Alpha 87A SmartSDR settings & DDUtil setup

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Are the TX setup settings for the Alpha 87A amp the same as the ones for the Alpha 9500 that I have seen posted  here? Also, any guidance on setting up DDUtil for use with the 85A would be appreciated. I already use DDUtil with my 6500, but not sure what needs to be set up to have DDUtil handle band switching on the 87A.

I have also seen some posts that suggest the use of a buffer box between an amp and any of the Flex units. Having used the Alpha 87A with an ICOM 756PROII for several years, I doubt I need one, but thought I better check in case there is a compelling case to use one with the FLEX units. Thanks!
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Randy Hollingsworth

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Posted 3 years ago

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Charles - K5UA

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Hi Randy,

One of the best things about the Alpha 87A is that it does not need band/freq data from the Flex or any other transceiver. It has an internal freq counter thats sets the 87A for the correct band and freq segment. Change bands on thr transceiver, select the correct antenna, and start transmitting. The 87A will do the rest.
T
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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My SPE has the frequency sensing capability, but I personally don't like that mode of operation that always requires me to TX to have the amp follow.
Sending band data to the amp to change on band changes only for RX is very convenient.
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Randy Hollingsworth

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Charles, thanks for the input. I currently use the internal Alpha 87A capability for band switching, just wondered if there was a reason for the folks that shifted to using DDUtil. Are you in agreement with using the other Alpha 9500 SmartSDR setting info that was published for the 87A, i.e. TX1 enabled, 0 msec delay, TX delay = 20 msec, tune power = 40 watts?
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W1IMD

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I have used DDUtil to band steer my 87A for years. I find it easier to have the amp already on frequency than to hit it with RF and have it try to catch up. Setup via DDUtill is a snap, the only funkiness is the DB 25 connector on the back of the amp. Pin 21 gets removed from the cable IIRC. Do take the time to do this, you'll be glad you did.
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Charles - K5UA

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If you don't mind listening to the stepper motors reposition everytime you change bands just to listen for activity, and if you don't mind setting up ddutil and the appropriate cabling to achieve communication between the amp and the transceiver, then ddutil will do the job.

However, for a true automatic amp like the 87A or the 9500, a simple momentary depression of the PPT foot switch or a single dit on the keyer, once you want to committ to a band change, will reposition the stepper motors before you make the first transmission on the new band.

After the grief I personally experienced getting my 6500 to communicate reliably with my OM2500A amp, I feel that any amp that requires frequency data from the transceiver to change bands should not be called an automatic amplifier, they should be called semi-automatic. This is, of course, only my personal opinion.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I am a lucky one, my amplifier is fully automatic, as I stated before, it has the frequency sensing feature. I just don't use it.

With the SPE Expert all I needed is one single serial to usb cable from the amp to the pc, which allows me remote control of the amp are well as band changes. That is it, no more cables.

I have different antennas for different bands so it is nice to have the amp select the G5RV for 80m without having to send any watts to the wrong antenna for a second avoiding undue stress on radio and amp.

Additionally, by having the amp do band and antenna changes based on what I or DDutil, ( and it seems very soon cat on ver 1.6 of SmartSDR) I can have several radios work with the same antenna/amp without having to create any other cables from the radios to the amp.

CAT sends band info to the PC, DDutil transforms that into a band change at the amp. Very easy, takes me 2 minutes to setup.

I can see some signal on the panadapter, put the slice there and i don't have to bother anyone with a whistle or a tone to get everything ready. I don't need to find an empty frec to get the amp ready.

I can have someone, like i did yesterday, remotely connect to the 6700,and they can go to whatever band they desire and have the amp and antennas follow automatically without TXing.

I find that very automatic.