I have the 6500.
I have noticed quite a few signals show on the panadpter a wide spreading out signal...meaning if I let's say have 2.9 as my rcv bandwidth I see a very large spreading of the signal at the bottom (maybe 2 KC or more than the bandwidth image.
Also on the waterfall I see horizontal spikes going out each side of the signal. Reducing Pre-Amp or using ATTN does not change the display (Anytime??).
Is this a problem with the Flex design?? OR are these signals really that bad?
It seems only with very strong signals...but I have seen many +10-20 signals look OK.
Is the front end of this radio getting overloaded or are there that many bad TX's out there??
The 6000 series sees all the warts on other signals. Phase noise and IMD.
The strong signal is actually not bad.
Running at 13.8V really does make a clean signal at 100W difficult. I suspect that many PSU and cable combinations just sag on low voice frequency peaks.
The guys running 50V PAs look great.
I have seen many where a slight reduction in drive makes the emission a lot cleaner.
The Flex SDRs can also cut the level of low frequencies that can be dominant in male voices.
These add little to intelligibility and are likely outside the RX pass band as well as stressing the PSU and PA.
There is a boat anchor net in South Eastern VK, its fascinating to see the range of signals on the old gear. From almost perfect to horrible.
Not sure what you mean the strong signal is not that bad?
I could hear him way outside my 2.9 passband.
up 3 down 4-6.
I see so much of this I could swear it was the Flex being overloaded.
Why does the attn. and preamps not change the panadapter / waterfall??
On the 6500 I use a 200-3100 for my xmit BW. Get good reports.
I have also heard the Flex 6000 has some issues with XMIT??
The panadapter and waterfall show the signal as it is when it leaves the antenna. the ATTN and preamps change the position of the noise floor according to the scale scale on the right hand side of the panadapter. an S9 -73dB signal will still read @S9 but the noise floor drops lower the more preamp you add or remove, you can move it up to 30 dB lower. and make a signal, and noise floor up to 30dB louder, and pull signals out of the noise sometimes. the DSP/AGC/AF sliders don't have any effect on the display, but they do change how signals sound, I started out on a portable SW receiver. It only had 2 knobs and an earphone jack, and didn't even light up when you turned it on. The 6500 has fewer knobs but it does light up, sounds a lot better, and seems to hear way more signals. Don't you miss the good old day's?
It would be even more instructive to see a video of a signal like this. I have watched otherwise clean signals begin to break up and flair out like this when an operator got more excited or animated in a conversation and you can see the breakup in linearity as he crosses the power threshold much the same as you can hear a guitar amp that is being played just on he edge of distortion whenever the player puts just a little bit of edge or "bite" on a note. While it sounds great on a guitar played skillfully, it is a sign of an amateur radio amp that is being overdriven!
Yes, I have seen worse than this guy in the picture. There are a couple of guys in Cuba and a KP4 that I hear on 20 & 40 for example that I don't even need to hear, only see on my scope, and I know that they are on the air.
And I once contacted a station on 75 meters who was running a misadjusted Hallicrafters phasing rig that was fully 30 KHz wide. He laughed when I told him how wide he was, as though he didn't care. Or perhaps he was laughing out of embarassment.
Thanks guys for the education and opinions.
But here is the bottom line....
This signal and lots of other suck big time in reality.
Why do I say that???...because (not necessarily this one only) when I see this on the Flex...these guys are wide/splattering call it what you want...and they interfere with station 4-8 kc away! Both directions.
I see lots of +20 signals that are right in the passband at 2.9 setting...and they do not interfere.
One of my buddies on 7138 actually had big 3 element yagi, 1500 out and great propagation to me ....he is usually +20...and his signal looks worse than the example I show here. He is running a ICOM 7700 ($7,000 radio) He cares that he is wide...but so far we have not found a solution. We were on 7138, I could hear him pretty loud on 7133 and 7142...that's terrible,
The only way we really improved it was to go way low on Mic gain and then his audio was way to low and his signal was way down.
I see this all the time & THAT is why I have been wandering if it is my Flex. I only see this on very strong signals. But Plenty of +10 signals are beautiful clean...right down the RCV bandpass.
One thing for sure...lots of hams want to see all those meters move a lot...so they are loud??
Do all you guys see the same thing I am seeing??
It will not FIX it but it should help. And without altering that audio significantly .
You can choose to go quite wide on most of the radios out there today,
Around 3.0 or 3.2 there really is enough audio fidelity to be no larger .
And yes there is a load of mis adjusted cruddy sounding radios out there .
And then there are some that are phenomenal.
OK, thanks for the education....
I will see if I can work with by friend to see if we can change the quality of the signal.
Most think if they have a peak reading wattmeter(I do) and they are putting out max for that amp AND the Mic gain is not to a point of clipping they are good. He is using a OMPOWER -2500 and you have to wander how well it is tuned up as well??
Some people..(Not necessarily my friend here)... well you work with them, clean it up & next day there the same again..
They want to see all those meters moving a lot! They seem to have this thing about being the loudest, badest on the band...and their neighbors suffer. And I think some do it to keep neighbors from moving in close.
If I ever had a radio or amp that created that issue and I could not fix it...It would be history!
You must be talking about using a 6500 on TX....
My issue is with what I see on RCV. I have been told by folks with Flex and others as well that my signal looks real clean on TX...(That's why I don't understand why some have said the Flex could use work in that area).
Tonight on 40 I am going to look around & see just how many Sigs are so bad they interfere with QSO's nearby....
Yes, I restated my point above because I've seen and heard people mention that their mic level was below 0dB and stayed mostly yellow, Red == IMD == BAD == LID. Again, I don't think your radio's at fault, unless you fault it for being too sensitive, accurate, detailed and Flexible. Radio is something done best with the ears and hunting something done best with the eyes, I have a scratch in the top cover of one radio, It annoyed me to no end that I had scratched it. Then I hit upon a workable solution, Since it's was electronic equipment, i selected something appropriate for the repair, a 3" length of Scotch® Super 33+TM, since only the best would do. I applied the tape so that, the final repair would have a professional, appealing and innocent appearance by placing the strip of tape, directly above the scratch. I can't really say for sure mind you, since serious investigation might destroy the repair, tape, is valuable and hard to locate in the shack, but I really feel the scratch is gone now. I haven't seen it in over a year. An added bonus is that . Should I need a 3" length of tape and can't locate the roll, I know where to track down a 3" piece. Moral is, listen to your radio, look at your radio, but avoid looking at the signals on the band, just listen to them, or find some tape, or a blindfold. Your radio can hear, It can also see. Has it seen my roll of tape?
Jay - NO5J
Audio adjustments will also impact the IMD and you can find settings that will lessen this condition .
I have tried to answer your question on your friends OM amp. it is good you have this conversation with him.
There is the Lab perspective & the practical. From the practical standpoint I only see a problem when the offending signal (IMD, Splatter...what ever you want to call it) causes SIGNIFICANT interference to adjacent QSO's. I see it on the panafall...then I tune to either side and yep there it is several KC's away causing interference loud enough to cause issues. It is most obvious on the waterfall as horizontal spikes going left & right. Some very strong signals are very clean and stay pretty much in the transmit PB. Some are terrible. So if all radios have IMD (Lab tests) then who cares UNLESS it is bad enough to cause others problems.
I have had multiple QSO buddies look at my signal, on scopes, tuning side to side and they ALL say the 6500 is nice & clean. So this IMD complaint on the 6000 series must be from those that look at Lab tests, not real signal reports?? And I am talking my QSO's where I am 20 over, running 1500 watts...so it would be apparent.
The OM 2500 is Autotune, so as long as he has set up the pre-tune setups correctly the amp should be in pretty good tune.
Actually the other day running barefoot...I saw the same problem, so it's not just with the AMP.
I had him turn off the processor and turn the Mic gain down where the signal dropped strength a lot and while it was better most of it was still there. Not so good.
Since I see a lot of this...that is why I originally asks if it could be the Flex at fault.
A couple times I did use my Drake R-4C (before you laugh, this is the full Sherwood R-4C, with 2.4KC front in roofing filters, and is a super selective RX) to check out signals I saw on the Flex as bad and I did here the offenders several KC away, loud enough to cause issues with adjacent QSO's. But since I did not look at lots of signals I still wasn't sure if what I see on the Flex is what is there or not.
I guess the group here says it is.
An example is on the same QSO another friend has +10 signal, uses a older Kenwood, a ALS 600 and his signal looks great.
Oh, also, many times I have used my Drake C line with 1200 out of a Drake L-4B amp and asked for signal analysis with those with scopes & they say it looks clean as a whistle. I'm sure if I overdrove it, or the L-4B was mistuned I could cause Splatter...I was concerned it being an old radio about being a good neighbor, but maybe I should be more concerned about any modern radios.
When I transmit on the Flex 6500 ...the panafall display shows my signal as terrible...I guess that is not really showing the real deal??
When I said all have IMD the other end of the coin is there are sum that have less.
Like spurious emissions ,splattering , or Bandwidths larger than the band and conditions permit . We all should strive to operate as clean as possible.
Maybe we should be requiring some HAMS to clean their act up rather than attaching devices to do that for them .
The OM 2500 has 2 units with that namesake One is Auto and one is HF or manual.
Both require accurate tuning just one can memorize that fact . (Auto) However even the auto tuner needs a consistent drive level. (Change that and the rest (Tune , Load) also changes )
Our Flex transmit display is pretty accurate .
I keep saying having the privilege of owning a Flex is like also getting test equipment included.
What your seeing in the panafall in RX on your panadapter is pretty close to reality, depending on how you have averageing and FPS, and speed and gain and black level, set. What your seeing in TX on the panadapter probably has more to do with the maturity level of the SmartSDR code. I don't think that it will look like that once it leaves your antenna.
When I play wih EQ settings I frequently zoom in on the panadapter so that all I'm seeing is the passband and I zoom in the dB scale until peaks reaches close to the top of the panadapter window. I have old eyes and slow optic nerves that don't process small and fast changes in realtime. When zoomed in that much, the skirts on the passband do look pretty ominous. But thats what the signal looks like Raw in the DSP and I suspect the data is gathered ahead of the DSP filtering that creates the TX passband. Or, maybe it just hasn't been calibrated.
In PowerSDR developement there were versions released, that turned OFF the Panandapter display entirely, PowerSDR had other displays, you could watch the TX signal with, like spectrum, and scope. but the panadapter would show nothing.
Right now, during TX, SmartSDR shows nothing but a purple line across the entire waterfall. I don't think my antenna is spewing purple across the entire electromagnetic spectrum throughout the entireity of spacetime, but it could be. Might even be handy. :)
For now, I'm greatful for the TX panadapter even though I suspect it's just a DSP fantasy, It goes well with my fantasy of what my audio sounds like here on earth.
I wonder if anyone's got a Flex that is local to you that could screenshot your signal and email it to you. For ultimate proof maybe somone could create a video of "SmartSDR-Me sees", splitscreened with "SmartSDR-Me looks like there". maybe even show the changes as you change the mic level to -10dB, -5dB, -1dB, -0.1dB, 0dB, +0.1dB, +1dB, +11dB. Possibly even do the same Barefoot and through SS, Triodes, and Tetrodes, properly driven and MaxSmoke mode. Might get a lot of views on Youtube. Might win you the Nobel Peace prize for Amateur Radio Physics. Wouldn't that look good hanging below your DXCC certificate. You could even exchange QSL cards as proof of the contact.
In Coloring books, as in Colored waterfalls your ability to stay inside the lines is what really counts the most. No one cares how loud you color, they just want you to stay off their paper. And, if your going to drool while you do it, go get a towel.
the station on 14.160 is a little over 3khz wide
The station on 14.188 is a lot wider
And the station displayed on 14.204 is abt 4KHZ wide .
The 14.188 signal does show on the leading edge opposite side band which shows peak to that peak -25 or so db.
Most likely this radio operator is running a power amplifier . So whatever is passed through the exciter is also impacting the amplifier performance.
I believe most amps are in the range of -35 or so
Say for an example the exciter can generate a signal that does have a -40DB imd signature the result of this drive into the amp and then amplified will produce most likely little more than that starting point of the amp.
Now use one that produces even -25 this will also impact that amp and increase the distortion . Possibly to that - dbm number your screen shot displays .
Again the Flex radio is a pretty good piece of hardware .
Oh yes some people actually will send you screen shots also wave recordings of your audio some even un solicited . These are information for you . As seen,heard at another station is pretty Unique .
The first gentleman that responded to you was pretty right on .
And for the record a flex driven with insufficient audio is just as bad as one with too much. Both will affect the results .
Before worrying about levels I listen in monitor and get the EQ the way I want it. which strangely enough happens to be the default PR781 EQ profile. How did they do that?
I must really be a good match for my Flex and my mic because the default mic level "73" with the 20dB preamp on and using the BAL selection on the TX Panel ends up being the perfect setting for me and my mic. How did they do that?
I verify my mic level in what might be a stupid fashion.
I make sure I'm switched to the dummy load to avoid looking stupid publicly. I Turn the TX level down to 1. I pull the PR781 pop screen right into my lip. I then speak into the mic at a slightly louder level than I would in a regular QSO, while watching the Level meter on the TX panel. With my voice the problems show up mostly when I say the 5 in my call sign. That will ususally produce a maximum input with this mic. Two other words that I overdrive the mic element with are Tesseract, and Amsterdam, they don't usually come up in a QSO (never have) , but they will clip easily if the mic gain is too high. So in that loud voice with the mic screen on my lip I raise the level so the peak indicator flickers red occasionally on those three words. Then I reduce the mic level 1 unit at a time until it doesn't flicker red at all just using those three problem words. I verify that raising the gain 1 unit flickers red and reducing the gain 1 unit stops the flickering red. The gain level I determine stays yellow I think of as a maximum clean level. After I have that level figured out. I relax back in my chair the way I would in long ragchew and position the mic on the boom so that its on axis and pointed straight at my mouth, and space it the width of my index and middle fingers away from my lips. I pull it right up to that distance tight. And speak as I normally do, at that distance to the mic screen. At that distance I hoping that I now have enough audio headroom to never clip no matter how excited the QSO gets. and also at that distance if I raise the mic level 2 units it will start to flicker red if I get loud. If I see red at that distance I back it down another unit. If I'm not causing the peak indicator to hit the 0 indicator while still yellow I'll either reposition the mic or bump the gain up 1 unit.
See I told you it was Stupid!
With me and "73", the EQ defaults and 2 fingers worth of space. It's about as good. loud, and clean as Im going to be able to be.
I then Tune the Amp until it's tuned up putting out 50 watts shy of legal limit with the TX power set at 81. I retune the amp with less TX from the exciter when I loaf the Amp at a kilowatt.