No direct connect for Amplifiers and other devices

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  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Answered
  • (Edited)
I have one of the first 6500s and have enjoyed it everyday it is an outstanding radio. I have not had any of the issues I see posted. I am some what old fashion have enjoyed using all of the digital mods with a signalink USB with no problems. I tried the dax setups and fine them unstable and unreliable as they interface with other sofware platforms. I also have used DDU to interface with my ALS1306 and KPA500 again it works but not reliable. My question is why is there not a hard wire connection for amplafiers and other devices the other radio manufactures offer I would think this would be somthing standard. Again I have enjoyed all of my Flex Radios from the 1500 through the 5000 and now the 6500.  I don't understand the reasoning why this feature is not offered and you must use 3 party interfacing software.  
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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Posted 3 years ago

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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Dennis,
See this post below for some of the background and discussion on options and plans

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/band_data-3xef1?topic-reply-list%5Bsettings%5D%5Bfi...

I think the short answer on why it hasn't been done yet is that DDUtil does such a good job it is not high on the list of priorities.   There are some new SO2R and amplifier options coming for the 6xxx radios which could be another reason.  Not much detail on them yet but expect it will be coming this year. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10.  
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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OK  How about this scenario....Maestro Flex 6000 and Amp only.  This could be possible real soon.  I would really like to be able to control my amp straight from the radio and not have to add another piece of hardware.  I also do not want to have to buy another amp just to be able to talk over the network to get band data.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Lawrence,
Does your amp support auto frequency sensing from the RF? If so, that may be an option for you.

Many of us prefer the amp to be sent frequency data prior to transmitting or have other peripheral devices (like antenna switches, etc) that need the frequency data. In that case we need to use a PC and a tool like DDUtil.

As noted above there is not currently a solution to get the band data from the radio and send it directly to an amp, antenna switch, SteppIR antenna, etc.

Maybe some day.....

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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I also ordered the Maestro and so far it looks like if i what to use the amp I need to stay in the shack. That is another reason I asked the question. I wish they would rethink the priorities. To have band switching capability and Amp control would be a huge marking item.  
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Dennis,
You can still roam with Maestro and the PC in the shack would just be used to control the peripherals.   Assumes you need DDUtil to control your peripherals.   You could initially use Maestro anywhere you can access your LAN.  And eventually when V2.x is out, anywhere with WAN access.    

Here is a diagram I made a while back to illustrate how you would still need to use DDUtil in the shack to control the peripherals when V2.x is out.   It also points out the if you want to run CW Skimmer you also need a laptop along side your Maestro.   I was trying to see if this was an accurate representation and it was confirmed. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10


V2.x WAN access using Maestro and a PC in the shack to control the peripherals.
V1.x would be similar but Maestro would access the LAN side.   
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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Al thanks for the comment and you listed all the reasons way it should have been a standard feature with a higher priority. DDU is great software but not a solution for most.
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Lee, Elmer

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So what is standard?  Is Icom standard?  Is Elecraft standard?  Is Yaesu standard?  Is Acom standard?  What about Amps no longer manufactured like some Alphas?  If you look at DDUTIL it interfaces 7 amps and there are others out there beside those 7.  Do Icom radios give any band data except for Icom amps?  Does Elecraft radios give any band data except for Elecraft?  Does the ALS1306 use different data I/O than the ALS1300?  Does Ameritron sell a 1306 cable for Flex?  So why should Flex waste its time on this project when no other manufacturer does?  Maybe you could go around and force all of those manufacturers to standardize and then maybe Flex would be interested in creating your universal interface.   It could be done using an Arduino as a networked client to the radio and have the arduino output customized data for each amp, so maybe you want to take on that project.   

73  W9OY
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Lee,
Agree, a solution I called "DDUTil in a box" is one that has been discussed in the thread posted above. It would avoid coding all of the legacy protocols in the radio.

It could be an FRS effort, a third party effort, or a joint effort. Again, DDUtil works so well that there has not been a lot of interest in taking this on. At least not for a commercially available product. As far as I know. Maybe there is something in the works that has not been announced.......

Eventually I think network connected peripherals will be more common, so it makes sense to keep the legacy support separate from the core FRS code.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Lee, Elmer

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Al

I tend to be against including things in the radio that can better be done outside the radio.  It seems a very nice and tidy solution, but there is only so much processor power and memory in the radio and I want my radio doing radio things like QSK and noise blanking and not a lot of things like trying to parse which friggin amp protocol is needed.  You can tell from all of the work that went into "profiles" setting up an interface between large numbers of customer based uses and the radio is not trivial.  Even for profiles I tend to use FRStack because I can have a custom set of FRStack profiles for each remote site I use as well as a custom set of DDUTIL macros at each remote site, and I can back those up to the cloud for easy reload anywhere in the world.  I'm on the alpha team and sometimes have to do a complete factory reset in testing the new software and I think I'd rather shoot myself in the head than have to set up new profiles for every thing when I do a reset.

The Arduino solution would allow an interface custom to what ever amp you own and would connect to the radio through the API so its performance hit would be virtually zero and its ability to be expanded to other aspects of station control like antenna switches rotor and tower control would be better.  You can buy an Arduino and ethernet adapter for like 10 bux and I think Enzo IW7DMH already has the libraries to pick up the band data and talk to the API over ethernet so a lot of the work is already done.   

73  W9OY
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Lee,
I think we are both saying the same thing....

Rather than building a dedicated controller, I'd prefer to buy a supported device. And I suspect that anyone considering the effort would want to clearly understand the FRS position and strategy. In the past Steve indicated they had a plan to provide band data but I haven't seen any further updates.

It would be great to be able to buy a supported "ddutil in a box" controller. For a few hundred dollars.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Lee, Elmer

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I have a als1300 and use yaesu bcd. If you tie up all the pins with bcd where are you going to send pre-distortion i/o?

73 W9OY
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I'm not even sure how that works anyways,,would it need it the pin?
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Walt - KZ1F

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Correct me if I'm wrong but the USB port is currently unused.
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Lee, Elmer

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I think eventually it will be implemented but it may look different from the HPSDR implementation.  My experience is it makes the most difference when trying to copy really weak near the noise level ssb signals.  I heard one guy using it and "off" was completely uncopiable with it "on" he was Q5 and he was at best 3 dB out of the noise on 75M.  I was pretty impressed.  It was a result I was not expecting.  I'm not sure USB and the associated hardware overhead would be fast enough for this. 

I ordered a RPi 3 to give win 10 IoT a whirl and see if its stable enough create a cheap I/O dongle

73  W9OY
(Edited)
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Steve (N9SKM)

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Am I the only one that fires up my amp for big pileups hihi? I can understand the want for the band data but a lot of us still have amps that require band selection and tuning so I suppose I can understand why it isn't at the top of the list considering FRS figures its hooked up to a networked computer that can do that stuff with DDUtil
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Randy Diddel

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I too am for data directly out of the radio.  There are two USB ports.  Send Kenwood (or any other) protocol out of one to a FTDI chipset equipped USB to serial. I use DDUtil and I admire the loyalty to it by the users of it. As a Systems/IT guy, I view DDUtil as another point of failure.  The only purpose DDUtil serves me is to control my SteppIR BigIR.  I really only need Kenwood data out and SSDR and it would be rock solid. I like the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method in IT-more software equals more points of failure. If my wish were true, it could be me and my Maestro (if it ever comes) anywhere I want to be without having a computer running 100% of the time in the shack only performing DDUtil functions.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Randy,
I also think the requirement to have a Windows PC running DDUtil just to interface to the various peripherals is overkill and a point of failure.

On the other hand embedding all of the protocols in the radio and providing the various hardware interfaces needed is not the best solution. DDUtil does support both today and if you are using a PC anyway, it is a good solution.

A dedicated controller that communicate s with the radio via the api and ethernet would be the better solution in my opinion. It could have a web based interface for setup and still avoid the complexities of a Windows based platform.

It should be reliable and not need attention once set up for your shack. It should have the flexibility to support many of the amps, antenna switches, antennas like SteppIRs, etc. It should have a number of hardware interfaces (serial, civ, usb, bcd, etc). It should be a commercially supported product. The big question is can someone produce this product at a price point that is reasonable and still profitable.

Good thoughts and discussion.....hopefully we'll see something to address this need some day.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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NJDXA ORG

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I personally like the DDUtil solution since it incorporates the Auto Drive control which can limit drive power into the amp when the amp is in operate and then set radio back to 100 watts when amp is in standby. It also integrates to my PalStar AT-Auto tuner, Power Master II wattmeter, Genovation keypad, and Flex Control knob. DDUtil also has a Ham Radio Deluxe IP server built in so I can run HRD logbook and DM 780 without having to run the main HRD program.

If you only want basic Kenwood CAT protocol out to the amp then a small Windows based PC on the network can have SmartSDR CAT installed and be dedicated to interfacing to your amp or other peripherals directly without the need of DDUtil. In the CMOS setup of the small PC you can set it to power up after loss of power in case you have power failues when away from home. This small PC can be done fairly inexpensive. SmartSDR Cat 1.6 now allows connection direct to external COM ports.



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IW7DMH, Enzo

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Best solution would be a "DDUTIL in the BOX" (we already talked about this issue, some weeks ago).
I have already developed a small pc-less band decoder that deploy two physical CAT ports. It works very well but you have great limitations if your plan to use your power amplifier from remote lan. At the moment my device can't sent back the amplifiers data so you can't see what is happening inside it.
Btw, I am confident that Flex designers will address this issue like they have done with the Maestro. Let's give them the time to do it

73' Enzo
iw7dmh

Edit: "DDUtil in A box" could be a Raspberry PI 3 running Windows IoT. It seems it is available in the Microsoft store. In Italy we would have said "Se Maometto non va alla montagna, la mantagna va da Maometto" :)


(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Enzo, have you ordered your Pine64?
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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Still haven't, Walt
I would like to give a chance to Raspberry PI 3 and QT programming.
Converting my Arduino code to Standard ANSI C++ should be a two weekend matter. But I am not really convinced. Windows is there and the official libraries should be the far better choice.

73' Enzo
iw7dmh
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Wondering with the report of reliability issues with DAX and DDUTIL, and difficulties with other software issues also get mentioned, if Dennis could be suffering from PC based hardware/software grief?

Wondering if Dennis would be able to give a bit more detail on his setup, operating system, SmartSDR/DDUTIL versions and software? And maybe share a couple screen shots of what happens when it breaks down on his system?

Could help the community members to be more helpful knowing a bit more.

73

Steve K9ZW


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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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I personally have not had a burp with ddutil driving my hardware.  Its a rather remarkable application.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Dennis


I run remote a great deal of the time and have been doing so for years


DDUTIL and DAX are both reliable and very stable I have complete remote control of my SPE 2K-FA amp, SteppIR MonstIR, Yaesu GS2800 rotor, 2 Wavenode Wattmeters, Genovation keypad, LP-100A wattmeter , remote power switches, antenna switches, etc.


Yes I have a dedicated PC but it also doubles as a SoftEther VPN server


Yes the PC could be a potential point of failure but with remote reboot I've had hundreds if not thousands of hours of reliable operations while Remoting from 27 different countries


SO PERHAPS YOU HAVE SOME SETUP ISSUES IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING UNRELIABILITY/


We would be happy to help fix them
(Edited)
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Lee, Elmer

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Howard's experience mirrors mine.  DDUTIL is totally reliable.  I have a $100 Atom quad core with windows 10, running headless to run DDUTIL in the shack, to control amps, antenna switching etc.  If the power goes down the thing automatically reboots itself.  I also run a couple of terabytes of storage off the Atom as a backup/file server.  Once I had a failure of my main shack computer so I just plugged in a monitor and my logitech wireless dongle to the Atom, downloaded SSDR and never missed a beat until I could rebuild my shack computer.  Rather than a point of failure it provides a layer of robustness and versatility to my station.   I bought a generic version from Ali-express which has a few more ports, but here is an example of what I am talking about:

http://www.neweggbusiness.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9B-83-798-517&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleBiz-PC&...

DDUTIL also can be run on a remote computer along side the version running on the Atom.  The Atom's DDUTIL does the switching and the remote runs my macros.  Since each DDUTIL has its own IP the radio cares less which version is addressing it.  The Atom uses about 3 watts and is fanless so the power hit is virtually nothing and the resource hit to the radio is also nothing.

73  W9OY
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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This has been a great conversation. and we learn a lot from each others comments. To be clear I don't have any problem with DDU it has worked fine for my needs and it's a great add on to SmartSDR. But not everyone has the same level of computer knowledge or need. In the conversation there is both hardware and software needed solutions for different levels of operators. I see the Flex staff working on making a SDR radio that is becoming more and more plug and play as more and more people see the value in the system. Adding the basic Cat Protocols makes it more plug and play it would become more marketable to a larger group. Those of us who like to work through layers of software to make their systems do what they want, have DDU. Those who have a simple setup and would like the convenience of their peripheral equipment follow their radio don't really have anything and it is very frustrating. There should be no need to buy a dedicated computers setup VPNs and other high end systems to get what they need. We are losing large numbers of possible SDR people because of the unnecessary complexity.  I would like us to continue the dialogue but to remember your level of expertise may be much higher then others.  But some of us would like the simpler way of doing some not all of the same things. I would like to hear from the Flex Staff on this issue.

Please again keep this conversation going and thank you, this is a great group.
Dennis KM6DF               
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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.... But not everyone has the same level of computer knowledge or need ...

Yes! I agree 100%.
The key point actually is how "dumb" should be the additional device (where devices is SW+HW togheter).
After Maestro we could use our Flex without SSDR installation and without the PC (probably none will do it, but it'll be possible).
It is desiderable it'll happen the same for rig integration features.

73'
Enzo
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Dennis KM6DF  - It is the nature of the beast to face the woes of the partner-in-the-shack -- the Computer. 

If that partner is a mess, underspec, overtasked with other things, or just has a bad case of Window's foibles it is an issue.

Resolution options are:


  • a dedicated computer, perhaps even one of the FlexReady preconfigured computers

  • using a Mac/OSX machine with DogparkSDR (or with Windows emulated)

  • using an iOS iPad with K6TU's software

  • or as Enzo mentions soon you will be able to front your Flex-6x00 with a Maestro


A very large part of what gets all of us messed up is the part of the infrastructure dictated to us by the Computer. 

FRS might consider a configuration wizard that only takes care of FRS's needs, but how many of us have other things  hanging off or loaded into our shack computers that would be adversely impacted?

@FRS - Perhaps a future plan to empower/endorsed helpful hams with known skills to help out hams struggling with the machine/operating system aspects of the ecology of a modern SDR would be helpful?  These volunteers might successfully complete a basic online class after an interview (phone?) before being added to a list?

All best and 73,

Steve K9ZW

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Walt - KZ1F

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Enzo, I think you are technically incorrect. One will need a pc to inall ssdr to the radio as well as install ssdr for Windows to the PC as well as Maestro.
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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I am sorry but I cant let this go. We have not heard from any flex staff on this question. This is very frustrating that they don't see this as a need to their customers or respond to the question. Again I do not see any reason to use layers of software to get the simple things to work. Is their a plan in the future if not it would be good to know for the community. I have spent the last several weeks working with DDU and Steve has done a great job but it is not the answer to what many would like. Flex is advertised as the state of the art however it can't control peripheral equipment like the other manufacture can. Again Flex staff please respond to this question.

73's Dennis KM6DF
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Lee, Elmer

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Why do you think this is simple?   Interfacing a dozen different amps running different protocols with variable station requirements, and the associated product support is anything but simple.  You'd have to hire 2 engineers who did nothing all day but troubleshoot amplifier screwups.   Why would Flex possibly want to open that can of worms when DDUTIL does a great job.  Your boundaries of this NEEDING to be in the radio are arbitrary.  That's the answer.

73  W9OY
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SteveJ

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Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu do not seem to have a problem interfacing their radios to the various amplifiers on the market.
(Edited)
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Lee, Elmer

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Actually that is not true, it's the other way around.  The amp manufacturers make interfaces to interface their amps to specific radios

73  W9OY
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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Please un-post as answered it as not been answered !!!
Dennis KM6DF 
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SteveJ

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I agree with Dennis I have never liked the fact that a third party program was necessary to control and amplifier.
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Simon Lewis

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I'd like to see  you tell a kenwood/icom/yaesu or elecraft user he needs to use software to interface amps etc

you would get laughed at out of the park

the lack of hardware for in box CAT is a joke .. plain and simple

my biggest frustration and the largest gap in the 6000 series radios

should have been fixed along time ago .. in fact it should have been a MVP  feature !
(Edited)
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Lee, Elmer

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so exactly where does a ASL-1300 or  Acom 2000 plug into a Yaesu or a icom?

73  W9OY
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Simon Lewis

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Lee - the ALS does support direct and switching out of the box of which I am quite sure you know that but adding a simple interface does

http://www.ameritron.com/Product.php?productid=ARI-500

and it does supports auto band switching via RS232 or BCD ie icom/kenw/yaes/ele

and the Acom 2000 also supports auto switching same formats
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Lee, Elmer

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Simon

I see you need a $150 extra piece of hardware to make it work.  Both amps require hardware interfaces and both have software built in and are programmable using switching plugs.  I've owned both of these amps and still use the ASL-1300.   How is this topologically different than something like a Raspberry pi 3 connected to the radio via ethernet and provide switching data to the rest of the station?  How is this different than having DDUTIL connect to the radio and USB out to a BCD box?  Radio > interface > Amp  that's the topology.

The ALS-1300 is not reliably remote-able on a WAN.  I can run it remote from my office across the house but the problem is if it faults you have to be present to reset it.  Same with the Acom.   The advantage of something like DDUTIL or a Raspberry pi equivalent  is you can run DDUTIL remotely and have customized functionality for your specific need, like building in a reset function or some other function/s so you can run your radio reliably from 1000 miles away.  There isn't any Kenwood CAT command to reset the amplifier, and a dead amplifier when you're 10 hours away is a problem.  So jumping up and down screaming for a wagon and a horse when with some planning you can have a Tesla is the joke not vis versa.  It's time to move on into the future.  The 6xxx radio clearly has a vision associated with it and doing stupid things like continuing primary support for 50 year old Kenwood CAT technology and 50 year old 9 pin serial port hard wire technology as primary I/O IS the problem, not the solution.  There is nothing plastic about that stuff.       

Also there is the issue of paying for what you want.  Flex provides a radio.  That is what you bought.  You didn't buy a radio station from them.  You didn't buy automatic remote antenna switches, and rotor controllers and Steppir controllers and frequency agile amps from flex.  You bought those from someone else.  Why should Flex then provide endless engineering support for your Rube Goldberg conception of what a station should be?   Best I can see it's not Flex's problem.  When Flex sells you an amp and station controller to go along with your 6xxx radio THEN is when it becomes their problem.  

73  W9OY
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Simon Lewis

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Lee

I don't need anything but a CAT out of the 6000 thats all and direct HW - the rest of my station would manage quite well without DDUTIL

my SPE amps run RS232 CAT and in Kenwood I don't need any of the interfaces for the amps mentioned here they are not the ones I own

But - practially EVERY radio I have owned since prob mid -late 80's offers CAT out of a port to drive other gear.

I don't want / need remote so reliable switching / starting of remote kit is no interest - I need a cable that runs from the 6000 to either the station controller or the amp to band switch without relying on 3rd party SW and will drive the rest of the station controller stack

While I agree there is a future in IP connected equipment the fact is that the legacy gear still needs to be supported - as it is by every other manufacturer just now - to not do is a critical error and one that is causing annoyance amongst Flex ops.

I strongly disagree that it not being supported isn't Flex's problem - the 6000 should support CAT out of HW and should have done so from day 1 - to not do so is IMHO a huge mistake and should have been done to cover the gap while future visions of IP connected gear eventuates and that will take some years yet - the constant train of people asking the same question clearly shows its a problem that is still causing difficulty

I have never asked Flex to engineer my station - after 40 years in the hobby I think I can just about manage that but I do expect Flex to have thought about support for HW that people still have on the desk and not rely on 3rd party shareware plug ins to do what essentially they should have done from day 1 and provide band switching data out of the HW rather than having to rely on a PC running yet another program to do something as simple as offering band data to other devices

Once Mastro eventuates my plan is to ditch the PC completely for SSDR - I am not a contester - the current state is that you have to remain tied to a PC to band switch an amp - sorry but thats a ridiculous thing to have to do - while you might see it as 50 yr old tech all of the mainstream station controllers, amps and antennas switches sold in the last few years still rely on it. And I can't think of any new amp etc on sale now that does not either.  No one that I know can afford to simply buy a flex and ditch every device and go IP - either in time or money.

Provision of legacy support of CAT from HW without a PC is a mistake. I love my Flex but this is a gap that is very much more than annoyance. Every mainstream manufacturer supports it and will have to remain supporting it for many years yet ... IP or no IP.
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Lee, Elmer

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I bought a $35 raspberry pi 3.  I spent another 4 bux on a memory card.  It runs Win 10 IOT (free) and has a built in Ethernet port, built in wifi and bluetooth.  It runs C# and other variants natively.  I wrote a little program and I can SSH in (or powershell or what ever its called) and make it run from across the house no problemo.    It looks to me the software to run the GPIO pins should not be too hard as the libraries are all there.  This should give you a serial port and BCD which IP's into the radio for band data.  The Pi runs about a watt and my experience with Linux vaiients is its very reliable.  If you had this plugged into the network it could fetch the band data and run the amp/s, antenna switches etc dedicated, headless, from anywhere.  It's about the size of a deck of cards.  

All this kvetching about "computers" is a bit crazy.  This is a SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO.  It doesn't work without a computer.  I'm not much of a programmer and don't really have the time to get booted into that right now but it looks to me this project would take a weekend (probably less) for someone who knows his ass from his elbow about C# or C++ programming and understands how to get band data out of the Flex interface.  

73  W9OY
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Simon, as I understand it , you still need a Windows computer to download SmartSDR, which does 3 things now:
1) installs SSDR for Windows w/ VSP
2) installs SSDR to the radio
3) installs smartSDR for Windows to Maestro

Where I partially disagree with Lee is, while SDR requires software, that doesn't necessarily require a consumer general purpose computer as the required software runs in the radio. That SSDR requires SSDR for Windows is incidental to Flex and a few other knockoffs., as evidenced by the 7300 and KX-3.

Also, where I agree with Lee is, this summer XPSSDR will have a local Pine64 (could be RP 3) in the shack to proxy station control requests to the amp, tuner, rotor. Where XPSSDR is not currently remote-able, that proxy is not a pressing concern.

I am, however, awed that ddutil if free. Clearly, without Steve Nance, FRS would have a huge issue. Of course that ddutil is free to us doesn't necessarily mean Steve Nance is doing it uncompensated.
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Simon

Let me join the debate... I too run the SPE and a SteppIR and about 1/2 dozen other peripherals from my Flex via DDUTIL...In fact, I was the prime mover to get SPE to provide an API and to get Steve K5FR to program the SPE amps into DDUTIL to overcome the obvious remote control shortcomings of their Amps.  As you probably know I DX, contest AND run Remote and Local Stations

DDUTIL does a marvelous job controlling my station.  Features such as Autodrive  give the ability to safely run my amps without distortion generating ALC.

I have had Acom, 7800 and K3 here and still have them at the contest station.  Your idea of everything being controlled by HW band data is rather unrealistic. We needed all sorts of physical HW translators and interfaces to get things to work at the contest station.  NONE of them does anywhere near as good a job of control as DDUTIL... Have you ever tried to reverse a SteppIR from an Icom or K3...   or turn on and off and set power levels and switch Antennas on the SPE from any Radio.....You can't but with DDUTIL and Flex you can. 

Frankly I am puzzled by these requests of PC Less Interconnectivity because typically the amount of middleware hardware interfaces you need to make other radios work can be much more complex and unreliable than a PC and DDUTIL Plus they give you so much less control...

I have run my station from all over the world relying on DDUTIL to do band switching safely which is does.  Running the Icoms and K3 at contest station remotely is no where near as flexible, reliable, elegant or as safe.

HOWEVER... with the advent of Maestro.. it is pretty obvious that you can run the 6000/Maestro without a PC.so I would not be too surprised if at some point Flex brings out something like the 4O3A Station Genius which is an IP based interface box to run peripherals...

Personally I would hope that they never provide band data via RS232 or USB albeit.  These will be a support nightmare. Like they are with every other radio to say the least.

I did see a 6000 controlling an Amp and SteppIR from the USB port at Visalia a few  years ago,... In fact, I posted a video of it (on the old reflector) at the time....

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Walt - KZ1F

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Why did that not get productized? That was towards the top of the list of why I bought a 6000. It was a huge WTF when I discovered that functionality was vaporware.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I suspect because of the huge support nightmare. It would,generate.

Right now all peripheral support is via DDUTIL

With USB it would be a massive nightmare of incompatible interfacing issues. Which is why I hope they never do USB.
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Walt - KZ1F

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I believe Simon's point refuted that. My dev system doesn't do RS-232. My DCU-1, KPA-500, and KAT-500 all use RS-232 but a USB to rs232 cable solves that issue FB. No support issues and no ddutil (on Linux). Natively under Linux I can use the Elecraft firmware apps to control the hardware, including power on and off sequencing. I can send the same commands from XPSSDR. In fact, seeing the linear, rf. power out spans o->700w. At 100, it transitions from 100w back to teens transitioning the linear from stdy to oper.
Of course my goal wasn't to write a Swiss army knife. But that would only be marginally more difficult. All via usb., which, BTW, hasn't ever broken.

TCP doesn't solve 'massive incompatibility issues'.
(Edited)
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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Hello,

I follow an italian group where, just one year ago, Flex System and all its world was literally unpopular. In the last period, instead, a lot of discussions are coming out talking about how simple and convenient will be using an entry level 6300 equipped with Maestro.
I think it is no more a matter of knobs yes/no, but how simple it will be managing a powerful sdr system without having to deal with the underlying software.
If you had a Porsche Cayenne and someone would tell you "hey man, you can do fuel simply using DDUTIL. To do it you can just buy a PC, install A, connect B and the you can have all the power you need", I am sure you wouldn't be so happy.

Just my two cents :)

73' Enzo
iw7dmh
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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We all have different equipment and operate differently. Flex staff have not answered  the question however marked this conversation as answered. As we see there is a need and a want to operate other equipment from the flex directly by many operators. I love the user interface in SmartSDR offers and if we can control our other equipment from the one program it would make life much easier. DDU is a great program but you must go back and forth to make everything work like you want. Now with the Maestro coming out if you want to run a other equipment and have it tracked by the radio you must have a computer also running with smartsdr and DDU. To me this is poor planning and as a software radio it should not be that difficult to make happen. Again I would like to hear from Flex on how they are going to fix this issue.

73s Dennis KM6DF       
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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If you read the Flex Insiders, this community and do a smudge of interpolation it is observable and/or predictable:

  1. DDUTIL is "on team" and working tightly with FRS 
  2. There is a DDUTIL future hinted in some FRS communications suggesting further integration
  3. There are announced SmartSDR integrated internet aware accessories, including Amplifiers, Switches and Station integration.
  4. There is a full developer's program for third party hardware/software providers who want to integrate closer with the FRS products.
  5. A good number of folk are in those programs AND like the Alpha FRS Team have NDAs, so until it is time to talk they won't talk. 
  6. Further integration into SmartSDR of other add-ins has been discussed and may happen down the road.
  7. FRS not officially responding to this thread, despite your baiting & badgering, speaks volumes towards a likely set of announcements at Dayton 2016.  

So be encouraged, not discouraged - and seriously consider that your ranting may look retroactively unfair after Dayton.  

It is unavoidable when from a lack of knowledge people go off on rants claiming FRS is doing something other than the continued over-performance on product promises (except some date predictions) and trailblazing many great products that are truly changing our hobby.

YMMV but be prepared to be a Happy Camper down the road.  Just not today though!

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Steve,
I have also been thinking the same thing for all of the same reasons.    Of course we will just have to wait and see if we are right or not.   Maybe we'll here something at the Dayton Flex dinner in May.  That will be here before we know it.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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Steve thanks for the comments. I would think Flex at least would say they hear the need and are working on a solution. No comment is bad PR to the community.

73's Dennis KM6DF
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Lee, Elmer

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Because you have a burr under your saddle, does not mean Flex is somehow at fault and neither does it mean there is a problem which requires YOUR solution.  You seem to think somehow you represent "the community" and this gives you license to pontificate for us.  You don't have that license.  You represent yourself.  If you want to do politics run for office, but accosting the list is not of much interest.  Let me know when you start having fun.

73  W9OY
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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I am sorry I do not want to offend anyone. I am not speaking for everyone but see post after post asking for how to connect amps, tuners, and antenna switches to the flex.  This community has been very helpful to me and I really appreciate it. But continue to be frustrated with flex not responding to the the question, are they or are they not going to have a solution. I am having fun with my flex system  every day and have enjoyed the convenience of interfacing with DDU and making everything work. However I think a direct connect is better for the end user and I understand the programming challenges but being the state of the art system their will always be  challenges to over come. Again I am only speaking for myself as I see a way to improve a already great product.

73's Dennis KM6DF 
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Lee, Elmer

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Flex pays very close attention.  The solution often involves something much more insightful than just doing what we've always done for the last 50 years and treating people who have their hair on fire.  Some time squeaky wheels just gonna squeak.  An example of insightful solution: WNB.  Another example: CESSB speech processor.  Another example: Flex API's.  I can go on and on.  The solutions also involve taking business cost/benefit into account.  If Flex is to stay in business they can't do stupid stuff and they have mapped out where they want to go.  

You know a station control product is being designed so how inclusion of that product's goals and infrastructure with some other user goals has to be considered.  The reason SSDR was developed as a clean sheet product was because PSDR and its architecture started to become the land of kludge, bloat and antiquity.  Everybody and their brother wanted their bright idea included but that made the software difficult to streamline in a way that provides high performance and viability into the future.  I mean no pejorative to you personally and you are most welcome to express your wants and I'm sure Flex is listening.  The discussion is what makes things interesting.

73  W9OY
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Official Response
@Dennis

Respectfully, it is unreasonable to ask us to answer every forward looking question that comes up on the community.  To date, we have not placed a concerted engineering effort into station integration because of higher priorities and that DDUtil has provided such a comprehensive integration tool for many years across our product line.  

However, you can expect that when we do focus on station automation it will be much more comprehensive in design than what you will find on legacy radios.  One example from our partnership with 4O3A is the Antenna Genius.  Everything is controlled over ethernet.

http://cart.flexradio.com/Antenna-Genius-8x2-Matrix_p_970.html

The current focus at FlexRadio is Maestro and I am sure more in the station automation area will follow as appropriate.  That is all I will say at the moment.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Gerald,
Two years ago Steve said you were working on getting band data out and even prototyping so it's understandable why there are questions on the effort.  But I think your reply above is a good answer and update to Dennis's question.   Certainly priorities change over time and as as Steve noted, more would be coming when you know.   I think the comment about prototyping 2 years ago lead some to believe it was closer on the horizon.  

Hopefully a really good solution will be available one day and the 4o3A products are certainly headed in the right direction.  Sounds like  "DDUtil in a box"  could still happen.

 

Details here:  https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/band_data-3xef1?topic-reply-list%5Bsettings%5D%5Bfi...

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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Gerald thank you for the response and I fully understand the concept Flex is taking. I have enjoyed the Flex radios for years and look forward to the future development of Flex radio. I know DDU has been a great addition to the Flex system and have used it for years. But continue to be frustrated with layers of software to get my station to work like I wish however having problems with windows, flex updates other software issues etc. Just looking for a more stable station using my Flex. I look forward to seeing the development and hopefully  more communication to the group on resolving this issue.   Again thanks for all that the flex team does.
73s Dennis km6df

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