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Connecting Tuner Genius to PGXL and Elecraft K3 or K4

I have some questions regarding connecting Tuner Genius to PGXL and an Elecraft K3 or K4:

1. The Tuner Genius manual shows these physical connectivities:  (1) Tuner Genius to Flex radio, (2) Tuner Genius to Flex radio and PGXL, and (3) Tuner Genius to non-Flex radios (incl. K3). However, it does not show physical connectivity when Tuner Genius is connected to PGXL AND a non-Flex radio (such as a K3/K4).

 Questions:

- Should the K3/4 ACC port be connected to the PGXL or to the Tuner Genius? 

- Should the Tuner Genius and PGXL be connected to Ethernet?

2. Both Tuner Genius and PGXL have rear panel DE15 BAND DATA IN connectors for use with non-Flex radios such as the Elecraft K3 or K4. The Tuner Genius and Power Genius manual both have DE15 pin breakout diagrams for interfacing Tuner Genius and PGXL with Elecraft K3/K4 radios. 

The Tuner Genius manual (Section 6.3.2.1) states:  ”You can connect either the BCD/PTB Input A or BCD/PTB Input B connector on your tuner to the ACC connector on the Elecraft transceiver using a female‐to‐female DE‐15 cable (DE‐15 male connectors on both ends of the cable), customized as detailed above”.

 The PGXL manual (Section 3.3.3.1) states: “You can connect either the BCD/PTB Input A or BCD/PTB Input B connector on your amplifier to the ACC connector on the Elecraft transceiver using a female-to-female DE-15 cable (DE-15 male connectors on both ends of the cable), customized as detailed above”. 

However, the Tuner Genius manual has a diagram showing the Tuner Genius DB9 port connected to the Elecraft DB9 RS232 port. The PGXL manual has a diagram showing the PGXL DE15 port connected to the Elecraft DB9 RS232 port. The diagrams conflict with each other and also with the text and pin breakouts in the manuals. 

I believe the text and pin breakouts are correct and the connectivity diagrams in the manuals are in error, but thought I’d ask just to make sure.

Thanks,

Howard

Best Answers

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

    Hi Howard,

    Let’s assume for the discussion the Flex is on the A side of the tuner and amp and Elecraft K3/K4 is on B side. The setup of the Flex is covered in detail already (A side) so I will not cover that.

    You have two choices with the Elecraft to send info to the amp and tuner, band data or CAT which is Kenwood protocol. Any of the possible solutions below would still need PTT out of Elecraft to go to RCA PTT in on the Tuner Genius then an RCA male to male from PTT out to PTT In on Power Genius.

    The K3 (with upgraded I/O board) and the K4 have one physical serial port out and band data out. You could configure band data to the PG XL PTB/BCD in B and serial data to the TG XL CAT in B,or vice versa.

    Two other options.

    First, N6TV makes the S-Box for K3 and K4. You can contact him to make one with two sets of band data out which would connect to the PTB/BCD connectors on amp and tuner PTB/BCD in B. Pin outs for these connectors are in both user manuals,

    . Make sure the cables you use match the S-Box out and the Genius products input.

    This method can also be used to connect a third Genius device, the 2x8 Antenna Genius. Just make sure the S-Box has three outputs. This would be my recommended method as it requires less technical knowledge than the next method.


    The second method would involve using the USB cable from the Elecraft to PC then splitting that serial information to be used by both the amp, tuner, and any software programs. It virtually creates a bridge between the serial devices software and hardware). It would require two USB to serial cables with FTDI chipset to go from PC to amp and tuner CAT in B.


    When setting up the amp and tuner using BCD just connect the cable to BCD on the tuner, amp, or both, depending which method you choose.

    For serial in on the B side of Power Genius XL, in the CAT/CI-V tab choose Elecraft and set your baud rate to match the radio serial port output. For the Tuner Genius XL in the CAT/CI-V tab check the enable box in Port B Configuration and select Kenwood and set the baud rate. Check the FlexRadio tab and make sure the Flex serial number is not listed for the B side. If it is, there is a little garbage can icon just to the left of the pull down arrow all the way to right of the serial number box.

    Hopefully this helps you and others.


    73

    Dave wo2x

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

    Hi Howard,

    The serial connection to the tuner is the preferred method over BCD. The amp can be either.

    For the serial solution I think the Win4K3 suite program can create the serial bridge to share the radio com port amongst different hardware and software. Check with the program’s author and ask if it supports the K4 also. Another program for splitting a com port to be used between many devices and programs is Virtual Serial Port Emulator (VSPE). If you decide to go with VSPE, I can assist with setup as I have used that program for many years both in my professional career and as a ham.

    73

    Dave wo2x

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

    Hi Howard,

    I believe the Elecraft radio and TG XL are both DCE equipment, requiring a crossover RS-232 cable and possibly a gender changer.

    If you have the P3 then you would connect to the P3. Elecraft or their email reflector can give more info on the Elecraft side of things.


    73 Dave wo2x

Answers

  • HCampbell  WB4IVF
    HCampbell WB4IVF Member ✭✭

    “The K3 (with upgraded I/O board) and the K4 have one physical serial port out and band data out. You could configure band data to the PG XL PTB/BCD in B and serial data to the TG XL CAT in B,or vice versa.”

    “The serial connection to the tuner is the preferred method over BCD. The amp can be either.”

    Aha! I didn’t know I could connect the Tuner Genius and PGXL to the K3/K4 with either the band data (DE15) or the serial (DB9) connection.  No problem with the band data (DE15) connection to the PGXL, since the pinout diagrams are in the Tuner Genius and PGXL manuals. For the serial (DB9 – DB9) connection to the Tuner Genius, would I use a straight-thru DB9 serial cable? Using one cable for the Tuner Genius and the other for the PGXL would be my preferred option, since I already have a ton of connectors and cables.  (-: 

    Thank you Dave!!

    Howard

  • HCampbell  WB4IVF
    HCampbell WB4IVF Member ✭✭

    OK, thanks for the excellent info Dave. I’ll update this thread after my tuner arrives next week and I get everything connected and working.

    Your video on connecting/configuring a Flex 6600M and PGXL with the tuner is also appreciated. My 6600M will be connected to input A of the tuner. 

    Thanks again,

    Howard

  • HCampbell  WB4IVF
    HCampbell WB4IVF Member ✭✭

    Dave –

    The simple solution worked like a charm. 

    The K4 is connected on Side B.  I connected the K4 ACC port to the PGXL with the DE-15 custom cable that I made, and connected the K4 RS-232 port to the tuner with a “straight thru” serial cable. Now the PGXL follows the K4 band, and the tuner follows the K4 frequency. I set the K4 and tuner serial ports to 4800 baud/8N1. Almost all of the time it took to set things up was making the cable. Device configuration was straightforward and only took a few minutes.

    Side A of the tuner and PGXL is connected to my 6600M via LAN as recommended. Couldn’t have been easier.

    Thanks again!

    Howard

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

    Glad it worked!

    Good DX

    73 Dave wo2x

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