SmartSDR for Windows v3.2.31 Release Notes
Flexradio Smartsdr is a general availability release intended for use with the FLEX-6400™, FLEX-6400M™, FLEX-6600™, FLEX-6600M™, FLEX-6300™, FLEX-6500™, and FLEX-6700™ software defined radios which contain some new features and software defect fixes identified in previous versions of SmartSDR.
What’s New in SmartSDR v3.2.31
CAUTION: This release of SmartSDR will result in two firmware update processes occurring on the FLEX-6000. The radio’s LED indicator will turn purple twice and the radio will reboot after each firmware update. Due to a software change that is specific for M model radios, the firmware upgrade may hang after the 2nd time the power button LED turns purple which will require resetting the radio as described in the Best Practices for Installing a New Version of SmartSDR for Windows section below.
CAUTION: If you are updating a remote radio using a VPN, having the ability to turn off and on the DC power supply and being able to reboot the radio using the REM ON connector should be a prerequisite before upgrading the FLEX-6000.
NOTE: This version of SmartSDR contains an updated FlexVSP driver. The installation software will automatically remove the previous FlexVSP driver and install the new one. Please reboot your PC when prompted at the end of the SmartSDR v3.2.31 installation process to ensure the FlexVSP driver is installed correctly.
The new FlexVSP driver is not backward compatible with previous versions of SmartSDR CAT. An unhandled exception error will occur when using previous versions of SmartSDR with the new FlexVSP driver.
Improved Internal Latency Performance and Reliability: SmartSDR v3.2.31 incorporates many new internal improvements that enhance latency performance and reliability. These changes result in lower RX->TX-RX transition times, improves firmware stability, provide for greater reliability, and resolve several CW timing issues. (#J8092)
Updated FlexVSP Driver: This version of SmartSDR for Windows contains an updated FlexVSP driver (v5.8.1) that is used with SmartSDR CAT to create virtual serial ports. The new FlexVSP driver is less susceptible to driver corruption related to Windows 10 updates and has greater stability and performance characteristics. (#J8956)
Multiple ATU Fixes: The ATU issues introduced in a previous version of SmartSDR v3 have been fixed. These include greatly improved tuning consistency and ATU memories are now properly restored when the memory feature is turned off and back on. (#J7956, #J7732)
New Panadapter Zoom Feature: The ability to zoom in and zoom out the panadapter display using the mouse wheel has been added to SmartSDR for Windows by pressing the <CTRL> key while adjusting the mouse scroll wheel. (#J8048)
USB Bit Cable Setting using Slice as the Source Fixed: The defect where selecting Slice as the source for a bit cable control line (pin) has been fixed. (#J7624)
Additional SmartSDR Fixes: In addition to the notable ATU, USB Bit Cable, and CW fixes, there are additional SmartSDR firmware fixes that are of importance. They include disabling VOX when in CW mode, Intermittent DAX and SmartSDR crashes, a crash using the Auto-Connect feature, Fixed setting the RF Gain when using a FlexControl, The user can no longer log in to a SmartLink account if there is no Internet access, corrected the S-Meter accuracy when receiving strong signals, fixed a crash when using FlexSatPC, and fixed a frequency rounding error in the Memory form when using transverter bands.
Please see the Changelog for a comprehensive listing of fixes contained in SmartSDR v3.2.31. (#J7740, #J8222, #J8170, #J7767, #J7537, #J8077, #J7702, #J7790)
Multiple Maestro and M model FLEX-6000 UI improvements: There are several UI (user interface) enhancements and changes with SmartSDR v3.2.31.
They include an updated SmartLink login windows that makes it much easier to enter SmartLink account credentials, the screen for setting SmartLink network settings is no longer obscured, the Info screen now contains the front panel IP address and MAC information, added buttons for finer grain control when setting slider values, double-tapping now opens memory entries and selects profiles, the Slice menu now stays open on band changes, A partially entered manual frequency change is cleared when closing the slice menu and added controls to enable or disable the Auto Connect to a Radio feature. (#J8068, #J8197, #J8061, #J7511, #J8103, #J8035, #J8002, #J8101, #J8008)
Multiple Maestro and M model FLEX-6000 Fixes: There are many software fixes for the Maestro and M model radios. The following are just several of them. The Version Select menu is now properly sorted by latest to oldest order, fixed auto-connect issues if another station is connected to the radio, fixed issues that caused an available slice not to open correctly, and fixed a crash when selecting an audio input. (#J3199, #J8316, #J8193, ##J8022)
New and Updated TURF Files: SmartSDR v3.2.31 contains a new TURF file for operators in Spain who are members of Proteccion Civil en Espana (REMER), expanded bands for Japan, and added a new TURF for Austria that include the newly allocated 60m band. (#J8300, #J8003, #J88286)
Flexradio Smartsdr Important Release Details
Backup your profiles before upgrading: Moving back and forth between v3.x and v2.4.x and below will result in data loss unless you have a backup of your Profiles. When using SmartSDR v2.4.10 or below please export your profiles before upgrading to v3.2.31, and backup profiles again before reverting to previous versions. This is covered in detail below in the Best Practices for Installing / Uninstalling SmartSDR v3 section. Maintaining a good set of profile backups is always a best practice.
Upgrading FLEX-6400M and FLEX-6600M Front Panel: If you are upgrading a FLEX-6400M or a FLEX-6600M using SmartSDR for Windows, the upgrade will not be applied to the software in the Front Panel of the “M” Model.
The radio must first be connected to your network and can access the Internet to download the necessary software to update the front panel.
After the radio firmware updates from your PC, shut down SmartSDR for Windows and connect to your radio using the “M” Model Front Panel. The Version Select screen should display SmartSDR v3.2.31 showing a download icon. Selecting that version will start the final portion of the upgrade process.
For a detailed description of the SmartSDR for Windows software upgrade process, please refer to the SmartSDR Software Users Guide V3
SmartSDR v3 requires a software license installed on the radio before it can be used with a FLEX-6000: If you purchased your radio or SmartSDR v2.x on or after Oct. 1,2018, no additional payment is required. If you purchased a FLEX-6000 series radio or 2.X license upgrade before Oct. 1,2018, there is a $199 fee (U.S.) to upgrade to this latest major version release.
All subsequent point releases (v3.x) are available at no additional expense. Please see the section “Purchasing a SmartSDR Software License for your FLEX-6000” for instructions on how to purchase a license.
Best Practices for Installing / Uninstalling SmartSDR
Best Practices for Installing a New Version of SmartSDR for Windows
Always backup your Global, TX (transmit), and Microphone Profiles. Please refer to the SmartSDR for Windows Software User’s Guide for detailed instructions related to exporting your profiles to a file on your PC.
When you upgrade to a newer version of SmartSDR for Windows, a database conversion program runs automatically to convert older profile schemas to an updated one.
When downgrading versions, SmartSDR is unable to restore the updated profile schema version, which may cause profile corruption. To recover your previously created profiles after a software version downgrade, import the profile data created using the downgraded version of SmartSDR for Windows.
Ensure your Windows operating system is up to date before installing SmartSDR for Windows. The proper operation of SmartSDR for Windows and its associated drivers rely on having an up-to-date and supported Windows operating system including the root security certificates. It is strongly recommended that you run Windows Update and install all mandatory and optional updates before installing SmartSDR for Windows.
Managing SmartSDR installed on other devices. If using Maestro or other PCs running SmartSDR for Windows, update all devices at the same time to ensure a consistent operating experience and to avoid radio firmware upgrade/downgrade delays.
Power cycle the FLEX-6000 radios before installing a new version of SmartSDR for Windows. To ensure a seamless upgrade of the FLEX-6000, it is recommended that you power cycle your radio before installing the SmartSDR for Windows software on your PC and updating the radio firmware.
“Cold Boot” your FLEX-6000 after upgrading the radio firmware. Using the power button, shut down the radio, then disconnect it from DC power for 30 seconds. This procedure “cold boots” the radio and helps ensure proper operation. Once DC power is restored to the radio, wait an additional 2 minutes to ensure that all internal processors have booted up completely before pressing the power button to load the SmartSDR firmware and boot your radio.
What to do if the firmware updates do not finish after 5 minutes? On rare occasions, an update may not signal the completion of a firmware update. If five (5) minutes have elapsed without the radio restarting and completing the upgrade, power off the radio by pressing the power button. The radio should restart, and the firmware update should complete normally.
Note: It would be rare that a single press on the power button does not shut down the radio. However, if this occurs, remove the DC power cable from the radio to force a hard reset. Wait about 1 minute, restore DC power, wait 2 minutes and depress the power button. The radio will restart and the firmware update should complete successfully.
Best Practices for installing a new version of SmartSDR for an “M” Model FLEX-6000 or Maestro
The following best practices are applicable only when installing a new version of SmartSDR on a Maestro.
Both the Maestro and an M Model FLEX-6000 must have network access that allows connectivity to the Internet to download the new SmartSDR software.
Ensure your Maestro has a reliable power source. Make certain the supplied AC adapter is used to power the unit. This prevents the Maestro from losing power during an update.
Ensure your Maestro has a reliable network connection. The Maestro and radio firmware are upgraded entirely through the network connection. When upgrading a Maestro, a wired Ethernet connection is recommended; wired Ethernet connections are faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi.
Uninstalling Previous Versions of SmartSDR for Windows – Is It Necessary?
In general, the answer is no, but there are considerations when more than one version of SmartSDR is maintained on your system:
Currently, every version of SmartSDR for Windows is installed in a “side by side” manner allowing the use of previous versions and supporting easy version switching of both software and radio firmware as long as there are no software dependencies that prevent backward compatibility. This method of installing places unique versions of software on your PC rather than removing or upgrading previous versions.
Release Specific Caveats:
SmartSDR v3.2.31 will install an updated FlexVSP driver that is not backward compatible with previous versions of SmartSDR CAT and will result in an unhandled exception error.
After installing this release (v3.2.31) we strongly recommend you do not revert to any version before SmartSDR v3.1.12 to ensure the data integrity of the SD card is maintained.
Flexradio Smartsdr for Windows Shared Components:
The SmartSDR ecosystem employs shared components used by multiple versions of the software. When previous versions of SmartSDR for Windows are uninstalled it may result in the removal of one or more of these shared components, which may make newer versions inoperable.
Therefore, if you desire to uninstall an older version of SmartSDR, we highly recommend you uninstall older versions before installing a new version of SmartSDR for Windows.
Removing the DAX and FlexVSP drivers are not recommended unless explicitly instructed to do so in the Release Notes or by FlexRadio Support.
• If you revert from any version of SmartSDR v3 to a previous version you should perform a factory reset of your radio. When reverting to a previous version of SmartSDR there can be database incompatibilities that may result in operational anomalies. It is recommended that a factory reset be performed after downgrading to ensure the database schema is 100% compatible with the version being used.
• During alpha testing, after the initial installation of the updated DAX drivers provided in SmartSDR v3.1.6, a handful of users reported a Windows “stop error’ (colloquially known as the Blue Screen of Death or BSoD). In most cases, the error occurred once and after a subsequent PC reboot, the error did not occur again or impact proper DAX operations. We are working to identify the cause and resolve the behavior.
• After installing the updated DAX drivers, if you receive a DAX error where all the DAX channels are red, the most common reason for this is due to the lack of a default Windows audio playback device (speakers). To identify this error condition, look at the speaker icon in the Windows Task Bar. If it has a red “X” on it, this indicates a missing default audio playback device. To resolve this issue, simply connecting a pair of PC speakers or a headset to the PC will cause Windows to find a suitable default audio playback device and upon restarting DAX, the error condition should be resolved.
• FLEX-6700 only: There is a known issue (#G280, #G1527) where changing bands on one panadapter may change the frequency of another panadapter when going to or from 2m (or an XVTR using 2m as an IF). This happens due to hardware constraints that require each Antenna to be on only one of 2 possible Nyquist zones (below or above 122.88 MHz) and interaction with persistence when recalling the antenna selection of the selected band. One way to work around this issue is to use the Band buttons instead of setting the Antenna on the Panadapter or Slice, and then entering the desired frequency into the Slice to tune into (or out of) the 2m band (or an XVTR using 2m as an IF).
• (#G6938) Operation with Pactor modems will not work properly in v3.2.31. Pactor operation is functional in v2.4.10.