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Author Topic: Touchstone-Pro for Mac OS  (Read 3346 times)

Bill McKelvey

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Touchstone-Pro for Mac OS
« on: October 23, 2016, 03:25:40 pm »

For those of you witha Mac and an RF Explorer, Touchstone-Pro is now available.
http://shop.nutsaboutnets.com/collections/rf-explorer-handheld-spectrum-analyzers/products/touchstone-pro-macos
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Patrick Riley

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Re: Touchstone-Pro for Mac OS
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2016, 02:45:52 pm »

For those of you witha Mac and an RF Explorer, Touchstone-Pro is now available.
http://shop.nutsaboutnets.com/collections/rf-explorer-handheld-spectrum-analyzers/products/touchstone-pro-macos

If anyone is using this software, how well does it work for you? Can it export scan data in csv format into ias? I'm on a pc, obviously.
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Diogo Nunes Pereira

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Re: Touchstone-Pro for Mac OS
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2016, 05:39:41 pm »

If anyone is using this software, how well does it work for you? Can it export scan data in csv format into ias? I'm on a pc, obviously.

Hi. I've been using Touchstone-Pro por Windows for some months now. It can export traces from RFExplorer (and RTL-SDR dongles) with WWB6 and IAS compatible format. I only use WWB, they import fine. You shouldn't have problems with IAS, I assume.

The ability to select step size (RBW) is neat, but requires some playing with it: low resolutions (large RBW) are obviosly poor in detail, but small steps (small RBW values) give way to many spikes that make it hard to differentiate a TV Channel from the noise floor sometimes. Here's some screenshots of the TV Band in Barcelona (470-790) with different RBW values in Touchstone-Pro.


1MHz step size


250kHz step size


25kHz step size; Took about 50 seconds to finish the sweep with this span and resolution.

The RF Explorer for Windows client software handles this way better, since it can average the traces, but it's a pain to export a dozen files with a 28MHz span, concatenate them, replace the commas and what-not to make it compatible with WWB. Still, I've been doing it for a couple of years now.

I hope Nuts About Nets implement averaging of traces in Touchstone soon. As of now, all you can export is Current or Maximum traces (the red one).


Traces from Touchstone(blue) and RFE Client(yellow) compared -notice the averaging; same step size: 250kHz. Green trace Touchstone step size: 25kHz.

RTL-SDR scans are not allowed to change RBW, but the resolution is good enough and it even has better differentiation than the Explorer in may occasion.s

A very annoying feature (or bug) is that in the Scan Settings number boxes you can't use the keyboard to enter (or delete) data; have to open a screen keyboard to type frequencies. Very annoying.

In the Control section on the right there's a dropdown box with some presets; I haven't found a way to add to those presets in the software. There's a XML file you can edit, but that's not exactly user friendly.

If your RF Explorer has two modules (mine is a 3G combo) you have to choose the module you want to use in the unit before opening Touchstone; There's no way to change it in the software.

I've tried contacting Nuts About Nets by email a couple of times with questions regarding features (like the above described) and did not get an answer on both occasions, so I can't say I'm happy with their support.

Just my two cents. Cheers,

Diogo


EDIT: PS. Here's a link to the dropbox folder with the actual csv files and other screenshots.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nmhltzto5my59pp/AADlZ9dtR3FpGrGPy_Rgs4Rxa?dl=0



« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 05:51:14 pm by Diogo Nunes Pereira »
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Diogo Nunes Pereira
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alidav

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Re: Touchstone-Pro for Mac OS
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2019, 01:35:45 pm »

Hi. I've been using Touchstone-Pro por Windows for some months now. It can export traces from RFExplorer (and RTL-SDR dongles) with WWB6 and IAS compatible format. I only use WWB, they import fine. You shouldn't have problems with IAS, I assume.

The ability to select step size (RBW) is neat, but requires some playing with it: low resolutions (large RBW) are obviosly poor in detail, but small steps (small RBW values) give way to many spikes that make it hard to differentiate a TV Channel from the noise floor sometimes. Here's some screenshots of the TV Band in Barcelona (470-790) with different RBW values in Touchstone-Pro.


1MHz step size


250kHz step size


25kHz step size; Took about 50 seconds to finish the sweep with this span and resolution.

The RF Explorer for Windows client software handles this way better, since it can average the traces, but it's a pain to export a dozen files with a 28MHz span, concatenate them, replace the commas and what-not to make it compatible with WWB. Still, I've been doing it for a couple of years now.

I hope Nuts About Nets implement averaging of traces in Touchstone soon. As of now, all you can export is Current or Maximum traces (the red one).


Traces from Touchstone(blue) and RFE Client(yellow) compared -notice the averaging; same step size: 250kHz. Green trace Touchstone step size: 25kHz.

RTL-SDR scans are not allowed to change RBW, but the resolution is good enough and it even has better differentiation than the Explorer in may occasion.s

A very annoying feature (or bug) is that in the Scan Settings number boxes you can't use the keyboard to enter (or delete) data; have to open a screen keyboard to type frequencies. Very annoying.

In the Control section on the right there's a dropdown box with some presets; I haven't found a way to add to those presets in the software. There's a XML file you can edit, but that's not exactly user friendly.

If your RF Explorer has two modules (mine is a 3G combo) you have to choose the module you want to use in the unit before opening Touchstone; There's no way to change it in the software.

I've tried contacting Nuts About Nets by email a couple of times with questions regarding features (like the above described) and did not get an answer on both occasions, so I can't say I'm happy with their support.

Just my two cents. Cheers,

Diogo


EDIT: PS. Here's a link to the dropbox folder with the actual csv files and other screenshots.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nmhltzto5my59pp/AADlZ9dtR3FpGrGPy_Rgs4Rxa?dl=0

Does touchstone pro works with an sdr dongle? and what freq range can be visualized?
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Mac Kerr

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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2019, 01:57:19 pm »

Does touchstone pro works with an sdr dongle? and what freq range can be visualized?

Please go to your profile and change the name field to comply with the posting rules.
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Gian Luca Cavalliini

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Re: Touchstone-Pro for Mac OS
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2019, 03:57:53 pm »


In the Control section on the right there's a dropdown box with some presets; I haven't found a way to add to those presets in the software. There's a XML file you can edit, but that's not exactly user friendly.


Hi Diogo,
simply save profile with scan ranges (and zooming!) and load when you need.


My bug report:
1) Waterfall is a little orizontaly off axis in respect to Spectrum Trace
2) Sometimes it happened to me to have wrong scans. About 3/4 MHz out! It happens just three/four times in hundreds of scans... but pay attention to it! I usualy look at the 8MHz of the DVB-T channels (Europe standard) as a confirm scans is ok. If there is reasonable doubts, close software and reboot (changing borders doesn't help)

My standard scans for Italy:
1) 80 Mhz span (10 TV channels), 60 pass, Peak export. It helps a lot to identify "moving" dangerous source as out of band walkyes (Pay special attention to Motorola DP 3400, or some Baofeng, not legaly but frequently used in show places, they can work well over 470 range!!!)
2) Zooming to -70dBm (just visualization, no influence on csv)
3) RBW 100 kHz, sometimes 50 kHz. Please consider lower value RBW are more precise, but scan is obiously slower and LOWER LEVEL (consider when applying threshold for frequency coordination).

My Wish list:
1) As you said, a better value input!
2) Spectrum trace bottom level change (it is fixed at -115dBm)
3) Peak in delta view
4) Better use of reference trace
5) RBW save with profile files
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Short coffee, SHORT coffee, more SHORT coffee... yes, I'm from Italy!

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Re: Touchstone-Pro for Mac OS
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2019, 03:57:53 pm »


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