1 Spectrum Lab User’s Manual – QSL.net

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1 Spectrum Lab User's Manual

This ,,document" is just a collection of all HTML files from Spectrum Lab's built-in help system.

They were simply combined in a master document in OpenOffice, by means of 'including' the html
pages as sub-documents.
Unfortunately, the links between these sub-documents (which were once HTML pages heavily
linking to each other, and to the 'index.htm' page) get broken in the OO document. This is the reason
why all those helpful links don't work in the PDF you are currently reading.

If you have a solution (i.e. how to convince OpenOffice to get the hyperlinks working again,
without having to edit zillions of links manually), please let me know.

Also, if you know how to prevent OpenOffice from turning the chapter numbers (from multiple
HTML files "included" by the master document) into a complete mess - see 'Contents' below..



Contents
1  Spectrum Lab User's Manual..........................................................................................................1
     2.1.6 Installation and directory structure .................................................................................5
     2.1.7 Setting up the soundcard (or other input devices) ..........................................................6
     2.1.8 How to check and avoid an unwanted bypass between the soundcard's Line-In and
     Line-Out .....................................................................................................................................6
           Some notes on Creative Lab's "Audidy 2" (tested with Audigy 2 ZS) and how to avoid
        Line-In -> Line-Out bypass ("feedthrough") .........................................................................7
     2.1.9 Some notes on various other soundcards .......................................................................9
     2.1.10 Quickstart for QRSS (very slow Morse code viewer) ................................................. 9
     2.1.11 Running multiple instances of the program ............................................................... 11
     2.1.12 Configuration data files ..............................................................................................12
3 Controls in the main window ...................................................................................................... 14
  3.1 Main Window ...................................................................................................................... 14
        3.1.1.1 File ........................................................................................................................14
           Start/Stop .........................................................................................................................14
           Options ............................................................................................................................ 15
           Quick Settings ................................................................................................................. 15
        3.1.1.2 View/Windows ..................................................................................................... 15
        3.1.1.3 Help ...................................................................................................................... 15
     3.1.2 Built-in "Quick Settings" (in the main menu) ..............................................................16
  3.2 Spectrum Display .................................................................................................................17
  3.3 Control Elements in the main window ................................................................................ 17
     3.3.1 Tabbed display control panel ........................................................................................17
        Frequency control panel (in SpecLab's main window) ........................................................18
     3.3.2 Time Axis ..................................................................................................................... 19
     3.3.3 Cursor Position Display ............................................................................................... 20
        3.3.3.1 Fixing the cursor on a certain frequency ..............................................................21
     3.3.4 Color Palette Control ................................................................................................... 21
     3.3.5 Progress Indicator/Stop Button ....................................................................................21
     3.3.6 Programmable buttons ................................................................................................. 22
  3.4 Controls on the bottom of the main window ....................................................................... 23
     3.4.1 The Spectrum Buffer Overwiew (in the bottom control bar) .......................................24
     3.4.2 Navigation buttons to scroll through the spectrogram buffer ...................................... 24
4 Spectrum Displays .......................................................................................................................25
  4.1 Spectrum Graph ...................................................................................................................25
  4.2 Waterfall Display (aka Spectrogram) ...................................................................................26
     4.2.1 Visual AGC (for the spectrogram colour palette) ........................................................ 28
     4.2.2 Amplitude Bar (alongside the spectrogram display) ....................................................29
  4.3 3D Spectrum Display ...........................................................................................................29
  4.4 Reassigned Spectrogram ......................................................................................................30
  4.5 Correlogram .........................................................................................................................31
  4.6 Frequency Scale ...................................................................................................................32
        4.6.1.1 Popup menu of the main frequency scale..............................................................33
        4.6.1.2 Adjusting the visible part of the frequency scale ................................................. 34
        4.6.1.3 Adding or subtracting a user-defineable frequency offset (for the display) .........34
  4.7 One or two channels for the spectrum display .....................................................................34
  4.8 Spectrum Averaging (Overview) ......................................................................................... 35
     4.8.1 The "Second Spectrogram" .......................................................................................... 36
5 Spectrum Lab Configuration Dialog ........................................................................................... 38
     5.1.1 Transceiver Interface Settings.......................................................................................39
  5.2 System Settings.....................................................................................................................40
     5.2.1 Memory and spectrum file buffers................................................................................40
     5.2.2 Audio Server Settings....................................................................................................41
        5.2.2.1 Timezone............................................................................................................... 41
        5.2.2.2 Geographic Location............................................................................................. 41
     5.2.3 Timer Calibration.......................................................................................................... 41
     5.2.4 Clock Source for timestamps:.......................................................................................41
     5.2.5 Filenames and Directories.............................................................................................42
     5.2.6 Adding a special driver for other audio input devices...................................................46
     5.2.7 The Audio I/O Libraries................................................................................................46
     5.2.8 Using in_AudioIO.dll to stream audio into Winamp.................................................... 48
     5.2.9 Using in_AudioIO.dll to stream audio from the first instance of Spectrum Lab to other
     instances....................................................................................................................................48
     5.2.10 Using a Winrad-compatible ExtIO-DLL for input......................................................49
        5.2.10.1 FiFi SDR..............................................................................................................50
     5.2.11 Output resampling.......................................................................................................51
     5.2.12 Soundcards with "slightly different" sample rates for the input (ADC) and output
     (DAC)........................................................................................................................................52
     5.2.13 Multiple soundcards in one system.............................................................................53
     5.2.14 Unexpected aliasing at 48 kSamples/second on a Windows 7 system........................53
  5.3 Audio File Servers and Clients............................................................................................. 53
     5.3.1 PIC-based A/D converter for the serial port..................................................................55
     5.3.2 Sending and receiving audio through WM_COPYDATA messages............................ 55
     5.3.3 Sending and receiving audio through a local network..................................................55
     5.3.4 The Winamp-to-SpecLab output plugin........................................................................56
     5.3.5 Sending audio from SpecLab to Winamp..................................................................... 56
     5.3.6 Loading Winamp plugins into SpecLab........................................................................56
  5.4 FFT settings.......................................................................................................................... 57
     5.4.1 Spectrum Display Settings............................................................................................59
       5.4.2 Spectrum Buffer Settings..............................................................................................64
    5.5 Display Colour Settings........................................................................................................65
    5.6 Frequency Marker Settings...................................................................................................66
       5.6.1 Functions (and -commands) to access frequency markers through the interpreter.......67
       5.6.2 Frequency marker types................................................................................................67
       5.6.3 Radio- vs Baseband frequencies................................................................................... 68
    5.7 Audio File Settings (formerly 'Wave File Settings')............................................................. 68
    5.8 Amplitude Calibration...........................................................................................................69
    5.9 Settings and Configuration Files...........................................................................................70
6    Radio Station Frequency List ...................................................................................................... 71
       6.1.1 Loading and displaying a frequency list ...................................................................... 71
7    Spectrum Lab Circuit Components ............................................................................................. 72
    7.1 Component Window.............................................................................................................72
          7.1.1.1 Chaining of both processing branches (since 2004-07) ....................................... 74
    7.2 Monitor Scopes.....................................................................................................................74
       7.2.1 Universal Trigger Block ...............................................................................................75
       7.2.2 Counter / Timer (pulse- or event counter, operating in the time domain) ....................76
       7.2.3 Input Preprocessor ........................................................................................................77
    7.3 Test Signal Generator............................................................................................................78
    7.4 Programmable Audio Filter.................................................................................................. 78
    7.5 Frequency Converter ("mixer")............................................................................................ 78
    7.6 Audio input and output......................................................................................................... 79
       7.6.1 Output- and "cross coupling" amplifiers ......................................................................80
    7.7 Spectrum analyser.................................................................................................................80
    7.8 DSP Black Boxes .................................................................................................................80
          7.8.1.1 Signal processing sequence (in each DSP Blackbox) .......................................... 81
       7.8.2 Adder or multiplier (to combine two input channels in a DSP blackbox) ...................81
       7.8.3 Bandpass Filter (in a DSP blackbox) ........................................................................... 82
       7.8.4 Delay line in a DSP blackbox ...................................................................................... 82
       7.8.5 Advanced hum filter in a DSP blackbox ......................................................................83
       7.8.6 Hard Limiter in a DSP blackbox ..................................................................................84
       7.8.7 Noise Blanker in a DSP blackbox ................................................................................84
       7.8.8 DC Reject / DC measurement (in a DSP blackbox) .....................................................85
       7.8.9 Modulators and Demodulators in a DSP blackbox ......................................................85
          7.8.9.1 Wideband FM reception .......................................................................................86
       7.8.10 Automatic Gain Control (in the DSP blackboxes) .....................................................86
       7.8.11 Chirp Filter (in the DSP blackboxes) .........................................................................87
    7.9 Sampling Rate- and Frequency Offset Calibrator ...............................................................87
    7.10 Interpreter commands for the test circuit ...........................................................................87
8    Spectrum Lab's "watch window" .................................................................................................89
    8.1 The watch list .......................................................................................................................89
    8.2 The History Plotter ...............................................................................................................91
          Mouse-tracking readout function .........................................................................................92
    8.3 Plotter Settings .....................................................................................................................92
    8.4 Interpreter functions to control the watch window and it's plotter ...................................... 96
9    Digital Filters ...............................................................................................................................98
    9.1 1. FFT filter ..........................................................................................................................98
    9.2 1.1 Controls and Options for the FFT-based filter ...............................................................99
       1.2 Controlling the filter via SL's main frequency scale..........................................................102
    9.3 1.3 FFT-based frequency conversion ("pitch shift")...........................................................103
9.4   1.4 FFT-basedUSB / LSB conversion ("frequency inversion")..........................................104
9.5   1.5 FFT-based autonotch.....................................................................................................104
      9.5.1.1 1.5.1 Options for the FFT-based automatic notch filter...................................... 104
9.6 1.6 I/Q processing with the FFT-filter................................................................................ 105
      1.6.1 FFT-based filter as I/Q modulator (to generate SSB signals)................................... 106
   9.6.1 1.6.1 FFT-based filter as I/Q modulator (to generate SSB signals)........................... 106
9.7 1.7 FFT Filter Plugins.........................................................................................................107
9.8 2. Filter Implementation..................................................................................................... 107
   9.8.1 Starting and stopping the filter ...................................................................................108
   9.8.2 Testing the filter on your PC ...................................................................................... 109
9.9 DSP Literature ................................................................................................................... 109
9.10 Interpreter commands for the digital filters ..................................................................... 109
      9.10.1.1 A few "tricks" using the color palette editor... ..................................................113
Spectrum Lab Installation and Program Start
Contents
    1.   System Requirements
    2.   Installation and directory structure
    3.   Setting up the soundcard
    4.   Quickstart for QRSS (very slow Morse code viewer)
    5.   Program start with command line arguments
    6.   Configuration data files
    7.   Running multiple instances of the program
    8.   Creating shortcuts for different configurations
Special topics:
    1. How to avoid an unwanted audio bypass from the soundcard's input to output (Line-In to Line-
       Out)
    2. How complicated this can be when using Creative Lab's Audigy 2 ;-)
    3. How to install and run Spectrum Lab under Linux / Wine
    4. How to use SL with software-defined radios like SDR-IQ or PERSEUS
See also: Spectrum Lab's main index


System Requirements
You will need the following to use "SpecLab":
- a PC with Win95, Win98, WinME, Win2k, WinXP, Windows 7, or Linux+Wine
- a soundcard with an audio input resolution of 16 bits
- a color graphics mode with at least 800*600 pixels with 256 colors
(a graphics mode with higher resolution and "true color" is preferred, and even required under WinXP
and any later version of Windows)
back to top



2.1.6 Installation and directory structure
To install the program on your PC, follow the instructions of the installation program. If the program
requires special DLLs, they will be installed automatically. An uninstaller will be configured too, so you
can remove this software easily if you don't need it any longer.
The default directory for the installation was once C:\Spectrum, but in the days of windows Vista and
Windows 7 this may have been changed - the installer will suggest to place the program somewhere in the
'Programs' directory, whereever that may be on your machine. If not absolutely necessary, don't change
this because some of the example settings contain absolute path names. Some subdirectories will also be
created by the installer:
..\Data\
      default directory for data files, like logged data files from long-term observations etc.
      Because Spectrum Lab must have write-access permission for this directoy, the installer may have
      to place it somewhere else (very annoying, but that's what windows Vista wants..).
      To simplify the task of 'finding' this (and other) writeable directories, the installer will write a short
      text file which contains the DIRECTORY PATHS to all 'writeable' directories ... thanks Microsoft
      for changing this over and over ... the ugly details are here ("data folders").
..\Export\
      contains some export file definitions and example user settings. Beginning with Windows Vista and
      Windows 7, the directory path for this folder also had to be moved somewhere else (because any

Spectrum Lab Manual                                                                                5 / 113
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