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USB cable problem with RF?

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  • Mike Saeger
    My 15/12/10 meter Softrock/PennyWhistle amp works great into a dummy load. When I switch to an antenna, the USB drops out when I go to Transmit. I use the
    Message 1 of 23 , Jan 16, 2014
      My 15/12/10 meter Softrock/PennyWhistle amp works great into a dummy load. When I switch to an antenna, the USB drops out when I go to Transmit. I use the Genesis version of PowerSDR which shows the USB indicator changing from Green to Red.

      I'm running the SoftRock into a PennyWhistle amp which goes to an antenna tuner and then out to the antenna. The SWR is pretty low (between antenna and tuner and between tuner and PennyWhistle). I tried bypassing the tuner with the same result.

      I grab switched 5V from the SoftRock using a small shielded audio cable to key the relays via a Darlington circuit which keys 12V relays controlling the PennyWhistle and antenna switching.

      I read somewhere to perhaps put bypass caps on the USB 5V line (pin 1 I think). Also to put ferrite beads here and there.

      Has anyone else run into this problem?
    • Chuck Lippmeier
      I ran into this problem with a high power laser (5kW). A USB video camera interface died whenever the USB cable got near to a pulsed laser driver power cable.
      Message 2 of 23 , Jan 17, 2014

        I ran into this problem with a high power laser (5kW). A USB video camera interface died whenever the USB cable got near to a pulsed laser driver power cable. A high quality shielded USB cable fixed the  problem.

        Chuck Lippmeier

      • yl2qn_andy
        I had similar problems with my Softrock RXTX and small 50W PA. Good quality with good shield USB cable + additional ferrites fix the problem. I now can run up
        Message 3 of 23 , Jan 17, 2014

          I had similar problems with my Softrock RXTX and small 50W PA. Good quality with good shield USB cable + additional ferrites fix the problem. I now can run up to 1KW without any problems.


          Another problem is CMC on antenna shield. You need setup additional chock's on antenna side for some types of antenna, where CMC can be expected. The good practice is setup chock also near entry point to shack. The good starting point to learn more about CMC is Rick's (DJ0IP) website: http://www.dj0ip.de/common-mode-chaos/


          Regards,

          Andy - YL2QN

        • Jose Bonanca
          and what did you expect??? 73 ... -- Jose (Ct1aos)
          Message 4 of 23 , Jan 17, 2014
            and what did you expect???
            73


            On 17 January 2014 11:51, Chuck Lippmeier <chuck@...> wrote:
             

            I ran into this problem with a high power laser (5kW). A USB video camera interface died whenever the USB cable got near to a pulsed laser driver power cable. A high quality shielded USB cable fixed the  problem.

            Chuck Lippmeier




            --
            Jose (Ct1aos)
          • yo9irf
            I ve had this problem also, at powers ranging from 5W to 100W. You need chokes on the antenna cable, preferably at least two of them: one close to the antenna
            Message 5 of 23 , Jan 17, 2014

              I've had this problem also, at powers ranging from 5W to 100W.


              You need chokes on the antenna cable, preferably at least two of them: one close to the antenna feedpoint and one where the cable enters the shack. Also, use a quality USB cable, ferrite chokes close to both ends will help.


              Razvan YO9IRF.

            • Michael Walker
              I had some strange problems with my MiniVNA pro and I was getting very erratic readings. What solved it was that I had to take a usb cable and wrapped it
              Message 6 of 23 , Jan 17, 2014
                I had some strange problems with my MiniVNA pro and I was getting very erratic readings.  

                What solved it was that I had to take a usb cable and wrapped it around an FT240-43 toroid I had (8 turns).  That totally cleaned up a number of issues.   

                The clue was that when I put my hand on VNA and the readings kept changing.

                I hope that helps.

                Mike va3mw


                On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 8:47 AM, <razvanfatu@...> wrote:
                 

                I've had this problem also, at powers ranging from 5W to 100W.


                You need chokes on the antenna cable, preferably at least two of them: one close to the antenna feedpoint and one where the cable enters the shack. Also, use a quality USB cable, ferrite chokes close to both ends will help.


                Razvan YO9IRF.


              • Chris Wilson
                ... 17/01/2014 15:32 Can anyone recommend a preferably UK source of high quality fully screened USB cables please, they have personal experience of? Thanks. --
                Message 7 of 23 , Jan 17, 2014
                  > I had some strange problems with my MiniVNA pro and I was getting very erratic readings.  


                  > What solved it was that I had to take a usb cable and wrapped it
                  > around an FT240-43 toroid I had (8 turns).  That totally cleaned up a number of issues.   


                  > The clue was that when I put my hand on VNA and the readings kept changing.


                  > I hope that helps.


                  > Mike va3mw


                  17/01/2014 15:32


                  Can anyone recommend a preferably UK source of high quality fully
                  screened USB cables please, they have personal experience of? Thanks.
                  --
                  Best Regards,
                  Chris Wilson. 2E0ILY
                • Chuck Lippmeier
                  Jose, Actually, being a digital signal I thought that interference from a radiated analog signal wouldn t interfere. After all, that is one of the major touted
                  Message 8 of 23 , Jan 17, 2014

                    Jose,

                    Actually, being a digital signal I thought that interference from a radiated analog signal wouldn’t interfere. After all, that is one of the major touted advantages of digital. Now I suppose, that in the extreme, one can make a case where interference is possible. Generally, I assume that digital signals are safe. Obviously, in this case, 5kW is extreme. But even so, distance from the interferer would have done the trick too. My expectations are and were standard common wisdom that digital signals are immune from analog until proven otherwise.

                    Chuck Lippmeier

                  • Alan
                    ... Subject: [softrock40] Re: USB cable problem with RF? ... Chuck No, maybe digital is more robust? I m not sure, comparison is difficult. Digital TV for
                    Message 9 of 23 , Jan 17, 2014
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      Subject: [softrock40] Re: USB cable problem with RF?


                      >
                      > Actually, being a digital signal I thought that interference from a radiated
                      > analog signal wouldn't interfere. After all, that is one of the major touted
                      > advantages of digital.

                      Chuck

                      No, maybe digital is more robust? I'm not sure, comparison is difficult.
                      Digital TV for example will not suffer from ghosting but if interference or bad propagation overcomes the signal you get nothing.

                      I do not know what actually knocks out USB but if any signal overcomes the digital signals it will not work.
                      Immune is far too strong a word.

                      73 Alan G4ZFQ

                      Now I suppose, that in the extreme, one can make a
                      > case where interference is possible. Generally, I assume that digital
                      > signals are safe. Obviously, in this case, 5kW is extreme. But even so,
                      > distance from the interferer would have done the trick too. My expectations
                      > are and were standard common wisdom that digital signals are immune from
                      > analog until proven otherwise.
                      >
                    • Mike Saeger
                      Thanks for all the ideas. I tried chokes and ferrite beads without any success. I also heard from Tony Parks who offered these two suggestions. 1. Try adding
                      Message 10 of 23 , Jan 18, 2014
                        Thanks for all the ideas. I tried chokes and ferrite beads without any success. I also heard from Tony Parks who offered these two suggestions.

                        1. Try adding 220pF capacitors to circuit ground from pins 5 and 7 of U1.

                        2. Try grounding to circuit ground the USB cable plug shell.

                        I tried both of the above, put the radio back online and tested. First with the dummy load which of course worked perfectly. I then switched to the antenna running 30W of carrier. Clicked the transmit button and I get 30W of carrier into the antenna. I tried it several times without any problems. I'm not sure if it took both mods to make it work or if it was one or the other -- but I'm back on the air!! Thanks, Tony!!!!



                        Mike N9MS
                      • yl2qn_andy
                        Worked this weekend in HA DX Contest, the problem with USB back to my shack. This happend on 160m and 80m band, where I have vertical aerials (common for CMC
                        Message 11 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014

                          Worked this weekend in HA DX Contest, the problem with USB back to my shack. This happend on 160m and 80m band, where I have vertical aerials (common for CMC problem). I lost USB connection with Softrock every time while I'm transmit.


                          Before contest I'm remove ring from USB cable and make them straight. Ferrites was still in place. I'm again pull up USB cable into ring (place ring near AVR, e.g. Softrock) and problem leave me again. All 24 hours during a contest I do not have any problems with USB.


                          Has been used Softrock with 1KW linear running from 160m to 10m bands. No problems at any band.


                          I think the ring from USB cable make a good resistance for RF in additional to ferrites (similar to air wound choke from coax). To have only ferrites is not enough in my case.


                          Regards,

                          Andy - YL2QN


                        • takehikochanchan
                          Hi, it is a good time for me to revisit the problem as I am trying QRP to 50 W range with my Ensemble RXTX. As stated by several comments, the issue is the
                          Message 12 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014

                            Hi, it is a good time for me to revisit the problem as I am trying QRP to 50 W range with my Ensemble RXTX.


                            As stated by several comments, the issue is the common mode intereference to Attiny USB interface and the difficulty is HF interefering signal is just above USB operation speed, 1.5Mbps. In this sense, I am not  positive to the suggested normal mode solution, i.e.  "Try adding 220pF capacitors to circuit ground from pins 5 and 7 of U1". 


                            Mike, have you checked the USB communication would not be affected by the normal mode solution such as paddle sensing?


                            Regards,


                            take


                            de JA5AEA



                            ---In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, <mike.saeger@...> wrote:

                            Thanks for all the ideas. I tried chokes and ferrite beads without any success. I also heard from Tony Parks who offered these two suggestions.

                            1. Try adding 220pF capacitors to circuit ground from pins 5 and 7 of U1.

                            2. Try grounding to circuit ground the USB cable plug shell.

                            I tried both of the above, put the radio back online and tested. First with the dummy load which of course worked perfectly. I then switched to the antenna running 30W of carrier. Clicked the transmit button and I get 30W of carrier into the antenna. I tried it several times without any problems. I'm not sure if it took both mods to make it work or if it was one or the other -- but I'm back on the air!! Thanks, Tony!!!!



                            Mike N9MS
                          • Chris Wilson
                            ... 20/01/2014 13:44 Is there a sledge hammer type fix for this, for both the HF RXTX and the HF RX Ensemble II? I know one group member was going to have a
                            Message 13 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >

                              > Hi, it is a good time for me to revisit the problem as I am trying
                              > QRP to 50 W range with my Ensemble RXTX.




                              > As stated by several comments, the issue is the common mode
                              > intereference to Attiny USB interface and the difficulty is HF
                              > interefering signal is just above USB operation speed, 1.5Mbps. In
                              > this sense, I am not positive to the suggested normal mode
                              > solution, i.e. "Try adding 220pF capacitors to circuit ground from pins 5 and 7 of U1".

                              > Mike, have you checked the USB communication would not be affected
                              > by the normal mode solution such as paddle sensing?

                              > Regards > take
                              > de JA5AEA




                              20/01/2014 13:44

                              Is there a sledge hammer type fix for this, for both the HF RXTX and
                              the HF RX Ensemble II? I know one group member was going to have a
                              play with opto isolation of the USB port. I am still getting the
                              Softrock Ensmeble II RX often losing USB contact when running on 10 meters
                              with my TS-590. Ferrites have not entirely fixed this. Thanks.

                              --
                              Best Regards,
                              Chris Wilson. 2E0ILY
                            • lbs983405
                              Andy, What do you mean remove ring from USB cable and make them straight?? Thanks, Lee ... From: yl2qn.andy To: softrock40
                              Message 14 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014
                                Andy,
                                What do you mean remove ring from USB cable and make them straight??
                                Thanks,
                                Lee
                                 
                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: yl2qn.andy <yl2qn.andy@...>
                                To: softrock40 <softrock40@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Mon, Jan 20, 2014 3:06 am
                                Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: USB cable problem with RF?

                                 
                                Worked this weekend in HA DX Contest, the problem with USB back to my shack. This happend on 160m and 80m band, where I have vertical aerials (common for CMC problem). I lost USB connection with Softrock every time while I'm transmit.

                                Before contest I'm remove ring from USB cable and make them straight. Ferrites was still in place. I'm again pull up USB cable into ring (place ring near AVR, e.g. Softrock) and problem leave me again. All 24 hours during a contest I do not have any problems with USB.

                                Has been used Softrock with 1KW linear running from 160m to 10m bands. No problems at any band.

                                I think the ring from USB cable make a good resistance for RF in additional to ferrites (similar to air wound choke from coax). To have only ferrites is not enough in my case.

                                Regards,
                                Andy - YL2QN

                              • yl2qn_andy
                                Lee, For a long time I kept the cable rolled into the ring near TRX, but before the contest I turned it into a straight wire. Тhereafter I got problems with
                                Message 15 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014

                                  Lee,


                                  For a long time I kept the cable rolled into the ring near TRX, but before the contest I turned it into a straight wire. Тhereafter I got problems with USB connection immediately, and back USB cable to coiled.to resolve a problem.


                                  Cable look like on this photo http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/19/001/208/057/DV020_Jpg_Jumbo_330112.125_bass_coiled.jpg


                                  Andy - YL2QN

                                • lbs983405
                                  Andy, OK...now I see what you mean...coiled to reduce interference... Yes, I do that a lot and use ferrite cores. Today I ordered a Creative SB X-fi surround
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014
                                    Andy,
                                    OK...now I see what you mean...coiled to reduce interference...
                                    Yes, I do that a lot and use ferrite cores.
                                     
                                    Today I ordered a Creative SB X-fi surround USB audio so I can get all this to work. ($50.00)
                                    I will make the mods (add 2 caps) suggested by RF systems guys.
                                     
                                    Thanks,
                                    Lee
                                     
                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: yl2qn.andy <yl2qn.andy@...>
                                    To: softrock40 <softrock40@yahoogroups.com>
                                    Sent: Mon, Jan 20, 2014 4:54 pm
                                    Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: USB cable problem with RF?

                                     
                                    Lee,

                                    For a long time I kept the cable rolled into the ring near TRX, but before the contest I turned it into a straight wire. Тhereafter I got problems with USB connection immediately, and back USB cable to coiled.to resolve a problem.


                                    Andy - YL2QN
                                  • yl2qn_andy
                                    Lee, I use the same sound card. Very good results !!! I m try to add 2 caps but got the noise floor increase for 5-6 db. Revert changes back and will try again
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014

                                      Lee,


                                      I use the same sound card. Very good results !!! I'm try to add 2 caps but got the noise floor increase for 5-6 db. Revert changes back and will try again in another day. Will be interesting, if you can write me few words about this mod results on your side.


                                      Andy

                                    • lbs983405
                                      Andy, So...you did the mod from RF - Systems and it made the noise floor worse?? Why? Lee ... From: yl2qn.andy To: softrock40
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014
                                        Andy,
                                        So...you did the mod from RF - Systems and it made the noise floor worse??
                                        Why?
                                        Lee
                                         
                                        -----Original Message-----
                                        From: yl2qn.andy <yl2qn.andy@...>
                                        To: softrock40 <softrock40@yahoogroups.com>
                                        Sent: Mon, Jan 20, 2014 5:54 pm
                                        Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: USB cable problem with RF?

                                         
                                        Lee,

                                        I use the same sound card. Very good results !!! I'm try to add 2 caps but got the noise floor increase for 5-6 db. Revert changes back and will try again in another day. Will be interesting, if you can write me few words about this mod results on your side.

                                        Andy
                                      • Alan
                                        ... Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: USB cable problem with RF? So...you did the mod from RF - Systems and it made the noise floor worse?? Why? Lee, I see this
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Jan 20, 2014
                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: USB cable problem with RF?



                                          So...you did the mod from RF - Systems and it made the noise floor worse??
                                          Why?

                                          Lee,

                                          I see this mod mentioned from time to time.

                                          Although I have not tried it I wonder if anyone else has done a proper before and after check like shown on the PDF.
                                          Does everybody see the USB spikes? Is this a characteristic of the USB device or dependent on the computer and it's environment?
                                          Are these spikes masked by noise from the Softrock?
                                          Do the mods always have beneficial effects?

                                          73 Alan G4ZFQ
                                        • Chris Wilson
                                          ... 21/01/2014 08:09 Aln, may I ask where I can find this .pdf about these mods please? Thanks. -- Best Regards, Chris Wilson. 2E0ILY
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Jan 21, 2014
                                            > ----- Original Message -----
                                            > Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: USB cable problem with RF?
                                            >
                                            > So...you did the mod from RF - Systems and it made the noise floor worse??
                                            > Why?
                                            >
                                            > Lee,
                                            >
                                            > I see this mod mentioned from time to time.
                                            >
                                            > Although I have not tried it I wonder if anyone else has done a
                                            > proper before and after check like shown on the PDF.
                                            > Does everybody see the USB spikes? Is this a characteristic of the
                                            > USB device or dependent on the computer and it's environment?
                                            > Are these spikes masked by noise from the Softrock?
                                            > Do the mods always have beneficial effects?
                                            >
                                            > 73 Alan G4ZFQ



                                            21/01/2014 08:09

                                            Aln, may I ask where I can find this .pdf about these mods please?

                                            Thanks.

                                            --
                                            Best Regards,
                                            Chris Wilson. 2E0ILY
                                          • yl2qn_andy
                                            Yes, I make mod as described in PDF file https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4Tcw5ddRMOvZWhuWUJ0QnRTNDg/edit?usp=sharing but not satisfied with results. The
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Jan 21, 2014

                                              Yes, I make mod as described in PDF file but not satisfied with results. The noise floor raised after mod apply. Probably I was wrong with measurements or something else, but I'm remove mod for now and will try it again. Unfortunately I have not time to do this.


                                              Here is PSDR screen before mod apply and after mod apply.


                                              Also one interesting PDF with noise floor comparison made by  TF3LJ.


                                              Will be great if anyone here will apply mod and make some measurements to compare benefits from it.


                                              Regards,

                                              Andy - YL2QN

                                            • Chris Wilson
                                              ... 21/01/2014 10:22 Thanks Andy!! -- Best Regards, Chris Wilson. 2E0ILY
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Jan 21, 2014
                                                > Yes, I make mod as described in PDF file but not satisfied with
                                                > results. The noise floor raised after mod apply. Probably I was
                                                > wrong with measurements or something else, but I'm remove mod for
                                                > now and will try it again. Unfortunately I have not time to do this.

                                                > Here is PSDR screen before mod apply and after mod apply.

                                                > Also one interesting PDF with noise floor comparison made by TF3LJ.

                                                > Will be great if anyone here will apply mod and make some
                                                > measurements to compare benefits from it.
                                                > Regards,

                                                > Andy - YL2QN


                                                21/01/2014 10:22

                                                Thanks Andy!!

                                                --
                                                Best Regards,
                                                Chris Wilson. 2E0ILY
                                              • Mike Saeger
                                                All I can say is that before the mod I was only able to load up a dummy load and after the mod I am on the air with two different antennas. My SoftRock is
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Jan 21, 2014
                                                  All I can say is that before the mod I was only able to load up a dummy load and after the mod I am on the air with two different antennas. My SoftRock is working just fine after adding the capacitors. If you have problems, you could try Tony's first suggestion which is to ground the shell of the USB connector to circuit ground. The grounded end of D1 is a convenient grounding point.

                                                  Mike N9MS

                                                  --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, <take.tsutsumi@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > Hi, it is a good time for me to revisit the problem as I am trying QRP to 50 W range with my Ensemble RXTX.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > As stated by several comments, the issue is the common mode intereference to Attiny USB interface and the difficulty is HF interefering signal is just above USB operation speed, 1.5Mbps. In this sense, I am not positive to the suggested normal mode solution, i.e. "Try adding 220pF capacitors to circuit ground from pins 5 and 7 of U1".
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Mike, have you checked the USB communication would not be affected by the normal mode solution such as paddle sensing?
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Regards,
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > take
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > de JA5AEA
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > ---In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, <mike.saeger@> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > Thanks for all the ideas. I tried chokes and ferrite beads without any success. I also heard from Tony Parks who offered these two suggestions.
                                                  >
                                                  > 1. Try adding 220pF capacitors to circuit ground from pins 5 and 7 of U1.
                                                  >
                                                  > 2. Try grounding to circuit ground the USB cable plug shell.
                                                  >
                                                  > I tried both of the above, put the radio back online and tested. First with the dummy load which of course worked perfectly. I then switched to the antenna running 30W of carrier. Clicked the transmit button and I get 30W of carrier into the antenna. I tried it several times without any problems. I'm not sure if it took both mods to make it work or if it was one or the other -- but I'm back on the air!! Thanks, Tony!!!!
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Mike N9MS
                                                  >
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