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FLEX-6400 and SPE Expert 1.3K FA amp ... what's the secret?

I run a remote setup and switch between a TS-480SAT (w/RemoteRig interfaces) and a FLEX-6400 w/SmartLink 2.6.2.

The TS-480SAT has an analog ALC connected to the SPE amp and I never have any issues.

However, when using the FLEX, which doesn't have an analog ALC line, I noticed that I need to set the audio level every time I change bands and power levels. Not enough and I don't get the power, a bit more and the amp trips into bypass. Note that VSWR is excellent.

I set the drive FLEX' to ~20W as a drive level but I cannot get it lower. On some bands that drive level is too high. I compensate by dropping the audio level (PC | Level slider) but I need to adjust it when I change bands and power levels. It works but it's annoying.

So what's the secret to get the FLEX-6400 and the SPE Expert 1.3K FA to work reliably?

I find myself using the TS-480SAT more often now as it works just great with the amp, even with my remote 2682 miles away. Even considering replacing the FLEX with another radio that has an analog ALC line for the amp. I like the FLEX but the constant requirement to tweak the audio is annoying.

I must be missing something as I just can't believe that the FLEX-6400 is so challenging to setup to work with the SPE amp.

Looking forward to reading your experiences running the FLEX and an external amp like the SPE :-)

Comments

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Bruno, the only person I know that is using Flexradio's and an SPE Amplifier is W2RE Ray, of Remote Ham Radio. You might want to write him an email and ask him how he has the equipment set up. Also, you might want to write an email to Expert Linears America. They might be able to help you also.

    Mark KB3Z

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Bruno

    You may want to also post in here the dialogue we had regarding the same topic. Several on the email list did provide you with their findings from real world experience.

    As for RHR, they are pulling out all their SPE amps for a variety of reasons. I will leave it to W2RE to elaborate why.

    Also checked with our Alpha team and each one said it works fine if you follow SPE's directions and to NOT use the ALC, this included several highly respected QRO operators.

    As we discussed with another member, ALC doesn't really protect much other than linearity of the transmitted signal. It can be a false sense of security.

    Others may wish to comment who have an SPE amp.

  • Rick- K2RB
    Rick- K2RB Member ✭✭

    I have been using my SPE1.3 for over three years with no issues at all. I run it remote at times and for me performs as expected. Being a member of the Order of Boiled Owls of New York I partake in many contests and run full power where needed on 110 volts. I have the amp connected to my computer for control and use live transmit to change bands. Pretty seem less operation. Any questions feel free to contact at K2RB @icloud.com. 73's Rick, K2RB

  • RFord
    RFord RFord - W4RJF Member ✭✭

    In the past I have operated the SPE Expert 1.0, 1.3 1st and second versions and the 1.5. I have used the 1.3 and the 1.5 with the Flex 6500 and the 6600. No problem with power out and I never change the audio level. Have you adjusted the power level for low, med and high power. It sounds like you have not set the amp up correctly.

    Page 41 User.Manual.EXPERT.1.3K-FA-EN-rev.2.1.Second.Series

    For every ham band three settings are allowed (storage memories): One setting for MAX mode. One setting for MID mode. One setting for LOW mode.

    The user has to set, for every band of interest, the power limit concerning the input power needed. To do that using the keyboard without transmitting, you must set a parametric value having the format “[PC=****]” (where **** is a numerical value having a range from 000 to 100 which represents the transceiver’s power output expressed in percentage). This value will appear just over the BAND label of the Status Bar. This value is related to the tuned band and to the selected power modes of MAX, MID and LOW. 

    Ronald

  • Mike N9NTC
    Mike N9NTC Member
    Dan Tassell KC5PCB makes custom cable sets for the Flex series. He can be reached at [email protected] or call 832-521-5556
  • RFord
    RFord RFord - W4RJF Member ✭✭

    In the past I have operated the SPE Expert 1.0, 1.3 1st and second versions and the 1.5. I have used the 1.3 and the 1.5 with the Flex 6500 and the 6600. No problem with power out and I never change the audio level. Have you adjusted the power level for low, med and high power. It sounds like you have not set the amp up correctly.

    Page 41 User.Manual.EXPERT.1.3K-FA-EN-rev.2.1.Second.Series

    For every ham band three settings are allowed (storage memories): One setting for MAX mode. One setting for MID mode. One setting for LOW mode.

    The user has to set, for every band of interest, the power limit concerning the input power needed. To do that using the keyboard without transmitting, you must set a parametric value having the format “[PC=****]” (where **** is a numerical value having a range from 000 to 100 which represents the transceiver’s power output expressed in percentage). This value will appear just over the BAND label of the Status Bar. This value is related to the tuned band and to the selected power modes of MAX, MID and LOW. 

    Ronald

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