Packet Radio ?

Segrest
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Packet Radio ?

Postby Segrest » Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:38 pm

Hello Everyone,

There has been a resurgence of packet radio interest in my area, mostly related to Winlink.

Has anyone managed a way to use packet radio from Thetis?

Bob
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:10 pm

What sort of hardware or software packet solutions are you looking to use?

Winlink Express with either WINMOR or VARA is a 100% software based solution, very easy.
Segrest
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby Segrest » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:46 pm

Well, I agree... 8-)

I have actually installed Winlink and the basic configuration was indeed pretty straight forward. But as I haven't managed to connect to anyone with it, I thought it might be time to ask if anyone else has gotten this to work...

I have also installed and configured a software TNC named Direwolf. It is more oriented to traditional packet work and I have a better sense of what that should sound like. It sends, but the packets seem too short and too close together.

I finally dug out an old packet station using a KPC3 and managed to find a winlink gateway with it. This at least gave me a baseline for what the signal should look like, a target to send it too and verified my Winlink software configuration.

I'm missing something in the mix and am looking for someone who may have figured out the issues ahead of me.

Bob
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:32 am

Winlink works fine for me using WINMOR. I've not tried VARA. I understand that they are pushing to deprecate WINMOR and it has been some time since I messed with it so it might be that you need to set up VARA. As long as the software says your turn-around times are ok then you shouldn't have to do much except make sure your audio levels are ok.

That said, also remember these are not small signal modes and that you need good propagation and SNR to make it go.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby kc2rgw » Mon Sep 07, 2020 11:45 am

ARDOP and VARA are the new sound card modes for Winlink and of course there is packet as well.

With packet you may need to tweak some things to get the RX and TX timing to be fast enough. I’ve not tried it with the Anan.

They will all set up with VAC as with any other sound card mode. I like the UZ7HO packet modem on Windows.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:33 am

w-u-2-o wrote:What sort of hardware or software packet solutions are you looking to use?

Winlink Express with either WINMOR or VARA is a 100% software based solution, very easy.


I've got Winlink Express, VARA and Thetis 2.8.11 and have not been successful connecting to a mail server. After it transmits, I can hear the station reply but it never connects.

Someone mentioned to me about latency and have made several adjustments to no avail. What is the areas i need to focus on and correct to make this connect?

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:21 am

Interesting timing on your question (ha, a pun :D ) I just happened to blow the dust off of my Winlink stuff last week, upgraded Winlink Express, paid for and installed a VARA license. I am quite impressed with VARA. It is a huge improvement over WINMOR.

There is no short answer to your question. There could literally be two dozen things that might be wrong. It may have nothing to do with latency.

Let's check the super basic things first: are you using DIGU mode? Do you have all processing turned off on both TX and RX? No NR, no NB, no EQ, no TX stuff, either. Are you seeing good audio into VARA on the VARA VU meter and on the VARA waterfall display?

WDM-KS is faster than MME. With WDM-KS driver selected, try setting both PortAudio buffers to manual and set to 0ms. If that works, then start trimming down the RingBuffers, too. You must listen to the audio through your PC speakers or headphones to see if it remains OK.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby va7qi » Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:16 am

Last I tried Winlink with ARDOP I briefly managed to connect, but it failed after multiple re-transmissions. Seems to me there is a timing issue, which I have yet to explore.

73 de va7qi, ....Erik.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:03 am

w-u-2-o wrote:Interesting timing on your question (ha, a pun :D ) I just happened to blow the dust off of my Winlink stuff last week, upgraded Winlink Express, paid for and installed a VARA license. I am quite impressed with VARA. It is a huge improvement over WINMOR.


Interestingly enough, you did what I just did. I migrated over from WINMOR and what a huge improvement. Bought the license and when I was using with my FT-450D, what a major difference in send/receive.

w-u-2-o wrote:Let's check the super basic things first: are you using DIGU mode? Do you have all processing turned off on both TX and RX? No NR, no NB, no EQ, no TX stuff, either. Are you seeing good audio into VARA on the VARA VU meter and on the VARA waterfall display?


I am using DIGU mode. I'll have to check the TX side on the processing but believe on both TX and RX, that is all off. All of the other filters, noise and what not, yes, all off. Excellent signal in VARA. Great audio and all indications are "Green"

w-u-2-o wrote:WDM-KS is faster than MME. With WDM-KS driver selected, try setting both PortAudio buffers to manual and set to 0ms. If that works, then start trimming down the RingBuffers, too. You must listen to the audio through your PC speakers or headphones to see if it remains OK.


Check and check. Except no on the Port Audio because this is on a Windows 10 machine. If memory serves me correctly, when I was working with Linux on a time before all of this new radio stuff, Port Audio was one of the things used there. In fact, Port Audio is grayed out.

I am going to attempt to get a screen record because one thing I have noticed with this rig is when it unkeys, the waterfall shows it quite dramatically and don't know if this is a relay thing in its release but wonder if that may have a contributing factor but there again, that may have to do with the settings I am trying to get right in it hearing the signal good enough to get into the connect mode.

On the General > Options > Options-1 tab, what should the delays be set at? I have them at 10.

On the Audio > VAC 1 tab, what should the Buffer Latency be set at? I have them at 50.

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:21 pm

Check and check. Except no on the Port Audio because this is on a Windows 10 machine.
Win10 has nothing to do with it. PortAudio is used in building the VAC portion of the Thetis interface. PortAudio settings in Setup > Audio > VAC should not be grayed out. You should be able to set them to manual and 0ms as previously described.

On the General > Options > Options-1 tab, what should the delays be set at? I have them at 10.
On the 8000 I have here, RX Delay, MOX Delay and PTT Delay are all set to 0. RF Delay is set to 2. You may find that these need to be different if you are on older hardware.

On the Audio > VAC 1 tab, what should the Buffer Latency be set at? I have them at 50.
Follow my recommendations as previously written in my post above. You even quoted them. You want to get them as small as possible. You have to do this by ear, you must route the audio to your PC speakers or headphones. If you are using Voicemeeter this is easy. If you are using Muzy VAC you'll have to use his audio repeater app or whatever he calls it.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:58 pm

w-u-2-o wrote:Follow my recommendations as previously written in my post above. You even quoted them. You want to get them as small as possible. You have to do this by ear, you must route the audio to your PC speakers or headphones. If you are using Voicemeeter this is easy. If you are using Muzy VAC you'll have to use his audio repeater app or whatever he calls it.


And that would be my mistake. You did state that before and I overlooked it.

I did make the changes as you suggested but to no avail. I am able to hear the audio through the headphone port on the front of the rig with a pair of headphones. I do have and am using Voicemeeter. That's a learning curve I haven't traveled down on what its capabilities are but it looks to be a very busy program. Is there something possibly in Voicemeeter that isn't set properly?

I may have to save some face and go back over a previous instruction you wrote about three years ago on VAC, if it is still a valid post?

http://wu2o.dyndns.org/wu2o_vac_tutorial_2.html

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:11 pm

The old tutorial is getting a bit dated, but probably still valuable.

I am able to hear the audio through the headphone port on the front of the rig with a pair of headphones.
That is not relevant. It will not tell you anything about the quality of the audio stream coming from VAC.

I do have and am using Voicemeeter.
That makes it easy. In Voicemeeter simply click the A1 Hardware Out button in the upper right corner and assign it to a PC sound device (speakers, headphones, etc.) Then on the channel you are using for Thetis click the A1 "send" button and audio should flow from Thetis to your PC sound device.

Post screenshots of your main Thetis UI, your VAC settings, and your Voicemeeter settings, please.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:07 pm

w-u-2-o wrote:Post screenshots of your main Thetis UI, your VAC settings, and your Voicemeeter settings, please.


It'll have to wait until I get off the clock. It'll be later this eve by the time you get a reply on that.

And oh, by the way, PortAudio was grayed out because I hadn't checked the manual button. That was one of the previous things I had changed to 0 as you had suggested in the previous post. After making the changes, still no change but now with what you have mentioned about routing the audio with Voicemeeter, I believe that may be my failed point.

WSJT-X and FLDIGI must be more intuitive to work in lieu of this program.

Thanks for the ear and the assist thus far.

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:47 pm

KC4LZN wrote:WSJT-X and FLDIGI must be more intuitive to work in lieu of this program.
You can't use WSJT-X or FLDIGI or VARA or any program that requires audio from the radio without some sort of audio connection software or hardware. So one is not any easier or harder than the other.

You have three choices to move the audio, two virtual and one physical. The two virtual choices are Voicemeeter (it comes in three flavors of varying complexity, I recommend "Potato") and Muzychenko VAC. The physical way is to provision two separate sound cards and wire them to each other, which is silly.

Voicemeeter is a virtual audio mixing console. If you are not familiar with mixing consoles then that can be a problem. If you are familiar with such devices then you can use it without much of a learning curve.

If you are seeing good audio in VARA Voicemeeter is probably not a problem, but let's see the screenshots.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:13 am

Scott,

I can see now, there is something I've made amiss because from what you described earlier, I can tell you, that Voicemeeter isn't set up right. What I'm not understanding though is, how are the other two programs working because I literally did nothing to Voicemeeter Banana other than set the input and output sampling rates. The virtual com port program is com0com.

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Standing by for further instruction.

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:58 am

Yes, John, that is, unfortunately, a total train wreck. I do recommend you read my older tutorial.

First, in Thetis, you need to have RX1 AF turned up to 100. This will cause the VAC audio output to be referenced to 0dB (100%). If you want to turn it down a little you can do that in Voicemeeter. You probably will have to set to -10dB in Voicemeeter for VARA (move the B1 channel slider to -10).

Second, you need to go into the Windows Sound Control Panel, the legacy one, not the new Win10 one, and change the sampling rates of all of the devices your are using, both record and playback, to 48KHz.

Third, in VAC setup, you did NOT follow my directions to use the WDM-KS driver, so make that change. And turn on the stereo checkbox.

Finally, it would appear that all you did in Voicemeeter was hit buttons randomly. Channel assignments in Voicemeeter are labeled A1, A2 and A3 for the hardware inputs, and B1 and B2 for the virtual inputs, left to right.

You are not using any of the hardware inputs for this so why do you have any of the send buttons turned on? Turn them all off.

Thetis is assigned to B1 (because you chose the device that had "Voicemeeter VAIO" in the name--yes the naming of the devices with Voicemeeter is TERRIBLE and therefore confusing).

VARA (or any digi mode software) will need to be assigned to channel B2, so in those app's choose the device that has "Voicemeeter AUX" in the name. In fact, please post a screen shot of your VARA audio setup so we can check it.

With that all done, you need to SEND audio from B1 to B2, and from B2 to B1. So on channel B1, assigned to Thetis, turn on the B2 send button. On channel B2, assigned to VARA (or whatever) turn on the B1 send button.

Having the A1 send button turned on on channel B1 (Thetis) will allow you to hear receiver audio on hardware output A1 (which it appears you have assigned properly) and judge whether or not your VAC buffer settings are any good--if it sounds bad it is bad, if it sounds good it is good. You don't need the A1 send turned on for VARA (or whatever digi app is on channel B2).

That's a lot of work, I know, and perhaps a steep learning curve, but there you are.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:57 pm

Tinkering with this early this morning, light came on this morning, just prior to leaving for work so I have not been able to "listen" to any transmitting audio to determine its clean or dirty state. I understand now what a strip is and what a send button is. With your comments, I've added screenshots to indicate that stage.



w-u-2-o wrote:First, in Thetis, you need to have RX1 AF turned up to 100. This will cause the VAC audio output to be referenced to 0dB (100%). If you want to turn it down a little you can do that in Voicemeeter. You probably will have to set to -10dB in Voicemeeter for VARA (move the B1 channel slider to -10).


Done

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w-u-2-o wrote:Second, you need to go into the Windows Sound Control Panel, the legacy one, not the new Win10 one, and change the sampling rates of all of the devices your are using, both record and playback, to 48KHz.


Done but Voicemeeter still says 44100 at the top.

w-u-2-o wrote:Third, in VAC setup, you did NOT follow my directions to use the WDM-KS driver, so make that change. And turn on the stereo checkbox.


Done

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w-u-2-o wrote:Finally, it would appear that all you did in Voicemeeter was hit buttons randomly. Channel assignments in Voicemeeter are labeled A1, A2 and A3 for the hardware inputs, and B1 and B2 for the virtual inputs, left to right.

You are not using any of the hardware inputs for this so why do you have any of the send buttons turned on? Turn them all off.


I believe I have done this right?

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w-u-2-o wrote:VARA (or any digi mode software) will need to be assigned to channel B2, so in those app's choose the device that has "Voicemeeter AUX" in the name. In fact, please post a screen shot of your VARA audio setup so we can check it.


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w-u-2-o wrote:With that all done, you need to SEND audio from B1 to B2, and from B2 to B1. So on channel B1, assigned to Thetis, turn on the B2 send button. On channel B2, assigned to VARA (or whatever) turn on the B1 send button.


Let me know what I have right or wrong but I believe this is correct up to now?

Still not able to connect to a station though.

Working with the other digital formats, things look different in the waterfall when transmitting. Signal doesn't look as clean as before but I'm sure there's a tweak somewhere in Voicemeeter that I still need to tend to.

I'll see if I can figure out how to grab a video snippet of it when its transmitting. Seem to remember Windows now offering that capability in Windows but will figure something out, even if I have to snap it with a cell phone and upload it to Youtube.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:32 pm

That's looking a LOT better.

Change your VAC buffer size from 64 back to 2048 for now. Your VAC resampler is running wild--look at the giant under and overflow counts. Not good. You can reset the counts to zero by clicking on them.

You have 5 devices that need their sample rates set to 48KHz (stereo if possible) in the Windows Sound Control Panel: the playback and recording devices associated with Voicmeeter channel B1, the two for channel B2, and your PC "Realtek" speakers. Double check that they are all correct. Example from my system:

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In Voicemeeter go to Menu > System settings/Options and set Preferred Main Sample Rate to 48000 Hz.

Turn on the A1 send on channel B1 so you can hear your receiver audio. Then you may need to go into Thetis VAC settings and adjust the RingBuffer size until things sound good. If the resamplers are running wild you need to bump things up. Things need to sound right to your ear. Tune a phone or broadcast station if that works better for you than listening to beep/squawk digi stuff.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:54 pm

w-u-2-o wrote:In Voicemeeter go to Menu > System settings/Options and set Preferred Main Sample Rate to 48000 Hz.


Done and that corrected it.

w-u-2-o wrote:You have 5 devices that need their sample rates set to 48KHz (stereo if possible) in the Windows Sound Control Panel: the playback and recording devices associated with Voicmeeter channel B1, the two for channel B2, and your PC "Realtek" speakers. Double check that they are all correct.


I'll get snaps if you need but that was done but not to Studio Quality. I did DVD Quality.

w-u-2-o wrote:Turn on the A1 send on channel B1 so you can hear your receiver audio. Then you may need to go into Thetis VAC settings and adjust the RingBuffer size until things sound good. If the resamplers are running wild you need to bump things up. Things need to sound right to your ear. Tune a phone or broadcast station if that works better for you than listening to beep/squawk digi stuff.


Yes, as mentioned, Light just came on before I left for work so it'll be this evening before I can get an ear on it. I'll make adjustments to the buffer as you stated and let you know.

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:14 pm

No need to worry about DVD vs. Studio quality.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:30 pm

Lord only knows what I've changed but I'm getting an error when opening FLDIGI now.

Port Audio device is not available.

I've tried to go back to the other TX profile but that didn't change anything.

:roll: :shock: :(
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:37 pm

I thought we were working on VARA?
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:46 pm

We are.

FLDigi was working before and I was flipping to it to see its state of mind.

I'll leave it alone until I can get VARA working.
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:30 pm

Okay, got an ear on the output and it all looks great, sounds great too. Here's what I think is happening.

When I had the FT-450D in line, I noticed that when it would go from transmit to receive, the listen time was greater than what this 7000 is doing. Is that done in the Port Audio Buffers?

I noted too, before you stated my over and underflows were going nuts. I believe that screenshot was taken when the rig was off. I have the buffer at 64 and the Port Audio at 0 and the under and over flows are at 0.

image (1).png
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What can I do to increase the transmit/receive time?

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:01 pm

Success!

I have made two videos. One using the FT-450D and the other one using the 7000.

In the 450, note the left gauge for audio input stays green the whole time during transmit and receive.



Using the 7000, note the flicker of yellow between transmit/receive on the left gauge.



Could there be an issue with the transmit/receive relay? Does yours flicker yellow in the transition between transmit and receive?

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:04 pm

I do not get the yellow flashes. That could be indicative of a slow switch back to receive.

What did you change to get this far?

Why did you not match up your RingBuffer Out setting with the In setting? Other than that the settings you are achieving in Thetis VAC setup are about as fast as you can go.

Did you make the changes in General > Options > Options-1 we had discussed above? Let's see a screen shot.

In Setup > DSP > Options are your filter types "Low Latency"?
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby KC4LZN » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:49 pm

w-u-2-o wrote:I do not get the yellow flashes. That could be indicative of a slow switch back to receive.


Scott, I agree. I am wondering if the relay isn't releasing fast enough.

w-u-2-o wrote:What did you change to get this far?


You talked about the under and overflows so I started making adjustments to the latency to make them zero and am still in the process of adjustments, checking them and adjusting as needed to make the under and overflow at or near zero.

w-u-2-o wrote:Why did you not match up your RingBuffer Out setting with the In setting? Other than that the settings you are achieving in Thetis VAC setup are about as fast as you can go.[/qutoe]

Ignorance and still learning. I've changed it to make the under and overflows at or near zero.

w-u-2-o wrote:Did you make the changes in General > Options > Options-1 we had discussed above? Let's see a screen shot.


Yes, here is a screenshot. All to zero except RF Delay which is 2 as you stated.

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The buffer size was set to 64 and the RingBuffer to 25.

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w-u-2-o wrote:In Setup > DSP > Options are your filter types "Low Latency"?


Yes.

image (2).png
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Let me know if there is anything else.

73
John
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w-u-2-o » Mon Nov 23, 2020 1:47 pm

Can't see your settings getting any better than what you have. They are actually extremely good, you clearly have a fast computer. It should be plenty fast enough for VARA and Winlink. Is it working OK?
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Re: Packet Radio ?

Postby w8du » Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:56 pm

I have the exact same problem with the latest versions of Winlink Express and VARA HF. When I try to initiate a connect, I can hear the other station respond, and see it on the VARA waterfall, but it seems like my station is not acknowledging the response and goes into transmitting again almost before the other station has finished transmitting to me. Did you ever get VARA HF to work with the Anan 7000DLE?
Tnx de Arnie W8DU


KC4LZN wrote:
w-u-2-o wrote:What sort of hardware or software packet solutions are you looking to use?

Winlink Express with either WINMOR or VARA is a 100% software based solution, very easy.


I've got Winlink Express, VARA and Thetis 2.8.11 and have not been successful connecting to a mail server. After it transmits, I can hear the station reply but it never connects.

Someone mentioned to me about latency and have made several adjustments to no avail. What is the areas i need to focus on and correct to make this connect?

73
John
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