6600 + Maestro driving New SPE 1.5-FA which suddenly says 1w PEP output ! :-(

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I was in the middle of CQ DX CW contest and took a break.  When I came back, everything looked normal, but the SPE 1.5K - FA was not producing output. Don’t know what happened?! No one in the house but me, no HW changes, the amp temp has never been over 38C & amp has had weeks of power-on burn in.

It was working fine for first 12 hours of contest and for weeks prior, although I was getting mysterious (well seemed mysterious to me) SWR kickouts from Max Power to Standby (not ratchetting power down to MID) in the middle of QSO exchanges for no apparent reason - nothing had changed. SWR after SPE auto tune was < 1.2:1 at the antenna readout and better than that in the final SWR window below on the display. Have also checked the antenna w RigExpert analyzer and all is good. The Flex ATU (on the input to the SPE) had been on automatic, which I wondered might be related to the SWR kickouts, but I figured out the Flex menu setting to turn it off and was operating successfully for an hour or so without it.

FYI, cable was made by Dan Tassel, and worked fine. No hardware changes during the contest.

I turned everything off (6600, Maestro & SPE) and re-powered 6600, then Maestro, then SPI - no change. Same on behavior on all bands. SPE tracks band changes on Maestro,  putting SPE into standby changes Flex power to 100w. In SPE Operate, changing Power levels from Max to Mid and changing bands tracks all of the drive power settings programmed into the SPE. Everything acts normal, fan operation, PA FET voltage level, ... Just when I key the keyer, it says 1w PEP PA Out on the meter (0 in Mid or Low power levels).

I did a “General Restore” on the SPE per manual instructions by switching to standby mode & holding the INPUT & OFF keys. Turned it back on and restored the Antennas & CAT settings. The drive power level settings were retained and didn’t have to be reset. However this didn’t repair the output issue.

Ideas? I keep thinking I must be too tired and am overlooking something obvious!  Would like to get back in the contest!

73, Ken WC6Y

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Ken

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  • tired and frustrated!!

Posted 2 months ago

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Paul - K6HR

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Yes. You can see some details and references here:  http://k6hr.com/index.php/2018/02/08/grounding/
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Thanks!
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Ken  call me at 4093519228  tnx
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Ken

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Will call tomorrow. Just got amp back today.
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Ken

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Update & Successful Resolution (I think, so far ...)

Bob Hardy was unable to reproduce any of the difficulties I documented with the SPE taking itself into standby due to "Overdrive" or "High SWR" and ran the SPE hard. This was encouraging as it demonstrated that the SPE would work correctly given the right set up. It remained for me to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Earlier in this thread EA4GLI Salvador had suggested that I might need TX delay, so I was excited to try this. I set TX delay to 73ms, but then noticed it was no longer in effect after a band change. Further investigation revealed I had two different TX Profiles. Also, then checking the TX Band Setting Tab (I'm running 3.1.8) I discovered that the power setting was still 100w for 40, 30, 20, 17. This was surprising, as I had been carefully checking the front panel power readout on the Maestro, and I would swear it was reading the lower drive level.

So my corrective measures were:
1. Set TX delay to 73ms for all bands used
2. Carefully adjust max power on all bands, and separately for Max, Mid and Low powers to be under the intended output. (e.g. usually I'm showing 1.4kw on Max). Drive settings for Max are 22w - 25w (except 80m 28w). Mid: 13w - 17w and Low: 4w - 8w.
3. Consolidate to a single CW TX Profile used for all bands and ensure that it reflects the 73ms TX Delay and the power limits.

So far, so good. Thanks for everyone's suggestions and good wishes.

73,
Ken WC6Y
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Great news that you are up and running. 

I have not been given a date for the return on my Expert.... oh well. Good luck and hopefully that will be the end of your troubles.

As a side note, I have ,by mistake, overdriven the 1k and 1.3k in the past, we all make mistakes, and both protected themselves without missing a beat. Not sure what they did for the design of the 1.5k Expert but if over driving protection is not up to the previous standards, I find it a major defect on the new series of Expert amps.
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Jim Runge

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I had the same problem with my spe 1.5 second gen.  The amp died.I sent it back to Bob and he said that I must have been driving it with 100 watts.  Wrong.  I also have a SPE 2K and have never had a problem with it.  It cost me over $600 to fix my brand new amp as Bob said it was my fault and not covered under warranty.  I would not buy another 1.5 that is for sure.  They have a problem and they are aware of it.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I really hope they don't come back with that argument with me as well. I have had 3 Expert amps and both the 1k and 1.3k keep on going (I am in touch with the current owners), so I know my way around the amp.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Then, on the other hand, I really do hope this new profile approach by Flex has nothing to do with it......
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Jim Runge

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I was not using a flex when my 1.5 died.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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That narrows it a bit..... :)