Posts Tagged ‘Software’

Time to update!

Today was my time to sit down at the PC and check out what amateur radio programs needed updating........now this has always lead me into a computer/software adventure. I use the word "adventure" loosely as it's more like a grey hair adventure. The programs I planned to tackle were:
                    - N1MM+ my contesting program
                    - WSJT-X my digi program
                    - JTDX my digi program I am testing out to see if I like it over WSJT-X
                    - Amateur contact log my logging program and sometime contest program
                    - WSJT-X JTAlert 
                    - Win4icom my Icom 7610 radio control program
                    -  Win4K3 my Elecraft KX3 radio control program

After I had finished with all that excitement it was then time to do a Windows update (running windows 7 64 bit pro), virus software which is Bitedefender and  malware software which is Malwarebytes.

The first program I tackled was N1MM+ contest program and this was one program I have updated many times in the past without issue. I thought this would be a nice place to start off the whole process. I had everything updated and install. When I started the program I was greeted with the message below on my PC.
It read "The remote server returned an error (404) Not found" so it would seem for some reason the great option this programs offers that it looks for new updates to the program and it informs you has an issue. I am  not sure if this is my issue or one with N1MM+ site. I will be later today posting on the N1MM+ user site for further info.
I then moved onto Win4icom radio control program for it's latest and greatest! All downloaded just fine and then when I started the program all was well and it connected with my rig no problem. I then tried to connect my logging program and Win4icom was not able to connect to it. I then went to the settings page of Win4icom and was greeted with the message below:
All of my Aux/CAT ports were now blank but fortunately this has happened to me in the past and  I now keep track of the port assignments. This was not a big deal but it still takes time to redo the whole deal.
My next task was to upgrade WSJT-X to the latest and greatest 2.1.0 rc7 and once done and I started it for the first time I was greeted with the message below:
In a nut shell it was telling me (which I knew) that this program was a per-release version but also (which I did not know) this program was not going to run this weekend. Since I wanted to see  how all my programs were getting along this was not going to do. So I just uninstalled this program BUT it seemed to uninstall ALL my previous WSJT-X programs so it was time to start from scratch and install the version I was using. Fortunately the DLL file was in-tacked and all my settings were loading and I was up and running in no time.
To keep track of my ports, order of program start up and some common problem fixes I have post it notes on the PC desktop.
 Win4k3 was very smooth but it has never been setup to communicate with any other programs at this point it just a stand alone program that controls my Elecraft KX3. WSJT-X JTAlert was the smoothest off all the programs to update.  The windows updates, malware update and scan and the bitedefender scan went off without a hitch. I was going to type that I was "all set to go" BUT software can be a funny thing and so I am just going to just leave to a warm fuzzy feeling inside and that's it.

Ham Radio Deluxe 6.4.0.794 Released

I just received some good news from Mike, WA9PIE.  He writes in an email:

The first release of Ham Radio Deluxe for 2018 (Ham Radio Deluxe version 6.4.0.794) is now available for download. Please download it from the Download pages on our website at:

www.Ham-Radio-Deluxe.com

This release includes a number of important changes including the addition of the Icom IC-7610, resolves a Logbook exit problem, resolves “sort on LOTW date”, API for QSO Forwarding now populates Logbook with My Station data, a number of fixes for the Kenwood TS-480, applications remember screen position, enable CI-V address to be entered directly, and a number of stability enhancements.

The full release notes can be found here:

http://ReleaseNotes.Ham-Radio-Deluxe.com

I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Blaszczak (K7ZCZ) and our beta team on their hard work in getting this release out.

All those who have purchased Ham Radio Deluxe at any time in the past should download and install this version in order to benefit from all bug fixes. You are entitled to them. Our clients who are covered by an active Software Maintenance and Support period are entitled to Feature Enhancements.

As announced previously, we expect to release as many as 9 releases in 2018. There will be no releases between 1-Nov and 1-Jan. We continue to focus on reducing our development backlog with five developers dedicated to all applications in the suite.

Please watch these newsletters for updates. Pass these updates along to your friends. Newsletters will also be posted on our website’s blog at:

https://www.Ham-Radio-Deluxe.com/blog

Thank you es 73 de Mike, WA9PIE

HRD Software, LLC

Software

The brouhaha du jour in amateur radio is the Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) blacklisting scandal, for lack of a better term.  For those who haven’t read about this, you can get details over on Reddit here, here, and here.  The TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) version of this is that HRD has been blacklisting customers who wrote negative reviews of their software.  The blacklisting manifested itself as denied support or disabled software.  As if that wasn’t enough, there are nasty tweets, threats of lawsuits, other bad stories about customer support, and even an excuse that the lack of judgement was caused by a prime employee suffering from diabetes and misadjusted prescriptions.  I’m not going to rehash the whole drama as you can follow the various links to get the lowdown.  (The one ham site that goes by three letters has 60 pages and counting of crowdbashing, and for once, rightfully so).

While the HRD allegations are pretty heinous, this sort of bad behavior in the amateur radio software world isn’t new or unique.  I’ve experienced it from various individuals and camps. I encountered a freeware logging software forum with a toxic culture where people openly and privately ridiculed others seeking support, and the software author condoned the culture with his silence.  Another freeware software suite has an openly arrogant software creator, with an ego the size of the moon.  He claimed his development process was essentially infallible, despite his user interface having flaws that a novice software development student could easily identify.  A freeware contest logging development team refused to give me any assistance in the workings of a protocol their software supports.  I was told I should go buy a commercial device that supported the protocol rather than attempting to write code to emulate it, because the device was cheap and they didn’t support homebrew endeavors.

For some reason, too many amateur radio software authors think offering free software to the community affords them the privilege of being arrogant to users.  How this apparent culture was created within a company profiting financially from sale and support of software, like HRD, is puzzling.  However, the HRD story illustrates in spades the problem of “free-as-in-beer” software.  HRD was originally offered by its creator as freeware.  Several years ago the source code was purchased by a commercial interest and it’s been commercially licensed software ever since.  If the project would have been open sourced rather than sold, support and development of the product would not have been dependent on one entity.  While freeware authors appear to be benefitting the amateur radio community, in the long term their refusal to open source their creations is detrimental to amateur radio as the community is left with software that gets sold, unsupported, or at the mercy of the whims or incompetencies of a single party.

This article was originally posted on Radio Artisan.

Boy am I rusty!!

The LZ CW contest was on this weekend and the exchange the DX stations have to give out are similar to the exchanges in the CQ WW DX CW contest which is on next weekend. This gave me the idea of sitting down at the rig on Saturday to see how my contest copy skills were coming along. The propagation was good, sunspots were not so great but the band was very busy with DX and North American stations. Before I started I had to be honest with myself that my contest practice times have been far and few. Two weeks ago I started my Morse Runner software program and went to the LWCO.net code practice site to get my ears back in tune with the CW contest music!! As the old saying goes "if you don't use it you loose it" I defiantly noticed that my contest copy speed is not the same as it was in the past. I have only myself to blame in that I have not been on the air both with QSO's, contests as well as practicing with the 2 above mentioned CW programs. Now instead of this experience getting me discouraged it has encouraged me to get back up in the saddle and move in a positive direction. But I did find that just a short time away I can get really rusty!

Boy am I rusty!!

The LZ CW contest was on this weekend and the exchange the DX stations have to give out are similar to the exchanges in the CQ WW DX CW contest which is on next weekend. This gave me the idea of sitting down at the rig on Saturday to see how my contest copy skills were coming along. The propagation was good, sunspots were not so great but the band was very busy with DX and North American stations. Before I started I had to be honest with myself that my contest practice times have been far and few. Two weeks ago I started my Morse Runner software program and went to the LWCO.net code practice site to get my ears back in tune with the CW contest music!! As the old saying goes "if you don't use it you loose it" I defiantly noticed that my contest copy speed is not the same as it was in the past. I have only myself to blame in that I have not been on the air both with QSO's, contests as well as practicing with the 2 above mentioned CW programs. Now instead of this experience getting me discouraged it has encouraged me to get back up in the saddle and move in a positive direction. But I did find that just a short time away I can get really rusty!

Comparing two CW decoding programs.

LY3H CW decoder logic program

MRP40 compared to CW decoder logic by LY3H

MRP40                                                                       CW decoder
1. Decodes all speeds up to 60wpm                            Decodes but not mention top decode speed.
2. Has good documentation                                         No documentation
3. Auto tracking very smooth                                      Auto tracking hunts between long letter spaces
4. Text formatting-format mode works great              Only option is manual or auto decode
5. Will not decode when APF is on                             Will de-code when using APF
6. Great weak signal decode S1 and below                 Poor weak signal de-code (not using APF)
7. Great email support                                                 Upgrades come out regularly
8. See's noise as code sends radium letters                  Only sends letters not radium noise as code
9. Does have save QSO but awkward to use.             Just added cut and paste QSO to word or clipboard
10. Has “always on top” option                                  Just added “always on top” option.
11. Added a mini log book                                          No log book as of yet 
12. You can send code                                                At this time only able to read code                                                     
A more in-depth look at some of the above comparisons:
A)   Auto tracking- When wanting to decode a CW signal it helps when the program can lock onto a signal. MRP40 will lock onto a CW signal and stay locked on. CW decoder on the other hand once the CW signal stops or has long gap between letter the program starts to hunt small segments on either side of the CW signal for other CW signals. Once the code starts again CW decoder has to relock onto it and you lose some decoding. If slow code is sent you are in a battle of lock and relock of the code.
B)   Text formatting options- with MRP40 you have the option on how you want to decode.
- Correct word spacing…..this will attempt to add spacing between decoded words even if sender is running them together.
- Expand abbreviations…..KN, AR and DE to mention a few.
- Expand Q codes…self-explanatory.
        
Both of these programs do the job of decoding CW very well, you have more options and customization option with MRP40. CW decoder logic is very easy to setup and in no time you are decoding CW. I have not had a chance to compare both programs in a CW contest situation. The major drawback to each program is…..

MRP40…….no matter what test formatting option I used the program when idling would send radium code as it listened to static were as CW decoder logic would not.

CW decoder Logic……when the receiving code stopped the program would start “hunting” for other CW signals. This created two issues, the first being if you are decoding slow code I found the program between letters words would start to hunt. When it does this it bounces back and forth from decoding and hunting and your decode is not reliable. The second is if I second CW op appears close to the op you are decoding the program will bounce between the two QSO’s.
The major positive of each program is…..

MRP40…..it will decode CW that is almost down at the noise floor and do a great job of it too.

CW decoder Logic……it will not send random letters when it is not decoding and does a great job of adding the breaks between words and not running them together. Also this program is free.

These code programs will always decode what is sent so you must consider if you are reading odd words and letters it may have to do with poor code sending. CW signals that are close to each other (CW contesting) if your rig cannot filter out the one CW signal your decoder will be confused. CW decoder by LY3H free. MRP40 will cost you 50.00 Euro.
You can download MRP40 HERE and you can download  CW decoder Logic HERE
The picture to the left shows MRP40 trying to decode static. 
The picture to the left shows CW decoder Logic and the nice spacing with very few static decodes.

Comparing two CW decoding programs.

LY3H CW decoder logic program

MRP40 compared to CW decoder logic by LY3H

MRP40                                                                       CW decoder
1. Decodes all speeds up to 60wpm                            Decodes but not mention top decode speed.
2. Has good documentation                                         No documentation
3. Auto tracking very smooth                                      Auto tracking hunts between long letter spaces
4. Text formatting-format mode works great              Only option is manual or auto decode
5. Will not decode when APF is on                             Will de-code when using APF
6. Great weak signal decode S1 and below                 Poor weak signal de-code (not using APF)
7. Great email support                                                 Upgrades come out regularly
8. See's noise as code sends radium letters                  Only sends letters not radium noise as code
9. Does have save QSO but awkward to use.             Just added cut and paste QSO to word or clipboard
10. Has “always on top” option                                  Just added “always on top” option.
11. Added a mini log book                                          No log book as of yet 
12. You can send code                                                At this time only able to read code                                                     
A more in-depth look at some of the above comparisons:
A)   Auto tracking- When wanting to decode a CW signal it helps when the program can lock onto a signal. MRP40 will lock onto a CW signal and stay locked on. CW decoder on the other hand once the CW signal stops or has long gap between letter the program starts to hunt small segments on either side of the CW signal for other CW signals. Once the code starts again CW decoder has to relock onto it and you lose some decoding. If slow code is sent you are in a battle of lock and relock of the code.
B)   Text formatting options- with MRP40 you have the option on how you want to decode.
- Correct word spacing…..this will attempt to add spacing between decoded words even if sender is running them together.
- Expand abbreviations…..KN, AR and DE to mention a few.
- Expand Q codes…self-explanatory.
        
Both of these programs do the job of decoding CW very well, you have more options and customization option with MRP40. CW decoder logic is very easy to setup and in no time you are decoding CW. I have not had a chance to compare both programs in a CW contest situation. The major drawback to each program is…..

MRP40…….no matter what test formatting option I used the program when idling would send radium code as it listened to static were as CW decoder logic would not.

CW decoder Logic……when the receiving code stopped the program would start “hunting” for other CW signals. This created two issues, the first being if you are decoding slow code I found the program between letters words would start to hunt. When it does this it bounces back and forth from decoding and hunting and your decode is not reliable. The second is if I second CW op appears close to the op you are decoding the program will bounce between the two QSO’s.
The major positive of each program is…..

MRP40…..it will decode CW that is almost down at the noise floor and do a great job of it too.

CW decoder Logic……it will not send random letters when it is not decoding and does a great job of adding the breaks between words and not running them together. Also this program is free.

These code programs will always decode what is sent so you must consider if you are reading odd words and letters it may have to do with poor code sending. CW signals that are close to each other (CW contesting) if your rig cannot filter out the one CW signal your decoder will be confused. CW decoder by LY3H free. MRP40 will cost you 50.00 Euro.
You can download MRP40 HERE and you can download  CW decoder Logic HERE
The picture to the left shows MRP40 trying to decode static. 
The picture to the left shows CW decoder Logic and the nice spacing with very few static decodes.

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