Category Archives: FlexRadio Systems

Running Flex-6300 SmartSDR 1.4.0 QSOs from a Winbook with an AblePlanet Linx Audio Boomset

The WinBook runs Win8.1 and ran me a huge $60.00 on special.

The Boomset is a nice noise canceling AblePlanet Linx Audio unit I had bought one for each of in the house for traveling (mine has the optional Boomset plug-in microphone).

Would be easier if I added a FlexControl and a Mouse, but that would be cheating, right?

Some latency issues in commands issued to the touch screen having a moment lag to action at the Flex-6300.

I did cut back the Frames Per Second and Waterfall motion rate to improve the ability of the WinBook to run SmartSDR 1.4.0

Adding a second slice is possible, but receive only as this whole setup is at the limit of the WinBook’s brain power.

My wife wasn’t happy at my sitting at my office desk call things like “India Romeo Four Mike – Kilo Niner Zulu Whiskey 59 59 001 001 QSL?” though she could see my point that I could be outside working QSOs once the weather allows.

I’m very impressed that SmartSDR has so improved that this is even possible!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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SmartSDR v1.4 Available Now from FlexRadio Systems – Or How I Downloaded New Radios Tonight

Today FlexRadio Systems launched the long await LAN enabled SmartSDR v1.40

Here is my iMac running Parallels 9 with Windows 7.1 doing my first LAN enabled QSOs:

Working DX from my home office desk!  Radio is 120 ft away in the former wine cellar.

Working DX from my home office desk! Radio is 120 ft away in the former wine cellar.

More later – too much fun playing with the radio right now!! (BTW it happened to be the Flex-6300 I had in the operating slot in the shack.

FlexRadio Systems is pleased to announce the availability of SmartSDR v1.4.   SmartSDR v1.4 represents several months of intensive work on both new and existing features by our software team.  SmartSDR v1.4 is for all FLEX-6000 Signature Series radios.  Key features of v1.4 include:

LAN Remote: SmartSDR for Windows can now be operationally “decoupled” from the radio hardware by providing the ability to play slice receiver audio through the default PC speakers and use the default PC microphone to make phone QSOs. This new feature streams compressed audio over the IP connection between the radio and the SmartSDR client on the PC, eliminating the need for the speakers and microphone to be directly connected to the radio hardware. In order to provide diagnostic capabilities for the LAN Remote feature there are two new features. The Network Quality Monitor and Audio Streaming Monitor provide a visual indication of a network’s link capability to adequately stream audio to the PC, which is essential when using a wireless link between the client PC and the radio hardware.

via SmartSDR v1.4 Available Now | FlexRadio Systems Community.

73

Steve
K9ZW

An Excellent FlexRadio System Write-Up on the Origins of the 6000 Series Online

There is an excellent FlexRadio System write up on the origins of the Flex-6000 series SDR radios and SmartSDR software online :

The FLEX-6000 was born out of a government project we did that involved direct sampling. At the time in 2010 we all believed (as Elecraft has publicly stated) that it would not be possible to build a direct sampling receiver with as much dynamic range as a superhet or direct conversion radio. When we did the government project, Gerald worked a lot on the numbers and RF architecture and we discussed how to get the best dynamic range out of a direct sampling receiver. We were able to use a very early sample of an Analog Devices ADC in that project and found that we were getting better dynamic range than even Analog was reporting, largely because of how we selected key parameters. Gerald realized that we could build a better direct sampling radio than anything we’d built before.

Once we realized it was possible to build a direct sampling radio, all the “what if…” conversations started. What could we do if we did this? What would someone do with that? Would it be better if we did this or that?

….. (much more at the link)

FRS Steve N5AC on “The Chicken or the Egg” development of the FRS 6000 series article LINK: https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/chicken-or-egg

Scroll down that page for N5AC’s excellent write up.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island, WI – Third Radio Activation

This weekend is my third working the CrankIR and the Flex-6300 from Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island.

Getting past the  learning curve.

Was too chilly to comfortably operate outside, so set up the radio inside one the kitchen table.

K9ZW at Rocky Ridge

K9ZW at Rocky Ridge

 

Easy DX this time and I’ve figured out the band change process pretty well.  Worked on 10m, 12m, 15m, 17m, 20m, and 40m.

Great fun!

 

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island, WI – First Radio Activation

Even though we have leased the farm for months, I first got around to setting up a portable station this weekend.  Usually when I am on Washington Island I have the luxury of guest operating from George W9EVT’s mega-shack, and even in this attempt George W9EVT saved the day helping me get on the air.

Equipment used was:

  • SteppIR CrankIR antenna with radial and 80m kits
  • FlexRadio System Flex-6300 transceiver
  • A Toshiba Laptop running Win7-Pro I borrowed from work
  • Power supply from my spares shelf
  • Cisco gigabit router
  • cables and power cords/distribution from my spares

This was our first use of the CrankIR and the Flex-6300, so we had a bit of a learning curve.  It was also a fresh install of SmartSDR, SmartCAT, DAX, and fldigi on the Toshiba which all had to be configured.

 

The SteppIR CrankIR Antenna

The SteppIR CrankIR Antenna


The working end

The working end


The Wires side of things

The Wires side of things


Logging on Cardboard

Logging on Cardboard


CrankIR Main Unit up close

CrankIR Main Unit up close


Rocky Ridge Farm Activated

Rocky Ridge Farm Activated

 

 

W9EVT saved the day...

W9EVT saved the day…

Pictures cannot convey the experience of doing a first time setup of the CrankIR – an easy task once you’ve done it, but a dickens the first time.  Winston KC9FVR helped the first setup and I don’t think I could have done it first time without my son’s participation.

I quickly discovered I had no audio out – I forgot to bring a headset or speakers, and ten Flex-6300 does not have an internal speaker, so my initial efforts were digital mode.

No joy there as my signal apparently wasn’t readable on PSK31 and without audio out the portable stup wasn’t going anywhere.

So the next day, hat in hand, I borrowed a headset from George W9EVT and switched to SSB.

Fairly quickly I was able to work a good number of stations on 20m and 15m phone, including several DX stations.

Found that the software juggling on the laptop was a pain, and ended up doing all the logging on the cardboard tabletop cover I used to have a mouse-ready surface.  Later I entered the QSOs into eQSL and I’ll import the adi log file into my main log later.

Mother Nature ended my activation early as it started to rain and the winds started whipping.  Knocking everything down went smoothly and with Labor Day still windy & rainy, further Rocky Ridge Farm activation will wait for another day.

Of course I have updated my gear checklist to include headphones and speakers for the next activation.

73

Steve

K9ZW

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Adjusting Gear and Forward Thoughts at K9ZW

Added a couple bits of kit – picked up a Flex-6300 from a ham who tried it and didn’t really take to a computer driven rig. Worked out for both of us as I avoided the backlog so I could get another Flex-6000 series radio to use up north on weekends, and he can change to a rig he is comfortable with.

It is worth commenting that there are some basic truisms about equipment that include the absolute that “Not every ham has the same style, interests and goals, so by definition no one radio will be the perfect rig for every ham.” “Horses for Courses” as they say.

In working on my Collins Vintage S-Line Station it has become pretty obvious than an antenna coupler/tuner would be an advantage if I wanted to be able to switch-in the S-Line station with my present antenna setup. I found a British Decca/K.W. 107 SuperMatch that will do the job while blending in with the S-Line gear form-factor.

The S-Line Station has been 18 months or more in the assembly, so it is time to get it on the air! This should do it.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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