SPE Expert 1.3K, DDUTIL, Flex 6500 functionality question

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I recently (last week), received a new Flex 6500 and an Expert 1.3K-FA.  I'm running DDUTIL 3.2.3.00.
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.
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Mike Sonn

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Posted 2 years ago

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Mark - W6MSB

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Mike, I am also a new SPE Expert 1.3K owner with what appears to be the exact same configuration as you. I'm using Dan's cables. Everything is working as expected (except for getting the right power levels out of the amp at the three power settings, but I'll take that up on a separate thread). Bands change, frequencies follow, DDUTIL controls -- it's all good.

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.

73,

Mark
W6MSB
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Mike Sonn

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Had everything set like this and nothing.  Got it working by making my own cable.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The issue is possibly that cable. Not sure why he needs to connect to the Accessory port...no one else does.


Search expert on this forum


As per above http://k5fr.com/DDUtilV3wiki/index.ph...

BTW. Alc is unnecessary if u use DDUTIL AUTODRIVE.
(Edited)
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Duane, AC5AA

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I have the same set of cables from Dan, and the reason he's connecting to the Accessory connector is that is how Dan's cables expect you to connect. The connectors on it are marked:
1. Flex ACC (15 pin male D-shell)
2. Host PC (9 pin D-shell - serial line)
3. ALC (Flex) - phono plug
. . . and at the other end . . .
4. SPE CAT (15 pin 2-row D-shell)

So, one is expected to wire this up and be operational. There is some question whether the cable set is correct, as I've heard from one user who returned his, but Dan says he has folks using them with the Flex and the SPE. For whatever all that is worth
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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All you need is SPE CAt 15 pin to 9 pin RS232 on ur computer and USB cable from computer to SPE

No connections to Flex. Definitely do not use AL C asAutidrive gives much cleaner signal.

All those others are unnecessary and are likely
The cause of the issues.
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Mark - W6MSB

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I can't speak to the use of the Accessory port, but the cable seems to work fine for me. I don't have any complaints with the cable.

The only issue I have is that I like to use the three different power levels on the amp. The Autodrive setting seems to only work with one power level at a time. In other words, if I set drive for MAX on the amp, I'll get ~1300 out, but switching to MID does not get me anything close to 800 or Low of 500. Or, if I set Autodrive level for MID to 800, I don't get 1300 if switched to MAX, etc...

Is that to be expected, or do I have things set up wrong?
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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I use a 6700 and 2K-FA. Dan uses the Keying line out of the accessory port of the Flex. Also He uses a pin on the accessory port to turn the amp on and off if I'm not mistaken
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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DDUTIL can turn the 2K on and off without the ACC pin. PTT Is perhaps best controlled via the PPT ports on the 6700 you can set delays into that port.
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John-K3MA

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I do not have exactly the same setup but maybe this will help.  Check the front display of the 1.3K.  Mine works correctly when CAT is set to Kenwood.  Not sure if that would be the same in your case.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Follow the instructions AND CABLING exactly as shown on DDUTIL site.
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Duane, AC5AA

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Howard - will the cabling instructions, etc., on the DDUTIL site provide for full QSK CW with the SPE 1.3/2K amps?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I don't do CW so I can't answer
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Hi Duane, I fail to understand the relation between radio MODES and DDUtil interfacing with radio and amp. Care to explain? I have no issue with any of the modes, including CW, when I use the amp setup as I explained below.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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When you connect the 1.3k with the USB cable the computer creates a COM port. In my case it was COM11.



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.

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Good Post Sal

Except the USA version of the 1.3 is crippled by the FCC overregulation (similar to the overregulation by many USA agencies such as the FDA but that is another story) so that it is limited to 15dB gain. 

Hence you need a lot more power  than 15W (41W) to drive it to full power.1.3KW

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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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That limitation.... is for all amps? For example, if you try to amplify the XVTR port 100mW...are you limited to 15dB as well? And if so... how much final power is 15dB gain from 100mW?
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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I Believe that the limitation is only for the HF bands 0-30
MHz
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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There is also a comment period that is either going on right now or just ended from the FCC to do away with the 15 DB regulations
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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hmm very interesting... it seems an odd limitation, one would think that allowing better efficiency in the amps will provide better IMD numbers instead of forcing users to drive amps with more power....

If the limitation is in the HF range then driving a transverter with a 28 Mhz IF will fall in that range....

It is definitely an odd rule in the US. It is lovely to see the Flex 1500 drive the SPE 1.3k to over 1Kw.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Hi Sal,

Sorry to bring up this old  topic but you said that you did not need passive listener? I cannot get the amp to switch bands without the CAT cable unless I use the frequency counter which is not the preferred method. I looked a few times at this thread but maybe I'm missing something.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Maybe something is different from the 1k to the 1.3k. I will be in Madrid in a month and I will check again with the 1.3k and report back, but the settings I posted above work with the 1k. Maybe try serial to USB from 1.3k to pc to see if that way it works instead of the USB from 1.3k. It shouldn't be different though ....
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I don't know if it's different but I do know that there is no CAT control via the USB port. This is a limitation of the amp. CAT is only on the DB15 CAT ports. Not sure if it's unique to the 1.3K-FA or is the same on all SPE Expert amps. If you are able to get the amp to switch bands when you change the TX slice without the dedicated DB15 CAT cable then there is something different. Be sure though that you're not switching bands via the frequency counter (auto sense) which is the default method. That method is not preferred due to the potential for hot switching relays. 
(Edited)
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Roy Laufer

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I've had my 1.3K-FA for some time now (and its size, weight and efficiency, still makes me think that is more of a magic trick than just some old linear amplifier).

The only way I can get the band information is via the DB15 CAT port, using DDUtil. I have always assumed that all this talk about "doing without" was a kludge that used the 1.3K-FA's internal frequency counter, which I would not want to rely on either.

Occasionally DDUtil, my PC, and my 1.3K-FA stop syncing up, but like the IT Crowd, I just "turn it off and on again" and back it comes.

I know of no other option...

Vy 73,
Roy AC2GS
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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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....

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km9r.mike

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Sic semper tyrannis. Possibly more harsh than you feel about our oppressors but the saying stands the test of time.
(Edited)
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Larry - WA7LZO

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Regarding all of these horrendous interface problems, and the associated rats nest of cables required, in connecting any and all 3rd party linear amps to Flex 6XXX radios, thankfully we can gladly look forward to the greatly anticipated 1.5kW Power Genius XL amplifier. I believe this amp will put all of these headaches to bed, once and for (happily) all! I'm betting it will, and then some!
(Edited)
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Roger W9YU

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When will we see it?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Best Guess - Sometimes in 2017 and I would assume they will do everything in their power to get it FCC type accepted well before Dayton.
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Mike Sonn

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Best I can tell, the cable I purchased from Dan, does not work, or some parameter I'm setting must be wrong.  I made up a cable per the DDUtil page, set everything as indicated, and wa la, it works.  The amp now follows the radio when I switch bands and if I go into the "SET" menu, select "MANUAL TUNE", the frequency follows the VFO.  How is it that something so simple (now), can create such a pain in the backside.

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.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Roy Laufer

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I was offered an extra line to power up the 1.3k-FA automatically with my 6700 powered on, but decided against it.

I use the power button shown above, from DDUtil,

There are TWO serial connections required to your computer - one powers up and controls the amplifier, BUT the other one does the band sensing (Flex 6000->PC/SSDR->SPE 1.3K-FA). So it is possible if only one cable is working to specs to be able to turn it on and off, turn power levels on as well as flip between standby and operate and yet not have a clue what band you are on until you transmit.

Sometimes the cables are fine, but the software (SSDR, DDUtil) has to be stopped and restarted until everyone is "aware" of each other.

Of course, you have to get the configurations right for any of this to work.

Your mileage might vary!

Good luck in the contest!

73,
Roy AC2GS
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Mike

Ur at least the 5th person who has not got Dan's Cable to Work 

The example we posted on DDUTIL works as you found out. 

It was first conceived by Sergey, R5AU and I worked with him to get it right.

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/expert_2k_fa

We then worked with Steve K5FR to get SPE to modify their Firmware API to make it easier to control their Amps.. that took us over a year.

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/spe-expert-amp-support-ddutil-v32200-available

I do not know what Dan includes in his Cables..

But the much less complex design on the DDUTIL site works flawlessly...

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Kent Olsen

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@Howard
My SPE 1.3k Is showing up in the next few days. I ordered the cables from Dan thinking it was the way to go. But now after looking at all the post here, are you saying it is better to go with the 2 cable setup in the instructions above than to use Dan's cables? Are Dan's cables worthless? Not a big thing to me, I can make the cable.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Kent

I have not used Dan's cables myself however I have helped several people here who have had issues with those cables not working correctly.  If you can make your own cables, then the approach posted above is known to work without issues..

Also I personally do not use ALC but rather I use DDUTIL to Limit the drive power.  Why .. because all ALC no matter how well it is designed introduces some distortion..

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Kent Olsen

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Howard

Thank you.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I always wondered why the Flex comes with ALC but no Band Data, it seems that ALC is an even more legacy connection than Band Data which is useful with Tuners, Amps, Antennas, Bandpass filters, etc...
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I believe that Band Data is on THE LIST waiting to get done..

In fact, somewhere back about 2013 used a 6700 and posted a video at Visalia DX Convention that had band data to control a SteppIR and an Amp.  However my memory is fuzzy on whether it was directly from the 6700 or via DDUTIL.. but I think it was direct.--- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLXjL6hoIYg

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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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That will be awesome!
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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I have a 2K-FA and a 1.3K-FA and I use Dan's cables with no issues at all.  I use them with my 6500 and 6700.  Dan takes great pride in his work and will help anyone that is having issues.  I have seen the testing he goes thru to make these cables work.  He has even acquired a 6500 to test with.  I challenge anyone to find a more courteous and responsive dealer out there.  
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Kent Olsen

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@Lawrence

I hate to say this but Dan does not have a Flex radio. When I ordered my cables from him he said he did not have a Flex and had no experience with DDUTIL. Do you mean Bob W5UQ?
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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No I ment Dan. He is using a 6500 for testing purposes . I believe he started testing with it about a month ago. I got a picture of it in his workshop but I don't know if he would mind me posting it so I'm going to enter on the side of caution. Dan is really Passionate about his products and really does try to help everyone.
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Kent Olsen

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Hmmm..... His direct quote to me on July 27th, 2016 was:

"I do not have any experience with DDUtil as I do not have a FlexRadio.  Your best bet is to look at some of the user groups out there as a lot of folks are using that software.  The FlexRadio SDR software does not export frequency data and I do not think there are any plans for that in the future.  I am sure they are focusing on their new HF amplifier that works directly with their FlexRadio over an Ethernet connection.  Just in passing, it will have a lot less ability and cost a lot more than the SPE linear."
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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With Dan's permission
(Edited)
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John AD6NR

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You do not need to use DDUtil any more.   I just hooked up my 6300 with a 1.3_FA and did not need DDUtil.  I am using SmartSDR 1.6.21.  I did not have a serial port on my computer so I used a serial to USB converted (Tripp-light Keyspan 19H) to adapt Dan's computer serial connection to USB.    When I loaded the drivers for H19 the computer assigned port 12 to that device. (I checked on device manager)   I then went into SmartSDR CAT and clicked "add" then  "existing".   I looked at the drop down menu - the virtual serial port showed port 12.  I selected that. 

I rebooted the computer, turned on the amp and it was connected!   

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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Will this work with any slice or only Slice A?
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John AD6NR

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I don't know.  I have only used Slice A at this point.  I only got it hooked up a few hours ago.  
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Very interesting find John. I don't have the 1.3k in front of me to test it so I am curious to see what else you find. I think that it might only be slice A though so in that regard DDUtil still have a bit of an edge, plus the possibility of defining power levels per bands.
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John AD6NR

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The reason I tried what I did was because I was totally intimidated looking at the instructions for setting up DDUtil for the Flex!!  I am having some problems with setting the input power from the slice.  The 6300 and the 1.3-FA are talking about power but so far, there is something not quite right with the power slider in the slice control.  Once I set it for one power level on the amp it wants to stay there!   I can no longer change the level with the slider.   If I change bands when I come back it goes back to the original setting and I can not change it.     I am still experimenting.    Nothing is easy!  
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John AD6NR

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I just tested slice B and it did not transmit - even with the amp off.  I am also having trouble using the slider to set the power levels.  I need to figure out why (probably pilot error is my case).   I will post my results in a few days for everyone's edification.  Mike WB6DJI called me on the phone when he saw me posting.   He said Flex is coming out with 1.9 update that enhances the direct interface without the need for DDUtil.    
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Remember in the amp manual there are pre set power levels that you can adjust by hitting the left / right arrow keys. The amp communicates with the radio and sets the power out of the radio
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John AD6NR

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Thanks Lawrence:  I have now have that set up for all the bands I use.  It is sweet!  However, when I looked at pages 39 and 40  in the 1.3 manual I got confused and downloaded KTerm_1.3_232. from the SPE site. That is a terminal program.  I got it running and connected to my amp but was not able to set the power levels as you described.   (Pilot error again) I did not need that terminal program!  When I set the 1.3 to operate and touched the left/right (up/down) keys on the amp it showed the PC:XXX) as shown in the SPE manual.    I used the tune function on the 6300 to determine how much drive I needed for each power level on each band I use and then used the left/right keys to set the numerical value.  (the XXX is just the power input from the 6300 because the out put is 1 to 100w)  I works like a champ!.   I now have it such that I select the band I want on the 6300, the power level I want (Low, Mid, Max) on the amp and the amp tells the 6300 where to set the power-out slider.   BTW - all I used to interface the 6300 to the 1.3FA were Dan's cables and a Keyspan 19H serial to USB converter for the interface to the computer.  No other SW needed (so far) Almost plug and play!  

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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DDUTIL has many advantages including

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
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Yeah, DDUtil is very very useful, if we could access to it from the maestro... 
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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We have verified that power levels per band per level (low mid high) work as well without DDUTIL
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Are are just setting power output levels from the amp FIXED per band or are you able to dynamically change levels WITHOUT PHYSICALLY TOUCHING the Amp?
(Edited)
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John AD6NR

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Howard - I seem to have started this discussion after I got baffled by the DDUtil instructions.   Maybe I was not looking at the right place.   Can you give me direction so I can find the "very easy" set up instructions?   I am still working on getting my 1.3FA to work with my 6300 without DDUtil  but I sure would like a plan B if I can't get the functionality I need.  
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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As many Of you are aware ALC introduces unwanted distortion products into your output signal. Why ...no amp is truly linear and ALC tends to exasperate theses non linearities. Yes SPE has a very good ALC circuit but it still introduces distortion

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
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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The amp also does this without the need for ddutil. Ref pages 38 39 in 2k-fa manual and pages 39 and 40 in the 1.3k-fa. If you do this you don't need to use alc. I'm not disrespecting ddutil. I use it but they are other options. Eventually I would like to be able to send band data to the amplifier directly from the radio with no third-party app required
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I just reread the SPE manual

I now remember why DDUTIL is PREFERRED to the very awkward method to preset power levels manually via the SPE control panel. The SPE console requires multiple button pushes to set each band output . DDUTIL lets you simply set a power output NUMBER for each band and mode. No multiple button pushes. Easy to change on the fly or remotely

The SPE method does NOT allow you to set output power by MODE. Different modes typically work best at different input power levels

As I said a number of us spent a lot of time working with SPE and K5FR to fix the very obvious shortcomings and useability difficulty of SPE Amp The result was DDUTIL
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Mark - W6MSB

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Howard, I use DDUTIL and am very happy for all the reasons you cite. But while DDUTIL does allow me to set power per band and mode, is there a way to set for band and mode for each power level the amp supports? I haven't been able to figure this out, or am I just thinking about it the wrong way?
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Not Yet. Need to ask Steve K5FR to add it to his enhancement list as it triples the size of the control matrix
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Finally my most important reason for using DDUTIL is that it gives me total remote control of my Amp. My amp sits under a desk where it it not convenient to touch controls. I also run remote much of the time (I am currently in France). DDUTIL gives me full control of the amp no matter where I am in the world.
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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The amp controls the input power of the radio by telling the radio the amount of power to put out (3 choices per band). I do something similar with the connection software that comes with the amp and team viewer
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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We are all very familiar with the IMNSHO pathetic screen emulation SPE application that comes with the Amp.

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.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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As a followup and expansion on this - 

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. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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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.

In the not too distant future, this may not be an issue.  In preparation, you should have a few FTDI USB to Com port dongles at your disposal.  And maybe a USB hub too.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I actually have 6 COM ports via two PCIe cards. =)

So yes, what I do is keep a dedicated port for DDUtil and the other two ports for contesting/SO2R. 
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Walt - KZ1F

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Tim, I believe that news has already leaked. Is there a date for a date on when that functionality will be announced / available?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Oh yes, THAT leak.. A little birdie told me about that. Exciting! 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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No dates.  Just stay tuned...
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Mike Sonn

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Startech makes some good adapters. I have a pcie serial port card from them. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Mike - Yes.  Although you may need a null modem cable depending on what device you are connecting it to.
(Edited)
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N3NER

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I'm sure the new Flex amp is going to be a great amp but, keep in mind you are looking at close to a $7,000 nut where as the SPE 1.3k is half that cost. 
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Duane, AC5AA

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Only if you order the 1.3K without the autotuner. With the tuner, it's ballpark $5K.
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Kent Olsen

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My SPE 1.3k cost $4999 with the ATU. Shipping was free.
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Kent Olsen

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Also Im sure the Flex amp is on par with the SPE 2k which cost $7K.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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It's better. The 2K is old technology using non-rugged mosfets, the PG XL uses two LDMOSFETs which are more rugged and high gain.
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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$4599 at Houston hamfest yesterday   In stock
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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SPE just announced a 1.5k with the new LDMOSFETs.
The latest 1.3k are being built with the new LDMOSFETs as well. *Not 100% sure about this, I heard it through the grapevine.

@Ria, I don't agree with the "better" adjective. It will only be comparable when you add a tuner and an antenna genius. Once we get pre distortion out of the flex we could do the mod with the attenuator to get similar IMD performance. 

Then someone with the proper equipment could run a test.

Performance, weight and size of the 1.3k makes it a very hard amp to beat.