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Tuner Genius and SmartLink

Congrats on the spec sheet announcement! Looks exciting.

Can you say any more about Tuner Genius in a remote setup? Does TG need local LAN access to a Windows Application for configuration, control or management? Or will it operate remotely over SmartLink?


Also, what are the mechanical airflow requirements? What clear space does TG need and how close can it be stacked to the PGXL?

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Comments

  • LA9AKA Hans Chr.
    LA9AKA Hans Chr. Member ✭✭
    edited September 2020

    I’m curious, where did you find this spec sheet announcement? I haven’t been able to find it

    73

    Hans Christian LA9AKA

  • I received this email yesterday (I am due a free TG). The link for the specs is in the email:

     Tuner Genius XL Status Update

    FlexRadio and SkySat have been hard at work to bring you the long-awaited Tuner Genius XL (TGXL); the ONLY single-radio SO2R tuner solution for amateur radio on the market.

    The Tuner Genius XL is designed to work with all modern transceivers but is engineered to seamlessly integrate with and complement a station equipped with a FLEX-6000 series transceiver and Power Genius XL (PGXL) amplifier. Like the PGXL, the Tuner Genius offers complete over-the-network configuration, control, and monitoring from an intuitive Windows utility.

    There are two versions of the TGXL currently in our beta-test cycle. One version is equipped with an SO2R switch extending our single-radio SO2R feature from the transceiver to the antennas. The second version incorporates a 1x3 matrix-switch, which allows you to select one of three antennas either manually, or by frequency/band.

    The TGXL hardware is now qualified and approved for production, long lead time parts are ordered, and we are moving forward with software integration. The schedule has the software work running in parallel with production tasks and the current completion milestone falls between 90 to 120 days, which aligns with an early 2021 release.

    Mack McCormick, W4AX, one of our beta testers, had this to say about the Tuner Genius XL, "The Tuner Genius XL has allowed me to operate at legal limit on all bands, including 6 meters, using the FLEX-6600 and Power Genius XL combination. This includes the ability to operate seamlessly in SO2R mode. The Tuner Genius XL is a perfect addition to my station and has allowed me to replace two stand-alone tuners. You'll want this tuner for your amateur station."

    Current Power Genius XL owners who are owed a tuner as part of their early purchase agreement will receive a TGXL first. Once those orders are fulfilled, we will move the product to general availability. Pricing is still to be determined.

    While we are preparing for production turn-up, we would like to get our mix as close as possible to demand. Therefore, we are asking you to complete this short survey by October 1st so that we can allocate the correct model to your order. If for some reason you have decided that you no longer want the Tuner Genius XL and prefer to substitute the Antenna Genius as previously offered, you can also indicate that on the survey.

    The Tuner Genius XL preliminary specification sheet; in PDF format, is available for download below.

    https://www.flexradio.com/documentation/tuner-genius-spec-sheet/?mc_cid=dec5213b07&mc_eid=c52e381d83

    Thank you for your continued patience and on-going business.

    73s, 

    FlexRadio

  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭

    Asher,

    I am the FlexRadio program manager for the TGXL and have been testing it extensively while managing the program.

    The TGXL works exactly like the PGXL for remote setup. That is, it will switch to memorized settings via LAN frequency tracking just like the PGXL. Therefore it will operate over SmartLink

    To use the TGXL application remotely it will be just like the PGXL app. You'll need to run TeamViewer (or similar) or access via a VPN.

    The airflow requirements are only a couple of inches on each side of the TGXL. I have mine sitting on top of the PGXL. No issues.

    PLEASE NOTE FOR EVERYONE. I will only answer questions on the Community (this site). Questions sent to my private email will be ignored. Please respect that since private emails would be a huge time sink for me.

    73,

    Mack

    W4AX

  • Dave K5OZ
    Dave K5OZ Member ✭✭

    I think the dimensions on the spec sheet are reversed for Height and Depth; i.e., shouldn’t 11.8” W x 13.8” H x 5.9” D (30cm W x 15cm H x 35cm D) be 11.8” Wide x 13.8” Deep x 5.9” High?

  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭

    Dave,

    thank you. You are correct. So many of us looked at that spec and we all missed it. Good catch!

  • Bill AB7AA
    Bill AB7AA Member ✭✭

    Hi Mack,


    Great to see that we are close to seeing the TGXL and that there are two choices but I have a question before selecting which one I get.

    My question is whether either TGXL version can be automatically programmed to see a different antenna on the same band from the same port. Another way of looking at it is if you switch to different same band antenna on a given port, can the TGXL be automatically programmed to recognize it?


    73,

    Thanks,

    Bill

  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭

    Bill,

    I'm not 100% sure I understand your question. The TGXL antenna port measures the characteristic impedance of the load (antenna), computes a tuning solution, and stores that data for recall at that frequency. The TGXL doesn't know which antenna is connected. Let me give you an example from my shack. On 80M I have a 3/8 wavelength inverted L cut for the CW portion of the band. In the phone portion of the band my antenna switch (not the TGXL) automatically switches to an Inverted V. The TGXL is very happy and provides the correct tuning solution for that frequency.

    Mack

    W4AX

  • This may not be exactly what Bill meant, but here’s an example that comes to mind: I have two 160M antennas: a dipole and an inverted L, both covering the entire band.  Can the tuning solutions for the entire 160M band for each antenna be independently saved and later recalled? This would allow one to change 160M transmit antennas via an external switch, recall the tuning solutions for that antenna, and transmit without the tuner having to “relearn” the tuning solution for the newly selected 160M antenna each time I change between them.

    Howard

  • Bill AB7AA
    Bill AB7AA Member ✭✭

    Thanks Howard. That's exactly what I meant.

    Bill AB7AA

  • Russ Ravella
    Russ Ravella Member ✭✭
    edited September 2020

    Thanks for information on the TGXL - FINALLY !

    My question is, WHY don't the PGXL and TGXL's utilities work with SmartLink ? The PGXL utility provides more information than is available in SSDR, including the ability to configure, and Flex claims the API for SmartLink is so complete and so easy to implement it should be a breeze, right ? The same breeze they claim it is for third party developers ? And since Flex themselves would be doing it, it should be quicker and easier than that.

  • bahillen
    bahillen Member ✭✭

    Mack,

    Is the tuner in the path for the receive signal? I have multi band antennas and monitor several different bands with each antenna. For example I chase on 160 and 80 m with 1 antenna and two slices and at the same time 40 and 30 m on two other slices.

    What is the configuration of the tuner, an L, a T or a PI? Does the tuner affect the transmitted out of band signals like harmonics.

    If tuner gets mounted outside what is required of an enclosure?

    Is it correct to assume that an antenna switch after the TGXL can be used in the SO2R model for different antennas? How did you control the antenna switch in our 80 m cw phone example?

    73 Bill

    W9JJB

  • Mike Aust
    Mike Aust Member ✭✭
    edited September 2020

    Mack W4AX

    Filled our the TGXL Survey for SO2R but now

    changed mind, now think the 1x3 Model

    is a better choice for me

    Can you or someone at FRS update my preference

    Redid the Survey - Hopefully it updates

    for the TGXL 1x3 Model for me

    Mike

    WB6DJI

  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭

    Bill,

    Answers in your message below:

    Is the tuner in the path for the receive signal? <yes> I have multi band antennas and monitor several different bands with each antenna. For example I chase on 160 and 80 m with 1 antenna and two slices and at the same time 40 and 30 m on two other slices.

    What is the configuration of the tuner, an L, a T or a PI? <PI> Does the tuner affect the transmitted out of band signals like harmonics. 

    If tuner gets mounted outside what is required of an enclosure? <These models are not intended to be mounted outside>

    Is it correct to assume that an antenna switch after the TGXL can be used in the SO2R model for different antennas? How did you control the antenna switch in our 80 m cw phone example? <I handle all antenna switching via the USB ports on the rear of the transceiver. <My antenna switch selects the correct antenna based upon the frequency output from the USB port. See the FlexRadio USB Guide.>

    73 Bill

    W9JJB

  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭

    Howard and Bill,

    This may not be exactly what Bill meant, but here’s an example that comes to mind: I have two 160M antennas: a dipole and an inverted L, both covering the entire band. Can the tuning solutions for the entire 160M band for each antenna be independently saved and later recalled? This would allow one to change 160M transmit antennas via an external switch, recall the tuning solutions for that antenna, and transmit without the tuner having to “relearn” the tuning solution for the newly selected 160M antenna each time I change between them.

    Howard

    For your solution I would use the SO2R model and have the settings for 160M antenna 1 on TGXL antenna Port 1 and the settings for 160M Antenna 2 or TGXL antenna Port B. The TGXL has zero idea what antenna is connected to the tuner. It stores the tuning solutions whenever tune is pressed on the TGXL or software app for the impedance characteristics it finds. You cannot store two different tuning solutions for a specific frequency on a single TGXL Antenna port.

    Mack

    W4AX

  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭

    Russ,

    What functionality of a tuner is it that you desire remotely? I have discussed this with the engineering team and there may be better ways to address your comment. For example, the PGXL can be completely controlled and monitored from within SmartSDR, the M model, or the Maestro.

    Mack

    W4AX

    Thanks for information on the TGXL - FINALLY !

    My question is, WHY don't the PGXL and TGXL's utilities work with SmartLink ? The PGXL utility provides more information than is available in SSDR, including the ability to configure, and Flex claims the API for SmartLink is so complete and so easy to implement it should be a breeze, right ? The same breeze they claim it is for third party developers ? And since Flex themselves would be doing it, it should be quicker and easier than that.

  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 2020

    @Dave K5OZ We have revised the DC input power specification after further review and testing to read 12-16 VDC. You should be all set now.

  • Mack
    Mack Member ✭✭✭

    @Mike Aust I have updated your preference with the responsible person.

  • Dewey W0YWW
    Dewey W0YWW Member ✭✭

    Mack,

    Ref listed "Matching Range" prelim. spec item, what upper level of SWR does the definition of "Resonant Antenna" represent, relative to bypassing the tuner automatically?

    How many tuning solution memories does the tuner have?

    Based upon comparison to outer case dimensions, I would guess the TGXL does not have a 7-in display, as advertised in the prelim spec. It appears similar to the PGXL display size (approx. 4-1/2").

    73, Dewey, W0YWW

  • Mack W4AX
    Mack W4AX Company Adviser ✭✭
    @"Dewey W0YWW" You can select bypass ranges for an antenna from the TGXL front panel or within the desktop app. You decide what represents a resonant antenna to you. For me, it’s any SWR below 1.5:1 which is VERY little reflected power loss. The tuner will only automatically enter bypass if you have set a bypass range.

    There are virtually unlimited tuning memories. Each time you press TUNE on the TGXL or Desktop App it stores that solution in memory by frequency. It will interpolate tuning solutions between stored memories. For my purposes I typically store a solution at the low, mid, and high end of each band. You can store more if desired/needed.

    You are correct on the display size. It is 4 1/2 inches and the same size as the PGXL. We’ll correct the data sheet.

    73,

    Mack
    W4AX
  • Rick N4RZ
    Rick N4RZ Member ✭✭

    Using the 1X3 version of the tuner, can the tuner properly handle antennas for the same frequency on each of the three output antenna ports? Also, what controls are available in SmartSDR and the M-Front Panel to control the tuner?

  • Mack W4AX
    Mack W4AX Company Adviser ✭✭
    @"Rick N4RZ" yes, on the 1X3 version of the tuner antenna tuning solutions are stored for each antenna port. Therefore you could have three different antennas, all for the same frequency, on each of three ports.

    Per FlexRadio policy I will not comment on SSDR features but know that we understand integration within the software is needed.

    Mack
    W4AX
  • Hi Mack,

    Thanks for the quick response - very much appreciated !

    If the "engineering team" has told you, "... the PGXL can be completely controlled and monitored from within SmartSDR, the M model, or the Maestro." they have very sorely misled you. It can't.

    The PGXL front display can display several error messages. I was told by Flex before the recent update that the Utility could not display at least most of them. Apparently the new utility can now display whatever the front panel can display though I haven't had enough personal experience yet to verify that. SSDR isn't able to display any of them.

    The utility displays harmonic dump temperature, SSDR does not. The utility displays source voltaage, SSDR does not. The utility displays what state (“AB” or “AAB”) each PGXL path is set to, SSDR does not. The utility allows the user to toggle Meffa on and off, SSDR does not. The utility allows the user to switch fan algorithms, SSDR does not. The utility allows the user to set the Meffa base state, SSDR does not. The utility allows the user to set the fan algorithm base state, SSDR does not. The utility allows the user to set which radio the PGXL is linked with, SSDR does not. The utility allows the user to select which antenna port is associated with which PGXL path, SSDR does not. The utility allows the user to select which signal source controls PTT, SSDR does not.

    I won’t include settings for non-LAN connected radios since I assume users would be unlikely to reconfigure them remotely but they might need to change settings to diagnose problems. If they do, SSDR can't do that. What I WILL mention about them is, they don't use SSDR AT ALL. So without the utiity being remotely connectable, they have zero remote control. Of course, all of this can be circumvented by using apps like TeamViewer at the expense of greatly increased bandwidth consumption but if Flex depends on their customers doing that, why do they even bother with networkability at all ? Especially as a fundemental pillar of all of their products ?

    And again my point is, Flex has made a big BIG deal about how complete and easy to use their SmartLink API is.  If I understand correctly even ICOM and Elecraft's control apps can be operated remotely.  Flex is the company of “Networked Radios” as one senior Flex person recently said in an interview. Why have they chosen to not implement their own technology for this very obvious application ? If they can’t even use it for their own basic product functions like this, how do they expect anybody else to use it ?

    Anyway, I expect there are a LOT of things in the upcoming TGXL folks would like to be able to control remotely that also aren't (and won't be) included in SSDR. Obviously, both apps need to be ported to SmartLink.  Hope that answers your question.  I still have not a clue what the answer is to mine.

    Thanks, Russ KR6W

  • Mack,

    Thanks for the response!

    When you say "a couple inches" clear, does that mean I can mount it on a rack shelf above a PGXL? Standard 19" rack with closed sides but open front and back. Good news if you've updated the power spec down to 12VDC. That's one fewer DCPS to manage.

    I'd strongly vote for a receive bypass mode - I have one antenna covering 20-10M. I tried and rejected an Expert 1K amp because I couldn't switch the tuner out on receive. Kind of undermines the multi band/multi slice feature in my 6K. Even at the bottom of the sunspot cycle I keep an eye on 10M while operating on other bands. Found some really interesting polar sporadic E in June that way.

    When you say the utility works over a VPN, you mean it's routable and not just bridgeable?

    FWIW it's taken a lot of fiddling with software versions to get AG and PGXL to work remotely with two Flex radios. I hope that's one of your test cases for the SO2R version: to have different radios on ANT A vs ANT B.

    I agree with Russ that AG, PGXL and TG should all get native SmartLink support ASAP. And SmartLink should support remote software upgrades. Got caught up in that craziness back in April when Flex deprecated a software release with no EOL support.

  • Mack W4AX
    Mack W4AX Company Adviser ✭✭
    edited September 2020
    @"Asher - K0AU" Yes, the rack shelf will be fine. Air cooling is through the front and out the sides. There is a muffin fan but I've never heard it turn on. Silent operation.

    I'll discuss the bypass mode with the engineers and understand the use case.

    My use case for using VPN is to connect to my LAN and use my laptop while traveling to access the TGXL/PGXL using the applications on my laptop.

    I will make sure we test with two different radios connected to the TGXL. We have extensively tested MultiFlex with two clients connected to the same PGXL/TGXL. Each client is running two bands with four different bands in total.

    SmartLink support for the applications is out of scope for the initial release. I understand the use case. We're doing everything possible to try and get this tuner released ASAP, using the highest engineering standards, with needed functionality. Adding SmartLink support would delay the release significantly because of other higher engineering priorities.

    73,

    Mack
    W4AX
  • Again, thanks for the info. Gentle feedback for the product managers and engineers: front to back airflow is better than front to side or front to top, even if it slightly increases the enclosure width, because it recovers a couple inches of valuable horizontal or vertical keepout space. Front is generally clear to access the panel and rear is generally clear to access the connectors. I've rack mounted a few 1U thermostat-controlled expeller fans to manage side and top venting on other gear.

    Does TG have a max power dissipated spec? Presumably it's local management power + losses in the matching network at max power rating. With multiple radios and amps we're dealing with thousands of watts in a rack. That's a lot of heat to manage.

    Look forward to seeing the product next year!

    Asher K0AU

  • Dewey W0YWW
    Dewey W0YWW Member ✭✭

    Mack, The receive bypass mode being a "straight-through" non-tuned connection path is a must for me. Without it, you've just destroyed the multi-band monitoring capability of the Flex radios. My antenna covers all bands from 10M through 40M and use the Flex-6700 to monitor 8-bands at the same time -- that's what defines primary capability of SDR to me. It also impacts equipment that I currently have on order (8x2 AG), as this will change my choice to a free 8x2 antenna genius switch, instead of a free TGXL, and then have to buy an HF-AUTO or some other tuner. That will make me a very unhappy Flex customer.

    Thanks for prior info!

    Dewey, W0YWW

  • Mack W4AX
    Mack W4AX Company Adviser ✭✭
    @"Dewey W0YWW" I have conferred with the engineers and we will add an option to bypass the TGXL when in receive mode. Thank you for the feedback.
  • Dewey W0YWW
    Dewey W0YWW Member ✭✭

    Thank-you, very much appreciate your help!

    Dewey, W0YWW

  • KF4HR
    KF4HR Member ✭✭

    Mack - just for my clarification. Reference the SO2R version of the TGXL, will it have two thru-put tuned circuits (two at the same time)? Or one tuned and the other bypassed?

    Butch, KF4HR

  • Mack W4AX
    Mack W4AX Company Adviser ✭✭
    @KF4HR Correct. There is one LC tuning unit that switches between ANT 1 and ANT 2 when TX is asserted on that antenna. The other port is in bypass.

    Mack
    W4AX

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