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Re: [wsjtgroup] West Mountain Radio products

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  • Keith
    I have the Rigblaster advantage and have struggled getting it interfaced properly with HRD and my K3 for the combination of digital, remote and rotator
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 1, 2012
      I have the Rigblaster advantage and have struggled getting it interfaced properly with HRD and my K3 for the combination of digital, remote and rotator control. It has a tendency to freeze and do other funny things like rotator not stopping on desired bearing. 

      Does the TRX program work better for Rig control with the Rigblaster advantage versus other tools such as HRD. I am looking for better working options than HRD for the K3.

      Keith 
      AG6AZ

      Sent from my iPhone please excuse typos

      On Mar 1, 2012, at 7:09 AM, "Lance Collister, W7GJ" <w7gj@...> wrote:

       

      The RIGblaster Plug and Play is USB (for use with newer computers without serial
      ports) and with the correct optional connection cable will match to any radio. The
      advantage of the RIGblasters is that - unlike some cheaper interfaces such as Signal
      Link - they DO offer full PTT control via the RTS serial port line. WSJT uses this
      to switch all the relays involved at your station into XMIT mode BEFORE any RF output
      tones are generated. This built in sequencing is a very useful feature and ESSENTIAL
      if you are running an amplifier and don't want to burn up coaxial relays and/or
      amplifiers (especially solid state amps). With an amplifier, it is never good
      practice to operate the station in VOX mode, which is what some cheaper interfaces
      require. GL and VY 73, Lance

      On 3/1/2012 7:17 AM, Jimmy wrote:
      > http://www.westmountainradio.com/content.php?page=rigblaster
      >
      > Does anyone have any experience with the Rigblaster radio interfaces?
      > 1. Rigblaster Pro
      > 2. Rigblaster Advantage
      > 3. Rigblaster Plus II
      >
      > I am new to all this and want to buy an interface that works well with the least setup problems.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > To unsubscribe, send an email to:
      > wsjtgroup-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > WSJTGroup HomePage http://www.ykc.com/wa5ufh/
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >

      --
      Lance Collister, W7GJ
      (ex WA3GPL, WA1JXN, WA1JXN/C6A, ZF2OC/ZF8, E51SIX, 3D2LR, 5W0GJ)
      P.O. Box 73
      Frenchtown, MT 59834-0073
      USA
      TEL: (406) 626-5728
      QTH: DN27ub
      URL: http://www.bigskyspaces.com/w7gj
      Windows Messenger: W7GJ@...
      Skype: lanceW7GJ
      2m DXCC #11/6m DXCC #815

      Interested in 6m EME? Ask me about subscribing to the Magic Band EME
      email group, or just fill in the request box at the bottom of my web
      page (above)!

    • Keith
      Hi Lance, Thanks for the recommendation on the approach. I have so many different things going on that it is likely that I have some type of port and
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 1, 2012
        Hi Lance,

        Thanks for the recommendation on the approach. I have so many different things going on that it is likely that I have some type of port and application conflict.

        I am using LP Bridge with HRD and Power SDR with the LP Panadapter and trying to run remote, rotator control, and digital modes with HRD's suite of applications. I just can't seem to get everything to behave without it crapping out(technical jargon aside).

        I also notice that K3 utility and K3 EZ cannot be operated with LP Bridge. I would like to get all these programs working together but have not figured out how to share the ports to make that happen. I am running a i5 4gb 2.2 ghz laptop as my station computer. I am using a really nice USB to multiple (four) serial port adapter for interfacing with my K3, MDS RC1 rotator controller, and the rigblaster. Eventually I will also use this for the steppir controller.

        Every time I run DM780 the waterfall freezes the program. It is very frustrating. I have spent months trying to figure this stuff out. I wish I could just hire someone and pay them to figure this out for me in a day or so. Or bring one of the IT folks on my project home for a day.

        I like the antenna part of the hobby and the RF work but the computer interface part I struggle with even though I am an IT program manager. It seems like I need about three different IT disciplines (networking, application engineering, and security), to figure out how to set this up properly. Definitely a challenge but I am probably over complicating it a bit.

        Thanks again,

        Keith
        AG6AZ

        Sent from my iPhone please excuse typos

        On Mar 1, 2012, at 10:29 AM, "Lance Collister, W7GJ" <w7gj@...> wrote:

        > Hi Keith,
        >
        > I am not sure I understand your setup or your problem. It sounds like maybe you are having COM port conflicts between the different programs you are simultaneously running on your computer.
        >
        > The K3 does not require any type of interface to run digital modes - you just connect the stereo audio cables between the rear panel LINE OUT and LINE IN to the computer sound card LINE IN and LINE OUT. The select on the K3 menu to let the computer control the PTT with the RTS line from the RS232 cable connection.
        >
        > Here at home, I do use TRX-Manager for my logging, and for TRX-PAN. However, I use one COM port for TRX Manager (the one connected directly to the K3), and use a second separate COM port for WSJT that triggers the station sequencer, which in turn finally turns on the PTT jack on the rear of the K3. If you don't use a sequencer, you could make a little transistor switch from that COM port that will put your K3 into XMIT mode via the WSJT programs. I would think you could do the same thing with HRD.
        >
        > GL and VY 73, Lance
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > On 3/1/2012 6:15 PM, Keith wrote:
        >> I have the Rigblaster advantage and have struggled getting it interfaced properly with HRD and my K3 for the combination of digital, remote and rotator control. It has a tendency to freeze and do other funny things like rotator not stopping on desired bearing.
        >>
        >> Does the TRX program work better for Rig control with the Rigblaster advantage versus other tools such as HRD. I am looking for better working options than HRD for the K3.
        >>
        >> Keith
        >> AG6AZ
        >>
        >> Sent from my iPhone please excuse typos
        >>
        >> On Mar 1, 2012, at 7:09 AM, "Lance Collister, W7GJ" <w7gj@... <mailto:w7gj@...>> wrote:
        >>
        >>> The RIGblaster Plug and Play is USB (for use with newer computers without serial
        >>> ports) and with the correct optional connection cable will match to any radio. The
        >>> advantage of the RIGblasters is that - unlike some cheaper interfaces such as Signal
        >>> Link - they DO offer full PTT control via the RTS serial port line. WSJT uses this
        >>> to switch all the relays involved at your station into XMIT mode BEFORE any RF output
        >>> tones are generated. This built in sequencing is a very useful feature and ESSENTIAL
        >>> if you are running an amplifier and don't want to burn up coaxial relays and/or
        >>> amplifiers (especially solid state amps). With an amplifier, it is never good
        >>> practice to operate the station in VOX mode, which is what some cheaper interfaces
        >>> require. GL and VY 73, Lance
        >>>
        >>> On 3/1/2012 7:17 AM, Jimmy wrote:
        >>> > http://www.westmountainradio.com/content.php?page=rigblaster
        >>> >
        >>> > Does anyone have any experience with the Rigblaster radio interfaces?
        >>> > 1. Rigblaster Pro
        >>> > 2. Rigblaster Advantage
        >>> > 3. Rigblaster Plus II
        >>> >
        >>> > I am new to all this and want to buy an interface that works well with the least setup problems.
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> > ------------------------------------
        >>> >
        >>> > To unsubscribe, send an email to:
        >>> > wsjtgroup-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com <mailto:wsjtgroup-unsubscribe%40yahoogroups.com>
        >>> >
        >>> > WSJTGroup HomePage http://www.ykc.com/wa5ufh/
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>> >
        >>>
        >>> --
        >>> Lance Collister, W7GJ
        >>> (ex WA3GPL, WA1JXN, WA1JXN/C6A, ZF2OC/ZF8, E51SIX, 3D2LR, 5W0GJ)
        >>> P.O. Box 73
        >>> Frenchtown, MT 59834-0073
        >>> USA
        >>> TEL: (406) 626-5728
        >>> QTH: DN27ub
        >>> URL: http://www.bigskyspaces.com/w7gj
        >>> Windows Messenger: W7GJ@... <mailto:W7GJ%40hotmail.com>
        >>> Skype: lanceW7GJ
        >>> 2m DXCC #11/6m DXCC #815
        >>>
        >>> Interested in 6m EME? Ask me about subscribing to the Magic Band EME
        >>> email group, or just fill in the request box at the bottom of my web
        >>> page (above)!
        >>>
        >>>
        >
        >
        > --
        > Lance Collister, W7GJ
        > (ex WA3GPL, WA1JXN, WA1JXN/C6A, ZF2OC/ZF8, E51SIX, 3D2LR, 5W0GJ)
        > P.O. Box 73
        > Frenchtown, MT 59834-0073
        > USA
        > TEL: (406) 626-5728
        > QTH: DN27ub
        > URL: http://www.bigskyspaces.com/w7gj
        > Windows Messenger: W7GJ@...
        > Skype: lanceW7GJ
        > 2m DXCC #11/6m DXCC #815
        >
        > Interested in 6m EME? Ask me about subscribing to the Magic Band EME
        > email group, or just fill in the request box at the bottom of my web
        > page (above)!
        >
      • Jim Brown
        ... That depends on the transceiver. The better rigs have a built-in delay, typically 8-12 msec, between the time they assert TX to the power amp and the time
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 1, 2012
          On 3/1/2012 7:09 AM, Lance Collister, W7GJ wrote:
          > This built in sequencing is a very useful feature and ESSENTIAL
          > if you are running an amplifier and don't want to burn up coaxial
          > relays and/or amplifiers (especially solid state amps).

          That depends on the transceiver. The better rigs have a built-in delay,
          typically 8-12 msec, between the time they assert TX to the power amp
          and the time that they begin generating RF. And in the best of those,
          the delay can be adjusted via a menu. This is, for example, true of the
          FT1000MP and its family, and the Elecraft K3. I remember that my TS850s
          had a built-in delay, not adjustable, on the order of 10 msec.

          > With an amplifier, it is never good practice to operate the station
          > in VOX mode, which is what some cheaper interfaces require.

          Again, that depends on the rig, and to some extent, the amp. I've never
          used anything but VOX, driving Ten Tec Titan 425 and Hercules II amps,
          and also the Elecraft KPA500. I use this setup for CW, SSB, RTTY, and
          WSJT modes. In all cases, I've always switched the amp into TX from the
          transceiver's TX control line. There are more than 120,000 Qs in my log
          since 2004 using this setup, and the vacuum relays in my amps typically
          last for 5 years (a lot less when I used full QSK on CW). In a RTTY
          contest a few weeks ago I made 1,600 Qs. Ten Tec amps are designed so
          that they sense the position of the T/R relay, and will not go into
          transmit if the T/R relay has not pulled in, nor will they let the relay
          drop until RF drive is no longer present. The Ten Tec amps I own are all
          30 year old designs. Perhaps I'm spoiled -- I've never used junk amps
          (like the mighty fine junk) or cheap transceivers to drive them.

          I do strongly agree that hot-switching a T/R relay is a recipe for
          disaster, but with decent gear there's nothing wrong with letting VOX
          key the transceiver.

          73, Jim K9YC
        • Bill VanAlstyne W5WVO
          Jim, As usual, a spot-on summary from Jim. I’m running much the same setup here: K3 directly feeding the input of my homebrew 6m dual 3-500ZG amplifier with
          Message 4 of 11 , Mar 5, 2012
            Jim,
             
            As usual, a spot-on summary from Jim. I’m running much the same setup here: K3 directly feeding the input of my homebrew 6m dual 3-500ZG amplifier with vacuum relays in the amp for RF switching, and with all T/R switching controlled by VOX on CW and WSJT modes. I have full QSK on CW. (See note at end with respect to VOX and SSB.)
             
            Before making a commitment to this design, however, I wanted to make very certain that the Elecraft guys incorporated a path through the RF Delay circuit in ALL modes potentially controllable by VOX. I was assured that they did. :-)
             
            Having been thus reassured, I went ahead and designed the T/R section of the 6m amp to use vacuum RF-rated relays. I then checked the RF delay on the K3, found that 8 ms was both the lowest it would go and the default setting – so I set it there. With the old amp configuration and its bulky frame T/R relay, it had been necessary to set RF Delay to the max (20 ms.) No more!
             
            With this configuration, you do lose the first few milliseconds of whatever you are transmitting in whatever mode. But 8 ms isn’t enough of a clip even to be noticed.
             
            I emailed Wayne Burdick and asked him why he couldn’t provide for faster RF Delay values, as most vacuum relays are rated at 4 ms or less, and are usually even faster than that – and of course if you use PIN diodes, switching is almost instantaneous. He responded with a most convincing argument for leaving it the way it was designed. Unfortunately, I can’t remember his train of thought. But I believe him. :-)
             
            In addition, because the K3 incorporates its own audio isolation connected to its Line In and Line Out ports, all that is required for digital modes is a couple of cheap Radio Shack jumper cables for the audio between the computer and the K3. Another cheap jumper between the K3’s Key Out port and the amp’s Key In port completes the setup. That’s it! It’s been working perfectly since I built it that way several years ago. Never a complaint from anybody – though I don’t tend to use VOX on SSB. The K3’s VOX is outstanding (the best I’ve ever used), but there’s just something about VOX I don’t like on that mode unless SSB contesting – then it’s potentially useful. Oh well, just me. Love it on QSK CW and for digital modes.
             
            Bill W5WVO
             
             
            From: Jim Brown
            Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 21:31
            Subject: Re: [wsjtgroup] West Mountain Radio products
             
             

            On 3/1/2012 7:09 AM, Lance Collister, W7GJ wrote:
            > This built in sequencing is a very useful feature and ESSENTIAL
            > if you are running an amplifier and don't want to burn up coaxial
            > relays and/or amplifiers (especially solid state amps).

            That depends on the transceiver. The better rigs have a built-in delay,
            typically 8-12 msec, between the time they assert TX to the power amp
            and the time that they begin generating RF. And in the best of those,
            the delay can be adjusted via a menu. This is, for example, true of the
            FT1000MP and its family, and the Elecraft K3. I remember that my TS850s
            had a built-in delay, not adjustable, on the order of 10 msec.

            > With an amplifier, it is never good practice to operate the station
            > in VOX mode, which is what some cheaper interfaces require.

            Again, that depends on the rig, and to some extent, the amp. I've never
            used anything but VOX, driving Ten Tec Titan 425 and Hercules II amps,
            and also the Elecraft KPA500. I use this setup for CW, SSB, RTTY, and
            WSJT modes. In all cases, I've always switched the amp into TX from the
            transceiver's TX control line. There are more than 120,000 Qs in my log
            since 2004 using this setup, and the vacuum relays in my amps typically
            last for 5 years (a lot less when I used full QSK on CW). In a RTTY
            contest a few weeks ago I made 1,600 Qs. Ten Tec amps are designed so
            that they sense the position of the T/R relay, and will not go into
            transmit if the T/R relay has not pulled in, nor will they let the relay
            drop until RF drive is no longer present. The Ten Tec amps I own are all
            30 year old designs. Perhaps I'm spoiled -- I've never used junk amps
            (like the mighty fine junk) or cheap transceivers to drive them.

            I do strongly agree that hot-switching a T/R relay is a recipe for
            disaster, but with decent gear there's nothing wrong with letting VOX
            key the transceiver.

            73, Jim K9YC

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