An Experience of FlexRadio’s Remote Access Helping a Corrupted DAX Issue

Having several Windows PCs, and Apple Macs/iPhones/iPads all in use with four FlexRadio Flex-6000’s in various locations, AND participating the Alpha Testing Program with lots of extra test versions of software, I have messed up a few installations with DAX naming corruption issues. Usually I’ve been able to use the FRS published procedures to sort things out.

But then came one PC, a HP fanless i5 used at my Washington Island QTH, that caught the DAX-Blues really hard.

The usual techniques didn’t sort out this mess – and I was at the verge of making it worse!

I’m thinking it was a combination of Windows 10 updates and having several sets of DAX versions on the machine that broke the system down.

If you are wonder what DAX is, DAX is the “Digital Audio eXchange” in the SmartSDR for Windows package that manages connecting various audio resource routing between your PC and the Flex-6000 Radio Server.  While users may not do much with it in basic configurations, it is a critical part of how Radio Server’s audio get to your PC and how your PC audio gets to the Radio Server.  At your PC the RX and TX streams can be routed to speakers and a mike, or they can be routed to software.  There is more to it than this (like the IQ streams, sampling rates and assignments) but that gets the DAX idea across.

So when it DAX is dead in the water you usually have a hard time operating remote, even if that remote is just someplace on your own LAN and doesn’t let you use the audio ports on the Radio Server by direct connection.

So my Island PC’s DAX was very messed up.  DAX creates Windows devices which need to have the correct name for the correct device.  I’m guessing you could names them something else if you found a way to keep track, but most software & users expects the names to follow naming conventions.

I also seemed to have have some other issues I may have caused by trying to fix things, which left configuration files issues.

So I swallowed my pride and requested FlexRadio’s help.  Help Desk Link:  https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/

In my case I brought the PC off the Island to my home QTH where I could set it up running Teamviewer (a remote access program that I was using to be a support recipient with a free license) and as it happened be on hand to run a bit of interference.

I gave FRS the ID and access key (which changes when you restart Teamview if you were wondering) and opened a Help Desk Ticket at FRS Support. Teamviewer link: https://www.teamviewer.com/en-us/

I happened to be in the room when suddenly I noticed the mouse movements of Tim at FlexRadio expertly checking things out and manually debugging my PC!!

There is no point in recounting my PC’s exact details, as per Tim FRS technicians have a portfolio of DAX repair routines that all fall into the expert technician tools only sort of thing.  I have some idea of what Tim did, and I would be jumping in over my head trying the techniques he used.

It isn’t that I couldn’t follow a procedure and make the fixes – If Everything Went Well –  but I lacked tools and skills need to rescue the system if the repair procedure went badly.

Here is an analogy:  Recently I accompanied someone to a Walk-In doctor’s appointment because they said they didn’t feel well enough to drive and needed mostly transport.  When they were there the Doctor said they had a much more serious issue than they suspected and need to go to the Emergency Room immediately.  This person wanted me to drive them to the ER worrying about their cost for the ambulance ride, but the Doctor spoke up saying “While I can’t stop you from transporting my patient and I know you can complete the drive, be clear that I also know you cannot drive and attend to my patient’s serious needs AND you have no backup if their health takes a turn for the worse in route.”  Needless to say they got an ambulance ride.

It is the same with fixing this set of corrupted DAX drivers, even if I knew the way I had no backup or way to fix any problems.

Time did his repairs, did a remote reboot twice along the way, and since I had neither a microphone or speakers hooked up we quickly ran some FT-8 to make sure all was okay.

Now some takeaways I hadn’t expected – watching Tim navigate through DAX many of the features of DAX that I’d forgotten were checked.  Just watching the sequence reminded me that I am greatly underutilizing DAX.  There are a lot more DAX features that I should be using.

Another takeaway is that my tendency to leave things running well alone has become a bias against fine tuning my SmartSDR ecosystem.

Tim hammered out the complicated fix in less time that I have spent typing.  I’ve done remote sessions for various other  major software packages so I recognized the “slick and good” techniques from the start.

I’m really appreciative that FRS makes such an advance level of help available.   I waited a few days to the Teamviewer session as I didn’t want to bump anyone else even if it was an Alpha testing issue, as I have other PCs I could use.

Hats off to the FlexRadio Systems, Tim and to Teamviewer who made the computer remote session a breeze!

Thanks to the professional remote session corrections my Island PC is ready for a ferry ride back to Washington Island!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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