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Intermittent noise causing bad keying and poor audio

Roger G3LDI
Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭
edited September 8 in Networking

Hi.

I used the Flex 6600 this morning in the CWT and had problems with an intermittent noise. It sounds like a click as though there is a dry joint. It impairs the audio, but worse affects the keying, causing errors. It was not evident yesterday!

This is what I have done:

Updated my W10 on the PC. Did a complete disk clean and sorted the registry.

Reinstalled 2.4.10 again.

Rebooted numerous times.

I have the Flex connected to my Internet so don't use Smartlink. I am wondering if the latest problem with Smartlink may have any affect at all.

73 de Roger, G3LDI

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Comments

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

    Roger

    The clicks are often related to network communications issues and are a loss of audio packets between the radio. In order to test this, can you turn off the radio and the computer, connect a LAN cable from the computer to the radio with no other network switch in between and then turn on both.

    When you have network issues, UDP communications packets can be dropped by the PC, Radio or network switches. This is by design to eliminate network congestion.

    You can read more about it here: https://jvns.ca/blog/2016/08/24/find-out-where-youre-dropping-packets/

    Now, start SmartSDR and see if you still have the issue. If no, then it is possibly a network issue. You'll need to tell us more about your network topology.

    If yes, then we need to focus on either the computer or the radio for dropped communications packets.

    73

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Hi Mike.

    Interesting! I shall do some tests and let you know. Many thanks for the help.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Hi Mike.

    I did as you suggested. However, I could not start SmartSDR without being connected to the router. I have read the document and have the Flex running now alone without any other programs. It is still doing it even though I am not using the PC or the Flex. Every so often I can hear these clicks and the strange thing is that it has only just started happening in the last week or two.

    Most frustrating because it can distort my CW, or distort the received CW. I am using a W10 I-5 4-port machine and the Flex6600 running 2.4.10. I got fed up with the CW power drop off on the later versions, including version 3 that my friend G3PDH has. I am very dubious if this is ever going to be fixed.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭

    SmartSDR should easily connect to the radio directly. No router needed for the direct connection.

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

    @Roger G3LDI

    If you had to have a router in the middle, then something else needs further investigation. It 100% does work that way. It is the most basic way to test things. You may have had a bad LAN cable.

    Please open a support ticket.

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    HI Mike.

    Well, I have tgried numerous times with several different Lan cables. I connect the computer to the Flex and neither is connected to the Internet. I then get the screen come up and I cannot use SmartSDR. It invites me to set up Smartlink, which I have never used.

    My original set up was the computer connected to a Zyxel Ethernet switch and also the Flex con nected to that switch. It has always worked before, and indeed I can still use it, but there are these annoying intermittent clicks, very irregular and if they come when I am transmitting the CW gets distorted.

    Would raising a ticket help?

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Bill NE1B
    Bill NE1B Member ✭✭✭

    You must gracefully power down both the radio and the computer.

    Connect the CAT5 directly from computer to radio.

    Then power up the radio. Next power up the computer. Now, the computer should discover the radio.

    73,

    Bill, NE1B

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Hi Bill et al.

    I powered down both PC and Radio.

    I then connected a known good CAT cable from the computer to the radio.

    At this stage, neither is connected to the Internet.

    I then powered up the radio, then the PC. Guess what, it didn't work. It offered me connection using Smartlink, which I do not use.

    I then tried it the other way round, first the PC then the radio, still no good. I then plugged in the CAT cables from both the PC and Radio to the switch and it worked fine.

    I am now wondering if my set up itself is faulty. I might have to go back to square one and start again.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Just a further update here. I monitored my netowrk statistics and this reported 0 dropped packets.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

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

    The network tools don't really tell the entire story (and I wish they did).

    You can measure when TCP packets (the ones we use for command and control) get dropped.

    UDP packets, which are used for TX and RX audio, are much harder to measure. They are called 'fire and forget packets'. The host will send the data packet, but the receiving end doesn't even know it is coming until it arrives. It is very common for UDP packets to get dropped.

    That is what makes it hard to nail down.

  • Lasse SM5GLC
    Lasse SM5GLC Member ✭✭✭

    Roger, just a reminder that 2.4.10 does not support SmartLink any longer...

    As for going with a TP-cable (TTBOMK straight or x-ed TP-cable will work) radio<>PC you need to make sure both PC and radio gets a IP adress than is on the same sub-net i.e. 192.168.0.x, or you have to set it your self. If both your computer and radio is set to DHCP this may lead to them end up on different sub-nets, hence PC will not "see" your radio and request you should log into Smart Link.

    Good Luck with the fault finding.

    Cheers Lasse SM5GLC

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Progress? NO progress!

    Malcolm G3PDH came over yesterday and we tried some tests. Murphy was obviously in residence because there were very few clicks and no distortions. However, we did try connecting directly to the Flex from the PC, and could not use SmartSDR again. The we tried the same test with Malcolm's laptop. This time it did connect using SmartSDR. I checked the IP address on the PC network and it is 192.168.1.254 so that seems OK.

    Flex is on 192.168.1.74 so that seems fine too.

    So, I seem to be going round in circles. I think the first thing to sort is why I cannot use SmartSDR with a direct connection ad NO Internet. Any ideas?

    I have not upgraded because I don't wish to have the CW power drop out again.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Just to clear up the connection: I can connect to the radio with the Flex and the PC connected to the LAN Switch, with the Internet disconnected from the switch. It just won't work with a direct connection.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭


  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    Are both the Flex and radio set to DHCP (Not static IP)?

    you would need to make sure both the radio and PC are set to DHCP (router assigns IP) or both have static IP addresses on same subnet (192.168.1.X for example).

    Then once you have a direct connection, power cycle both the radio and PC. Both should fail to find a DHCP server and then use a 169.254.X.X link local IP address and be able to communicate.

    73

    Dave wo2x

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Another follow up on this.

    I made sure both the PC and the Flex were on DHCP. I then plugged the cable from the PC to the Flex and invoked SmartSDR. I was told there were no radios available.

    Plugging the Flex and PC back into the switch gained me access to SmartSDR again.

    The Flex is on 192..168.1.71 and the PC is on 192.168.1.74

    I am wondering if I should either update to 2.8.0 and suffer the CW drop outs or even reinstall W10

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    I am going to replace the computer with a borrowed one to see if that behaves correctly. A process of elimination is the only option at the moment. I may also be forced to update to 2.8.1.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

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

    Hi Roger

    I made sure both the PC and the Flex were on DHCP. I then plugged the cable from the PC to the Flex and invoked SmartSDR. I was told there were no radios available.

    This tells me that your windows firewall was blocking things. When you did this, what IP address did the computer show and the radio? If you power cycled both, then you would have seen an address starting with 169..... This is called a Link Local connection. This does work very reliably and we use it for every demo we do at Hamfests.

    I would try this again and see if you can get it to work.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link-local_address

    Reinstalling Windows won't buy you anything as you are just replacing everything with the same code. Trying a different computer will help with some further clues.

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Hi Mike.

    Well, I tried your suggestion above. Both were on DHCP. Plugged the cable from the PC to the Flex. I was offered Smartlink but no connection. I power cycled both the PC and the Flex.

    The Flex was on 192.168.1.71 The tiny window in the right hand corner stated Client Connected From that IP address.

    The PC / Network is on 192.168.1.74

    I saw no IP address starting with 169.

    Malcolm G3PDH came over with his Laptop. We connected it to the Flex and we were offered a connect, which went through with no problem. We left it running and those clicky noises were there whatever band we tried. We noticed that clicking on the NR button caused the clicky noises to appear each time. Tuning using the Flex Control wheel also tended to increase them. We then tried via the LAN switch and the clicks were still there. We tried with no antenna and that made no difference.

    If I updated to 2.8.1 am I likely to have a problem with the SD card? I don't wish to miss any CW OPS sessions.

    Desperation is setting in!!

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    By the way Mike, we could hear similar clicks when switching NR on and off and also APF.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Nothing wrong with any of the Firewalls. I am assuming the 2.4.10 does not work with Smartlink in view of what Lasse sent ( above ).

    Next step I think is an update. I just hope the CW drop out does not happen with that! I shall wait confirmation that I won't have an SD problem!

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

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

    Hi Roger

    I would highly recommend you test with the latest v2 software, 2.8.1 as there have been numerous fixes to the IP communications.

    You also need to do a test with the local.lan (single) cable as described. If that doesn't work, than that could be part of your problem.

    73

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Hi Mike.

    I have now upgraded to 2.8.1 The clicks that I suffer on signals and when sending and tuning seem to have gone now, but I can still hear the same sound of click when switching on and off the NR. Stgrangely, doing that just above the frequency of a strong signal increases the amplitude ( sound ) of the clix.

    I will test it for a few days to see if the clicks come back again. I have the CWT tests tomorrow and Thursday morning so they will be a good test.

    However, now the BAD news. I am afraid the power drop off is still there. This has NOT been cured despite the claims made by Tim when he said all the CW problems have been cured. They most certainly have not. I have to keep an eye on the power out to make sure that RF is still going out.

    When is this problem going to be fixed.................

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Well, I spoke too soon. The clicky sounds are still there, SO much for the upgrade. WIth that AND the drop-out of transmitted signal to zero, I give up.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Geoff AB6BT
    Geoff AB6BT Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Roger,

    Just reading the mail here...

    I believe that making sure the system works with just a single Ethernet cable between the radio and the PC is imperative to help diagnose the problem. As others have mentioned, this minimal setup should work without a router or DHCP server. The two devices will have 169.254.x.x IP addresses assigned by the Windows PC.

    Just my 2 cents...

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Hi Geoff.

    Well, despite upgrading to 2.8.1 with numerous reboots, both of the Flex and the PC, it will NOT connect in this configuration. I have to connect the Flex to the LAN switch and also the PC to the LAN switch. Then it will connect. The clicking noises are not obtrusive at the moment, just occasional, but I shall see how it behaves on Wednesday in the CWT sessions. I do take part in all four. I have reduced the change over time to just above QSK level to avoid the CW drop-outs. I don't think Flex really know what the problem is because both 2.8.1 and the new version 3 both still suffer the drop-outs. I shall have to live with it I guess as it is never going to be fixed. Bring back the guy who wrote PowerSDR, he might! He could also install lots of what we have to use as add-ons. Hey ho that's life.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

  • Geoff AB6BT
    Geoff AB6BT Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Roger,

    Do you  have both the PC and Flex set to use DHCP? That is the only way the auto assignment will work I believe.

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Hi Geoff.

    Yes, check that every time. they both get allocated an ip address. The PC is 192.168.1.74 and the Flex ends up with 192.168.1 71

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

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

    @Roger G3LDI

    I don't think you are setup correctly for a link.local test. You want to get an IP address starting with 169...

    Is this how you have things connected when you get those IP addresses?

    The steps are

    1. Turn off the PC
    2. Turn off the Radio
    3. Connect CAT cable
    4. Turn on the PC
    5. Turn on the Radio
    6. Start SmartSDR
    7. Connect to the radio
    8. Test as required.

    I

  • Roger G3LDI
    Roger G3LDI Member ✭✭

    Hi Mike.

    This is just how I do it each time. I have varied by switching the Flex on first and then the PC but it makes no difference. I just tried it again to make sure. No radios available. I tried to log in to no avail.

    I reconnected to the LAN switch and the Flex came on. However, yesterday I lost all my COM ports again and had to reinstall them. I did that OK, but after this last test the Flex came on without the CAT screen. I rebooted and reinstalled 2.8.1 again with the same result! I think I had better stop digging!

    I am going to download 2.8.1 yet again and try a factory reset and reinstall.

    73 de Roger, G3LDI

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