Audio sampling clicks, pops, jumps and skips

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  • Updated 3 months ago
I have a 6300 and a 6500 and have had the above receive audio sampling problem for the last 4 years on both radios and all versions of software up to 2.49. I am a cw contester and normally run and receive at 28wpm to 40wpm. At these speeds the slightest audio glitch is very apparent and normally the human brain can work through these audio glitches to guess what was sent. I find myself turning AGC-T back to a sub-optimal level (cannot hear weak callers) reduces the problem. My question is why are they there and what can be done to get rid of them? Instead of dreaming up new features, could Flex improve this problem?
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Douglas Maxwell

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Posted 3 months ago

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Steve Sterling

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I don't 'normally' have your problem. Also have two Flexes and neither has the problem you are having except when a) the communications between the radio box and your user interface (computer, Maestro) is being interrupted; or, b) the user interface (computer) is too busy doing other non-related things like anti-virus. Nothing much Flex can do about things it can't control except put in long buffering times which don't work well with CW either. You don't want your receive audio to be 1 or 2 seconds behind hi hi.
Anyway, that is where I would start. Hard wire ethernet cable connection between your 6300/6500's and station computer through a quality ethernet switch that isn't being overloaded by other network activity in the household.
Because the normal 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi channels are almost always saturated in most locations unless you live on a isolated farm with minimum use by others in the household, you will routinely have 1/2-1 second dropouts as the wi-fi must wait for other transmissions to finish. Although I have a hardwired station computer, I like to wi-fi using my laptop or Maestro from my upstairs recliner or out on the porch. To get around the wi-fi delays and dropouts, I put in a wi-fi system that uses the 5.8GHz band which in most locations is not heavily used, has many more channels and is much faster, thus is much easier to find a wi-fi channel that is not saturated with my own family and neighbors use of wi-fi.
Once you have a solid, wired connection between station computer and the flex rigs, and still have troubles, time to look at the station computer. There is a lot of software that can freeze the I/O traffic causing dropouts. I had a problem with a popular anti-malware program MalwareBytes. A good program, but left running it wants to examine all the I/O traffic and this was causing dropouts with me. I still have it, but only do scans when I initiate them, not leaving it on to scan continuously (a setting). I back that up with the free version of AVG anti-virus that runs all the time but doesn't seem to cause dropouts. Again this was the free (minimal) version. The AVG full-up paid for version has all kinds of "add-on" stuff that does cause dropouts.
With these changes, I got rid of my dropouts. Hope this helps.
73 Steve WA7DUH
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Douglas Maxwell

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Thanks for taking the time to share. I don't use WIFI for this reason. I have an ADSL router at the point where the landline enters the building, my 6300 is hardwired to the router. I then have a 10m long wired cat5e cable to the shack into a Netgear GS105 switch. The switch has my computer, 6500 and maestro hardwired to it. I have a 1 in 5 start up issue where the maestro shows poor network latency which manifests as red/yellow network indication and shows broken audio and lines across the screen. If I restart the maestro normally this resolves itself and low latency and green network indication results. Smart SDR does the same leading me to believe it's not a maestro issue. The 6300 and 6500 behave the same leading me to believe its not a Flex hardware issue. I've had various network topologies and equipment brands and all have shown this issue. I do not start operating until I get a green network indicator and no on screen broken lines, this can sometimes take several restarts (mostly one suffices). The audio pops happen mostly during large signal conditions (during a contest) and sounds like an audio sample has gone astray. This happens constantly until I back off AGC-T where I am unsure if they disappear or the audio volume is insufficient to hear them. I can work round them but when struggling with a weak signal the pops and clicks always distract me. It's easy to ignore/miss them when operating in a casual fashion outwith contests. I use the free edition of AVG and normally have N1MM+, SDR/CAT/DAX launch windows open on my desktop PC. I use a Dell xps430 PC with dual cores. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else recognises these symptoms.
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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Try running a direct connection radio-to-Maestro or -PC without router or Internet. If this helps, you've probably got a local network problem. Your router or cabling could be marginal. Are you running 1 Gb/s Ethernet? In my setup, a 100 Mb/s router works more reliably.
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Jim Brown, K5JAZ

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Martin is probably right on about the 100Mb reliability. I put an old SMC 100Mb switch with my 6500 and Maestro connected. Another port was connected to the main 1Gb switch. All of my audio problems disappeared. Seems as if either the 6500 and/or my Maestro (version 1) has a problem with Gb switches. I think Tim wrote up an article about it on the support site.
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Asher - K0AU

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I have the audio click problem as well. Mine is audible on the headphone and speaker ports. Are others reporting audio clicks on the PC Audio stream? I also have the intermittent DAX TX audio corruption problem. Running SW v2.49.115 on a 6700.