Understanding SmartCAT

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  • Updated 5 years ago
Several question came up when I put a newer PC into play with win 7 to replace an olderXP pc. I installed and setup SmartSDR and SmartCAT on this machine only so I could install the virtual com ports to be used with PSDR and fldigi. I created a shared pair for CAT and now I would like to create another pair to be used to key the radio (f3k or f1.5k) either through fldigi or HRD.

First thing I noticed when I opened SmartCAT I did not see any of the virtual ports I created though they were in device manager. If I turn on the 6700 then I see the ports in SmartCAT though not sure if it is necessary to be able to see the ports in SmartCAT after they were created.

If I want to create a port that allows me to do PTT with a non 6x00 radio I assume I have to create a shared port but that is not very clear. It does appear the shared port will allow PTT to non-6x00 flex radios.
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Don - kx9q

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Posted 5 years ago

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Yes, Create "shared" ports for the 1500 & 3000. "Dedicated" ports are for the 6000 only. While you are at it, set up more than you think you will need and remember what they are.
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Don - kx9q

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Ken, do you also create a dedicated PTT port just in case?
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Dedicated PTT port only links to the 6000 series, as far as I know.
But I always make about 4 dedicated ports for the 6500, one dedicated PTT port for the 6500, and 4 shared ports to use with my 1500 so I can "slave/track" my 1500 to the 6500 using DDUtil and do other things. It may be overkill, but it takes up little RAM and I don't have to fight over port assignments.
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Don - kx9q

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Ken, how do you setup DDUtil to "slave/track" and what happens when you transmit on the 6500 with the 1500 in slave/track mode? Do you disable the rx on the 1500 and if so how? I started reading a bit about the DDUtil, but, am having problems understanding or perhaps not patient enough.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I only use it to listen to my own signal and view the "Spectrum" window and check my audio profile. I have a small 5 watt "CB" dummy load mounted via PL259-BNC adapter right on the back of the 1500. I have one of the many "Shared" ports set up via DDUtil in the "Slave" or "Follow" column and configure the CAT port on the 1500 accordingly. The 1500 will follow wherever the 6500 goes, matching frequency and mode, sometimes even filter selection.

Depending on the band, I get an S9 to S9+30 dB signal on the 1500 when transmitting with 100 watts on the 6500. Then I can record my transmission on the 6500 using the I/Q Wave setting on the 1500 and play it back and tune myself in and analyze my own audio characteristics. It is the only way to really hear what I sound like. Listening via headphones using the "Monitor" function doesn't give me an honest picture because I hear myself more through bone conduction in my head than I do through the sounds in the headphones.

Try it!

Some time, after I get my tower installed, I may try using a separate receive antenna on the 1500 and do some diversity reception. It will be hard, though, due to the latency inherent in the USB driven SDR.
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W4EY

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Just a note. My FLEX 6500 must be Powered ON and running before I can see any of the SmartCAT ports. SmartCAT is started then bringing up the PC. However, the Flex ports are shown in the Device Manager but not SHOWN in the SmartCAT window unless the FLEX 6500 is running. Just a NOTE...
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Don - kx9q

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Something weird happened after doing an MS upgrade last night. Now I have a USB Serial Port (COM4) that now conflicts with the FlexRadio Virtual Serial Port (COM4) that was created when I first installed SmartSDR and SmartCAT on this PC. Not sure what this port is used for since it was not there previously and needless to say SmartCAT can't find the 6700. I have deleted this port from access manager and rebooted, but it shows up again. I will try a system restore hopefully prior to the update yesterday and see if that works.
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Don - kx9q

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after three restores and then a final one to take it back to the current date everything started working, however, before the final restore I kept getting bsod. was considering starting from scratch and rebuilding the system. I still don't know what is using com4 even after deleting it and rebooting it comes back. now that it is working I am considering upgrading to WIN 8 and then I should get the WIN 8.1 for free and upgrade to that. Don't no if there are many users using WIN 8.1 and what issues have been experienced. On the other hand maybe I should leave well enough alone!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I have 8.1 upgraded from 8. On a New computer.

I hate BOTH 8 and 8.1. The user interface is a terrible abortion between a PC and a tablet interface. It does neither well. And having both at the same time makes it almost unusable. I downgraded to 7.1. Much easier to use.

Don't waste ur money in. 8. They likely will fix it when they release W9.
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W4EY

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I run both WIN 7.1 and WIN 8.1 on my network. SmartSDR and SmartCAT function with both computers. NO Issues with either. My Only complaint is when running multiple receive slices. My Logging software does not change the FLEX frequencies on either RX or TX. When running a single FLEX Slice external logging software works as advertized. Only loose the capability to change the frequency on the receive Slice when using multiple slices.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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What logging program are you using? I am using ACLog 4.2 and have no problems, other than that it only reads the slice "A" frequency and ignores "B."

I also am using Win. 8.0 (I don't know if I can upgrade to 8.1 for free or not.)
and I have no problems interfacing with it. Although I usually run almost everything out of the "Desktop" rather than their "Start window."
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W4EY

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Ken:
I am running N1mm and also HRD for the DX Cluster program. I have noticed that with the HRD, when I change frequencies and modes in the same band, the FLEX will follow. If I am running two slices, changing frequencies and modes within the same band, the FLEX will RX Slice will not follow. Could be my setup for the FLEX. I use Slice A for RX and Slice B for TX for split operation on the same band. Moving the DX Cluster across the same band, will change the FLEX frequency and mode to match. This does not work when using Split Slices.
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Greg

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I did some testing with N1MM and two panadapters/two slices. With MM in SO2V mode and the second log entry window open and a bandmap of spots for each I was able to bounce between spots on both VFOs with no problem. But if you go to change bands on either Slice/VFO, the slice tunes but the panadapter stays put.
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W4EY

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Greg:
I agree. My FLEX when using two slices will attempt to follow the logging program when changing frequencies. It is the Panadapter for Slice A that does not change.
If I change back from two slices to one slice, the FLEX will follow any frequency changes made by the logging program.