Going software-defined.

Discussion in 'Microphones, Speakers & Audio Processing' started by PY2RAF, Mar 16, 2019.

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  1. PY2RAF

    PY2RAF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hello there QRZ audio nerds! o/

    A FT-991A owner here.

    This is a rig that conveniently exposes both the virtual sound card and the CAT interface through a single USB interface.

    After a few tinkering, I managed to operate the radio 100% remotely through the computer, using flrig, and bridging the computer's microphone to the radio virtual sound card.
    After a few more tinkering, I found a free software equalizer named "Peace", which works very nicely.

    So, this is the current state of the shack here; audio enters the computer via a external mic, enters the equalizer, flrig controls tx/rx and sends the equalized audio to the radio.


    Anyone here using software equalizers or processors?
    Which one do you use/like more?

    Eager to hear.

    73s de PY2RAF.
    JJ1PJI, 2E0YMI and YF8RQN like this.
  2. G0GSR

    G0GSR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Rodrigo.
    Stereo tool is just about the only commercial software processor that is any good.
    It's not just for FM stereo, it does a good job on AM and SSB too but it is complicated to set up.

    One problem with PC based processors is latency. I could not get less than 300mS delay when I tried.

    The other problem with any audio processor is caused by the filtering in your radio.
    Even if the processor does a good job of limiting overshoots, these will be added back when replayed through your transmitter due to the gain/group delay of the IF filtering.
    The only way around this is to use an SDR TX (such as Anan or Flex) and select "linear phase" filters.

    PY2RAF likes this.
  3. KG7FIU

    KG7FIU Ham Member QRZ Page

    PY2RAF likes this.
  4. PY2RAF

    PY2RAF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi there Everyone;

    Wanted to give back and share my current usage.

    As in the original post, I'm using a FT-991A, and the original objective was to use the PC as a sound processing unit.

    So, for my application and operating system I stick to Voice Meeter Banana. While this can be freeware, why not donate a few bucks if you find this useful?
    After a few months fiddling here and there, this is what I got.
    Pardon for the gross annotations.

    == HARDWARE ==
    FT-991A (will work with a FT-991 too)
    PC computer
    Logitech H390 USB headset - Features a large cable and is comfortable enough even to walk nearby while talking. Seats finely in my head and is comfortable for long QSOs.



    == RX (Red) ==
    1. The radio's received audio signal enters in the port "SaĆ­da Radio".
    2. This signal binds to bus "A1".
    3. Bus A1 connects to "Headset 2-logitech USB Headset", which is where I listen.
    4. In the slider depicted in 4 I adjust the RX volume signal.

    == TX (Orange) ==
    1. The transmit audio feeds in the port "Feed Microfone".
    2. This signal is bound to bus "A2".
    3. Bus "A2" connects to port "FT-991A Entrada"
    4. I have selected this signal to pass through a Equalizer (see below)
    5. And finally, in slider number 5 I control the audio TX level to stay inside the ALC boundaries.

    == Equalizer ==
    See below. To invoke, right click the "EQ" button in the main VoiceMeeter UI.


    == RADIO CONFIG ==
    I have configured my radio to work on Vox. The headset also has a remote volume and mute control, at the reach of your hands. So, the configs are:
    • Vox:
      • Menu 142 Vox Select -> Data
    • TX:
      • Menu 045 AM Mic Select -> Rear
      • Menu 074 FM Mic Select -> Rear
      • Menu 106 SSB Mic Select -> Rear
    Notice that your PTT might engage the transmit mode but no audio enters through it. You should revert to "Mic" in order to feed the audio via your PTT.

    == A FEW TIPS ==
    • When selecting a device to the port, choose the WDM ones. Lower latency.
    • When doing FM, some repeaters may leak the CTCSS tone to the downstream signal. You can use a sharp notch filter in the equalizer to filter that out.
    • The above technique is also good for some constant/annoying signal from that friend of yours with a humming power supply or is encoding a tone with his transmission
    • The equalizer settings are separated between each channel (A1, A2, A3), meaning: Each output has its own settings
    • The "Gating" in the Mic Feed is great to keep the channel silent when operating in Vox mode and avoid false triggers
    • You might avoid some confusion when finding out your input/output ports if you rename your audio ports in Windows. In order to do so:
    1. Right-click the speaker in the tray bar
    2. Select "Playback" or "Recording" devices
    3. Select the device that you want to rename and click Properties
    4. Change the name.
    5. You might also want to change the icon.
    == NEXT STEP ==
    Will test the MT32-SPLite from Voice Meeter to play pre-recorded and repetitive messages like CQ etc.

    I hope that helps.

    73s de PY2RAF / Rodrigo.
  5. PY2RAF

    PY2RAF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi there QRZers,

    As for the "Next Step" section from my previous post, there's no need of a second software to take care of the recorded messages: VoiceMeeter Banana also ships a Remote Control buttons which provides several functionalities.
    I will be focusing on Playback buttons, meaning: You push it, it plays some pre-recorded message. And transmits through the radio.

    This tackle a functionality that is sorely missed in my opinion in the FT-991: Playback of recorded messages in FM mode. Aww yea.

    So here it is.


    == LAUNCHING ==
    First of all, launch Voice Meeter Banana.
    1. Then, lauch the "Macro Buttons" program.
    2. Drag the window size to show as much buttons as you want.
    A side note: There are no provisions for buttons reshuffling/organization/ordering. If you want to move your button somewhere else, you will need to set it up again in the desired position.

    (out of order, pardon.)
    10. A few assumptions (marking 10)
    * My headset audio output is in bus A1
    * My Radio TX audio is in bus A2.
    Ensure to have your radio silent, otherwise it will mix with the microphone signal.

    9. Push the casette playback "Rec" (dot) button to record your audio clip
    Select the bus A1 in the Tape Recorder, so you can listen to your recording. Deselect A2, otherwise it will tickle/trigger your Transceiver Vox.

    11. Press the "Play" button to hear your recording.
    Click in the White Cassette tape to find out where it is saved (usually, My Documents\VoiceMeeter).
    The files are saved with a timestamped name. Ensure to rename it to something human-understandable.

    Record each of your clips repeating steps 10, 9 and 11. Rinse and repeat.

    3. Right-click the desired button. Give it a label.
    4. Give it a some extra description (optional)
    5. Define the macro pointing to your desired file
    6. Click OK.
    7. Click in the corner Remote control icon to save your settings.
    8. There is no step number 8 :p

    == TESTING ==
    Click in the button that you have set up.
    If you want to listen, tie the tape recorder to the Bus A1.
    When you are happy with the audio, tie the tape recorder to Bus A2 and deselect A1. Otherwise you will listen the original audio every time you push the button. And it is not always nice.
    To hear how this is actually being transmitted, look up in the FT-991A "Moni" button. Change it from "off" to something else and the radio will give the audio feedback while you xmit back to your earphone through bus A1. Moni is way better than listening the clip straight from the tape. And is the real deal that is going on air.
    Moni will not work (surprise) in FM mode.

    Background: HDSDR and my panadapter input.

    Hope that helps!

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2019
    K8KPO likes this.
  6. K7JBL

    K7JBL Ham Member QRZ Page


    Anyone here using software equalizers or processors?
    Which one do you use/like more?"

    Yes. I use "Reaper" and a Behringer X18 mixer with my FT-991. I run ALL audio I/O through the DATA port and NOT via the USB port. I stream my 991 to YouTube so others in the area can hear their own audio quality.

  7. PY2RAF

    PY2RAF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well. I got a report from a friend of mine and I forgot a few extra configs. So, for completeness:
    • TX:
      • Menu 045 AM Port Select -> USB
      • Menu 072 Data Port Select -> USB
      • Menu 077 FM Pkt Port Select -> USB
      • Menu 109 SSB Port Select -> USB
    • Vox:
      • Menu 142 Vox Select -> Data
      • Menu 146 Data Vox Gain -> 90
      • Menu 147 Data Vox Delay -> 1000msec

    Optional settings, for extra comfort.
    • Menu 026 Beep Level -> 15 (reduces the button press beep volume, more comfortable)
    • Menu 036 TX TOT -> 7 Min (avoids a stuck PTT. Will stop transmitting after 7 minutes of continuous PTT down)
    • Menu 059 CW Freq Display -> Direct Freq (Avoids shifting frequencies by 900 Hz when switching different modes, like USB, CW, FM, etc.)
    • Menu 110 SSB TX BPF -> 100-3000 (Widens the TX bandpass)
    Hope that helps! o/

  8. PY2RAF

    PY2RAF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Update. I'm abusing Voice Meeter to some extreme levels, by making use of the Macro Buttons to run some CAT commands and control my FT-991A.

    Video describing the enterprise:

    2E0YMI likes this.
  9. PY2RAF

    PY2RAF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    JJ1PJI and K7JBL like this.
  10. K7JBL

    K7JBL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rodrigo, I like how you incorporated the macro's like that. Very cool! My 991 is a half arm length away, but I'm going to give this a try...just because. :)

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