Considering the 6600 or 6600m but not clear on a couple of features.....

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Hello all,

New to the forum and to Flex radio. My current rig is an ftdx 3000 with computer attached running omnirig, console v3 (through an sdrplay) as a panadapter that can qsy the radio and then HRD for digital. Nothing wrong with this setup and would keep it if I decide to acquire a flex radio.

Have been reading the forum and the manuals on the sdr and the 6600. I wanted to confirm my understanding on a couple of points.

Remote ops is interesting to me. Probably largely just on the local lan. Is it true that cw with a key and digital ops cannot be run from a maestro or remote computer?        

Slices/panadapters - I think I've got a handle on how these work. I like the idea of keeping an eye on different bands while working a particular band.  However, one of the features I like with console is the virtual receivers. This feature has me totally spoiled as when I'm working a band I can place a virtual receiver on every signal present while monitoring/working a few signals of interest (when things are jumping, I've had 15 to 20 of these invoked). Then by clicking on any one of them, the radio will qsy and I'm in business. I run barefoot and due to present circumstances, a modest antenna. With this setup, I can easily see if a new signal appears and jump on it. This has been key to some successful contacts (get there before the pile up).  I've not seen any way to do something similar (even just marking a signal etc) in the flex system.

I believe I could put all 4 slices in just one of the panadapters that would cover main signals of interest and would have to figure a way to keep track of the others. 

Appreciate any help and comments.

Thanks,

Jim
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Jim Osterling

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Posted 10 months ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Remote ops is interesting to me. Probably largely just on the local lan. Is it true that cw with a key and digital ops cannot be run from a maestro or remote computer? 

You can run CW with a key/paddles connected to the Maestro.  For digital mode programs, you need a separate PC to run the digital mode programs on.  Maestro does not allow the installation of third-party applications. 

The slice receivers are not virtual; they are fully independent receivers that use the same antenna.   You can put all 4 slice receivers in one panadapter or mix and match until all 4 panadapter and slice receiver resources are used up.  You can have panadapters with no slice receivers too.
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Jim Osterling

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Tim,

Thanks for your help.
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K5ROX

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As I understand it the 6600 is not limited to one antenna but can receive on 2 antennas at same time...please clarify what you said above???
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Yes, you can have one panadapter on antenna 1 and the other on antenna 2 and both receiving simultaneoualy.

Dave wo2x
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Mark WS7M

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Tim has you covered.

I think one key point of this decision is whether you want knobs or not.

The Maestro gives you knobs.  For all intents and purposes when working with a Maestro you will feel much like you are working with your Yaesu 3000.

If you like knobs better than a computer than it would seem the ideal for you would be a 6600 with a separate Maestro you can haul around the house.

On the other hand if you are comfortable using the computer interface (as am I) a nice laptop allows you to do more like run digital programs (FT8) all around your house.  What you lose is the key.  While it is possible to build network based keying circuits the latency becomes and issue.  So if you went this route the best plan is to use the CWX window in SmartSDR to send CW.

This is the configuration I use a lot.  I can be watching football in the living room and have my laptop connected to SmartSDR and use CWX to run CW.

I have to add the caveat to this post that I don't own a Maestro so I'm going on what I see and observe.  I think a laptop gives you more you can do but at the expense of knobs and a key plug in.

Mark - WS7M
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Jim,

First:

If you get the 6600M you can still do everything I mention above and when at the radio you have the knobs and display.

If you get just the 6600 (non M) then you can do everything mentioned above but if you ever do want knobs you just have to buy a Maestro.

Personally having a separate Maestro and a 6600 (non M) to me makes more sense then having it attached to the radio as in the 6600M model.  Personal preference there obviously.

I leave my radio (6500) on 24/7.  There is no "sleep" mode but when no client is connected (in case of non M models) then the radio is really doing nothing.

So my ideal setup would be:

6600 (no M)
Separate Maestro for those times you want the knobs

In this setup the 6600 can go in a closet or cabinet really.  If you want a direct key, speakers or use TRS mic input then you have to run cables to it.  I do this for my 6500.

BUT that is not an absolute requirement:

If you use PC audio or a Maestro no cables at all need to be run.  If you use a laptop then you use CWX window, no need for a key.

So in my 6500 based setup:

I have the 6500 in a cabinet about 20 feet to the right of my op position.  I have cables for powered speakers and balanced mic input.  I also have a cable for a key.

So at my op position I am not using PC audio.  I am using balanced mic input and I can directly key the radio with a paddle.

Now when I go upstairs and pull out my laptop I use PC audio (IE audio from the radio goes over the LAN).  My microphone input is also PC meaning the mic on the laptop is my mic to the 6500 (over the LAN) and I use CWX (type it in) CW.

This a simple solution that allows you to run SSB, CW, and digital very easily on a laptop anywhere you can get into your LAN even via VPN remote.

Now if I had a Maestro keep in mind it has a built in display and it will accept a mic and a key.  So it is like having a remote console to your radio which may be desired.  But what you lose and people are struggling a little with this is:  

logging - You cannot run a logging program on the maestro.  So you'd have to use a phone or tablet in addition or simply write them down if you are logging at all

Digital - I am not aware of anyone doing digital work on a Maestro.  I have seen people doing digital on a laptop and using the Maestro as the radio controller but now you have two things you need to lug around.

Controlling other devices - In my case I have an SPE 2K FA amp.  I have no way through the Maestro to turn it on/off or control it.  Yet on my laptop I do!  I can connect to the amp and totally control it.

So again there are some personal choices here.   I still feel that the best combination is:

6600 non M
Maestro (if you want knobs)
Laptop for operating other places
iPad for true remote ops or convenience.

Leave your radio on 24/7 or if you want to turn it on/off setup a remote on/off (lots of details here in the forum on how to do this with web enabled switches).

In my case I can remote on/off my radio via a web page I can get to from the LAN or internet.  But some others here are using WEMO switches and other things just fine.

Hope this all helps!
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Jim Osterling

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Mark,

You've helped me immensely on my decision. I've put the reserve payment on the 6600 no m. I have headsets, a nice size laptop and my work issued surface, that I take home, vacation etc. 

CW, digital and some ssb from easy chair or back porch......I'm in. Between my portable trackball and touch screen, I believe I'll be fine without knobs. 

Right now, as a read/re-read the radio and software manuals, I'm looking forward to keeping an eye on other bands, saving various global configurations, looks like that agc threshold will replace my rf knob, filter widths/ shifts easy right on screen. Easy to apply a notch, when needed. Also changing the waterfall bandwidth and location will be easierl

I'm looking at a couple of methods to mark signals on the screen to emulate my multi virtual receivers I'm used to and with up to 4 slices, I can cover main signals I'm keeping my ear on at any given time.

I've been very happy with my 3000 but reviews seem to indicate that I'll be pleasantly surprised with the capability of receive of the 6600 compared to the 3000. I'm afraid the 3000 may end up relegated to "nostalgia" operating....... ok, modern age version on that.....lol

I shot an email to Flex re rough delivery date estimate and they responded with in a couple of hours to let me know to look for deliver in the April timeframe.

Looking forward to being able to operate away from the shack which was the main impetus to took at another rig (especially one that is a good performer and appears very easy to set up).

Thanks again for your help.

73

Jim
km4tuq
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Jim,

Well I hope the advice pans out.  Again please take it all with a grain of salt as everyone is different.  

I made my suggestions based on my own preferences and after you posted a few comments you seem to be similar.  I am hopeful it all pans out.

For example, I'm sitting here responding to you while my Flex6500 has 3 pans open.  two of them are examining the 40m CW and voice bands.  One is looking at 20m CW which is hopping.  Below is a screen shot of what I'm watching right now.

Upper left: SPE 2KFA linear control panel FRStack CWX window to the right.  FRStack window below showing slices and S meters.  Then to the right are the three pans and you can see 20m is hopping.

Please feel free to stay in touch.  My email at ws7m@arrl.net is good.  Feel free to email with questions and I'd love to hear your impressions once you get your gear and get things setup.

Mark - WS7M

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Jim Osterling

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Mark,

How big a screen are using for the layout shown?

The laptop I have in mind has a decent size screen on it (17"). I saw the FRStack mentioned in the forum here. I want to learn more about that. The window you have open looks interesting: what can you do with the slice images?

It also appears to provide quick access to profiles, favorites etc.

That small window with voltage and temp etc looks handy......

Appreciate your offer of help and your eml address. As I do more reading, while waiting for the radio, I'm sure a few more questions will come up.

Jim
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Mark - WS7M

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Jim, my monitors (2 of them) are simple 29 inch cheap Asus monitors.

I have been eyeing some of the new curved displays.    A friend of mine who does not have a flex has 32 inch curved monitors that look pretty cool.

At work we have a 42 inch curved monitor that is simply great.  Wish I could afford a couple of those!