SmartSDR whats the big deal about direct AMP control?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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Confused about why direct AMP control via the Flex 6XXX is so important?

I've been using DDutil to control my SPE Amp for years it works great. I can read Amp temp all Amp power outputs and features it also provides Auto Band switching etc.

Why are so many of you talking up this feature of AMP control via just the Radio?
It can't provide Auto Drive unless you use ALC " not recommended previously "

So explain it to me someone?

I get the other features of the SDR and the various improvments just not the Amp control feature.

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Posted 3 years ago

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Photo of David


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From what I understand the direct control removes the need for the PC local to the 6000 series making remote operation easier.
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Lee - N2LEE

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I too use DDUtil but for me the big deal is one less USB port needed on the computer and also one less piece of software. I think ddutil is fantastic but I would like to slim down the apps and utilities need to use the flex.

I am currently not doing remote operation but if the flex can handle amp control directly then this is a step in being less dependent on a local pc.

Also, I believe this is just the beginning of what could be done in the future. Being able to control a number of external devices directly from the flex means a more integrated solution. This gives SmartSDR more value without relying on a hodgepodge of utilities that add another level of complexity and potential issues.
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Think remote operations without having to leave a PC running to control your Amp, your external tuner, your adjustable beam or vertical (SteppIR). Fewer points of failure while remotely operating. That's the big deal.

DDUTIL is a great program, but it is a bandaid solution at best. At its worst it's a software/hardware kludge.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I am running remote right now from France via CA

Providing ONLY Band Data for SteppIR and AMP is absolutely useless for remote control

You still need DDUTIL. To provide Actual Control
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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BTW. You need to be able to Forward and Revers and Calibrate the SteppIR
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Good info. Thanks Howard!
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Jay, I'd like to respectfully disagree with your assessment of DDUtil that "At its worst it's a software/hardware kludge."

I've been a DDUtil user from the very beginning back in 2007 and I have always found that Steve's program has been nothing but well thought out and an absolute must have program for my stations. Steve has spent countless hours working through everything that Microsoft could throw at him and and given us a wonderful solution to making all our peripherals work seamlessly with PowerSDR and SmartSDR.

A kludge it is not.

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Lee - N2LEE

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I agree. I consider the DDUtil as the glue or swiss army knife of the flex system. It is fantastic at what it does and what Steve has created is amazing.

But sometimes KISS solves the problem.
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Being able to use the Maestro,  Apple App or MAC's  Dogpark without the Windows computer being on IS a big thing at least to me.  
I use DDUTIL and it is a WONDERFUL program and use it practically daily since it first came out on my first FLEX5K and still use it  but when I'm running remote it is nice to leave the Computer back in the shack off and still have the Amp,  Antenna Switch and what ever else under Radio control back at the radio. 

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Actually the current implementation of only Band Data via Direct USB is rather inadequate for Remote actual control of the AMP.

All it does is follow the frequency.

You cannot actually control the amp to

1, Turn On/Off

2. TUne On/OffOFF

3. STandby/Operate

4. Set Amp Power Levels

5 Select Amp input port

6. Select Antenna Output Port

Bottom line: you still need DDUTIL if you actually want to really REMOTE CONTROL the Amp and not just have it track frequency
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hans weijers

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I do agree 100% and will use DDutil and KTerm anyway, Just band / frequency data exchange is not enough to realy control the local setup (Flex, Expert 1K3 and SteppIR)
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Lee - N2LEE

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Come on guys. Keep in mind this is the first beta and the world changes. If Flex exposes this interface through API's and/or offers a plug-in architecture then developers can expand this capability. In fact there is no reason DDUtil functionality could not become part of smartsdr. 

Don't look at the spot your are standing on, look up and see what is possible.
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Hey Howard
How are you?  I've been out  for a while...and I got surprised by
Question: If I upgrade ...May I continue using DDutil as I regular do...or Will I have to change all?

George, YV5WZ / PY3ZZZ

PS: Happy Season !! Wonderful Christmas day and Great 2017 
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Greetings from Paris. But likely back in California before Christmas

You now have the option to continue to use DDUTIL or use the USB ports on the Flex for Band data. I have tried both and decided that the fact that DDUTIL gives me full control in addition to just Band data was reason to stay with DDUTIL
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Harold Rosee

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I am a DDutil fan also.  I use the USB8 relay board to switch antenna thru a Top-ten switch.

I also don't like the idea of hooking external devices up to the radio.  One less path to have something bad happen to the radio from an external source.  I like having the computer as a "buffer".

All that said I might consider it if and when they replicate all the functions that DDutil performs today.  Since many of us have used DDutil for a long time I believe that is what will have to be done for everyone to be able to convert over.
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Larry - W8LLL

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Ian, you can control your drive power automatically without DDUTIL or ALC with your SPE.

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Two huge reasons for me.

1. I can operate remotely without the need for a host PC. 

2. DDUtil seems to be able to only follow the TX slice for amp control and output it to one CAT port. With the Flex direct control I can have two slices bandswitching two amp inputs and two CAT ports and they're not tied to individual slices. 
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John AD6NR

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I don't use rotor control or remote access.  My amp just sits next to my radio.   After I looked at the 23 pages of instructions and uncounted posts on how to set up DDUtil to do all those things I don't do I was very happy that my new SPE 1.3K-FA was "plug and play" with my Flex 6300!  The amp and the radio just talk to each other and do all the things I want them to do!  
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I think having more options to interact with the radio cannot be a bad thing.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The issue with providing CONTROL in addition to Band data is that it opens up a HUGE can of worms

Which amps and other devices to supppott and the troubleshooting and related maintenance issues

This will suck resources from Flex
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Lee - N2LEE

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Howard actually as long as Flex provides API's then anyone should be able to extend the capability of the USB port. Any third party could add support for their product through the usb port.
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Paul - K6HR

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In my case I was unable to run my Flex 5000 and 6300 using CAT at the same time. DDUtil will only allow one instance to run, and the Flex 5000 HW has no CAT output. Now that I can connect the 1K-FA directly to the radio, I can use the one instance of DDUtil to enable CAT for my 5000. It's like a dream come true for me!
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Pete - W6OP

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DDUTIL is a great program but the only thing I used it for was to auto switch bands on my amp. A little overkill for one use. Also, because of the way my amp is (THP 1.5K) I either had to have the amp on when I started DDUTIL or after turning on the amp I had to bump the frequency to get DDUTIL to send a frequency signal to the amp.

I usually have the radio on all the time but I only turn on the amp when I need it. Now with the USB connection, as soon as I turn on the amp it is set to the correct band.

Also, one less program to start up on the PC.
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James Nelson

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If you operate remote as I do ONLY its very important as the PC is miles away from the radio and amp so then you need another PC with team viewer/VNC to change band filters.