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New Flex 6500 User's Initial Set Up Experience and Minor Problems

Barry Simpson
Barry Simpson Member
edited March 2019 in SmartSDR for Windows

I received my Flex 6500 from our Australian dealer on Wednesday evening, along with the FlexControl. I have a Maestro on back order.

I had done some homework in advance and my intention was to operate the 6500 from a spare but reasonably high spec laptop but use the CAT facility for logging on my main laptop.

The Flex came with a CD with SmartSDR v1.9.7 on it. However, I decided to take the plunge and downloaded the latest Beta version on both laptops. I installed the basic program excluding CAT and DAX on the spare laptop and included CAT on the main laptop installation.

I hooked up the Flex to our incoming cable modem/router which fortunately already has a cable from its downstairs location to my upper floor shack.

I then powered up the Flex and started SmartSDR on the spare laptop.

I was quite surprised as well as gratified to see that the Flex was ready and waiting to be selected as soon as the program opened.

Likewise the CAT facility worked perfectly on my main laptop and I have now installed the Flex as one of the rigs in my Turbolog 4 logging program.

Having got to that stage by late evening, I tuned around 20m SSB and found a CX8 calling CQ. I hastily found and plugged in the microphone and without changing any of the default start up settings, I called him and got 5+9 and had a 30 minute QSO.

The next day I also installed the FlexControl as per the instructions and again experienced no difficulties with it.

My main love is CW and I have a variety of external keyers and bug keys. I deactivated the Iambic keying setting and plugged my keyer into the front panel key socket. It did work but I soon found that the keying tended to become erratic with shortened characters and distorted spacing.

At first I thought it was due to RF problems but it was the same (although slightly different) with four different keyers and transmitting into a dummy load made no difference. However, the built in keyer worked perfectly when I plugged a paddle in.

At that point, I guessed that the issue was probably to do with the solid state switching employed to change between internal and external keying at the key socket. I did some further research in the manuals and found that the rig can also be keyed via pins 4 and 5 of the accessory socket on the rear panel.

I made up a small jumper lead this morning to enable me to connect my external keyers that way and I was very pleased to find that my hunch regarding the front panel key socket was correct. I can say that keying via pins 4 and 5 of the accessory socket works perfectly and there is absolutely no erratic operation. My bug key also keys the rig perfectly as well.

In summary, the installation was an absolute breeze and apart from the quickly overcome keying issue, everything seems to be working fine so far. The next jobs are to connect up my KPA500 amplifier and a foot switch.  Then I will investigate what DDUtil can add to the set up.

However, there is also a lot more to explore and I am sure to be back with some questions.

In case anyone wonders, this is my first computer controlled SDR. All my other rigs are traditional.

Thanks for the bandwidth.

Barry Simpson  VK2BJ


  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Barry, I'm pleased you had a great initial experience. CW should be flawless from any acceptable input port on the radio. Please make sure you're using the latest released software including the latest beta software if you choose to use USB with with your KPA 500. Please let us know what version of software you're running and we may be able to help more. 73, Mack W4AX Alpha Team
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited March 2017
    Barry,  I am happy to hear that your initial "out of the box" experience with the FLEX-6500 has been so positive.  However, I am a little concerned about the issue you had when using an external keyer connected to the TRS jack on the front of the radio.  I think this warrants further investigation, so I have entered your report as issue #4496 in our bug tracker

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