Monthly Archives: January 2019

FlexRadio Systems announces multiFlex in SmartSDR version 3

Today FlexRadio lifted the veils on multiFlex, a major feature for the new version 3 of SmartSDR.

Basically this is a way to share a single Flex-6000 between operators, who can be remote.

The entry 6300/6400 radios can be shared by two operators each with one panadapter and one slice receiver, sharing one antenna.

The king of the series 6700 have eight panadapter stories share with lots of slice receivers across two separate antennas.

Both of my 6700s have v3 as I’m a participant in the Alpha testing program.  From what I’m seeing it looks to be another “game changer” by FlexRadio Systems.

73

Steve
K9ZW

 

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Okay, FT8 is a notch above watching paint dry after all…

After sorting Windows 10 update induced DAX troubles I ran the home station running FT8 QSOs for a bit.

Not the best use for a 4K 40 inch monitor and a Flex-6700

Not super exciting but was a way to make QSOs while doing other shack chores.

Without the computer helping facilitate FT8 QSOs the reality is my QSO count for this period of time would be exactly Zero.

In several instances their was nothing to be seen on the waterfall but WJST-X pulled out minimalistic QSOs from the seemingly empty ether.

I cant help thinking FT8 isn’t much more than what happens when one fax machine negotiates a connection with another fax machine, excepting of course that FT8 does it on the air.

Heard that MacLoggerDX will have FT8 integration in the next release which could mean that I could run FT8 QSOs while I’m doing other work on my iMac at home.

I’ll also take a look at how to run QSOs from my work PC.  Might be a way to log more QSOs by doing someth8ng with some of those dead moments during the day.

Can sure say the radio gear isn’t exactly overtasked doing FT8.

Almost bordering on embarrassing the level of investment behind my FT8 efforts.

73

Steve
K9ZW

If your SmartSDR DAX Drivers Puke or Get Scrambled

What to do if your SmartSDR DAX Drivers Puke or Get Scrambled?

Windows Updates have been playing havoc with SmartSDR for several years.

Certain Updates (1803, 1811) have jinxed a large percentage of users machines, but other seemingly routine updates can make things act funny too. Some cases you can fix this stuff yourself. DAX drivers are the usual victim of these Windows Updates.

There are some ways to do your own first aid to fix the DAX problems, but they are not just a double-click on a fix-it-program.

Always, if you really get stumped you can open a Help Ticket at FlexRadio ( http://www.flexradio.com – then go to Support, then HelpDesk).

This compilation is cut & paste mashup from the FRS (FlexRadio Systems) Website, Community Forums and Emails. It is current as of SmartSDR 2.4.9 on 20 January 2019.

YMMV on how effective this all is, and again remember you can ask FRS for help if you’re not comfortable trying self-help.

 

Simple DAX Naming Sickness can be cured by renaming DAX drivers:

FRS Published some notes on how to do this:  https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/most-common-fix-for-dax-driver-errors-in-windows-spring-update-1803-you-can-do-this

 

Bad DAX Stuff Might Respond to a DAX Removal and Reinstall process:

Sort of middle ground fix is to remove SmartDAX and Reinstall it on its own.

Again FRS offers some notes: https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/204017069-How-to-Manually-Re-Install-DAX-Drivers

ADDED 20 JAN 19

DAX removal and reinstall is pretty straight forward.  The FRS HelpDesk Article does have all the information, but it can be distilled down into something understandable, rather than doing it by rote.

You also can do this from the normal Windows GUI rather than pretending you still remember the DOS file structures and navigation.

Here is the GOAL – for each version of SmartSDR you need to get to the DAX drivers directories, and run two batch files.  There are four DAX driver directories for a version of SmartSDR.  One batch file removes that part of DAX and the second batch file puts a new copy of that part of DAX in place.  Best to run these as Administrator (the Right Click thing) and you repeat until your have erased and replaced all the DAX parts.

Step-by-Step:

  1. Export your profiles and make any backups you might feel needed.
  2. Remove any unused versions of SmartSDR, and select DAX removal when you do it.
  3. Now you should be down to just the versions of Software you are intending to use.  In my case it was SmartSDR versions 2.4.9 and a test version I wanted to keep.
  4. Using file explorer navigate to the 64-bit Drivers directory for the lowest verison but highest release numbered version you are keeping. (Like Version 2 but but then 2.4.9 was the highest point numbers.)  You don’t have to worry so much about the issue of various DAX version levels if you don’t want to run Version 1 software and/or are not part of the test team.
  5. There are FOUR sub-directories that are going to be touched:
    1. IQ_DAX
    2. RXAudio_DAX
    3. TXAudio_DAX
    4. MICAudio_DAX
  6. Navigate to each of these four sub-directories and RIGHT-CLICK to “Run as Administrator” in Uninstall then Install order:
    1. Uninstall Batch File
    2. then the Install Batch File
  7. When you have run the Eight (8) Batch files for the version of SmartSDR you MAY have to repeat the exercise for the highest point numbered SmartSDR of any other major version level you intend to run.  In fact you just might have to repeat for ANY additional versions of SmartSDR you are keeping, as the dependencies of DAX versions to SmartSDR versions isn’t exactly easy to sort out.
  8. Reboot your machine and test the results.

YMMV but it worked the treat on the Win10Pro box that I let get screwed up, though I did have to repeat the exercise when I deleted unneeded SmartSDR versions after the first time I fixed things, as those deletions seems to re-scramble DAX again.

You can Remove a version of SmartsSDR from the Windows control panel, as in the end it will call exactly the same script that would have been used if you did the Command Window routine.

Oh, as an example of just one of the directories you will be running a batch file would be:

“C:\Program Files\FlexRadio Systems\SmartSDR v2.4.9\64-bit Drivers\IQ_DAX\”

An example Uninstall Batch file is “SmartSDR_IQ_DAX_uninstall.bat”

An example Install Batch file is “SmartSDR_IQ_DAX_install.bat”

FlexRadio’s naming conventions are consistent.

For Really Bad DAX Stuff it is Deleting the whole SmartSDR ecosystem that is usually the fix:

(Remember to Export Profiles and copy down your CAT/DAX Information)

The FRS Guide to Completely Deleting SmartSDR (along with SmartDAX, SmartCAT and VSP) is:
https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/204975589-How-to-do-a-Complete-uninstall-of-SmartSDR-for-Windows-from-your-PC

(Treat this routine like a Checklist and follow it carefully)

There are two sub-routines to this process which are at:

First Sub-Routine – Deleting SmartCAT and VSP (Virtual Serial Ports):
Download the SmartCAT Manual from http://www.flexradio.com/downloads/smartsdr-cat-user-guide-pdf/
(What you need is on Pages 4 through 7, and if you have a legacy CAT version on your machine Page 46. I printed out only those pages.)

Second Sub-Routine – Dealing with (any) Ghost Ports:
https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/200883925-Removing-Hidden-or-Ghosted-Com-ports
(If you Print you only need Page 1)

What to do Next:

Not explicitly covered is after a Reboot, use the normal SmartSDR Install Package (download from http://www.flexradio.com ) to reinstall all the parts of the SmartSDR ecosystem (including VSP, SmartCAT, SmartDAX and of course SmartSDR itself).

NOTES:

  • Process is for Windows.
  • VSP is a background service you wouldn’t otherwise get involved with.
  • Some Antivirus & Firewall setups cause problems, so you may need to disable them.
  • Everything looks to work well on Win7/Win10, but you may have varying levels of problems with 2000/Win8/Other Windows versions.

SPECIAL NOTES:

  • Consider creating a Restore Point.
  • Some folks report good success using software like REVO to clean up their registry while doing these processes.
  • Also FRS Recommends a Complete Uninstall before letting Windows do Updates.

 

GL & 73

Steve
K9ZW

My Flex-6000 Software – a Dynamic Listing

Created another Page for this bog at Flex-6000 Software where I will be listing what software I am using with my Flex Radios, the current version, and how to get your own copy.

I won’t be listing anything that isn’t General Release, so you will see the latest SmartSDR products rather than any Alpha Team versions I may be testing for FlexRadio.

Hope you find this a useful reference.

73

Steve
K9ZW

A bit of FT8 – first runs

At my Island QTH I set up a Flex-6700 to run FT8 and ran about 30 QSOs.

My first FT8 QSO was W3BZT

My first FT8 DX QSO was F1RUK

Wasn’t exactly wowed by the experience.

Software setup was fiddly. Like really fiddly.

In many ways the GUI was a 1980’s dial-up modem connection sort of thing, and the experience was somewhat the same as dialing into a BBS to do an email exchange & run routine.

Seemed my operator’s input was pretty much limited to confirming completed QSOs for logging and then re-enabling TX.

I’m not quite certain whether the experience was productive or not.

In the past I’ve always held back making my mind up until I have a couple hundred QSOs in a new digital mode.

I’ll wait until the same couple hundred QSO point to solidify my thoughts on FT8.

But again I can relate it sure wasn’t “Wowzy, how did I miss out doing FT8 until now” as my response to the first 30 QSOs.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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