13 March 2016

Display developments

As it turned out I didn't fly on Friday as it was foggy and I quite like to be able to see where I am going. So I was able to spend some time working on the layout of the large LCD. There is a temptation to make this overly complex, an affliction not dissimilar to the tendency to put too many physical controls on the panel. I've probably not resisted too well on my first attempt.

First stab at a suitable display layout
Mainstream radios tend to treat the main and sub receivers differently, in part because they often are, in fact dissimilar technically. In the Flex, all receiver "slices" are created equal and so it seemed sensible to have identical screen layouts for each. It also makes the coding simpler. Along the top is a row of status indicators. I haven't yet decided whether these will also be touch buttons but there is no real reason why not.

Next comes the frequency, which I've chosen to display down to Hz, simply because that's what the Flex does. Under that is the mode indicator - again, this could be a touch button to bring up the mode selection menu. RIT and XIT indicators complete the line-up under the frequency. A bar type S meter follows and finally graphics representing the filter width, shift and APF settings. When a function or a VFO is inactive its display will be greyed out. You can see this in action with the VFO-A XIT and VFO-B RIT functions.

That seems like enough VFO stuff on the screen to me and the display, whilst reasonably full does not look too crowded. But I am more or less a 100% CW operator so I can imagine there are some things that need to be there for SSB/Data ops. What have I missed?

Below the VFO panels you can see the Tx power and SWR bar graphs and at the bottom of the screen is a key to the functions of the eight encoders. Each encoder has two states and you can see both of them, with the currently active one in cyan and the inactive one greyed out. This approach means that the encoders, which surround the lower part of the screen in the same layout, can be truly "soft". There is no need to place any function legends on the panel.

There is a surprising amount of code behind that screen layout! To some extent that is because the screen layout itself is soft - each component has its own set of dimension and position parameters in a look-up table that can be modified at will to make the screen layout anything we please.

I shall tweak the software a bit more before I integrate it into the Flex Controller code. It's much easier to play with it as a relatively small stand-alone program. Generally though, I am pleased with the way it's turned out. What do you think?

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