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Operational Gripe from a VHF+ Rover

The June VHF contest was last weekend and I ran my usual setup on the lower six bands: a Flexradio 6500 and Q5 Signal 5BVUX. You'd think this combo would be PERFECT. The good part is that you have one key, FlexControl, headset and foot switch making this work like ONE radio (kinda). 

EXCEPT for a couple of problems that MUST BE FIXED. And I don't know who needs to fix them because there is 3-rd party software involved. 

1. When moving from 6M to any higher band, or the reverse, you MUST use FRstack Favorite Memories so that the antennas change with the band. Why can't the radio just remember this on its own? It must be trivial to program SmartSDR with a checkbox that says, every time on 6M, use ANT1/ANT1. Every time I'm on 144-1296 use RX-A/XVTR. But no! If you are on 222100 and type in 50125, the radio goes to 50125 and KEEPS the RX-A/XVTR. This is INSANE. I should not have to take my hands off the keyboard to click a button in FRstack to get the correct antennas while running stations. And yes, I have a StreamDeck that I could take out, but why?

2. At least a dozen times during the contest I went to 6M on a pass from an upper band, called the other station and they'd be calling me like they didn't hear me. Having roved in WNY for 20+ years I know who can hear me and who cannot from each location. It took a while to find, but it turns out the radio was not putting out any power on 6M. What? How can that be? The SmartSDR panel showed ZERO power out with an SWR of 1.5:1. My ammeter showed that during TX on CW the radio was drawing one extra Ampere of juice, not 20. How can this happen?

3. Gripe 2 was solved by either restarting SmartSDR and FRstack, or by just randomly selecting other favorite frequencies in FRstack until Shazam, the radio put out power. 

There were a couple positive notes. I did not have to restart the radio due to it freezing up and I never had the dreaded sending of CW gibberish that required a restart. So clearly a few things got fixed between the 2022 September VHF and this month.

Here's hoping this all works better for the CQWW VHF next month, the August UHF and September VHF. 

73, Mark K2QO/R


  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Mark, have you considered setting up profiles for these operating modes? If you set up a profile for each V/U band, you can control all the settings and have a one-click way to change bands and guarantee that the proper antennas are set.

  • Mark Adams
    Mark Adams Member ✭✭


    I have a Rover transmit profile so that my power levels are remembered as I need 100W on 6M and 1mW for the transverter.

    BUT, I want a no click solution for band changes. When I'm on 50150 and I tell W2CCC to QSY to 144225, I want to type 144255 into the entry window and go to that frequency along with antennas, AGC-T settings and everything else just the way is was last time I was on 2M. This works perfectly on the K3 and K4.

    Granted, once on 144 I can QSY any band up to 1296 and the selections are kept, but eventually I go back to 6M for more pain.

    This must be a trivial fix in SmartSDR.

    73, Mark K2QO/R

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭✭

    Mark, You want a "one-click" solution.

    In Flex Smart SDR, save a memory for each frequency/mode and corresponding setup parameters.

    Give each memory a name.

    Click on the name. Done

    Same as you did when using FRStack.

    Alan. WA9WUD

  • Mark Adams
    Mark Adams Member ✭✭

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks, and yes, that will work. I admit I've not tried it. But let me again state what I really want which is a hands-on-the-keyboard no-click solution.

    After working W2CCC on 6M with ANT1/ANT1 and all my other settings, I want to then type 144200 into the N1MM entry window and have the radio go to RXA/XVTR because that is what I used last on 144.

    I lost contact due to the no power on 6M thing AND because I'd go to 6M using FRstack but it would not fully switch the antenna ports leaving me on 6M with RXA/ANT1. So at times I was not just mute, but deaf.

    On a bright note, I used VOX the whole contest w/o a single issue. That was refreshing!

    73, Mark K2QO (FN03ra)

  • Bill NE1B
    Bill NE1B Member ✭✭✭

    Most of the respondents do not understand your issue. This is:

    1. Contesting
    2. You do not use a mouse
    3. You do not change any settings in SmartSDR
    4. N1MM+ entries control SmartSDR and your Flex

    This works very well for HF contesting, but VHF contesting adds some additional considerations that need to ge addressed in the code.


    Bill, NE1B (FN42ht)

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭✭


    OK, Hands-on a keyboard. I take this to mean a computer keyboard.

    Set up the memories, using Flex Smart SDR as already covered. These are stored on your Flex Radio's Firmware and can be enabled from many sources.

    You mentioned FRStack. FRStack has an extensive set of commands, including mapping Flex Configured Memories, to any computer keyboard combination you pre-set.



    yes, you need to use a third party application to select Flex Configured memory configurations. And yes, Flex Smart SDR does not have the ability to map Flex commands to keyboards. I agree, this would be used and useful, but.....until and if Flex, the for profit company, does this, Flex has provided a very powerful tool to "build our own".

    Every command and status available in Smart SDR is exposed in the Flex API. Yes, it needs some coding. Similar to building our own ham gear.....in the spirit of ham radio but not for everyone.

    In Mark's case, FRStack has done all the Flex API coding and provided a user interface to do many useful functions, like mapping Flex commands to keyboard keys.

    Alan. WA9WUD

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

    You mentioned a Stream Deck in your initial post. Set buttons for each band/freq. Changing by typing a new frequency does a frequency change and not a band change. Eric had explained the rationale to the logic in the past. Just set the Stream Deck next to the keyboard. Use macros to change band, change freq and any other settings you want to ensure are changed. Pressing one button on the Stream Deck is faster than typing in 14.225 then Enter. One button vs seven.

    I have a Stream Deck + to the left of my keyboard and Stream Deck XL to the right.

    My two cents.


    Dave wo2x

  • Mark Adams
    Mark Adams Member ✭✭

    OK Dave, thanks, I'll try that. I assume I am programming the Stream Deck to use the REST commands in FRstack? My only reason for not doing this first place is that I'm trying to keep my rover as neat as possible. Less wiring, fewer gizmos. This rove I ditched the amps and filters for 222 and 432.

    Admittedly, getting to 10GHz is a lot of typing: 10386100, then enter.

    73, Mark K2QO

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

    Try it out. They make either a Stream Deck 15 button, I think an 8 button, 32 button, and Stream Deck+ which has 8 buttons and 4 knobs. It can be done with REST to FRStack or websocket to Node Red or SliceMaster (experimental).


    Dave wo2x

  • Tim K9WX
    Tim K9WX Member ✭✭✭

    The original post from Mark K2QO rings true to me.

    He speaks to a VHF contesting scenario, but I have similar concerns for general use on HF. I will use AGC and AGC-T as my example. SSDR remembers AGC and AGC-T settings by band. It should remember these settings by band AND by mode. 

    I use different settings for AGC and AGC-T for CW than I do for digital. As an example, on a given day and a specific band, I may use an AGC setting of medium and an AGC-T setting of 30 for CW along with an AGC setting of slow and an AGC-T setting of 10 for digital. If I operate CW on that band and then switch to digital these settings remain unchanged at medium/30 and I must manually adjust them to slow/10. If I then later switch back to CW the settings stay at slow/10 because SSDR does not remember these settings by band and by mode, just by band.

    I believe the majority of operators would prefer retention of these settings, and probably many other settings, by BAND AND BY MODE, not just by band. As K2QO points out, his experience with at least one other brand is that many settings are saved by band and mode. Flex remembers filter settings by band and by mode, why not AGC and AGC-T?

    It should not be necessary to kludge a solution by working with Flex memories. Which, taking my example, don’t appear to include the ability to story AGC and AGC-T settings. And it absolutely should not be necessary to resort to 3rd party software to get the Flex to do what it should do natively.

    Tim K9WX

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