Another antenna persistence problem

  • 2
  • Problem
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Not a Problem
F6300 with v1.7.30.160 installed.

Background: I use ANT1 for TX and RX on all bands except 6m. ANT2 is a dedicated 6m amp+yagi.

Problem: When on 6m, I select ANT2 for TX and RX all is fine. Later I swap bands using the band select buttons and when landing on any other band ANT1 is selected automatically as you would expect.

However, if instead of using the band select buttons, I just type in the freq such as 28.500 then the band changes, but the antenna selection stays as ANT2 (i.e. incoreectly carried over from the 6m band). From that point onwards 10m band selection always defaults to the incorrect ANT2 instead of ANT1, until I again reset the ANTs back to ANT1/1. After a few hours use jumping around from HF to 6 etc you end up with most HF bands defaulting to the wrong antenna! Very annoying.
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G8ZPX

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Posted 3 years ago

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Larry Loen WO7R

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I have this also.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
Not a bug.  This is working as designed.  When you press the BAND button, band persistence is envoked.  If you do a direct frequency entry, you are taking the current slice and its configuration and changing the frequency.
(Edited)
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Steven G1XOW

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Tim,

If this is working as intended then it is terrible and counter intuitive "design feature". Settings are settings and settings should stay set!

I can't think of any radio I have owned in the last 30 years that ignores my settings on a sometimes / if / then / maybe / random basis. Consistency for the user is the key, not fighting against software which leads to the dangerous situation of keying wrong amp and antenna combination.
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Chris DL5NAM

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Automatic antenna selection can be never dependent on a slice!  Only on a FREQUENZ - same like filters
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We agree that there can be some improvements, but there has never been an up to 8 receiver radio to define the paradigm (what works for the 6300 has to work for the 6700 too).
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G8ZPX

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By definition antennae and amps are frequency tied/tuned. Trying to lump those settings in to a slice methodology (which by definition can be entirely agile and *ANY* frequency) is plain wrong. There needs to a kind of master preferences table that allow for a hard (semi permanent) selection of frequency range (bands?) versus antenna/amp selection, something similar to the amp table in DDUTIL. The band plan and antennae design are a fixed relationship, slice selection has not bearing.
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Could the two ways of doing this coexist - even become a toggle-made choice?

Doing a direct frequency entry would be where the toggle would offer a choice between the present scenario (which I figured out inadvertently) and a frequency is the frequency is the frequency approach.

Adopting the old paradigm isn't the solution once antenna choices become complicated in a station.

Adding outboard gear where some follows the broadcast signal by sampling, some follows the API band data, and some may be independently controlled really makes this interesting when there are eight slices to prioritize.

In a multi-slice situation are the absolute settings more important than the sampled signal (if any) than some master plan?

When slice selections collide, how do you handle that potential multiple claim of the same antenna selection?

Doe the last slice to have a Frequency Change take priority, or the last to have a Transmitted Frequency Change?

How does one handle the potential differences in operator styles?  SO2R/SOnR operation?  If the SO2R Box is added?

What about port restricted frequency selection in a slice - where a transverter is only on a certain physical antenna selection & switch choice?  Then is two slices ask for the same post restricted selection at once?

Or receive port only antennas?

Simply reverting to the 1 or 2 VFO band following won't do the capabilities of the Flex-6000 justice, yet neither does the present setup feel completely comfortable.

What if at direct frequency entry in a slice outside of the band-selection in play for that slice that SmartSDR could be configured to ask the operator whether to maintain slice settings or to treat the direct entry as a band-selection frequency change?

Hmmm...

73

Steve K9ZW
(Edited)
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Having the software "ask" for such a thing is worse than what we have.  There's remote, there's N1MM, and a host of other things.  Chaning frequency is supposed to do just that.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Very much beg to differ. To limit the selection this way would be a step-backwards for those of us with antenna choices.

Perhaps making "traditional style" a persistent global choice would help those expecting a frequency to specific antenna straight mapping.

Allowing a more matrix like selection as a global persistent setting would accommodate those making a broader use of their antenna farms and gear.

This doesn't have to be a one or the other.

Perhaps on my prior suggestion on having SmartSDR ask how to handle direct frequency inputs there should be several choices - always ask, always follow frequency/antenna table, or always follow slice antenna selection, or ???

For some folk it would be a one-time configure and forget, others might chose different options in different profiles, and some might always leave every option open.

Everyone can win if the logic tree is well done.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Larry Loen WO7R

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Steve, what I don't understand is how you even make it work.  I don't understand how you have meaningful "antenna choices" or how you can assign them to slices or maybe profiles coherently.  This isn't a counter-argument.  This is an "I don't get it".

How do you make it work and how many others do so?  I do not have the kind of choices you have and apparently, my imagination fails me.  It seems like you would have to have a lot of stuff outside of the radio to make this work and I don't really see how having what you suggest helps all that much in the end if you still have to "throw" several antenna switches afterwards.  Or whatever it is you do.

It seems like if Flex was really serious about this, they would revive and support the old Flex I/O port so we could have some sort of signal telling us what antenna and band was being selected.  In that case, my imagination fails me a little less, because I could imagine people who wished to really make this sort of thing work could automate (or mostly automate) the selections "external" to the box.
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Hi Larry

I've lucky enough to have for some bands beam (actually LPDA), long wire and vertical options.  Also physically displaced verticals.  

Also have receive only options to select from.

Experimenting with the Diversity options, and setting up a transverter at one of my QTHs.  

I have drawings on my blog, but they need to be updated.  

Using a mix of Array Solutions manual gear with GreenHeron add-ons and now the 4o3a 8x2 Antenna Geniuses.

73

Steve K9ZW
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G8ZPX

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Steve K9ZW, with respect most hams do not have your kind of setup. Over complicating the setup and UI for most users so that the minority can enjoy a thousand different choices cannot be right.

The vast majority of hams probably fit in to the "tribander + wires" station model (as referred to in some contest categories) i.e an HF tribander (hexbeam, SteppIR etc) and probably wires for 40/80 or even 160m if space permits.

A few lucky people might be able to have multiple antenna (farms) for the same band, but that is a luxury in both cost and real estate that for many is simply not practical. So to penalize and complicate their configuration is wrong.

I would much prefer the simple intuitive and obvious method of antenna/amp switching to follow frequency as the default regime. And then to have a "super mode" that allows more complicated switching or grid matching relationships per slice etc as an extra if, and only if required.

Like all good software, the deeper more complex configurations should not be thrust in to the foreground to over complicate the "normal" regime, but complexity/versatility is still there in the background for the more demanding user to manipulate at will.

73 de Steve G1XOW - I.T. engineer for over 30 years and tired fighting software
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NM1W

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I have a similar situation, where I run an HF beam on ant1, and a 6m beam on ant2; recently I've been doing a lot of band hopping and find myself on the wrong beam. 

I'm not sure I see SmartSDR doing anything wrong perse, since I dont see that we ever tell smartsdr that a given ant is restricted to "these" bands...(or maybe i'm just not seeing it)

I typically use FRStack to jump around, and it knows what my antenna selections are/were for each of the memories I've programmed into it... So it gets the right antenna..

I get the wrong band when I change freq in programs that dont change the antenna settings.. eg: wsjt-x, dxlab spotcollector, dxlab commander, etc. 

For me it usually means I'm doing more of my band hopping via FRStack to get to the right band, and then clicking on spot of interest...

Does Flex have any plans to add the ability to say this ant is good for "these" bands. I realize that this not a solution to folks that have two ants that can be used on the same bands (eg yagi and a windom (which is my other configuration))...
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Larry Loen WO7R

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I don't understand the design.  I have  a remote station of some complexity.  However, I do not have a station where the same frequency band has multiple antennas.  If I ever did, it might be something like 80 meters where an antenna was assigned to a unique sub-range (as in the ever popular distinction between 80 meters and 75 meters).  Why antenna selection should be assigned to a _slice_ or some sort of _profile_ is beyond me.  For me, it causes nothing but confusion and opportunity for error.  Doubly so since it seems to matter  _how_ I change frequency (which makes me quite concerned about using things like N1MM now or in the future to change frequency).

The behavior I want (optional or otherwise) is for the antenna selection to be based on frequency, period.

And, even if I did have multiple antennas on the same band, that would all be external to the SDR anyway and (today) no direct way to signal the band to external switching.  I really don't "get" how this is expected to work in a typical station.  It doesn't have to do with having two or eight slices -- it has to do with how one can rationally expect them to be used.  You can't rewire your station to match what you just did with a different slice.
(Edited)
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K1UO - Larry

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Larry,  Sounds like the 4O3A Antenna Genius is perfect for the scenario you describe above.  Follows the Flex via API and direct Ethernet controlled.  Works like a charm at my remote F6700 site even with the limited antenna selection I have.  It also has additional optional relay board to control /switch other external antenna arrangements (such as 4 square direction control)

http://cart.flexradio.com/Antenna-Genius-8x2-Matrix_p_970.html

http://www.flexradio.com/downloads/antenna-genius-owners-manual-for-flexradio-pdf/

Regards  K1UO Larry

(Edited)
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G8ZPX

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You mean another external box to workaround the problem?
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K1UO - Larry

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@Steven

  Sorry...  I didn't realize an antenna switch , or external Amplifier for that matter, were considered workarounds.   How about antennas, I mean you can work around having two  by using "all in one" such as a Log Periodic for simplicity.  I've made many mistakes over the years when station building but I never shunned ideas from fellow Hams trying to help me in some small way.

Good luck with your station building

Regards,  Larry  K1UO

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G8ZPX

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Larry, sorry didn't mean to insult your idea!

It's just that there are too many workaround in this area already: DDUTIL to select proper filter profiles and switch amps and select the right drive power, FRSstack for memories, 4O3 boxes, Heros filters, SMeter, external selector switches, keyers etc. The weed is growing faster than the flowers!

Apps like FLdigi should not need to worry about filters, modes, antenna selection etc. as it is supposed to be a decoder app not an SDR console. The radio should take care of those things automatically as it is "the control centre". 

Take DAX and CAT for example, there was the old school hardware/cables/isolator/level controller ways of doing these functions, or the right way with DAX and CAT (elegant software solutions).

Sometimes external stuff plays well, sometimes it results in a PIA messy situation when they don't.

Software is king. The core (control centre) of an SDR station should be software. We need to remember what SDR actually means.

Cheers, de Steve G1XOW