Category Archives: SmartSDR

Your ISP Must Pass All Needed Traffic to Do Remote

Been receiving reports from other amateurs on Washington Island that the once dominant ISP for the Island is not compatible with remote FlexRadio operations. Door County Broadband (DCBB) simply will not pass all the traffic types needed to do a remote connection, and when asked to pass the traffic simply say “no.”

I haven’t had reason to directly speak to Door County Broadband in some years, as I had hit this wall with them trying to configure George W9EVT’s internet for remote access.

Technically the DCBB setup blocks the port forwarding process which scuttles SmartLink.

On-Island internet options that are presently not Flex-Ready are:

Marginal for SmartLink use:

Frontier Communications aDSL – I have this and when the system is working well I can do remote from the Island station. Usually I can access my mainland stations over Frontier. It unfortunately goes down often, usually peak-load weekends when we are on the Island or during storms. Achieved throughput is a fraction of the advertised/purchased, and you need to be on the Island during the work week to get it serviced, so ours doesn’t get fixed.

Possibilities on the Horizon:

  • Island Fiber” – the physical underwater link is laid, as is a limited underground setup for a small part of the Island. Grants, resulting build-outs and connections are needed to light the fiber. If your home is in the test area, you might get Gigabyte-to-Desk in a year or so. For the rest of the island fiber hooked to the existing systems should also offer improvements, though perhaps more in reliability and non-speed aspects. The new fiber may well kill off the DCBB wireless option for much of the island, while making the WISP (Wireless ISP) options like US Cellular and Blazing Hog more viable.
  • Full Constellation” Starlink – the are some rumblings that a dual-antenna setup when the full constellation of satellites is operational may mitigate the buffering, latency and satellite switch drop-outs.

While the Island is RF-quiet making it a great place to operate from, doing remote to an Island station remains challenging. Oh, that the power goes out fairly often (momentarily a couple times a week, 15 minutes or longer about monthly) doesn’t help. While you can do batteries or a generator, the internet often seems to be down at the same time.



Updating a Friend’s Flex-6400 and Maestro – Updates Takes a While!

Tom K0TTC’s gear next to my Island QTH’s rack

Tom K0TTC brought his Flex-6400 and Maestro to my Island shack so we could update software/firmware to the current SmartSDR 3.2.39 from 3.1.1x (I think it was .16 or .19).

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What goes into a SmartSDR Software Update?

Those of us running SmartSDR and using the SmartLink functionality will be aware that 3rd party changes broke some of that functionality several week back.

Unexpected and it broke things hard if you were using SmartLink.  

FlexRadio Systems was all over the problem, running numerous Alpha releases to their testers as quickly as they could to get functionality restored. That resulted in new releases that worked with everything except the M-model faceplate and Maestro controllers (I think it remained a WAN SmartLink issue).

Relentlessly chasing the issues to make the update uniform across the whole spectrum of SmartSDR hardware, FRS continued to release Alpha updates to the Alpha Test Team until they got the M-model/Maestro update ready.
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FlexRadio/4o3a TunerGenius XL – SO2R or 3-port version?

Last weekend Mike WB6DJI posted a very good question about the FlexRadio/4o3a TGXL TunerGenius and choosing between the two initial versions:

SO2R versus 1inx3out TGXL version debate

Placed my preference back in Sept 2020 for the1inx3out TGXL version with FRS

Never operated SO2R but have a 6600M and PGXL ( acquired over 3 years ago )

My Bands are 40 meter dipole with a 20meter thru 6meters using a HexBeam
Use my radio remote with a Palstar HF Auto for now

Thought 3 Bands Remotely would be good if I want to use 3 different antennas like with I do with the Palstar HF Auto

Been on the fence in trying to decide if SO2R is

Do not use 2 Bands at same time with My HF

I chase some DX but not in 24hr DX contests

What are your thoughts Steve



Mike WB6DJI followed this up with an email, as he too like myself is trying to figure out which version would work best for our particular station setup.

So everyone is on the same page the SO2R version (Single Operator 2 Radios) is optimized to rapidly alternate between essentially two parallel RF paths. The paths are distinct and cannot cross. I’ve read a 20ms path-flip number, once each path is stored in memory.  When the radio is a multi-SCU (Spectral Capture Unit) FlexRadio (6700/6600) the single physical radio is well suited to take the place of both radios in the SO2R equation.

The 3-port version is optimized for a single RF path and basically has a 3-port antenna switch integrated into the tuner.  There needs to be a separate feed line from the three possible antennas, one to each designated port.  I’ve not picked out a specific switch time, but the same 5ms for solutions stored in memory would seem likely.

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Coming this weekend (Aug 15th, 2020) – SmartSDR for Mac

In a really nice addition to the SmartSDR ecosystem, Marcus Roskosch DL8MRE is releasing a native MacOS version of SmartSDR which should hit the Apple MacOS App store on August 15th 2020.

SmartSDR for MacOS


As a disclaimer, I have NOT participated or seen this software in pre-release, though with the high quality of Marcus DL8MRE past work and software releases, I am very excited about his new product.

Some really great features:

  • built in FT4/8
  • integrated CAT & DAX
  • built in Logbook with ADIF Export and a Call lookup tool
  • internal DX-Cluster
  • a Band-Map Tool
  • internal Spots on the panadapter
  • CWX and CW Macros,
  • Internal and external Audio device support
  • SmartLink integration
  • Full Firmware Updating capabilites for your Radio
  • Support for Country TURF Files
  • Will display all the panadapters and slices your Radio is capable of

While Marcus DL8MRE is closely affiliated by FlexRadio, he is a third party developer.  His products are considered officially supported and promoted, but they are not part of the basic SmartSDR for Windows product included when you buy a new Flex-6000 radio.

The new app does run $149.00 as a one-time cost.  Presently it will only be offered through Apple’s store.  I am uncertain if your SmartSDR for Mac purchase is per radio, per machine, or allows for some combination.  Nor is it clear you can install this on all your own MacOS machines?

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Some difficulties with WSJT-X and Windows 10 Pro

Have found that if my Windows 10 box (Win10 Pro 64 bit version 1909 OS build 18363.959 on a Dell Precision Tower 3431 i7-9700 3 GHz with 16 GB Ram) either manually has its screen locked or if it times-out to a locked state that it kills the TX portion of DAX.

Actually all SmartSDR components appear to be fine, but WSJT-X apparently doesn’t like to be behind a locked screen.

It doesn’t happen often, more because I am have been experimenting trying to figure out where the breakdown was occurring.  I have to set the WSJT-X to a silly amount of time, and bring the time-to-lock down to a shorter period.  

First came to my attention when in a rush I manually locked my machine when I was called away, and my expectation was that I’d find either a watchdog timeout or perhaps a general pause in WSJT-X.  My past experience is that SmartSDR & components is pretty forgiving if I would lock the screen when running phone.

WSJT-X continues to run, and continues to decode, but while it “thinks” it is transmitting no oubound data arrives to DAX.

As I’ve not found anything system based in hardware or software that would appear to be the culprit, I’m hoping perhaps a reader might offer a solution.

Actually I don’t mind if WSJT-X acts as if “Halt Tx” was pushed when the screen locks, as I’d like to not be required to terminate WSJT-X completely and restart it to be back in action when I unlock the machine. 

As I have a lot of go-to & resource/authority roles at work, I’d like to be able to simply lock/unlock while maintaining functionality.



Steve K9ZW

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