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flex 6400 / 6600 boot up time
mikes3 MemberSorry that this VALID QUESTION has caused so much discomfort for all too many! I was also amazed (surprised) by the startup time of my Flex-6500, I will offer. (This, after having an SDR-100, two Flex-1500's, a Flex-3000, TWO of the Flex-5000's and finally the Flex-6500.)
The start-up wait is possibly not unlike what was needed, when a diesel engine was started not many years ago; The HEATER action was needed before the engine would start. So, when you get into your latest, NEW car, hit the START switch... -If you'd need to wait, this would not be unacceptable, but it would at least be a surprise. But, one could take the time to tidy up the car's interior, as the wait proceeded.
All of this has gone way too far, I believe. It is a known and accepted FACT OF LIFE, with the 6000 series. I cannot imagine anyone LIKING this delay, but what can one do? It is, as it is. It is NOT A SHOW-STOPPER. Bottom line: The radio does EXTREMELY WELL, and this wait is an obviously needed thing. (-I still do not like it, but...)
73; Mike, K0JTA0
N6OIL Member ✭✭Mike I still wait for my glow plugs to shut off before starting my 2008 Chevy Silevrado Duramax, my 1997 Dodge Cumings had a grid heater and I had to wait for it too. I can see how frustrating it can be if a prime DX shows up and you have to wait. It's the nature of beast. Maybe tomorrow FRS will give us the timing sequence. 731
Carl K5HK MemberSimple solution just leave the xcvr on.0
There was a post above about compromised antennas and needing fast boot up time. I have a fair amount of DX. Nowhere near as many as some real DX hounds but I have my share of some fun stuff.
For me at least, with a severely compromised antenna system, (IE I wish I had a vertical!) it comes down to frequency position and patience and timing.
With the Flex I'm able to find that small spot where no one else is then it is a game of trying to get heard and often the deal is "late" timing. IE when the blast comes I wait... when I think they are mostly thru their calls I send mine which luckily is fairly short.
This has worked very well but yes I've missed a some. My antenna btw is an end feed 130 foot wire up about 25 feet. Pretty **** compromised as some times I can see the pile up but I can't even see a blip where the DX station is.
This brings me to a very interesting thought and probably its been considered before but what would the station be if you could receive on another's slice and transmit on my own?
What would it mean to work DX that way? If I can't hear the station I can't work it but what if I could hear it using another slice, at a friends perhaps, but I transmitted using my own?
James Whiteway MemberMark, I think your idea is kind of where FRS is going with the WAN and multi-client model they are working on. Eventually, stations all over the world could, in theory at least, link to several Flex radio servers on the internet and hear the DX that way.
I have played with the online SDR receivers at various times, and have listened to stations (for example a net) that I could only hear some of the participants because of propagation at my location compared to that of the online receiver. Works pretty good too! Sometimes, I can hear a weak station here, and find an online SDR receiver that could hear it just fine! Fun stuff!
By the same token, wouldn't it also be possible to employ a multitude of transmitters spread out all over the world, so this way there is a larger likelihood of the DX station hearing you? In other words, utilize many receivers and many transmitters, simultaneously, to capture that rare DX, all under remote control, of course, to keep everything copasetic with FCC.
I suppose the only limitation of using, say, a few versus hundreds, of receivers and transmitters spread all over the world would be the limitations of the WAN software. Someone would need to come up with a powerful scheduling piece of software to coordinate all of this sharing, of course.
Food for thought!
Well anything is possible. I guess though in the spirit of DX it is about your station working the DX. I have at times been heard but not been able to hear. Rare but it does happen.
It will be fun to see what features 2.x begins to open up.0
This will start out sounding off topic, but bear with me here. Some years ago, when I had heard the inevitable Dipole versus vertical arguments, I had put up a Butternut vertical, just to complement my Doublet. I did some testing of the two antennas.
I did not transmit, because I was using a decade attenuator. So I measured signals on 40 meters and 20 meters. Generally rag chewers, becaue I was switching antennas, and comparing signal strength.
What was especially interesting was on 20 meters, at the time that people start making remarks about "the band changing" I found that switching from vertical to doublet, would often bring the signal level up, and vice versa.
So when asked which is better, a vertical or horizontal, my answer is an emphatic Yes!
A ham with both a vertical and horizontal antenna might do an experiment, open a couple slices, one on each antenna, and switch back and forth as need be.
I could completely agree with this. Just wish I had space... In back of my house is an open space with some big trees. I've considered trying to hide a vertical there or perhaps right behind my house make a raise/lower system. But probably I'll never get to it.
Maybe when I retire there is an option for a nice antenna system depending upon where we go. For now my EF wire is working ok.1
You could deploy the DX Engineering mag loop on the second slice. This would work like a champ, and it only needs 3 feet of circular space, mounted 7 feet above the ground, out of site of those pesky HOA inspectors.
W9OY Member ✭✭The Flex radios all have remote ON/OFF. You can build a simple ESP8266 wifi web server and turn on and off your rig from your phone while brushing your teeth or pulling into the garage. Here is a 2 channel example so you can fire up both the radio and amp from your phone
If you make a loop in the shape of a noose, it might keep the HOA people away too. 8^)
I'm am truly graced with living in a nice modern neighborhood, where somehow they didn't do the restrictive covenant BS. Only restriction is if I put up a tower, it has to pass a pencil drop failure mode. Which is on itself goofy because they never seem to fail that way, but I don't want to tempt the busybodies.0
Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
There I was, content and happy with a 3 minute off-cold-to-on-air timeframe in my shack, usually waiting on the amp to finish its countdown and now the idea of "instant on" has shaken my day up completely!! <SMILE>
Is the start-up routine where I start my Flex-6700 and Amp, then boot the station's computer and go onwards reconnecting the cables I physically disconnect when not in use that final hurdle I need to correct to get to the honor role?
Actually I am okay with the way it is. When I had a different transceiver as my main radio (a Hilberling PT-8000A) I was waiting on my amp & computer to boot, and for my completion of cable reconnection even then.
I do often leave the station running (I left the Flex-6700 running from around Christmas until a week ago to see if how long it would stay up before needing a reboot. A need to shut the power off for something the electrician was doing ended my endurance run). When it is in the "Hot Start" mode I may have the amp in standby mode if I am around, or it might be cold if I am not planning to be on the air.
As for the critics, well guess what - they are right it takes a moment to power up an SDR station. So what? Now if that brief pause for them offsets all the benefits running an SDR or more specifically a Flex-6000 offers, then they should NOT have an SDR as their main radio.
That decision matrix comes out the other way - that the vast features of an SDR and specifically a Flex-6000 outweigh the moment of wait, especially as my station has other items that cause wait or have to be done to rapidly get on the air, for ME.
I'll not justify my decision to these "critics" nor do I expect they to need to convince me of how they see the trade-off. I hear them, and respect their decision. But for my station I see it correctly in my context as for my use the boot time is a non-issue.
Having different opinions is A-Okay. A good thing to have folk seeing things differently. Sharing on-line opinions that differ is good too. Of course you can have silly stuff online like the eHam "cultivated pet Anti-SDR/Anti-Flex troll pack" who as a matter of some sort of campaign believe their opinions MUST be everyone else's opinion too.
Gee it took me just long enough to type this that my whole station is now booted (I hooked the cables up first). Awesome!
Catch you on the bands, whether instant-on or once your are booted-up!
Oxford English Member ✭✭How do you know if you have missed a wanted DX station if your Flex hasn't completed its' boot up?
I suppose the answer must be, I heard on my other radio or, I saw it on the cluster.
Why not use the 'other' radio to make the call or change the sequence of turning things on? Turn the Flex on, start the computer, load SSDR and then go to your favourite cluster site.
By the time you have done that, the Flex will almost certainly have booted and be ready for use.
Oh, just a moment though, I am 70 years old and have cancer, maybe I'll die before everything is ready to use!
Seems to me that someone asked a perfectly reasonable question and has be rewarded by some quite vitriolic comments.
Come on people get real, the Flex is quite a complicated beast, even a car takes time to start, reverse off the drive, set off and be doing 60mph.0
Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee adminI am going to answer Mike's initial question then close this thread.
1.) No, the radio does not have an SSD, it uses a microSD card. An SSD is not required and wouldn't make much difference as the time is not bound by the I/O speed of the data storage device.
2.) We do not have any timing data as the 6400/6600 radios are currently prototypes.
I want to add that the 6000s are multiprocessor embedded systems. This is a complex piece of hardware and you can't really compare it to anything else because the architecture is not like any other radio on the market - it isn't just a radio, it is a radio server.
We go to great lengths to ensure that the radio is fully operational and performing at maximum levels each time it is started. Some processors have to boot before others. And there are several internal calibrations and system checks that happen everytime it boots and this takes a little time to complete. So the bottom line is the time it takes the radio to boot, is the time it takes the radio to boot (a variation of "it is what it is").4
I've read with interest the "boot time" issue, though I arrived at this thread wondering about an apparently new 1 minute time on my 6400. The time is not relevant to my community search, rather the research concerned any possibility of a developing hardware or software problems with the 6400, say the SD card for example.
I find in this thread that boot time is normal, not new, and with no reports of hardware or software problems.
My wondering is answered in the thread.
After having a fair amount of equipment including SPE 2K FA and HF Auto tuner fried by a near lightening strike I have my entire system setup around a motor driven disconnector.
The disconnector disconnects antenna coax and A/C power to both the Flex power supply and PGXL 220V power.
Using Digital Loggers DIN Relay, newest model: https://www.amazon.com/Web-Controlled-DIN-Relay-Scripting/dp/B075TT11VL/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=digital+logger+web+relay&qid=1627225181&sr=8-2
I have written scripts in this to orchestrate both system startup and system shutdown.
Shutdown does the following
Turns off flex using remote in
Turn off PGXL power relay
Wait 30 seconds
Enable 24V to motors which cause them to home and disconnect A/C power and antennas
Wait 60 seconds
Turn off 24V motor power
While this will never protect much with a direct strike it should do a much better job of protecting my equipment from close strikes and static build up.
Turn on does pretty much the reverse. I can call these two routines from anywhere in the world to protect or enable the radio.
Already this year we've had some killer storms. Trump says there is no climate change but I am certainly seeing something different here in Colorado. Its hotter, storms are meaner, and I expect winter will be harsher.
So while I used to leave my gear on 24/7 I now take the safer route and power stuff down and disconnect when not in use.
Yes this means I have about 4 minutes before I can get on the air but I really don't care. Plenty of time to make a good cup of coffee or a drink before finding a QSO.
I am new to the Flex community having my 6400 a little over one month but have learned:
Initial boot up takes a little time to negotiate the initial connection to the local network. Once it gets set up on the local network the following boot up time is generally less than 37 seconds. To power off it takes less than 9 seconds to shut down.
My next experiment was a direct connect. I initially thought it was not working due to the extended time to start. I first terminated this initial attempt and went back to the local network and it was back to the less than 37 seconds for boot up. After a couple days of booting off the local network I could not stand the thought of not being able to direct connect and after reviewing a couple videos from Flex I reattempted to try a boot up with direct connect with my computer.
What I determined when booting up with direct connect to a computer it takes up to 128 seconds for the Flex 6400 to boot. The shutdown with direct connect took up to 11 seconds. I tried for a 2nd time and the times for boot and shutdown remained the same 128/11 when directly connected to the computer.
I went back to the booting connected to the Local network the boot time was back to less than 37 seconds.
What I learned and assume the design default of the Flex 6400 is to be connected to a Local network. Within the boot logic if it does not see a local network it shifts to setting up a local network from the Flex and assign IP for the direct connected computer.
Why this was all important to me was to determine how long to wait when remote to expect the radio to have booted up.
I decided with the capabilities of the Flex remote operations, that all my power on will be with a web switches, and I have a process that I follow to ensure at each time I power up the radio I do not proceed to the next step until a designated time has elapsed.
Power up steps with web switches (I only power up both at home or remotely using web switches):
1. Using my phone, I power up Powerwerx power supply and wait 10 seconds, Web switch 1
2. Using my phone, I power up the remote start of the Flex 6400 and wait 37 seconds, Web switch 2
3. Open up SmartSDR v3.2.39 from the desktop. At this point I am up and running
4. Using my phone, I power up my MFJ-939 external antenna turner and my reverse engineered Ameritron RCS-8V antenna switch, Web switch 3. I learned at times the external turner may be need to be restarted and this gives me that capability of rebooting the external turner when operating remotely and not needing to reboot the radio.
Power down steps
1. Using my phone, I power down my MFJ-939 turner/antenna switch, Web switch 3
2. Close out SmartSDR v3.2.39
3. Using my phone, I power down the remote start of the Flex 6400 and wait 9 seconds, Web switch 2
4. Using my phone, I power down Powerwerx power supply. Web switch 1
I have learned over the years working with hardware and software if you follow the same process every time that the end results are known. It is when I steer away from the process the end results could be unexpected.
It is my opinion the boot times for the Flex 6400 is a non-issue and I believe with my short time learning and operating my Flex remotely it is the best radio for HF operations.
My Felx has completely sold me on the remote operations that my next project will be the MFJ-1234 remote box connected to my Yaesu 991A for remote VHF/UHF repeater operations. This will allow me to stay connect to the local VHF/UHF groups while I am out on the road. Oh, I also have the 991A being powered up with a Web switch.
When I bought my Flex 6400, I had no idea how long it takes to boot up. And even it I did, I probably wouldn't have thought that it mattered, so I still would have bought it. However, now after living with the radio for about three years, I dislike the long boot up time. I have an FT-990 set up in the shack as well as the 6400, and if I've been texted that a group of friends is on the air, or if I just want to see what's going on on the bands, I will usually use the FT-900 because it's instant on. I won't leave the radio running 24/7 because I don't want to draw excessive amount of dust into the radio and sometimes I don't operate for a few day, so why put extra wear on the fan and other components?
I understand the OPs concern.0
I just want to address @Mike-N1VE concern about leaving the radio on all the time.
My 6300 has been running 7x24 since 2013 and my 6600 since the day it was released and while there is a bit of dust I am still on the original fans for both. I don't see that as a concern.
As for boot up time, it is something that is part of the operation of the radio and is working as designed.
My Acom A1000 amp took 120 seconds to boot up. My PGXL takes seconds. My B26 amp takes about 30 seconds.
73, Mike va3mw0
"As for boot up time, it is something that is part of the operation of the radio and is working as designed.
My Acom A1000 amp took 120 seconds to boot up. My PGXL takes seconds. My B26 amp takes about 30 seconds. Mike va3mw"
One hundred and twenty seconds isn't too bad for boot up time. It takes me almost double that time to boot up the Flex 6400 and the Maestro. Good information about the dust and fans.0
I haven't timed my radios lately, but I think they are quicker than that, and I am an impatient person. :)
It might be worth following up with a support ticket as there are a few things they can check out for you.
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