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MixW Quickstart

Posted by on February 21, 2012

Overview:

This quickstart document will provide information for starting MixW for the first time. It will cover the initial setup and configuration of MixW.  You can click any image for a larger version.  I am using an Icom 756 Pro III, and the the settings here are what is working for me.  My computer is using COM 1 for the serial connection via a Rigblaster Pro.

First let’s define the MixW Environment you will be working in by looking at the main display window:

MixW Main window

MixW main operational screen

Here is a defination of each tagged item above:

Command Menu Structure:
This set of menu options is used to control the program, select modes, configure, and initial setup. They operate much like any Windows program.

Macro Button:
The Macro buttons are a set of user controllable commands than can be sent to the transmit buffer, or to control the program. For instance, you could preprogram the sequence: “CQ CQ CQ DE NK7Z K”, to be added as a single button press, this will allow you to simplify the repetitive portions of a message that does not really change from message to message.

Logging Window:
I use this to keep a real time log, at a later time I export the log to an ADIF file, and move it to N3FJP’s logging program.

Show Log, QSO Detail, Delete QSO, and Save QSO:
These buttons are used to control how the logging software functions and allow you to do some editing of the content.

Receive buffer:
The receive buffer is where MixW puts the text it decodes. You can cut from this area, and paste directly into Word or Notepad.

Transmit Buffer:
This is the text MixW will transmit. This area also has special marks for starting or ending transmissions.

Frequency:
This is where MixW updates the actual frequency your radio feeds it. You can drag the frequency display by placing your mouse on the actual frequency readout, left clicking and dragging left or right.

Waterfall:
This is basically a display of frequency across the horizontal, and time running vertically. You move the “Tuning Mark” to tune your decoding target.

Squelch:
Operates much like the squelch on your two-meter rig. If you turn it on, it will suppress random entries from noise being displayed in the “Receive Buffer” area.

Transmit Lock:
This will lock the transmit audio frequency in various modes, (not the actual RF frequency transmitted),  and allow you to drag the received audio frequency around with your mouse, thus providing a sort of split operation.  Remember the tunning pip in MixW is actually changing the AUDIO frequency that MixW decodes, not the transceiver.

Center Frequency:
This is the offset from the center frequency.

Mode Info:
Mode info is used as a quick display/changing of the current settings you have for the currently active mode. I.e. if using MT63, it can show if you are in 1K or 2K mode, etc. without having to pull up any other configuration menus.

Mode:
The mode you are currently using in the master receive window.

Here is the FILE pull down menu and a list of each items function:

MixW File Menu

MixW File Menu

Print (Ctrl-P):
Prints the contents of the Receive window to the printer. Note: The cursor MUST be in the RX window.

Print Preview:
Displays an image of the printed page prior to printing to make sure you like what will be printed.

Print Setup:
Displays a dialog for setting printer parameters.

Add QSL to print Queue:
Will print a QSL card based on the currently selected QSO from the log.

Send File:
Transmits the contents of a specified text file. This must be text only!

Send Picture:
Displays a dialog to send a picture in MFSK

YAPP:
Send file in YAPP mode during packet connects…

Search in log file (Alt-R):
Displays the “Search in Logfile” dialog allowing you to search for any string in the log.

QSO Details (Alt-D):
Displays a dialog showing all fields in the log for the selected Log bar QSO. This dialog also allows adding a new call area, or sending an eQSL.

Remove QSO (Alt-O):
Deletes the selected QSO from the log.

Restore Removed QSO:
Restore the last deleted QSO.

Save QSO data (Alt-A):
Saves the contents of the active log entry.

Lookup call (Alt-K):
Looks up the active call in the log and display all previous contacts.

Import ADIF:
Imports a log in ADIF format into MixW’s log. The ADIF format is common to many log programs, and can be used to exchange logs between different programs.

Export ADIF:
Exports a log in ADIF format for import to another program.

Merge:
Will merge two MixW2 logs together.

RX Log:
Opens or closes a file saving the received window data as text.

Sound:
You can save the last twenty seconds of audio to a wave file. This is useful in cases were you want to demonstrate certain audio characteristics. Files can be saved, and later played back for reception and display.  I have NEVER been able to get this to work.

Exit:
Exits the MixW program

The MixW Configuration Pull Down:

MixW Configuration Menu

MixW Configuration Menu

AFC:
When AFC is checked, MixW will keep a station tuned even if it drifts by adjusting the aduio decode frequency.  It will not adjust your receiver.  It is recommended that you keep AFC checked unless it prevents you from tuning to a desired station. Uncheck AFC if a nearby strong station makes it impossible to tune to a weaker station.  It works for some modes, and does not work for others, it depends on the mode.  This is by design.

Lock:
Lock allows you to transmit on one frequency and receive on another. When Lock is selected, the TX frequency is fixed at the position of the active cursor, and the flag above the cursor changes to red. When LOCK is NOT selected, transmission will occur on the same frequency as receive, as indicated by the diamond cursor, and the flag above the cursor will be green.

Snap:
When Snap is checked, MixW will automatically find the correct tuning point for a station, i.e. it will “snap” to the correct tuning position.  Uncheck Snap if a nearby strong station makes it impossible to tune to a weaker station.

Squelch:
When squelch is checked, only signals above the Squelch threshold will be printed. This can be used to prevent random characters created by noise from being printed.  Squelch is adjusted from the mode settings push button described below.

Squelch Threshold:
Displays a level control for the Squelch threshold. The threshold can be adjusted as high as possible to prevent noise from printing as random characters but still allows print of a desired station. Selecting Mode | Squelch threshold…will display a mode specific dialog in which AFC, Lock, and Snap can also be set.  When the screen-printing is “squelched”, or not printing, because the signal is below the squelch threshold, the “Sq” shows on the status bar without the ” * “. If MixW appears to stop decoding,
be sure the squelch threshold is not set too high. For reception of weak signals, it is usually best to turn the squelch completely off. This will result in “garbage” print some of the time, but whenever the signal becomes strong enough that copy is possible, the text will appear on the screen along with the garbage characters.

RX:
Selecting RX places MixW in the receive mode.

TX:
Selecting TX places MixW in the transmit mode.  TX and RX can also be toggled by using the pause/break key on the computer keyboard, by clicking on the RX/TX box in the Status Bar, by using the TX and RX Macro buttons, or by using the <TX> or <RX> Macros in a Macro script.

Continuous Seek:
When Continuous seek is checked, Seek will continuously look for a station until one is found and stop on that station,  to stop Seek, just press any Seek button. If a station fades below the Seek threshold, Continuous Seek does not start seeking for another station. This is so you can stay on the station’s frequency and continue to copy whatever you can, even though it is fading. To restart Continuous Seek, just press one of the Seek keys or buttons.

Arrows for Seek;
When Arrows for Seek is checked, the left and right arrow keys can be used for Seek to the next signal.  Uncheck Arrows for Seek to make the left and right arrow keys available for RX and TX window editing.

Scan | Start Scan:
When selected, Scan will cause MixW to Seek out a station, stop on that station, record the time and tone frequency of the station, and print that station on the screen for a determined amount of time (dwell). After printing for the selected dwell time, MixW will proceed to the next detectable signal and repeat the process.

Scan | Stop Scan:
Selecting stop scan will step the Scan process. Selecting a station or frequency with the mouse may also stop scan. Clicking Scan | Start Scan again will start the scan from the current location.  Start Scan and Stop Scan can also be controlled by macros, so <STARTSCAN> and <STOPSCAN> may be assigned to function keys or put into a macro script.

Scan | Scan properties:
Selecting Scan properties will bring up a dialog for setting the way Scan behaves. “Only once” will stop Scan after encountering the first detectable signal. Dwell sets the staying (to print) time in seconds. Continue on squelch resumes scanning when the signal level falls below the squelch threshold. Checking Time Marks or Frequency Marks, tells MixW to display the time of the station print or the frequency of the station print, or both.

Finally the Quickstart

This section will cover the initial setup of MixW which will allow transmitting text and receiving text.  MixW needs at least two things to work, audio from your radio, and an input to your transmitter.  Given that MixW runs on your computer, and your computer is using a sound card, you will need to either use an interface, or construct one. I will assume a “Rigblaster Pro”, as that is the Interface I use. I will further assume that you have it wired correctly, and if not, that you will wire it correctly before proceeding.

Setup, a Step by Step

The first set of options you will need to setup are the “Personal Data” items. This option box is located via the Configure>Personal Data.  Once you have it pulled up, you should see this dialog box:

MixW Personal Data

MixW Personal Data

Call:
This is where you add your callsign. Assuming you have purchased this program, you can request a file from the author, which will support two call signs, your ham call sign, and your MARS call sign. By pressing the downward point arrow to the right of the call sign you can select a second call sign for MixW to use.

Name:
Type your first name here.

Log File:
This entry is used to point MixW’s log generation facility at a set directory/file name combination.  It is set to take the default directory and file name.

QTH:
Your QTH.

Lat:
Your Latitude.

Long:
Your Longitude.

Locator:
Your grid locator. An explanation of Grid Location can be found here.  AMSAT has a nice Lat/Lon grid converter here.

Use CWID:
If you are using MixW for Amateur work, you will want this checked, and your call sign filled in. If you are using MixW for MARS work, you will want this unchecked to avoid using CW.

MixW PTT and Cat Dialog Box:

MixW PTT and CAT dialog box

MixW PTT and CAT dialog box

CAT:
Select the radio you use from this menu.

Model:
Select the model of radio you use.

Disabled:
Disables auto PTT via CAT mode.

PTT via CAT:
Tells MixW to use the CAT controls to trigger the radio PTT.

CW via CAT:
Tells MixW to use the CAT lines to simulate a CW key.

CW out via Sound Card:
Sends CW out the audio output of the Sound Card

CW is LSB:
Tells MixW what mode your radio is in for CW.

AFSK in place of FSK:
Tells MixW to use the sound card and not use the CAT interface as a Morse Code Key.

CW Pitch:
If MixW is generating the CW via the sound card this assists in netting your CW signal.  I use 800 Hz for my IC-756 Pro III.

Default Digi Mode:
Tells MixW what side-band setting to use as default for Digital modes.

Mouse wheel for tuning:
This is without a doubt the nicest little feature I have found… Select it and you can use the mouse wheel to tune your radio, again assuming you have CAT set up right.

Display Zero Beat Frequency:
Unknown untested at this point.

Cat Corrections:
I believe this will also allow you to create offsets in the output audio for netting reasons. Untested at this point.

MixW Serial Port Setup Menu: 

MixW Serial Port Setup

MixW Serial Port Dialog Box

Port:
The Com port your computer will be using to talk to the radio interface.

Baud Rate:
How fast the radio and the computer will talk to each other. If you are using a Logging program and it talks to the radio to get the frequency, then see what rate that is going at, and set MixW to that rate. If not, set the rate to the highest the radio will support.

Data Bits:
Normally set to 8

Parity:
Normally set to none

Stop Bits:
Normally set to 1

RTS:
Set to PTT for an Icom 756 PRO II, may be different for your radio.  Start with this not set if you are not using an Icom radio.

DTR:
Used for CW control on the 756 PRO II, may not be the same for your radio.

 

There is a process which tunes MixW to our computer, and gets the soundcard and MixW in sync.  This process will help your decode ability for all digital modes.

 MixW Soundcard Calibration Procedure

Receive Calibration:

  1. Tune your radio to 5, 10 or 15 MHz.
  2. Select SSTV from the modem menu.
  3. In the Mode window, select “WWV”
  4. Make sure “Autoslant is NOT checked.
  5. In the upper right of the SSTV window select the RX button.
  6. Wait while MixW draws a vertical or near vertical bar.
  7. Tap the left or right slant keys ‘//’ or ‘\\’ to force the bar to be as close to vertical as possible. If you left click the vertical bar you can move it around, move it close to an edge to assist in defining vertical.
  8. Once you have the line vertical, click “STOP” at the top of the SSTV window.
  9. Then click “SSTV along the bottom, and then click “Mode Setting”. This will allow you to press the “Go” button. This sets the new frequency in the sound card.

Transmit Calibration:

  1. Be sure that you have calibrated the Receive clock BEFORE you perform this procedure.
  2. Remove audio input from the computer.
  3. Under Configure>Sound Device Settings…, select the “full duplex” box.
  4. Sample Rate set to 11025. (Remember the number here. In the event things break you can return it to the original value.)
  5. Press the CNTL, the SHIFT and the “T” keys all at the same time. A dialog box should appear.
  6. You should see a vertical line being drawn in this new dialog box; this is the tone you are hearing if you have speakers connected to your computer. Adjust the slider in the pop up window so that the sidebands are reduced or removed. Make sure you still have the original red line when finished. You may not be able to remove all sidebands, so just reduce the number and intensity of them. You are adjusting the output level of MixW. If you have been transmitting before this adjustment, you will most likely have to readjust the transmitter for the new input level.
  7. In the upper right of the window that popped up you will see a number that is changing, write that number down including the sign. I.e. if it is negative, then be sure to add the negative sign in your notes.
  8. Now select “Sound Device Settings” from the “Configure” menu.
  9. About the middle of that popup box you will see a section called “Clock Adjustment PPM”.
  10. In that section there are two windows, RX and TX. Take the number in the RX window, and algebraically add it to the number you wrote down. I.e. if the number in the RX window is 20 and the number you wrote down is –5, then you would put 15 in the TX window. Another example might be; if the number in the RX window were 20 and the number you wrote down was –50 then you would put down –30.  Another example would be if the RX number were –20, and you got a –40, then you would put down a –60.
  11. Press OK.

You are finished calibrating MixW and the sound card.

Conclusion:

I hope this helps you, please feel free to leave comments, good or bad below…


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2 Responses to MixW Quickstart

  1. Art

    I have the MIXW 2.20f version and want to upgrade to the next level . How do I do the upgrade ?

    • Dave

      Hi Art, If you join the MixW group on Yahoo, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mixw/ you will find hundreds of people that can answer your question… I moderate that group, and it is filled with folks that want to help… They all know more than I, so you should ask that question there…

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