Field Day Support

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Happy Field Day Eve, everyone!   Here is a brief announcement:

During the hours before and during Field Day, our support staff will be watching the community and support tickets for any Field Day setup or operations-related questions and will prioritize response to them. 

To help us identify them, please prefix your post with "FIELD DAY:"

73 and Good Luck with Field Day. 

FlexRadio Systems
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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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Posted 3 months ago

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Ian VA3QT

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Nice idea, but ....

For many of us EMCOMM types (sans AREDN access) unless you have a Winlink address we can use the offer is not of much help.

Ian VA3QT
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N5LB - Lionel B

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Can you ward off the 80% predicted thunderstorms that NWS says start at 1300h tomorrow and end at 1300h Sunday? Not fair!  No need for a lightning strike support ticket/new Flex.
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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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No sir, but I’ll make sure that is entertained as a feature request for next year.
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N5LB - Lionel B

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Excellent!
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roger na4rr

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Is this kinda like Mayday
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Again, another example of how just so different FRS is.
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Dave - W6OVP

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>During the hours before and during Field Day, our support staff will be watching the community and support tickets for any Field Day setup or operations-related questions and will prioritize response to them.

That is VERY classy!

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Rocinante

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I've been operating in the field with my 6400 here in Acadia National Park since May 14. This year, Field Day is just another day in the park. :)

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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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Sweet!
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Rocinante

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Thanks, haha. That tree behind me - yeah, that's my antenna tree. I suspend an Ultimax 100 end-fed antenna as far up as I could wing a tennis ball with a chucker. Not as high as I'd hoped, but even so I've been able to work stations via FT8 from the US West Coast to South America and Eastern Europe. Still hoping to work amateurs in Asia and Africa before I move on in July.  We'll see!
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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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How Fun! -  Portable antennas can be great. The best portable antenna I ever used was in the CQ 160 contest a couple of years ago.  We hoisted a 1/2 wave @160m wire with a weather balloon, from the deck of 45' boat sitting in a remote bay in the Puget Sound.  The ground was a wire connected to a copper sheet and dropped into the saltwater.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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I will be part of the local club using W2W. A 2A NNJ station running a pair of Flexes and pair of Maestros.

Should be fun!

Dave wo2x
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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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Fun indeed Dave - be sure to let us know how the station does!  Good luck. 
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Here’s a couple of quick pictures of the two positions. We have one of the young club members running on 40 SSB with a 6509/Maestro and I’m on 20 FT 8 with 6600/Maestro

Dave wo2x

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Neil D Friedman N3DF

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Dayton Amateur Radio Assn is forcing me to use an Icom.
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N4VGE

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The TARC club are all laughing at Flex.  23 hams at field day and none of them can get my upgrade to 3.0.xx to open.  Must connect to internet.  I have a switch connected to my laptop - connected to a hotspot, and connected to 6700.  Cannot get past "connect to internet to complete licensing".  I was wrong trying to upgrade 3 days before field day but this is absurd.  I bought the upgrade when I didn't need it and bought a 100/1000 switch which I don't need and still cannot open Flex.  Help.  This has been going on for 3 days.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Sorry if you got insulted. You are harsh with your comments. We are using a AR GL150 travel router to bridge from my phone in hotspot mode to the Field Day LAN. It costs about $30 on Amazon. Wan side is via WiFi and LAN side can be WiFi or Ethernet. I use it when travelling with the Maestro in places that have a captive portal for logging into WiFi networks.

My question still is valid. Why not just run either 2.4.9 or 2.5.1 if you cannot upgrade the radio license in the field? There should be no reason you cannot get on the air. Worst case, tether a PC to a phone in hotspot to download the appropriate version software the radio is currently licensed for.

I have the 6600 running 3.0.27 and 6500 running 2.5.1, both on same LAN with two Maestros.

Dave wo2x
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N4VGE

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Dave,
I uninstalled 2.5.1 to install the 3.0.xx.  I could un-install 3.0.xx and re-install the 2.5.xx but I'm a stubborn old man that is spending 60 hours a week overseeing a $150k remodel job and just wanted to get away and ham it up for a weekend. 
73
Van N4VGE
PS I have just ordered the AR GL150.  As a sidebar, I like operating without the maestro and have a separate screen as a monitor extension to keep Flex on and up most of the time when traveling.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Hi Van

You can have both versions installed at the same time. (On the PC)

73
Dave wo2x
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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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Unfortunately, over the weekend (especially this one!), a 3rd party service we rely on for licensing transactions experienced an outage causing our licensing process to fail.  Our engineers manually authorized the license transactions that were impacted. 

Internet access is required in order to pick up the new license (press the refresh button or just cycle power on the radio). 

We apologize for any inconvenience and extra work this may have caused. We're working with the 3rd party to determine what failed and are reviewing the monitoring we have in place. 

FlexRadio Systems

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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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Unfortunately, over the weekend (especially this one!), a 3rd party service we rely on for licensing transactions experienced an outage causing our licensing process to fail.  Our engineers manually authorized the license transactions that were impacted. 

Internet access is required in order to pick up the new license (press the refresh button or just cycle power on the radio). 

We apologize for any inconvenience and extra work this may have caused. We're working with the 3rd party to determine what failed and are reviewing the monitoring we have in place. 

FlexRadio Systems

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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Another thing you can do for next year is get one of the GL-AR150 travel routers. Real inexpensive and allows you to tether the WAN side via WiFi to your phone in hotspot mode. Then either LAN via Ethernet or WiFi. Makes for useful tool for those last minute N1MM+ updates that get pushed out.

I’ve seen on rare instances where an update of radio license doesn’t happen immediately. Kind of sucks but just use 2.5.1. Any reason you wanted to use v3? Curious.

Dave wo2x
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N4VGE

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Thanks Dave.  I have just ordered one from Amazon.  Wish I was told about this last Wednesday when I first placed a service request.
73
(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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no problem. It comes in handy when using a Maestro on networks with captive portals.

73
Dave wo2x
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Was waiting for an answer regarding verifying internet connection, here are a few more questions:

  1. What is the current state of your 6700? Meaning does it turn on, what version is on it?
  2. Has that laptop ever been connected with any version to your 6700? If so just run that version, don't worry about upgrading for now. If not, and you are trying to connect your laptop with the new version and having trouble authenticating, then yes you will have to be sure the problem isn't in the networking settings of the laptop, it may have some leftovers from another network connection.
  3. Have you tried to use any wifi router? Even the $20 one has 4-ports and has DHCP built-in so you can easily plug in both the laptop (lan or wifi), and your 6700. If using the ethernet port, be sure your laptop network is set to obtain IP address automatically. If your laptop ethernet port is giving you issues, then just use the wifi on the laptop connect to the wifi router.
  4. In your 6700 did you modify your network setup from the default DHCP to Static? If so that could be your problem as your laptop must be on the same IP address range. If you can't remember what the static IP address was, then just do a factory reset, this will change it back to DHCP and it will automatically pull an IP address from the wifi router.

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Van - Perhaps including in being stubborn slavishly reading and following the written procedures?

Seems likely the missteps in your upgrade would have been avoided.

Unfortunately setting forth half-cocked lacking a certain connection to the Internet and compounding it improvising to uninstall your working version for no reason, just isn’t going to turn out right.

Most importantly you understand it all now and have a better idea what doesn’t engender community harmony.

Read the directions, accept one’s own failings as one’s own, and treating others as one would accept being treated have worked well for myself.

Field Day is all about the trial and lessons of taking your operations to a different level. With all you’ve learned it appears a success albeit frustrating.

Hope you had fun nonetheless!

73

Steve
K9ZW
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N4VGE

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Thanks.  You are correct that I made some errors in my assumptions.  I am used to un-installing an old program prior to installing a new program.  I shouldn't have done that BUT Flex should allow someone to do this without problems. 
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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What you are doing with SmartSDR is layering a new major version, rather than replacing all prior versions.

As a help a Maestro and an M-Model manage multiple versions of SmartSDR.

Generalized I think you can leave prior versions of SmartSDR in place, at least until you are certain you're never going to revert to an older version.  

I move the icons for older versions into a folder, and only go through the effort to delete older versions when something like allowing a Windows update has the suggestion from FRS to delete old versions.

I tend to NOT delete the installers (perhaps you still had yours on your machine?) very often at all.

My method is a bit clunky, as I have test versions of SmartSDR to manage as well.  

You most certain can remove everything to do an upgrade - suggest you export your profiles first of course.  

If that delete-everything-process left the older version installers I don't think you even need the internet to get up and going again if your upgrade didn't work out.

I may have missed something unusual that happened for your FD effort, if so my apologies for not catching it. 

73

Steve
K9ZW
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k0eoo

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this thread brings up a good point.  What if you are on FD and cannot get a stable WAN connection?  Is there a way to connect up the Flex to run on a PC for example, without a WAN/LAN connection to the outside world??  Seems to me this use to be possible?

If it is possible, maybe someone could put together a set of steps for FD operation with/without LAN connection....

Thanks, Dennis, k0eoo
(Edited)
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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spot on David
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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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Dennis,

Yes, you can operate without a connection to the internet and/or router.  There are several ways to accomplish this.  The easiest is to simply connect a wired Ethernet cable between a PC and the radio. 

Most operators let their local LAN DHCP service (usually part of your router) hand out and manage IP addresses to their PC, radio and perhaps other peripherals.  If this is the case at your station, then when running without your router, like during Field Day, the radio and PC will assign their own IP addresses in the 169.254.x.x range (this feature is called link local or auto IP), provided both are addressed in that manner, everything should just work. 

If you are using a Maestro and a PC as clients, you will need to provide a small switch (not a router).  Connecting Ethernet cables between the radio, Maestro, and PC works the same as above.  In fact, there is really no practical limit to the number of devices that can be operated this way.

If you set static IP addresses for your devices and PC, both of the above "routerless" topologies will work provided the assigned static IP addresses share the same subnet. 

In my station, I reserve IP addresses using a DHCP feature of my router for all of my equipment and devices.  This reserved DCHP configuration allows me to configure each device to use DHCP but will assign the same IP address every time.  I need to factory reset my gear much more than the average FlexRadio customer so this configuration strategy works very well for me.  

73!
(Edited)
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N4VGE

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Thanks for you comments.  My problem is my radio is semi-permanently installed in a motorhome which does not have a hard connection to a modem or internet.  I hold an Extra license and don't mind learning new things but I don't want to learn network sharing, wireless connections, 100/1000 switches, or how to connect mini-smart router to some 192.168.x.x   Flex first told me plugging it into a modem was the only way.  The next day Flex told me to get a 100/1000 switch.  The next day I had four different geeks in my club to try to connect and their recommendation was to get an internet bridge.  So Field Day came and went with 0 contacts from my Flex although I had installed a 160m L dipole, 80 meter wire, 6 meter quad, and two 15-20-40 verticals. 
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k0eoo

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Thanks Dan for taking the time to outline the NO WAN FD setup!
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Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

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Steve,

First, I apologize if someone from FlexRadio gave you bad advice on solving a network problem, please contact me off this form (dan@flex-radio.com) with the details and I will look into it.

Second, it's rapidly becoming important today for ham operators to treat their computer networks on a nearly equal footing to their antenna systems if it isn't already.  Networks and computers are now vital shack infrastructure. I can't think of very many classes of new electronic consumer products that don't employ a network now. 

I am sympathetic though and can remember similar concerns/conversations occurring between hams when transistors started replacing tubes and when digital modes made their debut. The facts are that technology advances and manufacturers field products that map well to the technologies of the day. Managing a consumer network doesn't require mastery of the topic, it does require some basic knowledge that you can find in abundance on the Internet and in the ARRL Handbook.   

FlexRadio Systems products are groundbreaking and continue to advance the state-of-the-radio-art, following a tradition of similar advancements by a long list of professional and amateur experimenters who were inspired by our "hobby".

SDR has forever changed the way we operate and the use of networks change where we can. For example, ten years ago operating a station remotely would have been an expensive and technology challenged endeavor, today you get that out of the box. 

I'm happy to help in any way Steve, drop me a note and I'd love to chat. 

73,

 

(Edited)
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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I missed one of your posts Van, I see you uninstalled the previous version, so then if v3.xx is the only version now on the laptop you would need internet and your laptop on the same LAN as your radio in order to complete the upgrade. But if you still have the 2.5.1 download on your laptop that matches the version on your 6700,  yes just open it up to install, it will create separate installation with it's own desktop icons and you will be back on-the-air in minutes.
(Edited)
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N4VGE

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Mike,
Thanks.  I tried to install the 2.5.xx and Flex gave me some error code.  My geek friends tried so many things and I saw so many error messages I forget why I couldn't load 2.5.xx.  I think that it couldn't see the radio ALTHOUGH the Radio Shows up on the desktop when I plug in the network cable?
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N4VGE

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To all who tried to help and others:
Thank you to those with advice who did not make this personal.  I am upset with Flex but did not make any of my complaints personal.  Flex is not a person so those negative comments cannot be considered personal.  My Flex is still off the air and I am waiting for corporate to settle in.  Then I will call them with my complaints and renew my request for directions to  upgrade.  At this time there is no way I can recommend Flex at any level.  I would rather spend my time chasing grids, playing with antennas, supporting my local ham club, or hitting my finger with a hammer than spend time trying to spend money on Flex's upgrade.
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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I had a strange issue with SSDR opening, but having done enough Field Day type ops I was prepared with various software versions and simply reinstalled.  

The funny thing was it worked Friday night in a test, then Saturday at 10AM it refused to work.  No idea what changed. 

Anyway we were K0DIT 3A CO.   We braved a massive amount of rain, wind and cold to operate from the Pawnee Grasslands to the NW of Fort Collins.  Totally battery and solar power, unfortunately there was not much solar to be had!