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SteppIR SDA 100 Tuning Relay TX inhibit Flex 6500

N6WT Kent
N6WT Kent Member ✭✭
Hi all

I have my SPE 1.3k FA and SteppIR SDA100 hooked up to my 6500 via the USB Ports on the radio with USB to RS232 adapter cables. The SDA100 and amp follow the frequency and band changes of the radio just fine.

I have the Tuning relay board installed in the SDA100 and thought I could connect it to the TX REQ RCA plug on the back of the radio to inhibit transmit while the SDA100 is tuning the antenna but it does not. How to make this work??

Thanks
73
Kent
N6WT

Answers

  • JohnSweeney
    JohnSweeney Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Kent - the relay in the SDA100 is open circuit when tuning, closed circuit when not tuning.   Your PTT line from the 6500 to the Expert must go thru the relay circuit (in series) in the SDA100.   Thus, the connector on the back of the SDA100 is 3 conductor.  Tip goes 6500, Ring goes to Expert, Sleeve is ground.  You can swap tip and ring as it is just a relay inside the SDA100.   If this is not clear I can send the SteppIR schematic.   73 es GL K9EL

  • N6WT Kent
    N6WT Kent Member ✭✭
    edited August 2019
    John

    Yes please send me the schematic.

    kilo6dko at gmail dot com

    Thanks
    Kent
  • JohnSweeney
    JohnSweeney Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    It has been sent!
  • Mark_WS7M
    Mark_WS7M Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2019
    I am curious, I do not own a SteppIR although I would love to.  I am wondering why you cannot use the "TX REQUEST INPUT" on the 6500 which serves as an interlock to prevent TX?

    Does the SDA100 require some power to tune?   I was under the impression they could tune just based on the followed frequency and that the TX inhibit would toggle when it was moving the elements?

    It seems that the TX Request line would be a better way to do this since it would prevent all TX if wired correctly.

    Obviously you guys have the gear, I'm just curious.   

    We are about to use two SteppIR beams in our upcoming WWV celebration and I was planning to wire these inputs to prevent TX during tuning.  So any input you guys have would be super helpful.

    Mark - WS7M
  • JohnSweeney
    JohnSweeney Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Inside the SteppIR control box is a relay with dry contacts that opens when the SteppIR is tuning.   You could use that open circuit to drive an inverter, another relay, etc. to inhibit the transmitter completely when the SteppIR is tuning.    John K9EL
  • Mark W Scott
    Mark W Scott Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    The drawing in the SDA100 manual seems pretty useless.  Would you please send me the schematic you mentioned to:  mwscott74 at gmail dot com

    Thanks,
    Mark
  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    John or anyone else - Could you also send me the SteppIR SDA100 schematic?   

    e-mail is [email protected]

    Thanks.

    Alan
    WA9WUD
  • JohnSweeney
    JohnSweeney Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Sorry for my confusing words - SteppIR supplied a wiring schematic for the tuning relay which I have.  I do not have a schematic of the controller.
  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    John.   Perfect.  Could you send me a copy of the tuning relay schematic?  That was my reason for asking.  I found some conflicting info on the phone jack wiring versus normally open and normally close contacts.

    Alan
    [email protected]
  • JimStuder
    JimStuder Member ✭✭
    I have a 6600, a SteppIR 3E4M with a SDA2000 controller, and a PowerGenius XL. I want to make sure I understand how to connect the Tuning Relay Cable between the SDA2000 and the Flex. First, am I correct to assume that I only need to connect to the 6600, not the PGXL to the SDA2000, and what port do I plug the cable into the back of the 6600, TX Req? Also, do I use a standard 1/8 stereo cable?

    Jim AK4I
  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭

    Jim

    The SDA2000 Tuning Relay, opens when the SteppIR is moving. SteppIR intended tuning relay to be in-line with the PTT between your transceiver and Amp. This way, with the open contacts (SteppIR moving), you could not exceed 100 Watts, which the antenna is rated for while moving.

    With the Flex/PG-XL you cannot do this if you use TCP for your PTT connection. You could of course configure the PG-XL to use wired PTT, so the usual SDA2000/amp configuration will work.

    In my case, I use TCP (ethernet) for all of the Flex/PG-XL communications, including PTT. So, I wired the tuning relay output to the Flex "TX-Req" RCA jack and enabled "TX-REQ" on the Flex TX settings tab. Make it "Active Low" because this will inhibit Flex TX when the tuning relay opens (ant moving).

    The connection on the SDA2000 tuning relay board is a 2.5mm male power plug...it is a RCA jack on the Flex side. I made my cable using "breakout" boards from Amazon.

    Another option is to use software to inhibit Flex TX when the SteppIR moves. FRStack will do his for you and provide all of the controls to operate your antenna. PST Rotor is another example.

    Alan

    WA9WUD

  • JimStuder
    JimStuder Member ✭✭
    Alan, Thanks for you reply. I set the TX-REQ to active low, and ran a RCA cable from the 6600 to the SDA2000 where I tried using both a mono and a stereo adapter to plug into the controller. For the stereo adapter I tried both RCA jacks. I used a 3.5 mm because that's what the SDA2000 manual says to use. I disabled AutoTrk and changed the band on the SmartSDR from 20 to 40 meters to give me time to test. While the motors were traveling I sent a 50 watt test signal using a manual PTT button and regardless of the stereo or mono adapter used, the 6600 went into transmit mode (red light). Do you see anything obvious that I'm did wrong?

    Jim AK4I
  • JimStuder
    JimStuder Member ✭✭
    Alan, I just reread the SDA2000 manual and now I understand what you meant about the breakout board. I'll work on it further and get back to you with either positive or negative news.

    73, Jim AK4I
  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2020

    Below is from the Tuning Board Instructions (from the SteppIR Forum files)

    Perhaps this will help in your troubleshooting. Note, the normal closed contacts from the tuning board are on the inner and outer tip of the stereo connector.

    Alan


  • N6WT Kent
    N6WT Kent Member ✭✭

    This is how I setup my SDA100 with an SPE 1.3k FA. Also looking at the manual for the SDA2000 I think it should be the same.


    I purchased this adapter https://www.amazon.com/Steren-Genuine-Stereo-Female-Adapter/dp/B00GF4FNQ6. It plugs into the PTT on the SDA100 then I use 2 RCA cables. One plugs into the TX1 on the 6600 and the adapter. The other cable plugs into the RY1 (PTT) on the AMP and the adapter.


    I then enabled RCA TX1 in the TX Band Settings in SSDR for the bands I want to use.


    73

    Kent

    N6WT

  • JimStuder
    JimStuder Member ✭✭
    Alan,
    I cut the end off a RCA cable and used a Stereo plug connector with lugs for tip, ring, and ground. I soldered the center conductor of the RCA connector to the tip and the shield to the ring. I tested it out with my Ohm meter and it tested good. I then plugged the stereo jack into the controller and the RCA into the TX-REQ on the 6600, disabled AutoTrk in the SDA2000, switched the 6600 from 20 to 40 meters and then pressed the 40 meter button on the controller. While the motors were running I keyed the radio using a manual PTT switch and the 6600 went into transmit mode. Do I have to use more power to test this circuit? If not, any ideas what else I can try?

    73, Jim AK4I
  • N6WT Kent
    N6WT Kent Member ✭✭
    edited December 2020

    Alan

    First let me say I do not own a PGXL so I may not know what I am talking about. I looked through the manual of the PGXL and I do not see a way to inhibit TX doing what you are doing. The SDA XXXX TX Relay board does not send a signal in any way. It only opens and closes the circuit between the radio and the amp while the SDA XXXX is tuning.


    In the past I have used DDUTil to inhibit TX while the SDA100 is tuning. With this it does not require a connection to the TX relay board on the SDA XXXX controller. But it let me down a few times so I don't use anymore. I eventually went with the setup I described above. It is almost foolproof.


    73

    Kent

    N6WT

  • JimStuder
    JimStuder Member ✭✭

    Thanks all. The component you're referencing is for controlling an amplifier. The switch in the SDA2000 interrupts the PTT signal when the motors are turning, preventing the amplifier from amplifying. What I'm trying to do is control the 6600 since the PTT is through the ethernet. My assumption was that if I pulled the center of the TXREQ to the ground it would inhibit transmitting. That's why I built the cable with the RCA center post connected to the tip of the stereo jack and the shield (ground) of the RCA cable connected to the ring of the stereo jack. (And I burned a finger in the process . :) However, that didn't work either. I tried both setting of the TXREQ Active Low and Active High but neither worked. I've reached out to technical support of SteppIR and the the director of Business for any assistance they can give me. Surely someone with a Flex has tried to do this before and has discussed this with them. Do you believe that Flex technical support would be of any assistance?

    73, Jim AK4I

  • N6WT Kent
    N6WT Kent Member ✭✭

    Jim


    Sorry I meant the last post for you. As I said there is no signal coming from the SDA2000. The SDA 2000 only opens and closes the circuit. My feeling is you will be told the same thing by a tech from Flex. You can try FRStack or DDUtil.


    Kent

    N6WT

  • JimStuder
    JimStuder Member ✭✭

    I am pretty sure I can design a very simple circuit including an Arduino circuit board to check if the switch is open and generate a voltage or ground depending on how I set the TXREQ setting. If I generate a voltage, is it 5 volts?

  • N6WT Kent
    N6WT Kent Member ✭✭

    Jim


    I don't understand, why you are trying to reinvent the wheel.


    Why cant you use the signal from the TX1 output on the radio?


    Kent

  • JimStuder
    JimStuder Member ✭✭

    I need to contact Flex and understand TXREQ better. I thought shorting the center post to the shield would inhibit transmitting, assuming that the port is set to active low, but it didn't seem to work. The new "wheel" is only if that assumption is wrong.

    73, Jim AK4i

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭

    Here are exerts from the Flex Hardware Manual.

    Come to think of it, since the SDA2000 tuning relay is "closed" when the antenna is stationary, you would need to use "Active High" on the Flex TX Request to allow the Flex TX.

    Alan

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭

    I use a DPDT relay. One set of contacts provide an input to my Node-Red to tell my various programs the SteppIR is moving.

    The other set of contacts shorts the center pin of the RCA TX REQ connector to DC ground.

    Works for me.

    Alan

  • N6WT Kent
    N6WT Kent Member ✭✭

    Alan and Jim


    You are both speaking in language above my pay grade. Node-Red? I have used an Arduino but nothing like what you are suggesting. My philosophy was to keep it simple, 2 RCA cables and the audio adapter. It works and has never malfunctioned.


    73

    Kent

    N6WT

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin

    Node-RED is software that runs, in my case a Raspberry PI. It is used to enhance station station safety and integration.

    My NodeRed software reads the frequency from the radio and then sends it to the Steppir Controller, but it won't if the radio is in TX.

    NR is a GUI based programming language for machine to machine communications - sort of what we do. This is what my Steppir 'flow' looks like and how it is gated to make sure tuning commands are not sent to the SDA device while the radio is in TX.

    Yes, this is overwhelming at first, but very simple to learn and to learn from others code. We share this code on a groups.io list

    Have a look at the group and we are there to help you get going. You won't see "read the manual" in an email from that group. :) We want you to learn though.

    It is a bit addictive too.



    Mike va3mw





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