IC-R8600 Observations and Thoughts

Hi,

Testing version 1.1a with my IC-R8600. I would like to be able to pipe unfiltered baseband audio out of WFView to external programs such as DSD+ for decoding DMR and KG-Tone for observing the CTCSS and DCS tones of unknown stations. The logical thing to do seemed to be to set the audio output to my Virtual Audio Cable. However it does not seem to produce audio that is good enough for either external program to work. I definitely have a working system as I am able to send the 12KHz IF out of the 8600 to SDR# (set up for baseband audio) and then pipe from there to both programs. I am connected by LAN so I suppose I should check to see if I’m piping IF or AF from there.

All of that said, is there any way that WFView could show the CTCSS and DCS tones of an analog FM signal somehow? That would be great, excellent tool for identifying unknown stations.

A few observations. Settings are not saved between sessions, namely tuning step sizes and last frequency. When I start WFView it retunes it to 0.0100. Otherwise definitely a step in the right direction for us 8600 users. It is so nice to retain the front panel controls and have a large spectrum display simultaneously. It’s also nice to sit out on the porch with a laptop and control the 8600. I fully realize this is alpha software, but a great job thus far.

Thanks,
Scott

Quick followup - switching from AF to IF on LAN output did not make a difference in my case.

Hi Scott.

This application is particularly interesting to me as I would like to make better use of the IF output. In the radio menu, if you configure LAN IF/AF Output to IF you should be able to use this but you would need to create a virtual sound card from wfview to SDR#.

There are various DSP functions that we can perform on the audio so ‘in theory’ displaying CTCSS/DCS tones in use ‘should’ be possible once we start delving deeper into the audio side.

The step sizes/last frequency are a particularly tricky one and we decided not to store those as we try not to change anything on the radio when first connected and simply mirror the current status of the radio. Also step-size is very band/mode dependant. 100hz steps was thought of as a reasonable default/compromise until we can create a more fully-featured per band/mode setting that will be stored.

73 Phil M0VSE

I just tried this by setting the LAN IF output on my IC7610 and feeding it into “Baseband from Sound Card” in SDR# and it works fine.

73 Phil

Thanks Phil, and okay on all of the first message. I can make it work with SDR# as stated but I don’t think in that case the LAN output has anything to do with it. In my case it’s using the 12KHz IF output. Then from SDR# I pipe it via that software’s DSD+ interface.

Edit: Sorry for the poor screenshot; hopefully it makes the point though.

Better screenshot if anyone cares! :sweat_smile:

Hi Scott. If you use wfview connected to the 8600 over LAN (not USB) then it will receive the 12KHz IF output audio and this can then be routed to SDR# via virtual audio cables. As you can see from the screenshot below:

I ONLY have a LAN connection to my IC-7610, no USB connection!

73 Phil

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Okay, that I understand fine. I was trying to get it from WFView directly to DSD+ without SDR#. Hopefully some day that might be possible. Thanks Phil.

Scott

Just installed the latest 1.1 version and it is working great. I am running SDR# in the background of this, using 12KHz IF into sound card setting in SDR# to get the audio out to DSD+ Fast Lane and KGTone for CTCSS/DCS decoding.

I have a few minor cosmetic thoughts to share.

  1. Is there any way to have the colors in the spectrum display look like they do on the spectrum display of the 8600? Where I have a very strong red signal on the 8600 I’m showing yellow on WFView. I have tried the diffferent spectrum themes and have settled on “Spectrum” for the moment. I realize this is an incredibly minor nitpicky type of statement but just curious if there’s a way.

  2. Could a future version perhaps allow for the sorting of favorite modes to the top of the mode list, or a separate “favorite modes” area? Nitpicky again but as an example, when I come across a P25 signal I have to scroll way down to choose that mode.

  3. Still hope someday to see the ability to directly pass audio out to DSD+ FL, KGTone, etc. and perhaps tone, NAC, CC, RAN decoding displays, but saying that I fully understand the need for “first things first” and that this is one of many radios being supported.

Again, many thanks for all of your efforts. The attached is now surely my favorite way to utilize this receiver.

Hi Scott,

I’m really glad you’re enjoying the program. The next version (1.2) will have the center-tuning meter as well.

We have a page on the wiki about how to customize the appearance. In particular, the colors for the plot can be specified in the settings file, and the entire UI can be themed using a stylesheet (although I do not know if anyone has done this on Windows yet).

Page summarizing customization
Page on Settings File (scroll down to [LightColors] and [DarkColors].

Let me know if that gets you there,

–E
de W6EL

I forgot, you asked about the order of the modes. That’s a new request, but one that we might be able to do. Currently the code just does the modes in the order that they are encountered from their specification. I suppose the challenge here would be to develop a nice UI where the modes can be dragged up and down, with the option to save the set, and then recall upon opening. I like it, believe me, but don’t hold your breath :-). Maybe in two releases when we add more controls we’ll look at this. That radio sure has a lot of modes. Also, some modes have convenient key strokes (but none for P25, sorry), try the F5-F10 keys.

Also is it normal to be able to copy analog FM using the P25 mode? That is something I noticed on an 8600 that I was using remotely.

–E
de W6EL

Thanks for the above info, Elliott. As to the 8600 receiving analog FM while in the P25 mode, I have not seen that occur. If in P25 mode and tuning to an analog FM signal, the mode display usually toggles between P25 and FM to indicate the presence of a mode other than P25, but it has never passed the audio. I wish the 8600 would auto-tune to the mode, sure would make life a lot easier. Icom is weird about their feature-set. The CTCSS/DCS decoding sucks, the lack of auto-mode, and of course the long discussed omission of DMR. For a $2300 receiver it has its quirks, but overall it is a thing of beauty, further enhanced by this software.

I’ll check into the color options via the Wiki and see what I can tweak.

Thanks,
Scott