Blind ham needs some help with a new Flex 6400m

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 2 months ago

Hi all, can anyone give me a quick bit of help setting up my Flex 6400m since I can’t see the labels for each jack on the rear of the unit. I am trying to connect the included stock microphone. If I am facing the rear of the Flex 6400m there Isa bank of 8 RCA style jacks, one row of four on top with another row of four beneath. Which jack should I connect the PTT cable of the microphone to? The other question is that to the left of that there is a bank of four 1/8 (3.5mm) jacks, two on top and two on the bottom. Which jack do I connect the audio cable of the microphone to? I looked through the downloads on the Flex site but could not find a document describing the location and function of each jack on the rear panel.

Thanks

Frank

 
Photo of Frank Ventura

Frank Ventura

  • 16 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes

Posted 3 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Frank Ventura

Frank Ventura

  • 16 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes

Hi all, can anyone give me a quick bit of help setting up my Flex 6400m since I can’t see the labels for each jack on the rear of the unit. I am trying to connect the included stock microphone. If I am facing the rear of the Flex 6400m there Isa bank of 8 RCA style jacks, one row of four on top with another row of four beneath. Which jack should I connect the PTT cable of the microphone to? The other question is that to the left of that there is a bank of four 1/8 (3.5mm) jacks, two on top and two on the bottom. Which jack do I connect the audio cable of the microphone to? I looked through the downloads on the Flex site but could not find a document describing the location and function of each jack on the rear panel.

Thanks

Frank

   
Photo of Rick  WN2C

Rick WN2C

  • 273 Posts
  • 32 Reply Likes
Frank if you are facing the radio,RCA connectors the PTT will be on the top row left side of the 4 connectors. The mic connector is on the lower right of the four 1/8 inch connectors.The connector next to and left of the mic connector is headphones. above the headphones is the powered speaker connection. Above the Mic is the key connection for CW. Hope this helps.
Photo of Doug

Doug

  • 110 Posts
  • 33 Reply Likes
Frank just curious how in the world do you operate with a Flex 6400M blind. Do you have a program on your computer that sounds out things and if so what advantage is the M model over the 6400 ? This radio kicks my butt from time to time with nearly 20/20 eyesight 
Photo of Frank Ventura

Frank Ventura

  • 16 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes

Hi Doug, thanks for writing. In my shack I use two computers that I use for controlling my radio equipment. One is a Windows 10 PC and the other is an Apple Mac mini. To control either the new Flex 6400m or the older 6300 we have here I use one of the two following software packages:

On the Windows PC I use a free program called JJ Radio:

http://pages.suddenlink.net/jjsha/

On the Mac I use a $99 program called Dog Park:

https://dogparksoftware.com/dogparkSDR.html

Both of the computers are equipped with both speech and braille output.

The touch screen on the 6400m is sadly not accessible, at least not yet. Some other manufacturers, namely Icom and Kenwood do put enough accessibility into their rigs so that they can be used independently without any added software or hardware. For example, the other rig in the shack here is a Kenwood TS590. That rig has both spoken output for feedback as well as audible beeps so that I can know what state a button is in when pressed, example low tone for off and high tone for on. Unfortunately it is ironic that Flex hasn’t yet caught up with modern accessibility standards considering how much more developed they are from a technology stand-point. Years ago amateur radio manufacturers used to believe they didn’t have enough processing power in their rigs (or none at all) to support accessibility features. Luckily time and technology has changed that for the better.

As far as the computers go; folks like me who are totally blind use programscalled screen readers which translate items on screens of computers, cell phones, tablets, and even ATMs into spoken words. On my Mac and iPhone I use, Voiceover:

https://www.apple.com/accessibility/mac/vision/

On my Windows PCs I like to use a screen reader known as JAWS:

https://www.freedomscientific.com/Products/Blindness/JAWS

Doug, if you have usable eyesight, but still struggle to see items on the computer you could always try a 3rd party magnifier. This is one example of one made for Windows:

https://www.zoomtext.com/

Other platforms such as Macintosh and Lynux have similar products.

One other thing about accessibility of ham radio gear that I failed to mention above is a hardware product called Hampod. This was the brain-child of a blind ham on the west coast. It is an accessory box that connects to a rig and some other devices and makes the control of that rig completely usable. Some major manufacturers, such as Ellecraft, Icom, Kenwood, etc have given material support to its development and will even subsidize one for a blind ham (if they are vocal enough) to maintain legal compliance with title III requirements. According to the developer, he hasn’t gotten any support from Flex as of yet to develop a Flex reader for the ham pod. Hopefully that will change in the future. Here is that link:

http://hampod.com

Hope this was informative.

Frank

   
Photo of Doug

Doug

  • 110 Posts
  • 33 Reply Likes
Frank thank you so much for your explanation on how you use all your radio's including of course the best one which is the Flex hi hi. Maybe someday we can work on the air. My call here k9crt 
Photo of Frank Ventura

Frank Ventura

  • 16 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
Doug, thanks, it was my pleasure. Will look for you on the air sometime.

Frank (N1FMV)
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1283 Posts
  • 656 Reply Likes
Thank you Frank for an excellent synopsis of what it takes to put a blind ham on the air.

Hoping you’d be okay with your post being shared?

73

Steve
K9ZW
Photo of Frank Ventura

Frank Ventura

  • 16 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
Steve, by all means of course you can share it. It is my pleasure. Thanks for reading.
Photo of Volker Geith

Volker Geith

  • 27 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Hi Frank,

I blind om at our local club is very interested in Flexradio. Is it possible to bring you both together and have a talk how you use the Flexradio?

73

Volker, DL4RCE
Photo of Frank Ventura

Frank Ventura

  • 16 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes

Volker, absolutely. My email address is frank.m.ventura@gmail.com  Right now there are three different ways for a blind ham to control a Flex radio. The first is JJ Radio for Windows, the second is SmartSDR for iOS, and the third is Dog Park for the Mac. I'll be happy to answer any qyestions they have.