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Mic/headset and PTT options

Hello, all. I am seriously considering the purchase of a 6400 or 6600. The Flex platform is certainly different from what I've used in the past, but I'm slowly wrapping my mind around it.

As I understand it, I have a couple options:
1) Connect mic, paddle, etc. directly to the radio, and operate as usual with all visualizations and control interface provided on my PC running SmartSDR.
2) Use the PC for all operations, handling audio RX and TX over the ethernet connection to the radio. This appears to be the way I would operate remotely as well.

It's option #2 that I'm trying to figure out. RX audio over headphones would be simple enough, but the Audio-Technica desk mic I use for typical PC voice chat doesn't seem like it would cut the mustard, so I would likely spring for a nicer mic that is designed for radio along with a boom of some sort. That's all well and good, but I don't think I'd like using MOX keying and VOX just seems like a bad idea for me. How do Flex operators typically implement PTT on their PC?

Also, what about CW paddles?

Thanks.

Answers

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Rich, For home operation, option 1 is the easiest to implement, has the lowest latency and the least to go wrong. I would highly recommend it.

    When I operate remotely, I generally use a Yamaha CM-500 headset. It plugs into my laptop with a "Y" adapter, and works great. For PTT, I can use VOX or the MOX button in SmartSDR (click it using the mouse). I believe that you can also use the RemoteKeyerInterface (see below) for PTT, but I have not researched that use of it. Sometimes I just use the laptop speakers and mic. Even with this modest setup, I get good audio reports, and as long as there is not too much ambient noise, this works great.

    Remote CW is the tricky part. If you are OK typing in your CW from the keyboard, the CWX function works great and needs no additional hardware or software.

    If you want to use paddles or a straight key remotely, you need additional hardware and software. I use a homebrew gizmo that has a keyer built in that uses Flex API commands to key the rig. If you like to build things, it is the TeensyMaestro and you can get the software, Bill Of Materials, schematic, etc from GitHub. This box also provides a PTT button that works remotely or locally.

    KD0RC/Teensy-Maestro-for-Flex-6000-radios: TeensyMaestro - a Teensy-based set of controls for Flex 6000 series radios. (github.com)

    If you go to the RemoteKeyerInterface ioGroups page, you will find information on building a very simple RS-232 interface for a key. You also need a keyer or a straight key if you go this route. I built one, and it works great. You will likely also need a USB to RS-232 adapter.

    [email protected] | Topics

    There are probably other options, but this is what I have done and it works. My QRZ.com page has pictures and some discussion about how I operate in the field.

    Mike, VA3MW has some great videos on remote operating that you might want to take a look at. I don't do everything he does (I only operate remotely occasionally) but some of his recommendations have really helped my remote operations. Mike runs his station essentially full time remote, so he has engineered a really robust solution.

    I have had my Flex 6400 a little over a year and a half and often operate remotely when I am camping and fishing in the mountains. I have operated other rigs remotely, but it is always a compromise. The Flex is designed from the start to be operated locally or remotely so you really get full functionality either way. While CW presents some challenges, depending on how you prefer to operate, it is very do-able.

    Best of luck on your decision!

  • AA5NM
    AA5NM Getting Started Central Louisiana Member ✭✭
    This is helpful. However, I am trying to find a more straightforward discussion on headsets and FLEX radio. My question could be “WHAT IS THE BEST HEADSET—EARPHONES AND MIC ON THE HEADSET—TO USE WITH THE FLEX 6400 WIRELESSLY?” I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT HEADSETS PEOPLE USE WIRED, TOO. I AM SPOILED ON MY ICOM WITH A HEIL HEADSET PRO 7. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A HEIL HEADSET IN USE ON THE 6400. I’M WAITING TO TAKE DELIVERY ON MY FIRST FLEX.
  • Craig_KØCF
    Craig_KØCF Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2022

    I have the 6500, which has different mic connections than the 6400, however with the proper adapters the 6400 should allow the same connections.

    I use Heil Pro, Pro-7 and the INRAD W1 with my radio. I use a 5-pin mic plug (Yaesu wiring) to the front panel, with a home-built adapter to a 3.5mm mono jack. The 6500 has a standard 1/4 inch headphone jack on the front as well, which the headsets plug directly into.

    My main microphone is an ElectroVoice RE-320 which connects via XLR to the back-panel balanced input.

    All that being said, it is possible to adapt virtually any wired mic (dynamic or condenser) and any wired headset to any Flex Signaure-Series radio with simple to buy or build adapters.

    73, Craig KØCF

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Eastern Utah, USAMember ✭✭✭

    I think the one sold by FLEX https://www.flexradio.com/products/radiosport-headset-cable-minixlr-6p-headset-interface-for-6400-m-6600-m/

    and the Head set are plug and play

    https://www.flexradio.com/products/10th-anniversary-radiosport-rs60cf-headset-with-electret-condenser-mic/

    and the Head set are plug and play

    Otherwise you will need two TRS 1/8" connectors 1 for MIC audio and 1 for Speaker Audio and a male RCA for the PTT

    Look at the top link, it will give you a good Idea of what you need of course with the apocopate jacks to fit your HeadSet.

    So if your head set already has the 1/8" jack for MIC and one for the Speakers this is plug and play, then you just need to add the UHF for PTT.

    For your Pro7 looks like this cable will get you mostly there

    then you just need to worry about the RCA PTT switch

    Good luck

    73's

    Bret

    WX7Y

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Eastern Utah, USAMember ✭✭✭


  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭

    The flex has no internal capability for wireless operation. Someone on here may have found a Bluetooth adapter that will work with the flex. I use an external powered speaker plugged into the speaker jack.

    Using the pc audio function of the flex, a blue tooth headphones and mic with the pc will feed the pc audio into the flex and from the flex to the pc. I tried this initially, but it was not satisfactory to me, so I use option 1 above. Very easy and very reliable.

  • Dan Trainor
    Dan Trainor Member ✭✭
    edited July 2022

    For PC Audio, buy a MOTU M2 USB Audio Interface (or equivalent), you will then have the ability to use any standard XLR mic, Condenser (provides +48v phantom power) or Dynamic Mics, 2 channels. I use SSDR "PC Audio" even when I am in the shack next to radio. No more 1/8" jacks and adapter cables. The A/D preamp gain and conversions of these USB interfaces are of extremely high quality as they are used for recording studios. And best part is any XLR mic can be used. Which opens up a world of choices at any price point. XLR is the pro standard. SweetWater is a good source for MOTO M2 USB Audio Interface or others. BTW, it provides real-time no latency monitoring of your mic audio as well.

  • Dan Trainor
    Dan Trainor Member ✭✭
    edited July 2022

    ...And for hardwired mic connections to 6400/6600 buy a good 1 or 2 channel mic preamp which will give you more control over gain, balance, isolation and montoring. It will expose XLR mic connections for use with any XLR mic of your choice and provide you with more control. Cost is typically only $100-200. You will need an 1/4" to 1/8" adapter cable for 6400.

  • Bill
    Bill Member ✭✭

    I thought there was a ham that makes up connectors for different rigs. I'm using the cm500 and need a y adaptor to put into MY PC. I operate t he 6400 remotely so have been thinking about a sound mixer system as well that would work with any mic. To adjust I put my rig on low power and set MON on and listen to myself on a dummy load. Being able to change the voice profiles and settings real time on thru the internet connection is helpful. A full BASE voice comes thru much better than a squeaky voice. And all ears are different too :-)

    Any links or more info on the 'system' would be helpful. I notice several of the 'youtubers' use a 'cage mic' system. or similar.

    Tx in advance for help and thoughts

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Bill, I have a CM-500 and use a standard Y cable from Amazon to connect it to my PC. The PC side is TRRS and the other two are TRS.

    The Mon function is there to allow you to hear yourself when you wear phones. It is not designed for making TX equalizer adjustments.

    To adjust your TX equalizer, you will want to put your rig in Full Duplex (FDX) mode. Ken Wells, NM9P has some great videos on YouTube that I recommend that you watch. Ken takes you through the process step by step.

    Here is a link to one of them:

    https://youtu.be/LytzQGpE5ZM

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