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Sound card vs data slicer

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William

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OK...

I've been trying to keep up with all the infomation on the "FYI - Another trunker/etrunker Windows port" thread about Etrunker being ported to windows. But with over 100 responses I can't keep up with all the changes and new information.

So here's what I'm trying to figure out.

I had been using an OLD windows 98 laptop to try to get ETrunker w/ESK running. I had gotten the program running but with only about an 18 percent decod rate. Based on responses to one of my previous posts, I have gotten hold of a faster laptop compter. Its a Sony Viao running Windows XP Home Edition (ver. 5.1 Service Pack 2).

With just a little bit of time invested, I have not been able to get any decode rate or to get ESK to even recognize the San Antonio system -- which I was able to do on the older slower machine.

So I guess I should get to my point...

Should I keep working with the older version of the program or convert to the windows version that runs through the sound card? Where is the latest version of the windows version of the program? There seemed to be so many changes on the other thread I couldn't keep up with where the latest version was being hosted.

Finally, if I do need to move to the new version...how do I do the sound card? Is it simply using the headphone jack out of the scanner to the audio input on the laptop or do I still need to use my data slicer?

Any help would be greatly appreciated on this. Although I am still new to Etrunker I have tried not to clog the board with a lot of REALLY dumb questions. Heck, I've even read the official documentation for trunker v3.8.3. :)

Thanks,

William
 

jellotor

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Your bad decode rate could be a symptom of a number of problems. First of all, to run the various trunker programs your control channel scanner needs to have better than average reception of the control channel you're trying to decode. Perhaps try a better antenna to see if you can improve your reception.

Second, if you're not using a discriminator tap on your scanner, you'll need to get that signal to either the slicer circuit or the soundcard. Using the headphone out *may* work but the trunker gurus will tell you that you'll get better results using the baseband audio.

Third, if using a soundcard, check your audio input for over/under modulation. An over- or under-driven input can cause decode problems as well.

Good luck.
 

crayon

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William said:
Heck, I've even read the official documentation for trunker v3.8.3. :)
Good for you! :)

To rehash jellotor .. you will need a discriminator tap radio. It is a complete waste of your time to fool around with anything else. Next, it is *highly* encouraged, although not needed in all senerios, to buffer your discriminator/baseband (different words, same thing) audio.

Click on search and type in "discriminator buffer", click on the second thread to learn more about it. If you do not want to feed baseband audio to a sound card, you will need a data slicer. These are not hard to build, and they do work.

HTH's
 

JohnnyGalaga

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For Windows XP I would use the Windows version of trunker/etrunk because you won't need a data slicer and you don't have to spend time trying to get the serial port to work.

When I had WinME I could run old trunker in Windows, but when I upgraded to XP it stopped working. Then I tried Windows trunker and it worked great again.
 

William

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I do have a radio with a discriminator tap.

Since I'm not really set up to do small welding and such, I had the discriminator tap on my BC780 done and the data slicer built at dataslicers.com. So I would hope all the physical equipment should be built properly. I wanted to introduce as few variables as possible.

I'm still a little confused on the two versions of Etrunker, though.

Am I correct to say that there is one version that runs under windows and uses the microphone in jack on your computer to receive data from your radio. And then there is the older version that runs in DOS and uses the serial port on your computer receive data from your radio?

If I am correct about this, should I just go ahead and start using the newer version and save myself the confusion of dealing with DOS?

Finally, does the newer version of Etrunker have ESK enabled already?

William
 

jellotor

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I'm not a regular user of ETrunk but from what I recall there was an ESK and non-ESK variant of ETrunk in Eric Cottrell's Windows Trunker distribution.

Since you have a newer machine why not try and run the newer Trunker programs? As JohnnyGalaga pointed out, even though you have that slicer circuit, newer soundcard versions of the Trunker software is much easier to use and set up. Older DOS software may have some issues with newer hardware.

Have you made any headway with increasing your decode rate? Just for a bit of comparison for your information, I've run Mtrunker32 and the new Windows Trunker on a variety of machines from 900 MHz laptops down to my two current dedicated Trunker computers, a K6 200 MHz and a K6 266 MHz, both with 128 MB RAM and running XP Pro SP2. My experience has been that the decode rate has been affected less by the processor speed (same decode rate for a given system on the same scanner at the same location on my 900 MHz Toshiba laptop) than by antenna and reception problems on the scanner side, poorly shielded cable and hurriedly-soldered cables (my fault) between the discriminator tap and the sound card.
 

William

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jellotor,

Thanks for the continued help...

No, I'm still not having any luck getting a decode rate. As a matter of fact I'm still not getting ANY decode rate whereas I was at least getting a low decode rate and some decoding of the radio system on the older computer I was using.

I think I have everything setup properly.

I know my trackslicerpin = dsr and my trackslicermode = invert.

Also, I believe I'm getting a solid signal for the system I'm trying to decode. Since I'm not getting any decoding, I'm thinking signal strength probably isn't my problem.

Can you point me to Eric Cottrell's windows version of Etrunker w/ESK?

Finally, at least for this message :) , I don't understand how to get from the scanner to the laptop when I start using the windows version. In the DOS version I use the discriminator tap, a data slicer, and the PC's serial port. What pieces will I need to do this in the windows version?

Thanks again for all your help.

William
 

crayon

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Where did you get the cable that connects from the radio to the sound card? Radio Shack sells several of these and if you are not careful you can get a cable that is attenuating. Yup, thats right ... attenuating. :)

Have you tried sending a message to EC himself? Have you tried to get just Trunker working on a moto system?
 

William

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Crayon,

I don't have a cable yet to go from the radio to the sound card since I haave been focusing on the DOS version.

Would a sound card cable for the windows version simply be a cable that goes from the discrimintor tap connector (which on my scanner is a 3/32" jack) to the audio-in connector on my laptop?

William
 

EricCottrell

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William said:
Crayon,

I don't have a cable yet to go from the radio to the sound card since I haave been focusing on the DOS version.

Would a sound card cable for the windows version simply be a cable that goes from the discrimintor tap connector (which on my scanner is a 3/32" jack) to the audio-in connector on my laptop?

William
Hello,

Basically yes. You would likely need a buffer amplifier as the audio in on the laptop may load down the discriminator output. I got some ideas for a buffer circuit but I need to breadboard and test.

The sound card is the future as it is getting more difficult to get a data slicer working on newer computers. The A3 version of ewtrunk will automatically detect ESK.

I have been on vacation for the last two weeks and my internet at home is down. So my response time to messages has been and will be slow. I need to figure out how to get the a3 version posted here as my email send is almost dead. The a3 version is over at the trunker group on yahoo groups. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trunker/

73 Eric
 

William

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Eric,

Thanks for your reply.

I'll keep monitoring (no pun intended) the boards as I continue to try to get all this working.

William
 

DaveNF2G

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William said:
I know my trackslicerpin = dsr and my trackslicermode = invert.
Without the spaces, I presume. TRACKENV.TXT values should have no spaces, thus

TRACKSLICERPIN=DSR
TRACKSLICERMODE=INVERT
 

William

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David,

Yes, that is how it should be. I was not trying to type the exact coding, just letting everyone know what my settings were.

William
 
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