Flex 6K, 2KFA and Antenna Genius combo. Looking for some input.

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Currently running a Flex 6600.
Just purchased Antenna Genius 8x2 (not in line yet)
SPE 2KFA coming next month.

Mainly asking those who own the 2KFA does this workflow make sense to you.
I don't plan to use the 6 outputs of the 2KFA I think the AG makes more sense.
Am I on the right path?


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Clay N9IO

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Posted 1 month ago

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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Clay,

I don't know much about nor do I have the Antenna Genius.  I do have the SPE 2K-FA.

Here is what I know from having my SPE 2K-FA for over a year:

1) The intent of the SO2R port is to provide a receive antenna to the currently unselected input.  So if you had 2 radios for example, when you selected input 1 for radio 1, radio 2 would be able to listen on whatever antenna was connected to SO2R.

2) There is a condition with the SPE2K that Bob at Expert Linears has verified where transmit power from an input can be routed to the SO2R port.  I forget the exact scenario but I measured it and Bob confirmed it.  For this very reason I have elected NOT to use the SO2R port on the amp.  In my case I had planned to feed the SO2R input into my RX input on my 6600.  But that input cannot handle transmit power and I didn't want to fry things.    You should contact Bob at Expert Linears and ask about this issue.  When I reported it and he confirmed it he was going to notify the factory so it may be resolved.

But assuming this is no longer an issue and without knowing the Antenna Genius it seems that you would need on the Antenna Genius to set Radio 2 to permanently be one of your receive antennas.  Radio 1 of course can be switched to whatever you want.

How your diagram shows things you would be able to use the antenna 2 input to your flex to receive anything that the Antenna Genius radio 2 port was connected to.  If you have a dual SCU unit like a 6600 or 6700 then this makes sense and you will have transmit out Ant 1 and perhaps receive on Ant 2 of the flex.

Anyway you might want to check on the TX power issue with SO2R port on the SPE amp.  I'd be interested to know if Bob reports it has been fixed and if it is a hardware fix or a simple firmware update.

Mark - WS7M

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Clay N9IO

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Thanks Mark, there is always the possibility of Ant 2 going straight to the AG port 2 input bypassing the 2K Radio 2 input if need be. It likely wouldn't change any of my plans only the logic would change slightly perhaps.
The timing on the AG availability is the factor for me. I'm sure when the backlog clears there will be some happy campers out there but I think I will be able to cope with my decision. Ha☺️
Mark I remember the network antenna switch project you helped W9IE with the coding on that project. You're very good and now the WS7M Logger.
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KF4HR

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I don't have my PG-XL yet, but from what I've heard from Flex PG-XL owners (and Forum members please correct me if I'm wrong), the PG-XL is one of the few (if not the only) HF amplifier that has two thru-put connections (only one amplified at a time of course).  This lends itself to the dual RF output of the Flex transceivers and AG Switch.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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I have both an Expert 2k and a PGXL.  PGXL Is the only amp that can do this without using an external listenting antenna as a full duplex solution.
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W5AP

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I've used the two 2KFA inputs from two K3's and set up the antenna switching to appropriate antennas within the 2KFA for SO2R and it worked perfectly.   I didn't use the SO2R input however and am also curious about issues there. But now that I think about it, I'm not sure about any bleed over from one radio to the receive of the other. I tried to solve it with bandpass filters and antenna separation.  So I guess if your saying that if you have the 2KFA set up as I do for 2 inputs to any possible 6 outputs, you're not really receiving on Ant 2 if transmitting on Ant 1.  I didn't know that.
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Rick - N4RZ

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I have a 6600M, 2K-FA and an Array Solutions 6 Pak, 6X2 antenna switch.  (Note: I am waiting on a PGXL amplifier which solves this problem) 

First, the 2K-FA can put power into the SO2R port but only when both inputs are being transmitted into at the same time.  The first input keyed uses the appropriate antenna port 1-6 while the second gets sent to the SO2R output port. 

Second, the 2K-FA implementation of SO2R is flawed in my opinion and the right way to do it is how it is done in the PGXL.  There you have a dedicated output for each input and it doesn't switch the antennas on you as the 2K-FA does.  Basically, on the 2K-FA, any time you transmit a single signal at a time, you will be using one of the output antenna ports and not the SO2R port. While the unused input will be switched over to the SO2R port.   Also, if you were to transmit more than one signal at a time the signal transmitted out of the SO2R port will not be amplified.  I have thought about trying to use a relay switching scheme to get around this issue but decided the extra complexity, given the switching sequencing issues wasn't worth it.  So, I currently run the radios ANT1 to the amp Input 1  to the switch input A and run the radios ANT2 directly to the antenna switches input B.  Although the radios ANT2 port is not amplified I still can use any antenna on either of the radios antenna outputs. 

 
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Lee - N2LEE

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I am in the processing of setting up a SO2R  system using 6600 and SPE 1.3k.
Even if there is a slight leakage to the SO2R port it won't have any effect because my goal is to switch between transmit antennas. If the SO2R was a beverage or Loop with a preamp then I could see an issue.

I have build cables for the AUX connector on the SPE 1.3k to send BCD data to my 6x2 switch. I am only in the testing phase but so far it appears to work perfectly.

Feeding the SPE with 2 USB Cables from the Flex, setup to change frequency on SLICE appears to work best.  Slice A=20m Slice B=40m will tell the ant switch to select correct ant.

Antenna Input A is connected to 6x2 and the SO2R port is connected to Antenna Input B. When the TX changes to Slice B then the 40m is switched to Port 1 and 20m ant to SO2R.

Also the SPE has a /TX-IHB output on the Cat connector and I am feeding that to the TX Inhibit RCA connector on the Flex.




(Edited)
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Clay N9IO

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Lee you are heading down the same road but you are much further into this.

Please keep posting to this thread as you progress.

I have been trying to figure how the logic would work switching between pans as well as the Antenna Genius.

I am very interested in your idea of the TX-IHB. Many failsafes built in to the 2K-FA also well thought out on the Flex.

This all for SO2R. On another note my reasoning for the Antenna Genius instead of using the 6 outputs on the 2K is that I use all of my antennas for receive chasing DX when using just one slice and pan as well as the RX Ant ports with pennants. So thinking the logic throughout each process is important. Sorry doing a little editing here as I go between my xyl's different Dr's appointments.
(Edited)
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Lee - N2LEE

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Clay I have to admit this has taken me some time to get my head around this topic. I actually sat down with a good ham buddy who is also a very smart engineer, to lay this out on paper. Its not that difficult but I was having a hard time making sure I understood how this should work.

I will give your RX only antenna situation some thought but this does add another level of complexity. But obviously Big Gun stations work exactly the same way and listen on beverages or four squares, so this can be done.

My main issue is I did not want to be limited to receiving on a multiband antenna while transmitting the main antenna. I believe my test show with a simple 6x2 antenna switch driven by a band decoder that this is not that hard. And I am not using the4 antenna ports on the SPE either. 

I actually think the SPE (while not perfect) does a very good job of eliminating a lot of the gear necessary to do SO2R.