Welcome to the new FlexRadio Community! Please review the new Community Rules and other important new Community information on the Message Board.
If you are having a problem, please refer to the product documentation or check the Help Center for known solutions.
Need technical support from FlexRadio? It's as simple as Creating a HelpDesk ticket.

VHF Contest this weekend -- Share your Flex setup.

Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
edited March 2020 in Contesting
I am an HF contester.  :)  However, the ARRL VHF Sweepstakes is this weekend, so I wanted to share what I am thinking of.

First, after reviewing all the rules, I see I can use just about any mode, (SSB, CW, Digital, FM, etc) which is cool.  

I also learned from the last VHF contest, that they relay on skeds .. alot.  But, if I can see them, I can work them and maybe I can see some skeds in progress.  

I have a 6600 with a 2M Transverter from Q5 Signals.  I also have another all band radio on 432Mhz.  

Let's talk about 6M and 2M:

With the 4 slice 6600, I am setup on the Maestro with 2 slices.  I'm going to use these 2 slices for 6M CW and SSB and 2M CW and SSB.  The waterfall and panadapter give me an amazing view of what is going on at a glance without having to keep spinning the dial.   This is a real plus.

Next, thanks to MultiFlex (part of V3) I have another 2 slices open, again 1 on 6M and another on 2M for Digital modes so I can be on FT8 and/or MSK144.  And, with the panadapter/waterfall that gives to about a 4hz/pixel resolution (I think that's the number -- it is pretty small).

With 1 radio and 1 transverter and with 1 2M antenna and 1 6M antenna I have done with would take 4 radios and 4 antennas.  As well, if I had amplifiers I would have had to double up on those too.  

I'm will be logging with N1MM which sees this as 2 unique radios (like an SO2R setup).  

Next, toss in some WSJTx with Slicemaster, I'll start to see spots on the waterfall too.  Even better situational awareness.  

Here is what the 2 slices on the desktop look like for the Digital work.


Then, on the Maestro, we can do this with 6M on top and 2M on the bottom. 


I look forward to hearing what others might be doing?  

Mike va3mw (FN03) -- for some of you, beam north!


  • N2WQ
    N2WQ Member
    edited January 2020
    Mike, can you elaborate on why you are using MF vs. running all 4 slices as a single user? Why are you splitting the band into analog and digital modes, doubling the number of slices? Understanding your thinking and design goals would be very helpful.
  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
    edited January 2020
    No reason.  I like the knobs on the Maestro for spinning.  I could use a FlexControl Knob as well I guess.  

    I'm splitting since it allows me to dedicate a slice each to digital if that answers your question.

    I'm not even sure this is going to work the way I want it to.  I might have to run 2 copies of N1MM on 2 different computers or maybe 3 since I also want to have my 433 radio ready to log.  As I type this, I think that is the only way this may work, even for a single op.  

    The good news is that thanks to the design, I can do that.  What we are seeing now the radio hardware is exceeding the contest logging software.  

    I might have a different view after the weekend.  This is why I am trying this.
  • N2WQ
    N2WQ Member
    edited January 2020
    Good luck in the contest! Hopefully the airwaves are not frozen up there. Let us know how you end up setting things up.
  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
    edited January 2020
    I had a great time on the contest this weekend.  It is always amazing just how far you can get an RF signal to travel.  Friday night I did a 432Mhz FT8 contact at 591 km'.s or about 370 miles with my 433 100 watt radio and 20 elements 430 beam.  Amazing.

    Like I thought I had to make some changes to my configuration.  N1MM, an amazing contest product, was able to handle the Maestro and 2 slices on the 6600M (I didn't use the M part since the radio was just not close enough).  On the Maestro I did SSB and some CW.  N1MM was running on a laptop by itself.  This is setup in SO2R mode on N1MM.

    Then, on the PC I had another copy of N1MM that shared the Log information with the laptop (it automatically sets this up.  I had SmartSDR running with 2 slices.  I configured N1MM to talk to this 1 radio (not quite the same as the Laptop setup).  Here, I did all my digital operations.  Using SmartSDRCAT it communicated with N1MM on one RS232 port.  

    That left me 1 more RS232 port on N1MM, and here is where I used my 433 dedicated radio.   Like the laptop, this is an SO2R setup.

    I changed bands on the digital operations via N1MM and later, I made 2 unique Global Profiles (2M Primary / 6M secondary and the opposite).  With these 2 copies of WSJT and Slices running, it allowed me to watch 1 band while operating in the other.

    Since this is a low rate contest, I really like how this worked.  

    The big winner is the Panadapters.  I saw QSO's going on that I was able to tailend and work the new grid.  The visuals of the bands is a game changer.  There was a number of 2M QSO's that I would have missed as I listened on 144.200 only to see QSO's at 210 or 220.  

    73 for now, Mike va3mw


  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2020
    Thanks, Mike.

    Did you operate "Remote" from your 6600M?

    Perhaps there is a video in our future showing your contest configuration?  I for one would be interested.

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
    edited January 2020
    No, not this time, but I could have if I was just using the Flex radio.

    I'll see what I can for the video.  Those can take time to view as I have to consider a few other parts in order to lay it out.

  • Dave N2OA
    Dave N2OA Member ✭✭
    edited March 2020
    I'm running a 6600 on 6m and a 220MHz Q5 xverter in SO2R using N1MM. I hadn't thought of using the MultiFlex feature. That might be handy just to separate dedicated FT8 slices and software. I'm already running 2 PC's, I have the other PC for the 9700 and another rig running the 33cm xverter.


Leave a Comment

Rich Text Editor. To edit a paragraph's style, hit tab to get to the paragraph menu. From there you will be able to pick one style. Nothing defaults to paragraph. An inline formatting menu will show up when you select text. Hit tab to get into that menu. Some elements, such as rich link embeds, images, loading indicators, and error messages may get inserted into the editor. You may navigate to these using the arrow keys inside of the editor and delete them with the delete or backspace key.