Sunday, February 8, 2015

A new DXing gizmo from W2RF

As you can tell I like my DXing.  I also like my software to give me versatility in my DXing.  Ed W2RF developed the SDR-Bridge software that joins several programs together.  It tightly integrates the Flex 6K radios with CWSkimmer, Writelog, VE7CC into a logging and contest program extraordinaire.  My typical set up for contests and big DX is 2 open panadapters, 2 open skimmers, and a logbook and spot program.

With the SDR-Bridge program I am able to link Skimmer with basically a full view of the entire K1N 15M pileup.

In slice A you can see K1N's freq.  This corresponds to the upper panadapter and the right skimmerfall.  In slice B is where my transmitter is parked.  This corresponds to the lower panadapter and the left skimmer fall.  Once I tune in the DX I lock that slice so if I click the wrong thing nothing changes my RX freq.  I can change my TX freq simply by clicking the lower panadapter, or by clicking on the leftward skimmerfall.  The advantage of this setup is you have 2 skimmers  decoding the band and you can set up skimmer B, when combined with skimmer A so you can view and decode about 25 khz of a pileup.  The 2 skimmers decode independently so you get a larger subset of call signs decoded and gives you a better chance of discovering the freq of the station the DX is calling.  A distinct advantage in one of these huge pileups.   If the pileup runs to greater than 25khz no problemo.  You simply click Skimmerfall B to a higher freq

Now I am looking at the highest upper end of the pileup.  If you click the pic and look closely you see a whole bunch of 599 around 21.029.  This means K1N is working people near this freq.  The 23 khz between 21.029 and 21.006 are at the moment irrelevant as far as the DX is concerned.    If 599's start showing up lower than 21.029 it means the DX has started listening down the band as in this shot

The 6300 allows for varying the amount of spectrum displayed on a given panadapter

Simply by grabbing the freq bar (see the cursor in slice B) you can expand or contract the amount of band displayed at will.  When you move this, the waterfall tracks along as well (very useful for example on 6M when you are trying to see if the band is open and you see a white blicp.  Click and you are on freq).  While VERY powerful setting everything to get this takes a bit of time.  You have to call up 2 skimmers (SDR-Bridge does this for you by checking a box) adjust which slice is transmit, adjust panadapter bandwidth, set up the DAX channels etc.  So what about a smaller pileup?

Ed has developed a system usingSDR-Bridge to display the TX and RX info on one panadapter

Here is K1N on 20  

Much smaller pileup  

I would still like the ability to click around the pileup so I set things up like this

I hit +RX in the most leftward flag on the panadapter and a second VFO slice opens on the screen.  I then right click Slice A in SDR-Bridge and the little popup appears and I hit split

Immediately I can click anywhere on the skimmer fall to change my TX freq when split is checked and zero in on where my quarry is listening.  Super efficient.  Last night there was a little 10 guy pileup on KG4HI on 160.  He was there for only a couple minutes.  I click +RX and turned on a second VFO slice right clicked split on SDR-Bridge, zeroed my TX freq with a skimmer click, gave him a call and he was in the log.  Took me a lot longer to type this than do it!  2 calls later he was QRT.  If I had to do all the setup like I did for the 15M K1N op above, he would not be in my log.  My thanks to W2RF for his hard work in setting up this new method to rapidly deploy my DX weapon.  I only have 2 panadapters in the 6300, but in the 6700 with 2 SCU's you can run basically 2 DX weapons out of one computer window on different bands.  So you can work the split on 2 bands of K1N at once.  Like you could work 15 and 20 essentially simultaneously.  Let that bubble around in your cerebral saucepan for a minute or 2 Kemosabbe!  Last but not least I can open a second panadapter and watch the band or another band like 6 meters while I'm working DX using the SDR-Bridge method because it frees up a panadapter for another use

73  W9OY