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New User 6400M & 6600M Operation

If you are a new user of a Flex 6400M or 6600M radio, then you may wish to watch this video on how to get started.

Make sure you watch the follow up video for a more in-depth tour of the Maestro.

Featured Products

6400M Radio
6600M Radio

Video Transcript

This video’s full transcript has been provided below for your convenience.

This video is for the new user of a 6400M or a 6600M, or someone that wants a review of the startup procedure of their radio, or maybe you’re lending your radio to a buddy to use. There’s a couple of key things that you need to be aware of and we’re going to go over those right now.


So one of the first things you can do is grab the manual. And you can find it just by Googling “FlexRadio 6400M user guide” or “6600M user guide” as I’ve done here and it’ll be the first two things that’ll pop up on the internet. By clicking on it obviously it will bring us to this page and it will download the manual, or it will at least have it there, and if you want to download the manual, you can click the download PDF button here. Once it’s downloaded you can open it up, and I’ll just move myself a little bit out of the way, and we’re going to look at a couple of key things here on the front page. The knobs and the display are obviously the most important things and that’s how we use the radio. But up here is the power button and we’re going to make use of that in a minute, but not right away. We are going to hook up your radio to your antennas, your microphone, maybe a speaker and your DC power supply.

Here on the back of the radio are the connections we’re interested in just to get going. We’re going to plug our power pole connectors into here and if you’re a new user and you got a cable with power pole connectors on both ends and your power supply doesn’t use power pole connectors, or you do not, just cut them off and supply your own crimps or whatever you connect it to the power supply with. We’re probably going to use Antenna 1, which is this one here and it’s etched on the back. You’re going to plug in your microphone and maybe your key. Key goes in number five. The microphone goes in 24, it says mic. If you’re using powered speakers, they’re in number four, and if you’re using headphones you can plug them into 27. And then on the hand mic if you’re using a hand mic, it connects over here to number eight, which is the Push-To-Talk RCA connector.

Almost finished. I would recommend connecting your radio to your internet or your LAN or your Ethernet in your ham shack. You actually don’t have to to use it, but it’s good for software updates and a variety of other things like running a remote, et cetera. It’s a little beyond the scope of what we’re going to talk about today, but the LAN connector is over here. And since this as an M model, if you wanted to hook up an external display, you can plug it in right here on port 17. So you can have a big cloned screen of the front panel display.


Once you get everything hooked up, we want you to turn on the 12 volt power supply, and the screen is blank right now by design, and let the radio boot up internally. It takes about two minutes for it to get all settled down, and then once that internal boot up happens, then you can reach over and press the power button. Once the radio is fully powered up and ready to use, you’ll be presented with a screen that looks something like this. This is my 6600M. A couple of things I want to point to. Immediately, this Log In and the SmartLink buttons, don’t worry about them. You don’t need them. That’s only for remote operations, so you can safely ignore those for a long time or until you’re ready to do some sort of remote operation. Remote being you want to operate your radio from outside your house, and that’s the only time you really need to log in. You don’t need to log in for software updates, you don’t need to log in for day to day usage.

A key thing down here is this gear symbol on the bottom left. If I click on the gear single or touch it with my finger, we will see this On Startup, Auto Connect Last Radio. You probably want to turn this on and just click on it like that and when it’s like that it’s turned on. Now I’ll leave mine off, but that’s the only time you need to do that. Again this login here, you can ignore that.

Touching on the top left will take me back to the previous screen. If I touch the Info button here it’s got some very good information about your radio. The Serial Number; the Maximum Licensed Version means I can operate this radio up to maximum version 3, say there was a version 4 available; the Radio ID; the IP address, it’s connected to the internet in this case; the Radio Firmware that I’m currently loaded, which is 3.3.29; and the Front Panel IP, the front panel is the part we touch. That is actually a Windows tablet running Windows obviously on it, and that has a different network address. Nothing to be worried about. You never will ever use it, but it’s just informational only in case we need it to diagnose a problem.



Touch on the OK and from there I can hit the Operate button and that will bring us into the software selection. Now generally, this isn’t going to change. If you have the auto connect on, you’ll never worry, you probably won’t see this until there’s a version change. I’m at 3.3.29, I can roll back to 3.2.39 if I wish, just by clicking on it like that and hitting update, or any of these other previous versions. If it’s got a blue down arrow on it, that means it needs to be downloaded into the radio from our servers, and if it’s got a green arrow on it, it just means that the software on the front panel display needs to be updated.

You can try all these versions out if you like. You can go up and down pretty much without issue, although we would prefer that if you’re already at the 3.3 tree, as I’m doing this, which is in June of 2022, that you not go below that, only because there’re significant changes in the file structure on the internal SD card. It probably won’t cause you an issue if you’ve gotten this far, but if you go there and you break it, that’s okay, we can fix it for you. And all this stuff is quite solvable.

So let’s go one step further and, oh, SmartControl, you can look that up in the user guide. It’s all about using your M model as a control panel for SmartSDR when you’re running it in a PC. Sort of advanced stuff, but it gives you some big knobs on the radio and then you can use the big display to have SmartSDR show more radio spectrum, et cetera. So we’re going to run 3.3.29. I’m going to touch Run, and it’s going to load, and we will probably drop right into 20 meters, 14.100 and we’ll just show you a few more things and just to get you going.

There is another video you can look for in our YouTube channel and I will put it in the show notes that takes you through more advanced features of using the front panel, which is from here on in, the operation is identical to the Flex Maestro. Now that the radio’s booted up on 20 meters, a couple of key things. You’ll notice that the antennas up here are red and blue. Red is our transmit antenna and blue is our receiving antenna, and if we click on that, it will drop open a window, or we touch it with our fingers and you can see generally they’re tied together. But if you happen to have a receiving antenna connected or a loop, you could just touch that with your finger, you’ll see it changed here, and now we’re using two different antennas, one for receiving, one for transmit. These are all your selectable options.

The other thing is I will move myself down here into the waterfall. These meters are selectable. If you don’t like what you see, I have two power meters here and I don’t need two power meters, but if I click here, I now have SWR, I have mic level, that’s what level is, compression for mic compression, ALC for if you happen to be using amplifier ALC, level and again, power out. I generally I leave mine at, I’ll toggle around again, to leave it at mic level. And we’re going to talk about mic level a lot of times through multiple videos, but you’ll see mic level peaks here. You don’t want them exceeding about minus five. And that’s just a reference for you.

If you touch in the menu up here, there’s a lot of other menu choices where you can change things. They’re one layer deep. We’ve tried to organize them in obvious places so things are easy to find. Again, this is covered in the follow on video. But there is one other key thing, because I know you’re probably going to want to get on the air. If you look at the display right now, and on the extreme right in the middle and underneath one knob, there’s an etching that says TX menu or transmit menu. And if you hold that button, if you take the button and you push in with your thumb gently, it’s going to pop this up. And these are transmit items that we’re going to use all the time. Processor, which turns on controlled envelope single side band and different powers or strengths. Your mic input, you’re going to, if you’re using the hand mic in the back, it’ll be mic. If it’s a- you may not see balanced if you’re on a 6400. You also have the ability to use a line in or an accessory input for microphone work.

These are part of profiles that are available. You can read about those in the manuals as well, and transmit profiles. And then the other key one is the transmit filter. My high pass filter means we’re going to pass frequencies above 200 Hertz, and my low pass filter means we’re going to pass frequencies below 2,900 in my case, which is sort of the normal.

So that’s the intro to getting going on a 6400M or a 6600M. Hope you find that helpful. Don’t forget to look at the follow up video again in the show notes here on YouTube on the Maestro 73. Have a great day

– Mike VA3MW

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