[Flexradio] How hard is it to set up the SDR-1000

petervn at hetnet.nl petervn at hetnet.nl
Mon Feb 5 02:35:56 CST 2007

Good story Edwin, I feel the same.

I have my way with documentation and manuals,

however good they may be, you need to familiarise with new techniques and systems.

AND .... a wire cutter, screwdriver and soldering iron......    :-) 

(I rest my case)

groeten Peter
petervn(a)hetnet.nl <mailto:petervn at hetnet.nl>  ; pa0pvn(a)hetnet.nl <mailto:pa0pvn at hetnet.nl>   ;
pa0pvn(a)gmail.com ; pa0pvn(a)amsat.org .


Van: flexradio-bounces at flex-radio.biz namens Edwin Marzan
Verzonden: ma 5-2-2007 6:50
Aan: lee_crocker at yahoo.com; FlexRadio at flex-radio.biz
Onderwerp: Re: [Flexradio] How hard is it to set up the SDR-1000

See my comments inline between the


>From: Lee A Crocker <lee_crocker at yahoo.com>
>To: Flexradio <FlexRadio at flex-radio.biz>
>Subject: [Flexradio] How hard is it to set up the SDR-1000
>Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2007 08:34:08 -0800 (PST)
>In response to my comments in another post, I have
>gotten a couple of emails that seem to indicate the
>perception out there is that it is somehow difficult
>to set up a SDR-1000.


Difficult is a relative term. Perhaps we should use the term "more


>I have 2 SDR-1000's and I have all 3 sound cards, so I
>have done a lot of "settin up".  I also use one of my
>SDR-1000's as an IF for my VHF transverter, and I use
>each radio to control multiple linear amps.  I
>designed a little breakout box to automate antenna
>switching as well.  The point being is that I have
>some experience with what might be considered
>"advanced setup".

I have 1 SDR-1000 and it took me about an hour and a half before I was on
the air. On the other hand I have a Yaesu FT-847 and it took me about 5
minutes to get it on the air.

>The basic set up of the SDR is not more difficult than
>the setup of any radio.  You basically hook up a key,
>a mic, a power supply, and a ground.  The only extra
>setup is adding the cables between the sound card and
>the radio.

9 out of 10 times when I tell a fellow ham that I'm using an SDR-1000 the
first question is "how hard was it to set that thing up?" I always respond
that it was not plug and play but it takes more time to set up. One must
follow the instructions to the letter. When I opened the box that I received
from Flex there was a warning to read the instructions or the radio can self
destruct or somesuch. I'm not sure if that was a joke or not but I took it

>For my SDR's I plug my mic straight into the sound
>card.  I have the SDR's up on a top shelf, and I have
>the sound cards (FA-66 and a firebox) down on the desk
>next to my monitor.  The sound cards next to the
>monitor allows me access to a phone jack for
>headphones as well as a audio gain control on each
>sound card.  It makes it convenient to change mics if
>I want as well, as well as adjust mic gain.  I use a
>condenser mic (for that hifi experience) and need the
>phantom 48V each of these sound cards provide.

I never knew what phantom power was until I read the primer on the types of
mikes. Plug my mike into the sound card? What does that mean? The radio has
a mike jack on the front. Shouldn't I plug it in there? Doing that can cause
ground loops? Then why is there a mike jack on the front panel?

>For CW I plug my CW key straight into the 1/8" jack on
>the back of the radio.  I played with the "serial
>connection" method and I didn't find it any faster in
>terms of turn around than with the 1/8" jack.  I use
>an external keyer, either a logikey or a usb version
>winkey.  Presently I use the winkey since it allows 2
>radios to be hooked up with software switching between
>radios.  I don't use any relays or other means to key
>the radio, just the open collector in the keyer.  When
>I had the serial keying method hooked up I had to use
>an FET buffer between the keyer and the port in order
>to get the port to work.  The serial port method was
>really a fix for using the internal (software) keyer
>with a paddle and I don't think it was really intended
>for using an external keyer.  Maybe some others could
>comment on their experience but I can't see any
>difference from 10 to 60 wpm between the 1/8 jack and
>the serial port when using an external keyer with the
>present iteration of the software.


The paragraph above needs to be read a few times before a non flex owner
could understand what is being discussed. Terms to review:

Serial connection method
FET Buffer
Port (what port?)


>The more advanced set-ups such as transverters are
>easy to implement as well.  It's a matter of adding
>the transverter to the line, and adding some data to a
>form in PowerSDR which tells the radio how to behave
>when hooked to a transverter.  Very easy.  To get
>control out of the SDR you need to hook things up to
>X2.  For this I used an old 15 pin monitor cable cut
>in half and some RCA jacks.  I have my linears
>connected to pin 7 and I use a foot switch and have a
>push button connected for PTT duties.


You mean I have to start building my own cables? Can't I just by one from

I've never used a separate PTT in my life. The few radios that I have always
had a mike with a PTT. Now I have to start thinking about a PTT?

More terms to review:

Pin 7

>This radio is not a hard radio to set up.  What you do
>need is an Elecraft signal gen, and a good quality
>dummy load.  You can get a good quality dummy load for
>cheap from here:
>I use the 200W version but the cheapie 75 watter would
>probably work fine as well for the duty required for
>SDR tune up.  These are good quality and are swept in
>terms of impedance well into GHZ.

Now I have to order a signal generator and then build it? How much time will
that add before I can start enjoying this radio?

>So if your on the fence about an SDR because it seems
>too complicated, fergetaboutit.  The radio is not hard
>to get running and it is a ton of fun to use.  I use
>mine in contests, weak signal DXing, rag chewing,
>PSK31, as a lab receiver, as a signal generator.  I
>have a LP-100 meter and I'm in the process of hooking
>it up as a transmitting VNA as well.

More terms:

LP-100 meter

>When reading the reflector do not take what is posted
>as common experience.  If it was common experience
>there would be 50 replies to a topic instead of 5.
>The reflector is one of Flex radio's crowning
>achievements.  The helpfulness and lack of rancor on
>this reflector is amazingly positive, and I think it
>encourages people to ask even the simplest or oddest
>of questions without fear of the retribution that
>often plagues list members on other less well behaved
>lists.  It's a good radio which sells at a good value
>from a good company with a good bunch of people both
>expert and amateur willing to lend a helping hand when
>there is a question or trouble.  It doesn't get much
>better than this.
>73  W9OY


My comments above reflect what I would have asked if I wasn't familiar with
the radio. I think that some folks don't realize how radically different our
SDR-1000 is from a conventional radio. One needs to get into the mindset of
what this radio actually is before he can take the plunge and buy one with

When I first started reading the reflector archives I knew that I would have
to approach this radio from a different perspective. I placed my
expectations on an extremely low level and said I am going to keep this
radio no matter what happens (within reason of course). I read that it was a
work in progress so I did not expect everything to work perfectly. I based
my decision to purchase this radio mainly on the reviews on eham.net and was
astonished at the level of satisfaction from the users who posted reviews.

I also believe that the skill level of many who answer questions on this
reflector is beyond exceptional. Highly skilled users may find the radio
easy to set up. The average joe like myself might agree that the radio is
"more involved" to set up and others may interpret that as difficult.

If my Yaesu S meter locked up I would send it back. If the receiver on my
Yaesu lost sensitivity when I discharged static on the miccrophone I would
send it back. If I had all types of audio hums that I couldn't ger rid of, I
would send it back. If I transmitted a Spur on AM, I would send it back.
If my built in auto tuner displayed and SWR of 1.1 even if I attempted to
tune a paperclip, I would have sent it back. if the panadapter on my Icom
7800 ( I wish!!)  displayed a DC hump I would send it back. With the
SDR-1000 I don't feel the same way.

I'm sure there are some of us who have been unable to solve their problems
with this radio but are patient because this is cutting edge technology and
know eventually it will be fixed or they will most likely fix it themselves.
My S meter froze about 3 times. I can live with that.

As I said before, difficult is a relative term. This radio will be difficult
for some to set up. And easy for others. It is definitely "more involved" to
set up than any radio I've owned before. However, the extra involvement is
worth it, in my view.


Edwin Marzan

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