Category Archives: LP-Pan

Contest season is back

Contest season is starting up, so I’ll be more active, and share more here on the blog. I added the Elecraft P3 Panadapter a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been happy with it. This weekend was the California QSO party, so I used it as a good chance to see if I have all the software and radios working together. So far, it is. I can even run the P3 Panadapter and the LP-Pan Panadapter on the computer at the same time, so I have band scope both on the computer and on the screen next to the radio. The attached video gives a quick demo.

New PowerSDR software

I had experimented with PowerSDR/IFStage software last year with the K3, but the old version didn’t support a 64-bit computer, which I’m running. So I let it alone for a few months and checked the web site Sunday and there is a new version, 1.19.3.4, that supports the bigger computer, so I downloaded it. As with all software upgrades, it didn’t work right at first, but that’s half the fun of this stuff. I soon figured out I’d have up upgrade the LP Bridge software as well, and after I did that, it still didn’t work. Then came an hour of trying different combinations, and looking carefully at all the setup fields, and suddenly, I saw the problem. I checked the right box, and it works great. The PowerSDR, combined with the LP-Pan Panadapter, gives me a nice panadapter and computer. Here’s a short video of it in action.

Ready for Sweepstakes

After what seems weeks (okay 2 weeks) of swearing at the computer, I have the station fully set up and ready to run for the contest season. In this screen shot you can see LP-Pan giving me a visual display of the band, CW Skimmer decoding a signal, and N1MM logger running.

I had most of this running on an old XP computer two weeks ago, but I was at 100 percent processor capacity. So thinking it would be too much work to upgrade to a bigger processor on that machine, I bought a basic new gaming computer with Vista, a high-powered processor and lots of RAM. That made sense to me. I could get the machine for $500 or so, move the sound card and extra port cards from the other machine and be ready to run. If Vista was a problem, I could downgrade to XP.

I waw wrong on every assumption. The sound card I had — an M-Audio Audiophile 2486 — has no Vista drivers and it was a bear to get the Power SDR software to run on Vista, so I decided to downgrade the computer to XP. It didn’t want to do that. After a week of futile attempts to get XP loaded on the new machine, I bought a sound card with Vista drivers and went about the task of getting Power SDR to work on Vista. The secret — which I finally discovered — was to run the program as administrator the first time I ran it. One of those Vista tricks. Thanks to the folks on the yahoo group for LP-Pan for the tip.

On Thursday of this week I had it all working. so I decided to put the computer in a better position and rearrange my operating position for better ergonomics for Sweepstakes. That meant unhooking everything and setting it back up. I the process, I reversed two wires from the LP-Pan panadapter the sound card. The result is that it looked like it was running correctly, but I was having all sorts of problems with ghost images and other strange occurances. In trying to fix it, I blew up the software a couple times, but have gotten good at reinstalling everything.

Finally, last night I realized the two channels from Panadapter to the sound card were reversed. I fixed them, and I’m done. It all works as advertised.

Now I’ve added CW Skimmer and the last piece of the puzzle. I’m not sure I can multi-task enough to use it in the heat of a contest, but I’ll try it next weekend.