Thursday, December 10, 2009

SO2R part 2

So what about split?

I described the SO2R behavior, as most SO2R is done in the last post, with stations on the same freq. How does the F5K do split?

The F5K is full triplex, that means all three processes, RX1, RX2, and TX are active all the time. It is not like a transcever that is half duplex. To illustrate this I included a shot of the transceiver on 3 different bands at once:

If you look at the VFO the red box has now turned into a freq readout. This is accomplished by turning on "split" in the VFO control area of the console. MY transceiver is now set up to listen on 40M, listen on 20M and transmit on 80M. As you recall ANT 2 is my 80M antenna and the antenna switch follows my transmitter. If I touch my key now, 1500W gets spewed out on 80M. The antenna screen however allows me to choose other antennas

So I can choose antenna 1 for 40M and another antenna on RX2 for 20M and my transmitter set to antenna 2 for 80M. When would I ever do this? How about if I had a satellite set up that had the upband receiver on one converter, the down band receiver on another converter and the transmitter on a third converter all with different IF frequencies. The point is all three processes can be addressed independently.

So how do I work split in a pileup on 2 bands?

Here I switch on split and set my cursor to red by right clicking. The red cursor allows me to set my transmit freq. Note that the antennas have followed me and I am now ready to transmit a 40M split to work a pile up. Here is how I set up for a 20M pile up. I simply move my red cursor down to the 2nd RX window and click

and I'm ready to let fly 1500W on a 20M pileup. Just one click is all it tick (took)

I can also use the RIT and XIT to offset:

I often use the XIT to send my transmitter off the DX frequency if I want to tune up my amp before commencing in a pile up, or I use the RIT to send VFO 1 off frequency when I am trying to listen only to VFO 2. You can accomplish this with mute as well in some cases

It's this area of freq control and the area of audio management as well as VAC management between the 2 RX's and the TX in terms of digital modes etc. This area is the most rudimentary and ripe for improvements. What I would like to see is some kind of XML parser where you could store prepared files of how you would like these raw variables to behave in different situations. Then I would like to see this turned loose out in the ham community so that people who are SO2R experts could add their 2 cents and people who are nuts over VHF/UHF could all their 2 cents etc etc on how to further expand the interface.

These criticisms are for the most part just quibbles and not criticism of the general system or the hardware. It takes some planning and a little brain work to get all the ducks lined up in a row, but that is part of the fun. When you add the complexity of full triplex to the mix, its like moving from 2 dimensional chess to three dimensional chess, there is a lot more to consider, and as such many economies to be discovered and implemented.

I think, as you think about the power of the system I described its flexibility will become apparent. It is very easy to use. There is a little bit of a learning curve to set it up, but not too much of an energy barrier to get it running. The raw parts are there just waiting to be exploited. While the boys over at Elecraft are all pooping in their boots over their roofing filters and that silly little panadapter screen they came out with, you can see what the awesome power of a true SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO is all about.

When the F5K was being designed I had some input into this aspect of the radio. Of course the major designer was Gerald, and as you can see from this post on the Flex website he is still interested in providing the best possible radio experience possible to his customers:

Re: [Flexradio] More Flex in contesting

Gerald Youngblood
Tue, 08 Dec 2009 16:41:24 -0800

A logical block diagram of what needs to be integrated would be of great
help. From that we can look at the best way to accomplish the desired
outcome. Input is welcomed.

Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR

FlexRadio Systems

This pretty well sums up where Flex is at with designing this system. He is inviting the expert user to help shape their radio experience. He is inviting the expert contester to provide him with the insight needed to improve the radio. They are not especially interested in spoon feeding you crap like roofing filters and silly little me too panadapter screens. (My panadapter is on a 23 inch monitor) they are interested in selling you the ham radio experience that will rock your world. This is why this radio rocks my world

73 W9OY