Noise Blanker Fix

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  • Updated 8 months ago
Any plans for fixing the Noise Blanker in 1. software ? 
 I can not justify stepping up to the 2.0 and gamble that it is really fixed.
I would expect the noise blanker on thee 6300 to at least equal my Elecraft K3 or my Icom 7300 . Any thoughts on this fail ?
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James Teeple

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Posted 9 months ago

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Scott N8UMW

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Hi James. I'm running v2 on my 6300 and have the same issues I had with v1. And I agree, it should be as good as the radios you mentioned. It's the one thing I really don't like about the radio.
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KK9W - Steve

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I have been complaining about that for as long as the 6300 came out. Good luck with that fix. They tell you turn the AGC threshold down. I can't even effectively get rid of pulse noise.
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KK9W - Steve

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This is from Gerald 3 years ago:

"Guys, we do plan to do more work on the DSP capabilities in SmartSDR.  However, they won't be in the release due out July 31.  If you want to vote specific features or improvements up, feel free to enter them as an idea and vote them up.  We have to weigh these requests against road map commitments that we have already made public and intend to keep.  

Noise Blanking is an area where direct sampling radios can  shine because of the wide band sampling capabilities.  That may require potentially significant work on the FPGA side so you will have to be patient."

Gerald . . . How much more patience do we need. 
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Scott N8UMW

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That's what I was thinking, but wasn't sure. I'm just glad I didn't buy a more expensive model or I'd be extremely mad. I have to go all the way back to my Kenwood TS-440 to find a NB on any other radio I own to find one that even approaches the level of bad the 6300 has.
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James Whiteway

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I understand how you feel. But, in my limited experience, I have found Noise Blankers on different radios that I have owned, including the 6000 Series radios, that worked poorly on different types of noise and yet, on others, did great. I think it is hard to make a "one size fits all" noise blanker.
I have an Icom 706 MKIIG that the noise blanker seemed totally ineffective in several places I traveled to. (I'm a long haul truck driver) And yet, in my home town of Mineral Wells, Tx, where it seemed every power line and pole arced, it would completely remove the buzzing and popping noise and I would hear, and have a qso with a station that was otherwise completely covered up by the S9+ noise. I think there are so many variables to consider when designing hardware and writing code for a noise blanker, that it would be nearly impossible to make one that worked everywhere.
James
WD5GWY
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Rick W7YP

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One advantage of SDR over analog radios is that it IS possible to come close to a one-size-fits-all noise blanker for the most common forms of noise because the software can actually identify the specific kinds of noise versus the desired signal and more effectively remove just that noise without taking too much of the desired signal with it.  The noise filtering on my ANAN-100D, compared to my 6700, is phenomenal.  Were it not for the fact that I now live in a largely noise-free area, I'd be frustrated that I spent over twice what I did for the ANAN, but got such pathetic filtering in it.  Even PowerSDR for my Flex 5000 does an incredible job compared to my 6700 and it proves that the software is there to do it; yet, somehow it still hasn't made it into SmartSDR.  The Icom IC-7300 that I bought for my Artic Fox camper even puts to shame the noise filtering in my 6700.
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Scott N8UMW

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I second that. Even working NB and WNB together with the AGC, by the time I have the noise under control, everybody sounds like they are talking loud with their lips right on the microphone. My little Flex 1500 doesn't do that and neither does my Anan 200D.
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KK9W - Steve

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For a “state of the art” radio . . . My ts480 has a better noise blanker
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Scott N8UMW

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My 1500 has a better noise blanker.
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Andrew Russell

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On the other hand with V2 I had a nasty buzz recently and after many unsuccessful tries in the past WNB worked like magic.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I know, sometimes 40M can't be used here unless WNB is on. For my kind of noise it's a saver.
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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The WNB on my 6500 does really well for a bad power line noise I have here when it gets to 0 or below..  I'm guessing a bad insulator when the power lines shrink tight.  Usually around an s8 or s9.  If I set WNB at about 70% and turn it on it learns the noise in about 10 seconds and drops it almost completely out.  Otherwise, the NB ans WNB are a little anemic.  I can switch the antennas back and forth between the 5000 and 6500 and there is no comparison on  most other noise.  We get some static noise with dry snow here and the 6500 NR does help with that, especially if you play with the AGC,
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Scott N8UMW

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I have to use NB and WNB together, and it works. But then people sound like they have their microphones in their mouths. Not always, but most of the time. If I attenuate and/or drop the AGC to alleviate it, often the desired signals become too week. Very strange side effects of what otherwise works. Again, I love my flex, but when i get those noises that can't be removed without the receive audio becoming distorted, I have to switch radios until it goes away.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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This area is somewhat complex - I've used radios where the NB is awesome, but the overall sensitivity is a bit meh..  With the Signature Series/SmartSDR setup there is a whole lot more that can be heard, including more of what we'd all actually like to not hear. 

Is the trade-off of exceptional overall sensitivity including sensitivity to more noise vs lesser sensitivity allowing betting noise filtering worthwhile?  Might depend on your opertinge style and expectations.

With enough comparison time between a Flex-6300, an IC-7800, an FT-2000 and an Hiberling PT-8000A my take is the Flex digs deeper but paradoxically at the expense of also digging up more to filter out. 

Adjusting the Flex parameters is lass tactile and subtle. 

Then some parts in the filtering mix are so useful - the TNF can help pull out a discernible contact from chaos & rubbish. 

Complex trade-offs - that hi-fi sound some crave vs the aggressive signal gatherer others want...

73

Steve K9ZW

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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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Hope this isn't too naive a question, but is there or could there be a dedicated external unit that might help ?
Happy New Year and 73
Bob, WK2Y  
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Rick W7YP

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http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=CLR_spkr

I have one on my 6700 and it's made a BIG difference.  Never imagined I'd have to add something like this to a $7000 SDR radio.  Sadly, my IC-7300 still does a better job at noise elimination, but the CLRspkr helped a bunch.

Happy New Year to all!

Rick, W7YP
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James Teeple

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Yes there is A TmeWave unit that works great on the older analog stuff but should not be needed on modern radios, my K3 and IC-7600 and IC-7300 do a great job even the old Ten-Tec Orion II is excelent , I have them all in line and on a switch so i Can A/B them and the flex fails in a lot of areas I find I seldom use the Flex 6300 , about the only thing I really like about the Flex is the GUI with the spectrum display but the Elecraft P3 fills the bill. so my disappointment with flex continues.
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Scott N8UMW

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As I mentioned earlier, at least in my case, v2 did not fix the problem.
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KK9W - Steve

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There are a lot of people getting disappointed with the flex. They are starting to get a reputation for NOT finishing things and jumping ahead to the next big cash grab.
When I am on the air and tell people what I am running the comments are generally  less than favorable.

I wonder if they treat their government contracts and their commercial side the same way??
(Edited)
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James Whiteway

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What do they say if you tell them you're using something other than a Flex? I've done that, while using a Flex. I tell them it's my Yaesu FT-1000MP MKV , when I was actually on the 6500 I had. Great audio they say, very nice etc. Then later when I tell them the truth, they get mad. It just proves no one can tell what radio you're using, if it's set up properly. Brand bias exists everywhere.
As for the Noise Blanker issue, what works for what sounds and with a panadapter display, looks to be the same kind of noise, may not always work. It's almost impossible to knock out, much less test for, every conceivable kind of noise source. Instead of knocking FRS on every instance of noise that it cannot handle in your particular area, hunt down the source of the noise and try to eliminate it that way. Much more effective than depending on a radio's electronics/software to get rid of it for you.
Sometimes, that is the only thing you can do.
James
WD5GWY
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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When I get on air and I tell people what I am running they are usually in awe. I get lots of emails on a weekly basis asking about different Flex radios and the PG XL. I have gotten interest from random contesters and DXers and DXpeditioners about Flex radios. I post random videos of my operation on YouTube. I give talks at clubs and I also talk one on one with people off air, and most are pretty impressed by the platform when they realize what it can do. 

After CQWW I got quite a bit of interest as well. I won't say who they are to protect their privacy and competitive edge but some of the big names are actively seeking to make the switch to Flex signature series. Some are of course stubbornly skeptical, but that's them, and I think that eventually they will either adapt or get left behind.

I have actually managed to win over a few, but some of them just can't get over the fact that the radio is powered by a computer (on a side note, this is a technology hobby, why are so many hams afraid of computers?)

Yes, there are the flex haters, but so what? I really don't care for them. I may troll them a bit online but for the most part they are not going to change. It's like people who like to hate on different brands of cars. In fact I might be glad that they are using something with less performance and capability so I can beat them in a contest or pileup...

In my 20 years being licensed I have learned that hams are a varied bunch and don't like change. As for me I like to live on the edge, and push the limits. 

Ria
(Edited)
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Neil D Friedman N3DF

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I like living on the edge and pushing the limits, too.  That's why I'm replacing my Drake TR3 with a Flex 6600M.  
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Hope you're not selling! That Drake would still play nice on SKN. :)
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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I think your taking a cheap shot at them egging them on to reply during a time you know they are closed. Flex might be taking a Christmas break, but I'm not. It is relative to whom you are talking to as to the comments you receive back. Of course you will hear bashing of anything Flex does from diehard fans of their competitors. I hear plenty of that, like the constant negative drool you hear from mainstream media no matter what positive good things are happening. While listening in general  I hear so much positive discussion of how the new line and it's pricing has given many a second look at Flex.

Using the phrase "a lot" can also be misleading. A lot of your posts are of a negative nature, I get that, it's allowed. Nothing at all wrong with criticism and pointing out issues, that is a good thing that can lead to progress. My opinion is I think you take it too far especially in your last sentence. FRS is obviously a very successful American company but not perfect.

Developing the newer products was a decision FRS made which yes, delayed SmartSDR feature list development but it has been discussed a lot already. By the reaction of new orders and the shock the new line and pricing sent to it's competitors FRS obviously did the right thing.

We all would like to see more emphasis and software features that fit our individual needs. With each new release there is a great deal of instant gratification but  I do believe most users totally understand FRS cannot deliver 100% of everyone's feature requests to all their users with each software release. I guess some of us just cope with it in different ways.
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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So funny, I have had some people on Anan's ask me if I like my Anan, they think I am as they notice the signal on their screen, then I tell them I'm on my Flex, I like when that happens, to funny.

Anytime a post goes up about the noise mitigation it opens the door for bashing. And some of it may be true, but come on folks really?
It is the same few guys who say flex fails in a lot of areas or things like, disappointed with the Flex, and the new radios are just cash grabs. But they still hang around  because the Flex radio is so darn good.
And some of these guys has asked to be field testers for Flex. With their attitude, I don't think they will be anytime soon. Their comments are not so productive.

I too don't think the noise mitigation is 100%, the noise blanker works a bit, the NR is not bad, but it changes the audio to much. The WNB is a saver for me, some nights without it I can't work 40M. I just have that kind of noise it is made for. The ANF works mostly, but again it distorts audio, but it woks. None of this makes me want to change to another radio that does not perform as well as the Flex in other areas.

So the radio is not perfect, but boy it sure is a good radio in so many ways.
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Wayne

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Maybe they need to hire KE9NS to take over their software development, he has done miracles with the PowerSDR for the 1500,3000 and 5000! Use it all the time on my 3000!

Wayne - Kd5spx

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KK9W - Steve

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Agree
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Rick W7YP

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The principle advantage of SDR over superhet designs is the ability to pull signals "out of the mud" to a degree that is essentially impossible with the best superhet designs.  That's why we're willing to pay the big bucks for that technology.
 
Via software, it is possible to build brick-wall filters that will shut out adjacent interference from a much stronger signal when we're trying to work a weaker signal.  SDR, properly done, is a DX'ers and contesters dream-come-true.  Flex's Signature series has the test results to prove they're the leader in this area (http://www.sherweng.com/table.html).

But many of us aren't big DX'ers nor contestors.  What drew us to SDR was the ability to do sophisticated noise filtering that isn't possible in even a top-notch superhet with IF DSP.  Many of us have and continue to enjoy that level of filtering with Flex-5000's and ANAN transceivers.  But we've yet to be provided that in our Signature radios.  Many of us have a daily need for that, not just on weekends, as contesters do.

What frustrates me is that PowerSDR for my Flex-5000 and my ANAN-100D already have far more advanced filtering than my 6700.  Why doesn't Flex just pay someone to port it to SmartSDR?  Shouldn't take long nor cost much.  They might even be able to quickly do so themselves, but perhaps they don't want to deal with GPLs and other such things.

I'm not bashing Flex.  Heck, I've been a customer since the SDR-1000 days (still have that one, too!).  I even have a PowerGenius on order.  But come on, guys, noise filtering is SDR's shining area and you've only done half the job thus far.

Rick, W7YP
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James Teeple

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Well ok this has gotten a bit out of hand, It was not bashing, I just ask if anyone knows of a planned fix for the well known NOISE BLANKER problem.

  So I guess freely translated everyone is aware there is a problem and no one commented that it was fixed in 2.o and no one addressed that there was a know plan to fix it in 1.? so that should end the thread,

Thanks
Jim N8DOD
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Scott N8UMW

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First off, this is a forum for Flex owners to discuss their experiences with Flex radios. Good and bad. Second, I don't think most of us are in here to dig the company employees put of their holiday time off to do anything.
. Your mention of different experiences with different radios is true and always will be. I don't own competitors products in an effort to bash flex. I do it because I want to know the differences first hand and most hams own multiple brands of similar equipment. If my noise gets too bad, I switch radios because I can. Problem with that? I may upgrade to a newer model, but only after they've been out for a while and I can get info as to whether they suffer the same issue. Bottom line is that this particular issue keeps coming up and not all of us can move out to BFE to escape the noise. And I might add that regardless of brand and model, there is an expectation that a newer model should work at least as good as its predecessors in extremely common features such as a noise blanker.
. Sorry, but as you said, Flex isn't perfect. It is what it is and that's why most of us have multiple rigs. Even with Flex on the bleeding edge, they all have things they do better than others and some that do not.

73,'N8UMW
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Dudley - WA5QPZ

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James,

What noises are you trying to get out?  And what are you AGC-T settings are you running?   With respect to the AGC-T ,  you want to run as low as you can ,  and have you used the WNB ?  Let it perform it's training (Blinking WNB in the upper right corner)   unlike the normal NB ,  the WNB will actually lower the baseline noise level.   It is very effective on repetitive noises..
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I have a very high baseline noise level on 80,40 & 30 and WNB, properly set, will reduce it by 20db!
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Burch - K4QXX

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WNB works very well at my QTH.  I have a lot of power line buzz and on some bands it takes out 100% and other bands takes out most of the buzz.  20 meters at my QTH would be useless without the WNB.

Burch
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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Perhaps by documenting exactly what type of noise is a problem and what the WNB and NB do well on we can help Flex tweak things as we go.  My biggest noise issue here is the power line noise I spoke of earlier.  When it's on (it's either there or gone, no half way) if all I had for a radio was the 5000 I might as well stay off the radio.  Fortunately I have the 6500 and I mash the WNB button and away it goes. Maybe clues like that would save some testing and establish patterns.  There's a myriad of different noise types to chase as someone else mentioned.  By far the worst one I had was a switching PS from a portable B+W TV.  Chased the noise all the way out to the transformer on the pole with my MFJ meter and then when the RF guy from the power company came he couldn't fix it and he told me it was coming from the house!  That noise would wipe out the Yaesu 950 but the 5000 would tame somewhat..   not an exact science.  :-)
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James Teeple

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Can we end this I just ask a simple question:

 " Any plans for fixing the Noise Blanker in 1. software ?  "

 I think the lack of an answer is obvious

 I joined this group yesterday just to ask and it did not work out very well .
 Sorry

Jim N8DOD
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Your question was asked for Flex to answer, Tim must be busy, so as a result many will chime in instead.
If I recall, I don't remember Flex mentioning that they are planning any more work on the NB.
And V1 of SSDR is frozen. Perhaps they will tackle it more in V2?

This is one area were many owners have mentioned having problems. I believe Flex does not wish to simply blanket the receiver in order to mitigate all types of noise as many other radios do.
So Flex is targeting types of noise while allowing the receiver to stay very open. The problem with this for some, the NB may not be effective on the noise they have.
As example, the WNB has been reported as not working at all by many. But that filter was made for one type of noise, electrical noise. For me as well as others, this WNB is wonderful. It takes out my noise 100%. And there are some U tubes videos showing it's amazing performance.
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Craig Williams

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Went from an Icom 7600 to a Flex 3000. Love it except the noise blanker is junk in PowerSDR. KE9NS says he hasent figured out how to improve the code so I use a vintage JPS NR-12 noise reducer. Works great. As to the new Flex software, they need to contract to Simon Brown author of SDR-Console V3. His noise blanking is great and the test team says he has a beta version, not yet released to the public, that is even better.
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Burch - K4QXX

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The noise blanker on my old 5000a using PowerSDR was the best I have ever used.  At least the type of noise at my QTH.  It's interesting how different stations have such different results using NBs in different radios.
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Mark - WS7M

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I am lucky to live where there is really not too much noise.  I have a neighbor with some new heating system that is making 40m look a little swirly but otherwise not much else.  Our power lines are buried which seems to help.

Because of this I don't use the NB or WNB.  I can however see them doing something but I cannot say exactly what.

Tim has talked in other threads about the NB and WNB and kinds of noise they are designed to attack.  I wonder if the kind of noise you have is just something it was not designed for?

As far as fixing it... Is there a specification it needs to meet?  I know that probably doesn't make everyone happy but I think noise by its very nature is a difficult problem to solve.
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Rich McCabe

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I have never had a need for NB to speak of but NR is a different story. Problem is I never have liked the sound of NR on any rig including my 6500 or the 6600M I took delivery on last week.

But after having the AGC-T that flex provides on the 6000 series,  I don't see myself going to anything else in the near future.  Its amazing. Once again, have no need for man made pulse type blankers.

73,

Rich
kd0zv

... was kidding about the delivery.
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mikeatthebeach .

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The NR Noise Reduction on the ClearSpeech unit is amazing on my Flex6700

West Mountain CLR/SPKR 58407-948Amplified Loudspeaker with ClearSpeech® Adaptive DSP Noise Reduction for Voice and CW 58407-948

https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-009029
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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These units are pretty awesome. 

I know of hams who run the audio from every transceiver in their shack through one.

There are other add-on modules (is it bhp?) that offer a lot of the same benefits.

73

Steve K9ZW

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Alan W4FBI

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For Bill B.

As I understand it, V1 software is not totally 'frozen' as you state. It is frozen with regard to New Features. Flex continues to work existing feature issues on V1.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Thank you, correct. I noticed that later, should have said feature frozen.