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
 

Basic Sound Device Settings for AGWPE

This page was written for Windows XP and earlier. It has not yet been updated for more recent versions of Windows. You should be able to find comparable setting/menus in those more recent versions, if you need them.

 For AGWPE to work, you need to set four basic sound card settings correctly:

  •   The receive  audio source
  •   The receive audio volume level
  •   The transmit audio source
  •   The transmit audio volume level

You can adjust these sound card settings in two ways:

Other information on this page includes:

There are some advanced sound card settings that may also affect you. These include  "Speaker Type", "Hardware Acceleration", and "Sample Rate". These are discussed on  the Additional Settings page of this web site.

 

1. Using AGWPE to Adjust Basic Sound Card Settings

To set the volume controls from within AGWPE, right click the AGWPE tower icon to bring up the AGWPE menu and then click on Sound Card Tuning Aid. The Tuning Aid is a great way to adjust your RX (receive) volume. Note that the Tuning Aid screen window will remain on top of all other windows. You can drag it with the blue Title Bar if it gets in the way, but it's handy to keep it displayed throughout the volume adjusting process:

◄Click on small image to download larger image

Then in the AGWPE Sound Card Tuning Aid window, click on the Set Volume button to get to this window:

◄Click on small image to download larger image

See the sections a. and b. below for more information about these controls:

a. Receive Audio Settings (via AGWPE)

Receive Audio Volume: The left Rx slider controls the receive volume (recording volume) of the left channel or port 1 of the sound card. The right column sliders control the right channel or port 2. (If you are using only one radio port in AGWPE, it will be the left slider).

I've had good success with the sliders set 1/3 up from the bottom. Be sure not to set them too low since it may stop all input (they don't have to be to the very bottom for audio input to be stopped). Use the sound card tuning aid's Sine Wave scope to see the results of your settings. The sine waves should fill about half the scope as in the Tuning Aid screen shot above. Use the volume slider to adjust the wave size. If you get the output from the radio's speaker jack, you can also adjust the radio volume. AGWPE is pretty tolerant of RX volume levels, but conceivably it is possible for the volume to be too loud or too soft.

If you don't see any waves, then your audio source setting is probably incorrect (see next paragraph) or, if you are using the radio's mike or speakers for RX audio, your radio's squelch in on; turn it off so you can hear the channel noise.
 

Visit the Sound Card Tuning Aid page for more information, including screen shots of signal problems.

Receive Audio Source:  Rx Input Line (audio source) does not work as advertised in version 2003.3008. You need to use the  Windows' Volume Control Program (see #2 below) to adjust your settings.

[When the bug is corrected, you will be able to select the source of your receive audio, either Line (meaning LINE IN) or Microphone, depending where your RX audio cable is plugged. As the screen says, other sources will be muted and that's good.]

(If you opt to use the Microphone instead of the Line In for RX in, be sure that you do not use the Microphone Boost option of your sound card. See Windows' Volume Control Program below for instructions on how to configure boost.)
 

Set/Restore Options: If you use your sound card for programs other than AGWPE, the Set These Levels on Start and Restore Levels on Exit will be helpful. They allow you to set the volume especially for AGWPE and then return them to their previous settings when you exit AGWPE.
 

b. Transmit Audio Settings (via AGWPE)

  • Transmit Audio Volume: The Tx Master sliders and two Tx Wave volume sliders work together: Wave means Program, in this case AGWPE and the packet tones it generates. The Tx Master sliders are a master control that will further adjust the Wave volume.

    As with the RX sliders, the left column sliders (for both Master and Wave) control the left channel or port 1 of the sound card. The right column sliders control the right channel or port 2.

    I've had good success with the sliders set 1/3 up from the bottom. Your setting will depend largely on how well the attenuation circuit in your TX audio cable matches the optimal microphone input level for your radio. See How Much TX Volume? below for some further advice.

    It is essential that none of these two sliders be at the absolute bottom or near the bottom, as that may stop all output.

How Much TX Volume?

You can get a rough idea of your TX volume by temporarily plugging your computer speakers into the LINE IN jack. But that will not tell you how what your TX audio sounds like on the air. It would be better to listen to your transmitted audio with a second radio.

The best way to check your transmit volume is with a deviation meter. The correct deviation is 3.75 kHz of deviation (+/- .25). But since most of us don't have a deviation meter,  Jim K6CCC offered this alternate suggestion:

"My standard advice for people who do not have access to a deviation meter is to set your path to digipeat through a single local digipeater (e.g.  TEST VIA WIDE ), then go into converse mode (UI mode) and transmit a single carriage return. Watch to see if your single packet gets digipeated by that one local digipeater. If it doesn't get digipeated on your first attempt, try several more times because it may not have gotten through because of a collision. If it does not get through after a few attempts, turn up the volume  just to that point where it gets through reliably.

Conversely, if the packet does get digipeated, turn down the transmit audio level a little and try again. Keep doing this (turning down the volume) until your packet does not get digipeated reliably. Then turn it back up just a little bit and verify you can get the packet reliably digipeated."

It's FAR better to have your volume too low than too high!

When you are done, press OK to save your settings and then close the Tuning Aid window.

 2. Using Windows' Volume Control Program to Adjust Sound Card Settings

It's also possible to set the volume control settings with the Windows' Volume Control program, but the AGWPE method above in #1 is much easier. However, there may be some settings, such as Microphone Boost, that can only be controlled by  Windows' Volume Control program and not AGPWE. The The sections below discuss how to configure Windows' Volume Control for :

To start, you should see the volume control icon Windows Speaker Icon in the system tray on the lower right of your screen. If you don't, follow the directions on the additional sound settings page to display it.

a. Transmit Audio Settings (via Windows)

To set the source and volume level of your outgoing packet tones:

  • Right click or left click twice very quickly on the Volume Control icon Windows Speaker Icon (or go to the Control Panel and select Sounds: Audio). The Volume Control window should open . It initially displays settings for just the Playback or TX audio ( sound card-to-radio) of your default sound card. Here is what that window looks like in my system; it may be somewhat different in your system because of the sound card type:

    <--  Click on small image to download larger image
     
  • This window initially displays settings for just the Playback or TX audio ( sound card-to-radio) of your default sound card. If you have more than one sound card in your system, use the menu Options: Properties: Mixer Device to select the sound card you want to adjust. Note that the name of the select sound card will appear in the lower left of the Volume Control window.
  • The settings of importance on this window are:
     
    • The left most Volume Control volume slider (sometimes called Master or Speaker) and the Wave volume slider work together. Consider Wave to mean Program, in this case AGWPE, which is creating the outgoing packet tones.  The Volume Control slider is a master control that will further adjust the Wave volume.

      I've had good success with both sliders set 1/3 up from the bottom. Your setting will depend largely on how well the attenuation circuit in your TX audio cable matches the optimal microphone input of your radio. See How Much TX Volume? below for some further advice.

      It's essential that neither of these two sliders be at the absolute bottom or near the bottom, and it's essential that the Mute boxes are not checked.
       
    • Leave all Balance sliders in the middle. They are for stereo channel control and setting the slider to the wrong side could mute outgoing sounds to one of the two possible sound card channels/radioports.
       
    • I mute all other audio output sources ( Mic, Line In and CD) so that only AGWPE (wave) outputs sound to the radio and not other sources.
       

b. Receive Audio Settings (via Windows)

To set the source and volume level of your receive or RX audio is a bit more difficult to find. These settings are found in a different Volume Control sub-window, the Recording Control window, whereas the outgoing sounds (see A. above) are set in the Playback window. This is very important. Many people do not realize this Recording window exists. Failure to get the recording settings correct results in problems receiving packets. To get to the Recording Window:

  • From the Playback Volume Control window shown above, select the Options menu choice, then Properties.
     
  • Click on the Recording radio button to bring up the list of volume controls. Make sure that there's a check mark    next to the jack where you plugged in your radio RX audio cable -- either Line In (preferably) or Microphone. Here's what this window looks like on my system. 

◄Click on small image to download larger image

  • When you're done, click on the OK button.
     

  • You should now see the Recording Control window (or the Wave In window as it is called in my system). Since I use the Line In jack for Radio RX audio, here's what my settings look like. Notice the Select check mark under Line In:

    ◄Click on small image to download larger image
     

  • Click the Select box for the jack where you will plug in your radio RX audio cable, either the Line In (preferably) or Microphone.
     

  • Set the volume slider about 1/3 up (soft). This should work for you, but note that AGWPE can probably handle any setting other than "off/quiet".  See How Much RX Volume? below for some further advice.
     

  • Leave the balance slider in the middle.
     

  • After you've made your choices, click the 'X' in the top right corner of the window to close the window and the Volume Control program. Your settings will be saved automatically.

     

Microphone Boost: If you opt to use the Microphone instead of the Line In for RX in, do not use the Microphone Boost option if it is offered by your system. I found this option by clicking on the Advanced button found under the Microphone slider in the Recording Control window. The "boost" feature typically adds a 20 dB increase in audio volume and is designed to amplify the weak signal from a computer electret microphone. The audio from your radio is normally already too high for input into the MIC jack (that is why you are advised to add an attenuation circuit to the RX cable). So using the boost feature can make the problem worse.

◄Click on small image to download larger image
 

Dolby Sound Processing: Some newer (2008) sound cards offer Dolby processing. For AGWPE use, this feature must be turned off.  Also setting the sound output level below 25 may cause intermittent hanging of PTT.

3. Configuring the Volume Control program for a Second (or more) Sound Card

If you have two or more sound cards installed, you will need to set the playback and record settings for the additional cards (those used by AGWPE). Here's how to do it:

  • Left click twice very quickly on the Volume Control icon Windows Speaker Icon in the System Tray. The Volume Control window should open.
  • Select the Options menu choice, then Properties to bring up the Properties Window.
  • At the top of the Properties window, you'll see a Mixer Device field. Click on the down arrow ▼to the right of the field to call up a list of mixer devices.

  ◄Click on small image to download larger image

  • Click on the second sound card to select it. Then after making sure the Playback button below it is selected, press the OK button. This will return you to the Volume Control playback sliders for the second card (the sound card's name will be in the lower left of the window). Make your settings as you did above in Transmit Audio Settings.
     
  • When your done with the playback settings for the second card, select the Options menu choice again and then Properties to bring up the Properties Window again.
     
  • Once again click on the down arrow ▼to the right of the Mixer Device field to call up a list of mixer devices.
     
  • Click on the second sound card again to select it. This time make sure the Recording button is selected and press the OK button. This will bring you to the Volume Control recording sliders for the second sound card . Make your settings as you did above in Receive Audio Settings.
     

4. Preserving your volume control settings: one option

When most systems reboot, the volume control settings will remain as they were when you shut down. This is more likely if you use the Set and Restore Options in AGWPE's SoundCard Volume Settings screen, see Receive Audio Settings above.  

However in some sound cards/systems, when Windows reboots, your Volume Control settings may automatically be reset to a default that is something other than you want. This happened to me with one sound card. Even though I would chose Line In as my desired 'audio in' recording source, as soon as I rebooted, Microphone became the recording audio source! I'm not sure why this was happening -- perhaps it was the sound card mixer program.

Or your ideal AGWPE settings may be changed by another program that subsequently uses the sound card.

You have two main options if this is happening to you:

1. Each time you run AGWPE after a Windows boot/reboot, re-configure the Volume Control Recording Control properties as above.

2. Use a utility program that, on startup, automatically sets the Volume Control settings the way you want them. I found a freeware utility called Quick Mix

Using QuickMix

1. Install QuickMix by running the QuickMixIn.exe program that you downloaded.

2. Set the Windows Volume Controls the way you want. 

3. Run the QuickMix program and 'save' the Volume Control settings to a AGWPE.QMX file in the directory of your choice. 

4. Then you can run QuickMix (or just click on the .QMX file) to restore your AGWPE settings.

If you want to have this .QMX file automatically load at boot-up, put a shortcut to this .QMX file in your Windows startup folder. For me, that would be:

   C:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp 

In Windows Explorer, go to this directory and, from the Menu bar, select File, then New, then Shortcut, and then Browse to the AGWPE.QMX file you want. (Make sure you set the Browse directory window to show All Files, not Programs.)

5. Now whenever you start Windows, it will automatically read the AGWPE.QMX file, load and run QuickMix, reset the Volume Controls, and then close QuickMix.

Last Updated:
18Aug2015

by Ralph Milnes NM5RM

 

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