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What is the cause of tuning noise with V3.3.29 and can it be stopped?

I recently installed V3.3.29 in my 6600M and Maestro and the installation went without problems.

However, I notice that now, whenever I turn the tuning knob (either slice), there is a light "crackling" noise that corresponds exactly with the rotation of the knob. It is not very loud and, if this were an analog radio, I'd attribute it to a dirty sliding contact on the tuning cap. That's approximately what it sounds like. It seems to be band and mode independent. It is not loud, but it is annoying.

My rig is a 6600M with a PGXL and TGXL and except for the noise, seems to work fine.

Jim AD0AB

Answers

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Jim, I have heard this as well. It did not start with 3.3.29, it has been there all along. It seems to be related to network quality. Sometimes I run the VFO knob or mouse wheel really fast and there is no noise. Other times it is really noticeable even at slower speeds. I have not experimented to see what happens if I plug directly into the radio (link local), bypassing the router and switch. I suspect that there will be no noise when connected that way.

    You might want to do that experiment to see if it gets rid of the noise. If it does, then the likely culprit is the router and/or switch.

  • Sergey KN7K
    Sergey KN7K Member ✭✭

    Have the same issue. Open Support ticket and provided Video and other requested information. Nothing back yet.

    Last weekend I worked 7QP Contest and besides this cracking noise with VFO tuning, there is other annoyance that can be observed during transmit starting or switching to receive. It is not there all the time, but more than 70-80 of the time - something like "eating chips" noise.

    It is a "new feature of ver 3.3.29" :(

    Sergey

  • DL4RCE
    DL4RCE Member ✭✭

    Have had this for 3 years now, sometimes better, sometimes really worse!

    73, Volker

  • Sergey KN7K
    Sergey KN7K Member ✭✭

    Volker, True it was there before but not at as the same magnitude. I only noticed it before during tuning over loud stations and it was intermittent. Now it is much worse.

    Sergey

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    I can share a bit on what I've seen on this (more unofficially than officially)

    It doesn't show up for everyone. As an example, I can't recreate it and that is likely due to the fact that I am not doing the right thing. I do hear it when a TCP command is sent to the radio (at times) from an external device. This is something we have mentioned before.

    It might be worth sharing the type of network switches are in play since we all use those, but not the same make/model and not all makes/models operate the same way.

    I have avoided anything 'Green' or power saving. TP-SG1024D is the model I am using and I have been very happy with it. You can't really do any testing with WiFi -- my MAC is terrible on Wifi and SmartSDR - almost unusable. That isn't an issue with SmartSDR but the MAC WiFi IP stack.

    I am just thinking out loud of how we can maybe look and see if something else is better or worse. Not to deflect from anything we are doing internally of course. But, to maybe come up with a possible workaround our understand some of the root cause as to 'way'.

    I have also spent time beating the **** out of networks using jPerf.

    73 for now

  • James Charlton
    James Charlton Member ✭✭

    Thanks for the comments, although they are not encouraging.

    I just tried again to provoke the noise and now everything is quiet, so, I guess it is intermittent. My router Is a Netgear (X10, I believe) with the 6600M, PGXL and TGXL cabled into it.

    I actually installed the TGXL at the same time I upgraded to V3.3.29 so I can't say which, if either, has anything to do with the noise. But the frequency indicator on the TGXL is continually updated as the radio is tuned and that is what got me thinking it has something to do with data transfer from the 6600M to the tuner.

    Now that I know this is a mystery, I'll try to trap a bit more data.

    Thanks for the update,

    Jim AD0AB

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Jim, I am very sure that it is caused by TCP data to and from the radio. I built a control box (TeensyMaestro) that communicates via the Flex API over TCP/IP.

    In my original design, I was polling the radio for changes every time through the main loop. Since I used a 600 MHz Teensy board (PJRC.com) it was flooding the network with API commands at a very high rate. Turning the VFO control fast caused the crackling sound.

    I eventually realized my poor design decision, and changed the code to only poll the rig every 20 ms. This helps, but does not completely eliminate the crackling while tuning. Like your experience, I don't hear it all the time. Other times it is fairly prominent.

    When tuning via the mouse wheel, I get the same effect, but at a lower level (can't turn the wheel that fast...).

    During normal VFO knob or mouse wheel tuning, I don't really notice the noise. When testing code changes in my control gizmo, I spin the tuning knobs as fast as I can to be sure that they behave properly. This is when the noise is most evident.

    Related to this noise (I think) is a tiny gap (click) in audio every time a client connects to the radio.

    To me, this noise should be near the bottom of the list of issues for Flex to look into. It only happens during tuning, and is not that loud. It was previously described on this thread as annoying - I concur with that description.

    I should probably do some tests without the router (link local) to see if that helps or hurts.

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭✭

    Len - Question

    When you say you are polling the Flex, what do you mean by "polling"?

    In my Flex API experience, I found the audio would "crackle" when I sent subscription commands, and the Flex would send a large response message. Is this what you mean by "polling"? This seems less severe in v3.3, but still present.

    I now only subscribe to wanted Flex Status messages once on the start-up of a Radio, Client, or the non-GUI application.

    This way, no more "crackle" during the regular changing of parameters. The GUI client updates the Non-GUI client via status messages, with only the changed parameter, and no "Crackle". I see that "spinning" the VFO on the GUI Client can cause some faint crackling.

    When I command a change from the GUI client like a new VFO freq, the GUI-Client does not send an updated status message but sends a response message, confirming whether the command was good. Dan at Flex told me this is as per design. For these cases, I use the commanded parameter, frequency in this example, to update the parameter's indication on the Non-GUI Client. I store the parameter in context and update the context with either the Non-GUI or GUI client's last change, for that paramater.

    Alan. WA9WUD

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Alan, when I say polling, I just mean how often I send queued up commands to the radio. I really shouldn't use that term in this case as I am not asking the radio for info; I am sending API commands to it. I do subscribe to the radio, slice, TX, etc etc so that I get updates automagically. This is only done once at initialization time, so I don't notice any crackling from sub commands. I do notice that every client that connects (ACLog, SliceMaster, DDUtil, TeensyMaestro) causes a little click in the audio.

    Yes, Flex made some changes a while back (before I was learning about the API) to reduce network traffic by not echoing data sent to it. So, as you note above, for volume, frequency, AGC-T etc values, your program needs to keep track of them. What I do is parse any values that come from the radio and refresh my screen and control values (even if they haven't changed). That way, the TeensyMaestro stays in perfect sync with the radio, regardless of which client made the change.

  • James Charlton
    James Charlton Member ✭✭

    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    I agree that this is not a serious problem unless, it's an indication of something bigger. But it is a curious one.

    Assuming for a moment that the noise is related to some form of data communication, why does it show up in the audio? Maybe we are hearing RF leakage from the data stream or maybe something is interrupting the audio processing somehow.

    Although my noise was easily reproducible over the weekend, it seems to have stopped when I started this thread.

    Regards,

    Jim AD0AB

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Jim, no telling from our vantage point what exactly is happening. I have had it occur, then rebooted the computer and radio and it went away. Not sure if that is another clue or just a coincidence.

  • sschrack
    sschrack Member ✭✭

    Read this post earlier today and tonight I checked and yes, I hear the tuning noise very slightly.


    73 Steve N3MX

  • KE8AKW
    KE8AKW Member, Unconfirmed
    > @Mike-VA3MW said:
    > I can share a bit on what I've seen on this (more unofficially than officially)
    > It doesn't show up for everyone. As an example, I can't recreate it and that is likely due to the fact that I am not doing the right thing. I do hear it when a TCP command is sent to the radio (at times) from an external device. This is something we have mentioned before.
    > It might be worth sharing the type of network switches are in play since we all use those, but not the same make/model and not all makes/models operate the same way.
    > I have avoided anything 'Green' or power saving. TP-SG1024D is the model I am using and I have been very happy with it. You can't really do any testing with WiFi -- my MAC is terrible on Wifi and SmartSDR - almost unusable. That isn't an issue with SmartSDR but the MAC WiFi IP stack.
    > I am just thinking out loud of how we can maybe look and see if something else is better or worse. Not to deflect from anything we are doing internally of course. But, to maybe come up with a possible workaround our understand some of the root cause as to 'way'.
    > I have also spent time beating the **** out of networks using jPerf.
    > 73 for now

    I wanted to share my fix for this issue as I was having the same issue of having the audio studdering/crackle in and out when tuning the FlexControl Knob fast. Turns out it was caused by turning on the "Auto-Report" Setting in the USB Cable settings for sending CAT Data to my Hamplus Automatic Antenna Switch. Once I turned that off this issue went away so It seems to be related to what Mike is saying about the TCP Commands flooding the radio from a external device.
  • James Charlton
    James Charlton Member ✭✭

    I know this reply is a bit late but my local network is a Netgear x10 Nighthawk to which the transceiver, amp and tuner are hard-wired.

    As far as "auto-report" goes, I use USB cables to send antenna data to a EA4TX antenna switch controller. I must have a different load because I can't find an auto-report setting.

    The noise is still here (V3.3.32 installed) but I guess I'm ignoring it.

    Regards,

    Jim Charlton AD0AB

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭✭

    I wonder if the EA4TX is "polling" the Flex at a frequent rate? If so, that would be a likely cause of audio noise.

    To test, try disconnecting the EA4TX USB from the Flex radio.

    Alan WA9WUD

  • James Charlton
    James Charlton Member ✭✭

    Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately the clicking is at a minimum right now so I can't really tell if the EA4TX is causing the problem. There is another CWops sprint this afternoon so I will be able to check it out then. I don't have a lot of control over the EA4TX, operational settings are minimal.

    Regards,

    Jim

  • Ron Koenig
    Ron Koenig Member ✭✭

    Shut off Telnet, NO Spots and see if it goes away. Assuming it does, filter your spots heavily. The flood of UDP spots can be an issue.


    Ron WV4P

  • James Charlton
    James Charlton Member ✭✭

    Hi again,

    Thank you for the suggestions, unfortunately, the problem is still unresolved. I disconnected and turned off the EA4TX and that made no difference. The DXSpotter seems to have no effect either. I get the spotter via the N3FJP logger and turned it off in there. I also turned the logger off but neither of those actions made any difference.

    The noise occurs only when the I'm turning the tuning knob (either knob on either slice). Sometimes it's louder than others, but it is never really loud.

    Regards,

    jim Charlton AD0AB

  • DL4RCE
    DL4RCE Member ✭✭

    This issue has been reported repeatedly. I think there is also a bug opened up for it and Flex is working on it.

    73 de Volker

  • WA5YOM
    WA5YOM Member ✭✭

    I have exactly the same problem but it us far worse than annoying….in cw it crackles between transmissions….and it is very loud….I am hooked up directly to the Flex Speaker output…

    VFO popping is very loud….

    I was having a cw qso and the randomness of the problem made it difficult to copy.

    for me it is a serious problem.

    i am running the very latest version of SmartSDR for Windows…

    Tim

    Wa5yom

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Is the problem still there with 3.3.33?

  • Hi Mike,

    I haven't been on the air much lately, so I haven't given the rig a very rigorous test. But checking just now, I do not hear the clicking or snapping sound as I tune (yes, I'm running V3.3.33 in everything). It seems to be fixed. As an aside, before the clicking was fixed, I got used to it and stopped noticing that it was there. I guess because it didn't affect the received signal.

    I did notice something new with regard to spotted call signs being painted on the 6600m screen. The waterfall seems to freeze very briefly and there is sometimes a click when a call sign first appears. I don't think this rises to the level of a defect, it's just an observation since we are placing this sort of thing under the microscope.

    Thanks for your help.

    Regards,

    Jim Charlton AD0AB

  • Mike,

    I just finished running hot and heavy in the morning CWops sprint and did not hear the noise. But looking back in my notes, I observed that the noise seemed to somehow be related to interaction between the PC and the radio. I don't know whether it was via the CAT or something else, but I noted that spots (for display on the 6600m) and/or frequency data for the logger (N3FJP) seemed to be related to the noise.

    I did not notice that this time.

    Regards,

    Jim AD0AB

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