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Remote paddle CW with Maestro: v3.3.29

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I have waited patiently for over two years for Flex to fix the known CW paddle keying problem when using the Maestro. The promised fix came with v3.3.29. I anxiously loaded it and tested it.

Paddle CW is even worse than before: choppy, broken and shortened 'dahs', missing 'dits'. Totally uncopiable.

I have a parallel CW paddle keying method via my RemoteRig boxes. That works just fine. How is it that RemoteRig can get it right and even after two years of trying, FlexRadio can't?

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement.

Fred

K9SO

Comments

  • AA1SS
    AA1SS Member ✭✭✭
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    Even Expert SDR got it right.

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

    It might be an issue with the Maestro, but we have had other positive reports. However, this doesn't help you at the moment.

    It might be best to open a support ticket to isolate this further unless you have done that already.

    The other test, that would be really helpful if you have time is to try the Maestro directly connected to the radio with a LAN cable. Turn both the Maestro and Radio off, connect a LAN cable directly to the radio and then turn both on and connect to the radio. This is just for a test and let me know how it works if you want to get it a try.

    What this does as a test is to make sure the network is not contributing to the fractured latency you are seeing.

    73

  • K9SO
    K9SO Member ✭✭
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    Hi Mike,

    I have two different Maestros (one A and one B). I have two different radios (6500 and 6600) at two different locations (NC and WI) separated by 700 miles. Normal RTT ping times are in the order of 50mS. I am currently in Wisconsin.

    I can connect to either station from here either using my cable internet connection or via a Verizon MiFi hotspot. No matter which network I use on this end and no matter which Maestro I use, the paddle CW is distorted (the 'dahs' are often truncated and sound like 'dits'). This is true when I transmit from NC as well as when I transmit from WI. I first tried out the new SW when I was in NC. Same issue here.

    I determine the distortion by listening to my signals from the other location. There is no audio (RX) distortion as I can easily copy other CW stations on the band. The distortion is very real as my call is constantly misread by contest operators (K9SG instead of K9SO is the most common).

    I do notice that when using either network the RTT times change considerably as measured by the Maestro. Often changing from 50mS up to several hundred mS when I transmit. I am only using 10w so I don't think this is an RF feedback problem.

    I can connect my Maestro directly over my local LAN (1mS RTT) and WiFi. The distortion is still present as determined by receiving in NC. This is true with either Maestro. That seems to imply that the problem is within the Maestros. But both are bad???

    This problem first appeared years ago when I upgraded to SmartSDR v.3 ... it always worked with v.2. I was not using Smartlink back then so maybe that's the issue. I should point out that I have a parallel keying path using my RemoteRig links and that works perfectly. I've been forced to use that while I waited for the Flex fix for what I thought was a known problem. I wanted to demonstrate remote CW operation of my Flex systems during Field Day with my Maestro this weekend. I guess that's not going to happen.

    Still disappointed, I am

    Fred, K9SO

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Member, Super Elmer Moderator
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    Hi Fred, another thing to try if you haven't already, is to set the CW delay up to 100 or 150 ms. When I use my own homebrew device for remote keying, this is what I need to do. I am guessing that the Maestro uses the same technique for keying the rig as I do ("cw key" command in the API), but I don't know for sure.


  • Peter WB6POT
    Peter WB6POT Member ✭✭
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    I have also been experiencing this for quite some time. Originally I had no idea it was going on until other's pointed out that it sounded like I was using a straight key when I was on a paddle. (Running remote)

    The two things that seem to temporarily fix it for me were to always have my delay set above 100 and to cold boot the radio from time to time. It seems I can sometimes go a week or so without the truncated dahs, etc. happening, while other times just a few days. But completely powering down for 2 minutes and then restarting brings things back to the way they should be.

    BTW: when the truncated dahs/dits happen, it is both when sending from key and also CWX.

    Peter - WB6POT

  • K9SO
    K9SO Member ✭✭
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    Thanks for the hints guys. Something is going on network-wise that is over my pay grade. I can send individual letters OK, like a series of V's. But when I string characters together as when I send "TEST", the S is distorted. This is particularly important when I send my call K9SO and the S is distorted 😥. Maybe some buffer loading up somewhere?

    I've been working on this for the past 8 hours so I think I best set this aside until tomorrow.

    73,

    Fred, K9SO

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Member, Super Elmer Moderator
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    Hi Fred, did you try the CW delay, and if so, did it have any effect?

  • K9SO
    K9SO Member ✭✭
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    Hi Len,

    The CW delay did not seem to change anything during a cursory check, but I'll be running more tests today to see if I can make any sense of this.

    Fred, K9GO ... sri no ... K9XO ... sri no ... K9SO ...R !

  • K9SO
    K9SO Member ✭✭
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    OK, this morning I pulled everything out of the rack so that I could better tell what's going on. I am using my 6600 Wisconsin station attempting to transmit CW and listening to the results on my 6500 in North Carolina. I am accessing my Wisconsin station via my local Maestro in Wisconsin and experimented with various Internet connections.

    First of all, paddle CW would not work when ANY of the connections were via WIFI. I am in a very rural area with no WIFI competitors and it was still a terrible result. Don't even attempt it with a WIFI link.

    So I trashed my Verizon MiFi (WIFI-only) modem and went to my Sierra Wireless GX450 modem (still via Verizon) that has a direct Ethernet port built in. I first hooked up my Maestro to my local LAN (via Ethernet jacks). When the Maestro was connected to my local radio via the local LAN, it keyed perfectly. When I tried to key my remote station, it was terrible. No amount of TX delay would fix it.

    I then tried to key the local radio via my local Maestro and the Verizon link (using GX450's Ethernet jack). No joy. Choppy, truncated CW. Time to blame Verizon? Not so fast.

    Linking my RemoteRig boxes and their built-in keyer to key the local radio via the GX450 and Verizon, everything worked perfectly. Flawless CW. Same connection, different results.

    I am forced to conclude that the Maestro paddle keying simply does not work over connections with moderate latency (50mS) and typical Internet packet jitter. Maybe they've fixed the latency issues with this latest release, but I believe that the jitter in the connection remains as a major problem. TX delay often helped a bit, but it doesn't get me all the way.

    Yeah, it's easy to blame my Internet connections but I have Spectrum 400Mbps connections on each end and it doesn't work then either. Not much else I can do. Ever since I made the mistake of upgrading to SmartSDR v3, I've been forced to key the remote transmitters with my RemoteRig links. This CAN be done as evidenced by the RemoteRig's ability to handle it over exactly the same connections.

    At least I'll be able to publicly demonstrate remote paddle CW operations during Field Day this weekend (1D), but I won't be giving FlexRadio any credit for it.

    73, and better luck next time ... .

    Fred, K9SO 😒

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