Flex 6700 and Expert amp SPE 2K FA Connections

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  • Updated 8 months ago
Their are numerous posts up here on how to hook up/connect a Flex 6700 to the SPE 2K FA.  I wanted to summarize and make clear several points.

First, the USB port on the SPE 2K FA is for computer to amp communication only.  You may not use this to hook the Flex 6700 up directly to the amp.

Hooking the amp via the RS 232 portion of the DB 15 connectors provided by SPE, then to a USB to serial adapter that plugs into the USB port of the Flex is the only way to do it.

You only need three lines RX, TX and GND to have CAT communication between the devices.

ALC does not work properly.  It is actually very quick and easy to program the power out of the Flex per band to the Amp.  Very quick. I left the default values except where they needed to be increased or decreased to have things right.

Auto on DOES WORK. VDC are low but seems to get the job done. So, when you turn on your Flex radio, the amp comes on too.  I have the "quiet" Fan mode enabled so unless I'm transmitting its silent.  Very nice. 

PTT via the DB 15 works just fine.

You must be feeding a very well tuned antenna for this stuff to make any sense at all and that load needs to be stable or else each time you operate your going to have to adjust the input power to the amp from the Flex.  In other words, make sure either your antennas are tuned properly over the range of frequencies you intend to work, or, that your antenna tuner automatic or otherwise, always provides the same load/swr.

What if you want to use the second SCU?  Well, no problem.  Once again, have Dan make you up a second cable.  Ignore the accessory hook up for the second amp and just use the RS 232 to USB as noted above. The RS232 will hang out of Dan's cable.  In the same way you hooked the first one up to a USB to serial adapter which plugged into the 6700 so you'll do that again here.   Have the ANT 2 hooked into the second input.  Define a USB/CAT setup for the second USB hook up so that band data from the second slice will be sent over.  I'd recommend using the choice of "follow the  RECEIVER" so that the second slice will always have port two of the amp set up when you pull the TX over there.  Others may have different ideas and you'll choose what works best for you. 

You can have your cables made by Dan Tassll his contact info is on the SPE Expert web home page at the bottom.  He's highly responsive.  On weekends he's frequently at shows with his wife and will only respond by email late at night.  But he will get back to you and on the following Monday your cable will likely be on its way.  Just order it in advance of your amp arriving and when the amp arrives its about as plug and play as it gets.

HTH
Peter
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W2PP

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Posted 8 months ago

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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Peter,

Your summary follows my setup pretty well and I agree with everything.

One thing I do different is I leave my Flex 6500 on full time.   So I have my amp remote on tied to a Raspberry Pi with a relay board that I can access via a private web page.

I also use "Virtual Here" which routes USB over networks and the internet and I have the SPE 2K USB routed into my raspberry Pi which runs a Virtual Here server.  This means I can use the SPE USB software anywhere on my LAN and also over the internet.

I also when it has been cooler have been leaving the amp on.  It does not draw much in idle mode.

The last thing I've done is to program up the antenna selections and use the built in tuner in the Amp.  I took each band that I operate and started at the low end, then went up 10kc till the high end.  At each 10kc point I let the amp tune.

In this configuration I have instant band changing and the amp tuner locks in pretty much instantly.  For those strange and tough to tune bands I do have a Palstar HF Auto that can usually tune them.

Mark - ws7m
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Regarding the antennas, I'm still trying to decide what to do. Currently I'm running the main antenna system through the amp port 1.  I have a 9 band vertical independent of that, that is tied into ant 2 of the Flex 6700.  Per the schematic in the SPE manual the SO2R is hooked to the input 2 all the time so that is how I will hook it up.
Peter
(Edited)
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Now regarding antennas and communicting properly with the amp.  OK, I have an antenna on the SO2R port of the amp.  I have ant 1 and 2 of the Flex 6700 attached to ports 1 and 2 of the amp respectively.  I have two of Dan's cables the second cable is NOT plugged into the accessory port of the radio.  Don't need it.  I do have the PTT plugged into the radio though.  I also have the USB to RS 232 converter plugged in to the amp via the DB 15 cable hook up into port two CAT of the amp.

Now, in order for things to work right you should:
assign slice B to ant 2 xmit and receive
assign slice A to an 1 xmit and receive

while setting up the SECOND CAT connection/USB assign that one to the receiver for B and ant 2

the amp will follow you right along.

Its complicated, but if you follow these instructions your input 1 and input 2 of the amp will line right up.

NOW the problem I am having is, with this setup, the amp keys when I use slice B, the radio is putting out 40 watts or so, the SWR is 1 as seen by the radio,  but their is NO power getting to the antenna at all.  I have no idea where this power is going and why the amp isn't seeing any RF in either???

Anyone have an idea on this one?

Peter
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It looks like the power is going right out the SO2R port without being amplified.  Odd since I have input two assigned to Ant 1 for all bands.  

Did they change something?

Peter
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Mark - WS7M

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Peter,

I cannot confirm or deny power out SO2R port.

I have my Flex 6500, ANT 2 only sent into input 1 on the amp.  Cable for input one (hand made) goes to USB to Serial of flex.  Some wires to PTT.

I have a Yeasu FT991A wired to input 2 and cable from its antenna port goes to input 2.

I have one primary antenna:  280 foot loop connected to ANT1 on the SPE amp.

I have a simple end fed dipole connected to SO2R.

If I transmit on flex my SPE amp input changes to input 1.  Antenna changes to whatever antenna is set for the band.  In my case always antenna 1.

If I transmit on Yaesu input changes to input 2.  Antenna selection follows band settings for input 2 antenna (they are different)

I have the SO2R port also connected to a simple SDR Play for monitoring.  If power was coming from input 2 and going out the SO2R port I'd have fried that little SDR play but so far it is happy.

M
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W2PP

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OK happily SPE provided a schematic.  If the PTT is NOT actuated properly on Input 2 of the amp then the SO2R antenna is hooked directly to Input 2.  Thus explains why my RF was going out into the multiband antenna.  Their is something about having the DB 9 connection to the Flex that bothers the amp.  I unhooked it, put a direct PTT line between each input on the SPE and left, of course, the RS 232 band data/power stuff alone.  This now allowed the amp to independently read the band data from slices A and B, (band data only sent when the band is changed ) and for the amp to switch between the inputs on PTT. 

Think I'll put my HF Auto on standby until its really needed.  I'll try the internal SPE ATU as most of my antennas are pretty close.  The benefit of doing so means that when the SPE amp switches from 20 meters to 6 meters the antenna will be instantly tuned and I won't have to put the amp on standby while the HF Auto does its thing.   

This ATU final adjustment might just wrap it up.

Peter
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W2PP

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My antennas were better off than I thought.  Barely needed any tuning.  I've bypassed the HF Auto I'll use it at the higher end of 160 meters.  The amp pulled the rest in easily.  Nice bonus, when you pop form a very low band to say 6 meters, tuning is instant no waiting.  Very good.

Peter
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W2PP

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OK, minor operator error.  These cables get a little confusing.  You need to be sure you don't cross up the two DB 9 connectors from the Expert amp to the 6700.  You only need ONE of them, then be sure that which ever input port to the amp is chosen to be the accessory connection to the radio does NOT also have a PTT line to the TX 1,2,or 3.  The accessory DB 9 covers that.  With that minor adjustment, I get full control of the amp, auto on/off with the radio, auto input selected by the amp depending on if I am transmitting on slice A or B, full duplex reception, transmission, INSTANT band change from ANY band to ANY band with instant antenna tuner setup.  

Between the Flex 6700 and the Expert SPE 2KFA its stunning how FAST you can operate and I do mean FAST.  Tons of power output and diversity/full duplex reception instantly.

Terrific radio and amp

Peter