" the code on the display fine, it was him and
                    > not the decoder (i.e. the machine).
                    >
                    > The waterfall display of skimmer should stay as it is now. It is the
                    > text of the CW from the decoders that must be removed in the Blind
                    > Skimmer.

                    Jose and Alex, after thinking about this, I agree. This should also
                    make implementation of the Blind option easier.

                    > Also a faster way to tune the lines in the display, represented by the
                    > dots and dashes is a must. Using the mouse to click on the lines, it's
                    > not the most eficient way in a contest. I have suggested to Alex, that
                    > the arrow up/arrow down buttons in the keybord would be the ideal way
                    > to move the radio frequency into the next adjacent signal represented
                    > by the circles next to the line of each signal with the dashes and dots.

                    Yes, but move up/down only to the *yellow* dots. The white ones are
                    often artifacts.

                    Good suggestions Jose!

                    73, Bill
                  • Graham
                    Hi Alex, thanks for the prompt replies. I successfully obtained XYL authorization (!) and have now registered before the UKP/US$ exchange rate gets any worse
                    Message 9 of 19 , Oct 22, 2008
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                      Hi Alex, thanks for the prompt replies. I successfully obtained XYL
                      authorization (!) and have now registered before the UKP/US$ exchange
                      rate gets any worse for us on this side of the Atlantic =:-O

                      Thanks also for the clarification on interfacing; I had an incorrect
                      mental model of the way things work and it's great to hear that in
                      fact the architecture is way better. I will raise a request in the
                      HRD BBS forum.

                      73 de Graham G3ZOD


                      --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "Alex, VE3NEA" <alshovk@...>
                      wrote:
                      > All 1.xx upgrades are free for the registered users. Currently I
                      have no
                      > plans re. v.2.0.
                      >
                      > CW Skimmer has an open programming interface, the authors of other
                      Ham
                      > software can integrate their products with the Skimmer with little
                      effort.
                      > Please ask the author of HRD if he is interested in doing so.
                      >
                      > 73 Alex VE3NEA
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > Regarding future versions, what is the policy for existing
                      registered
                      > users? I.e. register now or wait for a future version before
                      > registering to keep costs down? I had a look around
                      > http://www.dxatlas.com/CwSkimmer/ but couldn't see any information
                      on
                      > this.
                      >
                      > Normally I wouldn't worry too much but the pricing, while
                      undoubtably
                      > worth it, is above my threshold for having a real think about this
                      and
                      > getting XYL authorization :-o
                      >
                      > Also, am I right in thinking that CW Skimmer isn't ever going to
                      > integrate with Ham Radio Deluxe?
                      >
                      > Thanks,
                      > Graham G3ZOD
                    • Alex, VE3NEA
                      Hi Jarmo, There are two aspects of integration with CW Skimmer: sharing the CAT control of the radio and receiving the decoded callsigns. CW Skimmer uses the
                      Message 10 of 19 , Oct 22, 2008
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                        Hi Jarmo,

                        There are two aspects of integration with CW Skimmer: sharing the CAT
                        control of the radio and receiving the decoded callsigns. CW Skimmer uses
                        the
                        OmniRig engine for CAT control, this allows other programs to have
                        simultaneous access to CAT with CW Skimmer. OmniRig is freeware, its
                        specifications are provided at http://www.dxatlas.com/omnirig . The rest of
                        interfacing is done via the Telnet protocol. CW Skimmer sends its callsign
                        data via Telnet, but there is also a number of Telnet commands that allows
                        the clients to read and set the operating frequency of the Skimmer, and to
                        provide feedback on the status of the callsigns. These commands are
                        described in the CW Skimmer Help file, under Telnet.

                        73 Alex VE3NEA



                        ----- Original Message -----
                        > Hello Alex,
                        >> CW Skimmer has an open programming interface,
                        >
                        > I would like to examine the API you mention, can I find a description
                        > somewhere?
                        >
                        > 73's oh8kva/jarmo
                        >
                      • Jarmo Blomster
                        Ok Alex, I ll look it there, thanks.
                        Message 11 of 19 , Oct 22, 2008
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                          Ok Alex,

                          I'll look it there, thanks.
                        • Graham
                          Oops ... CW Skimmer and HRD work fine together once you know how to do the wiring (I need to make less assumptions and spend more time reading manuals /
                          Message 12 of 19 , Oct 22, 2008
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                            Oops ... CW Skimmer and HRD work fine together once you know how to do
                            the "wiring" (I need to make less assumptions and spend more time
                            reading manuals / searching!):

                            http://forums.ham-radio.ch/showpost.php?p=63620&postcount=7

                            73 de Graham G3ZOD


                            --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "Graham" <grahamg3zod@...> wrote:
                            > Also, am I right in thinking that CW Skimmer isn't ever going to
                            > integrate with Ham Radio Deluxe?
                          • rt_tclay
                            You know you can already use version 1.2 blind . Just close the callsign spot window, and resize the column where callsign labels appear to its minimum width.
                            Message 13 of 19 , Oct 29, 2008
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                              You know you can already use version 1.2 "blind". Just close the
                              callsign spot window, and resize the column where callsign labels
                              appear to its minimum width. Just put the mouse on the left edge of
                              that column and click/drag. Then there is nothing identifying the
                              callsigns.

                              There is still the decoder at the very bottom, but I don't think that
                              is really much use. Writelog has had a cw decoder for years and no
                              one complained about that. I suppose you could put a piece of tape
                              over that line if it really bothers you :)

                              Tor
                              N4OGW

                              --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "bill_w4zv" <w0zv@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "ct1boh" <ct1boh@> wrote:
                              >
                              > > There is nothing wrong with havind the dot and dash on the
                              waterfall
                              > > display.
                              > >
                              > > If the operator "reads" the code on the display fine, it was him
                              and
                              > > not the decoder (i.e. the machine).
                              > >
                              > > The waterfall display of skimmer should stay as it is now. It is
                              the
                              > > text of the CW from the decoders that must be removed in the
                              Blind
                              > > Skimmer.
                              >
                              > Jose and Alex, after thinking about this, I agree. This should also
                              > make implementation of the Blind option easier.
                              >
                              > > Also a faster way to tune the lines in the display, represented
                              by the
                              > > dots and dashes is a must. Using the mouse to click on the lines,
                              it's
                              > > not the most eficient way in a contest. I have suggested to Alex,
                              that
                              > > the arrow up/arrow down buttons in the keybord would be the ideal
                              way
                              > > to move the radio frequency into the next adjacent signal
                              represented
                              > > by the circles next to the line of each signal with the dashes
                              and dots.
                              >
                              > Yes, but move up/down only to the *yellow* dots. The white ones are
                              > often artifacts.
                              >
                              > Good suggestions Jose!
                              >
                              > 73, Bill
                              >
                            • rt_tclay
                              ... And further- you can hide the decoder at the bottom under the Windows task bar. Then it is completely blind... Being able to turn off all decoding would
                              Message 14 of 19 , Oct 30, 2008
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                                --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "rt_tclay" <rt_clay@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > You know you can already use version 1.2 "blind". Just close the
                                > callsign spot window, and resize the column where callsign labels
                                > appear to its minimum width. Just put the mouse on the left edge of
                                > that column and click/drag. Then there is nothing identifying the
                                > callsigns.
                                >
                                > There is still the decoder at the very bottom, but I don't think that
                                >

                                And further- you can hide the decoder at the bottom under the Windows
                                task bar. Then it is completely blind...

                                Being able to turn off all decoding would probably speed it up
                                considerably however.

                                Tor
                                N4OGW
                              • bill_w4zv
                                ... Maybe not minimum ...you still need the dots to be able to click on to send your receiver there. I m sure Alex will come up with something a little more
                                Message 15 of 19 , Oct 30, 2008
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                                  --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "rt_tclay" <rt_clay@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > You know you can already use version 1.2 "blind". Just close the
                                  > callsign spot window, and resize the column where callsign labels
                                  > appear to its minimum width.

                                  Maybe not "minimum"...you still need the dots to be able to click on
                                  to send your receiver there. I'm sure Alex will come up with
                                  something a little more elegant which has no possibility of
                                  disqualification for the unassisted category.

                                  73, Bill
                                • rt_tclay
                                  I don t understand...I just click on a signal in the waterfall display. It tunes the receiver there. You don t have to click on a dot. Yes, sometimes I have to
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Oct 30, 2008
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                                    I don't understand...I just click on a signal in the waterfall
                                    display. It tunes the receiver there. You don't have to click on a
                                    dot. Yes, sometimes I have to touch up the tuning with the radio knob,
                                    but with a little practice you get very close.

                                    Also, the dots still do show up, so you can click on those if you
                                    want. The minimum resize width is not zero, but seems to be just
                                    enough to keep the dots.

                                    Try it, just resizing the column eliminates all the text display but
                                    the dots are kept.

                                    Tor
                                    N4OGW

                                    --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "bill_w4zv" <w0zv@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, "rt_tclay" <rt_clay@> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > You know you can already use version 1.2 "blind". Just close the
                                    > > callsign spot window, and resize the column where callsign labels
                                    > > appear to its minimum width.
                                    >
                                    > Maybe not "minimum"...you still need the dots to be able to click on
                                    > to send your receiver there. I'm sure Alex will come up with
                                    > something a little more elegant which has no possibility of
                                    > disqualification for the unassisted category.
                                    >
                                    > 73, Bill
                                    >
                                  • rt_tclay
                                    It can also be argued that clicking on dots in the present version of Skimmer (even if callsigns are hidden) should fall in the assisted class. Why?
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Oct 30, 2008
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                                      It can also be argued that "clicking on dots" in the present version
                                      of Skimmer (even if callsigns are hidden) should fall in the
                                      "assisted" class. Why? Because the color of the dots indicates
                                      something about whether Skimmer has decoded and/or verified a call.

                                      So an "unassisted" mode would need to remove any coloring from the dots.

                                      I don't see anything wrong with just having the waterfall going, with
                                      dots and text hidden.

                                      It would be however possible to distinguish between a carrier and a
                                      real cw signal based on statistics (signal variability) and not text
                                      decoding.

                                      Tor
                                      N4OGW
                                    • rt_tclay
                                      It can also be argued that clicking on dots in the present version of Skimmer (even if callsigns are hidden) should fall in the assisted class. Why?
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Oct 30, 2008
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                                        It can also be argued that "clicking on dots" in the present version
                                        of Skimmer (even if callsigns are hidden) should fall in the
                                        "assisted" class. Why? Because the color of the dots indicates
                                        something about whether Skimmer has decoded and/or verified a call.

                                        So an "unassisted" mode would need to remove any coloring from the dots.

                                        I don't see anything wrong with just having the waterfall going, with
                                        dots and text hidden.

                                        It would be however possible to distinguish between a carrier and a
                                        real cw signal based on statistics (signal variability) and not text
                                        decoding.

                                        Tor
                                        N4OGW
                                      • Dave Baxter
                                        Just an observation on this thread. With Skimmer in Blind mode, I don t see much difference then, compared to if you had Spectran (or any other spectrum
                                        Message 19 of 19 , Oct 31, 2008
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                                          Just an observation on this thread.

                                          With Skimmer in "Blind" mode, I don't see much difference then, compared
                                          to if you had Spectran (or any other spectrum waterfall display program)
                                          showing, other than you can click on a signal to tune the radio.

                                          Some would no doubt say that feature was "an assistance" too (click to
                                          tune) There again, I'm not a contesting type these days (been there,
                                          done that etc).. And I'm sure the purists would say that having any
                                          sort of bandspread spectrum/waterfall display showing adjacent stations
                                          was an unfair advantage.

                                          As an aside, I just wish the contesters would keep the beacon
                                          allocations clear +- 100Hz or so of a weekend. Here in the UK, 20m in
                                          particular often has overseas CW, RTTY, even SSB stations working right
                                          next to (within 10Hz) or on top of the beacons. If you listen with mk1
                                          ear-ole, it's plain to see (hear) that they cannot even hear other
                                          people calling them, so they probably cant hear the beacons.

                                          The quality of some contest signals has to be questioned too, if it's
                                          not sat directly on top of 14.100, the splatter or sproggies get you,
                                          often from something 10's of kHz away! I'm fairly happy the RX is OK
                                          (TS870s with attenuation and AIP on etc) as it's not just some of the
                                          "big" signals that are bad, many of the less than S9 signals are
                                          appalling too!

                                          Still, even under those conditions, Faros (subject change) seems to do a
                                          remarkable job detecting the presence of a distance beacon that I can't
                                          even hear through the mayhem. OK so Faros seems to work OK, that is
                                          when the big signals don't depress the radio's AGC too much. I have the
                                          rig screwed down to 100Hz bandwidth, and even then it's a problem at
                                          times.

                                          Each to their own..

                                          73.

                                          Dave G0WBX.



                                          > __________
                                          > 1f. Re: Blind Skimmer Option for Unassisted Categories
                                          > Posted by: "rt_tclay" rt_clay@... rt_tclay
                                          > Date: Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:10 am ((PDT))
                                          >
                                          > It can also be argued that "clicking on dots" in the present version
                                          > of Skimmer (even if callsigns are hidden) should fall in the
                                          > "assisted" class. Why? Because the color of the dots indicates
                                          > something about whether Skimmer has decoded and/or verified a call.
                                          >
                                          > So an "unassisted" mode would need to remove any coloring
                                          > from the dots.
                                          >
                                          > I don't see anything wrong with just having the waterfall going, with
                                          > dots and text hidden.
                                          >
                                          > It would be however possible to distinguish between a carrier and a
                                          > real cw signal based on statistics (signal variability) and not text
                                          > decoding.
                                          >
                                          > Tor
                                          > N4OGW
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