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Author Topic: Tips and Hints for success on Flex FW radios.  (Read 3665 times)
NI0Z
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« on: June 15, 2012, 08:48:47 AM »

I figured since I have put some work into getting. My Flex 5000A to work that I would start a thread here to help other users.  Why here in a seemingly anti flex radio forum.  Well, I am guessing there are more flex users here that people realize and that some come here when they can't get answers elsewhere or get sour on their ownership of these radios.

I hope this thread like the others won't turn into a flame war and just offer help for those that want it.

Here are my three tips, myths, truths, whatever you want to call them.  They are merely based on my own experience and observations and changes I made through trial and error and the advice of others.

You need a better than average computer with a nice fast bus speed.  I recommend a 4 core 3ghz i7 intel based PC, 4-8gb of ram, built in FW on the MB if you can get it.  Yes, a PC like that costs more money.  Want to play Radio with a FireWire based SDR, my advice is just buy the better PC.

You need to put a ferrite on all audio related cables (mic, balanced audio in, audio out, headphones and audio out, ect) $20-30

Don't run your coax cables parallel to each other if you can avoid it and try to keep them am inch or two away from each other.  Despite shielding, coax cables leak and can can cause Unwanted self generated RFI.  Requires time and some thought and planning and lots of zip ties!

Put your flex radio alone and away at least a foot from your other radio equipment. Less opportunity for RFI to get into your radio this way.

If your PC is within 5 feet of your Flex Radio and running a wireless Internet connection, it may cause you RFI issues.  You can buy a wifi device that allows you to hook up an ethernet cable to it so you can run it to the hard wired jack on the back of your PC.  This will move the access
Point away from the computer and your radio and thus elliminate the interference. $29-39 on Amazon.com

The more electronics you have running the more issues you may have.

Good grounding can help lower your noise floor.  Lower noise floor equals more signals you can rake in.  Not unique for Flex Radios.

Look for unwanted signals on your Panadaptor that represent RFI and hunt them down and eliminate them.  Use a shortwave radio and see if they go away if you flip the power off to your house.  Keep in mind, this one is not just for Flex radios.  If you can hear it on a shortwave radio, you can probably hear it on any rig.  Get rid of it if you can.  I got rid of a bad lamp, bad cell phone charger, and turn off my ionic air purifiers when I ham now.  All were sources of nasty RFI and not unique to Flex radios.

That's what comes to mind right now and yes, that's a lot to think about and do to have and successfully run a Flex FW SDR.  No need to lament on it in this thread.  Flex should proactively communicate this in the manual to help users who run into issues.  
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 08:56:44 AM by NI0Z » Logged

KX0O
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Posts: 49




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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 09:38:54 AM »

The granite digital fire wire cable made all the difference for me.. no more need for chokes.  Flex sells them but I got mine somewhere else.. not sure why.  I got the diagnostic cable with the LED.  Huge difference.  haven't had any rfi issues since.

Doc
KX0O
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NI0Z
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 10:24:36 AM »

Thanks for adding to the tips.

Here's a link to their cables, do you remember which one you ordered?

http://www.granitedigital.com/firewire1394diagnosticcables.aspx

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N9RO
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 10:45:02 AM »

I have found some Switching Power Supplies produce an incredible amount of noise.  No switching supplies on any of my Flexes.

Tim -N9RO
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Real techies don't use knobs.
K9IUQ
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Posts: 1626




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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2012, 07:12:15 AM »

The granite digital fire wire cable made all the difference for me.. no more need for chokes. 
Doc
KX0O

Flexradio should provide the Granite Digital cable with every radio. It is a superior cable. They also should provide a program like VAC. Without VAC you can not do the digital modes. This is something that should be built-in to PSDR instead of requiring one to buy VAC.

Stan K9IUQ
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K9ZW
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2012, 07:28:41 AM »

Additional Hints:

Pay attention to the Firewire Card - using one that is proven is worth the effort.

Watch for other system hungry software, especially if you bought a consumer level systems with the usual boatload of trial-ware, diagnostic-ware (Dell's center is really annoying when it wants to update) and some real-time antivirus stuff can cause issues.

Read the manuals and notes.  Small amount of time there saves much later.

Make backups before significant upgrades.

Screen-shots and notes of settings can be useful if you ever want to do a clean rebuild.

Oh, backup everything.  That hard drive likely will go a long ways, but not forever. 

And most of all, remember that other hams have it all working - and working well - so ask if you get stumped or it doesn't work the way you want it to. 

73

Steve
K9ZW

With Varying Frequency - http://k9zw.wordpress.com
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