This video’s full transcript has been provided below for your convenience.
Mike — Hey, good day. It’s Mike at FlexRadio, and today we’re going to go through the episode where your buddy says you can borrow his radio remotely, as long as you’re within the realms of your license, certainly at least to receive. If you need to transmit, by the way, make sure you legally can do so, and it’s different for every country.
We’re going to teach you where to find SmartSDR and download it, how the install works, how to log into it, and a little bit of the features of the control panel you’re going to see called SmartSDR. Follow on episodes, we’ll do a little bit more in depth stuff and how you can run digital modes fully remote.
Flex 6000 series radios
Mike — To start first, we’re going to go to our website. Obviously I’m doing this just before Christmas, but under software SmartSDR for windows, you can just click on that and you will see it right here, where it says download now. Click over to the download now, and we’re going to download the installer. The installer of course, is the software program you require to run SmartSDR. It’s like any other program you’ve installed. We’ll click download. That’ll take a moment and please install like any other program. I’m not going to install it as part of this video, but I’d like you to go through. There’ll be a couple of the quick questions where you have to answer yes to, and you’ll be up and running fairly quickly.
After you’ve downloaded 2.4.9 or whatever current version we’re dealing with, or that’s current, you’re going to end up with three icons on your desktop. They have the version number on the icon, but there’s also SmartSDR CAT, that’s for computer tuning of your radio, your VFOs and DAX digital audio exchange. We want the one that says SmartSDR 249. Once you start SmartSDR you will see a screen that looks like this, and you go, “Wow, there’s no radios here.” There’s a login that we need and a Smartlink setup. Don’t worry about Smartlink set up, this is only for the remote operator. We’re going to log in and that’ll bring up a login screen. I’m assuming most people will be using an email login and password. I’m going to type mine in and log in to my radio, but of course, I’ve got it grayed out, so you can’t see it. I like y’all, but I’m not sharing my radio with everybody.
And that will pop up and eventually you’ll see my radio. This will probably be your friend’s name and call sign, or if it’s your radio, it’ll be your name and call sign. Here’s my radio. Low bandwidth connect is used for a low internet connection, probably don’t need it, but just keep an eye on it if you need to try to test some latency issues. We’re just going to highlight that and hit connect. By the way, it is possible if your friend has more radios or a bunch of you are sharing a login, you will see more radios here. We actually do that at work fairly often. We’re going to connect, and here we are in 40 meters. I am going to walk through some of the controls over here. We’ll turn on the audio in a minute just so you can hear things.
“Automatic Gain Threshold. With this set in the correct place, it deals with strong signals perfectly, but also has the ability to hear weak signals.”
Antenna band, you’ll want to check with if your user or whatever the owner of the radio, what antennas to use. This just shows receiving antennas, you can leave that for the moment. Oh, by the way, these are preamps. You can turn them on, I clearly don’t need them on 40 meters right now. This is the two different antenna settings. You get antenna one red and antenna one blue. The red is a transmitting antenna and the blue is the receiving antenna. You’ll see that we have a receiving antennas for RxA and RxB. I have a 6600, so that gives me the ability to use double everything.
Selecting the band here is quite obvious and the display is something we want to look up because it can control how much data we actually send on the internet. If you’re seeing a fair bit of audio breakup and such, then look at this and take this right here and start sliding it down. It controls the waterfall at the bottom of the screen so that we have less updates. I have a reasonably good connection right now. This frame per second controls how often the pan adapter in the top gets updated. I actually run it fairly slow on most times.
The average, you’ll see if we flip it, it goes from that, which is sort of noisy. I like it up here. Again, that’s a personal preference.
DAX is not something we’re going to use, make sure that’s set to none. These are tracking notch filters, and we use these to add a receiver slice. What’s a slice? It’s like having another VFO active. You can play with it, but you want to turn it on and off. If you happen to turn one on, like I just did and clicked on it, you can turn it off by clicking on this close slice button. All right. That’s that part over here, and we run over here to the right side. This is your RF power and SWR real time reading. RF power out, I happen to have mine at 80 watts. My tune power is set to 10 watts so that when I push the tune button like this, I only put out 10 watts. Phone CW settings, you can actually click these to disappear, but we’ll leave them here for now.
This shows me my mic gain. This guy is my mic gain. We want to drop this down and, you know, there are a lot of different profiles. Just for now let’s just set it to default or whatever he has. This microphone is really important. If you’re going to start transmitting on the radio, you want to set that to PC, as in personal computer. That means it’s going to use the personal computer microphone on your computer, the default personal computer, like that. Processor, I would turn off if it’s on. This is some enhanced signal processing on the transmitter. Has to do with controlled-envelope single-sideband. You can leave it off for the moment. Let’s go down to phone, as I said, we can turn that on and off. There’s a scroll bar right here. Lot of information on this one.
This shows us much like the flag and the antennas we’re on. It has transmit focus, that’s why the red is there. That’s our mode. We can change our mode. Our speakers in our volume control. If we want it panned over to the left or right a little bit. Now, this is the most important one. It’s not labeled, but it’s called Automatic Gain Threshold, AGCT. I’d be surprised if anybody has to do that, do not run that at a hundred percent. We’re going to treat it like an RF Gain, but only simply put, and I’ll explain that right now.
We’re going to go over here. I’m using my most knob as a VFO and sort of find a quiet spot and I can zoom in on that. Well, it’s not that quiet so we’ll double click. Go over here, hold the leftmost down and I can drag over, and there we’re looking at a quiet spot. So let’s now just turn on the audio. I should be able to speak over this. I’m going to slide this up and down. You’ll hear it get louder. I’m going to now slide it down till we hear it just get a little lighter.
Mike — Right there about 38. Let me just turn that off. About 38, and that’s for this moment where we’re going to set the Automatic Gain Threshold. With this set in the correct place, it deals with strong signals perfectly, but also has the ability to hear weak signals. Keep an eye on that, that’s pretty important. Going to use my most, slid over here. Notice that we’re stepping at a hundred hertz rates. That value is set right here, if you want to dial a little slower, you can go down to 50. There’s 50 hertz steps. Go back to a hundred. Here’s our filters, filter width. You want a real wide one. If you’re a ESSB guy or you want to just limit some of the stuff you’re hearing. We’ll turn that back on so you can hear the differences. Let’s start at a 1.8 filter. I have no idea what this person’s talking about, but he’s going to be recorded.
Speaker 2 — I’ll explain to you after we’re done with this all. So you want to set that number to one?
Speaker 3 — Got it.
Speaker 2 — Okay. Now go three numbers higher. That’ll be at 159, right?
Speaker 3 — Yeah, that’s EQ3BW2.
Speaker 2 — Two. Set that to number one.
Speaker 3 — Got it.
Speaker 2 — Okay. Now go…
Mike — That’s one thing I find a lot of HAMs do. We start working on what our transmitter sounds like. I hope that helps. Now there’s EQ here for setting your Transmit Mic Audio and your Receive Audio. Receiver’s pretty powerful, in fact, you might want to play with that. Transmit, of course, is one we use all the time. This happens to be one setup I have for a particular mic.
You can start with it off, which means the EQ is not in play. I highly recommend when you’re playing with your EQ, if somebody says boosts your highs, I would start by lowering your lows first and so that you use less first and then add as required.
Now, how do you get it to transmit? You’ve got your mic working. For a remote person the easy way is you’re going to click, let’s go over here, off frequency. You’re going to click the mocks button, like so. You’ll also notice that the tune button. I always press the tune button when I change bands, I want to check my SWR. There we go. You’ll notice when you press the mocks button here that the red light, we’re actually transmitting, this goes red. Network quality, which is down here beside the TX ready. I’ll show you that. That brings up a network diagnostics. It shows you your network status, your latency. In my case is about a hundred milliseconds. That will be longer than any ping setting we look at. The max latency in this case is 855 milliseconds, well, less than one second. That’d be a little burst where we had some low. The TX rate numbers are not working, I think that’s a bug that needs to be repaired.
So we’ll kill that. Looking over here on the bottom left, with some cool things. We can get rid of all this in the slice just by clicking on this, and we just see the frequency. We can go down here and if we decide that the panel on the right-hand side is not needed anymore, we can just close it by pressing this little angel character. We can add a new pan adapter, and it’s like a whole full receiver, all the same different settings. We’re going to get rid of that pan adapter just for now, way up here, we’re going to click away. If you start playing with full-duplex, which we often use for mic settings. CWX allows us to send CW from a keyboard. See that in CW mode. Tracking notch filters, which are all about this. I’m going to zoom right here.
Those in the know, will notice that I have a permanent tracking notch filter right here. If we dial up there, you might notice that it’s right about, oh, I don’t know, 7200. You can do your math. I’m going to speed up my display a little bit, but we are showing a fair bit of radio spectrum here on 40 on a Friday afternoon. I think that’s pretty much it. That should get you on the air. This looks like a bunch of FT8 signals, doesn’t it. Let’s go over here and zoom in, of course, FBA being as popular as it is. Let’s turn our audio on and what do we have? Yep. Whole bunch of FT8. Let’s see if everybody’s got their clocks set correctly. Boom. They’re all off except one poor guy, right here, whoever that is.
Anyway, I hope that’s helped you out some. We have talked through a lot of things in a hurry regarding the Flex and how to connect remotely. Next one will probably go on how to use DAX and CAT and how to do digital operation from a remote site.
Hope that helps have a good time. Good luck with that. Oh yeah, by the way, if you have any questions, feel free to jump into our Flex community at community.flexradio.com. You’ll see there’s a whole bunch of questions and answers and great, wonderful people here with a lot of help, and search through there. If you go to YouTube and search on FlexRadio.com, as you see it, you’ll see our channel FlexRadioSystems. Click on that. We’ve got a couple of videos, in fact, that’s probably where you found this one. On Works with Flex, which are some of the toys that people’s software that people have written. How to use slice master and a few other excellent videos that’ll help you out. The Pennant thermal installation, that’s pretty old now, that’s a problem long since solved, but at least you get to see inside a radio and we’re good to go. Again, have a great evening, great day, enjoy the HF and we will chat later.