Dxtra's WorldStation™ 4.5 User Guide

Welcome to the latest edition of Dxtra's WorldStation™ 4.5 User Guide. WorldStation™ is a comprehensive software package designed for the Shortwave Listener or amateur radio operator who wants to control a radio using their PC's serial port or USB to serial port adapter. The WorldStation™ software program contains a wide-range of functions including scanning, frequency databases, Internet conferencing and many others. The "4.x" series has been continually updated and improved since 2006 when 4.0 made its debut.

In every new version of WorldStation™ we always include a major new feature (or features) that are unique and of significant added-value to our customers. WorldStation™ 4.5 has two such features that are exclusive to this software. The first is a complete sub-system to tap into and manage the new real-time Twitter feed (see "What's New" for details). The second new feature is a scalable Ten-Tec RX-320 Graphical User Interface (i.e. GUI).

WorldStation™ is a table driven point and click software system for managing your radio. It has a zero-config setup, meaning that once you hook up your radio to your PC, install the software and authenticate your license, it's operation is automatic.

Each table is "point and click", meaning that when you click on a row in the table, it will set the frequecny of the radio automatically for you. Also if you "right-click" your mouse on a row in the table, you will see an options menu pop-up.

This documentation will not cover every feature of the program where the function is obvious. Please note that "mousing over" a control will show explanatory messages (i.e "tooltips")..

For more information on Shortwave listening and for more details on PC controlled receivers, please refer to the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortwave_listening.

 


  1. What's New in WorldStation™ 4.5
  2. Upgrading From A Previous Version
  3. Supported Operating Systems
  4. Installing WS 4.5
  5. Running WS 4.5
    1. The Client / Server Approach
    2. Advantages of Client / Server
    3. Running WS 4.5 Across A Network
    4. Running WS 4.5 In Multi-Driver Mode
    5. You Can Keep the Server Running
  6. Stopping the WS 4.5 Client and Server
    1. Click the Power Button
    2. Stopping the Server
  7. Twitter Integration (Real-Time)
    1. Twitter Overview
    2. Getting Started with Twitter
    3. Twitter Right-Click Mouse Options
    4. Twitter Keywords
    5. Twitter Filtering
    6. About Your Blocked List
    7. "Follow" Lists
    8. Twitter EiBi Integration
    9. Twitter Direct Messages and Tweets
    10. Design Limits and Notes
  8. The Tables Menu in the GUI (Graphical User Interface)
    1. Sorting Tables
    2. All Tables Rows Are Point and Click
    3. The Band Table
      1. Sorting the Band Table
      2. Using the Band Table
      3. Customizing the Band Table Using Notepad
      4. Scanning A Band Is Easy
        1. Real-time signal averaging
        2. Scanning Color Coding
        3. Clicking into a band panel sets the frequency
        4. The Min / Max Algorithm
        5. The Mini tuner
    4. The Memory Table
      1. Scanning Individually Selected Channels (Rows)
      2. Scanning A Group of Channels (Rows)
      3. The Pseudo Band Algorithm
      4. Adding A Channel
    5. The Schedule Table
      1. Adding An Entry
      2. Selecting a Schedule Interval
      3. The "SKIP" Option
      4. The "RECORD" option
      5. The EVENT Playlist option
      6. The Audio Directory
        1. MP3 ID3 Tagging Is Done Automatically
        2. Playlist Generation Is Automatic
      7. Why You Might Want To Set-Up Streaming Audio
      8. Streaming Audio Programs Are Free
        1. The Shoutcast DNAS Server
        2. The Winamp MP3 Player
        3. The Oddcast streaming audio feed
    6. EiBI Tables - A Shortwave Database
  1. The "Tools" Menu
    1. Updating EiBi tables
  2. The "Motifs" Menu
  3. General GUI (Graphical User Interface) Primer
    1. GUI Tool Tips Are Built-In - "Mouse Hover"
    2. Keyboard Shortcuts in WS 4.5
      1. "Right-Arrow" Key
      2. "Left-Arrow" Key
      3. "Up-Arrow" Key
      4. "Down-Arrow" Key
      5. "b" Key - Band Table
      6. "m" Key - Mute Speaker
      7. "p" Key for PBS
      8. "v" Key for Volume
  4. Tuning methods in WS 4.5
    1. Entering a Frequency Manually
    2. The concept of GUI "Focus"
    3. Mouse Wheel Tuning
    4. Griffin Powermate Integration
    5. Using the Main Tuning Slider
    6. Fine Tuning Slider
    7. Tuning Rates
      1. Importance in USB / LSB tuning
      2. Importance in Shortwave Listening
    8. What are Modes?
      1. Importance of SYNC-L and SYNC-U Modes (Tuning Offsets)
      2. Tuning Offsets (Frequency Correction) Tutorial
  5. Bandwidths
    1. Setting Default Bandwidths
  6. Advanced Topics
    1. Google Earth Integration
    2. Dxtra Conference Server
    3. Multi-Driver Feature
    4. Upgrading WorldStation™

    What's New In WorldStation™ 4.5

    The latest release of WorldStation™ -- 4.5 -- represents about six months of full-time programming on top of the WS 4.3 code base, which itself has undergone enhancements over several years.

    The highlights of the new release are:

Upgrading From A Previous Version

The installer will automatically create a default new installation directory for you, based on the major release number. Unless you have some specific reason not to use the default directory, Dxtra suggests you not override the default directory. You can if you wish to do so however. After installing 4.5, run the server as you normally would. The server will look for licenses in the following order: local installed licenses, a license zip file (which it will unpack for you). Lastly if no licenses are found in the new installation directory, the software will look for the existence of either the "c:\dxtra_ws43" directory or the "c:\dxtra_ws" directory. Once it finds either of those directories, it will automatically copy the license file from the "old" directory to your new one.

Supported Operating Systems

Supported operating systems are any version (32 or 64 bit) of Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. At the time of this writing, Windows 7 64 bit is clearly the best OS on the list and is recommended. WorldStation™ iself is a 32-bit application and runs perfectly under Windows 7 64-bit, which is also our day-to-day development platform. We ship a 32-bit version to maintain compatibility across the diverse OS'es that our customers use.

Installing WS 4.5

Please note that a "real" (i.e. built into the motherboard of your PC) serial port or the USB serial adpater Keyspan USA-19HS are required to run our software. Other quality USB serial adapters may work but haven't been tested by Dxtra. Many low priced adapters simply don't work and have driver issues with Windows 64 bit OS'es.

Dxtra maintains a dedicated web page for initial installation and troubleshooting. Specific detailes on configuring certain radios are also on the installation page. It is at http://dxtra.com/install.html

Tips on Operating WorldStation™ 4.5

Because the radio spectrum is divided by international agreements into many discrete "bands", the first thing to do is open the "Bands" table from the main GUI "Tables" Menu. You can also use the "B" shortcut. Please make sure that you have selected the GUI, by clicking on the "metal" interface. Click on a band table heading to sort the table and click on a row of the table. Notice that the tuning rate, min and max frequency of the band is now set up for you. This greatly eases band navigation and keeps you within the band limits automatically as you tune. Note that you can easily now scan a band by simply clicking the Scan button.

    The Client / Server Approach

    For years, commercial systems have split complex programs into respective client and server components to allow the application to be run over a network, in addition to a stand-alone PC. The default mode is for both the client and server to run on a standalone PC. In this case all the customer has to do is run the server first, then the client and make sure that any personal firewall is properly configured. The client and the server communicate with each other over the PC's built-in network interface. This ia sometimes referred to as the "loopback" address, or "localhost" or the IP address 127.0.0.1.

    Advantages of Client / Server

    The primary advantage is that the user can remotely control a radio over a LAN or the Internet. A small but growing percentage of Dxtra's customers do this today. The client/server approach also makes possible Dxtra's powerful "multi-driver" technology, which allows the customer to control multiple radios simultaneously. You can read more on multi-driver technology later in this document.

    Running WS 4.5 Across A Network

    1. Install the software on the target client and server PC's - note the IP address of the server PC.

    2. Start the server by double-clicking on "dxserver.exe" on the server PC.

    3. On the client PC (i.e. the PC you will connect to the server)- open a DOS window and type in "cd: c:\dxtra_ws45". Then type in "dxclient.exe <server IP address>" to connect to the server. The program will automatically create two Windows ".bat" files local.bat and remote.bat. You c an just click on the remote file next time you want to run the client remotely. Eg. "c:\dxtra_ws45>dxclient.exe 192.168.1.50".

    4. If you want to run WorldStation™ from outside yur local area netword (i.e. your home network), you have a little bit of extra configuration to do.

    Running WS 4.5 In Multi-Driver Mode

    1. Install the software as described in this document.

    2. Start the server by double-clicking on "server40" on the server PC. The server will print the message "Waiting for a connection".

    3. Double-click the client to start the first radio in your multi-driver license. Double-click the client a second time to start the next radio in your license. And so forth. The server automatically manages the loading and coordination of drivers. Note: Some drivers like the Orion transceiver have two built-in radios but only one serial port. The software will automatically use the radio's single serial port to control both radios. In the case of the Jupiter transceiver, the VFO B is treated a separate radio.

    Keeping the Server Running

    When you power off the WorldStationTM client by clicking the Power button, there is no need (unless you want to) to shut down the server. The server will sit and wait for your next client connection using no system CPU resources.

Stopping the WorldStation™ 4.5 Client (GUI) Cleanly

For a clean shutdown (meaning your settings get saved), click the POWER button on the client GUI and then close the server window. Upon shutdown the client stores your settings for the next time you start the client. As noted, the server will go into a wait state, ready to receive another connection.

    Click the Power Button to Stop the Client

    The Power button or the "File->Exit" menu selection will shutdown the client. Shutting down the client writes out settings to the server.

    Stopping the Server

    Click on the "X" at the right of the DOS console window. Make sure the client is stopped first. As noted elsewhere, you can keep the server running with virtually no CPU usage. Since the server always runs in a standard DOS console window, killing the window will by definition stop the underlying program as well.

     

Twitter Real-Time Integration

Overview of WorldStation™ / Twitter For Shortwave Listening

Twitter for WorldStation™ is an exciting new tool to track news about shortwave and ham radio (or any topic really) in real-time. Keywords like "shortwave" or "arrl", or so-called "hashtags" such as #worldstation, #dxtra, #hamr, #hamradio, #pirateradio, #swl and many others will bring you a wealth of actionable news, frequencies and links you would not otherwise have know about. Likewise you can also send out an auto-Tweet about what you are currently listening to on the EiBi "What's On" table and contribute to the Twitter shortwave community.

You will note that the Twitter integration built into WorldStation™ is extensive, including the ability to set the frequency from a Tweet! Every effort was made in testing to keep it as simple and straightforward as possible. Additional features are possible, please provide us with feedback.

To use this valuable facility all you need is a Twitter account and an internet connection. You never need send out a Tweet yourself, since the main purpose of the program is to "listen in" on the Twitter stream of real-time messages.

This program makes use of Twitter's powerful "real-time API" or Application Programming Interface. It uses Twitter's secure "OAuth" authorization technology.

In addition, the program provides you with powerful management tools to manage your keyword, follow, filtering and block lists. Other helper functions are included, like a "Pause" button, to stop displaying tweets temporarily.

Getting Started with Twitter

Please follow these simple steps to get started:


WorldStation™ / Twitter never knows your Twitter password. Entering the PIN simply gives your account access rights to run WorldStation™ / Twitter. Next step, open the Streaming Window and update your Keywords, Follow and Filter lists. YOU MUST THEN RESTART THE SERVER WHEN YOU MAKE CHANGES, ONLY THEN WILL THE SETTINGS CHANGES TAKE EFFECT FOR KEYWORDS AND FOLLOW LISTS. Note that it may take a while for messages to appear in the table, as our default keyword selection are not high-volume keywords.

Twitter Right-Click Mouse Options

Depending on what grid you are using you have several menu choices:


Twitter Keywords

A "keyword" can either a single word, a phrase or a #hashtag, separated by a comma. You can track up to 200 keywords (theoretically), but you would end up flooding your client with messages. You must restart the server for keyword changes to take effect. Dxtra supplies you with a small list of radio-related keywords to get you started. Feel free to edit the list.

Twitter Filtering

Twitter does not censor it's traffic, which in simple terms means that Tweets containing offensive language are not removed by Twitter. Not to worry, just add these words or phrases to your filter list and those Tweets will be filtered on the server automatically for you. WorldStation™ / Twitter uses a number of algorithms to filter out redundant Tweets (used by spammers) and duplicate re-tweets of messages that you normally receive from names in your "Follow list".

About Your Blocked List

According to Twitter Blocked users can't:

 

We improve upon Twitter blocking by blocking any tweets (from the real-time stream) as well. If you are using a relatively high-volume hash tag like #nyc, you will get bursts of tweets from various businesses you may not be interested in seeing. Remember, under the Twitter terms of Service, these tweets are not considered spam. Sending the same message from different accounts controlled by a a single entity pretending to be different people is considered spam.

WS / Twitter will automatically build your blocked list for you upon server start-up. To minimize start-up time, blocked names and ID's are cached in a local database automatically. WS / Twitter will force you to answer a menu prompt in the case of single or multiple "blocked" additions or deletions. This is done on purpose to prevent you from accidentally wiping out your block list.

"Follow" Lists

Your 'follow' list is essentially a local (i.e. "private") follow list, not to be confused with the names of Twitter users you already follow. You can add them to the list of course. 'Follow' name messages are priority routed to the bottom grid display. You can add a name you want to follow by right-clicking on a row in the top grid.

Twitter EiBi Integration

You can share active EiBI "What's On" stations with your fellow Twitter users. Select a row from the EiBI table and verify the station audibly. Click the "Auto-tweet" button, review the Tweet and click "Send".

Twitter Direct Messages and Tweets

You also have the ability to reply to direct Twitter messages, as well as send out standard Tweets from your account. The software polls every minute for new incoming messages.

Design Limits and Notes

The WorldStation™ / Twitter program is speed limited to display a max of about 5 tweets per second. High-volume Tweets for major events (e.g. "Oscars") can range up to several thousand per second) may cause your Twitter connection to lag and disconnect. All of the tables have mouse 'right-click' menu options for each displayed line in the table. You can right-click to open a web page link for example. As noted above, you must currently re-start the server for keyword, filter and follow list changes to take effect. New "blocks" are communicated to Twitter instantly and do not require a server restart. Twitter limits users to 350 API calls per hours and then resets the limit. So if you have a huge "block list" you may have to restart the server several times to cache all your blocked names. Since we cache the ID's of your list for performance, each time you run the program, a theoretical 350 names will be cached each time. As a practical matter, most users will not have to deal with this issue.

The Tables Menu in the GUI (Graphical User Interface)

WorldStation™ 4.5 is a table driven system. Unlike other programs on the market, WS doesn't attempt to squeeze all program functions into one window. On larger screens the wind owing approach is much easier to use - you see more data at once. This is particularly useful for database display. Windows will stack all the open windows into a convenient button stack automatically for you.

    Sorting Tables

    All tables in the program work the same as far as sorting is concerned. Just click on column heading to sort. Clicking the column heading again will reverse the order of the sort.

    All Tables Rows Are Point and Click

    Clicking on a table row will set the radio's frequency, mode, tuning rate and other parameters.

    The Band Table

    The Band Table is your key to the radio spectrum. Use the "b" key or the Tables menu in the main GUI to access the band table. If you try to open a double-copy of the Band table, the currently open table will open and maximize for you. If the band table is iconized, it will also maximize.

    Sorting the Band Table

    In general, you want to sort the Band table in order to group like bands together such as the SWBC (Shortwave Broadcast bands).

    Using the Band Table

    Click on a band row to activate that band. Notice that the band name, band min and max frequencies, starting frequency, mode and tuning rate step size are set. The starting frequency is sometimes used on amateur bands where a common calling frequency is in use. The default is to set it to the same frequency as the band minimum.

    Customizing the Band Table Using Notepad

    The Band table is just a text file so you can edit it in Notepad. It is advisable to make a back up copy of the file before you start editing. The best way to add a new band is to copy an excising line and make changes.

    Scanning A Band Is Easy

    First you must click on a Band table row to activate that band. Then click on the Scan button at the top of the Band table to start scanning.

    Real-time signal averaging

    WS 4.5 automatically averages the signal strength data it receives from the radio. You will notice that the scanning bars will start to stabilize as more data is collected. This process is automatic.

    Scanning Color Coding

    The bars in the Scan panel are automatically color coded according to what "bin" the signal strength for a frequency falls into. The height of the bar is also adjusted according to the bin. This process is done automatically.

    Clicking into a Scan panel sets the Frequency

    Clicking into a running Scan panel will cause the scanning to stop and the radio to be set on that frequency. If you are using the Cluster version of WorldStation&trade;, your scanning will be continue uninterrupted since the primary radio is always available for listening.

    The Min / Max Algorithm

    Everyone's antenna system is different. So WS uses a dynamic "mini/max" algorithm to continuously adjust the display of data based on the real-time minimum and maximum signal strength coming back from the radio. So the Scan panel can show the relative signal strength instantly adjusted for any antenna system.

    The Mini tuner

    You have some convenience mini-tuner controls available on each Scan panel, so you don't have to jump to the main GUI each time you want to tune.

The Memory Table

The Memory table contain about 1,000 commonly used utility frequencies. Here you will find FEMA, NASA and of course military aeronautical frequencies.

    Scanning Individually Selected Channels (Rows)

    Using the standard Windows "ctrl-right mouse click" technique you can select a random grouping of rows to scan and click on scan

    Scanning A Group of Channels (Rows)

    This technique is a huge time saver. First sort the table in the desired fashion. Then use the standard Windows "SHIFT-right mouse click" to select a group of rows at once and click on scan. Note: this technique also works on the Band table where you might want to launch a scan of multiple bands at once!

    The "Pseudo Band" Algorithm

    When doing a Memory channel scan WS first sorts the selected rows from low to high frequency and then creates an artificial "band" or grouping of those channels. In this way the behavior of the of the Scan panel is identical to that of a regular band. When you click into a scan panel composed of memory channel, you are clicking into an individual channel.

    Adding A Channel

    Just click on add channel and enter the data. This feature can be used as a logging feature.

The Schedule Table

This facility is designed for the program listener. It provides a powerful facility to listen and and record your favorite broadcasts. You can even use the built-in calendar to schedule a one-time recording on a given date and time! All recording is automated, with Mp3 file recording, tagging and playlist generation done automatically. Program listening is becoming much more important with the advent of DRM (www.drm.org) which provides FM mono broadcast quality over shortwave. DRM was the motivation to add the mp3 recording capability to the software. You can "right-click" on the Schedule table to select dome "toggle options" - see below

    Adding An Entry

    The Add entry screen is for the most part intuitive. Special features are explained below.

    Selecting a Schedule Interval

    You can select a schedule interval of Today, Daily, Weekday, Weekend, Day of the Week or a specific calendar date using the built-in calendar.

    The "SKIP" Option

    This allows you to temporarily skip a broadcast. You can toggle this option at any time by "right clicking" with your mouse while hovering over the Schedule table

    The "RECORD" option

    This flag allows you to record a broadcast. You can toggle this option at any time by "right clicking" with your mouse while hovering over the Schedule table

    The "EVENT" Playlist option

    The playlist event causes the playlist to be re-generated and all audio files to be erased from the directory. Why would you need that? If you wanted to generate a new playlist every day at a specified time for example. Without the playlist event you would have to manually manually maintain the audio directory.

    The Audio Directory

    The default audio directory is "c:\dxtra_audio_files" which is set in the dxconfig.txt file and is user changeable. In Windows, the mp3 tagging will appear as file descriptions in the audio directory.

    MP3 ID3 Tagging Is Done Automatically

    There are so-called "ID3" tags like Title, Author, Track etc. that can be embedded into the binary format of the mp3 file. WS 4.5 embeds these tags automatically for you when creating mp3 files and reads them back when generating a playlist.

    Playlist Generation Is Automatic

    Ever time a new recording is completed the Playlist file in the mp3 directory is appended to. The Playlist event can truncate this file and start a new playlist.

    Why You Might Want To Set-Up Streaming Audio

    iTunes Streaming control is built into the program. Basically any streaming server software will work independenly of our program. Just feed the line out or speaker output to your sound card and configure the streaming server per it's socumentation.

    Streaming Audio Programs Are Free

    Audio streaming programs have been available for at least five years and are easy to set up. You can stream your own audio at home, or listen to your WorldStationTM scheduled feed live or pre-recorded Playlist.

    The Shoutcast DNAS Server

    The Shoutcast server is one such streaming server. It can be download at www.shoutcast.com. Another is available at www.icecast.org. There is ample documentation on how to configure and run the server on the Shoutcast site You should set the default IP address of the server to an IP other than port 8000 as this interferes with WS sockets.

    The Winamp MP3 Player

    You will need a player like Winamp at www.winamp.com to play the playlist and act as a go between the server and the audio source.

    The Oddcast streaming audio feed

    Oddcast is a Winamp plug in that streams the audio from Winamp to the Shoucast or Icecast server. It is available at www.oddcast.org.

EiBI (AoKi) - Shortwave Database

"EiBi" is a German volunteer maintained database (i.e. Eike Bierwirth) obtainable at at www.eibi.de. The EiBi shortwave database is updated on a quarterly schedule. The commentary about EiBi is appicable to ther Japanese AoKi database as well.

Shortwave listeners often complain about the lack of or difficulty in updating databases. WorldStation™ provides a "one-button" click update of EiBi. Go to the "Tools" menu and select "Update EiBi database" or go to the Tables menu and select "EiBi database update.

Under the "Tables" menu you will see differenct table views of the EiBi data. The tables are divided into a top and bottom tables. When you select a row on the top table all stations with that same frequency and currently "in-air" will appear in the bottom table.

As it often happens with shortwave radio, multiple stations in different areas of the world are permitted to transmit on the same frequency at the same time. If you are lsitening at the right time of day, this can be a benefit to the listener. For example, in the early morning hours here on Long Island (New York), we can easily hear Radio Australia on 9580 Khz.

Seeing all station on a frequency mweans you have a better chance of ID'ing that station, which is the whole point of the above background discussion.

To summarize the other EiBi table views are as follows:

EiBi Helper Functions

There are a number of helper functions on The EiBi table.

You can color the table foreground and background colors to your liking from the pop-up button provided. Under "Select Station", first select the "Top Pane" Or "Bottom Pane" to set changes in color for that table.

You can sub-select a particular station from the table by selecting a station from the "Select Station" pop-up list. This allows you to see all frequencies in use by a particular station. Depending on time of day and propagation conditions, one of stations my be listenabable from your location. You can also filter out stations, which will appear in the bottom table.

EiBI Exclude List

You can filter out any stations equaling a free form text filter in the "dxconfig.txt" file. For EiBi the section .

Excludes records with these strings into the What's On Table. You can have as many EXCLUDE_LIST lines as you wish with as many comma delimited fields per line as you wish. If I wanted to exclude stations with a callsigns of "WXYZ" and "Voice of Patois", the line would be:

EIBI_LIST=WXYZ,Voice of Patois

Right Click Options

     

The "Tools" Menu

General utilities section of the program.

    Updating ILG tables

    This is discussed under the section of this document.

The "Motifs" Menu

You can switch the "metallic" faceplates of the program. You can also generate a "random" faceplate to your liking. You can generate on-the-fly a new random faceplate at any any time.You also now change many colors in the GUI by selecting the "Change Control Colors" option. Be careful, however, not to select the same color for the foreground and background color - it will blank the text. Note that the selected colors are reflected in the color of the buttons in the panel.

General GUI (i.e "Graphical User Interface") Primer

The GUI (Graphical User Interface) in WS 4.5 comprises literally thousands of lines of code all designed to make control of your radio easier. Many of the controls are linked together to lessen your workload. For example, notice that when you change Mode the Bandwidth automatically compensates.

GUI Tool Tips Are Built-In - "Mouse Hover"

WS 4.5 is loaded with helpful GUI "Tool tips" - just "mouse hover" over a control for a couple of seconds and you should see a brief description of that control appear.

Keyboard Shortcuts in WS 4.5

Keyboard shortcuts free you from using the mouse for every function - especially tuning

    The "Right-Arrow" key

    This key tunes up the selected band.

    The "Left-Arrow" key

    This key tunes down the selected band.

    The "Up-Arrow" Key

    This key moves the selected bandwidth up.

    The "Down-Arrow" Key

    This key moves the selected bandwidth down.

    The "b" Key - Band Table

    Opens the Band table. Hitting 'b' again will maximize the table.

    The "m" Key - Mute Speaker

    Mutes the Volume control in the GUI. Hitting "m' again un-mutes the volume.

    The "p" key for PBS

    This is a fine tuning control. Used in combination with the "+" and "-" keys. Hitting 'p' again resets PBS to the zero or neutral position.

Tuning in WorldStation™ 4.5

There are a number of methods available to tune your radio, depending on how your use the program. You could simply use the "point and click" ILG tables and never manually enter a frequency, or simply tune from Scan Panels.

    Entering a Frequency Manually

    You can click into the Frequency text box in the main GUI and enter a frequency using your numeric keypad. Entering a shorthand frequency of less than 30 will cause the program to multiply by 1,000 to compute the frequency in kilohertz. Also, if you have mouse focus anywhere on the main GUI panel (i.e. click on the "metallic" part of the GUI faceplate), you can just type in a numeric frequency. The entered numbers will are programmed to appear in the frequency display.

    The concept of GUI "Focus"

    Clicking anywhere on the "metallic" portion of the main GUI will give you "mouse focus" . You can then enter a frequency without having to click into the frequency text box.

    Mouse Wheel Tuning

    You can use the mouse wheel to tune either on the main GUI or if you click into a Scan Panel (to get mouse focus). If you are tuning through a band the mouse wheel will observer the usual tuning rule of looping back to the beginning of the band.

    Griffin Powermate Integration

    This is a handy USB powered controller knob that can be used to tune your radio - through WorldStationTM. Just enter the Powermate menu and tag the controller movements to the shortcut keys described here.

    Using the Main Tuning Slider

    When you click on a Band table row, you set the band limits. The main slider allows you to quickly navigate through the band by dragging the slider or clicking into the slider window.

    Fine Tuning Slider

    This control is linked to the main slider and is primarily designed for navigating through the amateur (ham) and utility bands. These are noncan bands where signals are often very close together. The Shortwave and AM bands are channelized at 5 Khz and 10 Khz steps respectively. This slider will automatically reduce the tuning rate for you.

    Tuning Rates

    For the most part, tuning rate selection is determined by your settings in the Band table. You can over-ride this setting at any time by simply selecting a tuning rate. Again, you will most likely do this on the ham and utility bands.

    Importance in USB / LSB tuning

    On the non-channelized bands, fine tuning is a must. When "tuning in" a ham voice signal, you might need a step size of 100 hertz or less to get clear reception.

    Importance in Shortwave Listening

    Many shortwave beginners forget that the shortwave bands are similar to our domestic AM bands - except more crowded. In fact, the station separation is only 5 Khz. The Band table enforces this rule for the shortwave bands, so that the tuning rate jumps in 5 Khz increments.

What are Modes?

You can select a mode in WS 4.5 by clicking one of the Mode buttons. Modes are a shorthand term for "modulation". In shortwave there are several major kinds of modulation: AM which we are familiar with, and Single Side-Band or SSB. SSB as the name suggests has sidebands: USB (Upper) and LSB (lower). Hams and utility stations are the biggest users of the SSB mode. A key fact to note is that any AM signal can be listened to on its left or right sidebands! See the SYNC-L and SYNC-U discussion. Mode is set for you when your click on a Band table row. You can at any time override a suggested mode by clicking on a Mode button.

    Importance of SYNC-L and SYNC-U Mode

    The RX-320 has a special wide-band USB and LSB modes for use with SWBC (Shortwave Broadcast Band) signals. These modes give you the ability to listen to either sideband of a broadcast signal to eliminate interference. Using these modes can make a huge difference in signal clarity - under noisy band conditions with adjacent channel interference. In order to effectively use this mode, you would need to frequency correct your radoo, since "spot on" tuning is critical for this mode to work effectively. An out-of-tune SSB signal has a distinctive "Donals Duck" sound quality until it it tuned in exactly.

    Frequency Offset (Frequency Correction) Tutorial

    You can listen to an AM signal is either USB in LSB mode. The is sometimes called ECSS mode. In effect this means the a standard AM broadcast is actually three channels in one! This mode can dramatically improve reception under noisy band conditions by selecting either sideband you can eliminate "adjacent channel" interference. As an example suppose you are listening to a program on 9500 KHz and you are getting strong interference or "splatter" from a station on 9505 KHz. Switching the lower side-band or SYNC-L on the RX-320 may completely eliminate this interference.

    As shipped from the factory you will notice that the radio is slightly out of tune in USB / LSB mode or in the RX-320 the SYNC-U and SYNC-L mode. By "out of tune" we are only talking about a range of perhaps 10-50 hertz for a a particular radio. In AM mode listening you would never even notice this difference because the channel width is 5 ,000 hertz or 5 KHz. Having to re-tune manually all the time in ECSS mode is inconvenient. So we want to automate this offset calculation process. You will notice a set of buttons on the GUI called "MRK, SET and CLR".

    All WS 4.5needs is two MARK/SET pairs for it to AUTOMATICALLY tune the radio for you. Click the MARK frequency like 880, 9400 or 15400 KHz or WWV (note: the MARK/SET process is sometimes called 'zero beating'). The WWV "time" stations on 5,10,15 and 20 MHz can be effectively used for frequency correction. The problem with these stations is that they may not be strong enough at times for you to get a strong lock on them. The advantage of these stations is that they have extremely accurate frequencies and hence server as an excellent reference signal.

    Once you MARK your starting frequency, just tune down carefully in 1 Hz steps until you get clear audio. Note that the program automatically selects the USB or SYNC-U mode for you. Sometimes a music station can help, because music is more sensitive to inaccurate tuning than a voice transmission. Once you are satisfied the audio is clear, click the SET button. You need at least two MARK/SET pairs for WS to correction the correction factor or offset. Once you enter two offset WS will compute the frequency offset automatically for you in background FOR ANY FREQUENCY. The whole process takes less than 2 minutes and you need only calibrate once. You can click the CLR button and start again at any time You may need two or three tries to get the offset working 'perfectly' as your ear gets trained. But we can almost guarantee you that ECSS mode will soon become your favorite listening mode!

    Behind the scenes WS 4.5 uses a math technique call linear regression to automatically compute the offsets for you.

Bandwidths

Bandwidths simply refer to the audio bandwidth you wish to listen to. On AM and Shortwave broadcast signals a wider bandwidth usually works best. Likewise "narrow band" signals like SSB require a narrow bandwidth. CW or morse code requires yet a narrower bandwidth. The SYNC modes choose a wider than normal SSB bandwidth because you are listening to a broadcast band (wide band) signal.

    Setting Default Bandwidths

    When you click a Mode button an automatic default bandwidth is selected for you.

    The dxconfig.txt file has a section for each radio's default bandwidths. You can change these with Notepad to suit your listening preference, although the defaults selected for you are perfectly fine for most listeners. Here is what the default bandwidth section in the config file looks like for the RX-320:

    ################## Ten-Tec RX-320 Default Bandwidths ####################################################
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,CW,900
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,USB,2550
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,LSB,2550
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,AM,8000
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,FM,8000
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,DIGITAL,2550
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,SYNC,8000
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,SYNC-L,4500
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,SYNC-U,4500
    RX320-BANDWIDTH,FAX,2550
    #
    #

    If you decide to change the default bandwidths, make sure to use a legal value - use the GUI bandwidth control as a reference to acceptable values. Each radio is different.

    Advanced Topics

    Google Earth Integration

    The Google Earth program is seamlessly integrated with the WS 4.5 ILG and AM databases. First download and install the free Google Earth program from http://earth.google.com. Then launch WS 4.5 and Google Earth. Once both programs have been launched, open up the ILG database. Click on a row of the database, then right-click with your mouse and select the option "Visit the transmitter site using Google Earth". What happens next is that WS 4.5 creates an XML file containing the latitude and longitude of the station and sends it to Google Earth. Google Earth process this file and "flys" you to the lat/long coordinates. Note: You must have Google Earth pre-loaded in order for this feature to work correctly.

    Dxtra Conference Server

    Dxtra has created a customized Internet Conference server that is completely integrated with WS 4.5. To use the server all you need do is customize the "changeme" field information in the dxconfig.txt file. To access the server select "Dxtra Conference Server" under the "Tools" menu. The conference server will display a line in a table for each connected client. As you change frequency, the Conference table entry for you will automatically change frequency in real-time. You can change to the frequency of another client by clicking on that line in the table.

    A neat feature is the ability to "remote follow" the tuning of another user, no matter where they are located. Just click on their entry in the table and right-click with your mouse and select the "track remote radio's frequency changes". You can also track frequency and mode changes of another user. Note that you can stop remote follow at ant time by selecting "Turn off tracking". Also included is Google Earth integration in the table which allows you to visit the lat/long coordinates of a remote client.

    The Conference Server also has a Chat facility. Just click on the Chat button to activate the chat window. You can select the TTS (i.e. Text-To-Speech) button if you are away from your PC to "hear" what other customers are typing.

    Multi-Driver Feature

    WS 4.5 can support multiple radios running as a group. Many hams or SWL's have multiple radios and antennas systems with different capabilities. Often it is useful to tune two different radios with separate antennas and perform an "A/B" comparison of the signal. This is sometimes called "diversity reception". WS 4.5 automates this process.

    To use the multi-driver feature the customer would have had to ordered optional additional drivers at the time of purchase. Then they would configure the serial ports in the dxconfig.txt file. The first serial port would be assigned to the first radio driver ordered, the second port would be assigned to the second radio and so forth. When double-clicking the "client40" file, the first driver would load. Clicking the "client40" exe file a second time would load the second radio.

    At the upper-right of the GUI control panel there is a button label "A<>N". By selecting from the list, the customer is able to tie one radio's tuning to another. Each radio is assigned a letter in order, so the first radio would be "A", the second radio would be "B". In this scenario, there are four pull down menu choices. "A<>N" means that all tracking is turned off,. "A>B" means that the "B" receiver is linked to the tuner of the "A" radio. The selection "A>N" in the case of three or more radios means that a frequency change in the "A" radio would be propagated to all other radios in the group.

    Upgrading WorldStation™

    You can upgrade WS 4.5 selecting under the "Tools" menu in the GUI the choice "Check for new versions of WorldStation™ On-line". The upgrade utility will download the new version for you automatically. The GUI will send you a message prompt if your software is up to date. New customers have a six month free upgrade window when they purchase the program, after which updates are via subscription. Note: When you download a new version you must install it by double-clicking on the file. You must quit the program to perform this step.