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eHam Forums => Software Defined Radio => Topic started by: G4PNX on June 30, 2011, 07:19:42 AM



Title: An exercise in futility
Post by: G4PNX on June 30, 2011, 07:19:42 AM
Congratulations go to Flex Radio Systems today 30 June 2011.

The number of Enhancement Requests in the Submitted and Plan to Implement categories reaches a staggering 600 requests dating back to 8th March 2006 (No 83).

The response was 'many of these kind of per band, per mode, etc functionalities will be built into the next generation console'.

The Jam Tomorrow Factory has been working overtime ever since.

G4PNX


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on June 30, 2011, 08:28:35 AM
Congratulations go to Flex Radio Systems today 30 June 2011.

The number of Enhancement Requests in the Submitted and Plan to Implement categories reaches a staggering 600 requests dating back to 8th March 2006 (No 83).

The response was 'many of these kind of per band, per mode, etc functionalities will be built into the next generation console'.

The Jam Tomorrow Factory has been working overtime ever since.

G4PNX

Forgive me but I don't understand what you wrote. Are you complaining about how many enhancement requests is on the books for Flex? Hey, we are all waiting for our favorite "improvement". I know there are three or four key things that I want to see.

I think that a lot are not possible using the current software architecture, i.e. PowerSDR. It is going to take a new design to make it possible to do many of the things I want.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: G4PNX on June 30, 2011, 08:57:32 AM
New Architecture (first announced in Dec 2006), V2.0, Deep Impact...call it what you like.

It will probably be called something else next year...and the year after...and the year after, etc etc.

FRS has squandered the significant lead they had and will pay a very heavy price for it over the next couple of years when Japan gets its act together.

G4PNX

functionalities will be built into the next generation console'.

G4PNX


I thought that is what they said about version 2.0?

Stan K9IUQ



Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on June 30, 2011, 09:29:20 AM
Re: New Architecture (first announced in Dec 2006), V2.0, Deep Impact...

DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!  ::) ::) ::)

Gene

[My New Sig]
--------------------------------
A few months ago while using my Flex-5000a I was in a QSO with another Ham who was also using his Flex-5000a.  He was running approximately 800 watts out on 40meters.  While transmitting he opened the transmit equalizer dialog box.  He had been just a few minutes earlier extolling the virtues of the Flex-5000a and PowerSDR in general to a crowd of guys listening.  He wanted to demonstrate how nice it was to have a built-in transmit equalizer. In mid sentence either his PowerSDR or Windows locked up and all I heard was a stuttering "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." for like 30 seconds.  I seriously thought the poor guy was having a stroke or seizure!  No kidding.  On my spectrum display I could see that he suddenly was splattering at least 20 kHz up and down the band causing interference to all those around us with his 800 watts of "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ...".  After about 5 minutes, he came back on the air to explain what had happened.  He finally had to resort to pulling the power to stop the stuttering loop that the computer had gone into.

It was the funniest and most pitiful thing that I have ever heard live on the air.  I can still hear and laugh about the half a minute of wide band, 800 watt "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." noises today.  I felt bad for him as he said it was one of the most embarrassing moments in his 40+ years of Hamming.
--------------------------------


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: K0OD on June 30, 2011, 10:43:00 AM
Enhancement requests to the SDR-1000. Flex5000A, Flex-5000C, Flex-1500, Flex-3000, the VU5K vhf/uhf converter. 2nd receiver, the tuner, the built-in monitor scope, band scope, customizable  filters, rare modes, diversity, out-of the-box FMT features, etc

Flex isn't one radio; it's a line of products. Flex offers features that can't be enhanced on other radios because they don't exist on other radios.

One FMT fan is lobbying to have the F5K provide readout to a tenth of a Hertz. I'd like to have calibrated QRPp ability. No one even thinks of requesting such features on other radios.

 



Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on June 30, 2011, 12:00:46 PM
And people ask for these improvements because Flex listens and puts them in. No, not everything is going to get in but something is. I have even had Flex install a feature that I requested.

Ever ask Yaesu for an improvement to a radio you already purchased?

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: W6RMK on June 30, 2011, 12:10:40 PM
Perhaps it's the "plan to implement" aspect...

I don't think anyone would gripe about "request for enhancement" list being long.

It's the "sure, we'll do that, real soon now" aspect that probably gets some fraction of folks perturbed. 

I figure that there's some percentage of buyers who buy on the basis of optimistic assumption that their particular "gotta have" feature will materialize in some moderately short time (say <1 yr).  After all, if the gotta have isn't available anywhere else, you figure that buying the hardware now will help the mfr move forward (essentially, it's a form of "investing in the future").

Eventually, though, they realize that "plan to implement" or "plan to provide" is always "next year".

Hey, Flex are rookies at the whole ham software/ham hardware business.  They've got plenty of optimism, and not a lot of realism.  They are getting better at not promising the future.  And, to be fair to them, there's nobody else in the market that is any better: just how many mass market (say >1000 units sold) user modifiable SDRs are there?   The USRP is probably the only other one with that kind of volume, and it's selling into a totally different market.


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: N9RO on June 30, 2011, 01:21:27 PM
If we EVER see a new architecture I believe it will be when Flex begins charging us all for new software.  See http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2010-May/003912.html
Can you spell $$$?

73, Tim
N9RO


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: G4PNX on June 30, 2011, 01:47:39 PM
To be able to sell their software it will need to be World Class. That requirement alone will preclude Flex Radio.

G4PNX

If we EVER see a new architecture I believe it will be when Flex begins charging us all for new software.  See http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2010-May/003912.html
Can you spell $$$?

73, Tim
N9RO


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on June 30, 2011, 01:59:39 PM
It is definitely in Flex's plans to go completely closed source and to start to charge money for the software.  It is just a matter of time.  Anyone who follows the Flex reflector will have seen this coming if they were paying attention.

Gene

[My New Sig]
--------------------------------
A few months ago while using my Flex-5000a I was in a QSO with another Ham who was also using his Flex-5000a.  He was running approximately 800 watts out on 40meters.  While transmitting he opened the transmit equalizer dialog box.  He had been just a few minutes earlier extolling the virtues of the Flex-5000a and PowerSDR in general to a crowd of guys listening.  He wanted to demonstrate how nice it was to have a built-in transmit equalizer. In mid sentence either his PowerSDR or Windows locked up and all I heard was a stuttering "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." for like 30 seconds.  I seriously thought the poor guy was having a stroke or seizure!  No kidding.  On my spectrum display I could see that he suddenly was splattering at least 20 kHz up and down the band causing interference to all those around us with his 800 watts of "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ...".  After about 5 minutes, he came back on the air to explain what had happened.  He finally had to resort to pulling the power to stop the stuttering loop that the computer had gone into.

It was the funniest and most pitiful thing that I have ever heard live on the air.  I can still hear and laugh about the half a minute of wide band, 800 watt "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." noises today.  I felt bad for him as he said it was one of the most embarrassing moments in his 40+ years of Hamming.
--------------------------------


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: W6RMK on June 30, 2011, 07:28:40 PM
Some aspects of going closed source would be challenging.  the DSP core of PSDR is GPL.  The existing PSDR is GPL. In order to do it right, Flex would have to do a clean room development, preferably in a totally different language, a'la Phoenix BIOS in the 80s, to avoid allegations of "contamination".  I just don't see that happening.

The other way in which you might get new software is if Flex were to publish decent documentation for their hardware interfaces, so that someone else might create software that could run on the Flex platform.  This too, is quite challenging.  I do not know (not being privy to Flex's software development processes), but I'm going to bet that the interfaces are mostly defined by code that talks to them, and documented by tribal knowledge on the part of the person who wrote the code. 

A few years ago, I made a start at reverse engineering the interface between PSDR and the micro inside the F5K, but it's a tough row to hoe.



Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 01, 2011, 05:10:04 AM
Some aspects of going closed source would be challenging.  the DSP core of PSDR is GPL.  The existing PSDR is GPL. In order to do it right, Flex would have to do a clean room development, preferably in a totally different language, a'la Phoenix BIOS in the 80s, to avoid allegations of "contamination".  I just don't see that happening.

All it would take is for the DttSP authors to grant a different license to Flex.  There are only two authors, N4HY and AB2KT, according to the DttSP header files, so I am sure that it can be arranged.  They are both listed as being already on the Flex radio Team on Flex's website.  The same for PowerSDR as long as they get all people who contributed to agree.    I doubt that will happen with PowerSDR, but they can easily incorporate a non-GPL DttSP into their Deep Impact or whatever they are calling it now.

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: W6RMK on July 01, 2011, 07:12:16 AM
There have been other contributors to dttsp, although Frank and Bob are the main ones.  You'd have to go through the commit/SVN logs to find them all.   (and those logs might turn out to be unavailable).  There's also the possibility of other sticky intellectual property things.. say you have a discussion on a mailing list or forum about ways to implement something: multiple people contribute to the discussion, on the assumption that it is winding up as open source/GPL, and therefore do not seek explicit acknowledgement of their contribution, nor do they formally assign the rights.  After all, it's not like you are going to make money directly from it: you get your satisfaction from a)the discussion and b)the reputation from having a product out there.  True, the actual "typing of the characters" might be done by someone else, but your intellectual product is in there.

Now, someone closes the source and starts to make serious money.  A discussion contributor might have been fine with contributing to the general knowledge of mankind, but might not be so wild about contributing to a specific person's wealth.

I'm not sure it's so easy to de-GPL something, but you could be right.. I haven't given a lot of thought to how it might be done.

The other thing is that, even if they did just take the current thing and close it, it's unlikely anyone would go to the trouble of suing.  There would be fulminations and screeds on the forums, but that's about it.


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 01, 2011, 09:11:00 AM
There have been other contributors to dttsp, although Frank and Bob are the main ones.  You'd have to go through the commit/SVN logs to find them all.   (and those logs might turn out to be unavailable).  There's also the possibility of other sticky intellectual property things.. say you have a discussion on a mailing list or forum about ways to implement something: multiple people contribute to the discussion, on the assumption that it is winding up as open source/GPL, and therefore do not seek explicit acknowledgement of their contribution, nor do they formally assign the rights.  After all, it's not like you are going to make money directly from it: you get your satisfaction from a)the discussion and b)the reputation from having a product out there.  True, the actual "typing of the characters" might be done by someone else, but your intellectual product is in there.

Now, someone closes the source and starts to make serious money.  A discussion contributor might have been fine with contributing to the general knowledge of mankind, but might not be so wild about contributing to a specific person's wealth.

I'm not sure it's so easy to de-GPL something, but you could be right.. I haven't given a lot of thought to how it might be done.

The other thing is that, even if they did just take the current thing and close it, it's unlikely anyone would go to the trouble of suing.  There would be fulminations and screeds on the forums, but that's about it.

Looking through the DttSP code, the only copyrights are for N4HY and AB2KT.  There is not a mention or any comment about anyone else contributing or even making changes to the code.  It would only take N4HY and AB2KT to agree to different licensing terms than GPL.  Flex would then be free to develop the rest of their Deep Impact code around DttSP as the DSP engine without having to make it open source provided they don't use any other GPL code.  They could always use LGPL code if they wanted to.

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 01, 2011, 12:48:19 PM
It is definitely in Flex's plans to go completely closed source and to start to charge money for the software.
So you are now a Flex insider and know what they are definitely going to do? You are officially speaking for Flex now?

WRT new software, I can certainly see Flex taking the hardware-specific pieces closed. In fact, due to their purchase of driver code from third parties, that is effectively where they are now.

But even if they make some of the core pieces closed, if they publish an API we can still hope to be able to extend the next generation of Flex software with plug-in CODECs.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: W6RMK on July 01, 2011, 01:59:35 PM

Looking through the DttSP code, the only copyrights are for N4HY and AB2KT.  There is not a mention or any comment about anyone else contributing or even making changes to the code. 
The requirement for marking went away some years ago.  It's necessary if you want to collect statutory damages in some cases.  There's lots of copyrighted works with no indication of who the authors were, which makes the licensing "due diligence" tough to do, unless the licensor offers some sort of indemnification.

There's also the problem of something that's been sold.  I have lots of books marked as copyright some publisher or another, and that publisher has long since ceased to exist, but the copyright has been transferred.

--> take home message.. you can't rely on markings to know who owns the copyright

Quote
It would only take N4HY and AB2KT to agree to different licensing terms than GPL.  Flex would then be free to develop the rest of their Deep Impact code around DttSP as the DSP engine without having to make it open source provided they don't use any other GPL code.  They could always use LGPL code if they wanted to.

Maybe..  My gut feel is that Frank and Bob are pretty Stallman'esque in their distribution philosophy.. but everyone has a price.


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: M0HCN on July 01, 2011, 02:20:08 PM
They would also need to buy a commercial license from MIT for fftw (The  fast fourier library used) at a minimum, it is at least available,  and possibly sort out some other dependencies.
Generally taking code with free software dependencies closed source is a pain unless you have planned to be able to do it from the get go.

Regards, Dan.


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: W4HIJ on July 01, 2011, 07:47:59 PM
I think "Deep Impact" or whatever it ends up being named will become a reality at some point.  It's a natural evolution but PowerSDR is pretty dang stable right now.
 As far as paying for software, I don't mind that at all if the performance/functionality warrants it and I think "Deep Impact" will when it's released.  Flex knows it will have to deliver or the consumers will speak and the software won't survive. Lot of difference in developing free software and software people actually pay for. The thing is though that some lunatic fringe tiny minority won't keep it from succeeding any more than it has kept Flex radios from succeeding.
73,
Michael, W4HIJ


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 02, 2011, 05:39:28 AM
They would also need to buy a commercial license from MIT for fftw (The  fast fourier library used) at a minimum, it is at least available,  and possibly sort out some other dependencies.
Generally taking code with free software dependencies closed source is a pain unless you have planned to be able to do it from the get go.

Regards, Dan.

They could replace FFTW with any number of other fft libraries that have LGPL or Mit style licensing terms.

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 02, 2011, 05:45:03 AM
It is definitely in Flex's plans to go completely closed source and to start to charge money for the software.
So you are now a Flex insider and know what they are definitely going to do? You are officially speaking for Flex now?

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


No I don't have inside access like you, Mr. 2010 Flex Goodwill Ambassidor. 

I am going on this statement by the big boss in addition to others statements that have been made on the Flex radio list:

http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2010-May/003912.html

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: PJ2BVU on July 14, 2011, 03:56:44 PM
Oops! He did it again.

http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2011-July/009494.html

Brian the Preacher delivered one of his lengthy sermon:

http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2011-July/009500.html

All the Flexers were ecstatic.

The Rapture is imminent!

Jean-Claude PJ2BVU


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 15, 2011, 09:15:37 PM
It seems like you are trying to say something about me but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is. Perhaps you should read what I wrote.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 16, 2011, 06:43:57 AM
It seems like you are trying to say something about me but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is. Perhaps you should read what I wrote.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL

Watch out.  Brian is all puffed up because the other Flex cronies on the Flex list agreed with his pro-Flex propaganda once again (surprise, surprise).  ::) ::) ::)

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 16, 2011, 09:52:47 AM
Ah, the expected ad hominem attack instead of a reasoned analysis or rebuttal.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL




Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 16, 2011, 12:42:36 PM
Ah, the expected ad hominem attack instead of a reasoned analysis or rebuttal.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL




See what I mean?

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: PJ2BVU on July 16, 2011, 09:09:24 PM
It get better everyday on the Flexedge Reflector:
Following G4PNX post regarding FM all Flexers are unanimous: get yourself a El Cheapo Chinese HT if you want to work repeaters.  :D
Why would anyone use such a marvel as a Flex 5K to work repeaters?  ;D
Don't forget, it is a SDR and can do anything possible. If it does not do it today it will do it tomorrow. But repeaters, no way:
Quote
Just my 2 cents .... but using a Flex 5K to light up a repeater is akin to taking a Ferrari Daytona out to plow snow ......

Name withheld
Note: Many EU hams lament the unavailability of the VU5K. They shouldn't: go buy yourself a nice transverter. you can reuse it they day you ditch your Flex 5K.

I love SDR, way better than SNL.

Jean-Claude PJ2BVU


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 17, 2011, 08:24:15 AM
This is truly amazing. Someone says something on the Flexedge Reflector and they are beaten up here where they probably don't even know it is happening. You guys really are a (collective) piece of work.

No, "Flexers" are not unanimous that you should get a cheap Chinese HT to work repeaters. Now that FM works well (yes, FM works well since 2.1.3 RC4 but the UI had bugs) I use it to monitor my local 6m repeater when I am not using it for something else, which isn't often because I would rather use it for WSPR when I am not making contacts.

And it is funny the way you twist the author's words. He was making drawing the parallel between the Flex 5000 and the Ferrari Daytona, not denigrating the Flex's FM performance.

But the point is reasonable, using a $4700 transceiver with a 1dB noise figure to monitor your local repeater is overkill. If you want 100% monitoring of your repeater, a $100 HT does make a lot more sense than tying up your main rig.

Regardless, I do use my different Flex radios on the repeaters now that FM is working.  I don't have a VU5K -- yet -- and I do use a cheap $100 Chinese HT (Wouxun -- it is actually a very nice HT especially at the price) to monitor my local 2m and 440 repeaters.

So, do you want to discuss this rationally or are we in for another bash-fest on Flex? Do you want to talk about FM performance in PowerSDR? I can and will certainly discuss what I believe to be the pros and cons. I personally like that I don't have to buy another radio to operate FM. Buying a Flex or adding a VU5K just to run FM is indeed silly. OTOH, if you already have the radio for something else; e.g. HF, EME, weak-signal tropo, satellites, etc.; why not use it occasionally for FM? That mode shouldn't be precluded any more than it should be the mainstay of the radio.

But that is just my opinion.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: PJ2BVU on July 17, 2011, 08:29:08 PM
Please mister Preacher! First read what is posted and second try to understand what is said. As noted by Stan many times you rush to judgment and put in the horse's mouth what the horse did not say. It look stupid!

Quote
I have Rc4 and am pleased with it, as far as the repeater testing I have
done. I think the main issue is how the repeater definitions exist in memory
items.
Quote
The person who wrote the "We plan to complete a final
FM feature release within six weeks"  in the release notes broke the
Prime Directive (unless it was Gerald, and he always gets a pass HI HI).

There are some lingering issues in FM and the new memory form that are
being wrapped up.  We received some excellent feedback from the internal
beta testing team and we are incorporating some of those recommendations
into the code.

The TNF feature is slated for PowerSDR v2.2.x.  We're still making
usability improvements in the TNF code.
Quote
I use a 1500 with a transverter, well I would if the FM mode was
workable... as could David with his 5000
And we have 6m repeaters using FM, with shifts and CTCSS codes to deal
with again would be great if FM was usable.
If I am not mistaken RC4 is in the hands of a few select. It looks like there are some problems left - to the general public - contrary to your denials.
Quote
What I said:
Why would anyone use such a marvel as a Flex 5K to work repeaters?
Quote
What you said:
And it is funny the way you twist the author's words. He was making drawing the parallel between the Flex 5000 and the Ferrari Daytona, not denigrating the Flex's FM performance.
Duhhhh! Who is twisting words?
Quote
Buying a Flex or adding a VU5K just to run FM is indeed silly.
Who said JUST to run FM? You did, no one else. Who is twisting words?

You are really a piece of work!

Jean-Claude PJ2BVU


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 17, 2011, 10:49:33 PM
Who rattled your cage?

Clearly you don't know what is going on with the beta code. I am willing to bet that you are not running the beta code. The difference is that I AM running the beta test code so I can speak first-hand as to how it is working. I am not putting any words into anyone else's mouth because my comments have to do with my personal experience.

FM has been "working" for a several beta releases. The first version that had working FM, 2.0.23, was, IMHO, pretty darned ugly. The UI was not particularly usable and you couldn't create memory entries for FM. But it would do FM correctly for the first time. (My definition of working is repeater split, proper preemphasis/deemphasis, and CTCSS.) Subsequent versions have improved the UI and fixed various bugs. The version I am now running, v2.1.4 RC5, seems quite usable. Yes, there are some small things that will probably keep it from being release but from a functional point of view for FM, it is quite usable.

As for the rest of it, perhaps we have a difference of understanding each other's words.

So, my comments have to do with my personal experience with the software, not from what anyone else has said.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 18, 2011, 03:54:52 AM

FM has been "working" for a several beta releases. The first version that had working FM, 2.0.23, was, IMHO, pretty darned ugly. The UI was not particularly usable and you couldn't create memory entries for FM. But it would do FM correctly for the first time. (My definition of working is repeater split, proper preemphasis/deemphasis, and CTCSS.) Subsequent versions have improved the UI and fixed various bugs. The version I am now running, v2.1.4 RC5, seems quite usable. Yes, there are some small things that will probably keep it from being release but from a functional point of view for FM, it is quite usable.


Typical Flex.  It took them how many years to finally get FM working ?  When was PowerSDR first released?  In 2004?  That's 7 years! ::) ::) ::)

On PowerSDR in general: Can you imagine?  They have been putting lipstick on a pig for 7 years now.  :o

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 18, 2011, 09:30:45 AM

FM was only one of many disappointments, many other things that were being advertised were not functioning and they have all been discussed here in the past.

Stan K9IUQ


Maybe in another 7 years they will fix Noise Reduction which has never worked consistently since 2004.

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 19, 2011, 09:15:26 AM
I have never been a fan of "noise reduction". I have used NR on several different kinds of rigs but find the audio artifacts to be annoying, and not just on the Flex. NR doesn't actually increase S:N as I am still unable to separate a too-weak signal from the noise. I guess it is just that there is no such thing as a free lunch. S:N is what it is.

I find that properly setting the AGC threshold and the receiver gain to push down the noise floor to be a much better way to achieve noise reduction.

But, you know, I agree with you that it has taken too long to get PowerSDR to where it should be as a commercial product. And I also think that its inflexible architecture means that it has pretty much reached the end of its useful life. Sure they need to fix the stuff that isn't working, e.g. NR and FM, but I don't think they can use PowerSDR to reach the next level or even use it to extract the full capability from the Flex 5000. (I do think that PowerSDR, with FM working, is fine for the 1500 and the 3000 since they only have one signal path.)

But I also see Flex making steady progress. (Finally!)

I thought it was pretty funny that you guys were ragging on me about my "puffed up" posting. In that posting (if you had bothered to read it) I was actually saying that Flex needs to get in gear with the next generation of software because PowerSDR is just about as done as it is going to get. Sure they will add small things but it is going to take something like Deep Impact to extract the full capability of the Flex 5000.

Oh, and my other posting called on Flex to start making their development a bit more transparent so we can see they are actually making progress on Deep Impact. We know that their policy of making promises and then not meeting their own deadlines didn't work but their current policy of not saying anything doesn't work either. They need to do something in-between. I recommended that they give periodic reports of their progress without target dates so we can see something happening. The deafening silence is no use at all and is powerfully frustrating to boot.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 19, 2011, 10:39:20 AM
I have never been a fan of "noise reduction". I have used NR on several different kinds of rigs but find the audio artifacts to be annoying, and not just on the Flex. NR doesn't actually increase S:N as I am still unable to separate a too-weak signal from the noise. I guess it is just that there is no such thing as a free lunch. S:N is what it is.

I find that properly setting the AGC threshold and the receiver gain to push down the noise floor to be a much better way to achieve noise reduction.

But, you know, I agree with you that it has taken too long to get PowerSDR to where it should be as a commercial product. And I also think that its inflexible architecture means that it has pretty much reached the end of its useful life. Sure they need to fix the stuff that isn't working, e.g. NR and FM, but I don't think they can use PowerSDR to reach the next level or even use it to extract the full capability from the Flex 5000. (I do think that PowerSDR, with FM working, is fine for the 1500 and the 3000 since they only have one signal path.)

But I also see Flex making steady progress. (Finally!)

I thought it was pretty funny that you guys were ragging on me about my "puffed up" posting. In that posting (if you had bothered to read it) I was actually saying that Flex needs to get in gear with the next generation of software because PowerSDR is just about as done as it is going to get. Sure they will add small things but it is going to take something like Deep Impact to extract the full capability of the Flex 5000.

Oh, and my other posting called on Flex to start making their development a bit more transparent so we can see they are actually making progress on Deep Impact. We know that their policy of making promises and then not meeting their own deadlines didn't work but their current policy of not saying anything doesn't work either. They need to do something in-between. I recommended that they give periodic reports of their progress without target dates so we can see something happening. The deafening silence is no use at all and is powerfully frustrating to boot.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


A few direct sampling receivers get NR right.  As far as Flex, it is not even a function of PowerSDR.  The NR code is implemented in the DttSP library that PowerSDR uses.  In other programs that use DttSP like SDR-Shell, the NR code works great and I don't know why Flex just doesn't update the DttSP code they use with the changes to the DttSP code made in SDR-Shell and other variants.

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: G4PNX on July 19, 2011, 01:51:18 PM
How is making periodic reports to the Flex community going to be any less meaningless than the current meaningless announcments situation?

What would FRS be reporting?

This:
RC4 within 6 weeks

Or maybe this from 6th Oct 2008:

The "new architecture" is currently in development as we speak but will take
several more months before it is ready for beta testing.  In fact, I have
just completed two days of meetings this week with the developers working on
the specific implementation plans.  This is a major effort because it is a
ground up rewrite of the entire system.  I ask everyone to be patient while
the developers do their magic.

I would suggest some form of Roadmap identifying the major milestones (and including those user enhancements to be incorporated at each step) but that requires a degree of trust and confidence in a company underserving of both.



G4PNX


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 19, 2011, 03:03:55 PM
How is making periodic reports to the Flex community going to be any less meaningless than the current meaningless announcments situation?

As far as I can tell, no one who actually works for Flex gives ANY sort of announcement about software futures now.

(BTW, Tim is now an official employee of Flex. Up until a week or so ago he was a contractor/volunteer. So if he says something now, it is really coming from Flex.)

Quote
What would FRS be reporting?

This:
RC4 within 6 weeks

Well, we are on RC5 now. I have seen 6 new versions over the last couple of months since I am in the closed beta group so I am seeing steady progress with clear improvements with each version. The problem is, if you are not in the closed beta group you cannot see those changes so you sit on the sidelines, frustrated, because you can see no progress. This is why I think that Flex needs to be a bit more open again with their development. Heck, if you have a piece of software that you think is good enough to be called a release-candidate, it is probably good enough to let everyone have a look. I think they throw the "release candidate" moniker around a bit too loosely but that is just me.

Quote
Or maybe this from 6th Oct 2008:

The "new architecture" is currently in development as we speak but will take
several more months before it is ready for beta testing.  In fact, I have
just completed two days of meetings this week with the developers working on
the specific implementation plans.  This is a major effort because it is a
ground up rewrite of the entire system.  I ask everyone to be patient while
the developers do their magic.

Ah, a "Bob McGwier" quote. No, one doesn't want to pay too much attention to those. ;) I have known Bob for many years (about 25) and he is a brilliant guy. His problem is that he is pulled in too many directions at once and his promises are often squashed by his responsibilities. So you take Bob's schedule with a grain of salt.

Two big things happened in the last two years that changed Flex's software development:

1. They had a huge development for the CDRX-3200 that sucked up all their development resources.

2. They switched from an open-software, contributed-effort development, to an internal, paid development staff.

Unfortunately #1 above kept us from seeing the improvements from #2. Also, the internal architecture of PowerSDR is so ... uh ... convoluted (trying to be nice here) that whenever someone tries to add something to it, it breaks something else. This is also hampering development. That is why I want to see Flex making a real public commitment to the new architecture.

Still, I am seeing more and better feature releases of PowerSDR. Yeah, it has been a LOOOONG time in coming but it appears that their new development effort is producing fruit.

Quote
I would suggest some form of Roadmap identifying the major milestones (and including those user enhancements to be incorporated at each step) but that requires a degree of trust and confidence in a company underserving of both.

G4PNX


I would agree with you (except for your comment about them being undeserving of trust and confidence). From a personal point of view, I have met them and I know that they are trying hard to get a good product out the door. It has been a real learning process for them too. They are finally getting it right and their new approach is finally producing results. Unfortunately their, "don't say anything about futures," policy is keeping most people from seeing that.

That having been said, I personally have no interest at all in their continued development effort on PowerSDR. IMHO it is a waste of resources that should be spent on their next generation software architecture, i.e. Deep Impact or whatever they are going to call it. But they sure are not giving ANY visibility into that development. <sigh>

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: G4PNX on July 19, 2011, 03:28:00 PM
And there was me thinking you had thrown off your Flex Apologist mantle.

The quote came from an email posted to the reflector by Gerald Youngblood in response to Stig Rasmussen LA4WAA. It did not come from Bob.

G4PNX


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 19, 2011, 07:45:26 PM
And there was me thinking you had thrown off your Flex Apologist mantle.

Contrary to popular belief, I don't wear a Flex Apologist mantle. I just call them as I see them.

Quote
The quote came from an email posted to the reflector by Gerald Youngblood in response to Stig Rasmussen LA4WAA. It did not come from Bob.

Huh. I was sure that came from Bob. I defer to your superior memory.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: WB6RQN on July 19, 2011, 08:00:30 PM
And there was me thinking you had thrown off your Flex Apologist mantle.

G4PNX

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Same old same old.

No, not so much. They are doing things differently. I can point to a lot of things that have changed over the last year.

Quote
It has been a real learning process for them too.

On the job learning has cost Flexradio the trust and goodwill of many customers.. Customers that will never come back.

You may very well be right about that Stan. That is Flex's loss. Hopefully they will learn. We'll see.

Personally I think it is good that Flex is around. No one else is really making anything different. So even if they don't get it completely, they have proven the market for a different kind of radio. That is a good thing. Maybe it will lead to other companies trying to make an SDR. That would be a good thing too.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: G4PNX on July 19, 2011, 11:51:04 PM
 No one else is really making anything different. So even if they don't get it completely, they have proven the market for a different kind of radio. That is a good thing. Maybe it will lead to other companies trying to make an SDR. That would be a good thing too.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL

[/quote]

If Zenki is correct we may not have that much longer to wait. Keep your eyes on the Tokyo Ham Fair at the end of August seems to be sage advice.

G4PNX


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: KE5JPP on July 20, 2011, 05:13:27 AM
Two new Flex Goodwill Ambassidors to watch out for:

Gary Plano, W2CEA - Co-Official Goodwill Ambassador 2011
Don Baughman, K7MX - Co-Official Goodwill Ambassador 2011

From:

http://www.flex-radio.com/Users.aspx?topic=flexies (http://www.flex-radio.com/Users.aspx?topic=flexies)

Poor Brian, he didn't get the 2011 award like he did in 2010.  ;)  He certainly deserves it.

Gene


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: W4HIJ on July 22, 2011, 05:25:00 PM
No one else is really making anything different. So even if they don't get it completely, they have proven the market for a different kind of radio. That is a good thing. Maybe it will lead to other companies trying to make an SDR. That would be a good thing too.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


If Zenki is correct we may not have that much longer to wait. Keep your eyes on the Tokyo Ham Fair at the end of August seems to be sage advice.

G4PNX
[/quote]

What? Are the Japanese going to lay another under performing overpriced radio on us? Geez, I'm waiting with baited breath! NOT!!! The CEO's of the big three Japanese manufacturers must laugh all the way to the bank! They keep selling you inferior RX's and you guys lap em up. Then when they do make a decent radio and put an even more inflated price tag on it, you think it's the second coming! If you won't buy Flex, no problem, your loss, but at least buy Ten Tec or Elecraft and get a decent receiver for your money! And yes, I do keep talking about receivers because it's the best standard with which to judge a radio. Transmitter technology and performance has become pretty standard over the years.
73,
Michael, W4HIJ


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: ON4AMG on July 23, 2011, 07:09:35 AM
... Transmitter technology and performance has become pretty standard over the years.
73,
Michael, W4HIJ

Michael, I am afraid I have to disagree with this!
All but a few manufacturers have massively failed in bringing forward transmitter technology improvements (which are available).
AFAIK only the latest Yaesu FTDX5000 and the ADT-200A have succeeded in this area.


Title: RE: An exercise in futility
Post by: M0HCN on July 23, 2011, 09:03:30 AM
I might agree about the ADT-2000A, but IMHO the FTDX5000 takes a rather brute force approach and still does not get anywhere near what is possible (Hint guys, 75W of class A is not a selling point in my book, the shack is warm enough without that).

I have an experimental homebrew rig that manages better then -60db third order TX IMD ref one tone, (Equates to -66db ref PEP) at several hundred watts output with PA efficiency of ~50%, it is not that hard to do, and before I am done I hope to push the efficiency up quite a bit.

Transmitter performance these days in amateur service is by and large pathetic, at least compared to what is possible, or even the minimum that would be acceptable in commercial service.

Regards, Dan.