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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
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