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Review of MixW Multimode Software V3.x

Posted by on January 19, 2012

Review MixW Multimode BPSK PSK RTTY SSTV

MixW Multimode Software

MixW is a multimode digital decoding/logging/contesting software package.  MixW was initially released in the year 1998.  It has gone through many revisions, and still continues to be useful today.  Although the updates have been sparse over the past few years, the software may be coming back to life with updates coming from the authors recently.  MixW is designed to be a lot of things to a lot of people, unlike many software packages, it has not become unusable during this process.  MixW has evolved over the years, getting more and more functions, and showing surprisingly few bugs.  Make no mistake, it has bugs, all software has bugs, however for me, they don’t bother me.  Others, (less careful types), have lost logs, and config files.  I have not used other contest loggers as extensively as I have MixW, so I have some bias towards MixW.  Please keep this in mind as you read this.

Some of the functions MixW performs:

  • Logging, with import/export
  • Decoding, Operation, and Display of digital communications
  • Printing of QSL Cards
  • Upload to eQSL
  • Contest Support
  • DDE Communications with other software, able to pass QSO data to other software packages for logging etc.
  • Macro Functions
  • Scripting Language
  • Rig Control
  • The ability to use other programs as a TNC
  • Log Autofill
  • DX Spotting built in
MixW does the basic logging functions, however it does integrate some other functions into that process.  For instance, if you are decoding a digital stream, and a call sign rolls across, MixW will detect this in most cases, and if you double-click the call sign, it adds it to the logbook.  Once logged, MixW allows you to move on to the next QSO.  All in all a very slick process.  Other software packages allow this as well.  MixW generates an ADIF file which is compatible with many software logging packages, one of them is ACLog by N3FJP, ACLog is reviewed here.  You can see a log generated by MixW, imported into ACLog, then worked over by ACLog, adding all of the country data under Log in the tabs at the top of the page, or clicking the word log here.
Decoding,  Operation, and Display:
MixW provides the user with two windows, one for transmit, and one for receive.  The user selects the mode from a pull down menu, and after tuning in the station, using a movable pointer and tuning indicator, decoding starts.  You can in most cases, just get close to the station, hit the AFC button, and MixW will tune in the station for you.
MixW also has an interesting feature, if you select one mode and begin decoding in any window, you can then change modes, and start decoding a different mode at the same time, in a different window.  While this is cool and cute, I have never had any reason to actually use this feature.
MixW will open multiple receive windows as alluded to above, either using the same mode, or a different mode.  This is good in contests, you can be working one station, while decoding another station which is within your passband..  Once you are done with the first station, you can switch to the second station, work him./her, and begin the same process again.  You can walk the passband working all stations in it, then retune and start again.
MixW offers many modes, and the ability to add other modes, assuming there is an appropriate .dll file available.  The authors have built into MixW the ability to add modes, and have shared this information with the programming community.  One thing MixW is missing is Mode ID, it does not auto select modes, it should, and in my opinion it is a major flaw in MixW.  There are many options for each mode, too many to go into here.  Suffice to say, there more than most users will even bother to learn.
The decoding ability is good to very good, depending on mode.  CW is not so good, while MT-63 is great.  Some of this is due to the mode itself, and some of it is due to MixW not decoding correctly, (my opinion), but on the whole MixW does a good enough job for me that I will not even consider moving to a different program.  I am not sure how much of this is reluctance on my part to train up on a different program, so again, my bias may be showing.  In any case, MixW works very well for me in contests, and in normal use.
MixW supports a huge number of contests, see the contest download page at the MixW site for a list. There are some missing, and other programs support some of them, but again, no single program will do everything for me, so this is not unexpected, or bad, just the way things are in the real world.  A typical contest exchange consists of the following steps:
  1. Tune in station
  2. Double Click Callsign
  3. Single click the Contest macro
  4. Move on to next station
  5. Goto Step 1
The above steps will log the station, send an eQSL, send my exchange, copy the received exchange into the log, and save the contact. If I have things set up correctly, MixW will give me a running score!  I then retune, using the mouse selecting the next station in the passband, and start at item 2 again.  Looping this process a few hundred times will get you a pretty nice score in any contest.  This does not really cover just how much MixW can do, you have to use it to see…
DDE Support:
DDE will let MixW talk to other programs, and pass information to them.  This allows say a logging program to get the last contact information from MixW and autopopulate your logbook.  This is a nice feature to have, as you might not like the log MixW provides.  Of course, the other software will need to want to read the DDE data from MixW, so it is not just up to MixW to make this sort of thing happen.
Macro Functions:
MixW supports a number of Macros.  You can have an entire QSO, and never type anything if you really want to.  Most other programs support macros.  MixW will change Macros based on the mode you are on.  This is good for contesting…  I have a set of Macros I use for PSK, they are talkative, take a lot of time to send, and in general very human friendly.  I do RTTY contesting, so my RTTY Macros are not friendly, not long, and as fast as I can make them.  I do not have to remember to switch Macros, when I select RTTY in the mode settings, the RTTY macros are automatically loaded for me, in fact MixW can have a different set of Macros for each mode.  MixW also has a mode where you can have one set of Macros for all modes.  Some of MixW macros are pretty smart, I have one that tells the other station how far they are from me in KM or Miles.
Scripting Language:
If you know enough to ask what the language is, then you should read the manual…  If you don’t know what scripting is, then you should stay out of that part of MixW.
Rig Control:
MixW will control your rig.  I have an Icom 756 PRO III, there is a setup for that rig in the program already, (actually there are a large number of rigs it can control, the Pro III among them), I just selected my rig type, set the com port, and was done.  One item you might want to think about is “Mouse Wheel Control of Frequency”.  You move the mouse wheel and the rig moves up or down in frequency.  You do not have to touch your rig, nor do you have to type in a frequency, or move the mouse to click a little arrow.  If you want to touch your rig, or move the mouse you can, but if you have used mouse wheel control, you will never want anything else again.  MixW has all the standard features for rig control, so it should work with your rig.
Use of external program as TNC:
Never used it, so I can’t comment on it.
  • Once learned, easy as pie to use
  • Does just about every mode
  • It does all functions for contesting in one program
  • Does logging
  • Pleasing display
  • Decodes digital modes pretty well
  • Seems stable
  • Able to use external programs.  There is one that looks up the call information from and automatically, fill in the log for you.  User name, location etc.
  • In the last few weeks there has been a huge increase in the update releases.
  • Exports logs to adif files.
  • Prints QSLs
  • Has external support for additional features, there are a number of widgets you can add to MixW.
  • Has a mode for sending eQSL’s.
  • Contest Support.
  • Very steep learning curve
  • No help file included, help is available at K6IX.
  • Costs $50.00, this seems a lot, but for all of the features I do not mind the cost.  After all, you spend thousands on a rig and computer.
  • Very little development over the past three years.  The program is getting old…  It is beginning to show it.  Of late, (last few weeks), the updates have been coming fast and furious, so perhaps this phase of MixW’s sitting idle is over.
  • Could do better at decoding CW, but alas the days of a good fist are gone now…
  • Only works under Windows.
  • No auto mode select.
  • NO LOTW SUPPORT…  Let me say that again…
  • NO LOTW SUPPORT…  Let me say it a third time…
I like MixW, I like it better than any other program out there today.  I am sure that if I took the time to learn another, I would like that one too, but I have a lot of time in MixW, I have used it for years, and I understand it.  It works for everything I need.  I paid for it many years ago, and I still like it.  I would purchase it again if I had no program.  If you are interested, join the Yahoo group and ask others what they think.  The group is quite outspoken in what they like and dislike, so you will get a very unbiased opinion from them.  You can download MixW trial version from the MixW site.


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