I'm using a cable made by Dan, KC6PCB at Expert Linears, which connects to the CAT port on the Expert, a serial port on the PC and the Accessory port on the 6500. I also have the USB cable connected and the SPE USB software works to control amp functions. (There is a "TXD On/off on the SPE connector, but not sure when I'd need to use that switch.)
The amp will auto power on/off with the Flex6500. While watching in the Manual Tune screen on the amp, the frequency readout works on transmit, otherwise sits at 0.000 MHz. In addition, the amp will not switch to the current band, until I hit the mic key or tune switch momentarily. I would have thought Passive listen on DDUTIL would have covered this, but not that I could find.
I have maximum powers (for amp or no amp), set in DDUTIL for the bands I'm using, yet output from the Flex is not limited in either mode.
So the issues I'm questioning:
Doesn't the amp switch bands with the radio, and follow frequency as seen in the Manual Tune screen, without transmitting, as it does for other radios?
What am I missing with the power output limiting with DDUTIL?
Are there settings on the Flex setup screen I'm missing, to make all this work the way it should?
I have literally spent days adjusting and trying everything I can think of, to make this amp talk to the Flex. I have HRD working just fine, and know my way around setting up ports which I learned in my Flex 3000/5000 past. Maybe I'm thinking the amp can do something it can't? I can usually figure stuff like this out by searching, which I've done a ton of that on this site, along with Google and Youtube, but I'm stuck.
Based on your description, it seems to me that you don't have DDUTIL set correctly. Did you follow http://k5fr.com/DDUtilV3wiki/index.php?title=SPE_1.3/2K exactly? It appears that neither your Serial or USB connections are working, but the fact that the SPE Software is working on your USB port is a good sign. For the serial connection, I'm using a real RS-232 port which I find more reliable. Make sure you are not running the SPE software at the same time as DDUTIL.
I do not have the ALC plugged in, nor is Hardware ALC enabled on the Flex setup screen. You should be using DDUTIL's Autodrive. I find that 12 - 15 watts works fine for MID power level (I'm only using MID at the moment).
I'd suggest posting some screens shots of your DDUTIL setup pages if the above isn't helpful. I agree that it's hard to find help on this forum using the forum's search function, but there are some good postings by Howard and others that I found invaluable. Try searching for "2K" as well as "1.3K" in your searches. When I get home later tonight, I'd be happy to try and find some of those postings.
All I need to do to have DDUtil control the SPE 1.3K is to point it to that COM port in the setup.
Then in the AutoDrive section of the DDUtil setup I have these enabled
Ignore the 25 value in the Amplifier Drive, as I also have the Expert 1k and that needs a bit more drive. 15 watts is all I need for Full power out of the 1.3k.
Which is something to keep in mind, you might even need to go lower in Drive power, something like 5 to 6watts at most if you want LOW and MID to be 500w and 800w respectively.
Depending on the band I have seen different output powers. I get consistently 1.6 and 1.7Kw on MAX on 40M. But I have 220v. Not sure if the US version differs based on max legal gain from amps.
I do not use, I repeat, DO NOT USE Passive Listener.
This is what the Ports Tab looks like on mine and it works. No need to have an extra cable from the computer to the expert to send CAT info for Passive Listener.
When I change bands the amp follows no need to PTT.
The 15dB rule came about as part of FCC overregulation efforts to stop CB amps from Amplifying 5W radios into KW radios...
Bob Hardie of Expert Amps USA has a petition into the FCC with ARRL support to do away with this regulation. Hopefully it gets approved as the original regulation did little to stop CB Amps and only hurt law abiding hams....
O.T Op Ed.
The USA is always implementing excessive regulations that have the unintended consequences of harming those the regulations was supposed to protect... Our Brexit friends rail against EU regulations when in fact the USA has a much more oppressive regulatory environment than the EU.
I reside for part of the year in France and the USA and have worked and travelled all over the world.. As much as the USA claims to be a "Free Country" we have become so overly regulated that the bureaucratic excesses in Belgium and France as starting to look like they hardly regulate anything and what they do regulate seems mild compared to the USA. It is no wonder that the USA has become so much less competitive in the last few decades....
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the help and suggestions. This community is awesome.
Now, how does one get the amp to turn on and off with the radio using DDUtil? I'm not sure I want this all the time, but when DXpeditions are happening, I want that option.
1. Turn amp on and off
2. Set power input levels by band and mode
3 select antennas
4. Select input
5. Select power levels
6. Control display
7. Select standby or operate
8 Band Data
Basically Total control of the amp in one place
I suspect that the non DDUTIL method only sets band data
It is very easy to setup DDUTIL. Just follow the instructions and use the correct cables. Or post your questions so an Elmer can help.
I am would not be too sure that Flex has plans to provide anything more than just simple band data in future SSDR releases. While useful, band data alone will not control your amp
One of the best Features of DDUTIL is that you can AVOID using ALC altogether.
DDUTIL controls your radio output power by band and mode so you do not need ALCnor do you need a ALC cable
You are likely not familiar with the long history of events that happened to fix it over the past several years.
The reason we all worked with. SPE To get them to change the API and Steve K5FR to develop DDUTIL is because that SPE terminal emulation program was very awkward to use and really not great for remote. Too many button pushes to do anything and very easy to screw up.
DDUTIL integrates everything (Steppir, SPE, Rotor, Watmeters, Keypads,etc) into a single control point rather than having multiple competing potentially incompatible programs to deal with.
I've set up my 6700 with SO2R on the SPE Expert. You need two CAT cables, two relay cables or that stereo RCA cable that comes with the amp and a USB cable for DDUtil (which also comes with the amp).
For SO2R contesting I am not going to use DDUtil for CAT control. Instead I am going to use SmartSDR CAT. The reason for this is that I want slice A to one antenna port and slice B to another. With one CAT cable and DDUtil you're limited to one antenna input port which won't work for SO2R.
You'll also need two TX profiles for ant1 and ant2 and assign a different TX line to each (which is connected to the input relays of the expert).
I tested it last night and it seems to work pretty well.
The only clunky part of it is that for normal non-contest use I have to delete my port definitions and go to DDUtil OR use a separate COM port and manually disconnect/reconnect a CAT cable. I wish there was an easier way such as assigning a profile in SmartSDR CAT.