How to properly use WNB?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
  • (Edited)
I cant seem to get the WNB working at all.  It has made little to no difference meanwhile my FTDX3000 can block this noise out like its not there using the WNB.  I have attached a screen shot.  Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong?

I adjust the AGC to an acceptable level and start at 0 with the WNB and work my way up.. I see NO difference at all.. In fact above 90 its worse. 

I have tried both the NB and WNB - It just doesn't work for any of my noise signals.

thanks..
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Mike KD2CJJ

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Posted 3 years ago

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Simon Lewis

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Mike

I think so far, in my findings, is that unless you have wide band correlated noise the WNB does little to attack received noise - it's not that you can't get it to work or does not work ... just you have the 'wrong' type of noise. And looking at the image I don't think you have the type of wide band noise the WNB function deals with well.

Looking at the videos where it successfully deals with noise, the noise seems to broadband power line noise not individual PSU noise, or plasma TV type noise etc like your screen shot.

I've only had success so far on my electric fence noise at my /p station and not with the TV type interference my home station

So it does work but I think if you had 60 Hz power line noise across the whole band it would work really well.

It's nice but not quite the silver bullet for some types of noise. I tend to use NR vs WNB functions, maybe I am lucky and don't have the interference WNB is meant to deal with

Anyway that's my 2 cents worth and experience so far :)

Cheers

Simon ZL4PLM 
(Edited)
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Mike KD2CJJ

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I see what your saying... However... My FTDX3k takes out the noise with no issue!  Im shocked that the Flex can not.  

Im also not happy at all with the NR.  Again, the FTDX3k is far far far far far superior.  Its removes noise but keeps the voice without the synthetic overlay on the voice.

Im new to flex and right now fairly disappointed in the DSP dealing with noise in general.  I also have yet to find nice pleasant settings on the EQ or maybe I need a better speaker than my PC or headphones that I use for gaming, music, etc.

I hope more investment is done in the Noise category.  Out of all of the radios I have owned, the FTDX3K has the best NR, NB and WNB I have ever used.  Hopefully they use this as their benchmark.
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Stefano - W2WTZ

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I confirm. FTDX5000 has better NR. Even the little Elad FDM Duo has better NR. It's not a problem of my 6500 but of SSDR. Programmers have to work hard on this problem in my opinion urgently. It's the weakest point of Flex SDR radios.
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Mike KD2CJJ

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It is and why I held off all these years taking the plunge. You cant say your the best when you can't compete in the most basic categories. If you can't hear them you can't work them!
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Burch - K4QXX

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I too have been a little disappointed with the WNB.  The WNB works better for me than the old NB, but the NB on my Flex 5000 is far superior to the WNB on my 6500.  If Flex could somehow port the code from the 5000 NB to the 6000 series, I would be a happy camper.  I know it's not that easy since the architecture is totally different.  I am sure Flex will keep working on the WNB and noise reduction in the future.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I have to disagree, the noise mitigation is not a mistake, poorly tested, or missed the mark.It works just as designed. It removes power line noise perfectly. I have noise here so bad that the 40M band is closed to me with the WNB off, so I know how well it works. But if you have a different type of noise other than what they made it for, It likely will not work for you. This is a wide band NB. Since it works so well I don't think Flex will mess with it much. But Tim has said that they will work on other types of noise another way.
(Edited)
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Burch - K4QXX

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I have power line noise on 160 meters.  The WNB does nothing on 160 for me.  In fact, if I turn up the slider to over about 75, it introduces noise. 

I also have power line noise on 6 meters.  The WNB works very well on my 6 meter noise and takes out 99% of the noise. 

If I hook up my Flex 5000, it takes out the power line noise on both 6 meters and most of the noise on 160 meters.  That's just the observation at my location. 

If I use the regular NB that was put back in on 1.5.1, I have to click on it several times (on and off) to make it work.  When it does work, it doesn't adjust the noise level on the panadatper so weak signals can not be seen.  It also seems to gradually turn itself back off and has no affect after a couple of minutes.  I have to turn it off and on again a couple of times to get it to engage.

I guess I am just spoiled because the Flex 5000 works so well on MY type of power line noise, especially on 160 meters.  The 6500 is unusable on 160 at my location so that's why I keep the 5000.  I understand that it is difficult to stop all the different types of pulse noise at different locations but at my station the 5000 is much much better. 
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pa0bie

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I have exactly the same with the NB and WNB.  Also the NR is sometimes not working since 1.5.1 update.  My Flex 5000 was working much better. Even my IC7800 is working better.

(Edited)
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Mike KD2CJJ

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Bill.. I agree if you set the bar fairly low.  I doubt Flex guys want to say they set the bar low.  Frankly, I have compared to every radio I have and right now the Flex is the worst of them all when it comes to NB and NR.  Keeping all other things aside this is my ONLY complaint as the radio excels in every other area.  However basic these are critical function of  a radio for those of us who dont live in the middle of no where.  Come to Long Island NY and you will see how much noise there is.

I compared that noise in the graph with my FTDX3k and it dropped 3S points using the Yaesu WNB! There was a station that without the WNB on the FTDX3k I could not hear at all.  On the flex, I could not copy the station.  I tried various methods of NR, WNB, NB - nothing helped.  In fact the NR made things worse as the little bit of voice I could hear was wiped out.  On the Yaesu the NR is fantastic.  On the Flex the NR pretty much is useless on SSB with less than a S6 or better.  On the Yaesu that same signal literally is pulled out when NR is turned on and properly configured.

Bill, a well designed NB, WNB and NR should be able to handle all known and unknown possible noise sources.  We should not have to choose which noise sources work or not.  So with this radio I guess dont buy it if you have abnormal noise sources?  Is that what your saying?  That makes no sense to me.  The noise  your seeing is from a switching power source.   I dont think that would constitute some rare alien noise sources.

We have these features to combat the unknown.  If it was known I would have a button that says kill powerline noise, kill walwart noise, kill electric fense noise, kill babymonitor noise, etc. etc.  Unknown is why we have these features on the radio.  They have been around longer than I am alive probably.  And all other radios, even my IC7000 does a better job - and I put that radio at the bottom of my list when it comes to all around performance.

With this little rant - I do believe the Flex guys have it in them.. They just havent invested enough time in getting to truely a world class NR, NB, and WNB. 

It would a shame for something like a basic function such as NR, NB and WNB to hold their sales back - it did for me for almost 2 years.  Unfortunately I was not seeing honest opinions on how well these functions worked and took the plunge.   Im now invested in them so I do expect improvements made.  All I ask to be no better than their next best competitor.
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Lawrence Gray

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I agree with the complaints.  I find that the NB and WNB basically do nothing at all, regardless of settings.  The NR does function reasonably well for me, although it has a negative effect on audio quality.  Both the IC-9100 and K3 at our local club station do a better job handling noise.

Larry
KC1DAD
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Bill -VA3WTB

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You must have miss read my post. I said I have bad power noise here that blocks 40M out. I hear nothing with the WNB off. So yes it works wonderfully. When they made this noise mitigation they were targeting power line noise or power grid noise as that is what most people have around them. I think you don't really understand the technology used here, it is much different than any other kind of radio, it is not a hard filter, it re create's it self every few seconds as conditions change. for the type of noise it is made for it is the best I have seen.

Also from reading all the post on this I find for the most part people just can't get their heads around how to properly set up WNB and wonder why it is not working for them. It is not something that you turn on and it just works,,you must set it up first correctly. I have some radios here to that do a better job on some noise than the flex. One filter for everything, but they can't hear as well as the Flex because of that. For other types of noise I think Tim said they are working on NR for them.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I have to go read some, there are some post on this setting up. The first thing you do is find the knee or sweet spot on the AGC-T. Back off the AGC-T to the left till noise begins to drop, then turn on WNB and slowly move the slider till the noise goes away. It works with the AGC-T funtion, they work together. I will try and find the post on this for you.
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SteveM

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Bill,

Your a nice, helpful guy and I mean no disrespect. But, were you the Beta tester for the WNB feature, or what? It seems you have some personal stake in the matter. There have been multiple threads regarding problems users are experiencing with WNB, and your diagnosis boils down to "many long time flexers have there AGC-T set wrong and expect it to work". How can you make such wild claims?!? Then Mike KD2CJJ asks you how to properly setup WNB and you reply along the line, "I'm not sure, I have to go read some". WTH!

I have tried WNB several times. For me, it always adds noise and removes none. Yes, I have AGC-T adjusted to the "sweet spot". Yes, I start with the WNB slider low and slowly adjust it up. By the time the slider hits 5, I can see that the WNB filter has gone into noise injection mode. I don't doubt my WNB issues stem from the 43' vertical attached to my 6500 (they tend to pick up more noise across the spectrum than other types). My guess is that too much noise/signal across the spectrum can overload the WNB algorithm.

In any case, there are widespread reports of problems with WNB and I don't think you should so easily discount them as 'operator error'. If Flex corrects these issues, it can only benefit you and everyone else.

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Walt - KZ1F

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There is,actually, a very good write up in the 1.5.x user guide on both the agc-t and the wnb. Turns out, I'd been adjusting the AGC wrong since I got the Flex...silly me. Engineers rarely read doc.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Did it make any difference as to how things work for you?
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Walt - KZ1F

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Bill, just saw your question just now. No, it really didn't.

In the video I just referred to it appears Lee, if that is who did it, had the WNB level at 100 which visually causes all soughts of overdriving.
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Burch - K4QXX

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Bill

In my case, it's not about properly setting up the WNB.  I have been a flex owner since the beginning (Flex 1000 with a Edirol FA-66 sound device) and know how to properly set the AGC-T.  Been doing it for many many years now.  I use Flex radios exclusively for ham bands from 160M through 1296Mhz.  I am glad the the WNB is working for you.  I works great for me on 6 meters and also on my occasional noise on 40 meters.  The point is, it does not work as well (in my case) as the Flex 5000.  I used my 5000 for many years and got spoiled due to the fantastic NB.  The Flex 5000 does a great job on noise and CAN hear very well.  I am 100% flex supporter and will continue to by flex radios in the future but the NB on the 6000 series is not as effective (for my noise) as the older 5000.  It has nothing to do with properly setting up the WNB in my case.
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Yes that is true, it does not work on all types of noise, it is not meant to. All my point was is many long time flexers have there AGC-T set wrong and expect it to work.
(Edited)
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Burt Fisher

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Do other radios require 3 turns to the left, 6 jumping jacks and 12 ballet move as per the following quote of just part of what you need to do (" it is very important that you have your AGC-T set to an optimal setting before enabling the noise mitigation features).?
Look at NM9P's answer to find out how simple it is not.
(Edited)
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DrTeeth

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Burt, your post has saved me having to post the same thing.
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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 Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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this may help

For those who are going to try out the new WNB and for that matter, NR too, it is very important that you have your AGC-T set to an optimal setting before enabling the noise mitigation features.  Finding the AGC 'knee" is the first thing you should always do, regardless if you have offending noise or not.  The AGC is complimentary to both WNB and NR.  But it can be detrimental too if the threshold is set to high or too low.  There is a good explaination of how to adjust the AGC-T in the SmartSDR Software User's Guide.  I recommend giving it a read.
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Lawrence Gray

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If I turn my WNB above 90, the filtering software appears to generate a significant noise level, as others have noted.  I do understand DSP and general filter design concepts and do understand that this filter is meant for wide band noise such a power grid noise.  However, it is not clear to me why a properly designed filtering algorithm would make the noise level worse?

If there is some specific technique for the use of this filter selection, I would love to hear it.

Larry
KC1DAD
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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On 40 meters, when radio Havana is 60+ just above the band, I get trash if the WNB is turned up too high.  But that happened with normal NB's, too. 

Like anything DSP, the key is learning how to adjust the parameters, and learning what feature to use on different noise sources.  I usually start wtih WNB OFF. THen adjust the AGC-T from right to left until the background noise just starts to drop.  (The "Knee" or "Sweet Spot")  Then I turn WNB ON and begin slowly raising the level from left to right, pausing to let it "catch up,"  until I see the noise floor drop.  NOTE:  There is often a few second's delay between activating WNB, or changing its level, and the WNB becoming "active."  You can tell if it is "on" when the WNB indicator on top of the panadapter window bar goes from grey to white (I wish it went from red to green, or from grey to green or bright blue, it would be easier to detect the status change.)  When it starts working, the noise level will drop, requiring readjusting the AGC-T to take advantage of the new, lower noise floor.  Depending upon the band conditions and noise source, I have sometimes needed to have the WNB control as high as 98 in order to see results. (6 meters, for example) On other bands, 65 or 70 will do.  On bands with extremely strong and sharply modulated (i.e. overmodulated and flat-topping or "spikey" signals) I need to reduce the WNB level because it is being affected by the other in-band or out-of-band signals.  A good indicator of the need for this is when your noise floor starts jumping around in unexpected ways.  To test this, turn off WNB and see if the jumping around stops.  Sometime finding the right adjustment point requires a compromise between interference reduction and avoiding the effects of really strong signals on the band.  (nothing new for users of legacy NB's.

WNB has been effective on a lot of my powerline and other impulse noise, such as the electric fence down the way.  I especially like that I can see the noise floor drop 3-15 dB, depending upon band conditions and noise source, when I get it set right. 

But the WNB doesn't remove general "random"  hash, and junk generated by Variable speed motors on my HVAC, wideband router noise, Wall Wart noise, etc. 

For general random hash, I use NR.  Carefully adjusted, it can make it easier to live with.  The version released in 1.5 & 1.51 seems to be pretty good at reducing noise without coloring the received audio excessively.  Again, if turned up too high, the received audio will be affected adversely. 

 There there is some other noise that I can't blank or reduce, I either must live with it or fix it at the source.  DSP isn't a magic pill that will cure everything.

I am sure that there are additional improvements and tweaks that they can and will make.  But so far it seems a pretty good effort.
The advantage of the DSP in PowerSDR is that one can tweak different parameters repeatedly in order to fine tune rejection of one particular type of noise in the receiver passband.  The disadvantage is that once tweaked, it may not reject other types of noise as well.  And the great danger is that one can get things so far out of adjustment that nothing works, unless you remember the default settings!

Good luck.

Ken - NM9P
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Mike KD2CJJ

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Larry.. Unfortunately some of us are blinded by the love of a vendor more than reality of a sub performing function.  I am not bashing Flex.  I am a customer and expect for a premium price a premium product.  I have a premium product with some poorly performing functions.  Unfortunately some which are very important to many not to a few who dont have noise issues.

There is no special technique.  There is no black magic, there is no use of the force, there is no special training needed.   You press a button, you slide a slider.  If there is something special that comes out of that I would be surprised.  But if there is some black magic or dance I have to do, I will do it.

I have read the manuals, I have adjusted the AGC-T as per the hundreds of different ways stated and all results in the end are the same.  These functions do not function as well as its next lowest performing competitor.  

The net net is, its a poorly implemented WNB and NR and which can be improved.  Poorly is subjective i recognized... But again, I hold Flex to a high standard the same standard I hold Icom and Yaesu to.  Right now their radios perform circles around the Flex when it comes to noise mitigation. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Larry - the WNB adjusts the threshold scale so there is additional headroom if the adjacent signal levels are low.  This provides you greater range for  adjustment, but it also allows for you to add too much blanking in certain circumstances.  This is like mic gain, if you turn it up too high, it overdrives your audio into distortion, so you back off the gain.  The same is true with the WNB.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Most interesting why it works so well for some and not for others. For me I hope they change nothing. I think Steve can explain your question better.
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DrTeeth

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The common denominator is that those with a Flex 5000 say that their noise filters still outshine those in the Flex6xxx with SDR 1.5.x.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Guy, my review is still "Mixed."

I have both 6500 & 1500.  There are some of my noise sources for which the 6500's WNB outshines the 1500's NB hands down.  And there are others where the NB on my 1500 is better, if I work at it with its many parameters. 

I am glad that they added the narrow NB back into 1.5.1.  There have been a few cases where that made a good difference. Sometimes it took using both of them at the same time.  Perhaps they could add a subscreen where the user can make adjustments to various parameters for the slice NB it as you can in PowerSDR?  They would need a "Reset to default" button, though, for when we really foul it up!

For the first Major SDR Wide band noise blanker it is a pretty good effort.  (We must remember that FRS is plowing new ground here) But it still should be possible to improve it.   

And there may be some other sources of noise - perhaps impulse noise that is NOT wideband, but well correlated over a more narrow frequency range, (If that is not an oxymoron?) for which the narrow blanker can be modified to be more effective. 

Perhaps they need yet a third type of noise reduction, if there is any such possibility, to deal with noise sources untouched by either WNB, NB, or NR?

Ken - NM9P
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Interesting, if the noise mitigation does not work for some with the noise they have they say it is sub performance? What about others where the noise reduction is astounding?
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Mike KD2CJJ

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Bill we are not trying to over complicate things here.  I think your misunderstanding the whole thread.   No one is trying to compare noise sources.  I agree.  Your noise source maybe tame or wild.  Mine maybe generated by some alien source or some type of noise source never heard by man or ever record by any device.  Put the types of noise source aside.

The entire discussion resolves around the comparison between the flex radios and other radios (ie Yaesu and Icoms, Kenwoods, even the Flex 5k, etc.) against the SAME noise source.

If the others rigs using a WNB mechanism can eliminate the noise source one can deduce that it is a well correlated noise source as per the definition of a NB.    And if that is the case then in theory any rig that implements a WNB or NB should be able to remove the same noise source - with varying degrees of success of course but in general work.  This hypothesis becomes further re-enforced when you are now using 2 alternate radios that can perform this function with equal success.

Now, performing the same test with the Flex,  If the flex can not remove this same noise source that the other radios could, wouldn't you deduce that the flex implementation is not as well engineered?

Astounding means it works under most situations...  Poorly implemented means it works under a few situations.  Clearly I am seeing more people say it doesn't work than it does.

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Jerry Wilk

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Well stated.

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Walt - KZ1F

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Guy,and others, have compared their previous, or still owned, 5000 to the 6000, which marked diffrrences with respect to noise. Here's what I don't understand and hope someone would explain to, frankly, all of us; why is it the code (SDR) from the 5000 can't be lifted and dropped into the 6000 chassis? I suspect we can all stipulate that if it had been that easy it would have been done in release 0.92.
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Ned K1NJ

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     Perhaps the "code" can't be lifted, but surely the underlying algorithm can.

Ned,  K1NJ
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Mike KD2CJJ

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Walt being a software developer / architect myself for over 20 years I tend to agree on the surface.  Most often the code may not be portable but the design patterns and algorithms could be.   However,  programming FPGA paradigm maybe different enough to preclude the ability to reuse the same techniques applied to purely software base NB, WNB, NR.  Its like saying even though physics are constant the implementation difference between jet propulsion and piston propulsion should be the same.  We know they are are not because the coefficients differ by the different propulsion methods - even though the physics that they act upon are constants.

I do want to add to be fair to Flex and the audience.

I have been experimenting and spending a considerable amount of time with the AGC, the NB, NR and WNB.

I will agree with those that have said the AGC has a large effect.  Clearly without a properly adjust AGC both the WNB and NR are useless.  Furthermore, the NR is hyper snsitive to the AGC when dealing with audio quality.  If you set the AGC too aggressively low the NR audio quality drops significantly and the WNB will constantly lose its hold.

I have also noticed more often than not the NB does a better job but does not positively improve the noise on the band scope (which is a known deficiency).  If NB is brought all the way up to 100 it acts most similar to my WNB on my other rigs.  Dropping the noise floor by a considerable amount of dB.

I find using all 3 NB, WNB and NR with a properly adjusted AGC coupled with a properly tuned EQ I can get a sweet spot where the audio quality (ie noise, etc.) matches my FTDX3000.  Its a little frustrating but I am getting there.

My suggetions to flex:
Keep working on the NB - I think its real close to being competitive.  Incorporate it into the band scope and tweak it some will blow away the competition.  I think more should be looked into the "100" value.  It seems to almost do what is needed to blank out the constant electrical white noise I have from the high power lines north east of me.  Again I am comparing the NB on the flex with my FTDX3000.  

The WNB needs a ton of work for me doenst seem to work at all.  It either adds noise, causes pumping on the band or does little to nothing.  If you couple NB with WNB it seems to be better than just NB however its questionable actually since it introduces more issues than its worth.  For the most part WNB is turned off for me.  It also does not work on TVs or Wall Wart devices.  Its useless with my FIOS Power Supply and my Sub - both of which have very horrible hash.

The NR is OK.  Im not happy with the audio quality on weak SSB signals being run through the "REMOTE" - audio pc.  I noticed that the NR does not function as well when the audio is pumping through my PC speakers vs headhpnes or directly connected speakers.  Doesnt make sense-- I agree.  But I can clearly hear an audio difference (I am also an audiophile thus pay special attention to audio details).  Again with much playing it works but I think it needs to be more in line with Yaesu FTDX quality.
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Walt - KZ1F

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@mike @ned, don't take what I said too literally. I'm used to very well structured layered code, which is how I both design and write. Using a device driver metaphor, perhaps the ISR is different but at some layer above that I'd suspect things should start looking similar. I was trying to not be judgemental. I thought this might make for a good chapter in the Hicks' Chronicles.
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DrTeeth

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@Walt, just for clarification, I have never owned a Flex before my 6300, I was just commenting on what owners of previous models have stated.

@Ned, I know nothing about programming at all but would expect that Flex has some noise samples on which to test the results of their endeavours - that is just how I would expect the science to work. So they may not have been able to 'lift the code', but I would have expected them to copy the results, if you see what I mean.
(Edited)
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Burch - K4QXX

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I was the one that commented on how good the Flex 5000 NB is.  I still use my 5000 for the low bands.
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Jon - KF2E

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One point I'm confused about is how wide is the wide band noise blanker? Is it trying to blank what is shown in your pan adapter, your slice receiver, the whole HF band or some other chunk of bandwidth? I often have noise that is in one area of the band segment. If the WNB is trying to find correlation over a big span of spectrum it might not be able to.

From my perspective, the WNB has been a disappointment. I've been waiting a long time for the "world class noise reduction" and I still don't think we have it. I also thought putting the old NB back in the code was a futile gesture. It never worked before, why should it work now. 

My 5000 is only a memory now but it's noise blanker still stands out.