The Josephson flux flow oscillator (FFO) has proven to be one of the best on-chip local oscillators for heterodyne detection in integrated sub-mm receivers based on SIS mixers. Nb-AlOx-Nb FFOs have been successfully tested from about 120 to 700 GHz (gap frequency of Nb) providing enough power to pump an SIS mixer (about 1 muW at 450 GHz). Both the frequency and the power of the FFO can be dc-tuned. Extensive measurements of the dependence of the free-running FFO linewidth on the differential resistances associated with both the bias current and the control-line current (applied magnetic field) have been performed. The FFO line is Lorentzian both in the resonant regime, on Fiske steps (FSs), and on the flux flow step (FFS). This indicates that internal wide-band noise is dominant. A phenomenological noise model can account for the FFO linewidth dependence on experimental parameters. The narrow free-running FFO linewidth achieved, in combination with the construction of a wide-band phase-locked loop (PLL) system, enable us to phase lock the FFO in the frequency range 490712 GHz where continuous frequency tuning is possible.