Tuning behaviour; active RX pass band fixed against moving spectrum/waterfall background #feature #ergonomics


Cormac, EI4HQ
 
Edited

Hi,

Based on what I've found on the forum, I think the answer to this question is no but I'd like to be sure:

[SDR console (v3.1 build 2572), Airspy HF+ Discovery, ELAD TM-2 VFO knob]

It is possible in SDR Console to "fix" from a visual display perspective, the active receiver pass band in the middle of the SDR Console main spectrum/waterfall window and for the spectrum and waterfall background to scroll "through" that active receiver pass band in the background i.e. right to left as VFO frequency is increased/left to right as it's decreased? For the life of me I can't figure out how to do this. Posts elsewhere on this forum seem to suggest it isn't possible? It's like a dream to me that it used to be?


IF the answer to the above question is no:


Context
I use SDR console (v3.1 build 2572 with an Airspy HF+ /HF+ Discovery and other similar hardware SDR receivers) to do what is my favourite radio pass time, chasing down really weak signals below 2MHz and on 10 metres using nothing other the "mark 1" eyes & ears (enabled of course by seriously capable radio hardware/software courtesy of Airspy etc. and Simon). My question relates to using a single SDR Console receiver with the listener changing that receiver frequency slowly and dwelling for quite some time on each frequency as they try and pull out really weak signals that are frequently fading in and out of the noise. All the while the listener's peripheral vision has an eye on the spectrum below and above the current frequency being listened to/observed, for signals that may appear out of the noise on other nearby frequencies. To put "slowly" in context, if I'm aero NDB chasing it could easily take me well over an hour to get through 10-20khz of the MW NDB band.

Why would I like SDR Console to work this way?

In a word, ergonomics. I can spend many hours at at time at the dial and the "moving" active receiver pass band against a "fixed" spectrum/waterfall background is actually quite fatiguing to work with over time, particularly when using a multi-screen display set up as I do (currently x2 22" wide screens, shortly to be 3). As VFO frequency is e.g. increased, you end up with your head angled more and more to the right. You have to move your head every time you change frequency to "chase" the active receiver pass band. This becomes uncomfortable over time. You can of course re-centre the pass band every time you change frequency. That quickly becomes tedious but more importantly, from a chasing weak signals perspective where those signals are frequently fading in and out of the noise, there's a loss of spatial awareness of where you are in the spectrum. Each time there's a "jump" in the spectrum/waterfall display i.e. when the active receiver pass band is re-centred or when the receiver gets to the screen edge and resets, that upsets you're sense of where you are in the RF spectrum. After a jump, you're never quite sure whether a signal is the one I checked 5 minutes ago or is it another one? Everything's moved suddenly, I'm not sure... You spend time rechecking signals to reorient yourself. That doesn't happen when you're slowly tuning with the receiver passband fixed at the centre and signals move very gradually relative to it over time as you gradually change frequency. You've always got a sense of where you are.

Feature Request
For extended duration single receiver listening, a fixed active receiver pass band with transient spectrum/waterfall perspective would be very helpful. I fully appreciate it must get really complicated when multiple receivers get involved and I know the receiver pane operates on the basis of a fixed receiver pass band but having to resort to a "sub display" is sub-optimal given the brilliance of the main display. @Simon; could a fixed active receiver pass band/moving spectrum/waterfall display feature be considered for a single active receiver use scenario?


Tony_AD0VC
 

No.

If you want this behavior then use the Receiver Pane or the Matrix Pane. These waterfalls behave as you desire. You can make the main waterfall smaller and make the receiver/matrix pane larger so that they appear dominant on your display. 

A main difference between the receiver pane and the matrix pane is that the receiver pane zoom changes with filter bandwidth selection while the matrix pane zoom is independent of filter bandwidth. 

Tony

From: main@SDR-Radio.groups.io <main@SDR-Radio.groups.io> on behalf of Cormac, EI4HQ <ei4hq.mail@...>
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2022 3:46 AM
To: main@SDR-Radio.groups.io <main@SDR-Radio.groups.io>
Subject: [SDR-Radio] Tuning behaviour; active RX pass band fixed against moving spectrum/waterfall background #feature #ergonomics
 

[Edited Message Follows]
[Reason: ...included use of a ELAD TM-2 VFO knob. ]

Hi,

Based on what I've found on the forum, I think the answer to this question is no but I'd like to be sure:

[SDR console (v3.1 build 2572), Airspy HF+ Discovery, ELAD TM-2 VFO knob]

It is possible in SDR Console to "fix" from a visual display perspective, the active receiver pass band in the middle of the SDR Console main spectrum/waterfall window and for the spectrum and waterfall background to scroll "through" that active receiver pass band in the background i.e. right to left as VFO frequency is increased/left to right as it's decreased? For the life of me I can't figure out how to do this. Posts elsewhere on this forum seem to suggest it isn't possible? It's like a dream to me that it used to be?


IF the answer to the above question is no:


Context
I use SDR console (v3.1 build 2572 with an Airspy HF+ /HF+ Discovery and other similar hardware SDR receivers) to do what is my favourite radio pass time, chasing down really weak signals below 2MHz and on 10 metres using nothing other the "mark 1" eyes & ears (enabled of course by seriously capable radio hardware/software courtesy of Airspy etc. and Simon). My question relates to using a single SDR Console receiver with the listener changing that receiver frequency slowly and dwelling for quite some time on each frequency as they try and pull out really weak signals that are frequently fading in and out of the noise. All the while the listener's peripheral vision has an eye on the spectrum below and above the current frequency being listened to/observed, for signals that may appear out of the noise on other nearby frequencies. To put "slowly" in context, if I'm aero NDB chasing it could easily take me well over an hour to get through 10-20khz of the MW NDB band.

Why would I like SDR Console to work this way?

In a word, ergonomics. I can spend many hours at at time at the dial and the "moving" active receiver pass band against a "fixed" spectrum/waterfall background is actually quite fatiguing to work with over time, particularly when using a multi-screen display set up as I do (currently x2 22" wide screens, shortly to be 3). As VFO frequency is e.g. increased, you end up with your head angled more and more to the right. You have to move your head every time you change frequency to "chase" the active receiver pass band. This becomes uncomfortable over time. You can of course re-centre the pass band every time you change frequency. That quickly becomes tedious but more importantly, from a chasing weak signals perspective where those signals are frequently fading in and out of the noise, there's a loss of spatial awareness of where you are in the spectrum. Each time there's a "jump" in the spectrum/waterfall display i.e. when the active receiver pass band is re-centred or when the receiver gets to the screen edge and resets, that upsets you're sense of where you are in the RF spectrum. After a jump, you're never quite sure whether a signal is the one I checked 5 minutes ago or is it another one? Everything's moved suddenly, I'm not sure... You spend time rechecking signals to reorient yourself. That doesn't happen when you're slowly tuning with the receiver passband fixed at the centre and signals move very gradually relative to it over time as you gradually change frequency. You've always got a sense of where you are.

Feature Request
For extended duration single receiver listening, a fixed active receiver pass band with transient spectrum/waterfall perspective would be very helpful. I fully appreciate it must get really complicated when multiple receivers get involved and I know the receiver pane operates on the basis of a fixed receiver pass band but having to resort to a "sub display" is sub-optimal given the brilliance of the main display. @Simon; could a fixed active receiver pass band/moving spectrum/waterfall display feature be considered for a single active receiver use scenario?


Cormac, EI4HQ
 

Update; I went playing with features to see if there might be another way of getting there:
  • Use the Receiver pane which keeps current VFO frequency in the middle and it turns out can be resized as big as you like.
  • Use the matrix window 1 x 1 which which keeps current VFO frequency in the middle and it turns out can also be resized as big as you like.
With both of these, just now I've got clunky movement of the spectrum/waterfall on my setup as VFO frequency is changed; there's is a relatively long time lag and then a jump to the latest VFO frequency. That may be down to the performance of the PC I'm using (Intel Core i5-4590 CPU @ 3.30GHz with 32gB RAM and no nvidia CUDA capability). I'll keep playing and will report further.


Cormac, EI4HQ
 

Thanks Tony,

Beginning to dawn on me I haven't been thinking about this the right way - getting a sense of it now. Thanks for the insights. Beginning to circle in on what I'm after now...