SDR settings for SPE 1.3K amplifier

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I want to connect my new SPE expert 1.3K to my Flex 6500. I have already Dan's (KC5PCB) cable set. Can someone tell me what i have to change in the SDR 2.0 settings?



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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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Posted 8 months ago

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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Did you buy a usb to serial adapter for band data?
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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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yes i have also the usb to serial cable with FTDI chipset.
(Edited)
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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You will need to go into settings and enable the USB adapter after you plug it it. It will provide band data to the Amp. You will need to configure the Amp for “Flex” under cat settings. Read the manual that came with the Amp. There are some special ways to set power levels for low medium and high power when using a flex radio (the amp actually sets the drive power on the radio once its configured.) Good luck
(Edited)
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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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In the above radio settings from SDR i do not change anything?
(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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You will need to enable TX1 and connect an RCA cable from TX1 out to PTT in 1 on amp.

I have my 1.3k connected via DDUtil since I already have DDUtil for other peripherals. It allows adjustment of power from SmartSDR. If you connect direct to radio then you must adjust the power from the amp.

Either way works.

Dave wo2x
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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It depends if Dave made the keying line in the acc port or the rca port. Mine keys thru acc port
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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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oke thanks, i give it a try.

People who want to order the cable set. Send a mail to Dan kc5pcb2@att.net and you get all the info.
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John - K3MA

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What others have said but with some screen shots to help guide you.

1) Setup USB cable in SmartSDR ....Menu: Settings.....USB Cable.  The Serial number of your cable will be different.
2) Setup PTT in SmartSDR to key SPE.  I used RCA TX1 port with 50ms delay.  Yours might be different.
3.) Setup CAT on SPE.  With amp in Standby.
4.) Setup drive power control on SPE so that it reduces drive from Flex.  You will need to do this for each power level on SPE (LOW, MID, MAX) and on each band of operation.  My power drive level from the screen shot is 4 watts on 17M in LOW and also 4 watts in MAX.  See the PC: # above the BAND indication on the SPE.  You make this setting by having the SPE in Operate mode and pressing the LEFT/UP arrow button key.  This brings up the PC: reading and then you press the LEFT/UP arrow button key to decrease the set drive level or the RIGHT/DOWN arrow button to increase the set drive level until you get to the drive level you want.  These are the arrows on the right side of the SPE display not the LEFT side. Set the drive you want for the output you want and Stop pressing buttons. In a second or two the PC: display will disappear and your level will be set at the last value shown. 

You will need to repeat this process for every band and for each of the three SPE power levels on the band.

You can verify this by looking at the RF Power slider in SmartSDR.  Also when you put the SPE in Standby the RF Power Slider will change to 100 watts (or whatever max power out you have set in SmartSDR).  The SPE will set the Flex to these level everytime your return to that band in the future.

Regards, John K3MA



(Edited)
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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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Hi John,

I use only digital mode (wsjtx). I can use the same delay (50)?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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If you want to make your own cable it’s pretty easy. K3MA’s guide is pretty much what you need for a pre made cable though. For SO2R it’s a bit different but 2 cables and 2 adapters and also two relay lines. You set a tx profile that activates each relay line.


The 50ms delay seems sufficient for everything. I’ve used it for WSJTX JT65 (sold the amp before FT8 was released) without issue. High power was mostly used on low bands 160 and 80.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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This is what you need for a basic DIY cable

9 pin (Flex) --------> 15 pin (amp)
Pin 2 (RXD) ------------------> Pin 9 (TXD)
Pin 3 (TXD) ------------------> Pin 1 (RXD)
Pin 5 (Ground) ------------------> Pin 4 (Ground)

I also solder the drain wires to the shield of the connectors to guard against ground loops.
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John - K3MA

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I use delay of 50 ms on all modes including JT65, RTTY, FT8 without issue. 
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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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Everything works oke now. I have the output on LOW now. With 2 watt input i get 400 watt output.
What i notice is that everytime the amp is transmitting the Fans starting to blow. In digital (ft8) mode that is not annoying

Is this  behavior normal?  
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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When I had mine they would come on. The amp is small so it depends heavily on fans for cooling. Most solid state amps these days have fans that come on when you key or when temperature rises. Unlike tube amps they don't need to be continuously cooled to a high degree. 

PG XL also has fans that increase in speed with temperature increase. The aren't terribly loud but I would be lying if I said they were completely silent. When operating FT8 they will definitely spin up. It's not terrible, in fact it is quite manageable and with a good set of headphones it won't bother you.

The only way to get rid of fan noise is some other cooling method like water cooling.

Ria
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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On newer 1.3k this is normal. During transmit an additional fan comes on. And if you are running 400 watt carrier it will be faster than if operating SSB

Dave wo2x
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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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I operate my flexradio remote. Because the amp has connections with my Flex is must be also operate remote.
I think i use the remote software to switch the amp on/off.

Anyone swich the amp never off?  It use 17W in standby.
My Flex is always on.



and my test setup
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Yes. Amp is an antenna switch so it's always on.
(Edited)
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John - K3MA

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My 1.3K and Flex 6500 have been on 24/7 for the past two years.  Aside from needed shutdowns.  I do have the power cycle both should I want to do that while I am remote.
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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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John, the amp is in operate mode when it is on 24/7?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I always turn it to standby and SmartSDR power down to zero because of kids and cats. Not sure what John does.
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John - K3MA

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No always in Standby.  Since I use a 80M Doublet fed with 450 ohm line for 80M/40M and 30M I have to tune it with my HFAuto.  I do that with the amp in standby and a few watts.  Then switch the amp to operate and once the DX contact is done back to standby.  I only drive the SPE 1.3K with 4-6 watts to get 1 kw out.  I only run it at 1 kw out to keep the IMD good.  Although it is capable of 1600 or so dirty watts.
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Duane, AC5AA

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For the setups described above, I'm wondering if these will work for QSK CW operation?  I don't mean "semi-break-in" as some rigs do, but full break-in as supported by the Flex.  
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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It will work. You may have to tweak the delays but the SPE 1.3K-FA uses special relays and is capable of full QSK. 
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Duane, AC5AA

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Thanks, Ria - I know both pieces of equipment are capable, just wanted to make sure this arrangement supported them working together.  Appreciate your help!
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Steve Bunting

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I always switch my Expert amp and Flex radio off when not in use. The rig 13.8V PSU is on an IP switch and then I can boot my flex with a separate IP relay. Amp on/off is controlled by the 13.8V supply too, so when the main station PSU is switched on it automatically starts the amp.

I also run a serial server attached to the amp "Port" db9 and use the Expert RS232 control software to give me "live" data remotely. I must admit that DDUTIL doesn't work for me, but I havent tried that hard as AFAIK it doesn't add any more functionality when you are only using it to control an expert amp.

73, M0BPQ     

  
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I keep mine on because it takes a full minute to boot and in that time rare dx could qsy or go QRT... learned that the hard way with 3 minute amp warmup!
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John - K3MA

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Steve, that is an alternative way to accomplish the same thing.  I tried it but used a MOXA IP to RS232 server.  After operating that way for a while I decided I like it better the other way and reverted back.  I also tried the HFAuto with the remote control software by W1TR both with and without DDUtil.  Worked fine but again found I like the way I was doing it before better.  I know other that prefer your method and the DDUtil integration.  It is nice to have options.
(Edited)
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Geert Balsma PA3CPS

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Because my flex+amp is in another room, i want control everything by remote. When i connect the SPE amp to a computer using a usb-cable everthing works perfect.

But when i connect a serial cable i cannot switch my SPE amp on. Everything else works perfect, only not switching it on.

Does anyone recognize this problem?
(Edited)
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Steve Bunting

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See page 46 of the manual at http://www.expertlinears.com/pdfs/expert_1-3K_manual.pdf for the port connection if that is relevant.

73, M0BPQ
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I was able to turn off/on from the app using the USB cable. I have never tried the 9 pin port connector. 
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Didn't Dan Tassell make a custom cable that includes powering on the amp when the Flex is powered up? You can email him at mailto:kc5pcb2@att.net? 

I personally use DDUtil to control and power the amp on & off.

Dave wo2x
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John - K3MA

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The power cannot be turned on and off thru the remote software if using the serial cable.
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Doug - W3UB

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You can use Dan's cable, which includes a dip switch to enable the remote on feature. With this enabled, anytime you remote enable the Flex, the amp also turns on, and off.

As a side note, when using this cable, anytime you turn on the Flex, using any method, the amp also turns on and off. Which is nice (assuming you want the amp on when the Flex is on).

/Doug