Noise Reduction needs improvement - feature request

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I worked the CQWW SSB contest this weekend with my FlexRadio 6300 as 2nd radio in an SO2R with my Yaesu FTdx5000. I am very impressed with the sensitivity of the 6300 as well as the selectivity - both compare very favorably to the Yaesu.

That said, I was less than thrilled with the noise reduction (DSP) features of the 6300 compared to the FTdx5000. I compared several bands, including 10 M, which had some rather severe broadband noise (I'd call it buzzing), and I couldn't get the 6300 to reduce noise anywhere near the Yaesu, even playing with the DNR, NB and WNB. The Yaesu was consistently better at making weak SSB signals readable.

There are probably several parts to this - one is that the Yaesu has four preamp/IPO settings, while the 6300 only has the option to turn the preamp on or off. Even playing around with all the different noise blanker and selectivity settings (where adjacent interference was an issue), the DNR slider didn't have nearly the effect I would have liked.

I'm hoping that there are improvements in the works, since I really like the 6300. I see some folks have complained about the automatic notch filter, but when I turned it on, it worked very well (some tuner-uppers on frequency).

Eric NC6K
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Eric Gruff

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Posted 3 years ago

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I am also i bit disappointed about the NR facility of the 6300. Here my ICOM IC-7800 functions better. About the NB facility the IC-7800 removes all the "clicks" from an electric fence surrounding a horse farm 3/4 of a mile from my home. The The 6300 NB is not so effective. Approvements are highly welcome.

 Vy 73 de OV6A Jorgen
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Ross - K9COX

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AGC levels can be effective in controlling noise. The NB and NR is another story.
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I have the same situation with my 7800 and even my 706 Icoms. The noise handling from the 6700 is completly useless from the beginning. Something should happening very urgent at FLEX or I lose my patient and dump the 6700.
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In my experience the WNB is almost useless when being presented with very loud signals within its passband - such as found during big contests. In fact it can make the situation very much worse.

Even with the slider set at just 2-5% it will make a lot of additional wideband noise. I have an S9+20 machine signal/noise just above 3.8MHz so trying to use the WNB in the DX segment around 3.790 is impossible, so it's turned off most of the time nowadays.

The NB (as apposed to the WNB) is okay but not as good as say the Icom 7600v2 or the 7300 that I have in the shack. I now tend to use the 7600 exclusively on the low bands, and the F6k gets turned on when chasing DX above 20m.
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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The NR can use some work, I agree.

I will remind you that the AGC-T adjustment is very different from AGC on other rigs. And setting the AGC-T correctly along with the NR makes a big difference.

In my experience all things Fkex start with proper adjustment of the AGC-T.

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Eric Gruff

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Thanks to all who replied. To Peter, K1PGV, thanks - I will try the AGC-T. My goal is to maximize my enjoyment of the 6300, not bash it, and I appreciate the willingness of the manufacturer to look into it. I'm happy to be a beta tester too.

FWIW - I have twin daughters (fraternal), and I try to use that situation as a model when comparing the Yaesu and FlexRadio. That is, both have their own positive aspects, but both could "learn" from the other. The FlexRadio's waterfall display is fantastic and blows away the panadapter on the Yaesu, for example.
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Mike - ZL1MRC

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I am also see that my icom 7600 outperforms the flex 6500 on filtering. I have followed the instructions setting up the AGC-T however weak signals do better on the icom. I am not sure what flex is doing to address this.
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Eric Gruff

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Just to follow up - adjusting the AGC-T did help a bit. I did find that I reached a point where I would have liked to turn it down a bit more, but couldn't get enough audio drive into my headphones to hear low signals. Definitely an improvement - thanks to all who offered suggestions.
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I've been waiting 3 years for DSP improvements. I can't figure out what is so difficult. FRS had it working fine on PowerSDR. 
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Mario - KC8P

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Another vote for NB and WNB improvement, the algorithm implemented now is very selective and sometime works sometime not at all, highly depends of the noise characteristics.
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I've had my 6700 for about a year now and I've never been able to hear (or see) any difference when I activate WNB. 

Peter is absolutely correct about the AGC-T adjustment.  It makes a huge difference in background noise.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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The WNB is the most misunderstood feature of the radio it seems. People expect it to work much like any other radio. Most radio's simply blankets everything so it works on anything. But the Flex? it is made to hone in on one type of noise, it samples it and programs it self to block it out, but only if you have the right type of noise. So for many no difference can be heard if the noise is the wrong type. For me, 40 meters is not usable at night with out the WNB on it compleately clears it up.
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Burch - K4QXX

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The WNB works pretty well for me.  As Bill stated, 40 meters (and 80 meters at my location) is almost not usable without using the WNB.  You do need to get it setup correctly and you also must adjust it when the conditions change or it can introduced "noise" in the audio and on the panadapter.  That being said, it still doesn't work as well as the NB on PowerSDR.  The NB on PowerSDR worked VERY well at my location.  That's the only thing I miss about getting rid of my Flex 5000.
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Ross - K9COX

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WNB only works on highly correlated or periodic noise such as electric fences, some types of power line noise or in my case precipitation static. Here is a demonstration of "rain noise"
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Nice demo of WNB. I'm not familiar with precipitation static. Any time I see my noise jump up that far it's because someone turned on some device that I've yet to permanently disable (brute force RFI reduction cheaper than ferrite). I've not found any noise that WNF is effective at reducing, yet. This is probably a good thing for me I think. The Noise Blanker is pretty effective or at least it has an audible affect.

In general, my trace is usually down around -120 db on the spectrum at 20 meters and not much higher at 40 or 80 meters. I'm never quite sure if I'm just in a quiet area or my antennas are just not up to par.
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Jay / NO5J

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I suspect you really are in a quiet area, I suspect I am too. There's not all that much electricity in use within about 15 miles of my QTH. I'm in a technological desert. at least one of the nearby craftsman does own an arc welder, but thankfully it seems he only uses it for emergencies.  The regular NB helps a lot during those emergencies.
I've seen the WNB work from time to time here. Band noise at -120 dB is typical for me too, especially when the band has any activity. Late at night. or whenever the band is dead the noise floor heads lower towards -140 dB it never actually get's much lower than -130 dB though. My dummy load's noise floor is normally -128 dB for a 100 Hz wide filter on 20 M, the white noise floor trace on the panadapter makes it appear lower, best guesstimate around -133 dB. I get the -128 dB reading by hovering my mouse over the S-meter on the slice flag, but even that varies +- 2-3 dB from hover to hover. I glad I don't have much use for the WNB. It makes me feel much better about my retirement real estate decision. Thankfully signals heard are usually stronger than -120 dB, and they seem to be plentiful. My Flexradio seems to be working.


73, Jay - NO5J

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Hi Ross,

Nice to see it does work for some people.

Not sure what that noise is, but I am pretty certain it is not rain induced static as such. It is way too uniform and structured 9a blanket effect) for static. Rain static is by nature very random and variable. What you may be seeing is something like a power-line or national grid circuit lighting up when it gets wet. If you zoom right in you will see the form better and more like a buzz I suspect.

Rain static (and we get lots here in the UK) often sounds just like an elevated noise floor of white noise. For example on 80m I can tell if its raining or foggy outside just by looking at my noise floor.

Either way, it is obviously doing something useful for you, so you have "the right kind of noise", for WNB. Many people don't get anything meaningful from WNB, therefore cannot be subscribing to the right kind of noise.

I think to be globally useful it needs to be much more "tweakable" as I observe that a fair number of people in fact see little distinct benefit from it.

As Paul suggest, it may be more appropriate to spend development hours on speech extraction / clean-up methods, rather than filters that might or might not work depending upon your location, geography etc.

73 de Steve G1XOW
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Ross - K9COX

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Hi Steve, what I can say is that it only happens when it rains, is antenna dependent, has occurred at different QTH's and a friend has also experienced it. Begins at a low level and them reaches a crescendo and the zap its gone. Almost like a charge buildup.
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Fix this one too.