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2.6.17 The Spectrum Display Window

Spectrum
Spectrum Vertical
The Spectrum Display Window is an window that takes advantage of CAT spectrum output from certain radios. It also supports displaying spectrum data from other programs via its UDP interface. What is unique about the N1MM+ Spectrum Window is its ability to identify signals and allow the user to jump to those via keystroke as well as compare them to local and RBN spots to identify unspotted and already worked signals.

1. Supported Radios & Interfaces

  • Icom IC-7300, IC-7850/51, Icom IC-7610 (expected to work, not yet tested)
    • Must use the USB cable virtual COM port for radio control. Unplug the CI-V cable.
    • Set Right-Click Radio source to Radio 1 or Radio 2 as appropriate
    • Must have the radio menu CI-V USB Port set to Unlink from [Remote}
    • Must have the radio and program baud rate set to 115200 baud.
    • After the program and the radio is set to 115200 baud, exit the program and restart.

  • Flex 6300/6400/6400M/6500/6600/6600M/6700 Radios Supported via CAT and UDP - requires SmartSDR V2.0 or later software
      • If a supported Flex radio is detected, N1MM+ will send commands to the radio to start and stop the spectrum. It will send your local IP address and port 13064 to the radio.
      • The Spectrum Window should automatically find the Flex spectrum feed if it is already sending it. Otherwise, start the Flex and do the following
        • Start a new Spectrum window and select External as the source. The Flex should already be transmitting its identifying information, so when you go to choose the source, pick the source you want from the drop-down list
      • Resolution in the N1MM+ spectrum display will be dependent on the zoom level of the Flex panadapter. Bear in mind that the precision of the signal marking is dependent on the zoom level & consequent bin/pixel size. Something between 20 and 50 Hz per pixel would be a good place to start

  • Elecraft K3/K3S/KX3 plus software/hardware:
    • Win4K3Suite ([https://va2fsq.com/|https://va2fsq.com/]) software plus hardware as described below:
      • K3S, or K3 with KXV3, plus LP-PAN or SoftRock II Lite, plus stereo sound card - connect LP-PAN or SoftRock to IF Out, see Win4K3Suite documentation for software setup
      • K3S, or K3 with KXV3, plus SDRPlay (RSP1 or RSP2) - connect SDRPlay to IF out, see Win4K3Suite documentation for software setup
      • KX3 plus stereo sound card - see Win4K3Suite documentation
      • KX2 plus SDRPlay (RSP1 or RSP2) plus an external transmit/receive switch - see Win4K3Suite documentation
    • Waterfall bandmap ([https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waterfallbandmap/info|https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waterfallbandmap/info]) software plus hardware as described below:
      • K3S, or K3 with KXV3, plus LP-PAN or SoftRock, plus stereo sound card:
        • Connect LP-PAN or SoftRock to IF Out. Put WB in Sound Card mode, Offset with LP-PAN is approx. -6000 (varies with mode, roofing filter offset, SHIFT control settings). If traces move the wrong direction in the waterfall when tuning, check (or uncheck) Swap I&Q. Swap I&Q checked/unchecked setting for 6m is opposite to the setting for HF.
      • K3S, or K3 with KXV3, plus ExtIO-capable SDR (including SDRPlay):
        • Put WB in ExtIO mode (ExtIO dll must be in the WB program directory)
          • RF-based: Connect SDR to a splitter in a jumper between RX Ant Out and RX Ant In - RX Ant must be selected in the K3. Offset zero, SDR at IF check box unchecked.
          • IF-based: Connect SDR directly to IF Out. Check the SDR at IF check box, set IF to 8215, Offset to zero as a starting point, but offset varies with mode, roofing filter offset, SHIFT control settings. May need to check Swap I&Q if traces move in the wrong direction when tuning - 6m and HF will be opposite settings for this, and offset settings may also differ between 6m and HF.
      • KX3 plus stereo sound card:
        • Connect KX3's I/Q output to the sound card. Put WB in Sound Card mode. Offset zero. If traces move the wrong direction in the waterfall when tuning, check (or uncheck) Swap I&Q.

  • Yaesu FTDX5000, FTDX3000, FTDX1200, FTDX9000 plus Win4YaesuSuite ([http://yaesu.va2fsq.com/|http://yaesu.va2fsq.com/]) software plus hardware as described below:
      • LP-PAN plus stereo sound card (FTDX5000 or FTDX3000 only) - connect LP-PAN to IF Out, see Win4YaesuSuite documentation for software setup
      • SDRPlay (RSP1 or RSP2) - connect SDRPlay to RX out or IF out (depends on radio model), see Win4YaesuSuite documentation for hardware and software setup

  • SDRPlay, FunCubeProPlus, HackRF, LP-PAN, SDR-IQ, RTLSDR, SoftRock, etc. - SDRs and panadapters that produce I/Q output either via ExtIO.DLL or via a sound card can be used together with almost any transceiver using Waterfall Bandmap software:
  • Waterfall Bandmap ([https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waterfallbandmap/info|https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waterfallbandmap/info]) software:
    • The SDR may be connected to an antenna, to an RX Ant output on some transceivers, or to an IF output on transceivers that have an IF output. Note that if the SDR is connected directly to an antenna, an external TX/RX switch may be required to protect the SDR against RF from the transmitter.
    • Start Waterfall Bandmap before starting the N1MM+ spectrum display window. Configure Waterfall Bandmap according to the Waterfall Bandmap documentation.
    • The Spectrum Window should automatically find the spectrum feed if it is already sending it. Otherwise, start Waterfall Bandmap and do the following
      • Start a new Spectrum window and select External as the source. The Waterfall Bandmap should already be transmitting its identifying information, so when you go to choose the source, pick the source you want from the drop-down list
    • If you find "smearing" of the blue spectrum lines while tuning, use the right-click option "Reduce spectrum smearing while tuning" to clear spectrum data each time the frequency is changed. This is needed because the source is getting the radio frequency information after the spectrum window gets it.
    • RF or IF > SDR/panadapter > Waterfall Bandmap > N1MM+ Spectrum Window

  • KE9NS PowerSDR supports the Spectrum Window as of version 2.8.0.43 (6/29/17) ([http://ke9ns.com/flexpage.html|http://ke9ns.com/flexpage.html])
    • Start PowerSDR before starting N1MM+
    • The Spectrum Window should automatically find the spectrum feed if it is already sending it. Otherwise, start PowerSDR and do the following
      • Start a new Spectrum window and select External as the source. The radio should already be transmitting its identifying information, so when you go to choose the source, pick the source you want from the drop-down list

  • CW Skimmer version 2.0 ([http://www.dxatlas.com/cwskimmer/|http://www.dxatlas.com/cwskimmer/])
    • In CW Skimmer's Settings window, select the Network tab and check the "Send Spectrum via UDP" box to send spectrum data to the N1MM+ spectrum window.
    • In the Spectrum window, select External as the source and pick CW Skimmer from the drop-down list.

  • Other vendors TBD (10 total notified of capability)
    • Start the source before starting N1MM+
    • The Spectrum Window should automatically find the spectrum feed if it is already sending it. Otherwise, do the following
      • Start a new Spectrum window and select External as the source. The source should already be transmitting its identifying information, so when you go to choose the source, pick the source you want from the drop-down list

2. Layout

2.1. Spectrum Pane

  • The spectrum is displayed in the top or right-hand pane, depending on the orientation you choose. Since the option defaults to "Auto" the orientation will change depending on the dimensions of the spectrum window

2.2. Waterfall Pane

  • The Waterfall pane, when the show waterfall option is selected will appear at the bottom or left of the spectrum pane. Note that in portrait (or bar-chart) mode, the waterfall moves from right to left so that one can see the start and stop of sending and potentially read cw for sources that refresh at a rapid enough rate.

2.3. Setup Pane

Spectrum Setup

  • This pane is accessed by clicking on the "<" or ">" button at the top right (just below the font sizer arrows) to open or close it
  • At the top is the legend for colors in the spectrum display
  • The display can show spots superimposed on the signals. These spots can be from Telnet, or locally generated by logging QSOs or entering a call and tuning away from that signal. "The Show These Spots at Top" lets you control which, if any spots are shown. You can even restrict the spots to only those that have signals recognized by the software that are within the tuning tolerance of the spot. If the associated radio is tuned to the spot, the callsign with have a box drawn around it
  • The "Show Red Signal Markers at the Base of Traces" will display a marker everywhere the software determines there is a signal. When you press Shift+Up/Down, the associated radio will jump to the red markers
  • Show these Red Markers allows you to restrict which signals are marked in the window. Typically you will want to show markers for Non-Dupes (signals you can work) but not show markers for Dupes (which includes zero point QSOs).
  • If you want to watch for new signals on a band before the Reverse Beacon Network spots them, check show "Only Unknown Signals", but jump on them fast, because somebody's skimmer will be spotting it within seconds!
  • Static sensitivity removes samples from the display if certain criteria are met that make a sample look like a static crash. If you are getting lots of false signals due to static crashes, raise the Static Sensitivity until most are removed.
  • The control shown as "Auto" above controls the orientation of the spectrum display. If you leave it on Auto, it will pick the right orientation based on the shape of the window

3. General Setup

  • Keep the noise level low by setting the ref level (whatever control sets the "grass" level in the source's spectrum display) in the radio menu low
  • For supported Icom and Flex radios, the spectrum scope will be turned on startup and turned off on exit
  • The window can be opened from the Entry Window "Windows" menu.

3.1. Controls

  • With focus set on the Entry Window, Shift+up will move the frequency to the next signal up in frequency. Shift+down will move the frequency to the next signal down in frequency. This is the reverse of bandmap functions which are oriented towards the display of frequencies rather than their value.
  • Show signals will show all the signals the window has identified on the frequency axis using your multiplier background color. These signals are also counted in the box that shows the noise floor and pixel width in Hz.
  • Shift+up/down will *skip* signals that are within tuning tolerance of dupes and non-workables
  • Shift+up/down will stop at the low and high frequencies in the spectrum. If you are using center mode, the spectrum will re-center on the low or high edge frequencies as appropriate
  • Use the up/down keys to tune in signals. If the tone is too high, press the down key. Use the up key for signals too low in tone
  • Sig (db) is level of signal as shown on the display, relative to ref and includes the preamp level
  • Snap to sig - when checked jumps to the nearest signal when you click on the chart. (within 2 kHz)
  • The noise floor threshold is adjustable with the mouse wheel.
  • Signal count is the number of "signals" found above the noise floor reference. Roughly equivalent to how many times your cursor will stop traversing the screen. The count includes non-workable spots.
  • To mark signals that you don't want to work, use the Mark button (Alt+M to mark, Alt+D to remove)
  • The Static Sensitivity slider should be adjusted until large static crashes light up the "Static Sensitivity" label
  • Left single click on the spot label will QSY your Rx & Tx to the frequency of that spot - including split. If you have the noise floor, source level and static sensitivity set properly, you will find that clicking on the spectrum will usually tune the signal more accurately than a cw spot. Note that you must have "snap to signal" turned on for this effect.
  • Alt+Q still returns to your CQ frequency. Alt+F8 still returns to your last frequency

3.2. Mouse

  • Left click will set radio receive frequency and snap to closest signal if check box is checked
  • Ctl+left click will set split frequency to that frequency. Snap to signal is ignored
  • The mouse wheel will set the noise floor when you scroll in the spectrum area. As you scroll up fewer decaying signals (blue) will be shown
  • The mouse wheel will change the dB scale range when the mouse is positioned to the left of the scale (in column mode)

3.3. The Right-Click Menu

Spectrum Right Click Menu

  • Right-click opens a context menu
    • Windows - lets you choose between spectrum windows that have been configured
    • Spectrum Source - Radio 1, Radio 2 or an external named spectrum data source. Sources heard by the software will be shown as choices. Until a source name shows up in that drop-down menu, it will not display as it is not being received
    • Relay Options - allows you to provide the spectrum displayed in this window to another N1MM Logger user. Data is sent to the user specified IP & port. The only port that N1MM+ will listen on is 13064, so only use another port to provide port forwarding with a router at another site
    • Associated Radio - assign which radio will change frequency when you jump to signals from this window
    • Reverse frequency scale in bar chart mode - if you check this option, the low frequency of the spectrum will be at the top, matching the way the band map is oriented
    • Show Waterfall - controls whether the waterfall is displayed. When the waterfall is displayed the current radio frequency will appear in the waterfall pane. When it is not displayed, the current frequency appears in the spectrum pane
    • Show Noise Floor as Line - This is effective only in column (landscape) chart mode. Instead of columns, the instantaneous signal values will be shown as a line and the (decaying) average values that exceed the noise floor will show as a filled line series
    • Snap to Signal. When on, clicking on the spectrum will jump to the nearest signal center rather than to the precise point which you click. It will look +/- 2 kHz for a signal
    • Show Stats - shows information that the window has collection about the currently displayed spectrum. It will remain for 25 seconds, or click on the X to hide it
    • Signal Decay Speed - Controls how fast the blue signal indicator lines decay. For SSB, if you set the signal decay speed to fast, it will find signals more accurately, but skip signals not transmitting at that instant. Use fast for SSB and crowded conditions, slow for quiet bands.
    • Alternate Signal Detection - If there is an alternate signal detection algorithm being tested, you can select it here.
    • Round SSB Sigs to nearest 0.5 kHz - experimental option to help with regular dxing. This is not expected to be useful in a contest. Non-sticky to prevent its inadvertent use during a contest
    • Only Jump to Signals Heard in the Last Second - Shift+up/down will ignore any signals that are not currently transmitting (experimental)
    • Toggle Background Color - to toggle to higher contrast backgrounds - both white & black
    • Set screen size factor. Submenus let you choose between 1x, 2x or 3x the number of pixels sent by the source. The control will not have to interpolate points if you choose one of these. The size of the spectrum window does NOT affect the finding of signals. That is always done with the incoming source data, not the data as displayed
    • Reduce spectrum smearing - some sources that follow the radio's frequency receive updated vfo frequency data after they have sent updated spectrum data to the program. This will cause the data in the spectrum window to "smear". Selecting this option will clear old spectrum data whenever the frequency limits of the spectrum source changes
    • Remove this spot - does what is says, but is only enabled when you hover over a spot in the spectrum panel of the window.
    • Find CQ Freq above this Freq - Find the 2.5 or 0.4 kHz slot in the current spectrum that has the least energy displayed in that slot. This is affected by Signal Decay Speed
    • Find CQ Freq below this Freq - Same as above, but in the opposite direction
    • Reset Radios - Sends the commands to reinitialize the radios connected to the program. This will often restart the spectrum display on a supported radio.
    • Permanently Delete this window - close this window and delete its configuration. It will no longer show in the spectrum window list.
    • Help - link to this documentation

3.4. The Strange and Mysterious Mouse Wheel

The mouse wheel is used for a number of functions in the Spectrum Window. Lets look at them by pane:

  • Spectrum Pane
    • When the mouse is over the main portion of the spectrum, the mouse wheel controls the noise floor. You will see the blue dashed line move up and down
    • With Icom radios, holding down the Ctl key while moving the mouse wheel in the main portion of the spectrum window will control the REF level of the radio's spectrum
    • When the mouse is over the contrast slider, it will control the color of the Waterfall in the pane below. Yeah, I know it belongs in the Waterfall pane, but it flickered badly. You'll like it better where it is
    • When the mouse is over the static sensitivity slider, it will control how much static is detected and discarded. Static does not show in the waterfall
    • When the mouse is over the left of spectrum in a landscape/column mode spectrum or over the top of the spectrum in a portrait/bar chart mode spectrum, it will control the dB range displayed. Use the "<" & ">" buttons to see the dB scale
  • Waterfall Pane
    • When double vertical bars are displayed, and the mouse is in the Waterfall pane, moving the mouse wheel will tune the radio. Adjust the CW/SSB/Digi tuning values in Configurer/Other tab to your liking and the speed of your radio's CAT. The frequency as you tune will show in the lower part of the Waterfall. Note that this is the radio reporting back the frequency, so depending on the radio there may be a little lag or a whole lot. If you press Ctl or Shift while turning the mouse wheel, the radio will make larger frequency jumps, just like it does in the Entry Window. The main purpose of this tuning is to allow you to fine tune a signal after clicking on its trace in the Waterfall

3.5. Colors

  • White is the instantaneous signal level as shown in white on the radio (black on light color skins)
  • Blue is a "decaying" representation of the signal *similar* to that on the radio
  • The green line is the current Rx frequency
  • The horizontal blue line is a measure of the noise floor above which signals are found
  • The vertical red line, if shown, is the tx frequency when split

3.6. Operation

* Adjust the REF level on your radio (or equivalent in your source) and the mouse-wheel noise floor to the point where the number of signals counted drops suddenly from a high number to a reasonable one. The noise floor is adjustable in 0.2 dB steps from 0-1 dB and in 1 dB steps thereafter. Check that you don't have the noise floor too high by tuning for a weak signal

  • Use the mouse wheel in the chart area to adjust the noise floor. You will see the number of sigs change as you scroll the blue line. If a blue or white signal is above the floor, Shift-up/down will jump to that signal. The noise floor value and # of signals detected are shown in the box near the dB scale.
  • Also shown in the little noise floor/signal box is the number of Hz represented by one pixel of incoming data. Note that to see all the incoming pixels, you need to make the graph area of the spectrum window greater than the number of pixels. The number of Hz per pixel affects how many signals can be found. If you have a source generating pixels greater than 100 Hz apart you may lose the ability of the program to find some signals as they are not represented in the source data stream. The size of the spectrum window does NOT affect the finding of signals. That is always done with the incoming source data, not the data as displayed
  • If you are short on screen space, Ctl-up/down does not need the old bandmap to be open to work. You can use this one instead
  • Turn off "snap to spot" if you find it is interfering with you clicking on signals. You don't need it if you are zoomed way in as you would often be in center mode
  • For DX split operation, use Ctl+click to set the Tx frequency to the point where you think the dx op will answer the next caller. That might be the frequency of the last station that worked him or it might be higher or lower


3.7. Relaying and Port Forwarding

The Spectrum Display window can forward the data it receives to another spectrum display window. The other spectrum window can be running in the original instance of N1MM+ or in N1MM+ running on any computer that is reachable via UDP packets. The forwarding computer only sends its spectrum display data: band, frequency, signal strength, display name, scaling factor. The destination instance of N1MM+ is responsible for display settings, the noise floor, and capturing packet spots.

Step 1. Preparing the source instance of N1MM+ to forward its Spectrum Display window

    • Using your mouse, right-click in the Spectrum Display window to be forwarded
    • From the right-click menu, select >Relay options >Name of this source
    • Enter a unique name for this Spectrum Display window. For example, "20M Radio"

Step 2. Preparing and launching the destination Spectrum Display window

Choose one (or more!) of the following options

  • Option1. Local Forwarding to a second Spectrum Display in the same instance of N1MM+ (you have only one computer)
    • Using your mouse, right-click in the Spectrum Display window to be forwarded (the source window)
    • From the right-click menu, select >Relay options >Broadcast on IP/port(s)
    • Enter an IP address of 127.0.0.1
    • To open the second spectrum display, right-click in the source spectrum display
    • From the right-click menu, select >Windows >Open a new window
    • In that new window, right-click and select >Spectrum Source >Source named
    • Choose the source name that you assigned in the first step of this process. In our example "20M Radio"

  • Option 2. Forward a spectrum to another computer on the same LAN (you have more than one computer)
    • Using your mouse, right-click in the Spectrum Display window to be forwarded (the source window)
    • From the right-click menu, select >Relay options >Broadcast on IP/port(s)
    • Enter the IP address of the destination computer. For example 192.168.1.123. You can run IPCONFIG in a cmd window to determine the destination computer's IP address
    • If N1MM+ is already running on the destination computer, close and re-launch N1MM+
    • To open a spectrum display window on the destination computer, from the drop-down N1MM+ menu on the destination computer select >Window >Spectrum Display
    • In the destination computer's spectrum display, right-click and select >Spectrum Source >Source named
    • Choose the source name that you assigned in the first step of this process. In our example "20M Radio"

  • Option 3. Forwarding to remote instance of N1MM+ (you have more than one site)
    • Using your mouse, right-click in the Spectrum Display window to be forwarded (the source window)
    • From the right-click menu, select >Relay options >Broadcast on IP/port(s)
    • Enter the IP address of the remote destination computer. For example 71.233.1.123. From a browser on the remote destination computer, entering "my ip address" will tell you your external IP address
    • Set up port forwarding on the router of the remote computer LAN to route incoming port 13064 to 13064 on the destination computer
    • If N1MM+ is already running on the remote destination computer, close and re-launch N1MM+
    • To open a spectrum display window on the remote destination computer, from the N1MM+ drop-down menu on the destination computer select >Window >Spectrum Display
    • In the remote destination computer's spectrum display, right-click and select >Spectrum Source >Source named
    • Choose the source name that you assigned in the first step of this process. In our example "20M Radio"

  • Option 4. Forwarding to 2nd remote instance of N1MM+ (you have more than one computer at a remote site)
    • Using your mouse, right-click in the Spectrum Display window to be forwarded (the source window)
    • From the right-click menu, select >Relay options >Broadcast on IP/port(s)
    • Enter the IP address of the second destination computer and specify a different port. For example 71.233.1.321:13900. (cannot be any port currently in use)
    • Set up port forwarding on the router of the remote computer LAN to route that new incoming port to port 13064 on the second destination computer
    • If N1MM+ is already running on the second destination computer, close and re-launch N1MM+
    • To open a spectrum display window on the second destination computer, from the N1MM+ drop-down menu on the destination computer select >Window >Spectrum Display
    • In the second destination computer's spectrum display, right-click and select >Spectrum Source >Source named
    • Choose the source name that you assigned in the first step of this process. In our example "20M Radio"


Note that Broadcast on IP/Port can be a comma separated list of IP addresses. For example: 192.168.1.1,79.235.146.132:13064, 29.235.146.132:13900 (separate with a comma, but no spaces)

Netgear Routing Example
In the example below, external port 13064 is being routed to 192.168.1.7 on the LAN. (Line 3 "Spectrum"). This menu is accessed from Netgear's Advanced/Advanced Setup/Port Forwarding & Port Triggering selection
Netgear routing example

3.8. Notes

  • With most SDRs, if you feed a narrower bandwidth slice to the spectrum display, less noise will be sent as well. Try to use wide bandwidths only on quiet bands where you want to scan the whole band for new signals
  • Gaps will appear at the beginning and end of the center mode spectrum display if you are not currently tuned to a whole kHz frequency. This is normal
  • If your radio is turned off or not configured properly, you may need to close the spectrum display or perhaps close the program and reopen to get the display to work
  • We are focusing on CW operation. You can play with other modes, but bear in mind little work has been put into making the window play nice with them
  • In SO2V only, the second VFO will be shown with a line in your skin's highlight color
  • Use Fast signal decay for SSB signal detection. Slow signal decay can be used with CW & RTTY to keep signals on the screen longer.
  • If you detest the tool tips, you can turn them off at the bottom of Config/Manage Skins, Colors and Fonts

3.9. SDR Block Diagram

SDR Block Diagram (2)

Last Modification: 05 September 2017 10:01:34 EDT by N1MM.