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How to setup to tune exterior tuner with 6400

w9kjo
w9kjo Member ✭✭
I am very new to flex radio. Picked up a 6400 at an SK auction. I have it receiving with some problems.

With my Yaesu Ft-450D I set it up so the radio would receive a Ground from the LDG tuner and the radio would in turn send a low wattage tune to tune the tuner.

Is this possible with the Flex 6400. Instructions would be very helpful.

Also, When I press the TUNE button I thought, from another thread on this forum, that the Flex should send a tone to tune my LDG tuner. While the Flex appears to go into transmit it does not send a tone. I believe this to be a simple setting but I have not found it yet and have had not luck finding it in the PDF manual.

Help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and 73
Walter W9KJO

Answers

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

    2 things

    First, look in TX Band Settings and see what your Tune power is set to. For your LDG tuner, 10 watts is fine. Also, make sure that the LDG is set to automatically tune.

    If you need to ground a pin in the tuner, you can make use of the USB device port on the back of the radio to achieve that.


  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    [{"insert":"Thank you for your information however this does not answer my question.\n\nMy LDG tuner can send a Grounded output to request a tuning carrier from a rig. I use this with my FT-450D.\nWhen I request to tune my Tuner whether I press the button or its auto tune the tuner sends the ground output to request a carrier for tuning operations. \nIs there a place on the the Flex 6400 to input this ground and get a tuning level output from the rig?\nThis makes tuning simple and effective.\n73 W9KJO\n"}]
  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    "Thank you for your information however this does not answer my question.

    My LDG tuner can send a Grounded output to request a tuning carrier from a rig. I use this with my FT-450D.

    When I request to tune my Tuner whether I press the button or its auto tune the tuner sends the ground output to request a carrier for tuning operations.

    Is there a place on the the Flex 6400 to input this ground and get a tuning level output from the rig?

    This makes tuning simple and effective.

    73 W9KJO
  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    There is no tuner PTT input on the Flex 6000 radios.

    With the Flex API, it would be reasonably easy to use an Arduino or Teensy board to translate the tuner signal into a tune command that the Flex could use.

    If you like, I could code that up for you. A Teensy 4.1 has built-in ethernet and is under $35 USD. If the tuner has more than 3.3 V on the tune output line, an opto-isolator, a transistor or a relay would be required to keep the voltage from the tuner out of the Teensy board.

    So if you have the ability to solder up a small circuit, this would be an easy solution.

  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    Hello Len KD0RC

    The external board might be an option, I will keep that in mind thanks for the idea

    73 W9KJO
  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    Concerning this question,

    My TS-2000 has such an input, I use it daily.
    My FT-450D has the same type of input and before I switched this Amp, Tuner and Antenna to this Flex 6400 I used this daily as well.

    This is old technology and as advanced as the Flex 6400 is It seems to me that some solution should be present in the radio. I would much rather have absolute control of the tunning process in my setup rather than just rely on the Auto Tune feature in the the Tuner.

    So I would like to continue to pursue this question and hope for a solution.

    I am searching through the Manuals but honestly the manuals are not all that specific. I think they assume users are experienced with flex radios.

    I was trying to setup for digital modes with this flex and it seems pretty complicated. there are three or fours programs to set up to accomplish digital modes. I 'll get it eventually but it is not as simple as a signal link. LOL

    any help with the tuner question will be appreciated.

    73, Walter, W9KJO
  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭

    Can you explain why this is a high priority and the tune button on SmartSDR is not OK?

  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    Hello John,

    Perhaps High Priority is not the right term. This is important to me because it deals with my preferred method of operation. It may not seem important to you and that is fine. When it comes to my preferred method of operation it really does not matter if it seems important to you or anyone else.

    Perhaps I am posting in the wrong place. I need to figure out how to get in touch with actual Flex tech support. Anyone know how to actually contact Flex? I very new to all things flex.

    Thanks for your comment

    73, Walter, W9KJO
  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Walter, there is no physical connection on a Flex 6000 series radio to trigger a tune operation.

    To contact Flex directly, I would send a message to [email protected]

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

    Hi Walter

    You can email us at [email protected] (I will be the one responding), but your discussion here is ok as well. Once of my duties is related to bringing forward ideas to our engineering team. So, you are in the correct place to post your questions and feature requests.

    For your digital mode operation, you may want to consider using SliceMaster to manage them in case you were not aware of them. SliceMaster configures and launches multiple third party applications automatically

    • CW Skimmer, GRITTY, DM780, WSJT-X, flDigi, JTDX, JS8Call

    All digital programs in today's ham radio world require 4 things. RX Audio, TX Audio, PTT and optionally CAT control. In the Flex world, we streamline via the SmartSDR CAT control and SmartSDR DAX control.

    We try to explain how this works in this video. This is a change from old-school ham radio which is very single-threaded / peer-to-peer connection.

    The FlexRadio design is more versatile that allows you to do different things with the same radio on different computers. You could easily run your logging program on 1 computer while running WSJTx on another computer.


    If I read your first message, it is possible to have an external device to put the radio into TX, but not Tune TX as you have noticed. This is why you were not able to find anything in the manuals as that feature does not exist today.

    It is possible to build an external interface that would send the command to the radio via a TCP/IP command, but I suspect that is more than you wish to invest in at this time. This is the part that Len describes. Maybe this is something that LDG might consider building.

    I would recommend that you present this idea in the "New Ideas" area which would allow other hams to review your request and then upvote it if it is important to them. Engineering then can review customers 'asks' and decide if they are important enough to include at some point.

    Unfortunately, I can't 'move' this thread to new ideas, so I have to ask you to post there in that area. It is good for customer input and feedback on your idea.

    73 for now

  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭

    Walter, if I came across as wanting justification or criticism for your technique, I apologize. I was hoping to learn a new technique that might improve my operation.

  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    Thanks Mike

    I did not realize you were with Flex.

    So good enough.

    73 W9KJO
  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    The tune ground from external tuner to radio can be accomplished with third party hardware and software. For example, a Raspberry Pi and Node Red or Lynn’s CTR2 Mini.

    Otherwise hit tune on tuner then tune on radio.

  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    I have a couple Pi 3's and 4's here. Where would one find the information to build such an interface?
  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator


    I believe Alan, WA9WUD may have already built a Node Red flow to do something similar to what you want. Post exactly what you are looking to do in the group and someone should be able to assist.

    The biggest issue you will run into is knowing how long to key the radio in tune mode and send the ground to the external tuner. The Yaesu monitors the SWR and controls how long to stay in tune mode. The tuner does not communicate back to the Yaesu to indicate a pass/fail as far as I know.

    You'll need to play with timing to figure out the amount of time to complete a tune cycle. If you are trying to tune on a frequency where it takes longer and your timing is too short then it will have a high SWR. Conversely if you have timing too long and it only take s a second then you are waiting longer than necessary.

    Oh, and you would want to get a relay "hat" board for the Pi to provide a relay closure while the Flex is in TUNE mode. BUT *****BE CAREFUL*, if you have the Flex TUNE function ALWAYS send a closure (ground) to the tuner then pressing TUNE on the FLEX will ALWAYS initiate a tune of the external tuner.

    To me it is easier to make it a wo step process vs one step with Yaesu. Press TUNE on external tuner and then press TUNE on Flex. Press TUNE on Flex when done.

    The Node Red or Pi solutions are a one way control based on time keyed in TUNE mode. They are not going to automatically release TUNE once good SWR is achieved. So you will still need to press TUNE to finish. There may be more complicated programming to monitor SWR and then exit TUNE.

    Dave wo2x

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    I think the signalling goes the other way Dave. The tuner provides the request to tune. So the operator presses the tune button on the tuner, the tuner then grounds a jack with the intent that it start the tune signal from the radio.

    Do I have it right Walter?

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭✭

    Walter

    You do not say which LDG tuner you have. I once used an LDG tuner with my Flex.

    The LDG would use RF sensing to start a new tune sequence, so I would use the "Tune" button on the Flex Smart SDR and watch the SWR go up and down until the tuner found a tuning solution, with the SWR at its lowest value.

    The LDG "saved" the tune solution, so whenever you go back to that same frequency window, the tuner is ready; no tuning was necessary.

    You can push the Smart SDR tune button to "test" that the tuner is prepared, or if it is not, such as in the case when you are in a new frequency window, the LDG will sense the new RF frequency and find a tuning solution for the new frequency window.

    You can force the LDG tuner to find a new tuning solution if you push the "Tune" button on the LDG controller. I found all this did was remove the DC power to the tuner. So, if you want a remote control to force the Tuner to find a new solution, add a relay in line with the Tuner's DC power.

    Alan. WA9WUD

  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    Len, yes, I see his original post states the tuner sends a ground. In that case, use it as an input to GPIO on Pi to send the Tune TX command, then when low on GPIO is removed unkey radio.

    The Arduino with Flex API library or a Raspberry Pi with Node Red should work. Most likely need pull-up resistors on the GPIO input.

    Dave wo2x

  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    Dave,

    KD0RC is correct the LDG 1000Pro sends the tune request to the radio so the radio key in tune mode for however long the tuner needs, whether a short tune or a long full tune. The tuner requests what it needs.

    KD0RC seems to have an idea how to do this with the devices he mentioned.

    I wonder how much programming one of those would require and how it actually interfaces with the Flex 6400?

    Thanks everyone 73, Walter, W9KJO
  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    HI Walter, The interface to the 6000 series radios is the Flex API which uses TCP/IP over ethernet. The Flex API has all radio functions available (it is what SmartSDR uses). CAT has a few commands using a serial port (USB or RS-232), but it only supports the commands commonly needed by logging and digital-mode programs. It is not applicable to your needs.

    Most of my experience is with the Teensy board from PJRC.com using the Arduino IDE, but I have fooled around a bit with a Raspberry Pi using C#. Flex has a great C# framework in their FlexLib, but it is designed to be used in a dotNet environment, so it does not work on the Pi. The native, text-based API does work with the Pi, but since there is no library framework available, it is tedious to code up anything but a simple function (your needs probably fit this description).

    Dave and Alan have done a lot of development with Node Red and have matured the Flex library significantly over the last couple of years. This could be a good place to start if you elect to go with a Pi. If you go this route, you could expand your Pi to do the tune thing as well as the cool dashboards that these guys have built and freely share.

    The Teensy board is significantly smaller than the Raspberry Pi and is around $35 USD including the Ethernet adapter. For a dedicated function, this is a good choice. It is typically programmed using the Arduino IDE with the Teensyduino add-in. Makes it act like an Arduino, but much much faster.

    On the other hand, already having a Pi makes that a good candidate for experimentation. If you don't mind tying it up as a permanent station accessory, it could be a good choice.

    I hope that long-winded explanation helps you to decide what to do.

  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    Len has presented both solutions very well.

    From a Node Red perspective, you would have the ground and tune line from the tuner to the GPIO pins on the Pi.

    We have a Flex Radio flow already developed (which has other functions already written) that connects to the radio and binds to the Flex client (SmartSDR for Windows, MAC, or IOS, Maestro, or M series front panel. It would just need the GPIO input added and a function node that based on state of GPIO will send API command to the Flex to set the radio to Tune TX or unkey radio. Seems pretty simple to modify the Flex Radio flow I modified.

    As I previously stated, the GPIO needs a pull up resistor to keep the pin from floating. The Node Red GPIO input node can set the pin to use an internal pull up resistor on the board.

    Walter, feel free to email me directly and I can get you set up with resources for Node Red on the Pi as well as a modified Flex Radio flow. The Node Red for Ham Radio group has a WiKi for setting up the Pi OS and installing Node Red.

    If you rather have a dedicated hardware solution just for keying the radio, then Len’s solution will work also.

    Sorry I got sidetracked thinking the tuner needed a signal in from radio.

    73

    Dave wo2x

  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    Len KD0RC

    I went to look up a Teensy and realized that I have something put out by LDG that looks like one of these boards. It is meant to connect the LDG tuner to a PC via a USB port. I took a picture of it but cannot find a way to post a picture on this forum. LDG has an interface app for the pc that will control the tuner from a PC. I opted to use an web connected relay board so I could tune my tuner when operating remote as well as turn my amps on and off remotely.

    Perhaps this little usb board could somehow be programmed to activate the tuner from SmartSDR.

    I have no experience programming these types of devices and would need help in that regard, but there may already be a usable device for this purpose.

    I have sent an email to LDG to make an inquiry regarding this device and Flex Radio.

    Maybe there is someway to post a picture and the LDG document for consideration.

    73 Walter W9KJO
  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Walter, you should now be able to post a picture. Reply to this, and you should see the little tool icons at the bottom of the reply window.

  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    I do not see a tools icon. All I have is the Leave a comment window. I dont see a reply selection
  • Geoff AB6BT
    Geoff AB6BT Member ✭✭✭

    This is what I see:


  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Does the box that you typed your comment in have 4 little icons at the bottom, including a paperclip? If not, then the system won't let you post pics until you pass some threshold of activity. Sorry, I don't know what that level is.

  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭
    > @KD0RC said:
    > Does the box that you typed your comment in have 4 little icons at the bottom, including a paperclip? If not, then the system won't let you post pics until you pass some threshold of activity. Sorry, I don't know what that level is.

    No I have no dots or icons.
  • w9kjo
    w9kjo Member ✭✭

    This is the USB device that connects to my LDG tunner. Would this be able to be programmed to send a tune command to Power SDR?

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