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Yet another KAT500 /KPA500 question..

Ok, so I've trawled the Community forum, I've RTFM'd the USB Cable Interface Guide, but I still don't see an answer to my question.  (my KPA500 and KAT500 are being detained by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise at the moment...so I have a few days grace...)

I want to run both KAT500 and KPA500, use band switching data from my 6500 (but not DDUtil), and have the KAT500 open the keyline to the KPA when necessary.  I see lots of posts about Flex and KPA500 but not a lot about the KAT500 too...unless it is just the basic daisy-chained keyline connections or DDUtil.


So my question is:  What is the best cable set-up for a KPA500/KAT500 combo, to utilise bandswitching and PTT data from the Flex, but retaining the keyline assertion between KAT and KPA?

Thanks in advance...


Paul M0CVX

Completed · Last Updated

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Answers

  • Lawrence GrayLawrence Gray Member
    edited February 2017
    DDUtil does things beyond the simple interface. Perhaps the most important is setting the max drive level. The KPA500 can be damaged if overdriven. Yes, I know you can do this with profiles, but I find DDUtil to be more reliable.
  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited June 2
    Thank you for your reply Lawrence. Yes, I understand that DDUtil will give me more (I already have it on my PC) but my question above is about a solution that does not rely on DDUtil (for example, when I'm just using Flex and Maestro).
  • YV5WZYV5WZ Member
    edited December 2019
    You will need 2 cables, both are selling by elecraft, from KAT500 is model #KXUSB, I dont recall number for KAP500...but...I'm sure you won't have any problem to find it on web site

    73

    George
    YV5WZ/ PY3ZZZ Edited: I'm sorry I misunderstood what you are asking, my suggestion was for using with DDutil
  • Norm - W7CKNorm - W7CK Member ✭✭
    edited June 2
    Use the USB/Serial cables supplied by Elecraft for each unit.  Use RCA phono cable from the Flex TX1, TX2, or TX3 to the PTT Relay In on the KAT500.  Another RCA cable from the KAT500 PTT Relay out to the PA Key on the KPA500.

    As mentioned above, I do not recommend doing this.  I highly recommend using DDUtil because it offers so much more especially the ability to set the maximum power out of the Flex to a safe level for the KPA500.

    I have already blown the RF deck on a KPA500 because I didn't keep an eye on the RF Power level on the Flex and you can't rely on the profiles for this.  Until Flex provides a built in solution for, I'll never run without DDUtil again.   Your choice!
  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited February 2017
    Thanks for your answer, Norm. I may well set the max Tx power to 35w in SSDR.  Cheers  Paul
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited February 2017
    I too have the Elecraft combo on the way (shipping Monday). Can't max power just be set in the Radio Setup configuration box? Under the TX tab there is Max Power. Not sure if this is just the beta software or if it was in previous versions.

    I'm hoping for as simple a setup as possible. I'm thinking only the PTT and coax connected to the KPA500 and let the KPA500 auto-detect the band. If that's too risky, maybe use the new USB feature for band switching? But what I'd really like to do (while being safe as possible) is avoid another software shim to force things to work together. They all seem to add their own quirks that just complicates things.

    Kev K4VD
  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited February 2017
    Hi Kev.  Yep, me too.  I can happily live with SSDR being set to a max of 35w under the Radio Setup configuration box.  Looks like you couldn't ignore the Elecraft combo deal either?  ;-)
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited February 2017
    No Paul I couldn't resist. I waited for the Genius price before I bought just in case there was a surprise there. No surprise though ;)

    I have a KX3 and love love love the quality build, great performance and relative freedom from glitches so I'm hoping for the same from the KPA/KAT combo when used with the 6500. I'll probably eventually get the 100 W amp for the KX3 just for the flexibility.

    One thing I can say... hardware-wise there is no lack of fantastic options on the market these days.

    Kev

  • Norm - W7CKNorm - W7CK Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    For the most part, 18w drive gives me a little over 500 watts out on the KPA500.   I love the amp.  It is simple, easy to remote and works just fine with the Flex using DDUtil.  I don't understand why the reservation using DDUtil.  It is a great product.  I can even run Digital modes while remote because DDUtil emulates HRD.

    I can't see spending a fortune for another amp just to get 1s unit.  My KPA500 is even portable.

    Elecraft is also about ready to release a couple more amplifiers.  More power.  1kw and 1.5 kw I believe.

    Best of luck.
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited February 2017
    Hi Norm.

    DDUtil, SDR-Bridge, FldigiDXLabsGateway... I have an aversion to all these go-betweens. I  know they're necessary and useful but it is a layer of complexity. I'd avoid them if I could.

    I think they make it difficult to troubleshoot a problem. Though it hasn't happened to me yet, I can see versions getting out of sync and becoming useless until the developer finds time to upgrade and test. They only work as long as the individual developer remains interested in keeping them working and the products it goes between don't change significantly.

    18 watts huh? Nice. I've been reading the manual and thought it was 40 watts for full power but maybe there's enough variance between units. My units should ship on Monday. I hope to have them ready to play next weekend. I already installed a lock on my shack door and I'm thinking of putting an ON AIR sign outside the door. I thought about buying a Doberman Pincer to stand guard but the training time doesn't work out. Anyone remember The Doberman Gang? A classic!

    73,
    Kev K4VD
  • PatrickPatrick WH6HI Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    I have used the iPad SmartSDR app. Along with my computer running DDUtil , Does not need smart sdr running on the PC. PC talks to ddutil and send all data to the kat500 and kp500. So while you are remote DDUtil takes care of frequency control. Tuner gets frequency and uses its memory. Or does an auto tune.

    Pat
  • PatrickPatrick WH6HI Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    I understand your aversion to using DDUtil. But. This software has become more sofisticated and upgraded to talk directly to the Flex as well as the Elecraft equipment. Fldigi talks via RigCat but does not interfere with DDUtil. Works like a charm,
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited February 2017
    Hi Pat... Downloaded DDUtil again and will give it another look. If you have any setup/configuration information to share I'd appreciate the headstart.

    Maybe my problem is that I don't really understand what DDUtil can do for me. I'll spend some time on the site reading.
  • Bob - W7KWS -Bob - W7KWS - Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    I only use a PTT line & the coax between my 6300 & KPA500. No other cables necessary. The maximum power setting in the Flex protects the amp. The amp uses RF sense for switching bands & it's flawless. I don't know anything about the tuner as I run all resonant antennas & don't own one. One would hope that the tuner runs off the amp.
  • PatrickPatrick WH6HI Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Hi kevin,  here is my setup config in DDUtil

    Features Tab:  Signature selection set.
    Amp Tab:  Select a port and enable (ports are set up in the computer via KAP application not the CAT app of the Flex)
    Select a port for the tuner via the KAT application then select enable and auto tune

    This is all you need to do.  Using the Apps to select provided by Elecraft to do the equipment support, set up, control set, band setup etc.  After that only run DDUtil as the control App for the KAT  KAP.  Once you get it set up it is very seamless operation.  biggest problem was getting ports on the computer established.  Older versions of the USB/serial cables were a problem.

    Good luck,

    Pat 
  • PatrickPatrick WH6HI Member ✭✭
    edited June 2
    Hi Bob, In your case since the only info that is needed by the KPA500 is band data, the simplest approach is probably best and is the way I ran my station until I bought the KAT500 Tuner.  A safety factor is needed once the Tuner is added to the system to guard the tuner from excessive internal currents while tuning.  The Tuner provides a protection path via the routing of the PTT line from the flex to the Tuner then to the amp.  This allows the continuation of auto tune to be used as the tuner will block PTT to the amp if the tuner begins to tune or even if it is manually initiated.  DDUtil adds more, in that it passes on frequency data to the tuner.  The tuner remembers the tune data and also the frequency making the memory very effective at controlling operational conditions and provides very fast tuning. 
    I don't know if you use the elecraft control application for your KPA 500, but it allows you to control all settings as well as to save the configuration of the amp allowing quick recovery in case some settings get corrupted.  This ability requires you to connect the Amp to the computer via the USB cable provided.  Not trying to tell you what to do, but just a suggestion. 

    Regards,

    Pat
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited February 2017
    Appreciate the suggestion Pat and I will consider it. My equipment ships today and I hope to have it by the end of the week for some fun this weekend. Been reading the documents and playing with DDUtil this afternoon trying to get the FlexControl to work with it. One thing that kept happening is that WSJT would keep disconnecting while DDUtil was running. Also, the FlexControl  with DDUtil doesn't seem to recognize RIT/XIT with the Signature series.  These are the things I'm trying to avoid.

    Elecraft has a document called "High Power Bundle for the Flex 6500." It shows very  minimal connections between the devices. The doc says to ignore cable 5.image

    Here's a link to the full 6500 app note: http://www.elecraft.com/manual/Power%20Combo%20KAT500%20KPA500%20to%20Flex%206500.pdf

    There's a separate one for the 6300: http://www.elecraft.com/manual/Power%20Combo%20KAT500%20KPA500%20to%20FlexRadio%206300.pdf

    Kev
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited June 2
    What I do currently is use a USB cable from the back of the Flex to provide band data for the KAT500 so it track frequency and pre-tuned memories.  I use the KPA500 application on my desktop, it allows monitoring of the amp, and you can turn it on/off etc.  works pretty good for me that way. 

  • KevinKevin Member
    edited February 2017
    Is that USB cable using the new features in 1.10? I will have to look into that. It sounds like the perfect approach.

    Kev
  • PatrickPatrick WH6HI Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Please check your WSJT-X configuration. set rig to FlexRadio 6000 t Use set localhost: (computer port ex. 5005) then set up smartCat entry for the WSJT_x to talk to the radio directly.  Audio is as usual.  You may have to restart radio and WSJT to establish first time contact.

    pat
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited February 2017
    Hi Pat... I'm using port 5002. Should I create a new SmartSDR CAT TCP port for 5005? DDUtil discovered my radio as soon as I selected Signature from the radio select block. I have no port selected in DDUtil.
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Yes.  thats the new USB cable functionality that is in the current beta.  It works quite well.  Its just basic tracking and if you need to do high level stuff like wiping memories and such it needs to be plugged into a computer with the KAT utility, but in every other respect it works fantastic.  just get a compatible FTDI rs-232 dongle and hook it up..  
  • Bob - W7KWS -Bob - W7KWS - Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Hi Pat. 

    Twenty-five years in Kilauea and Wailua and I can't recall meeting you.  Too bad, I'm sure we'd have had a lot to talk about.  I moved back to the mainland in 2013.

    I run my 6300 remotely from either an eight-inch Windows 10 tablet or from my LG G5 Android Smartphone.

    If I'm using the tablet, I run SmartSDR on it directly via a VPN and the LG as a hotspot on Verizon LTE.  All of the other control function are accessed using Remote Desktop back to my PC at home.  This includes the Elecraft KPA500 Remote Host program.  I don't use the KPA500 Utility because it uses up too much screen real estate. The Remote program has a mini mode but I can expand it if necessary for all the controls and meters that are necessary.  I use a WEB CAM to monitor for smoke.

    For the SteppIR the rotator and an antenna switch, I use PSTRotatorAZ which runs on the PC at the station and is viewed on either the tablet or the phone with Remote Desktop.

    Ham Radio Deluxe connects the Flex CAT output to PST Rotator using com0com.  I do this so that I can easily switch among several transceivers for remote operation.  For the car I run a split IC-706 remotely instead of the Flex because the Flex is difficult to manipulate while I'm driving.  The 706 Is easy.

    I also run a Kenwood TS-480 in a small RV or by my easy chair in the living room.  I prefer the 480's control head to the 706 but it's too big to mount in the car where it's convenient to use.

    Just for experimentation, I'm also running an IC-7300 from the tablet using Icom's RS-BA1 software.  This is actually quite nice using their RC28 knob.

    Below I've included a screenshot of the LG phone while controlling the Flex and everything else remotely.  The actual screen definition is quite a bit better than this screenshot.  The Community required that I reduce the shot to under 2MB.  The phone is 5.3 inches and 1440 by 2560 pixels.  It is quite readable with my 2.0 reading glasses.

    Best regards, Bob

    image
  • PatrickPatrick WH6HI Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    If you have already done a port for wsjt then you are all set. Once you make the selection to signatureseirs DDUtil connects automatically as it is dedicated already via API coding. Works great wish more sw was dedicated to tcp/udp as well as using the dedicated Flex API. Pat
  • PatrickPatrick WH6HI Member ✭✭
    edited June 2
    Hi Bob, my wife and I moved to Kauai in November 2015 for retirement. Originally from east (see info on qrz) coast. My reasone for replying to some of these post is to share the different config technics that can be used. I don't want to say how one should do a station, as how one sets up a station is very individual decision based on personal needs, which can be many. You have a very nice setup. Having fun in Hawaii.... Regards Pat
  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited February 2017

    Hi Chris.  Well my KAT500 turned up today (the KPA500 is a day or so behind in Customs).  Using the USB to TRS lead (KXUSB) directly between 6500 and KAT I cannot get the 6500 to change band on the KAT.  However, using the same cable between the KAT500 and my PC, I CAN get the 6500 to bandchange the KAT by using DDUtil.  Any ideas why it wont bandchange direct from 6500 to KAT? 

    Paul   (p.s.  I've ordered a FTDI to Serial cable (and a second one with null modem for the KPA) from Amazon just in case...)

  • Cal  N3CALCal N3CAL Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017

    Hi Paul,

    FYI,  you can initially customize your KAT500 parameters by band using the Elecraft KAT500 utility software. You can setup/designate which KAT500 Antenna Port to use for each band. When you change bands on the Flex your KAT500 ant port will switch to your designated antenna port.  This is very handy for those using more than one antenna.  You can also lock out any antenna port for any band you may not want to be using.  You can also tweak SWR alerts etc. Once you have everything set to your liking you just save the Config to the KAT500  and it will retain your settings.  I've been running the KAT500/KPA500 combo for over a year without issues!   I'm using DDUTIL and it's like having a 500W Transceiver. 


    Cal/N3CAL

  • Rob FisselRob Fissel Member
    edited February 2017
    Kevin, 

    18 watts is news to me. I need anywhere from 29-37 to get 500 out on my KPA500 depending on what band I'm transmitting on. 

    73,

    Rob
    K2RWF
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Paul my setup is using a KXSER plugged into an approved FTDI dongle in my 6700.  I am not sure if the KXUSB will work (it should, it is FTDI).  ensure you have configured your USB cable interface in the 6500 as a kat cable.  Ill share my settings with you when I get home...
  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited February 2017
    Hi Cal, Yep I used the Utility software this afternoon to set up the antennas per band etc, and I've 'trained' the tuner.  Hate to say it, but I like it waay better than the tuner in my 6500...  ;-)

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