Tuesday, March 17, 2015


DDUTIL as the Icon suggests is the Swiss Army Knife that connects my Flex radio to the rest of the universe.  It connects to the Signature series through the Flex server/client API

Once connected it can perform a great laundry list of functions.  For example:  It can direct CAT traffic to many other programs 

In this case COM 19 connects me to the powerful DXLab suite of logging and cluster software.  If I click on a cluster spot that data is loaded into the log, and the freq and mode and split if any is loaded into my radio through DDUTIL.  If I click the radio, that data is transferred to Commander in the DXLab suite and is available to use in the logging program or in the digital mode client in that program (Winwarbler).  Up to 5 programs can be connected simultaneously, plus CWskimmer.  So you can click tune the radio from DXLab and also communicate with the radio and maybe a contest program.   Skimmer works a little differently.  If you have a second VFO active it can keep VFO A on the DX and click tune VFO B using the skimmerfall.  The point being you can have a much richer interaction between software and the radio using the multiple CAT feature.  

DDUTIL can automatically control 7 frequency agile amps making your radio into a 1500w transceiver depending on the amp.

It can automatically set the drive level for up to 2 amplifiers

THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE FEATURES!  I have several amps.  One is an Alpha 78 which is a great amp but the squirrel nut (8874) tubes have only 5 watts of grid dissipation each  (15w total) and I sure as hell don't want to blow them out (major expense).  One of my other amps is solid state (ALS-1300).  If you hit this amp with too much drive it trips and turns itself off and you have to go through a reset dance.  Auto drive automatically sets the drive, as well as barefoot power level.  


Note the button in DDUTIL Auto Drive is yellow and says STBY.  As well the icon in the Taskbar has a prominent yellow dot.  With Auto Drive active 

Things go green.  Perfect!  Also a new feature is the ability to choose amp 1 or 2 without going into setup.

Check out these new buttons!  While he was at it Steve added some new macros and annunciators (note the color change when a button is pressed whether on DDUTIL, or a macro, or on the radio itself.  Makes it incredibly easy at a glance to determine the state of a slice!)  You can cycle through all 4 AGC choices, apf toggle, mute toggle, nb toggle, VFO lock toggle, RF (AKA ANT on the left flag which controls preamp etc all choices covered),  MUTE (which mutes the speaker in the upper right)  Tune which toggles the tune button, and AMP which chooses the Auto Drive power profile for each AMP.  Things in caps are applied to the whole radio like Speaker MUTE or RF.  Things in lower case are applied to a slice.  The slice can be chosen by clicking through the open slices 

In my case I have a 6300 so I have slice 0,1 as my choice and when I toggle through RF I have to go through all the choices to get my preamp to turn on and off.  Works for me and gives the boys with the bigger radios great Flexibility to set up a slice all with a couple clicks.  In addition Macros have been created for all of these functions and Macros means you can move all this off to the Genovation keypad or the FlexControl buttons.

I use the DDUTIL knob controlling software as opposed to the native SSDR flex control.  I was part of the development team for this device and find this software has a bit more depth and utility.  One thing it has access to are  the macro definitions.  

Slots TkSw1-9 or macro slots 30-38 attach to the Knob buttons 30 is one press on the left button, 31 is double press on left button and 32 is long press on left button.  The next 3 (33-35) are center button same press sequence and the last 3 (36-38) are right button.  

Lately I've been running my radio with the AGC off and I really like the effect, BUT if someone is loud my ears are blasted.  I have AGC-fast as my choice for 1 click on left button.  This immediately switches the AGC to "fast"when I push the button and it happens regardless of the program focus.  After Mr Big Sig ceases his assault on my ears I double click left button and go back to "off".  This gives a very fast muscle memory response to the dilemma as opposed to having to figure out what to do.  This is another great feature!  

I have my LP-100 watt meter connected to a serial port and the readings are repeated on the front of DDUTIL 

Several other meters are represented.  I find this very useful when I want a screen shot of power or SWR

Other gives access to some truly powerful station control.  You can control rotors, steppir antennas, station controllers, TCP servers, the Genovation key pad, etc.  I have a Genovation but I don't have it programmed yet.  

BCD is one of the most powerful aspects of station control.  When I had the F5K station going I had EVERYTHING running off BCD.  I could switch antennas on 2 different antenna switches, which would band follow the freq, I could band switch my ALS-1300 to the right band.  DXing or contesting was merely selecting the band via a cluster click and hitting the key.  The correct amp, antenna, path to the antenna and power was all automatic.  My present computer does not have the LPT port and does not have slots to install a card so presently I'm SOL, but if you have access to this do not miss!  

There is a screen which will drive the rotor to a given direction based on callsign/entity data and one that revelas all the macros

Macros can be strung together to do very complex tasks.  I had a macro which would switch the antenna I used for diversity, set the power, start tune on a tuner, then stop tune, reset the antenna back to diversity, and turn on diversity.   I also had macros which would configure PSK on 20M at one button press VERY POWERFUL and totally eliminated the idiot factor.  I never sent power down the line without first choosing the correct antenna path

Two more things I really like

The S meter readout in S units and dBm both average and peak displayed all the time and 

This stores up to 5 memories from whatever slice is chosen in a rotating fashion.  I use the heck out of this.  I can monitor some pileups switching back and forth.  I always memorize a DX station's freq in case I bump the knob or click the wrong thing.  I can switch to VFO and tune the band and immediately switch back to a memory.  If nothing is interesting on the memory channel I can hit VFO and continuing tuning up the band from where I left off.

There are some points I know I've missed.  It's such a comprehensive program it's hard to remember or discuss all the features without writing a book.  It is very mature and very stable and it just works.  Hats off to Steve K5FR for providing such a rich experience

73  W9OY