CW hickups when using USB cables

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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I am using an external keyer (Winkey) with my 6700 on v1.10.16.91 with a 4 port FTDI Serial port Adapter attached to the USB port.
I've had random CW hickups (every 15 seconds or so there are dropouts or prolonged dits - two dits would become a dah) in my CW sidetone for a few weeks now - apparently since I've changed my Station Automation over to USB cables outputting the frequency to my other devices in the shack.

I've just tried disabling both my USB cable ports and - voila - the CW is steady as always.

Can anybody confirm this or is this already tracked as an issue? I couldn't find it in the forum here.

73 TNX
Frank
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DL2CC

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Posted 2 years ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Is your Winkeyer is connected to the USB port on the 6700?
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DL2CC

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Hi Tim, thanks for coming back.
No, should it? I've always been using the CW key input pin on the connector in the back.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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No, it should not.  I couldn't tell definitively from your issue description.

Is the 4-port a powered hub?  And is it getting power from the radio or externally?  If from the radio and you can use external power, I'd try that and see if the issue improves.
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DL2CC

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The 4-port is a powered hub, yes. It is using an external power supply. 
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Kari Gustafsson SM0HRP, Elmer

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Hi, I use the same set Up with an external Winkeyer . USB output to PC and keyer output to front CW keyer of 6700. Works very well in all speeds.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Frank - Is the keyer connected to the front KEY jack or are you using the keying lines on the rear ACC connector?
(Edited)
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DL2CC

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Hi Tim, Rear ACC connector.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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RR.  thanks
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Frank - thanks for the report and the follow-up info.  I have entered this problem report into our bug tracker as issue #4555 for additional investigation. Thank you for the defect report.
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DL2CC

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Thank Tim. I just tested it extensively in the CWOPS CWT and can confirm it is reproducable - switching off the USB cables will restore CW functionality.

Please note this only affects the sidetone, not the actual HF Signal.
I realized this as even though the sidetone CW was garbled the other stations would still read my CW OK and get the correct exchanges.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Frank,
I wonder if you can determine whether just one of the radio USB ports is causing the issue.  And if so what is the configuration of that USB port ( i.e. serial, BCD, bit).    

I don't use Winkeyer but checked so see if I could reproduce the issue by using a hand key connected to the rear acc connector.  I have a serial USB connection to my amplifier and BCD connect to my antenna switch which were both active for the test.  I set the RF power to zero and tried lots of dots' etc but could not reproduce. 

Also wonder if your issue also occurs when the RF Power is set to zero....or only when outputting power.....that might be another interesting data point. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
(Edited)
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DL2CC

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Hi Al, I will do more experiments.

So far tested: Issue is the same when using the front Key jack. It also happens when the power is set to zero. 

I wonder if it has to do with the fact it is a FTDI four port adapter as apparently nobody else has the issue. I just know it is reproducable when switching the USB cable function on or off.
73
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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How many devices are connected to the USB hub?  Can you try connecting each device individually to the radio without the USB hub and see if the behavior persists?  The ol' divide and conquer technique of troubleshooting. 
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DL2CC

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Hi Tim, I don't have a USB hub connected and never had. 73
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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The USB 4 port FTDI serial port adapter is not a USB hub?  Can you give me more details on it?
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DL2CC

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Hi Tim, what do you mean? It is a 4 port USB to serial adapter. One USB in and 4 serial DB9 out.There are plenty on the market. It is recognized just fine by the Flex.
 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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OK.  I wanted to look at the specs on it just to see if there was something that caught my attention.
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Wayne VK4ACN

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Fwiw.
I Was using the Gearmo ftdi usb to 4 port serial on the flex 6500 usb to the spe amp. Quite frequently it would drop out i would get error message in spe. This would happen so fast. I couldnt quite catch msg. I replaced gearmo 4 port serial wth ftdi cable flex sell. Got it from mouser. Since then no issues with flex usb and spe. Rock solid no dropouts. So would have been problem with Gearmo
73
Wayne
(Edited)
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DL2CC

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Tim, this is the adapter: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Exsys-EX-1334HMV-2-USB-zu-4x-Seriell-HUB-Metallgehause-verschraubbar-/150732...

I liked it because it has a solid metal case.
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DL2CC

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Wayne, thanks for the input. Interestingly enough, CW shouldn't have anything to do with the USB cables CAT Output.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Thanks for the info.
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Eric - KE5DTO, Official Rep

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Have you tried using one of the FTDI cables that we recommend? See the USB Cable Interface Guide here: http://www.flexradio.com/downloads/usb-cable-interface-guide-pdf/.  Also, see the serial cable we carry in our cart here: http://cart.flexradio.com/USB-to-Serial-adapter-for-the-FLEX-6000-series_p_1002.html.
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DL2CC

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Official Response
Hi Eric, thanks for coming back.

I've now exchanged the 4 port adapter by two individual FTDI adapters.

I can confirm the issue has gone when switching to two individual FTDI cables.

The FTDI cables really should all be the same from a hardware point of view as long as  they use proper and original chips.

And the question still remains, how an issue on the USB side of things could possibly affect CW generation. So even though the problem is gone you still might want to have your developers look at it.
Anyway thanks for the input guys and I am glad I'm back to smooth and nice QRQ.

73
Frank
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Eric - KE5DTO, Official Rep

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Understood.  Thanks for the confirmation.