Flex 6700 and PSK31 - JT65 - et al

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I want to set up my Flex 6700 for PSK31, JT65 and other weak signal digital modes.  I am new to my Flex 6700 and want to use it for weak signal digital modes.  I have the GPSDO installed.  Do I need an external hardware device such as a MicroHam microKeyer (or similar device) or merely an add-on program for the Flex?  Thanks in advance for any help!
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Bill - N4APG

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Posted 2 years ago

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KF4HR

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Bill - for PSK31 and several other digital modes, FLDigi works well.  Here's a tutorial for the Flex.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVOhj244e30

Butch
KF4HR
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Happy new year, Bill!

No, you don't need ANY external device (unless you want to do PACTOR, as I do :-))

There are a lot of external programs, the best are:

1. Utility programs: FRStack, SDRBridge, MiniDeluxe
2. Digital mode programs: WSJT-X, HRD DM780, HRDLog, Log4OM, fldigi, SIM-PSK, EasyPAL

Here are my tutorials (not wholly up-to-date and I'm sure there are bettern ones on the net):

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/tutorial-setting-up-wsjt-x-with-smartsdr

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/tutorial-setting-up-fldigi-with-smartsdr

I wish you a lot of fun with the digital weak signal modes,

73, Alex - DH2ID
(Edited)
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Chris DL5NAM

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... or JTDX !!
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Hi Chris! Of course JTDX ... although I use it only in special condx...
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Alexander Kaldin

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http://www.qrz.lt/ly3bg/JTDX/jtdx.html          для DX JTDX      RX    до   -35 db
(Edited)
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Bill - N4APG

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Hi Alexander,

I'll take a look at JTDX.  Looks interesting.

73,

Bill 
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Richard

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Bill,

I have the 6700 on RTTY and PSK Modes and no External Devices Required!  Dont' think you need them on the JT Modes either.   If you need help on specific settings drop me and email.  Good on QRZ.  Otherwise Google or YouTube the Flex 6700 and Digital Modes.  Be surprised how many folks are out there to help.....  Good Luck

I presently use the 6700 / Computer es HRD / DM780 for my Digital Modes such as RTTY and the PSK Modes.

Richard - WB4VMH
(Edited)
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Bill - N4APG

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Great - thank you all for the responses.  The YouTube instructional videos are very helpful.  73 and see you down in the noise, Bill 
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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That is the beauty of the Flex.  No outside interfaces needed!  Just download your program, install it, and configure it.  Here are a few pointers:

1) The DAX channels are "virtual audio cables"  and the CAT ports are "virtual serial COM ports"  

2) Most digital programs will allow you set up your "sound card" device from a pull-down list or select them insome other way.  

3) For the receive input, use your choice of "DAX RX" channels 1-8.  (Do NOT use any of the DAX RESERVED channels.  That is the "radio end" of the virtual audio cable.

4) For the Transmit port, use DAX TX Audio Stream.

5) Open your DAX Control Panel and make sure the button for both of these channels is activated.

6) on your active slice flag on the 6000, select the DAX channel corresponding to the DAX Channel you defined in your Digi program configuration.

7) Make sure your DAX button is ON in the Transmit profile panel.

8) Use DigiU mode for most digital modes.

9) set up a MicProfile for DigiU  that passes the correct audio frequencies for the mode.  (When I run JT65/JT9 I use 5KHz wide)  Save the profile.  The first time you use the digital mode, you will need to manually select the MicProfile when in DigiU.  After that, the rig will remember to link that profile whenever you are in DigiU mode.

10) Setup and link your digi program to a CAT Com port for communications and control.  You can define a new port in the CAT control panel if you need one... Hit Add Port, and create a pair of ports (the radio end and the Digi program end.)  The SSDR standard is usually using a lower number for the program end and a matching number +100 for the radio end.  i.e.   COM12 / COM112.   If you wish, you can link this to a particular slice, and there is an "auto-switch" option that will automatically make that slice active for Transmit whenever you transmit from your digital program.  really handy.

11) Once you have decided which COM port pair you will use, put the lower number of the pair into your Digi program configuration file.  Most programs will allow you to select an option to send CAT commands to the rig for PTT control.  If so, select that option.  If not, you can define an additional port in CAT that is dedicated for PTT and use that COM port as your PTT port in the Digi program.

12) You will need to fine tune your input and output levels using either your Digi program or the level sliders in the DAX Control Panel.   For TX, NEVER let your level go into the RED ZONE of the transmit audio level meter on the Transmit Control panel.  You will be distorted and unreadable.  

13) Now, get on the air and have fun.

Additional hints:

When using WSJT-X, be very careful with the input audio level.  too much and you will swamp the input.  Check the WSJT-X user guide for setting the proper levels.

You can run multiple Digi programs and modes at the same time while running multiple slices.  up to 8 at a time with the 6700.  The key to doing this smoothly is to have multiple DAX and CAT Com ports set up and use one set for each program/Slice.  Come programs allow you to run multiple instances of the same program on different slices or frequencies, each one on a different slice.  There are special setup protocols for this that vary depending upon the program.
In any case, one of the keys is to define the "auto switch" mode and assign the correct slice to each instance.  It sounds confusing at first, but if you can figure out how to open and keep track of multiple panadapters and multiple slices on a Flex 6700, you can figure this out, or get someone to help you!  

It almost took longer to type this that it takes to do the actual setup one you get used to it.
In fact, 5 other people responded to your post while I was typing this...

I hope it helps....
Have fun.

Ken - NM9P
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Bill - N4APG

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Thanks, Ken - very helpful!  73, Bill
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Bill - N4APG

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For reference, using Flex DAX audio and a program like FLDigi appears to be the most efficient way to use digital protocols in the Flex 6700 due to the very low loss A>D and D>A conversion.

However, another way to accomplish this per microHAM's staff would be to use the microKEYER II and the DB37-FX-6000 interface cable, plus an FTDI USB to Serial cable.  I'm going with the DAX process and FLDigi for now.  I have used microHAM products in the past and they are very high quality.      
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Bill - N4APG

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Ken,

I agree.  That's why I bought the Flex 6700.  It's a different animal; and I suspect the future of HF radio.  I have an Elecraft K3S I bought in 2015/2016 I will be selling as a result.  I an very impressed with my 6700.  My Elecraft K3S is also an amazing radio, but I have now moved to Flex.  Eight slices simultaneously, all the same specification?  Impressive. 

73,

Bill
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Chris DL5NAM

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Ken, there are more then one Digital Modes exist and there are more then one MiccroHam devices exists and there more then one operation modes we have!!!

The world is maybe bigger then you think :-)

So be careful - our Flex6 is a dream machine, but not the solution for all of "our problems"

I am very happy with my combination of my Icom, Flex and Microham
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Hello Chris.

The original post was asking about PSK31, JT65, and other weak signal modes, and whether he "needed" an external interface, or if he could run them merely using the software and virtual audio/serial ports.

My reply that for these modes an external device is "unnecessary" and could potentially bring additional complications to the system is, I think, accurate.

But I meant no disrespect to MicroHam and any of its products. From what I have read and seen, some of their interfaces, especially the ones with built-in USB sound devices, are some of the best available.

I am aware that there are some digital modes, for example AMTOR others, that are not easily available without some external boxes.

However, the ones the OP mentioned do not "require" one. Though many hams may prefer to use them, and do so effectively.

I have run a great many digital and analog modes with the 6500, including RTTY, PSK31, JT65/JT9, Olivia, Throb, Feldhell, MSK144, slow-scan, EasyPal, HF Packet, WeFAX, DRM, and many others that I cannot recall at the moment. I have played with most of the modes in FLDigi at one time or another, if only briefly.

I have not done AMTOR, ALE, NAVTEXT, or any of the proprietary MARS or other military affiliate modes, or multiplexed data modes. Some of these would indeed require special interfaces.

There may be additional advantages for some operators to use an external interface, especially those who want to connect to more than one rig and switch between them.

But, for the modes mentioned by the original post, and many other "common" digital modes, an external interface is certainly not "required" equipment to interface with the 6000 Series.

Whether it may be desired, or effective, or needed for some of the "other" digital modes, or even preferred in some circumstances is a totally different matter. Each station's requirements and operator preferences will determine the answer to that.
Indeed it is a big world.

73 and GL,
Ken - NM9P
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Alexander Kaldin

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http://www.qrz.lt/ly3bg/JTDX/jtdx.html       здесь    программа    для DX      JTDX 
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Andy M5ZAP

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Hi Bill

I agree with Ken the use of an external interface is mostly unnecessary and adds extra complication. However I understand why people would use a system that they are comfortable and familiar with.

I, like others have googled and researched my way through expanding my flex system knowledge. Learning the methodology / best practice for selecting and setting up third party digital mode and logging software.

There are many good resources out there, including articles on the flex website. Unfortunately they are often incomplete or slightly out of date. I also think explanation of the how the hardware is setup and how the various protocols work would help peoples understanding.  Could we setup an organised collection of information maybe a Wiki to allow collation and management of this information, people could update and add there own knowledge and learning.

I returned to the hobby 12 months ago after an absence of 12 years, I had previously used the digital modes and was surprised on my return how little the manufacturers had moved on with regards to rig comms and interfacing. Three months ago I changed to the flex for this reason and I absolutely love it, I am excited at its massive future potential.

In fact the use of the DAX and SDR Cat interfaces is still only a bit of a halfway house using old legacy protocols to allow communication with most current software. The true functionality of the Flex signature series wont be fully realised until third party software writers start to use the IP comms capability and functionality of the system, then we will truly see what the system can do.

Andy M5ZAP