How do you use 4 or 8 bands?

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This question is based on some comments in other threads about the capabilities of the Flex and the amount of bands you can watch at the same time. I have no clue how to even think at that level.

The best I can do is have two panadapters open on my 6500 with one controlled by fldigi and watching the PSK-31 subband and the other run by WSJT-X and watching the JT-65/9 subband. I'm able to click onto a QSO using fldigi or WSJT-X, TX follows the client, and start a QSO. Both panadpters are on the same band.

How do you make use of 4 or 8 panadpters or is it just multiple RX on fewer panadpters? What do you look at? How are the antennas set up across multiple bands? Can you watch CW on 20 meters and 40 meters simultaneously with two CW skimmers and in a moment answer a CQ on either band? Wouldn't the antenna receive pretty poorly on the band it isn't tuned for? Do you just do this for contesting or is it part of your routine operation? When is a 6700 more appropriate than a 6500 and what kind of antenna setup is necessary to support this?

It would be great if someone could describe a scenario and maybe even offer up a screen shot with an explanation of what it is showing.

73,
Kev K4VD
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Posted 2 years ago

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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On the 6500 you can have up to a total of 4 panadapter and up to a total of 4 slices in any combination. You can have more than one slice in a panadapter, I.e. Two slices in one panadapter and 1 each in two others. Or two each I two panadapters. Or......

You can even have a panadapter open with no slice in it, just to watch the band......nice for keeping a wide view of the spectrum, etc.....

Caveat...you can only use one antenna at a time on a 6500.

For the 6700 the max number is 8. And you can have 2 antennas associated with the rig at the same time.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Many antennas will receive decently outside their resonant frequency. So monitoring multiple bands with one antenna is very doable.

Some scenarios for multiple slices/pans.....
One pan/slice on 20 M WSJT, another on 15 Meter PSK31, a third listening to 17 Meter DX SSB, and a fourth onanother band RTTY. Using the CAT configuration, you can assign each slice to a different COM port, and set it to auto-switch, so that whatever program you hit "send" will automatically take control of the transmitter and send....very cool, if your brain can keep up.....

Some of the biggest advantages of the 6700 are...2 SCU's which means two independent antenna/receive paths. So full duplex SO2R is possible without external filters...or two-antenna diversity with two receivers on the same frequency with two different antennas, one receiver in each ear, allowing you to maximize coverage when one antenna or the other has a fade.

Also the 6700 covers 2 meters at low power. With a suitable amp, you have a great 2 meter rig with panadapter.
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KF4HR

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80-90% of the time I only  use 2 or 3 slices on my 6700, although I do have multiple profiles set up to watch all 8 slices on different bands.  For example watching for the higher frequency bands to open on PSK31, 6 meter SSB/CW openings, DX calling frequencies, etc.  Granted with the sun spot activity being what it is, higher frequencies don't open too often here lately but it is nice to be able to click on a preset Profile and watch 8 bands at once, and sometimes catch bands opening as the MUF expands.  I typically use a wide band antenna for this, 160-6M Windom. 
(Edited)
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Tom N5MOA

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I mainly chase dx and play in contest. I always have at least 2 slices open on my 6500.

Using a Tennadyne T-8, I can cover 20-10 with 1 antenna. Wires for the other bands. It works very well, having up to 4 slices for when a dxpedition  comes up on another band is very handy.

Right now, I'm semi-playing in the 10m contest, working a few on cw, listening up in the ssb area, and watching 20m to see if anything interesting pops up. Not a whole lot going on on any on them.



Yes, I have +20db of pre-amp on. 10m is very quiet here, and several stations all I saw was a very faint line, no copy without the pre-amp. The drawback to that,  about half didn't hear me.
 I killed the audio on the slices I wasn't working in.


During the CQ WW CW contest, I was working on 15m, watching 20m/10m in the morning, and bouncing between the 3 bands.





I don't remember ever listening to/watching  only one band since I got it. Which was almost 2 months ago, so I still have, what, 98.9% of this thing to figure out? :-)
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N9VC

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Hi Kevin,

Here is a screenshot with 4 bands on a 6500 and a multi-band antenna.
In the very lower left hand corner is the icon for opening additional bands.
They can appear one above the other or the way I display it.
Then in each band area, choose the band and freq and mode of interest.
I seldom use it as it can be confusing when two bands have chatter at the
same time. But it does wow the visitors to the shack.
And has been said, if you mute the audio on bands you don't want to
listen to, it is a great visual aid like on 6 meters or such.
It's simple to set up and when I say it's simple, it means even I can do it
and you cannot get any simpler than that. Have fun and experiment.

73, Jim N9VC

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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Nice! Thanks all. I'm currently working on 80/40 PSK and 80/40 JT-x. Two things I figured out. I finally found a good use for profiles. There's no way I'd want to go through all the clicks every time. Once set up  I think I should be able to recall a saved profile and get back to the same setup each time. Profiles made a little less sense for the single pan I normally run.

The second thing is I have to figure out how to run multiple instances of an application. I think I have to run two copies of fldigi and two copies of WSJT-X/JTAlert-X. I'm going to try and figure that one out as I think I've seen some mention of it in previous posts.

Another reason for asking about this is that I am considering taking advantage of the trade-up for a 6700. I'm not so sure I can put one to good use as I don't think I have the 6500 all figured out yet. Still - I'm considering the upgrade.

Thanks!

Kev K4VD
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mikeatthebeach .

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Well, I used Flex's Trade-IN Program to trade-in my Flex6500 for the Flex6700
and have been very Happy with the decision.


I wanted to have new features that may come out later next year that may be 
only available on the Flex6700

Flex6700 has Diversity, but later, perhaps a Noise Nulling Capability found on
ANAN 100D/200D, say for Plasma TV Noise using Main & Noise Sense Antenna's
would be nice

Will just have to wait, but at some point those features may be possible for
Flex6700 owners 

Be able to use say two separate Antenna's (for example) 160Meters 
Vertical with a 20meter thru 6 meter Beam all at same time which can
be done wth a Flex6700


I do not watch 8 bands all at the same time, but sometimes, always felt I needed at least 5 to 6 Bands, thus the move to the Flex6700

73 Mike
(Edited)
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Thanks again for the suggestions so far. I've spent some time getting things set up. The goal is to run two instances of WSJT-X/JTAlert-X and two of fldigi for 80/40. There's some things I have not figured out or finished up yet but everything seems to be receiving.
I normally run FldigiDXLabsGW for logging from fldigi to DXKeeper. I'm not sure how to run two instances of that program. Without it, I don't know how to log from fldigi to DXKeeper. I'll do some more research on this.

JTAlertX must automatically handle two instances. The first instance I started has settings but the second instance the settings are grayed out. They both seem to be working fine though sometimes, while testing, I'd close one of the WSJT-X/JTAlert-X pairs, reopen them but JTAlert-X reports it is now the third instance and waiting for WSJT-X to load. More investigation there.

Here's a screenshot of what I have so far. If you notice anything questionable or have a suggestion let me know.

73,
Kev K4VD
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Jay / NO5J

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Kevin

I think I stumbled thru the same issues with multi-slice JT. You only need a single instance of JTAlertX running. You can run multiple instances of WSJT-X though. I've run multi-slice Fldigi, and multi-slice WSJT-X on multiple bands spread out over 2 bands 40m/20m simultaneously a few times, and logging all the slices with DXLabs just seemed to work. It's possible that was just me hallucinating, though. It's the Active TX slice that gets logged. I let FRStacks handle the active TX slice switching, that and a Genovation DDUtil Macro that lets me cycle thru the open slices, setting each as active TX, each time I press the Genovation key. but you can do the same with a keyboard shortcut DDUtil macro, or by using the mouse to select the slice you want. That is, I think I was a while back. It's been awhile. I'll be stumbling through the setup again soon because you've just made me aware that I probably don't remember how to set it up that way anymore.   

With only a single SCU available, You need a multiband antenna to make this work easily. My ZS6BKW works for 40m/20m/17m/10m simultaneously, but rarely do I ever use all those bands simultaneously, propagation isn't what it was last year. 

Maybe it all just works, There aren't many folks reporting trouble logging multi-slice operating.

Why don't we find out, and document what works, and doesn't, so we "all" don't have to retain the details in our brains forever. I'm better at forgetting than remembering stuff. Less work, more enjoyment when I write it down. Sometimes I remember to write it down, Sometimes I even remember to create a backup image and transfer it to another machine. Not very often, though.

 SDRgadgets

73, Jay - NO5J

(Edited)
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Hi Jay:

I'll try and document what works for me. Still a work in progress though.

I am running two instances of JTAlert-X. Mostly it works OK. Double clicking on a CQ in JTAlert-X only intermittently causes WSJT-X to transmit. I am not sure why this is happening but I have a query into Laurie. It seems it should be working... logging is good. But maybe I'm running into some conflict or resource issue.

I need to figure out how to get multiple instances of fldigi-dxlab-gw working. I have a query into Rick and hope that can be settled quickly.

In SmartCAT I have each of the used ports set to Auto Switch TX. This is working perfectly. When I initiate a transmit in any instance of fldigi or wsjt-x the correct pan gets the TX focus. That works like a dream! I'm using a single antenna and counting on the ATU memories to take care of things. It seems to be doing a fine job.

O'Reilly Publishing has a series of books called Cookbooks. I've always found them useful when trying to solve a specific task. It generally starts by presenting a problem, presenting the solution and then presenting a deep dive discussion. I think that same format might have some value to documenting the different possibilities with our Flex radios. It might be a whole lot easier than searching the community for a solution.

Kev
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Jay / NO5J

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Kevin

SDRgadgets would like to help distribute, any cookbooks, or recipe's that anyone wants to create.

SDRgadgets has automatic backups working, to multiple disk's a little less automatically. All it lacks is an auto-reminder to remind me to verify the off-machine backups are really still happening.

Remember, when all else fails, it's performing as designed.

Blame the designer! 


 SDRgadgets

73, Jay - NO5J

(Edited)
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Norm - W7CK

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Jay,
Don't forget, that ZS6 will also do very well on the SSB portion of 6 meters and works fairly well on 75/80.  Mine also works on 12.   So that's 80, 40, 20, 17, 12, 10 and 6.  All on a single antenna.
(Edited)
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Jay / NO5J

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Norm

Not forgotten, so much as not explored. There is usually enough activity on 20m local daylight and 40m local overnight, that I haven't had to follow band propagation to find more signals. I can usually get a match easily on anything but 30m, and 15m, Which is fine, and part of the antenna design. Actually, I can work those too, by reducing power and ignoring the SWR. If you can't fit an antenna for 160m and don't mind some manual tuning then a ZS6BKW is a very good multiband antenna. 

 SDRgadgets

73, Jay - NO5J

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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Here's a first crack at documenting the setup. Any comments appreciated.

https://goo.gl/zt2n7b

or 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RJ0fD5bIY1oqdOblXMj1-UO9NFti6Rqdb39-tC82ODA/edit?usp=sharing

Edits are welcome.

73,
Kev K4VD
(Edited)
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Just to clarify, Rick does say the he will add the feature request to his list. I've not contacted Dave with DXLabs as so far I have not had any issue with that. It seems the DXLab software can support multiple options for logging from multiple clients.

The questions about JTAlert-X are still out to Laurie but I'm guessing he's enjoying his weekend off.

And of course, it doesn't rule out the possibility I have something set up wrong. I'm using the setup now for PSK and WSJT on 30 and 40 meters. Things seem to be working pretty well. No surprises. It's actually keeping me a little busy.

I changed the scaling on my monitors from 150% to 125%. Any lower and I'll need to wear glasses to see the small print. I hope someone comes out with a good, available 40" 4K monitor soon.

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Jay / NO5J

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Kevin
Thanks for the display 125% reminder, mine had somehow defaulted back to 100%, It's been driving me crazy. I'm at least 25% less blind now.

 SDRgadgets

73, Jay - NO5J

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Dave AA6YQ

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Assuming appropriate antennas are available, one could monitor multiple NCDXF beacon frequencies simultaneously, and thus more rapidly assess actual propagation.
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Jay / NO5J

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I'm forgetting something obvious, Winwarbler does PSK and RTTY, and doesn't need a bridge to DxKeeper. I'll take another harder look at Winwarbler again.
 
 SDRgadgets

73, Jay - NO5J

(Edited)
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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I was using Faros for monitoring the NCDXF beacons for a while. It was actually kind of fun to build up a history or propagation. I was using a single instance with a single slice and allowing Faros to switch bands as necessary.

I might have to play around with that again. I wonder if there's any other Faros-like programs out there to try.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I mostly just set up 4 panadapters for CW Skimmer then feed it into Log4OM so I am alerted to new DXCC challenge point opportunities.
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KE0U

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Kevin,

Echoing others I watch 2 to 3 bands when working digital modes. Lately have been working 160 and 60 with two instances of WSJT-X paired with two instances of JTAlert.

Search for multiple instances in the docs for each app for all the how to details.

This is the target property in the shortcut for one instance.

D:\WSJT\1.7\wsjtx\bin\wsjtx.exe --rig-name=Flex#1

The rig-name os is key to keeping everything happy.




I also use global profiles to get the radio is the proper config, this is very helpful when 60m is involved as I am unable to run my normal 5K wide Rcvr with matching 5k high cut phone cutoff. With 60m in the mix the tx cutoff is 3k which can be a pain if you do not watch where you operate,go over or get to close to the edge in another band and no output. I nice optimization when in digital modes would be to  have TX high cut track the RX high cut. 

For other digital band combinations I have a generic two or three band global profile.

When operating phone I find it helpful to watch a compressed view of 75m for example. While using another instance for a closer in view of a net and surrounding close in activity. With the broader view and a much slower display rate spanning minutes I can call out for others. A frequency which a pair of stations passing traffic can move to.

Jay
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Hi Jay:

I still find profiles almost a hindrance and most often an unnecessary complexity. Something is missing. For instance, if I could create an 80 meter PSK and 40 meter PSK profile and then open both, or close one and open a 20 meter PSK profile then I could make use of it. Otherwise, I'd basically have to create a profile for each combination of bands I use. I believe profiles need to be reconstructed from the ground up. Just my opionion.

Instead, I just start the applications and then use the tools within the applications to set frequency and mode. For instance, fldigi has  the List and WSJT-X has band dropdown. Seems much simpler. 

Right now I'm running two instances of fldigi (3 KHz) and two of wsjt-x (5 KHz) and watching two bands. Been doing it for two days now with plenty of QSOs and, other than the problems already noted, it has been working fine.



I did have four instnces of CW Skimmer running yesterday. I'm finding this all is a little easier than I thought it would be. Logging is not clean in fldigi and double-clicking in JTAlert-X isn't working well but these can be easily worked around for now. No voice work here. I have a basically unused PR-781 staring at me and too scared to talk into it. :)

I kinda feel like I graduated to another level. Before yesterday I couldn't find a use for more than a single panadapter. Now I'm getting pretty good use from four of them. Getting a little closer to justifying a 6700!

Kev
(Edited)
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Jay / NO5J

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Kevin

I've settled on 3 global profile types. SSB. Digital, and CW. I use those based on the concept that what works for Voice, Digital apps, and CW are all different. I've got one other Global profile I use, "Factory Defaults", which is the first profile I save and export after a Factory Reset, or new release upgrade. I then build other profiles by modifying that one and saving and exporting to a new name. Don't re-save the Global Factory Defaults profile, or you might risk corrupting it. Which is why I keep an exported copy too. After each SmartSDR release upgrade, ((immediately after), step #1, before anything else get's clicked) I try to also create a separate Global "Factory Default v_N.NN.NN" export file and store it under My Documents\SSDR_Profiles\ on the off chance that some new added feature breaks compatibility, or I manage to corrupt persistence. Which so far hasn't often been an issue. I also do the same thing with the memories. I could probably make do with Export >> Upgrade >> ReImports. Which I regularly forget to do. All this is done in order to have a fresh clean backup of whatever "persistence" was originally.   A waste of time and disk space, probably, but maybe it will avoid one or two, Full Uninstall\Reinstalls someday.

I create and export Mic profiles for each of my microphones.

Someday I'll understand why I need separate Transmit profiles, but until then I export those too.

Global Mode Profiles, and VFO frequency memories make the most sense to me.

I guess I just like that "New Radio Smell" kinda thing.
   
 SDRgadgets

73, Jay - NO5J

(Edited)