FlexRadio 6700 Installation

FlexRadio 6700 Installation Begins

The 6700 radio hardware had shipped, so it was time to make room for the 6700 and the other items that need to be installed in the rack. The FlexRadio 6700 installation began with dust mitigation.

Satisfied with the results of the dust removal, I began the hardware installation with plans to be completed before the CQWW DX SSB Contest on October 27.

  • Pull Server PC, move to top of rack
  • Move RX1608 mixer and reconnect all audio
  • Install latest Ubuntu on 500GB SSD w/Intel i5-4460 and re-mount
  • Install Windows 10 on 1TB SSD w/Intel i7 K-875 and re-mount
  • Move PRO-2500 Power Distro
  • Install rack shelf for Buffalo NAS
  • Move shelf for 6700 / LP-500
  • Install and configure UPS Back-Up Battery #2
  • Install Geochron 4K UHD
  • Mount USB Hub and Router
With the PC shuffle “hard work” out of the way, I setup the final mounting shelves.

PC Hardware Shuffle

FlexRadio 6700 Installation
The Server PC was pulled to make room for everything else

This is the reason you rackmount! Super easy removal and relocation of equipment. The PC on the bottom is the Intel i5 build for the new Ubuntu 18.04 Server. Once I could see Ubuntu installed OK, I buttoned up that machine and moved the top PC down on top of it. On this i7 machine I installed Windows 10 on a 1TB SSD, and left the previous OS (Windows 7 RAID Array) in place so I could mount the drives just in case. Later on, this would prove to be very useful.


Once both PC’s were running and tested, I mounted and wired the Behringer RX1602 for all the audio: 6700/6300/5000/PC.

FlexRadio 6700 Installation
The Behringer RX1602 Mixer handles all the shack audio with inputs to spare!

The RX1602 mixer provides a MON output that I have connected to the 6700 BAL audio input. This signal path could be used to feed PC audio to the transceiver for TX.

The PRO-2500 Power Strip was moved up top between the AT-AUTO and the packet radio gear.

The last rack space!

To obtain the last rack space needed (to accommodate the LP-500) I moved the Monster PRO-2500 power distribution strip up top under the packet radio gear. The packet gear is now utilizing the “fan space” in the top of the rack. Just enough room to slip the power strip under it.

I now have the 11 spaces I need in the perfect ergonomic rack position!

Prime Real Estate: Future home of an LP-500, Flex 6700, Flex 6300 and Buffalo NAS.

Lucky for me, I only needed to move a few things around before I was ready to go. As part of the process I tied all the new hardware into the station ground bus, and installed another 30 snap-on ferrites.

It made sense to mount the Numark Production Hub to the side of the rack for easy access to USB ports and some extra AC outlets.

Plenty of USB ports and AC outlets available at the operating position.

At the same time I decided to tie wrap the router to the other side of the rack in an effort to simplify things.

FlexRadio 6700 Installation
Easier access to the router

The FlexRadio 6700 Installed!

The Flex 6700 is up and running @ K6HR

The FlexRadio 6700 has taken it’s place in the K6HR shack! The FlexRadio 6700 installed without a hitch. I’ve taken it through high power testing with no problems found, and everything appears to be working as expected. I have pushed the rack back into the corner about half way and will make any final adjustments before pushing it all the back.

Now completely integrated, the Flex 6700, Expert 1K-FA amplifier, and (both) AT-AUTO tuners are working flawlessly together. I’ve trained the tuners (and the 1K-FA tuner) for each antenna on every band. Each FlexRadio SCU now has its own dedicated amplifier, auto-tuner and antenna. I’ve set it up where SCU #1 is connected to the Mosley TA33JR for frequencies 14 mhz and above, and SCU #2 is connected to my ‘height compromised’ 130ft dipole for all bands below 14 mhz.

When one radio (SCU) is active on any band, the second radio (SCU) is connected to a W6LVP wideband RX Loop antenna. It’s a fully automated SO2R contest station. It’s now a 1,000 watt radio. Now let’s see if the operator can live up to his capabilities!

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2019 Hardware Upgrades

2019 Hardware Upgrades

After working with the Flex 6700 for about a month, I must say, I’m really impressed with how quiet the receiver is. Now that I’ve had the experience of using the contest grade filtering, and all the other great features, it just makes sense to upgrade my 6300 to a 6500 (which I will likely dedicate to digital modes). It’s never too early to begin planning for my 2019 hardware upgrades.

My Only Flex Disappointment

I’m going to ‘take a real shellacking’ on the sale of my 6300. I purchased it from Flex before the model 6400 price was announced. The day after the 6400 was introduced at $1999, the value of 6300’s went down the drain. I paid the top dollar price for mine in September 2015. Ouch!

I know, no sense crying over spilled milk. After all, that’s how the cookie crumbles. It turned out, after some wheeling and dealing, and a stroke of luck, I was able to achieve my 2018 hardware upgrade goal under budget, which is great news for my 2019 planning!

Flex 6500: Dedicated Digital Mode Radio

The contest station is complete, so my 2019 plan is to put together a new 24/7 digital station using a dedicated 6500 radio. This new setup will have its own antenna, and PC, and work independently along side the contest station.

I don’t have room for another HF yagi antenna, so I am considering a vertical. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I heard about the Comet CHA-250B HF vertical on one of the local repeaters. It fits the bill, and should be easily tuned with the 6500’s internal tuner.

I’ve heard a lot about the FT8 mode lately and it sounds like something I would like to have running here. I could have up to four HF digital modes running 24/7.

To get the plan rolling I must first:

  • Sell the 6300
  • Purchase  a 6500, CHA-250B vertical, and 100ft of LMR-400UF

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Flex 6700, 6500, LP-500, Arriving Soon!

I’m now #2 on the LP-500 waiting list, so it should be arriving soon. It looks like they fulfill about 10 units per week, so I’m pretty confident I should have mine next week . I joined the waiting list in May 2018. This is one of the nice finishing touches being installed for 2018.

Flex Sales and Service Dept.

I was contacted by Flex Service to let me know they expected to get to my 6700 repair  one day this week. As soon as it is ready, it will be shipped back along with the Certified Pre-Owned 6500 that I just purchased. Both these units will be arriving soon and it looks like delivery should coincide nicely with the LP-500

These three units more or less complete the shack. No more improvements for a while. It’s time to get all the shack furniture put back together and get back on the air and get to work!

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Hardware in Transit!

Some great news this weekend! The LP-500 is bought and paid for, as is the Flex 6500 and the Comet CHA-250B. I was also notified by the Flex Service Dept. that my 6700 is ready. The FlexRadio units will arrive together on Friday, and hopefully the LP-500 arrives around the same time. All hardware in transit!

These are the last few items to complete the station. Once installed, the radio rack will be moved back into the operating position, and the shack furniture will be put back into place.

I’m a week away from wrapping up all the new hardware! Hardware in transit is a good thing!

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Flex 6500/6700 Install

FlexRadio 6500 and 6700 On the Air

Flex 6500 and 6700 On the Air!
Flex 6500 and 6700 On the Air!

The Flex 6700 is back from repair, and the frequency drift problem has been taken care of. The radio is now stable and able to decode FT8 and other digital signals. There’s no sign of drift on WWV. The Flex 6500/6700 were installed today, and are now in service on the air!

The new Flex 6500 will be dedicated to decoding the various HF digital modes. I plan to move the Live SSTV Cam over to the 6500 once I have the Comet CHA-250B installed.

Flex 6700 6500 installed
Just enough space left for the TelePost LP-500

The station monitor should arrive this week. I have just enough rack space left to fit the LP-500 between the 6700 and the SPE 1K-FA amplifier. I will install the LP-500 utilizing 4 couplers to enable viewing of amplifier linearity with a trapezoidal display on both channels of the amplifier.

Single channel amplifier configuration 

The illustration above shows the configuration for a single amplifier. Since the SPE 1K-FA has two inputs (one for each of the 6700’s SCU’s) I will duplicate this configuration for the second input/channel.

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