1.10.8 problems updating, first impressions

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Solved
  • (Edited)
IT hasn't been 100% smooth sailing for me but I did get it working.

Initially after I hit the "update" button the radio just sat for a while, purple light on, updating software.. Eventually I got a "file transfer error." I restarted the process. After about half an hour, nothing, so I figured something was amiss. I did a reset and it came back up to 1.10.8 Beta.

The serial cables work. I use two UGreen USB to RS232 cables with FTDI chips along with an Anker USB hub and they work. I do like that you can assign CAT by antenna which is exactly what I needed for both SO2R contesting and casual rag chewing or DXing. 

For now I am keeping the SteppIR on DDUtil because it will allow me to select forward and 180 as well as retract and calibrate if needed. Maybe if SteppIR integration is eventually desired, SmartSDR can incorporate these controls. It should also incorporate a transmit lockout when SteppIR is tuning, although SteppIR has the $99 tuning relay option or you can buy the N8LP tuning relay. The tuning relay just bypasses the key line on your amp rather than disabling transmit. 

I am hoping SmartSDR for iOS will incorporate the new serial port feature. 

BTW with the SPE Expert in Flex mode it controls the drive power automatically as it did before when connected to SmartSDR CAT. 
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes

Posted 3 years ago

  • 1
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 621 Posts
  • 87 Reply Likes
Ria, could you expand on the Expert comment just a bit.  I just received my 1.3k-FA and I'm in the process of hooking it up via DDUtil's via the USB to PC cable and the CAT1 via serial/USB adapter to the PC and passive listener.  Are you saying there may be a better way?

Ria, I just saw Larry's thread on the say question....

Dennis, k0eoo
(Edited)
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
For basic use where you just want to follow the TX slice and only use one antenna input on the amp, the DDUtil passive listener is fine. However if you want to do SO2R for contesting you want to use both ports on the amp so you can receive through the listening antenna (s) while transmitting. Previously I had to use the SmartSDR CAT program and assign slices A and B to the CAT ports on the amp.

However, 1.10 allows you to connect the amp directly to the radio and get CAT data from there via USB to serial converter.  You can either tie a slice to a USB to serial adapter, or tie an antenna to it, and it will follow the TX slice. There are other possibilities such as the active slice, active panadapter or RX antennas. 
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 621 Posts
  • 87 Reply Likes
Thanks Ria, I just found the Flex How-to-guide on using the USB ports, between that and your comments I should be good to go...

Thanks, Dennis, k0eoo
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 621 Posts
  • 87 Reply Likes
Ria, one more question.  so with your SPE 1.3k-FA setup using V1.10 the amp follows the TX band change and with the PTT TX1-3 you control keyup, but how do you control the amp power ON/OFF and Operate/Standby, (via the SPE software or how?).
(Edited)
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
Hi Dennis,

I use either the Term software that SPE provides or DDUtil. SPE actually uses a different port for that. The CAT1 and CAT2 ports are for CAT and the USB or "PORT" ports are for remote control of the amp. 
Photo of Larry - W8LLL

Larry - W8LLL

  • 498 Posts
  • 110 Reply Likes

If anyone is interested, on the SPE Yahoo Group you can download a mini console to control an SPE amp.


(Edited)
Photo of Steve W6SDM

Steve W6SDM

  • 625 Posts
  • 283 Reply Likes
Like almost all previous SmartSDR versions, this upgrade went in without any problems.  Now I need to read the book in order to understand the applications for the USB feature.

On my end, I did a clean install.  In the past when I have left previous versions intact, it has never caused a problem but I still like starting off fresh with a new version just to eliminate any potential problems.  Think of it as the digital version of an enema. 
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
While I was part of the Alpha test group and I did get the USB cables working as proof of concept for my SteppIR and 2K-FA , I quickly reverted back to DDUTIL

The USB connections only provide Band Data but do not provide the all important COMTROL I need for remote operation.

While Band Data is nice to have it just as important to be able to provide control for devices if you are going to operate remote without a computer. Right now I accomplish most of what I need to do using DDUTIL via Parallels Access Remote Desktop to control my devices. Ideally it would be great to eliminate the PC but only if I still have controls.

My 6700 is currently controlling a SteppIR MonstIR via SDA100, a Yaesu GX-2800 Rotor via their RS232B controller and a SPE 2K-FA. I have other devices such as tower raising and lower and cameras to watch what is happening but these are not a direct need for remoting.

As I said, Band Data is OK but by itself it is not anywhere near enough control to be able to run devices safely remotely

All the Following is currently done by DDUTIL

SteppIR Control Functions
In addition to band data one needs to be able to do the following:

1. Forward Direction
2. Reverse Direction
3. Bi-Direction. (3/4 for verticals)
4. Home Elements
5. Calibrate Elements
6. Restart
7. Indicate Element Direction - Forward, Reverse, Bidirectional
7. Inhibit transmit during element movement

Rotor Control Functions
1. Direction
2. Azimuth Adjustment (currently I use 180 degrees offset since my rotor centers North)
3. SteppIR 80M function - K5FR added the ability to have 90 degree offset for 80M dipoles along the boom)

SPE AMPS. 1.3K and 2K FA
Steve K5FR and I spent over a year working with SPE so that they would modify their firmware so that their amps could be remotely controlled.
The necessary remote control functions are:
1. Power On
2. Power OFF. (You don't want to leave the Amp running 24/7)
3. Standby/Operate
4. Power Level - Low, Med, High
5. Input. - 1 or 2
6. Antenna - 1, 2, 3, 4
7, Tune
8. Display
9. PA Temp Readout
10. SWR alarm

BTW....I totally agree with Stu that this is a slippery slope that opens up a huge can of worms. If Flex undertakes to do it

So I really hope some third party will do it.
Photo of Mark Erbaugh

Mark Erbaugh

  • 424 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
Could operate/standby be simulated by enabling/disabling the TX Out line?
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 621 Posts
  • 87 Reply Likes
Thanks Howard & Ria, obviously I will need control as well as band data for my 1.3k-FA so I'll stick with DDUtil for the time being, as I do with the Alpha, Steppir, RC2800PX, LP-100A and modified DX engineering remote antenna switch...
Photo of Jeffrey Kerber, N3VE

Jeffrey Kerber, N3VE

  • 131 Posts
  • 20 Reply Likes

Howard, I have a 6700 and 1.3, what is the issue with leaving the amp on 24/7

Thanks,

Jeff N3VE

Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
I am typically gone from the USA for periods in excess of a month. Or more.

While radio does not heat up the Shack leaving the amp on sure does.

Just don't like leaving it running all the time.

There are other controls equally as important such as setting power levels, selecting antennas etc. on my SteppIR being able. To reverse/forward is crucial
(Edited)
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
I leave stuff on all the time. It's not a tube amp. It'll be fine.

The only concern would be the fans. 

However with the SPE Expert you can turn it off (soft power off) and it will still accept USB commands to turn on. So this can help provide some longevity to the fans if you want to turn it off. 
(Edited)
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
Things go wrong when ur remote that would not be much of an issue if you are local

On this trip I worked some DX awhile changing planes at JFK. In rushing to catch the plane to LONDON, I invertently left my 6700 in tune mode. I did not catch it until I got on the air again from our apartment in Paris 3 days later.

It seems that the TX timeout did not persist so the radio kept on transmitting for at least 3 days

Imagine the mess if the2KW Amp had been running

Fotunately DDUTIL also has a standby /operate control so the Amp was not enabled if it had been turned on

BOTTOM LINE. There is a lot more control needed than simple Band data in order to operate remote SAFELY
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
If the amp had been running it would have faulted off and went into standby, depending on the power level. Or it would have kept running if it was set to "MID" or "LOW." However I should note that Vatican Radio uses a 1K-FA as a driver amp for their DRM service so at lower power it has been run in continuous duty. 
(Edited)
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
My real concern with 2K-FA and the Monstir running all the time was the potential for a continuous 12KW ERP Carrier whiping everybody local out. Just not a good operating practice.

Plus of course, the wear and tear on the fans.

Since I am 100% solar power costs are not an issue

Bottom Line: I spent so much time working with SPE and Steve K5FR together all the features I needed to control remotely that I don't want to givethem up.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
Understood. But if you remote you should have a master kill switch anyway just in case. A carrier at 100 watts is just as bad as one at 1.5kw. I have a Raspberry Pi and a relay box on the 12v side of my station and a web interface. This way I can kill the exciter in case of emergency. Eventually I want to put a master switch for 240v so I can kill the amp as well and a GSM control so I can override in case home internet goes down. 
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
I already have a couple of Datalogger remote 8 port switches

Photo of W1IMD

W1IMD

  • 52 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
You didn't have the three minute timer enabled in DDUtil?
Photo of mikeatthebeach .

mikeatthebeach .

  • 443 Posts
  • 80 Reply Likes
Have had to replace the front right side mini-muffin fans on the 2K-FA a few times,
they get squeaky after awhile, for SSB, you can turn off fans, but for CW must have
these Fans on.

These Fans are cheap $5 to $6 on Ebay from China, usually after 
2  years one of the two fans will make a horrible noise

The Back Fans are Temperature Driven usually not a problem if 2K-FA is left on
all the time

73 Mike
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
I have had the squeaky fans too

Yet another reason not to leave it running all the time

BTW. Totally forgot about the 3 minute timer in DDUTIL. Thanks for reminding me
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes
Ria

Do you have a schematic of exactly how you hooked up the 6700 and the 1.3 for SO2R? Are you controlling one port with SSUTIL and the other from the Flex USB? or both ports from the Flex?

Thanks

73

Tim VE6SH
(Edited)
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
Flex ----> Amp
Ant 1 ---> Input 1 (PL259  and 50 ohm coax)
Ant 2 ---> Input 2

TX1  --->  RY 1 (RCA shielded phono plug, mono)
TX2  --->  RY 2

CAT A -->  CAT 1  (DE9S to DA15P)
CAT B -->  CAT 2 

Cable wired as follows:

DE9S (Flex)    ------------------>  DA15P (Amp)
Pin 2 (RXD)     ------------------>  Pin 9 (TXD)
Pin 3 (TXD)     ------------------>  Pin 1 (RXD)
Pin 5 (Ground) ------------------>  Pin 4 (Ground)

Additionally I've soldered the drain wire to the dsub connectors' shields. 


Then you can do the N1MM+ SO2R setup per the K9CT guide.  However, you also have to create separate TX profiles that enable TX1 and TX2 and these profiles will be active on different slices. 
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes

Thank you Ria!

I should have time over the holidays to get this squared away. Much appreictaed.

73

Tim

Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes
Ria

For CAT are you going direct from the USB ports on the Flex or through a hub? I have a new Anker Hub I would like to try.

73

Tim VE6SH
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
I use the anker hub but direct connections also work.
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes
Ria

I have set up the 6700 to the SPE 1.3  as you described. I was previously using DDutil through a com port to control the amp (non-SO2R) and drive levels. That worked fine.

Now using the setup for SO2R I cannot drive the amp (relays click and shows reduced power 40-50w) no matter what power setting. Also changing the drive level on the SPE does not make the slightest difference.

Strangely, if I enable the SPE in DDutil it sets the proper drive levels as I had them before despite the fact the com port I was using previously is no longer connected to the SPE! The SO2R works fine, but I have to still use DDutil.

Any ideas?

Thanks

73

Tim VE6SH
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
A few details seem to be missing here, nevertheless this is how I have mine setup.

Flex to SPE
Ant 1 to Input 1
Ant 2 to Input 2

USB A to Cat A
USB B to CAT B

RCA TX1 to RY1
RXA TX2 to RY2
ALC not connected (not needed)

USB control cable from SPE to windows PC (this is just to control the amp if I need to)

Example of how I have each USB cable configured in SmartSDR:



I also set up two TX profiles, one enabling relay 1 and another enabling relay 2, adding whatever delays you need. I call them SO2R TX1 and SO2R TX2. They are assigned to each panadapter. 





And then the rest of setup in N1MM+ per the K9CT/Flex document.

Hope this helps. :)

Ria
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes

Thanks Ria. I think I have all the connections set up correctly. It may be just my bad on setting up the two TX profiles. I will also add a delay as well and see if that helps.

I find it odd that setting power levels on the SPE makes absolutely no difference on the drive level at any of the three power settings.

73

Tim

Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
It probably is, so it's going through the wrong antenna input. That could be bad as it is transmitting through the SO2R port. 

Do you have the USA version of the amp? 
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes

Yes, the USA version (although I ordered from the US dealer I should confirm it is not an export version).. The amp works fine using DDutil and setting CAT for Kenwood. I will keep playing with it. Unfortunately my operating time and time to play radio lately has been limited to sporadic weekends.

Thanks for your help. Will let you know how I make out.

73

Tim

Photo of Mark Erbaugh

Mark Erbaugh

  • 424 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
Ria,

What antenna is connected to the SO2R port? How is it isolated from the Tx antennae?
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes

I am not using the SO2R port, but rather Ant 1 and 2. I have the 4O3A tri-plexer and bandpass filters.


Tim VE6SH

Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes
Ok. Well I thought I could use ANT 2 for SO2R. I gather not and one has to use the SO2R port for the second slice.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
I have either a multiband vertical or a dipole connected to the SO2R port, through a switch. I believe for the SO2R capability you must use the SO2R port. I have one 5B4AGN filter set in use, and I'm building another. It works well enough to pick off mults. Probably not as good for dual CQing.

You can also assign TX antennas per input. For example, on Input 1 on 20m, you can assign output 1 and on input 2 you can assign output 4 for example. 

They are coming out with the "full" SO2R switch unit soon where it will be more or less like having two amps with two inputs and outputs. 
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
Tim, ANT1 and ANT2 will always be your inputs. Think of the SO2R port as a RX antenna port which is on the inactive radio. So if you are transmitting through ANT1, the other radio will be switched to receive from the SO2R port. That is why they recommend a multiband antenna for that. Hope I've made sense. 
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes
Thanks Ria. I must admit i am struggling to find how to assign TX antennas to each input. Could you point me to where I would find that? I thought I could assign input1 to Antenna 1 and input 2 to antenna 2, but when I try to do make the changes when I am on the input 2 setting the antenna output changes also are made for input 1.

Tnx

Tim
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes
The other issue is the SPE does not change the input selection when I change Slices. I have Slice A on Flex antenna 1 (going to input 1 on the SPE) and Slice on Flex antenna 2 (going to input 2 on the SPE). The SPE does not follow when I change TX focus from Slice A to B.

Tim
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
There is no way for the amp to know you changed focus. You have to key up (PTT) even momentarily for that to happen. 

As for making the changes for Ant 1 vs ant 2, switch to ant 1, assign the antenna ports. Save. Switch to Ant 2, make the changes. Save. It will work that way. 
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes
Got it. Thank you for your help. I will try to set the antennas again.

Tim
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
Btw I may have confused you a little. What you need to do in setup is enable the antennas for that band. For example if 1 and 4 can work on 20, enable both on 20. Save. Switch to input 1, select the antenna you want to use. Switch to input 2, select antenna. Switch back to 1 and it will be the other antenna you selected, switch back to 2, same thing. Pretty versatile and not bad for builtin capability.
Photo of Tim VE6SH

Tim VE6SH

  • 281 Posts
  • 35 Reply Likes
Hi Ria

Thank you much for your help. I got it worked out and the SPE works well in SO2R. Had some fun in the contest!

73

Tim
Photo of Mike - W8MM

Mike - W8MM

  • 215 Posts
  • 49 Reply Likes
My upgrade experience was different among my three 6700's.

I decided to upgrade all the radios from my Maestro.  The Maestro update went well.

The Signature model 6700 with the GPSDO running v1.8.4 upgraded smoothly, no problems.

The other two, more recent, 6700's (non-GPSDO, v1.8.4) both got perma-stuck showing "updating software" with the purple power light lit.  This flummoxed me a bit and I tried re-reading various information to see what I should do.  Finding nothing satisfying, I attempted pushing front panel buttons to no avail.  Then, I removed 12V power by pulling the PowerPole connector from the back of the radio.

I let the radios sit for 5 minutes unpowered, then plugged them back in to 12V.  They both immediately returned to saying "updating software", but began to click some relays after a few moments and finally went through "Calibrating" and now work just fine.

Just thought someone would like to know.
Photo of Jay / NO5J

Jay / NO5J

  • 1673 Posts
  • 260 Reply Likes
Mike 

That hang happens sometimes, you handled it correctly.

  SDRgadgets

#FlexRadio IRC chat

  73, Jay - NO5J

Photo of Mark WS7M

Mark WS7M

  • 505 Posts
  • 150 Reply Likes
Jay... still need my address for shipping that beam?   Perfect time to get it weather tested here in Colorado!  :-)

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.