Topics

Scanning feature for QCX

George Korper
 

Being a relative newcomer to the group I would like to ask if anyone
has suggested adding a scanning feature to the QCX. If I could press a button and have
the QCX scan the band or a patch of the band as I listen, without having to turn the encoder,
I could hunt and pounce while I do other things around the shack, like build more QCX's. 
The scan feature would have a start, a stop, and automatic return, and use the three frequency speeds. 
20 is awful quiet and lightly populated where I live so just hearing other stations pop up would be a sign to listen around and operate.

Now I don't mind looking like a fool if this is possible already, and I am missing it in the manual.
 I think it would be a great sales feature for those of us who don't
want to use CAT or a computer. Hans makes the firmware and actually I think this would not
be to difficult to add to Other. Hans if your listening, what am I missing here?

Paul AI4EE
 

Great idea, not likely to happen. The firmware is already "full up." If enough present features were removed, scanning might be possible, though I doubt many would support this. On the other hand, Hans is quite the wizard, so he might conceive of something.


On 12/17/2019 10:24 PM, George Korper wrote:
Being a relative newcomer to the group I would like to ask if anyone
has suggested adding a scanning feature to the QCX. If I could press a button and have
the QCX scan the band or a patch of the band as I listen, without having to turn the encoder,
I could hunt and pounce while I do other things around the shack, like build more QCX's. 
The scan feature would have a start, a stop, and automatic return, and use the three frequency speeds. 
20 is awful quiet and lightly populated where I live so just hearing other stations pop up would be a sign to listen around and operate.

Now I don't mind looking like a fool if this is possible already, and I am missing it in the manual.
 I think it would be a great sales feature for those of us who don't
want to use CAT or a computer. Hans makes the firmware and actually I think this would not
be to difficult to add to Other. Hans if your listening, what am I missing here?

Hans Summers
 

Hi George

I'm wondering how useful it would be in practice. How long should it stay on each frequency? Presumably long enough that you could react, drop whatever you were doing, and jump on the radio to stop it from its scan, so you could work the station? How long is that? Configurable? 

I'm not saying I have time or space to put it in the QCX code necessarily... I am just wondering, how such features are normally implemented in order to be useful and practical. 

73 Hans G0UPL

On Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 6:24 AM George Korper <georgekorper@...> wrote:
Being a relative newcomer to the group I would like to ask if anyone
has suggested adding a scanning feature to the QCX. If I could press a button and have
the QCX scan the band or a patch of the band as I listen, without having to turn the encoder,
I could hunt and pounce while I do other things around the shack, like build more QCX's. 
The scan feature would have a start, a stop, and automatic return, and use the three frequency speeds. 
20 is awful quiet and lightly populated where I live so just hearing other stations pop up would be a sign to listen around and operate.

Now I don't mind looking like a fool if this is possible already, and I am missing it in the manual.
 I think it would be a great sales feature for those of us who don't
want to use CAT or a computer. Hans makes the firmware and actually I think this would not
be to difficult to add to Other. Hans if your listening, what am I missing here?

Richard G4TGJ
 

This is why I wish the software was open source and then the community could add all these features.
--
73
Richard
G4TGJ

Simon Kennedy
 

On Wed, 18 Dec 2019 at 09:44, Richard G4TGJ <rpt@...> wrote:
This is why I wish the software was open source and then the community could add all these features.

...and within weeks the Chinese would have ripped off the design and would be selling sub-standard copies. It's what happened to M0NKA's mcHF. 

Richard G4TGJ
 

Since the flash hex is available as a download I don't think open source makes any difference to that.
--
73
Richard
G4TGJ

Erik Kaashoek
 

On Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 01:44 AM, Richard G4TGJ wrote:
This is why I wish the software was open source and then the community could add all these features
The community is free to write a new SW for the well documented HW.
 
--
Erik, PD0EK

George Korper
 

I wasn't thinking about any feedback mechanism that would dwell on an incoming signal,
just starting and stopping by hand so you don't have to sit over the radio and turn, turn, turn to see if the band is open.
That would be very simple and a quick practical implementation. I don't like jostling the little radio each time I want to go from 14,000 to 14,065
or 14,045-14,065 listening for activations, etc.

 A modest request for semi automation ( hi hi ) Now I go to the 1 khz rate, but notice that i do this
manually every few minutes as the band in the recent past goes open for short times and it is easy to miss activity.

You can learn a lot by listening to the band and you don't need WSPR or an SDR . For me it is music. 

On Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 4:56 AM Dennis Shelton <nadie1943@...> wrote:

Great idea, not likely to happen. The firmware is already "full up." If enough present features were removed, scanning might be possible, though I doubt many would support this. On the other hand, Hans is quite the wizard, so he might conceive of something.


On 12/17/2019 10:24 PM, George Korper wrote:
Being a relative newcomer to the group I would like to ask if anyone
has suggested adding a scanning feature to the QCX. If I could press a button and have
the QCX scan the band or a patch of the band as I listen, without having to turn the encoder,
I could hunt and pounce while I do other things around the shack, like build more QCX's. 
The scan feature would have a start, a stop, and automatic return, and use the three frequency speeds. 
20 is awful quiet and lightly populated where I live so just hearing other stations pop up would be a sign to listen around and operate.

Now I don't mind looking like a fool if this is possible already, and I am missing it in the manual.
 I think it would be a great sales feature for those of us who don't
want to use CAT or a computer. Hans makes the firmware and actually I think this would not
be to difficult to add to Other. Hans if your listening, what am I missing here?

geoff M0ORE
 

If the new QCX software has CAT control, then write your own software to do the scanning via the CAT control.

On 18/12/2019 09:44, Richard G4TGJ wrote:
This is why I wish the software was open source and then the community could add all these features.
--
73
Richard
G4TGJ

Gregg Myers
 

You could just monitor a WebSDR station near your QTH with a computer or tablet. Then you can literally see any new signal pop up and tune to that. If CAT control would let you change frequency (I'm not sure the capabilities of CAT yet), then the computer control could then set the QCX frequency for you. 

73,
Gregg W7GRM

On Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 5:16 AM geoff M0ORE via Groups.Io <m0ore=tiscali.co.uk@groups.io> wrote:

If the new QCX software has CAT control, then write your own software to do the scanning via the CAT control.

On 18/12/2019 09:44, Richard G4TGJ wrote:
This is why I wish the software was open source and then the community could add all these features.
--
73
Richard
G4TGJ

Ed Kwik
 

You could use the I and Q signals. Port them to your computer's sound card. Then with SDR software you got a waterfall display.
Ed
AB8DF

R. Tyson
 

Hi,
As pointed out in another post I doubt there is sufficient memory left. The radio has a remarkable set of facilities and Hans has done a brilliant job on it.

Someone suggested that the software should be open source... that would enable others to produce cloned versions of Hans' work - in effect he does the work and someone else steals it and profits from it.

Tuning up and own the band is good exercise - I remember when we had to get out of our chair and walk across the room to change T.V. channels and there were only 2 or 3 of them.

The facilities available from these little radios is amazing but there is not the infinite capacity to keep adding stuff from "wish lists".

Reg              G4NFR

 

Don, ND6T
 

George, I should imagine that it could be accomplished by some additional hardware. Perhaps that would simply plug in. All you would need to do would be to parallel the "up" switch connection on the rotary encoder. A simple '555 timer in astable mode could do it. Add a switch to power (or de-power) the circuit and maybe a speed control if you wanted to get fancy.
73,
Don

Andy V. Borisenko
 

My opinion:
Frequency scanning and numerous memory channels are the most useless transceiver features.
Especially if it is for single band and mode.
vfo A/B enough.

jjpurdum
 

Everything I've written since I retired is Open Source and, for me at least, doing so is a true dilemma. That is: Two choices, both bad. I'll bet Hans has waded through the same decision-making process.

If you make your code Open Source, you lose control of it and it does end up being stolen, sometimes for profit. Even worse, some people will attempt to modify your code and, when it doesn't work, they actually have the audacity to ask you to fix it...for free! Not good...not fair.

On the other hand, if you don't make it Open Source, some people think you're a Grinch because they can't make your code do exactly whatever it is they want it to do.  They, too, want you to add such-and-such a feature, but fail to realize there are not a lot of deaf, blind, people who only speak Latin. (The Grinch Factor, to me, is a myth. It's my code...you don't like it, write your own.)

So, what's the answer? First of all, given what Hans has managed to stuff into a Nano, there can't be more than a few bytes left. So, my guess is that putting something in means taking something else out. For most of us, that means "Leave it alone." However...

The QSX is going to be another beast altogether, since it will be using the STM32F4 series of microcontroller. Hans has some headroom there because of the memory resource depth and a faster clock. Yet, from Hans' perspective, how does he address the dilemma of lost control versus the Grinch factor? I think the best solution is an API--Application Programmer Interface. An API provides entry points to methods that allow you to extend the functionality of the program in much the same way that libraries allow you to extend the Arduino core. The downside is that it takes a lot more effort on Hans part to provide an API for us.

So...what's the correct answer from everyones' standpoint? I don't have a clue.

Jack, W8TEE



On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 9:23:11 AM EST, R. Tyson via Groups.Io <tysons2@...> wrote:


Hi,
As pointed out in another post I doubt there is sufficient memory left. The radio has a remarkable set of facilities and Hans has done a brilliant job on it.

Someone suggested that the software should be open source... that would enable others to produce cloned versions of Hans' work - in effect he does the work and someone else steals it and profits from it.

Tuning up and own the band is good exercise - I remember when we had to get out of our chair and walk across the room to change T.V. channels and there were only 2 or 3 of them.

The facilities available from these little radios is amazing but there is not the infinite capacity to keep adding stuff from "wish lists".

Reg              G4NFR

 

George Korper
 


A clue.
" Let it be" is a good song.
"Watching the Wheels" is another league.

 Perhaps my imagination got boosted when I ran the QCX with a 20 volt battery.
But I am glad I did. 

George Korper
 

Thank you. Do you have a schematic? If that is the case, however adding to firmware should be a snap. As to the comment that scanning is useless, I thought so once as well. The QCX is my primary radio and I could say the same thing about the decoder. CW scanning is different because if the code is part of you it enables contacts that otherwise rely on good luck.

Hans you sell firmware chips. Just selling a separate chip with selected features at a higher price would be excellent. No decoder and a scanner for instance. That solves the problem of open source which seems a marketing decision.


On Wed, Dec 18, 2019, 8:32 AM Don, ND6T via Groups.Io <nd6t_6=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
George, I should imagine that it could be accomplished by some additional hardware. Perhaps that would simply plug in. All you would need to do would be to parallel the "up" switch connection on the rotary encoder. A simple '555 timer in astable mode could do it. Add a switch to power (or de-power) the circuit and maybe a speed control if you wanted to get fancy.
73,
Don

Don, ND6T
 

George- After thinking about your original request I believe that you might want to: 1) return to the original frequency, and 2) scan only a defined number of steps. So the addition would require a wire to each of the encoder switches (up and down). This would be best handled by a simple microcontroller (like an Arduino) and a couple of isolating diodes.
No schematic. I'm not interested in building one. Like some have already said, it doesn't sound too useful to me. What I did was to put a bypass switch on the audio filter so I can hear a few KHz around my tuned frequency. That way I can monitor nearby frequencies for activity that I wouldn't notice through the narrow filter.
Now a channelized band, like 60m, is a different story. My 60m BITX scans the channels and alerts me to the infrequent activity. But the rest of the HF bands? No.
Yes, it could be integrated into the operating system of the QCX except that Hans has completely filled the existing memory available with all sorts of very exciting and useful features.
Here's another option: Write your own firmware. Jack has some excellent books that will teach you how. Only incorporate the features that you wish. Completely customize it for you. The hardware need not be touched, just re-program the controller. You can always re-load the original (or the latest) hex code from QRP Labs later. The hardware is all revealed, there is nothing hidden or special.
When you have completed your firmware project then you can make it public, of course, but I believe that you will also then appreciate the vast amount of effort that Hans has put into it and may then agree with his proprietary approach.
73, Don

Arv Evans
 

Jack

Well-said.  You made it very clear what the pro's and con's are regarding giving away
intellectual property versus securing said property.   Micro-controller based systems are
particularly problematic because some of the micro-controller chips can be read back
and copied at the bit or byte level.  The AVR is one of the micro-controller chips that
does have fuse bits that can be used to help protect the device from being copied. 

We are seeing some of this problem over on the BITX discussion group, where individuals
have made their own junk-box variations of the hardware, modified the open-source software,
and now seem to expect that Farhan will troubleshoot their mistakes. 

Micro-processor ICs that do not have built-in copy protection have to rely on "mouse-
traps" that use hidden code to erase or mutilate the code if it is tampered with. 

Since recent trends seem to indicate that even homebrew rigs need to support some form
of CAT control, maybe that is where the user customization needs to reside.  If there
is an adequate set of basic functions, then maybe user code in the CAT software could
allow those who want something else could add that feature or function?

Arv
_._


On Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 7:58 AM jjpurdum via Groups.Io <jjpurdum=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Everything I've written since I retired is Open Source and, for me at least, doing so is a true dilemma. That is: Two choices, both bad. I'll bet Hans has waded through the same decision-making process.

If you make your code Open Source, you lose control of it and it does end up being stolen, sometimes for profit. Even worse, some people will attempt to modify your code and, when it doesn't work, they actually have the audacity to ask you to fix it...for free! Not good...not fair.

On the other hand, if you don't make it Open Source, some people think you're a Grinch because they can't make your code do exactly whatever it is they want it to do.  They, too, want you to add such-and-such a feature, but fail to realize there are not a lot of deaf, blind, people who only speak Latin. (The Grinch Factor, to me, is a myth. It's my code...you don't like it, write your own.)

So, what's the answer? First of all, given what Hans has managed to stuff into a Nano, there can't be more than a few bytes left. So, my guess is that putting something in means taking something else out. For most of us, that means "Leave it alone." However...

The QSX is going to be another beast altogether, since it will be using the STM32F4 series of microcontroller. Hans has some headroom there because of the memory resource depth and a faster clock. Yet, from Hans' perspective, how does he address the dilemma of lost control versus the Grinch factor? I think the best solution is an API--Application Programmer Interface. An API provides entry points to methods that allow you to extend the functionality of the program in much the same way that libraries allow you to extend the Arduino core. The downside is that it takes a lot more effort on Hans part to provide an API for us.

So...what's the correct answer from everyones' standpoint? I don't have a clue.

Jack, W8TEE



On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 9:23:11 AM EST, R. Tyson via Groups.Io <tysons2=btinternet.com@groups.io> wrote:


Hi,
As pointed out in another post I doubt there is sufficient memory left. The radio has a remarkable set of facilities and Hans has done a brilliant job on it.

Someone suggested that the software should be open source... that would enable others to produce cloned versions of Hans' work - in effect he does the work and someone else steals it and profits from it.

Tuning up and own the band is good exercise - I remember when we had to get out of our chair and walk across the room to change T.V. channels and there were only 2 or 3 of them.

The facilities available from these little radios is amazing but there is not the infinite capacity to keep adding stuff from "wish lists".

Reg              G4NFR

 

Bill Cromwell
 

Hi,

I had and (still have) an HF radio that can scan as described. I tried it a few times. Your questions are directly to the point. It was next to useless and I never considered using that mode again. I know you won't consider making the system open source and I don't even want you to do that. There are some systems that *ARE* open source (just not from QRP Labs). Maybe if that is important hams should buy one of those. They might discover it is no panacea:)

73,

Bill KU8H

On 12/18/19 4:43 AM, Hans Summers wrote:
Hi George
I'm wondering how useful it would be in practice. How long should it stay on each frequency? Presumably long enough that you could react, drop whatever you were doing, and jump on the radio to stop it from its scan, so you could work the station? How long is that? Configurable?
I'm not saying I have time or space to put it in the QCX code necessarily... I am just wondering, how such features are normally implemented in order to be useful and practical.
73 Hans G0UPL
http://qrp-labs.com
On Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 6:24 AM George Korper <georgekorper@... <mailto:georgekorper@...>> wrote:
Being a relative newcomer to the group I would like to ask if anyone
has suggested adding a scanning feature to the QCX. If I could press
a button and have
the QCX scan the band or a patch of the band as I listen, without
having to turn the encoder,
I could hunt and pounce while I do other things around the shack,
like build more QCX's.
The scan feature would have a start, a stop, and automatic return,
and use the three frequency speeds.
20 is awful quiet and lightly populated where I live so just hearing
other stations pop up would be a sign to listen around and operate.
Now I don't mind looking like a fool if this is possible already,
and I am missing it in the manual.
 I think it would be a great sales feature for those of us who don't
want to use CAT or a computer. Hans makes the firmware and actually
I think this would not
be to difficult to add to Other. Hans if your listening, what am I
missing here?
--
bark less - wag more