WorldStation™ Software / Ten-Tec Radios / Tel. 516-765-2378

home | rx-340 | store | faq | user guide | testimonials | links | contact
HobbyTron.com Electronic Kits and Toy Superstore

Dxtra Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Q. What is WorldStation™ and how does it work with the RX-320D / RX-340 and other radios?

WorldStation™ is a powerful radio control software program designed to control the Ten-Tec RX-320, RX-340, RX-350 and Drake R8A and R8B HF receivers through your PC's serial port. The Ten-Tec receivers use DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology to eliminate expensive analog filters and to provide more versatile radio operation in general. As you can see from the RX-320D picture on our web site, there is no front panel for the RX-320 - it is designed for PC control. These two factors significantly reduce the end cost. Performance-wise, the RX-320 beats more expensive portables and portatops (e.g. Grundig 800). The Ten-Tec web site has links to several 3rd party reviews of the RX-320. The RX-340 and RX-350 are considered "table top" receivers and feature front panel controls. All radios share the Ten-Tec heritage of being completely computer controllable.

Q. What Windows Operating Systems Does WorldStation™ Support? Is Linux supported?

WorldStation™ was developed on the Windows 7 operating system. It also runs on Wndows Vista, . ndows Xp and Windows 8. WorldStation™ will also be compiled and will run on any new Windows operating systems as they appear.

Q. Is WorldStation™ comparable to "shareware" or "freeware" programs? Who is the author?

WorldStation™ is not shareware software - it is built to much higher standards. The total work involded in the 3.x series is about three years of work. The designer and programmer of WS 3.4, Robert Griffin, has 25 years of IT experience developing and managing some of this country's largest IT projects, for such companies as Citigroup (developer - cash management system), JP Morgan (QA /testing -equity trading system), Pfizer (designer - data warehouse) and Cablevision (project manager - digital set-top box project), to name a few. The designer/programmer also has an MBA in information systems and finance from NYU / Stern School of business. His undergraduate degree in liberal arts is also from NYU.

WorldStation™ has a superior feature set to shareware programs and to other commercial programs (please make your own comparison!). It is new development, having been completed in 2003. Also, unlike shareware programs, our software is quality assured and thoroughly tested in our lab for your specific radio. In the performance area, WorldStation™ is also vastly superior by design. As an example, let's look at support for the popular ILG database. What shareware programs do is load the text file version of this database with resultant slow lookups. WorldStation™ data cleanses AND indexes the raw "dbf" format of the ILG database for extremely fast lookups. So fast, that it can display tuning data in real-time! The entire conversion process to the point where you are up and running is less than 2 minutes. It also can filter out records based on any text in any field in real-time. You also get a real-time update of "What's Playing", with a one minute refresh cycle.

Most shareware programs are several years old, are not being maintained by their authors, and have documented trouble supporting Windows XP, particularly if they use the Windows Registry (we don't). There is virtually no support for these programs. As an experiment late last year Dxtra downloaded and tried to run free radio related programs from the public download area of a major site (www.qrz.com). Our experience was that 9 out of 10 programs either failed to load, failed to run, or experienced other problems, like DLL conflicts on our Windows 2000 PC. Why? The explanation is that these programs were compiled for a particular version of the Microsoft operating system and were not re-compiled for subsequent OS revisions. In some cases the development tools they has used had become unsupported. That situation will never happen with Dxtra's software as we will always re-compile for the latest Microsoft operating systems.

It should be noted that WS 4.2 is 100% based on "open source" software technology. The advantage of these tools is that they are continually maintained by an army of developers worldwide and are unlikely to become obsolescent. The quality of these tools is second to none in our experience. Dxtra contributes financial support to the authors of these tools. So even though Dxtra is a "for profit" company, by purchasing our software, you help to fund "open source" development.

Dxtra supports Windows XP perfectly and we don't use the Windows registry at all to store configuration settings. In many documented instances, inadequately engineered shareware programs have damaged the Windows registry of consumers who have installed those programs up to and including "wiping out" their hard drives! See the RX-320 group on Yahoo for examples of these serious support issues .

Q. Why should I purchase my radio from Dxtra?

Basically you are getting our professionally designed software (see above for a comparison) for a nominal amount of money. Buying a radio through us helps to subsidize the cost of your software - and we pay for shipping. You are getting our software for only $20 - a tremendous bargain - over the factory price of the radio. Remember that you are getting a factory fresh radio delivered from Ten-Tec - with the full factory warranty. Since becoming a Ten-Tec VAR (Value Added Reseller) in the year 2000, Dxtra has shipped well over six figures worth of Ten-Tec equipment.

Q. What advanced features does WorldStation™ 4.2 have?

WS 4.x has client / server networking support built-in. This means you can remote control your radio from anywhere in the world. Skype is also integrated into the software for automatically listening to your audio feed.

Q. Will Dxtra support other radios in addition to the RX-320, RX-340 and RX-350?

For a full list, please see the list at the top of the page at www.dxtra.com

Q. Why should I consider buying WorldStation™ when Ten-Tec includes a program with the RX-320?

The Ten-Tec software included with the RX-320 is designed for basic radio control and is not under active development. It does NOT support all the features of the RX-320 such as the 34 filters or PBS. It lacks most of the features of WorldStation™, such as its advanced scanning. which are unique. Ten-Tec has made a decision to concentrate on radio engineering and production, leaving it up to third parties like Dxtra to continue R&D in control software.

Q. What is Dxtra's Support Policy?

WorldStationTM is certified to run on a standard Windows XP or Vista system. We have worked very hard to create a bug-free product. An installation of the product takes from one to three mninutes.

We provide basic (free) email assistance for initial install problems, which almost always involve a customer failing to install their license key file. We ask that customers refer to our well written documentation available on the web at www.dxtra.com/ws34.html for operational questions regarding the software.

If a customer can't get WS 4.2 running immediately, the problem usually can be traced to an anti-virus programs or personal firewall program running on the PC. We ask that customers disable these "protective' programs temporarily to verify their WS 3.4 installatiion. It is the customers responsibility to de-select the settings in these programs that are causing a problem.

Dxtra can't be held responsible for operator error, or unfamiliarity with basic PC operation. It is beyond our scope of support to train customers in the basic use of a PC. Examples would be: what is a serial port?, What is a sound card? How to I control the Window mixer etc.

 

Q. Does Dxtra plan to write drivers for "legacy" (no longer produced) radios? (No but you can help!)

It is unlike that Dxtra will by itself be able to support older radios, since we don't have those radios to test with. If you are a programmer and wish to see your legacy radio supported, please read on. A typical ASCII based instruction set driver for any radio can be put together in a mornings work (e.g. Drake). A binary or hex command set takes a bit longer. Some drivers required extensive programming and debugging, like the RX-350 for example, which took a week to write. The RX-340 took an hour to stub in basic commands but 3 days to write GUI controls! WS 3.4 is a client / server system based on a messaging architecture. There is a complete de-coupling between the GUI and the physical radio. All the GUI does is send ASCII messages which are then routed through the object work-flow layers of the program to the specific driver. The driver completely encapsulates the low level logic pertinent to that radio.

If you are willing to contribute a driver, we will provide you with the skeleton of our driver methods. The interface agreement at the driver level is simple: EVERY message is based on ASCII text. For example, MODE is sent to the driver as "USB", "LSB" based on the key-codes defined in the GUI. All you have to do is stub in the code for interpreting those ASCII commands. Dxtra will take care of writing any new GUI controls, adding new messaging components and the serial port interfacing. Our library now recognizes over 100 radio oriented commands, so it's likely that your radio's message layer (and controls) is already done. It's just a matter of "stubbing" in the radio commands.

You will get a free test copy of WorldStationTM with your driver to test on your radio. You of course get a free production copy of the software when it is completed. Dxtra gains exclusive rights to the driver - but your radio gets supported. If you are interested in this offer, please contact Dxtra via email or phone.

Q. I'm a beginner in listening to shortwave radio, how can your software help me?

WorldStation™ has an extremely useful feature which we call the "Band Table". By international agreement, the radio spectrum is divided up into frequency slices called "bands". By clicking on a band, all parameters are sent to the radio. You can start scanning or tuning immediately. For ham radio radio operators, all the ham bands, by license class are also included. This is typical of the level of detail you will find in WorldStation(TM). When you are on a band, the same slider is confined to the band's upper and lower frequency limits, so you don't have to worry about going "out of band" when tuning. For a complete list of features please refer to the User Guide.

Q. I've been listening to shortwave radio for years, What advanced capabilities does your software have?

WorldStationTM 3.4 shatters two software barriers that hold back other programs. HyperScanTM allows the simultaneous scanning of multiple bands at once - this gives you a graphical image of band conditions and MUF (Maximum Usable Frequency). Another breakthrough is Clustering. Simply add another RX-320D and you get automatic 24/7 background scanning. Other programs claim to feature "multiple" radio control - but that's as far as they go.

Q. Clustering sounds interesting but I have an RX-350 (or RX-340), can I cluster that with an RX-320D?

Absolutely! You can seamlessly control several different radios simultaneously with our software. Each radio gets it's own custom control GUI (Graphical User Interface.

Q. Is Multi-Radio support difficult to set up?

It's easy! Just connect the radios to your available serial ports. Change the serial ports in the config file to identify the radios in order. Start the client sofware for each radio in turn.

Q. Can you explain why I would want to "network" my radio?

Many of our customers have installed inexpensive home networks, many of them wireless, as costs plummet. A wireless home network would allow you to run WorldStation™ from any computer within range of your WAP (Wireless Access Point). Your audio would be supplied by the standard (free) Skype audio client. Our software automatically connects Skype for you for a seamless listening experience. Hence you could be listening to the BBC in your backyard on your notebook computer! You can of course connect over the open internet to your Dxtra server as well.

Q. Is WorldStationTM 2.0 Still Supported?

As announced in several customer email's and on our web site, WS 2.0 was retired after a three year production run on April 1st, 2003 and is no longer formally supported by Dxtra. Customer's wishing to maintain their WS 2.0 installation's should read the FAQ below on WS 2.0 maintenance.

WS 2.0 has been replaced entirely by the WS 4.x product line. WS 3.4 represents almost 2 years of R&D on Dxtra's part and is not an incremental upgrade to WS 2.0. It is a whole new generation of WorldStationTM that features multi-radio driver support, HyperScanTM and Clustering, among many new features. We thank our many customer's who have upgraded to WS 3.4 and our now enjoying the superior functionality of this new software. In fact, our entire WS 3.4 customer base was recently upgraded, free of charge, to the new WS 3.41 release.

WS 2.0 Maintenance Procedure

Assuming the customer has retained copies of their original 2.0 "dxtra.zip" or "dxtra.exe" file and license keys, WS 2.0 can be maintained indefinitely. WS 2.0 has always used a simple DOS batch file installation script. The step-by-step procedure for maintaining a WS 2.0 installation is below:

  • Download and install Sun's (www.sun.com) JRE (Jave Runtime Environment) using the JRE 1.3 series.
  • Using the winzip program open the "dxtra.exe" or "dxtra.zip" zip archive that you received from Dxtra
  • Edit the "winstall.bat" file with Notepad and change the version number (and path of the JRE if needed) of the last 3 lines that start with "IF EXIST". These lines merely install Java serial port files.
  • Edit the "ws.bat" file to reflect the path of the new JRE installation. Save the file.
  • If you have the "dxtra.zip" file, extract the archive to a temp directory and double-click "winstall.bat" to install WS 2.0. If you have the "dxtra.exe" file, double-click it to install. The startup file is "ws.bat" in the c:\dxtra directory.
  • I you make a mistake in installation, like a typo in your path, you will not get a clean installation. To recover from any installation error, just erase the "c:\dxtra diectory", make your changes to the batch file (see above) and install again.

    Q. Is Dxtra A Ten-Tec Authorized Value Added Reseller?

    We have been a Ten-Tec Value Added Reseller (VAR) for the RX-320, RX-340 and RX-350 radios since 1999. "Value Added" means that we offer you a premium package which includes WorldStation™ and the RX-320, RX-340 or RX-350. We also now offer Cluster packages of multiple RX-320's. However, as a true VAR, we do not sell the RX-340 as stand-alone items. Of course, if you already own the above radios, our software can be purchased separately. You can verify our VAR status by calling Ten-Tec directly, or by viewing the links to Dxtra on their web site under the radios listed above.

    Q. How will I know my RX-340 order was received by Ten-Tec at their factory?

    When you place your order through our on-line Store, you will receive three e-mails, one with your software as as attachment, a new Customer e-mail with your account number and password , and a "cc" copy of your shipping order that was sent to the factory. Your order for the radio is automatically routed to Ten-Tec's shipping department via e-mail as part of the transaction. Shipping is the next business day.

    Q. What about Shipping and Warranty for my RX-340?

    If you purchase the RX-340 through us, your ground shipping charge is included in your purchase price. For Canadian customers, there is an additional shiping surcharge computed at checkout. US shipments are by UPS ground, which can take up to one week based on your distance from Ten-Tec's factory in Tennessee. Canadian shipments are via air mail, with a shipping surcharge computed at checkout. International shipments have a shipping surcharge computed at checkout. All customers get the first $9.50 of shipping charges free, regardless of location. Your RX-320 has the same factory warranty as if you purchased it directly from Ten-Tec. Your radio will be shipped the next business day by Ten-Tec.

    Q. Does Dxtra Accept International Orders?

    Yes, we have many international customers. Shipping charges for international orders are computed automatically. When you complete your purchase, your software is emailed to you within minutes. If you order the radio, it is shipped for an additional FedEX charge computed at checkout. The bundle price listed on the Dxtra home page includes shipping for the US only. Canada and Hawaii have an additional shipping charge. computed at checkout. All customers, is should be noted, get the first $9.50 of shipping included.

    Q. Where Can I Buy WorldStation(TM) or the RX-340 bundle?

    The RX-320D is no longer manufactured by Ten-Tec as of September 2013. Our store is ready to accept your software order 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simply fill-in the needed information and submit the data to our secure credit card processing vendor, Verisign. We don't maintain your credit card information on our web site at any time. We currently accept MasterCard, Visa or American Express credit cards.

    Q. How is WorldStation™ delivered to me?

    A WorldStation™ software license is delivered to your e-mail address as an attachment. The installation instructions are in the body of the e-mail. Usually, you will receive your software within a matter of minutes. If our web server is under a heavy processing load, your download request may be queued by the mail system and sent out within an hour. You will also receive a new customer e-mail with your unique user id and password. If you purchased a radio, you will receive a "cc" copy of your order that is sent to Ten-Tec. We monitor our customer downloads, so if there is ever a problem, we guarantee that your download will be retransmitted to you.

    Q. What Credit Card Types Do You Support Internationally?

    We currently accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. You can use the following cards for international purchases of WorldStation(TM) and/or the RX-320. A list of accepted cards follows:

    Q. What Are WorldStation™ Hardware / Software Requirements?

    WorldStation™ will run on any standard Wintel machine with a recommended minimum of 128MB of RAM running Windows ME/ NT/2000/XP. Recommended screen resolution is 1024x768 pixels or better - full color depth (32 bits). Basically any PC manufactured in the last several years will meet these requirements.

    Q. What is Dxtra's Refund Policy?

    WorldStation(TM) software is NON-REFUNDABLE, since we have no way to verify that the software was actually uninstalled. If you purchase the RX-320 through us, you are entitled to a refund of the factory price the radio at the time of purchase. You must return the radio to the factory within the 30 day period allowed by the manufacturer. As soon as the factory notifies us that the radio was received we will process your refund.