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Author Topic: Mode Identifaction software ? ? ?  (Read 5540 times)
NT0A
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Posts: 97




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« on: September 14, 2011, 06:57:54 PM »

I need help with identifying the various digital modes that I hear and see on the waterfall display. The vanilla flavors of BPSK, RTTY, and JT65 are fairly easy to identify, but every time I turn on the rig I find a signal that I can neither identify nor decode with either MultiPSK, Digital Master 780, or fldigi regardless of how many options and settings I select.

Has anyone written a piece of software to identify what the mode is? I thought that the typical digital S/W packages would provide some sort of analysis and at least semi-automatic mode selection, but that is either not the case or I have not learned how to access that function yet.

FWIW, I have looked at all the images and video and listened to all of the audio on the various digital mode web sites, but still cannot identify or decode half of what I find on the ham bands.

Anyone else have the same problem, and , if so, other than ignoring those signals, what works for you?

73 de Bob NT0A
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KX5JT
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Posts: 217




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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 10:25:16 PM »

It is a problem.  RSID is a godsend but of course it doesn't help if the signal doesn't support it or if the user doesn't have it turned on.  I am like you, I've visited a lot of the samples posted on various websites and although I am fairly familiar with the most popularly used modes in the ham bands, I still run across quite a few that I have no clue about.  So far I just live with it and it is somewhat frustrating.

John KX5JT
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STAYVERTICAL
Member

Posts: 875




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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2011, 03:18:10 AM »

I will add my voice to the chorus of frustrated digital users!
The problem is that some users use strange combinations of sub-options available in many modes and some use a different
sideband than the "normal" convention.
Some modes are sideband independent (such as PSK31) but many others such as QPSK are sideband dependent.
I too have played digital roulette without success, and is one reason why I suspect some modes are so popular - they
are easy to identify and users tend to stick to standard settings.

Which is why - when the mode supports it - I always use RSID, and sometimes even Video-ID for those users who use
programs which dont support RSID.
But still unless I am using PSK31 or perhaps Olivia, I still burn Joules without success most days calling CQ without replies.
It should not be necessary to say, but dont use RSID on PSK31 as it will drive everybody crazy who has RSID enabled and
they will turn it off anyway.

The result of this situation is that except for PSK31, Olivia and a few others most other digital modes will slowly die from
lack and use and support.

Good luck 73s

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AB2RC
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Posts: 128


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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2011, 05:42:10 AM »

Yet another  Angry digi op here also, too many modes that are somewhat visually/aurally similar, yet decode very differently.

I can see and hear signals on the band that I am unfamiliar with, but by the time I  Huh figure out  Huh what they are, the guy at the other end is no longer transmitting. Possibly they were calling cq, and got no response -- not because there was nobody listening, but because no one who was listening could figure out what mode it was.

If folks would use rsid on any mode other than PSK31 and RTTY it would make things alot simpler.
 
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NT0A
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Posts: 97




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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2011, 04:26:23 PM »

If folks would use rsid on any mode other than PSK31 and RTTY it would make things a lot simpler.  

That's true, but there are some really good digital modes that work much better than others when the band conditions are crappy, and yet those modes are not heard very often, or at least that is my observation. 
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 09:39:13 PM »

It takes a while but when you try/use a lot of modes you will learn to ID them by sight or sound or combo of both.
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
NT0A
Member

Posts: 97




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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 10:22:19 AM »

I hate it when one of my posts reveals a rather disturbing lack of situational awareness on my part, but if that revelation helps one more ham to start enjoying the digital modes without pulling their hair out, it's worth being identified as the village idiot. A couple of days ago when I posted my plea here and on eHam, I had hoped that some enterprising ham had written some signal analysis software that would help, but apparently that does not exist. (Perhaps the NSA will come to our rescue!) I do have to give a big tip of the hat to KX5JT here and W3DCW on QRZ for helping dissipate some of the digital fog that enveloped me as I tuned around the digital part of the bands.

Both KX5JT and W3DCW posted that RSID was a great help. Whatever the reason I had not discovered RSID or the Reed-Soloman ID schema or protocol for identifying digital signals. I guess I either had my head up and locked or couldn't see the forest for the trees. (The village idiot syndrome perhaps.)

W3DCW's web site was particularily helpful. Audio files of most of the digital modes are on the site, and those with the RSID precursor or preamble will automatically switch some software packages into the correct encode/decode routine so you can reply in the same mode. I've tried both fldigi and MultiPSK using RSID, and it appears that fldigi does a better job of switching modes when an RSID is deciphered. There is a set of three buttons in the top right hand corner of the fldigi window two of which allow you to decode or encode an RSID signal. In fairness to MultiPSK, I simply may not have overlooked the obvious with that software's detailed help file and set of 153 buttons on the dashboard.

Apparently, when you select the TxID button, it stays selected so that you will always send an RSID at the start or end of any transmission, but the RxID button deselects whenever it has changed the mode after an RSID is decrypted. That prevents the program from switching to another mode during the middle of a QSO if an intruding RSID invades the band pass.

The fldigi program will run on OS X and Linux, so if you are an Apple or Linux devoté, you can play around with it on your iMac, Mack Book, or Linux box. Setup fldigi and then navigate to K3DCW's web site. There you can test various configurations of fldigi to decrypt and shift to the various modes as you playback the audio files on DCW's digital audio sample page. One or two of these training/familiarization sessions help reduce the likelihood of an attack of fumble fingers during a subsequent digital hamming session.

The RSID certainly doesn't demystify the nuts and bolts of the various modes, i.e., what tone pairs and shifts mean what, and it doesn't help if the signal does not have an RSID preamble because of the oversight of the transmitting ham HINT! HINT! HINT!, but when the RSID is present, it greatly simplifies digital operation.

Don't know how in the world I missed the RSID crutch, but operating digital is going to be much, much, much less frustrating in the future.

73 es hpe u find tons of gud es rare DX de NT0A Grin
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G0GQK
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Posts: 634




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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2011, 01:53:08 PM »

Trying to identify all these dozens of different digital modes you end up like a dog trying to catch his tail ! Fact is most of the activity is on PSK31 and you could spend hours calling CQ with one of the mostly unused modes but if that's what makes you tick that's OK by me

Mel G0GQK
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NT0A
Member

Posts: 97




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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2011, 02:23:06 PM »

Trying to identify all these dozens of different digital modes you end up like a dog trying to catch his tail ! Fact is most of the activity is on PSK31 and you could spend hours calling CQ with one of the mostly unused modes but if that's what makes you tick that's OK by me - Mel G0GQK

Mel, I had to grin at this response.

Trust me when i say that it's not my bag to waste electrical energy by throwing obscure digital waves into the ether either with or without an RSID tag, but I would like to be able to read and perhaps participate in some of the QSOs in digital modes that I cannot identify.

My greatest interest in this area to to be find and use the most robust and reliable digital mode when the condition of a band is really crappy.
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K3DCW
Member

Posts: 212




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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2011, 04:57:45 PM »

W3DCW's web site was particularily helpful. Audio files of most of the digital modes are on the site, and those with the RSID precursor or preamble will automatically switch some software packages into the correct encode/decode routine so you can reply in the same mode. I've tried both fldigi and MultiPSK using RSID, and it appears that fldigi does a better job of switching modes when an RSID is deciphered. There is a set of three buttons in the top right hand corner of the fldigi window two of which allow you to decode or encode an RSID signal. In fairness to MultiPSK, I simply may not have overlooked the obvious with that software's detailed help file and set of 153 buttons on the dashboard.

That should be K3DCW's web site, I presume.  That being said, I'm glad you found it to be of use.  That is why it is there.

73

Dave
K3DCW
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Hamming it up on OS X!
www.machamradio.com
NT0A
Member

Posts: 97




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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2011, 11:25:30 AM »

That should be K3DCW's web site, I presume.  That being said, I'm glad you found it to be of use.  That is why it is there. 73 Dave K3DCW

Guilty, Dave.

First time I've made a mistake this decade.
(If'n you believe that, I own a bridge in the NYC area that I'd be happy to sell to you.  Grin )

73 de Bob NT0A
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AA4HA
Member

Posts: 1591




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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2011, 09:14:10 AM »

Trying to identify all these dozens of different digital modes you end up like a dog trying to catch his tail ! Fact is most of the activity is on PSK31 and you could spend hours calling CQ with one of the mostly unused modes but if that's what makes you tick that's OK by me - Mel G0GQK

Mel, I had to grin at this response.

Trust me when i say that it's not my bag to waste electrical energy by throwing obscure digital waves into the ether either with or without an RSID tag, but I would like to be able to read and perhaps participate in some of the QSOs in digital modes that I cannot identify.

My greatest interest in this area to to be find and use the most robust and reliable digital mode when the condition of a band is really crappy.

I guess running Thor 22 in odd places of the band is not going to be all that successful? <g>
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
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