FlexRadio USB Configuration Possibilities

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  • Updated 2 years ago
As an Alpha tester I've completely integrated my station for fully automated SO2R using only the FlexRadio USB connections. A computer is no longer needed! I'm posting this to share possibilities you may not have considered. The relay board is triggered using individual bits to power higher current devices like the antenna relays and callsign light. The relays are used to bypass the 902 transverter to another transceiver for 902 FM repeater work. I'll be pleased to answer any questions. This setup works flawlessly! Well done Flex Radio!

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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Posted 2 years ago

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Jim Gilliam

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Thank you for the great post. It occurs to me that perhaps Flex will be coming out with a universal interface to mate with the Flex radio utilizing USB.


Jim, K6QE

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Michael Coslo

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I'd love for a USB to bluetooth capability. 
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docdailey

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Thanks for this. Designing a new station for our hospital. Would love to do something like this.
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philip.theis, Elmer

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This is an awesome configuration. Great diagram. 
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Clay N9IO

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Mack this is great,  nice job!

You know I have been thinking it might not be a bad idea to have a place on the community site to upload diagrams and/or schematics concerning the many many many different ideas and devices being connected to the Flex 6000 series radios that I guarantee is happening now.
A separate catagory/conversation area added to the site of sorts.
The recent USB support is a HUGE game changer!
What do you think Mack?

Tim???
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Great idea!
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Andrew Chesnokov

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Hi, Mack.
How particularly did you connect 6700 USB port to BandMaster III? Which cable? Wiring? BM III settings?
Please share.
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Friends,

I corrected an error in the labeling and added clarification to how things are split by TX antenna source. Hopefully this will answer some of the questions I've received.

Mack
W4AX
Alpha Tester

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Chip Swett

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This is wonderful...and great work in Dayton.   For my remote base in Maine(Steppir, SPE amp, Green Heron rotor), don't I still need a server to be able to get read backs from these devices, and control specific functions (SPE: set power level, get messages like temp overload, reset;  Green Heron: beam heading;  Steppir: instantiate 180 deg, get 'tuned' readback etc.)?
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Chip,

Thank you for your comments. For now the communications are pretty simple. For the SteppIR and SPE it will provide those devices with frequency information. I too use a SteppIR and find that this meets my needs remotely. You cannot retract the elements or 180 degrees the direction from the Flex. 

For the SPE I have replaced my Alpha 9500 and Acom 2000 with a single PowerGenius XL amp. (I'm testing a pre-production version to get the bugs out). It can be completely controlled from within SmartSDR over the LAN. Previously I was using K5FR's DDUtil program for control but that requires a computer.

I too use three Green Heron controllers. The radio does not have any heading information. That typically comes from a 3rd party logging program. However, I do the following to control the three, soon to be four, rotators. I run 24 X 7 very low end computer that is connected to the GH Controllers. Using Green Heron Everywhere and setting up the server I can expose a port via the Internet to control all three rotators and the 8 circle active receive array. You could also run DDUtil on this small computer and expose another port on the Internet to control your amps and the SteppIR.

Flex has appropriately made the decision that third parties would need to write specific code if they want further integration. I'm sure you'll agree we want Flex writing code for the radio and not the dozens or peripherals that exist in the market. 

Let me know if I wasn't clear with my explanation.

Mack
W4AX
Alpha Tester
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Chip Swett

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Very helpful, Mack.  How do you do remote turn off/on of Flex? Is this by the relay board, and if so, what relay board are you using?

Any special considerations for CW and N1MM?

Chip
KB1QU
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Mack W4AX - appreciated your presentation and your sharing so much "How To Do" information.

Can I ask what your used for the relay board and a bit of "how to" in making it work.  Let's start with just simply the "On the Air" sign, as if I follow you on this I should be able to make other things work.

I'd say I was "asking for a friend" but in honestly your setup is simpler and since simple usually means robust, more advantageous than the way I'd been doing some of this.

Many thanks in advance!

73

Steve K9ZW

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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Steve,

Thank you for the kind words. I'm using this relay board https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M90SR3G/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 . It comes in various flavors based upon your specific needs. I like it because it includes a Darlington transistor for ultra low current draw to actuate.

I simply set up a USB port on the Flex to Active High, TX Slice, Trigger: Frequency Range (1-903 MHz), PTT On (PTT delay; 0 ms, TX delay 0 ms).

I then use a FTDI bit cable to send the selected bit to to one of the relays. Part number: C232HM-EDHSL-0 . Available from Flex or Mouser. See the data sheet for wiring.

Wire the relay to 12.8 or so volts and in this case the call sign light also uses 12.8V. I use my station power supply. They also make a 5 V version of the card if that suits your needs better.

The explanation is actually more complex than the actual setup. I use this same relay board for IF out switching and PTT on my transverters.

Mack
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Chip,

It's super simple to turn on/off the Flex. On the rear of the Flex is an RCA jack labeled Remote Power On. Take a RCA plug and short the conductors together. 

In the SmartSDR or Maestro setup check Remote On.

Use an internet controlled power strip. I'm using this one but there are much less expensive alternatives. https://www.digital-loggers.com/lpc.html . I saw some for as little as $29 though I can't vouch for those.

Open the appropriate port on your router to allow the power switch to be accessed. In my case I set a fixed IP address and port number.

To turn off the Flex just kill the power. You won't hurt anything.

Mack
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Chip Swett

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Perfect.  Thanks, Mack.  I'll be up in Maine next week (for the summer) and will start reconfiguring the station along these guidelines.  Now if you could just tell me how to get better bandwidth out there in the wilds of North central Maine, I'd really be set.  I think I have enough.
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Chip,

I know your question is tongue and cheek but you "could" buy two internet connections, preferable for different providers, and bond them together using the appropriate router. That discussion is beyond the scope of this reflector and requires a bit of advanced networking knowledge.

Mack
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Adding the Flex-6000 USB Guide link as it wasn't exactly where I had expected to fin it (it is at the very bottom of all available downloads): http://www.flexradio.com/downloads/usb-cable-interface-guide-pdf/

Appreciate all the fine advice!

73

Steve K9ZW