22 marzo 2010

StationList, a good tool for Perseus

StationList è un ottimo programma che permette di programmare registrazioni con il ricevitore SDR Perseus (e Winradio), ma anche gestire un log e consultare la lista "MW offset"

Ecco articolo di Thomas Nillson pubblicato su Shortwave Bulletin:

by Thomas Nillson
published on Shortwave Bulletin

A software by Jürgen Bartels

(click on the images to enlarge)

This is a freeware tool for unattended recordings and logging, including frequency lists to be used with Perseus and WinRadio. Download from http://dx.3sdesign.de/station_list.htm

StationList comes with the mediumwave “mwoffset” list compiled by Günter Lorenz, available at http://www.myradiobase.de/mediumwave/. The zipped software package is shipped with an outdated mwoffset list and thus has to be updated before use.

Other useful lists covering the shortwave bands which can be imported are the Eibi list and Nagoya list.

The lists can be displayed in two modes. By clicking Show Chan displays stations only for the current channel within a range of +/-500 Hz and Show List displays all entries matching the current time and weekday (EIBI: time only).

Frequency Tracking
The list follows the frequency the radio is tuned to. In List mode, the list scrolls along when tuning the radio, the current frequency is shown in the center. Right-Click an entry will set the radio to that frequency.

Toggle Frequency < = >
< = > allows fast switching between two frequencies, i.e. to compare if two frequencies carry the same program.

You can compile your own logbook easily using the entries in the database. Ctrl-Right-Click copies the selected entry into the log book. Ctrl-Shift-Right-Click same as above but additionally prompts for a comment. Edit / Edit Logs (Ctrl-L) lets you edit/sort or reduce the range of entries and then export it to HTML/Excel/Text file or into the clipboard for easy pasting into emails.

Allows you to compile a list of frequencies that you want to check often over a period of time.
Example: Search for channels that show TA carriers at early afternoon. Those channels you intend to check again the next days again. Alt-Right-Click adds that entry into the Watchlist
File / Watchlist / ... allows to use/save one of several Watchlists, i.e. one for morning one for afternoons.

Recording Schedule
Define schedules for automatic recordings.

This is a typical entry for recording from xx:40 to xx:15 between 23:40 - 07:15:

From= 23:40 Until= 07:15 Start-Minute= 55 RecLength= 10

Send PC asleep and let it wake up on the next recording
Click on File / Shutdown PC & set up timer for next wake-up to send the PC asleep immediately. It will wake up on the next scheduled recording. This option is only available if the recording schedule is enabled.

SpectrumLab Perseus updates SpectrumLab
Changing Perseus frequency will let StationList follow. At the same time this new frequency value will be forwarded to SpectrumLab, resulting in a change of its frequency axis. To see spectrum & waterfall in SpectrumLab, Perseus has to be switched to DRM mode. Perseus does not allow listening and displaying at the same time, but Winradio can. Resolution is about 0.2 Hz.

Playback Selector
Edit / Playback Selector Lists all WAVs in the folder that is defined in Recording Schedule. Double-click an entry and Perseus plays it. The current frequency remains unchanged. This allows for the current frequency to click through all files and search for the one with the best audio.
I did that with KNX-1070 and picked out the file with the clearest ID.
The current folder is shown at the top, click on it to select another one. Entries can be renamed.

The small spin control at the top left controls Perseus playback trackbar. Inc/Dec or using the mouse wheel or the right/left keys move the position in the trackbar in selected steps. The entire trackbar is divided into n steps (default 10), and has nothing to do with real seconds.
Doubleclick on the spin control to define a different number of steps for finer resolution.

You can now "fly" over a recording to see if a signal gets better.

Selecting a new WAV-file will now start playing at the current step position, allowing to start playing back pretty near a xx:00 spot, very handy when chasing IDs.

Advantage: No more obnoxious beeps when 'mis'-clicking while getting fast & easy keyboard operation. The current trackbar position is not reported back from Perseus, so the spin control does not change while playing. The basic functions are now available via the keyboard, saving you many unnecessary mouse clicks.

Log-DateTime tracking
The currently playing WAV-file defines the date and time in the log-window, if you log a station its reception time will thus be set to the time you finished recording that wav-file. Not precise but still pretty close. To have it in UTC you need to check UTC in the log window.

Tuning Modes
Edit/Edit Tuning Modes automatically sets the demodulator to LSB/USB etc while you tune. Useful for MW TA-DX where you need to select USB/LSB depending what fits best per channel. I dislike to use program memories for it and prefer a background task doing that for me while I tune as usual.
Setup tuning modes: Tune Perseus or Winradio to a frequency, set it to USB/LSB/AM etc. and then click on Set . Check On to get it working. Tuning modes only sets the radio that caused the frequency change. So I can tune WR and WR is changed to LSB/USB while Perseus stays unaffected and vice versa.

For the material above I have copied selected parts from the StationList Help-file which was created & edited by Willi Passmann & Jürgen Bartels.

A few personal notes: This software is easy to set up but one problem occurred, for some reason the help file could only be extracted by WinRar. WinZip and Win7 produced an unreadable file.
It was easy to update the mwoffset list with its new file.
The tracking function between the database and Perseus is very handy. The playback selector is also nice giving opportunity to use the keyboard instead of fiddling with the mouse.
It is also handy to open the files directly from the playback selector being able to stay put on the same frequency. Note that Perseus must be set to WAV otherwise starting a file from the playback selector is not possible.
Toggle between two frequencies of interest is also a nice function, allowing for fast checks of parallel transmitters.
All you Perseus users should download this software and give it a try.
It is also possible to use the script below, PerseusKeyboard.ahk which needs the AutoHotkey freeware to be installed.
AutoHotkey unleashes the full potential of your keyboard, joystick, and mouse. For example, in addition to the typical Control, Alt, and Shift modifiers, you can use the Windows key and the Capslock key as modifiers. In fact, you can make any key or mouse button act as a modifier.