NBEMS-Local

Step 2.1: Download, install, and configure flmsg

Background

flmsg ("fast light message") is a simple forms-management editor for plain-text messages and for amateur-radio-supported standard message formats. Part of the NBEMS suite, it works in conjunction with the suite's core component, fldigi. flmsg can create and quickly transmit, as plain text, messages formatted as (for example) NIMS ICS-213 messages or ARRL Radiograms. The recipient can then display and print the messages as originally intended by the sender. The application of a checksum informs the recipient whether the file was received with or without error.

Download and install

Cross-platform installation files for flmsg are available from:

Installation files for AndFlmsg, a combination of fldigi and flmsg for portable devices running Android, are available from:

Download the flmsg installation file for your computer operating system and save it on your computer. Run that file to install the application; it will install like any application on your operating system. As you install, though, make a note of exactly where on your system the installation is being placed; this will save you a few minutes later! You will later need to locate the installed executable file, which in Windows is flmsg.exe. Its typical installation location in Windows is C:\Program Files (x86)\flmsg-nnnnn\flmsg.exe, where nnnnn is the version number.

Now launch flmsg as you would any newly-installed application.

Configuration

Configuring flmsg

When run the first time, flmsg will ask the user to choose between "simple" or "expert" interfaces. Choose "expert". (You can always switch later.)

Now, with flmsg open, pull down the Config menu and select any of the choices; no matter which you choose, a dialog box named "flmsg config" opens with tabs corresponding to those choices. None of the tabs contains a Save or OK button; all changes you make on the tabs are automatically saved when you close the dialog box by clicking the X.

In the "flmsg config" dialog box, see these tabs:

Now click the X in the upper right corner of this dialog box to close it.

Near flmsg's bottom left corner, UNcheck the "Comp" checkbox if it is checked. Then close flmsg itself.

Configuring fldigi for flmsg

You will find it very helpful to make configuration changes in fldigi to make fldigi aware of flmsg and to enable fldigi to start flmsg when it is needed.

Launch fldigi and use Configure|Config Dialog to open the Fldigi configuration dialog box. (See NBEMS menus and configuration for help with the "W|X" and "Y~Z" method of describing software menus and configuration.) Open "Misc~NBEMS interface". Press the "Locate flmsg" button and use the "Locate flmsg executable" dialog box to locate the installed flmsg executable file, which in Windows is flmsg.exe. As noted above, its typical installation location in Windows 10 is C:\Program Files (x86)\flmsg-nnnnn\flmsg.exe, where nnnnn is the version number. Once you have located it, select it (by clicking on it) and press the dialog box's Open button.

This procedure allows fldigi to start flmsg, if flmsg is not already running, when fldigi receives a transmission containing a file that should be handled by flmsg. However, this setting uses the specific filepath of the flmsg executable, and the default filepath includes the version number. Therefore, you must return to this configuration step in fldigi and update it each time you update the flmsg application to a new version.

There are now several other choices available here in fldigi's "NBEMS interface" configuration page that control what will happen when such a file is received, such as:

You can experiment as you wish with the controls that affect these activities. I personally prefer to have the file displayed in flmsg and in the browser, but not to have the folder opened, and here is the way I set the controls on the "NBEMS interface" page to accomplish that:

Now press the Save button to save your configuration changes and the Close button to close the Configuration dialog box.

flmsg auto-start

You can always launch flmsg as you launch any other application on your system, but you may wish to have flmsg started automatically every time you launch fldigi. To enable that in fldigi, use Configure|Config Dialog to open the Fldigi configuration dialog box. Open "Misc~NBEMS interface". Locate the text box that contains the location of the flmsg executable and copy that entire "path" (for example, C:\Program Files (x86)\flmsg-nnnnn\flmsg.exe) to your systems clipboard. Now open "Misc~Autostart". Paste the contents of your clipboard into the text box next to the label "Prog 1". In that same row, check the checkbox in the "Enable" column. (If flmsg is running at this point, close it!) Now press the "Test" button on that same row, and flmsg should start. If all is well, press the Save button to save your configuration changes and the Close button to close the Configuration dialog box.

The auto-start specification uses the specific filepath of the flmsg executable, and the filepath includes the version number. Therefore, you must return to this configuration step in fldigi and update it each time you update the flmsg application to a new version.

Other flmsg information

The "FLMSG Users Manual", the full documentation of the program, is available by using "Help|On Line help" within flmsg; it will launch in your Web browser.

Table of Contents

John Rabold KS6M
April 2020