ATU high SWR software bug

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I have not seen this discussed much on the community so I wanted to share my experience with my Maestro, 6600, and SDR Software. In addition I thought others should be aware and be cautious.
 
This year at Dayton I traded my 6400 for a 6600. It took about 6 weeks or so for me to receive it. I had purchased the 3.x software for my 6400 and had the same version on my new 6600. 

Early on I began to have problems with the ATU not properly handling the tuning sequence. It consistently tuned to very high SWR values, 3.0 and higher. I had to push the ATU button 3 or more times until I finally got a low SWR. Thinking it was a problem on my end I tried various different antenna configurations all with similar results. 
 
I attended the Boxboro MA. Hamfest on 9/2019 where Flexradio had a booth. I spoke to the Techs that were there and we discussed the ATU and high SWR problem I was encountering. After some discussion the suggestion was to submit a service ticket on the Flex site. 

On 9/11/2019 I submitted a help ticket and after exchanging some ideas on possible causes of the issue I was issued a expedited RMA. On 9/18/2019 I was issued the RMA and it was shipped out Monday 9/23/2019 and received at Flex on 9/27/2019. On 10/4/2019 I checked on the status and got no response. I again checked on 10/8/2019 and 10/9/2019 with no response. Finally on 10/15/2019 I got the following response;

The following issues were found during the problem assessment phase of the service request:
1. Confirmed customer stated issues with ATU as described in customer comments. 
2. Confirmed that the ATU hardware and all radio hardware passes both factory calibration and functional testing. 
3. Confirmed that ATU issue is a FW (firmware) related issue.

Corrective Action Taken or Service(s) Performed:
The following corrective actions were performed to resolve the issues noted above.
1. Installed FW v 2.4.9 and ATU tunes and performs as designed. 
2. Software Engineering is working on FW fix for proper ATU functionality with newer FW.

The radio was shipped back to me on 10/15/2019 via UPS Next Day Air. Total time about 4 weeks.
I received the radio, set it back up and everything worked fine with ver. 2.4.9  
On 11-5-2019 I asked for a status on the hotfix fix because I wanted the newest features of ver 3.x . Especially the multiFlex option among other fixes in the latest version. (definition: Hotfix - update to fix a very specific issue, not always publicly released) 
 When I ask this is the response.

I am afraid that I am not able to provide any additional updates as the status is still the same as you have been previously informed.  The issue you are referring to is defect G7727 and it is currently in the work engineering queue.
Since your question regarding this support ticket has been provided a response, I am submitting your HelpDesk ticket to be closed at this time. If you need additional assistance or have any follow-up questions regarding this support incident, you can re-open this ticket simply by replying to it and we'll continue working with you on your issue.

Thanks for using the FlexRadio HelpDesk. We're here to help when you need us.

I felt there should be a better answer considering this was to fix a flaw/bug in their base software product. I was not asking for additional features or upgrades just to fix a flaw/bug in the SDR software so I could make complete use of the software (3.x) I purchased. I requested this be escalated to the next level. On 11/05/2019 I got a response from Dan as follows;
Hello Ken,

Everyone at FlexRadio knows software bugs can be frustrating to customers and we do our best to not release with them. We are not always successful at that.  I'm sure you understand that making commitments to customers, especially those involving dates, that are not based on grounded truth is a bad practice with many downstream negative impacts. 

Fixing this issue is on our engineering team's list of priorities for the next release of Smart SDR and we do not have an availability date to communicate at this time.  If this ATU function us more important than another version 3 feature(s), we recommend that you use version 2.4.9 in the interim.

If you have any questions or further concerns, please feel free to call me at xxx.xxx.xxxx 

Best,
Dan FlexRadio SystemsTM
4616 W Howard Ln Suite 1-150
Austin, TX 78728

I called Dan the same day to talk and he steadfastly held the company line that he did not know a date when the flaw/bug would be fixed. I asked when he might know and he said call him next week. I called back the following week and left a message. I did not get a call back. I waited a few days and called again and left a message. Still no return call. I called again the following week and did get Dan on the phone. Dan continue to hold to that he did not have a time when the flaw/bug would be fixed. He said on average they put out 3-4 updates a year to the software and that was all he could say. I pushed the issue and finally got Dan to say that they had an internal idea but could not (would not) commit the Company to any date. I asked him who I could escalate this to since while I understand software upgrade commitments, flaws/bug fixes are very different and a customer should expect some time frame when a defect in their product will be addressed. Dan said he was the most senior person making this decision and the only one over him was Gerald (owner). He said if I’d like he could have Gerald call me. I said I would very much like that. That return call from Gerald never happen and I guess I wasn’t expecting it.

Where does it all stand now? I continue to use ver. 2.4.9 mainly because I’m unsure what other issue/damage might be caused by upgrading and not having the ATU work properly. I have seen others on the community talk about high SWR, no transmit output, or blown finals. Was any of this caused by the defect with the software for ATU? Does this particular flaw/bug effect any other parts of the SDR software?  Does the flaw/bug potentially do damage to other parts of the hardware? Is this a bigger issue that the software engineers are having problems fixing?
In closing let me say that everyone I dealt with at Flexradio was at all time polite and professional. This is a management policy/procedure issue that that needs to be addressed. I believe every customer not matter what industry they deal with has some expectation as to know when a flaw in a product is going to be fixed. Software bugs that are part of the base product should be immediately addressed and hot fixes issued to those customers affected by them. Customers should be advised when those hot fixes will be available. Ignoring the issue or not supplying a proper answer compounds the flaws and hurts the Company brand.
Ken
AG2K

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Ken AG2K

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Posted 6 months ago

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Harold Rosee

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The real issue here is this defect renders a piece of the hardware in the radio as non-functional.  This is different from a "software only" defect.  It is also a major component of the radio.  It should have been fixed long ago.  Anything short of a fix is just an excuse.  No way to defend Flex on this one.

I suspect that Flex can not easily pull the change out and put in a release with just this one fix.  It's called poor change control and is typical of the PC world.  I was a mainframe programmer/Manager for over 30 years and we used delta deck controls and could easily pull out a change and publish an emergency release.  The PC guys at our company always worked by the "seat of their pants".  I suspect that is what you are seeing here.

It is what it is and Flex will continue this way forever.  It's not worth getting upset over.  It's just the downside of owning a Flex.  There are certainly more upside reasons to own a Flex so I can live with it.

But it still surprises me that since it affects Hardware that they haven't released something.  I doubt they would get away with this on their government contracts.

Harold
W5ZZT
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Mark NS9N

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Hi Harold, sounds like you have done some hardware investigation. Can you please detail what you have found so we can all understand what is going on?
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Harold Rosee

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Hi Mark,

No, there is nothing wrong with the hardware.  My point is leaving a piece of the radio that is in the hardware not working is not right.

I did help in doing some testing for Tim when I first reported the issue many months ago.  We determined that some code was dropped out after 2.4.9.

I suspect they have corrected the code but don't want to put out a release with just that in it.  It is a lot of work to put out a software release.  No argument there.  A lot of people, like me, don't even use the tuner because we have amps and external tuners after them.  I suspect this is why this issue hasn't received more attention that it has.  If everyone was down I bet they would have fixed it sooner.  I could be wrong but the majority of those who have a Flex radio, or most HF rigs, don't even use the internal tuners.  That said, if I did use it I would be upset.

I still don't agree with leaving it broken but I personally can like with it.

Harold
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Erika - KØDD

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Harold,  This problem is just like the WINDOWS UPDATE ISSUE....  It's not windows' fault for doing updates, its VSP's fault for update goofing it up.

and FLEX pointing at Microsoft as the evil problem...

This bug has done very serious explosions with my computer O/S where I was forced once a couple months ago to format and reinstall my windows 10 pro x64...  Now it just blue screens three times and finally comes back up.  THANK YOU...  The best thing I should do with a very expensive machine is take SSDR and all its defective modules off of it....  I was so frustrated I actually downloaded TODAY  the recommended roll back v2 crap...  and then said NO>>>>  I have enough problems with my machine at this point....

I point at the VSP developer and their release.  There's something seriously wrong with it as it causes port page faults so windows deletes it eventually.  This once every five day explosion on my computer needing uninstalling VSP and reinstalling it per TIM's response to my comment had me so mad I was spitting nails. so I didn't even respond... What a response?  We told you how to fix it!  NO you told me a screwed work around to get my radio back on the air when it vegetates and blue screens my computer..

Windows is going to constantly update once a week until the cows come home (FOR SLAUGHTER)  An update shouldn't blow the module up EVERY TIME!  THAT means there's something seriously wrong with the VSP module... VSP  needs an update!  

As far as the TUNER GOES....  I had to buy an external tuner...  and as a test if I leave my tuner slightly out of whack say 1.5:1  the auto tuner will go to 8 million to one...  It won't tune it out. Very seldom will the tuner go to 1:1 with any situation BUT IT WILL !!!!!!  Try 20 times to tune, and eventually it will find the sweet spot via luck.  That tells me the tuning protocol is incorrect.

I changed the whole way my station is configured to a balanced feed antenna because of the 6500's tuner problem.  I don't have an amplifier... So I am relying ON the internal one or now the manual external one.

Shoot...  I wouldn't have even SPRUNG for v3...  starting with 3.1.7 for me.  I bought this radio used, paid top dollar... Because at that time there wasn't a gaggle of 6500's all over the internet for sale.  When one popped up I bought it..  It was a version 1 radio and nearby.  I'd have liked to have saved the $2 bills the same day my radio arrived...  I had no idea I was paying big dollars for and installing defective software right out of the box. 

I was so excited I bought a new radio and before even turning it on the first time I was shoving my credit card in through the front  slot to buy the best for my "New TO Me" Baby  If I even told my hubby what was going on with the defective radio issues and what the company's responses were  he'd totally burst into flames and tell me to rip the thing out.... and get my money back out of it.

Erika DD
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W7NIK

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Wow nice writing skills, I enjoyed that. I also have windows 10 problems . My Ftdi usb devices are not working anymore. If i remove the usb com # then update the driver. 2.28 Ftdi . Then I get a pop up reboot your computer for it to work . I tested the usb connection before the reboot it works great both devices, erc controller and the wavenode sensors. . Reboot I get errors message and the devices do not work anymore.
I plan on doing a computer reset now.
Why can’t we stay with win 7 ?
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Chris DL5NAM

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i am using since years W10 and using FTDI USB-cable on 3 PC here in my shack = not one problem with USB or FTDI

So, maybe you search the problem on the wrong end 

Chris
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Tim N9PUZ

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It is always interesting to read the varying amount of problems experienced in supposedly similar systems. I have never had an issue with FTDI USB<->Serial adapters on Windows 10. I've also never had VSP issues since the fix that occurred after last Fall's Win10 update caused so many problems. Perhaps I am just lucky, perhaps I'm just better at following directions.

I have never been a fan of converters and adapters for permanent connections. On the items where my station needs a serial port I use the genuine hardware RS232 port in the computer or one of the ports I've added via an internal card.

I too am surprised at how long it is taking to restore a previously well working subsystem of the radio. For whatever reason, the ATU High SWR issue with 3.x.x is not their finest moment.

Tim N9PUZ
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Erika - KØDD

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Its wonderful you don't have any issues. This doesn't mean others are NOT. It doesn't mean RF doesn't get into stations' cabling, it doesn't mean the tuners don't work, it doesn't mean there's not software conflicts on various machines.

BUT What FIX are you talking about for the VSP port issue?  UNLOADING and Reloading IS NOT a fix.  And which version of win 10 are you referring to?  My machine was a clean install including a brand new SSD as one of the previous explosions left my system drive unbootable.  We're using v1909...the latest. There's been a problem about every 5 days.  You can only remove and reinstall software so many times before something becomes an issue/ unstable...  Its NOW an issue and the computer after only 2 months is going to need a complete reload AGAIN...

This is a pretty powerful machine...  and I DO run Everything on this box as it is my only windows computer.  From  TURBO TAX, Microsoft OUTLOOK and all of OFFICE 2013 PRO... Internet browser...  The audio was reconfiguring  too with windows defaults...  I had Skype ringing on DAX channels and I flat had to take ECHOLINK off of this machine....

The last explosion occurred after a security update to OFFICE.  Thats when the page fault thing started and I got the VSP trial period had expired.  All the rest of the times it was just everything stopped working. It looked great...  WSJT-X looked like it was working fine, but nothing would decode...  1/2 the time it's DAX the other half its CAT... DAX usually just needs closed and reopened, other times its close ALL software and attempt a reboot...  The blue screens just started last week.

I spent 20 years in IT supporting 30 separate business all at the same time with my own consulting firm, The only time I had real headaches was a GOOFY microsoft update to EXCHANGE SERVER 2007 they put out one weekend that caused ALL THE MAIL configurations to delete and turn the mail server into a brick until I spent 1.5 hours reconfiguring what got deconfigured...  Including unloading that update. The thing auto updated with that defective update three times in one week before they said oh crap and took it off the update cycle and actually fixed it.  It was taking out EVERY EXCHANGE SERVER IN THE WORLD.... We're talking 100,000's of them....  The response was SORRY everybody, our bad.....

Other than the Chinese hacker island stuff from 2008 where they were seriously data mining and we needed to block all the IP's out of china to our system in the firewall... 

Note: I had the IT contract for a US Senator's reelection campaign and china had an interest in trying break into and suck the brains out of our 16 servers...  Of which all of them had internet access...  PLUS we had 300 remote workstations to the data storage.  SOOOO.

Two serious headaches in 20 years... The pain lasted only 2 weeks and they were not consecutive weeks.  I've had more issues since buying this radio than I had combined in 20 years spread over 30 businesses. PowerSDR on the FLEX 1500 wasn't an issue at all...

I just hope they get with the program soon.  But I seriously suspect programmers are way over their heads and have zero clue what to do next.  I'll probably need to pull every app off this machine and bring up a second computer to handle my office stuff.  Every time I was bringing up YOUB TOOB on a browser FT8 stopped decoding. sigh

Ham Radio goodies:

SSDR v 3.1.8, WSJT-X v 2.1.2, JTALERT v2.15.9, DDUtil v 4.0.1.09, HRD 6.7.0.262.

Just don't try to reboot the computer it will blue screen several times... and no matter what make sure if you're going to reboot it make sure SKYPE and OUTLOOK are definitely closed or it will not even come up until VSP is BLASTED out of the way..  double sigh

Have a nice day, DD
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W7NIK

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As of right now, I am recovering  from the first time i installed win 10 ,  NEVER UPDATE:) like never get off the boat . I will update , then install my drivers, hopefully i get to do a fresh driver install. 
I do believe the update does some serious re configuring  of IRQ, ftdi com ports something when it re starts . Why does all the devices work before i do a reboot ?  I reboot the computer it's  over. 
 I run PSTrotator, Wavenode, and ERC  rotor controller  they are devices that do not work consistently .  the flex and steppir sda100 work fine. At one time everything worked  accept the  control flex knob , that has always been a issue , maybe a compatibility issues? 

The comment about direct connection is not practical . the wavenode wn-2 has a Ftdi usb interface  , and the ERC rotor control has  a usb Ftdi interface. 
 The usb relay boards was fixed with a  LAN udp board  it has never failed, IP config ,  I wish i can run everything IP config. 

Windows 7 worked great , not sure what to do , may Linux running  on raspberry PI , all my  devices  , but the challenge is PST rotator  follows  my radio , switching the  band the  relays switches antennas. 

nickw7nik@gmail.com 
to send suggestions  please .
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WA2SQQ

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I’m sure everyone is aware of the expanding Corona virus situation. While reading about it in this morning’s paper it occurred to me how similar that situation is to all these complaints related to Windows updates related problems.

Windows is a community-based operating system; it needs to simultaneously support many different software applications, some designed better than others. When hundreds of people got together on a cruise ship, one person eventually infected many others. When Windows is updated it can affect every piece of software in different ways – hopefully in a positive way, but occasionally in negative ways. The problems begin and unfortunately it can spread. But who was to blame?

Shortly after V2 was released I did experience some of the DAX issues after a Windows update that required a reinstall. I decided to dedicate a PC to my 6500 (an Intel NUC) on which only my radio related software is installed. I’m a bit reluctant to brag, but since doing this I have not had one problem with any MS updates. Oh ya, one additional thing – updates are always done with my 6500 powered off. While its very easy to blame FRS, everyone needs to understand that it is impossible for any amount of testing to simulate every possible hardware / software environment and predict every interaction. Such testing takes time, which limits how many updates you can do. So, the decision is, quantity or quality?






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W7NIK

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I  have reset my computer back computer months , loaded the devices, wave node, ERC , streppir all working again . NEVER update , Like the movie Apocalypse  Now , never get off the boat>
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k3Tim

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This so-called s/w bug with ATU has me wondering...  I noticed weeks ago the ATU would tune for less than a second and show low SWR and quit. My conclusion was the SWR was being read before the Xmtr was up to power. Hitting ATU several times would result in an expected result and since ATU has memory game over. At this station it's not much of a concern.

Tim
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bobby

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Nice thread and the original poster summed it up totally as to what the customer expects. 4 points I have.

1. My tuner works fine since I downgraded from 2.61 back to 2.49 along with all the previous developed software I made prior to them messing up profiles and the API for multi flex which I dont use.

2. If you read the original manual with warranties the SOFTWARE IS NOT WARRANTED!

3. If you paid for an upgrade to version 3 it seems to me if you cannot use your hardware from the radio properly with version 3 you should be able to get a refund and return to version 2 (How long would it take flex to fix that if that was proven to be correct?) I would say you would seen an immediate release addressing it if it was supported legally through channels of consumer protection)

4. Where is Bill? He always has so many postive things to say about flex and usually lives in denial but has yet to comment on this issue ..... Hmmm....

As for the Ham who had the issue with the Fire Dept his whole house could have burnt down because of this defect ... sounds legal to me ... since the high swr causes high RF in the shack which causes loss of internet which causes loss of radio control which causes high radio temperatures which causes .... well you know the rest.

My 6400M I can live with but only on version 2.4.9 and I have lost hope of ever seeing anything better since this is as good as it gets for me.

Since downgrading I'm actually starting to use my flex again and continuing my custom program development.

It just boils down to buyer beware and do your research before purchasing a product cause it is not always as it seems to be ... If I purchased to use mine remotely I would have sold it by now most likely but since I did not its a very good radio if you have 5 minutes or so to wait to get on the air and like to tinker with making computers and software work, but for me I like to spend all my time on the radio hobby when I want to talk on the air and the computer stuff I do is a separate hobby that the radio just fits with.

Enjoy your flex ... I am ...
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Bill -VA3WTB

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bobby, since you publicly called me out to comment, I will. I seems many people are interested in my thoughts for some reason.

You make some good points here, As for the legal issues you mentioned, I can not comment to that as I don't know how all that works. And is the legal issues addressed the same in all countries the radios are sold in.
Flex is very obligated to address critical issues because people pay for the version they are using I agree. and I feel they feel Flex does feel obligated.

A couple years ago within 15 minutes of downloading and installing a new version I alerted Flex that the power slider will be set to 100 when SSDR starts up. If you didn't catch it then you would transmit 100w to your amp. With in 4 days Flex released a maintenance update to address the problem. There have been times in the past when Flex has responded fast to certain problems.

In this case it seems that fixing this tuner problem effects a lot of areas in the radio. It was very easy to break it, but fixing it must be difficult, taking time and lots of testing. I feel this is the reason a fix has not been released long before now. To say Flex does not care or are negligent is a little dramatic and misplaced.

Also one thing I would like to know is. If a radio locks out in transmit does the timeout feature still work in the radio? Anyone know?
If it does than I would think it is in the responsibility of the operator to operate the radio correctly by using this feature to protect from locked on transmit damage. Mostly for those using remote. I can not even imagine using remote without using it.

I don't have the data in front of me but it seems that better than half the owners use remote most of their time, and for many, remote is the only way they can use the radio at all. Very few if any have had problems that will damage their shack or radios. . But anything can happen I suppose.
(Edited)
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Chris DL5NAM

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>>> I know many people seem interested in my thoughts. <<<

LOL
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Bill -VA3WTB

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yea, go figure.  lol
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bobby

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Since I dont do remote I never have set the time out lockout since I am always there and can prevent the issue which I never experienced locally except when my very first desk mic I used had the ptt lockdown button on not realizing the cause I just unplugged the mic quickly and it went back to receive. Operating remotely is a whole different animal and one I care not to release from the cage, I wont even leave a washer or dryer run if I am not at the house. Thanks for you comments.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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bobby, I don't use the time out feature either. I only have my radio on while I'm at home. Not because it's dangerus but that is how I operate here.

Flex radio is known as the remote king in ham radio because it works so well with little effort.
In the future, if you ever think of using remote from away from the home, just take the proper precautions. It really is very safe.
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Neil D Friedman N3DF

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I'm still wondering how a high SWR on my 6600M, if I ever had such, would shut down the wifi in my residence?
(Edited)
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Mark NS9N

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Neil, right question. And if this was an issue how could you ever use your station. Any time you tuned your radio it would trip your internet - remote or not? As others have stated, Flex is an outstanding remote radio but you still need to do your diligence. I use a pi to switch my antennas, radio, and power supply mains. This link is made to the outside world via VPN. If anything interrupts the VPN signal, the pi shuts down all the relays and such protests everything. It does not matter who’s radio you are using. Faults will happen and as the operator you are responsible for ensuring safety backups are in place to shut down the station.
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Ken AG2K

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Neil in my case the high SWR (RF) as a result of the defective ATU software got into the network switch and router and also caused it to lock up and not pass any traffic. We were able to reproduce the problem any time we try to use the ATU. We allowed the ATU to finish it cycle then pressed the tune button. We saw the high SWR and when we tried to repress the tune button it would not respond because we no longer had network access. When we tested onsite and this happened we manually turned off the power supply which shutdown the Flex and the network connection came back. Restarting the power supply and the Flex and we once again had control. In addition we had the TOT set to 90 secs. on the radio but it did not seem to work and it is unknown if it is even active during the tune function. In addition we also had an "IP switch" installed. That unit should have shut down the power to the radio in the event of lose of network/internet access. It also failed when RF got into it. None of this occurred when we used a manual external tuner.
This is all just a brief overview of what happened. We did extensive additional testing and documentation on the incident.
None of this is meant to "beat up" on Flex. They make a great and fun product and I look forward to making it better. It is also not about the "rank and file" techs or employees who all are dedicated and helpful people. This is about a company policy established at the top. The fact that I've been waiting close to 6 months for a hot fix and the Flex policy is to not comment on fixes or updates is disturbing and potentially dangerous to users who think they can safely do remote operations without the addition of much external protections. I've offered to do Beta testing on this issue a number of times and never got a response either way. I also requested to talk to Gerald and explain my concerns. I was told almost 5 months ago he would contact me. When I asked for a status on that call I was told his schedule is busy and it is hard to find a time to do it. I would think if they were concerned somehow they would find a time to find out more about the situation. I'll leave it to others to interpret what all this means. My position has always been that Flex has an obligation to address defects in its software especially those that were introduced in newer released versions or those that are potentially dangerous. They need to establish a well defined, transparent customer friendly policy on hot fixes. Waiting to release a version with new features and not addressing on going defects first is not a good customer friendly policy.
Ken
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Ken, it is too bad Gerald did not get back to you. I think he should have. If you read my early post I mentioned that Flex has in the past correct things that are considered critical just days after a new release. I also think that correcting the ATU problem must effect things in the radio that makes it a difficult task, witch means lots of work and taking a while to test all the little areas the ATU touches. I think this is why a hot fix did not happen. Understanding your frustration, it would have been great for Gerald to explain the complications and background for what your asking.

I could be way off on my view of the ATU fix, But seeing you drop through the cracks the way you are is not historically how Gerald does business.

The policy to not give information on any updates on Fixes, or features is not there to slight the customer, there are some very good reasons for it. Flex learned the hard way that it is not a good idea to share this info to the public.

I am not here to defend Flex, I feel you have been avoided. I think though some understanding is needed.
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Ken AG2K

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Bill, I'm not feeling frustration as much as disappointment. I didn't expect this lack of support from Flex. An American run company and American built hardware and software. The software shouldn't be an after thought. In the case of a SDR system the S (software) is a significant part of the over all product. 
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Steve Killeen

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All this discussion about the ATU defect with SmartSDR has me worried and wondering what should I install as far as sotware version when my 6600 arrives next week :(

All this talk about software not being part of the hardware warranty makes me wonder then why do they call Software Defined Radio ? Without the software there's no radio, right ? So the way I see it is that the software is an integral part of the hardware and defects like the ATU renders the unit out of spec ! 

I hope my Hexbeam and Enfed antenna will tune just fine without the ATU and I can use version 3.1.xx

There should be a notice on their website mentionning this bug.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Steve, if you can't get on the air without the ATU then you should revert back to v2. but I can't remember what update you need to find to clear it up.
I think 2.5.1 should be ok.
(Edited)
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Steve Killeen

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Ok thanks Bill.
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Steve Killeen

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Can anyone else confirm what version is SAFE to install in order to have zero impact on ATU. Is it 2.5.1 like Bill mentions ? Thanks
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Erika - KØDD

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NO ITS 2.4.9
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Erika - KØDD

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Has anybody actually read the details about what happens when moving forward to v3 from v2, and the very serious sounding precautions needed to be taken to protect your configuration (profiles etc) and actually protect your radio?  If you decide to roll between v2 and v3.

There's a very serious change that was taken to make the move to  Apree' v2.4.9  they made some big changes apparently in the way things work.  Not to mention they talk about DAX versions "Were Improved" and you should keep the new DAX on your machine if you do rollbacks.

I'm starting to wonder if they have the programming staff left on board to even repair the damage created by these "UPDATES and major changes".  Might take a HUGE rewrite of the SSDR O/S. 

If it was a repair or hot fix, they would have had this done in NOVEMBER after a mass very loud group started commenting that their tuners started acting weird. 

The Blue Pill Clan, did not help things one bit with their my tuner works just fine attitude, clouding the issue.   My tuner takes 6 button pushes to tune up a 1.5:1...  NO MATTER what the result I'll always hit a carrier to see if it really tuned the thing.  Sometimes it says success and is full reflected.  another time it goes right to 1:1.  I know this tuner has the ability to really work good.  I've seen it work.  But its too bad its not repeatable.  If they do not have the necessary manpower just say so.  Then the whole crowd can make the serious effort to rollback to 2.4.9 and then whine about the money if they spent it...  sigh
(Edited)
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Steve Killeen

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So how do I install and older version like 2.5.1 and use the improved DAX in recent version ? Flex Radio is making me really confused now ...
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Erika - KØDD

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Best read up the documents on rolling back the radios, I read them this morning.  It explains everything step by step.  Just search for it on the flex site
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Neil D Friedman N3DF

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1.  If those not experiencing the problem are discouraged to the point of not reporting same, then it appears to the casual reader that all are experiencing the problem, which is far from accurate.

2.  It is not clear to me if those unable to quickly achieve a reasonable SWR with the ATU are starting with antennas with moderate SWRs of, say, 2.5:1 or 3:1, or high SWRs of, say, 7:1 or 10:1.  
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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@Steve - it is not going to damage the hardware using the ATU with the issue where it cannot find a match on the first try.

How you roll back to SmartSDR v2.4.9 is relatively straightforward.  I'll outline the process.

  • Install SmartSDR v2.4.9 on your PC BEFORE installing SmartSDR v3 or SmartSDR v2.5 and greater.  If you have created any profiles using v2.4.9 or BELOW and have NOT installed any version of SmartSDR GREATER than v2.4.9, Export your profiles and save them in a location where you know it is a v2.4.9 profile.
  • Install SmartSDR v3 or SmartSDR v2.5 and greater on your PC, this will install the new DAX drivers.
  • Do NOT uninstall any version of SmartSDR.
  • Start SmartSDR v2.4.9 and allow it to do a firmware DOWNGRADE
  • Shut down your radio and then do this reset procedure:
Perform a cold boot and Factory Reset of your radio

  • Power off the radio by pressing and releasing the power button. Allow it to completely power down before continuing. If pressing and releasing the power button does not work, press and hold the power button until it shuts down.
  • Once the radio is powered off, wait for 2 minutes to allow for all processors to properly shut down.
  • Remove the power cable from the radio for at least 30 seconds and then reconnect it.  It is also important to remove the power cable from the radio and not just turn off the power supply. 
For FLEX-6700 and FLEX-6500:

  • Press and hold the OK button while pressing and releasing the Power button.
  • Release the OK button once the power LED turns white and allow the radio to continue booting normally.
For FLEX-6300, FLEX-6400(M) and FLEX-6600(M):

  • Press and hold the Power button for approximately 5 seconds until the power button or power LED turns white. Release the power button and allow the radio to continue booting normally.
  • Now restart SmartSDR v2.4.9 and connect to your radio
At this point you are running SmartSDR v2.4.9, you have the latest DAX driver and your radio's database has been reset and is fully compatible with SmartSDR v2.4.9

CAUTION: If you run a version of SmartSDR greater than v2.4.9 and upgrade your radio firmware, then you will have to repeat the process at the 4th bullet down.
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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There simply is no reasons to think Flex has not the staff to fix this. Pure speculation.
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Steve Killeen

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Tim, thanks for the procedure.

What is "
CAUTION: If you run a version of SmartSDR greater than v2.4.9 and upgrade your radio firmware, then you will have to repeat the process at the 4th bullet down."

Looking for the 4th bullet .

Also, can I install V3 and try the radio and ATU and if I encounter problems with the ATU then and only then do the procedure you mention to go to 2.4.9 ?

Thanks
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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@Steve from the top of the procedure, count down to the 4th bullet: Start SmartSDR v2.4.9 and allow it to do a firmware DOWNGRADE

Also, can I install V3 and try the radio and ATU and if I encounter problems with the ATU then and only then do the procedure you mention to go to 2.4.9 ?

Yes
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Steve Killeen

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Much appreciated.
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Rick WN2C

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So has this issue been fixed? I seem to have a problem with the tuner since I loaded 2.61. Didn't have this issue with 2.49.
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WA2SQQ

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Especially during this difficult situation we are all in, no one wants to be a “PITA” to FRS. It would seem that changes were made, and no explanation was offered why they can’t undo those changes. For me, it’s what’s not being said that continues to fuel this issue.
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Niko de OH6OKSA

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So this issue is still existing after 5 months?...thinking to go with 6600, but this ATU issue can be the deal braker for me...
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Ken AG2K

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It has been longer then that. The last version that the ATU worked with is version 2.4.9. They are great radios and I really enjoy it. If you buy one with an ATU you should understand that unless you use 2.4.9 the ATU will not work properly. That means you can not make use of ver 3.x which has the multi flex features among other needed and desired features.
What is the most disappointing is that Flex refuses to comment on any aspects of their software fixes for defects. I think that is a horrible customer support policy especially for a US company that sells a product so dependant on software.
SDR= SOFTWARE Defined Radio
If you decide to purchase just understand that Flex's policy is they do not (will not) comment on updating or repairing the software that makes the radio operate properly.
I'm asked all the time if I would purchase again and my answer before the release last week is YES with all of the above caveats. However after last weeks release came out without a fix for the ATU defect I would be much more cautious about purchasing, especially after I was assured back in September this defect was a priority and it would be included in the next release.
Flex needs to change their policy and be more transparent when it comes to customer communications involving fixing software defects/bugs.
Good luck you have a tough decision.
Ken
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Larry - W8LLL

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The internal tuner works, I use it every day with the latest version of SmartSDR you just have to hit the ATU button a few times before it succeeds. Also the ATU memory feature works so once your tune succeeds the tune for that band segment will be saved. Its a temporary inconvenience and does not stop me from using my 6700 or 6500 in any way.

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Chris DL5NAM

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Do you use your Expert PA and the Flexradio tuner at same time ?

Chris
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Erika - KØDD

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Yes it "Does work" I find mine far more persnickety than what you describe.  Even with a 2:1 antenna situation it will take pushing the tune button endlessly on occasion and NEVER SEEM to find itself an answer, However Other times IT WILL almost instantly within a click or two go to 1.1:1....  There are however times the tuner comes up with success, and then on a test tune button press shows 201:1 SWR, or 6:1 or 8:1...  In all cases it pegs out the 3:1 max swr indicator on SSDR, I'm using the DDUTIL power and swr meter that will read digitally all the way up to the 201:1 which is indispensable for tuning on a manual balance feed antenna....  Fortunately once you get the first tune figured out the scales on the knobs help get you right in there for a second matching.  Its the non-repeatability of the tuner that really bothers me.  I'll get a happy tune say on 10 meters down from 2:3:1 to 1.7:1 with the tuner and it is repeatable for a half dozen pushes but I KNOW it WILL tune to 1.2.... 
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Larry - W8LLL

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Chris, no the 1k-fa was not turned on when the image was taken and never used at the same time with the internal ATU.
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Niko de OH6OKSA

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I have never had to push rigs tune button twice and I dont like the idea of runing relays extra times to get tuned. Also there was some issue if  you go just little bit side from frequency resulting HSWR warning...so how many tune spots I need to have one band without needing to push the tune again...my antennas are always SWR under 2.0 at workable band width. But I still like to get tuned so I am not loading the transmitter. I have using SDR receivers since day one and love them...
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Ken AG2K

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Larry, That's the problem you should not have to hit it numerous times. Flex has confirmed it is a defect/bug. My testing also showed even though it says it worked checking it with another SWR bridge showed it was unacceptably high. It is unknown if all that extra "button pushing" is good for the ATU. Again the lack of info from Flex as to whether it is good for the hardware to keep trying to tune and if it is causing any premature "wear and tear". The concern I am starting to have is since Flex is taking so long to fix the ATU defect does that mean it is not software but instead might it be a hardware problem. Something that is going to require a visit back to the shop for new hardware and/or modification? That is speculation but with the lack of transparency from Flex as to this situation it is hard to tell. Certainly for anyone who is looking to purchase a radio with ATU they should be cautious.
Again I want to stress I think Flex is a good US company with a great radio along with supportive and dedicated people. None of this criticism is personal to those people. It is a Management decision on policy and how the company interacts with their customers. I would suggest all owners read the warranty in reference to software. 
Would I buy another FlexRadio..... Probably, possibly, maybe, depends! :)

Ken
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Niko de OH6OKSA

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Thanks to everyone on their comments,

I just pulled trigger on fully loaded TS-890S with SP-890 speaker do to these issues (I was going with 6600)...There would been many things I like on Flex since I have played with SDR receivers since day one they came to hacklabs...but if I need worry from day one I get new radio...I am not ready for that. Flex has great remote possibilities and there is best OSX software availibility for Flex (specially when I am alredy using MacLogger from Dog Park Software). I agree Ken on supportive and dedicated people. But since I live here in Finland and we dont even have official distributor/service center here...this would been too long strech at this point. I look forward seeing this issues fixed.

Be safe and stay at your hamsacks,

73 de OH6OKSA
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Dwayne - NA6US

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Once you start using an amp, the problem "goes away" given that with an amp, any antenna tuner you use needs to be downstream of the radio and amp and the onboard ATU becomes redundant. I have a 6600 with ATU but it sits in bypass mode. It's not desirable, but even without an amp, an external ATU is not a bad thing. Purchase a 6600 without the onboard ATU and you will likely save a bunch a bucks.
(Edited)
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KF4HR

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I'm another one that doesn't like to hear ATU relays being beat into submission, so the ATU in my 6700 is always in Bypass.  Instead I use two Palstar HF-Auto units, on one each of the PG-XL outputs. 
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Dwayne - NA6US

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+1 on the HF-Auto! 
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Arvind Mallya

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Anyone know what is the "ATU not working " resolution? Just yesterday I could get it to tune with a few repeated pushes but not today. What are people doing till we have a resolution? I will get a ticket going but I understand there are Flex support people on this site. Well looks like I'm back to my Flex 5000A for the interim.
(Edited)
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Dale - AE6DS

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As a new flex owner, I put the atu in bypass after the first day and purchased an LDG auto tuner. In hindsight I would not have bothered with the Flex ATU given how painless the LDG and Palstar ATs are.

(I was coming from Elecraft rigs where tuning an action not automatic and had reservations about automatic tuning being always on)
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Ken AG2K

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Arvind, The only solution I know of is to revert to ver. 2.4.9. That is the last version that has it working properly. Unfortunately you loose all the features that Ver. 3.x has. In addition you loose the latest fix for the corruption of the SD card which is only available for Ver. 3.x at this point. Unfortunately Flex policy is not to comment on any aspect of software fixes, features or expect delivery time frames.  
Keep us posted on the community if you are able to get any additional information. Good luck
Ken
AG2K
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Harold Rosee

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Here is the real problem with this and other issues that come up.

Flex radio is not transparent with it's customers.

The tuner have not been working for a long time.  Way too long for a major piece of the hardware not to be working.  If Flex would just say what is wrong and give a status of why it's taking so long to fix it I would be good with that.

By not saying anything it makes me think they don't know what is wrong or how to fix it.  I was really surprised that the latest release did not have the fix for the tuner.

If it was a software bug of a function with a work around that would be one thing.  But it's a major part of the hardware that is not working.

All I can say is the rest of the radio is superior to any other radio I have ever used or I would be going with something else.  My 6600M is just too easy to interface with the digital modes.It's a fun radio to operate. I guess I have been lucky with Windows 10.  I have upgraded computers 3 times since using Windows 10 and never had an issue.

So for those reason I put up with the tuner not working.  I use external tuners with my amps. If I was not running a amp with an external tuner I would be very upset with Flex.

In summary, it's a very poor way to treat your customers.

Harold
W5ZZT
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Bill -VA3WTB

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It would be nice if Flex would say something more often about why and so forth. But they are not likely to say much unless there is something really important to tell us.
Are we surprised that a fix for the tuner was not included in this maintenance release? Perhaps, but lets look at what we understand about this sort of thing.

It is clear that this release was considered a critical release, and had the highest level of need. The reason is that a failing SD card would prevent the radio from not working, this is considered a critical fix.

We know that a critical release takes over any release that is not considered critical. Such as fixing the ATU problem. I know, for some they depend on the ATU so they can use the radio and that seems critical to them, but it does not stop the radio from working, just that it does not tune properly.

So simply put, this critical release could not wait and shoved any other fixes back. 
(Edited)
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Harold Rosee

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Bill,

This is not towards you personally but in my working days in IT management role if I responded like Flex does I was told I was just giving excuses.  That seems to be what I see most of the time.

Not sharing what is going on with the tuner is just plain not right.  That's all there is to it.  Anything else said is just an excuse and insulting to this community..

I believe you work for Flex.  Can you tell us what the status of this fix is?  If not you, then who?

I don't think it's too much to ask.  Do you?

Harold
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Harold, every time I simply re state something already said by Flex, people think I work for them, although that may be an idea if they find something for me to do from home here..lol But everything I say are just repeats from Flex statements.

Perhaps someone will take a few moments to give an update on the ATU fix. Who knows,, I sure don't. Oh here is another bit of info for you, It is in progress. 
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Harold
Flex used to post a timeline back in 2012 but as soon as Flex missed a date th Trolls attacked and the community became toxic

so Flex stopped talking about future releases until they are released.

Blame the Trolls for lack of info
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Harold Rosee

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Howard,

This will be my last comment on this subject.  As I said I don't even use the tuner so from that standpoint it doesn't matter to me if the tuner works or not.  The only reason I chime in is because there has been other software defects that I would like to see fixed that are treated the same way.

You can't blame what you call the trolls.  Flex is a business.  If they publish a date they should meet it.  I would hope they use the "under promise, over deliver" way of estimating. They should know by now how long it will take them to code something.  They have been doing this a long time.  I am retired now but spent 30 years in the software business.  It was in the mainframe world but still the same concepts on how you do business.

The tuner has not worked in a long time.  There is just no excuse.  There is really nothing else to say except it's still the best radio I have ever had in my over 50 years of being in the hobby.  I'm just glad I don't need the tuner to work.

Harold
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Harold

I have been designing and building computer hardware/software systems since 1958. While it may be possible to predict how long it would take to modify a mainframe accounting system, it’s not so easy to predict a real world hardware system involving “science projects”. I could give you myriad examples where dates slipped because the real world hardware did not act linearly like the software expected. And it took time to understand the real world.

Flex has a list of bugs that they work on each with its own priority. Some like the SD card corruption issue are high priority because they affect everyone. Others like the ATU or SSB Squelch are obviously lower priority because the affect few. How Flex sets priorities is beyond my ken.
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KT4XN

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Just upgraded to 2.6.2 and tested the ATU function.  No joy, apparently Flex does not see this as an issue.  The writeup on the fixes does not include any comments on the ATU.  Poor support at best

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Bill -VA3WTB

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KT4XN, To be clear here, Flex said that a fix for the ATU is in progress. This last update was critical, meaning it fixed things that will stop your radio from working.
It is simply not true that Flex does not consider the ATU as important.
There are no comments on the ATU in this release because the ATU was not addressed in this release.
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WA2SQQ

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What's not happening speaks much louder that what is happening. Brand loyal cvustomers is like your teeth - ignore them and they will go away!
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Other than telling customers that it is in progress, meaning it is being worked on, what other info do people want?
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Erika - KØDD

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v 3.2.1