Sound Card Packet  with AGWPE

Translations of this site
Most recent AGWPE version is:  2013.415  15 Apr 2013

Introduction
Overview
Computer requirements
Packet Engine Pro

Configure AGWPE
Download and Install
Basic AGWPE Setup
2 Radio Setup
2 Card Setup

Sound Device Setup
Basic Device Settings
Rename Sound Device
Additional Settings
Using the Tuning Aid

Problems?
Program Behavior
Receiving
Transmitting
Connections
Firewalls

AGWPE Features
AGWPE on a Network
Baud Rates & Modes
Remote Control
TCP/IP Over Radio
Tips and Tricks
Traffic Parameters

Compatible Programs:
Setup Help

Radio Interface
Getting Started
Kits and Pre-assembled
USB SignaLink
Receive Audio Cable
Transmit Audio Cable
PTT (TX Control) Cable
2 Radio Modification

About Packet
Packet Overview
Exchange Modes
TNCs and AGWPE
What To Do with Packet
Common Frequencies
Frame Headers
Further Reading
 

MixW and AGWPE

AGWPE and AGWPE Pro are not the only programs that you can use for sound card packet. AGWPE was the first to provide host services to client applications and continues to be a great application for that need. Other sound card packet programs are MixW , Fexnet32 and UZ7HO Modem.

I do not have any experience with Flexnet. The web site is at  http://www.afthd.tu-darmstadt.de/~flexnet/intro.html . There is a Flexnet/32 to AGWPE linking program called XGlue  (XGlue Setup Guide) if you want to couple the two programs. If someone wants to send me a layman's description of Flexnet/32 (its advantages and disadvantages and why you would want to run it), I would really appreciate it. The Flexnet website isn't very helpful to me.

MixW, however, does have some features of interest to packet users and even AGWPE users.

MixW  (http://mixw.net/ )  is a $50 multi-mode sound card program that includes 300 and 1200 baud packet. Some users feel MixW does a better job with 300 baud HF packet than AGWPE or Packet Engine Pro. But even if you use MixW for HF packet, you should still be able to link it to AGWPE via virtual serial ports (see below). This lets you continue to use AGWPE for its multi-program/multi-device management services while using MixW's HF packet engine.

Paraphrasing Stephen WA8LMF: "MixW far outperforms any hardware or software on noisy HF packet. It produces a waterfall display on HF packet that makes tuning extremely easy ( similar to the PSK31 programs it evolved from). You can click on the center of the lingering waterfall display even AFTER the packet burst has ended to adjust the tuning and be ready for the next packet. (AGWPE has a waterfall display but you can't tune using the display. You must tune the radio and then wait for the next packet to see how the waterfall now aligns.) MixW is also far less cantankerous to configure than the AGW Packet Engine sound card modem.

On HF, the 300 baud 200-hz-shift mode is fully tunable to any arbitrary tone pair -- not just KAM or PK-232 pairs.  Since the HF modem is tunable and not locked to any arbitrary tone pair, you can switch in a 500 Hz CW filter on SSB, and then make the HF tone pair fit whatever audio band pass results. (The shape and position of the band pass of various SSB, RTTY and CW filters, and the effect of band pass tuning, shows dramatically in the waterfall display of background HF noise.) If anything, the main problem is that Mix is "too good"; the brick wall steep-skirted selectivity of the mark and space channel filters cause problems with the many users not exactly on frequency. However, if they ARE on frequency, it will FAR out-copy a KAM, PK232 or AGW.

At the click of a mouse, you can select almost a dozen different packet modems including the specialized ones used for satellite operations. If you want to try weird new baud rates and shifts, MixW will let you define your own combinations of baud rate and shift. If you REALLY want to turbo charge HF APRS, try the add-in Q15X25 modem which is an simultaneous multi-tone FSK system mated to standard X25 packet protocol that can deliver a reliable 1200 or 2400 baud throughput on HF in a 1 KHz bandwidth! At the input/output of the TNC emulator, it looks just like any other packet mode, just faster.

It also seems to work on a much larger variety of soundcard hardware than AGWPE, including many of the cheapie built-in-to-the-motherboard ones that won't work with  AGWPE. The audio level adjustments are much less critical and easier to set. The only thing you lose is the ability to operate VHF and HF simultaneously."

MixW now has the capability of allowing client programs, including AGWPE, to connect to MixW using its "TNC Emulation" feature. In TNC Emulation mode, MixW appears as a TNC to a client packet program. MixW sends and receives packet data to one serial port, either actual or virtual, while the client application attaches to a different serial port, actual or virtual. If actual serial ports are used, a null modem cable is used to connect them (one port could even be on another computer). If virtual serial ports are used, they are automatically connected in software. In this way , UI-View or AGWPE can hook to MixW and use MixW's sound card packet modem!

To create the virtual serial ports, you'll need another add-on component, the MixW Serial Port Emulation Driver, downloadable from the MixW website at http://www.mixw.net/index.php?j=related  . The software will install two virtual serial ports on your computer. You then assign MixW's "TNC emulation" feature to one of these virtual ports, and configure the client application to connect to the other.

Unfortunately, the MixW emulator only works on Win2000 or XP, but Windows 95/98/Me users can find a virtual serial port driver at http://www.pearsoncomputing.net

Last Updated:
18Aug2015

by Ralph Milnes NM5RM

 

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