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MARS

Mike McIntosh
Mike McIntosh Member ✭✭
edited April 2020 in New Ideas
MARS net operations require seamless switching from voice to digital.  Members who have the budget for a FlexRadio probably already use hardware modems that need to connect to the radio's accessory port.

Idea/Request:  We need a way to configure the accessory port to bypass filters and equalizers, etc. without the need to duplicate or change slices.  When the mic is keyed the radio should transmit voice normally.  When the accessory PTT is keyed and there is audio from the modem we need a clean unfiltered transmission of the modem audio.  Of course the audio out from the accessory port to the modem must be unfiltered as well.

We really need this to happen on one slice per frequency.  It is common to monitor multiple MARS frequencies at the same time and can't give up slices to support the modem on each frequency.  The accessory port should follow whichever slice is selected for transmission.

If this idea is implemented FlexRadio will become a better option for MARS operators than the single or, at best, dual VFO radios that are predominant now.
3 votes

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Comments

  • David Salomon
    David Salomon Member ✭✭
    edited April 2020
    Mike -

    I use my 6600M for MARS every day,  I have Slice A set for digital (DIGIU), which does bypass all signal processing.  My MARS software modem gets sound from that slice via DAX and transmits via that slice.  Slice B is set up as USB, with normal filtering, etc.  This provides good digital capabilities while having voice on a separate slice.

    There are 2 issues with this setup.  First, when the rig is switched to Slice A for digital, the TX remains on that slice after the digital transmission is complete.  I have to manually switch the TX back to Slice B.  Second, it's using 2 slices for one channel, thereby limiting me to only 2 usable slices for another channel (assuming I do second channel digital on Slice C and voice on Slice D).

    While this is more manual than I'd like, it does work.  I often forget to switch TX back to Slice B after transmit, so I end up transmitting voice on Slice A.  That's also not a big deal as DIGIU works just as well as USB.  The receive audio I listen to is still Slice B.

    I do agree that it would be VERY, VERY nice to be able to use a single slice for voice and digital.

    I would LOVE to have a hardware modem, but they're fairly expensive.  A hardware solution I've found is the external modem from RapidM, but even that is around $3k.  And if you add on options (M141, etc.) it goes up to about $5k.  There's also the Icom F8101, which is 125 watts and has built in M110A.  However, after investing in my 6600M, there aren't enough pennies left over for one of those.

    73 - David, AG4F
  • Mike McIntosh
    Mike McIntosh Member ✭✭
    edited June 2018
    I think you can obtain the external RapidM RM-2 modem from nviscom.com for less than $2000.  The modem for the F8101 is only about $800 from them but won't work with the Flex.
  • John WA7UAR
    John WA7UAR Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Hi David, I am a new /T Army Mars volunteer. I’m trying to come up to speed as quickly as possible. Do you have any written tips you can pass along that you have learned? I’m running a 6700. I’m not currently using any hardware modems — I hope to use Dax for all things digital. Thanks for any insights you can share.
  • John WA7UAR
    John WA7UAR Member ✭✭
    edited April 2020
    And now another update since passing through my /T training... I do strongly recommend the use of both FRStack software AND the Elgato Stream Deck product. I use these integrated products to quickly change frequencies and to switch between USB to DIGU modes. I'm available offline for anyone who wants assistance to integrate.

    FRStack can be found here: http://www.mkcmsoftware.com/Flex/Index
    and
    Elgato Stream Deck here: https://www.elgato.com/en/gaming/stream-deck-xl


  • N3RC
    N3RC Member ✭✭

    I am new AF MARS operator. Can use my TS-2000 for MARS freq but would like to use my 6600 without spending a lot

    of money and sending it back to factory.

    Is there anyway to set band limits up or down 20KHZ which would include many MARS net frequencies?


    73 Roger N3RC AFT9RC

  • John WA7UAR
    John WA7UAR Member ✭✭
    edited August 2020

    Hello Roger, you will need to start by opening a ticket with Flex support. They will need to verify your authentication to operate and then they will send you a TURF file to install — essentially opening up all frequencies.

    But - the 6600 also requires an “Extended Transmit Module” for about $400. See this link: https://shop.flexradio.com/flex-6400-6600-extended-transmit-module/

    The 6700 I have does not need that module. But overall the Flex radios work well (enough) with the MARS MSC Software Suite and MARS-ALE software. And (hopefully) additional MARS capable hardware from Flex is in their pipeline because of their other government contracts.

    Thank you for participating and your service!

  • John WA7UAR
    John WA7UAR Member ✭✭

    @N3RC - just checking to see if you saw my post above?

  • My luck with MARS software and the Flex radio has been bad but I don't know if the problem is the DAX's capabilities or the MS-DMT modem software's limitations. My other three radios have M110B modems and handle MARS digital traffic perfectly.

    My one reason to suspect the Flex component is that I tried MMSSTV using DAX on a 2 meter local net. The pictures I received had small glitches in them that did not show up when I used an Icom 2 meter radio with a signal link interface.

    I certainly hope that the situation improves because the Flex radio's ability to guard 8 frequencies at once is amazing.

  • N3RC
    N3RC Member ✭✭

    Thanks for the comments. Guess will stick with TS-2000.


    73 Roger N3RC

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