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Beam Forming..will it ever come?

K1UO Larry
K1UO Larry Member ✭✭✭
edited November 2021 in New Ideas

Back in 2016 there were posts here in the Flex Communioty asking for enhanced diversity modes with beamforming. Here we are 5 years later and still no capability in the Flex 6600 and 6700 series radios e/w 2 SCU's to allow utilizing the power of baseband I/Q channels to help reduce noise or enhance signal reception in todays ever increasing noisy environment. Ver 4 firmware possibly :). I mean even the RSPduo SDR receiver has that capability in a less than $300 receiver and supporting software. I am sure Flex could easily provide this feature ,and more, into the very fine 2 SCU radios they designed.

Would be a nice Christmas present Flex! It has certainly been on the Road Map a loooooooong time!


  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Larry, I agree. I have an ANC-4 noise canceller that works well enough when I am operating from home, but I can't use it at all when I am on the road and remotely operating my home shack. At certain times of the day, this makes some bands just unusable.

    Without these features, I have no reason to get a 6600. If they were available, I would trade up immediately, and I suspect others would as well.

  • Ha Gei
    Ha Gei Member ✭✭✭

    Well, if i recall all the promises the guys made at the hamradio fair in 2019 when we asked about features, there would be long list of "yes, this is just about to be released ....."

    In short words, i am pretty sure nothing will ever change on SSDR any more...



  • NZ1T
    NZ1T Member
    My guess would be that the pandemic threw a monkey into the wrench for a lot of FlexRadio's plans. It sure did for other manufacturers, like Elecraft -- who are just now shipping K4 units 2 years late.
  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    What threw a monkey wrench into updates to SmartSDR is/was a nice government contract with Raytheon. That has pretty much diverted all FRS's development resources away from anything that doesn't cause a huge outcry from the majority of users like it did when SmartLink went down. I think Amateur radio software development is far back on the back burner at FRS now. And there has been no real indication from FRS that anything in the way of bug fixes, upgrading basic features, or even adding new features to existing versions of SmartSDR is even being actively developed at this point in time. I wouldn't suggest waiting on FRS to add features or fixes to SmartSDR. Instead, it would be wiser to find solutions that fit your needs on your own. That is what I have had to do to overcome the inadequate Automatic Notch Filter in SmartSDR. I dug out a Timewave 599zx DSP outboard filter just for that feature alone. It is way better than the ANF in SmartSDR.



  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    I am sure Flex is working on SmartSDR updates and bugs being squished, Their BETA testers are working hard to test these updates and to NOT release a update with known bugs I'm sure.

    Trying to build a WINDOWS program with all the different Windows versions and PC Hardware differences that they have to make the program work with is pretty overwhelming.

    Building a version for the MAC with a known hardware list and OS versions would be so much easier then Windows PC.

    Flex learned a long time ago that people will twist and make things sound worse then they are and to NOT LET THE WORD OUT on updates until they are ready.

    I do NOT work for FLEX but I have owned MANY flex radio's going back to 2008 and know they are working on updates so I am not worried at all.

    I think if they weren't going to keep supporting SmartSDR they would follow suit like they did with PowerSDR for the Legacy Radio's and turn it over for further updates like KE9NS has done with his amazing PowerSDR.

    Just my opinion so not worth much

  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    I appreciate your comments. I would like to think that FRS is actively working on improving SmartSDR. But, there has been a noticeable lack of communication on their part in a very long time regarding updates and bug fixes that have existed in SmartSDR ever since it was first introduced.

    For example, when was the last time you received a Flex Insider Newsletter that was directed towards SmartSDR? The last one I received was about the PGXL amplifier and the TGXL auto tuner. And over two years ago, they posted a Survey asking people to list what they would like to see in SmartSDR in the way of big fixes and general improvements in SmartSDR. Many responded. I received an email ( everyone got one ) stating " We hear you" and that they ( FRS ) were going to work on those fixes and improvements. Not another word about it since. I sincerely hope they did more than just hear us. But, without ANY indication that they are working on those concerns by their users, what should we think? As for KE9NS and PowerSDR, he has improved things greatly. And given the architecture of that software, he has access( as does anyone who requests it from FRS) to the entire source code ( minus the Tracking Notch Filter code which FRS made closed source ) of PowerSDR. (In fact, I have a copy of that source code as well.) But, other than being able to create a User Interface of one's own using the Flexlib api, there is nothing anyone can do to improve upon SmartSDR as it is closed source. So, improvements and bug fixes are solely FRS's domain. Being closed source means even if FRS stops developing SmartSDR, it is unlikely they would ever turn over the firmware for the radios and SmartSDR to anyone. If it was open source, then that would be different. Personally, I like how they have the software side setup. No multiple versions of SmartSDR floating around to confuse users. As it is I can create my own version of SmartSDR within the confines of a GUI. Which I enjoy the challenge of doing. But, basic features like an improved Automatic Notch Filter are outside the scope of my limited ability. ( although I have some ideas how to change that )

    Like the little old lady in the hamburger commercial, " where's the beef? Show me the beef! "

    Happy New Year!



  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    I appreciate your comments and opinion. But, comparing PowerSDR source code that was available to anyone that requested it, ( I have a copy as well ) and was an open source program ( other than the Tracking Notch Filter which FRS kept closed source and do not release ) to SmartSDR which is all closed source, ( other than an api that allows one to create their own Graphical User interface ) is an apples to oranges comparison. Darren, and anyone who has the original PowerSDR code can make a lot of improvements to PowerSDR including the basic features like Automatic Notch Filter for example. That is not possible with the limited API access with SmartSDR. No changes to SmartSDR itself or to the firmware in the radio can be changed or improved upon by anyone outside of FRS.

    Several years ago, FRS sent out a Survey asking what improvements and bug fixes would end users like to see in SmartSDR. Everyone received a We hear you! , Flex Insider email. That was over two years ago! Other than fixing the SmartLink and SD card issues earlier this year, there has not been any indication from FRS that they are actively working on improving SmartSDR.

    I still think FRS should communicate better on software issues with SmartSDR instead of keeping people in the dark. As I have said in the past, the hardware and customer service is first class. But, communication about the software that makes or breaks the radio and it's customers confidence, isn't so good. I firmly believe FRS has changed direction and is focusing on their government contracts and is doing very little, if any, work on improving SmartSDR. I hope I am wrong. But, I doubt it.

    Happy New Year!



  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    Sorry about the double post. My isp has been acting up lately....

  • Mike Agnew
    Mike Agnew Member ✭✭

    I, too, have been curious (not yet concerned) about the lack up updates or any communication about them in quite some time. Mostly I miss the "wow, something new!" feeling of something to look forward to. However, I opened a help desk ticket last night which Tim promptly responded to this morning. So, at least somebody still works there!

    Not giving up hope yet!


  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    The Help Desk and tech support at Flex Radio is first class. I have had very good experiences with them. I just wish the firmware/software side of things could receive some much needed attention.



  • TimothyDilks
    TimothyDilks Member ✭✭
    I also would like beam forming/phasing to be enabled via software. I have the NCC-2 but it is a knob box and is not connected like my 6600 is.
  • va7qi
    va7qi Member ✭✭

    I am not sure if the two ADCs in the 6600 are phase synchronous, which is required for beam forming.

    73 de va7qi, ....Erik.

  • Ilan Grosman
    Ilan Grosman Member
    edited April 2022
    Someone mentioned the Pandemic as the reason for no diversity...Sure if the pandemic started in 2016.

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