Flex 6300 missing random dits.

  • 4
  • Problem
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Solved
Since the upgrade to 1.6, cw now misses random dits. It is not rf related as I have tested down to 0 watts. No other radios in  my shack have this issue, so it is not my Begali paddle. Never had a problem until the 1.6 and now the 1.6.2. I was hoping for afix in this release but no go. I am strictly a cw op so this may be a deal breaker. Anyone else notice this issue or have a fix?

K7FU
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K7FU

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Posted 3 years ago

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Steve W6SDM

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I worked some CW this morning and didn't have any problem.  I operate at about 26 WPM.
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Jim Gilliam

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Is there any minimum speed where you don't occasionally miss dits?


Jim, K6QE

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K7FU

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Not that I have observed.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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No issue at any speed here (6500). Does changing the keyer settings (A/B, etc) affect your output?
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Monk - K5HP

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I was having the same problem and changing to "B" solved it. Meant to thank you for this suggestion in another post, George. Thanks
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This issue needs to be properly characterized.  Please confirm that the missing dits are actually not transmitted as RF as opposed to being missing sidetone.  These are two very different issues.
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Dave WB9WHG

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Hi Tim, on my 6300, I am missing dits. RF output OK. But missing side tone. I'm at version 1.6.2. Reoccurring problem. I'm a CW guy...Thanks
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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RRR - Since that is the behavior, we are aware of this issue and it is in our bug tracker to address.
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K7FU

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I will try to see if "B" solves the issue, and also try to observe if it is a sidetone issue or not.
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K7FU

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Switched to "B" and that so far has resolved the missing random dits. Still not sure if it is sidetone or actually a missed transmitted dit, but I am happy again..... K7FU. Will keep an eye on it and so some more checking before calling this resolved.
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K7FU

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It is still missing dits on the B side as well.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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If I remember the A/B selection on the Keyer is to switch between Iambic "A" mode or "B" mode, which has to do with the way the keyer handles dit and dah memories and the hold-time on the paddles that activates them.  I don't think I can describe the differences from memory.  It might be in the manual.....but who reads the manual?   (;>b)

I have never been able to master "A" mode and the "B" mode seems to be more intuitive for me.
Mode "A" doesn't remember an intended 'dit' if pressed while the 'dah' is more than halfway through playing (or something like that...or is it the other way around?)

Neither have I been able fully to master the "squeeze keying" technique.  My fist is a cross between squeeze key and "single paddle" style.  Because of this, I can't seem to send reliable beyond about 29 WPM.  I tried to learn the total "squeeze key" technique, but it messed me up.  Unless I have nothing else to do but practice off the air for a week or so, it will go to the back burner.  

Could one of you other experts explain the fine points of the differences between 'A' and 'B' mode Iambic?

Ken - NM9P
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k3Tim

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http://wb9kzy.com/modeab.pdf

Mode B seems to work better for my style of keying.

Don't sweat the squeeze keyer:

http://www.cwops.org/pdf/iambicmyth.pdf

Although Vibroplex sells a sweet / smooth keyer that if one could learn to squeeze key would likely go 100wpm !  :-)

The mode A / B bug from long ago is fixed.

k3Tim
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Thanks, Tim.  The two documents helped me identify my style.
I am more of an "Insertion" squeeze keyer.  
I utilize the dit and dah memory function, but not the true squeeze on longer letters. I doubt I will ever change.  I've been doing it this way since about 1986.

Still I find that my 1986 Bencher paddles seem to be feeling a little "spongey" or rubbery.  I can't explain it exactly.  It's almost like the metal on the paddle arms and contact arms has gotten more flexible.  Perhaps the bearings are gummed up.

I have been dreaming of a good set of magnetic paddles, but just can't get my head around spending $300 plus for keyer paddles, no better than I am at it.  I'm good for contests and DXing, but doubt that I will ever be much of a conversationalist or traffic pounder!

Ken - NM9P
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k3Tim

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Hi Ken

There must be some give in the metal components for the key to feel mushy. One should use a light touch anyway and not have the issue appear. I don't think mag Vs. spring will make a difference in the mush factor anyway.   I am trying to use a lighter touch on the bug.

The Vibroplex key I was mentioning is the ZN Ultimate.  To me it's the finest feeling key. The ZN keys are also good.

$300 for a good key.  An original Mercury paddle went for about that years back. If you can find one used, you'll pay a bit more. :-)

k3Tim
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Charles - K5UA

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Interesting link Tim. Just thought I would add my two cents in. After 56 years of mostly CW operating, I have retired my dual lever Mercury, Hensley, and Belagi keys in favor of a single lever N3ZN key . I finally realized that my keying mistakes were was due to the dual lever key making it feasible for the iambic keyer to insert unwanted dots or dashes into my code stream. This is simply not possible with a single lever key tied to an iambic keyer. The single lever keyer is either producing a dot or a dash, but it can not create an iambic situation. True, you can send an extra dot or dash if you press too long on either side, but it will not go into iambic mode. As soon as I put the single lever key on the desk, my error rate decreased dramatically.

Yes, I realize that at 70 years of age my muscle memory is not as good as it was 40 years ago. But that being said, If a CW operator is having trouble sending CW with a dual lever key tied to an iambic keyer, I recommend trying a single lever key on that keyer. It will feel different at first because there is only a single lever and the thumb and finger are not separated by the width of the dual lever fingerpieces. This can be overcome by practice, or by gluing a knob onto the single fingerpiece like Vibroplex does on its single lever fingerpiece to approximate the width of the dual lever fingerpieces.

Although I have never seen an American transceiver with variable dot-dash ratio capability (like found on the recent Kenwood, Yeasu, and Icom transceivers), setting a 3.6 to 1 dot-dash ratio produces very musical and easy to send and read CW. By the way, CW "weight" is not the same as variable dot-dash ratio. It is very easy to distinguish between the two.

That's my two cents.
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Stan - VA7NF

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I find this discussion interesting because it resolves around conceding control to the hardware.  Squeeze control on CW is great at lower speeds but starts falling apart around 25WPM when the smallest mistiming does these strange things such as the unexpected dot after the dash or the missing dot because the dash side was a tad early.

Try turning off the iambic function and run it like a single lever paddle; you will find the keying is much more natural.  With the soft touch this works well up to 60WPM.  I still unplug my friends Bengali for a 50yr old modified vibroplex with a varnished mahogany handle; smooth on the touch and easy to "caress".

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Stan - VA7NF

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@Charles - Interesting we overlapped messages with the same suggestion.  I think it is more the extra fine timing required than muscle memory.  I stroke both sides of the paddle and it is the duration/distance of that stroke that sets the number of dots/dashes produced rather than a press/hold/release technique which I imagine would be affected by muscle memory/responsiveness.
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Tom--W4FAS

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Hi Tim,
Another data point for this thread. I have started practicing CW with a straight key. I run 10-13 WPW at 10 watts into a dummy load. I have noticed I will lose the side tone on a random Dit ot Dah. The radio is putting out power even though the side tone is missing. I am running a Flex 6300 with a built in keyer. The keyer is NOT enabled.
Tom
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Phil m0vse

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I operated my first CW contest since upgrading to 1.6 tonight and after speaking to some of my contacts (we are in the same contest group) a few said they initially copied my callsign as JE0 (instead of 2E0). I was using N1MM with the Flex Winkeyer so it looks like it might be a bit slow to enter TX mode? The sidetone sounded fine.
Phil
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K7FU

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Ok tonight I did a hard reset from power on, and at the moment all is working well, and even with the amplifier on I am having no issues just like before. So I am hoping that will take care of the problem.
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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Hello,

during the last ARRL CW contest I had some troubles with the 1.6.21 in cw mode.
While after the upgrade everything worked fine, during the heavy contest operations I noticed the missing dits (and also dashes) as already noted by Ray.
I am pretty sure that the missing dits are actually transmitted as RF because, in the 30-40 times the problem happened, the other stations replied with my correct callsign.
I could say it is a sidetone generation problem or, an overall performance issue, probably only in the small 6300 rigs. That's because I noticed an increasing delay using the K1EL com port that forced me to go back to my old hardware interface.
Unfortunately I can't tell you what are the exact operations to reproduce the problem, but most of the times it happend after a long RX period, let's say 2-3 minutes.
When I started with a reply like "IW7DMH IW7DMH" the higligted letters where trasmitted with the sidetone problem.    
I had no time to downgrade to 1.5 but I'll investigate more on this.

73' iw7dmh
Enzo

EDIT: my working contidions are:
  • SSDR 1.6.21
  • Flex 6300
  • QARTEST using hw interface (pin 4 on accessory port)
  • CW paddle on front jack
  • Iambic mode A
(Edited)
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Joe Duerbusch

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I mention this before.  I thought the output was distorted.  But after weeks of listening and watching the output, the problem is distort or missing sidetone.  I did not have this problem with previous version.  I noticed that the other station always got my callsign correct.

I glad that someone else is noticing this problem.

Joe K0BX
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John McCabe - KD8K

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Same problem here. This problem is also occurring when I use a straight key or external bug, it is not limited to the internal keyer. It makes sending with a straight key on the 6300 very difficult at best. I am using an external keyer as a work around while waiting for the update.
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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Today I reverted back to 1.5 SSDR version.
Lots of friends I contacted asked over and over again for my correct call. For reasons I can't understand the "missing dits" problem today was very very frequent and annoyng as well.
After this happening it was a pain setting back the whole serial port configurations. I had to deal with the OS control panel and the ghosts serial ports, for more than two hours.
I am very disappointed for this and I don't believe any more that FRS-Cat is a valid component that can substitute a more convenient and simpler traditional serial port.

73' Enzo
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Enzo, I am sorry that you had issues reverting back to 1.5.  There will be some software changes that are will not be 100% backwards compatible.  They are usually infrequent, but the 1.6 version changes with CAT and DAX was one of them.
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K7FU

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The missing dits continue and make sending cw on the flex 6300 a bad experience. Is anyone at flex looking into this issue as it seems that there are several of us with this problem?
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Dave WB9WHG

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Yeah, it's a hassle - I'm a CW guy, and I use a Vibroplex with my 6300. What I am doing is using my TS-570 as a monitor when I send. The RF from the 6300 goes out fine, but the sidetone misses dits regularly.
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Andrew Holman

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I hope this gets fixed soon. This is difficult for a new CW operator. This is killing me.  Straight key or paddle I get the problem. Then sometimes when I try to switch paddles, it just goes into some weird loop of transmitting and I have to reboot the radio.  Very frustrated with CW on this box. I love my Flex , but this is irritating as all hell.
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Steve W6SDM

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I am a CW guy too, with about 70% of my contacts being CW.  I am usually set at about 26 WPM using a Bencher paddle.   I have followed the discussion on missing dits but have never had the experience myself.  What am I missing here?  (no pun intended)
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Andrew Holman

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Steve, the sidetone completely drops out. When going by ear, you would think you missed a dit. It drives me nuts. Happens on both my paddle and my straight key.  Seems to be much more frequent on the paddle than on the straight key. I can't send but maybe 10-13wpm, so its not a speed thing.
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K7FU

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As a cw operator this problem has relegated the 6300 to qrt. It may well be the end of this radio for me as a cw op if it does not get fixed soon. I may have to load the old software and just go with that, but I am hopeful that flex will fix this problem soon. If not it will be sold.
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John McCabe - KD8K

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Same here, I have not been able to use the 6300 on CW for a while now due to this issue. It does appear like this issue is going to be fixed in the next major release rather then a bug fix. The lack of speed in resolving this issue is a bit disappointing.
(Edited)
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K7FU

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Totally agree with your view of the response about this issue.
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K7FU

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I had to switch back to Ver. 1.5. to stop the problem. Sure wish flex would fix this bug. CW is still a very valid mode and by not fixing it you are relegating your radio to the dust bin.

Ray
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km9r.mike

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If you are saying you are gonna toss your 6300 into the dust bin, I will give you $100 for it instead and will pay for shipping. My email is current on qrz. If you weren't serious please disregard.
(Edited)
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K7FU

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Well as you know I was just venting. I just wish that Flex took cw a little more seriously, and when something does not work properly they fix it in a timely manner. This has been going on since the release of 6.1 and they have kinda sorta acknowledged that it is a problem. The trouble is if your a cw operator the rig has become unusable with the latest firmware. Having to roll back to a previous version would not have been a big deal, but 6.1 with all the new DAX stuff has made reverting back problematic for many. A patch to fix the problem would be nice. So I downgraded my software and can now use the flex, and I do like the radio. I will keep you in mind if I do throw it out however. :-)

Ray
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K7FU

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I have not seen anywhere in 1.7 that it addresses the cw side-tone issue. Has this been looked into and if so when will a fix be implemented? I don't want to waste time installing it to find out it does not help.
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Andrew Holman

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It is not fixed in 1.7, I commented on it in the Release Notes ticket and was told by Gerald that it will be fixed soon.  Then the thread was closed.  So it is not fixed in this release either.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Official Response
I confirm that this will be fixed soon.

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.