FT8 Decode failing caught on video

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  • Updated 5 months ago
  • (Edited)
As many of you know I've been dealing with an FT decoding issue for a long time. I've sent the radio in for repair but the problem is still there.

Tonight I had 3 WSJT-X sessions open for 20, 30 and 40 meters. After monitoring for about 2  hours I noticed that decoding was stopping on 30 so I started a video to capture what was going on.

In the video (easier to see with full screen) you will notice the last decoded FT8 signal on 30 meters was at . 040815, on 40 meters was 042545 and on 20 meters signal are still decoding for another minute or two.

Notice that each pan is showing continuing signals and the DB levels on each WSJT-X session is showing activity yet the decoding has stopped completely on 30 and 40 and eventually stops on 20 as well.  Each band stopped decoding a few minutes apart from the other bands.

Notice also the DT values all reasonable as I use Meinberg to ensure accurate timing

I also display DDUtil to show the voltage at 13.8 and the temp at 30.4c and  the control panel to show the current settings.

So the video shows that whatever is causing the decode to stop is causing it to stop one band at a time until they are all stopped. . This happens with JTDX as well so I know it's not a WSJT-X issue.

After about 15 minutes 20 meters started decoding again but 30 and 40 are still stopped and both bands have lots of activity

If anyone has any suggestions I would like to hear them

I'm adding this info to the current ticket

https://youtu.be/FJHsWWaR20c



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Pat N6PAT

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Posted 5 months ago

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K3SF

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(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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Thanks for the info but I already use Meinberg for timing
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Bill NE1B

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I had memory and cpu issues on my Win 10 computer until I upgraded memory.
My i5 3.1 GHz 64 bit HP computer was at 98% CPU and 90% Memory according to Task Manager.
I went from 8 GB RAM to 20 GB RAM.  Now with 4 slices and 3 WSJT and JT Alert sessions, I am running max 70% CPU and 43% Memory.

I was having similar decoding stops while running 2.4.9.  That seems to have been corrected with 2.5.1 and 3.0.27 I believe one of the bug fixes #6887 Fixed a memory leak in SmartSDR and Maestro.  Now, I have continual decoding in WSJT-X for days.
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Pat N6PAT

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@Bill,

Thanks for the info.

The problem I'm having happens on SSDR 2.3.9 as well as 2.4.9  It also is happening on 2 different computers. One is a Windows 8.1 and the other is a Windows 10.

It doesn't matter if I run just 1 instance of WSJT-X or all 8 at the same time.

Sometimes it starts as soon as I boot up the rig in the morning and other times it works fine for a few hours then won't work at all

The same thing happens with JTDX as well
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Paul - K6HR

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Bill you are correct. Pat keeps repeating "8.1 and Windows 10" when really it's an issue of them being an i3 and an i5 with inadequate memory. For a "computer guy" he really doesn't get it.
(Edited)
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Bill NE1B

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I am thinking that this is related to the Memory Leak in DAX that was fixed in 2.5.1 and 3.0.27.
While JTDX performs differently, it is a derivative of WSJT-X.  The base software code is the same.  So it would perform the same loss of decode once the DAX memory leak occurs in the earlier 2.4.9 version.
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Bill NE1B

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I am thinking that this is related to the Memory Leak in DAX that was fixed in 2.5.1 and 3.0.27.
While JTDX performs differently, it is a derivative of WSJT-X.  The base software code is the same.  So it would perform the same loss of decode once the DAX memory leak occurs in the earlier 2.4.9 version.
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Pat N6PAT

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I upgraded to 2.5.1 and so far it's working but sometimes I can use it on 2.3.9 for hours before it fails so time will tell
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Pat N6PAT

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Just updated to SSDR 2.5.1 to see if that helps.

I didn't want to upgrade because of the auto profile save. I don't like that at all
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KC2QMA_John

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Just remember if you want to go back you will need to do a full reset and reload your profiles. Otherwise things wont work correctly.

I too don't like Auto-Save, still on 2.4.9 here.
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Pat N6PAT

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Yep. I always export my profiles before upgrading/downgrading
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Karl KB2AS

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Having had this issue for some time on multiple versions of SSDR (now running 2.5.1), I have concluded that the issue is a computer/DAX problem. I am running a 7th gen I5 with 32G RAM and high end video card, CPU utilization never goes above 45%, so computer capability is not in question. WSJT is not an issue, neither is DAX by itself.  Radio just came back from Flex about three months ago.
There are times when WSJT stops decoding and it is obvious by the mushy WSJT waterfall, restarting DAX fixes the issue, but there are times when it goes out again, and it takes several DAX restarts to correct. This would appear to be a DAX issue, however, if there is no decode on this computer, leaving it as is (mushy waterfall) and bringing up SSDR and WSJT on another computer, all is well, good decodes. I have not experienced the mushy waterfall on the laptop or other desktop.
My conclusion is that there is something about DAX and this computer that causes the audio corruption, which may be the reason it has been difficult for Flex to find a solution. I run two WSJT instances at times, and both will experience the decode issue almost at the same time.
Just one other point, if the monitor goes to sleep, when it is awakened, the decode is still there, but WSJT will not activate the transmit on the Flex, it requires restarting WSJT to regain transmit.
An analysis of good and bad audio may reveal some differences, on my list of things to do.

Karl
KB2AS
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Pat N6PAT

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Karl,

I do agree that DAX has issues. Many people have mentioned it. I don't know why it hasn't been corrected.

I used to be able to get decoding working again by simply stopping and restarting DAX but that is not working most of the time now.
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David Warnberg

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Have you gotten it to stop decoding with one slice?  I see that is a yes... so did you look over the logs (event viewer)?  Have you looked at task manager.. several tabs to look at there.
1) Processes
2) Performance (also open resource monitor)
3) App History
4) Details (whats the biggest CPU and/or memory consumer at the time decodes stop)

Oh right sorry it's not a Computer or WSJT-X issue...
Better send that 6700 off back to the shop


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Pat N6PAT

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As I said the problem occurs on both computers. The computers are not connected to each other in any manner. One is Windows 8.1 and the other is Windows 10.

I ran Windows malware removal tool on each with a complete system scan. Then ran a second complete system scan with Avast antivirus.

None of the other applications on either computer has any problems or errors. That includes the Adobe Master Collection, many program development applications, etc. etc.

I should point out that while the radio was in for repair that Gerald at FRS had stated that the radio had a problem they never saw before and could not diagnose the cause of. They ended up replacing the entire transceiver board as a last resort.

This radio has a history of serious problems.

Thank you for your input
(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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Upgraded to 2.5.1 in the hope that that would solve the problem. It failed just like with 2.3.9 and 2.4.9

Here's the system stats while it failed:


(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Pat

Here is an idea. Do you have any friends that you can connect to their Flex via SmartLink and just run FT8 in receive mode? If it doesn’t fail then the radio would be suspect

It sounds like you did a lot of troubleshooting without success.

Dave wo2x
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Pat N6PAT

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Friends? What is this "friends" you speak of? I am unfamiliar with the word
(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Please don’t be sarcastic. Everyone here is trying to make suggestions to help you.

And in case I wasn’t perfectly clear, friends who own a 6000 series radio with at least version 2 firmware.
(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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Actually, I'm not being sarcastic. The only real friend I've ever had was my wife and she died 4 years ago in our bed with her arm around me.

And I do appreciate all the suggestions.
(Edited)
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David Warnberg

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I was going to make the same suggestion but knew it wouldn't fly...

But the point is made, it would eliminate half the equation..
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Rick WN2C

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Pat, what specific steps have you taken to trouble shoot this issue? My suggestion of using an outboard interface to do any digital modes (like a rigblaster or Signal link) to eliminate DAX would be a start. If it is not a timing issue and not a software compatibility issue (you are using the lastest WSJT?) then it has to be something else.
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Pat N6PAT

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Rick,

So far I've done the following:

Upgraded/downgraded SSDR 2.3.9 - 2.4.9 - 2.5.1

Uninstalled and reinstalled WSJT-X many times.

Upgraded WSJT-X to 2.0.1

Tried JTDX and it failed as well

Purchased a brand new Windows 10 and monitor to upgrade from Windows 8.1

Purchased a brand new LDG 600 Pro II external tuner to replace existing LDG

Purchased a brand new antenna identical to existing Hustler 6BTV

Replaced PS with a brand new PS

Replaced entire run of coax

Replaced Ethernet cable

Added cores to every single cable and wire

Ran MS Malware removal on both computers

Ran full system scans many time son both systems with Avast antivirus

Send radio in to FRS for frequency instability issue. While there Gerald said they found a serious problem they had never seen before and could not diagnose so they ended up replacing the entire transceiver board.

The radio has a history of a serious issue of unknown origin

I've probably spent close to $2,000 to get this fixed
(Edited)
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Ray - K6LJ

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Hi Pat - Sorry for you loss.  I took a look at my stats while running one instance of wsjt and here it is.



It is not so far from what you are seeing except for the Network and GPU.

One thing not tried is concerning the Network. My network does not move off 0% that I have seen.

Is it possible that every once in a while the network is having an issue for a instant. This could corrupt the info coming in and messing up the decode.

When I travel I sometimes have to use my cell phone and put it in the Mobile Hotspot or Tethering mode and I connect to it with SDR via Wifi.
 Works pretty well.

Maybe trying a different internet connection could help. Everyone has tried to help with suggestions.

Bad data in would mean bad data out in most cases..

RAy
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Pat N6PAT

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I just have the one connection, FT8 has worked perfectly for the past 2 years with the same configuration without problems.

The decode issue seems to have coincided with this other problem that FRS discovered and had never seen before.  Gerald said they could not figure out what was causing it so as a last measure replaced the entire transceiver board.
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DAX is a GPU consumer.

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Ray - K6LJ

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It seems to me if FRS replaced the entire Transceiver board, checked the radio out and you have tried replacing the computer and all the suggestions given from the community then you should consider the network. Just because you have said that it has always worked for the last 2 years does not mean that something has not changed from the provider (software, firmware etc or hardware issues)  Trying the hotspot or tethering mode or taking the computer and radio to another ham shack and trying it out could be helpful in your Quest.

RAy
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Pat N6PAT

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The network connection is 100mb.  Like lighting. Funny thing is many times when decode fails there is nothing else running

Went through a number of latency tests as well with Tim all passed with flying colors
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Ray - K6LJ

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These tests you did with Tim does not mean that the network is not the issue. Intermittent issues come and go. If they are not there when you run the test everything can appear fine.

Years ago I was a electronic tech in the navy on board an FBM submarine.
My last patrol we had an issue with a radiation detector that spiked whenever a certain plant condition occurred.

I spent hours and hours tearing into the unit but never resolved the issue. I was very frustrated. 6 months after I left the navy I got a letter that told me how it was resolved. They just happened to be doing a ground test on the power Vital bus when the plant condition presented itself.

There was a lead screw that had a limit switch on it and when ever it was run back to the starting point the switch would ground out and cause a power spike (loss)  on the buss causing the Radiation detector to indicate a Hi Radiation level. There was nothing wrong with the unit.

We all are trying to assist here. I see the list of all the things you have tried to no avail yet in my mind you could eliminate the radio or network from the issue by disconnecting from your network and either try it from a mobile hotspot or use a different flex radio.

And to me FRS (and others) are working very hard to make this right with you. Let's assume the radio is the issue. After 2 years it is definitely out of warranty yet FRS has replaced a significant board in the transceiver.

The radio is not something that is guaranteed forever sad to say. If it is the radio you would still be responsible to replace it or get it fixed.

I sincerely hope you find the issue. I think you should try another flex radio in it's place or connect to a different network to cut the issue in half.

best of luck

 Ray
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Pat N6PAT

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Ray,

I have the 6700 connected directly to my computer via cable
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Ray - K6LJ

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So the network is connected via wifi,? I have my internet connected to an internet switch which also has the computer connected therefore i have a solid connection to the radio and internet. Although i never recall having issues as the router is only 10 feet away it is probably better not to rely on wifi communications to the radio.
Ray
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Pat N6PAT

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The only connections with the radio is via cable to the computer. That's all

I don't use any remote access
(Edited)
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mikeatthebeach .

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Pat

You say WSJT is not a problem

Try earlier versions of WSJT

https://sourceforge.net/projects/wsjt...
There are known issues with rc7 of WSJT
Where it stops decoding
This is from the WSJT developers group

Subject: [wsjt-devel] WSJT Audio Inputt

From: Black Michael via wsjt-devel
Date: July 3, 2019 at 8:37:54 PM PDT
To: Hasan al-Basri , Tod Farrell WE5TR
Cc: Black Michael , WSJT software development
Subject: Re: [wsjt-devel] WSJT Audio Input Loss
Reply-To: Black Michael , WSJT software development

We seem to be hearing problems with a few people on both 2.0.1 and 2.1.0-rc7.
2.0.1 has been out for a long time and if this was common I'd think we would have heard a lot more reports of the problem.
Upgrading to 2.1.0-rc7 and back to 2.0.1 should (and I emphasize should) just revert completely back to 2.0.1 thought there is a bug with FT4 in that case.

The common thread probably is Windows updates....or time is off. Check http://time.is to ensure you're time is reported as "Exact".

If you see waterfall activity but no decodes on of three things is likely happening.

#1 Time is off
#2 WAV files are not being recorded. Ensure Save/All is checked and see if WAV files are showing up in the Save folder. One user found using Remote Desktop that audio files weren't being saved. TeamViewer worked though.
#3 Audio corrupted. If WAV files are showing up but not decoding and your time is correct then send in a few audio files so we can look at them.

de Mike W9MDB

On Wednesday, July 3, 2019, 10:27:56 PM CDT, Tod Farrell WE5TR wrote:

Similar issue here on 2.0.1, win10, and flex6700 after a long operating session or even a long monitoring session. I.e. I’ll leave the shack powered up monitoring a band while I’m at work or elsewhere in the house.

When I come back sometimes the waterfall is showing activity, dT is good, time.is is good, but no decodes.
Other times it’s that clicking transit or tune causes no generated audio to the DAX software which has a meter that shows me no incoming audio is present from WSJT-X.

Typically corrected with a WSJT-X restart

--
73

Tod WE5TR
While mobile

On Jul 3, 2019, at 16:52, Hasan al-Basri wrote:

Hi Mike,
No transmitting at all. RF Chokes all over the place. No issues running KW out on any band 6m through 80m. (if I have just rebooted the computer). Once it has run for several hours. it will stop decoding, whether I have transmitted or not, no matter qrp or qro. I monitor 24x7 , go days without tx'ing...it still goes deaf.

IOW, it's not a USB RFI problem.

All power settings for USB have been set to never sleep.

I"m baffled, like I said, it acts like a memory leak and I don't think it's a coincidence that it showed up the very first time after installing and running RC7 64 bit.

The problem NEVER showed up b4 RC7 64 bit was installed. I didn't change a thing in my setup or operating habits. Now I have to reboot every day or it just stops decoding, even having uninstalled RC7 64 bit and returned to 2.01 Gen Release.

Audio level is perfect, waterfall shows signals...no decode. Reboot...decodes resume. No other program shows any symptoms like this at all on the same computer. WSJT-X is running on its own USB Sound Dongle for both RX and TX....and has been for over a year.

Any further ideas are most welcome (TS-590sg, running from headphone jack for rx audio) Audio sounds perfect to the ear. Levels are right...
Most peculiar!

73, N0AN
Hasan

On Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 4:39 PM Black Michael via wsjt-devel wrote:
Failing audio or rig connections are most always due to RFI or USB ports going to sleep.
If RFI low power transmissions can be tested and if they work but high power does not then it's RFI.
The USB ports going to sleep can be solved.
https://www.windowscentral.com/how-pr...

de Mike W9MDB

On Wednesday, July 3, 2019, 04:31:39 PM CDT, rjairam@gmail.com wrote:

I’ve seen this with other radios. Definitely not a flex only issue.

Ria
N2RJ

On Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 4:58 PM DX Jami via wsjt-devel wrote:
Peter,

Flex has its own set of unique problems and fixes. Suggest you post your question on the Flex forum page. Good luck.

Danny
AH6FX/W4

On Wednesday, July 3, 2019, 3:11:48 PM EDT, Peter Putnam wrote:

Greetings,

I have been using WSJT-X quite successfully for several years during
June VHF Contests. I experienced a failure of the WSJT program to accept
received audio input after several hours of proper operation during the
recent Field Day exercise.

I'll provide a brief outline and reply with more detail, should it be
needed.

My computer is a Dell Optiplex 780 running Win 7 Pro SP1, 64-bit. The
WSJT-X software version is 2.0.1 7ddcb7.

My receiver is a Flex 6500. It passes data to a Flex-supplied "DAX"
program that interfaces various applications that wish to receive the
audio stream. WSJT accepts the stream and displays results on the Wide
Graph and a small audio signal-strength window. Activity proceeded
normally for the first three hours of Field Day, until both the Wide
Graph and the audio signal-strength stopped showing any incoming audio.

I can't offer any help on what might have caused the problem. It was
abrupt and seemingly unrelated to any other system actions. I am unable
to reproduce the problem.

Several operators spent several hours speculating about what a solution
might be. Program restarts and computer re-boots (time-tested favorite
of generations) changed nothing. The only useful clue was that the DAX
audio output stream was present and could be re-directed to Fldigi, but
not to WSJT-X.

I was able to restore operation for a brief period by stopping WSJT,
renaming WSJT.ini and restarting WSJT. That fix lasted for a half hour.
Repeating the procedure provided operation for the rest of Field Day.

The two .ini files that were renamed are available for your inspection,
along with the one that continued to function.

Any suggestions you can offer to prevent a recurrence would be greatly
appreciated.

Regards,
Peter
NI6E

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Pat N6PAT

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Mike,

I have been using WSJT-X since 1.9 and progressed up to 2.0.1

I can't try any version prior to 2.0 as earlier versions are not compatible with 2.x
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mikeatthebeach .

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I suggest you contact the WSJT developer group
For help as well
Mike
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Pat N6PAT

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That's a good idea.

It's very funny though that this started happening and then FRS discovers a problem that they've never seen before and cannot find the cause of. If they don't know what the cause is then how do they know it's not still there in some manner or will not return?

Replacing the transceiver board may have only treated the symptom and not cured the illness.
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Do you have local hams as friends, is there one with a 6xxx ?  Can you get it to your station to try out? This would save a lot of speculating on your part if it is the radio. That would surely be more conclusive. I think it is not a SmartSDR issue otherwise the community would be loaded with similar FT-8 dropping out issues. In previous posts you indicated that FRS found other issues with your radio. Perhaps caused by operator or external fault such as static or lightning. We all must assume that FRS did a lot of out of warranty repair work on your behalf free of charge. You have not detailed publicly as much info since it was returned and if you did I missed the post. I suppose there still could be something more wrong with the radio and that you may have to come to grips with at some point and pay for the repair.

Saying that, I wouldn't give up yet, I would try to disconnected the ethernet and wifi if on-board and shutdown any internet interaction such as the reporting in WJST-X and if possible any Microsoft reporting and shut down any anti-virus software. Be sure no other program is running except one instance of WJST-X. In other words eliminate all possible network hiccups.
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Joe N3HEE

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Find a local ham friend that can loan you a rig that can do FT8. Or connect to another Flex radio remotely . Mine is in the shop or I would offer it to you remotely as a test. This is the only way to determine if it’s the radio.
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Bill W2PKY

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Hello Pat-
An interesting test would be to set up a WSJT-X instance on your 8.1 PC and run an audio cable from the 6500 into the MIC input on the 8.1 PC. Turn off decode reporting to HamSpots and PSKR in the 8.1 PC instance and verify decoding by turning on the speaker icon on each individual slice.
When a slice stops decoding through DAX turn on the speaker for that slice and see if the 8.1 PC decodes over the wire connection. 
Sri if you have answered these questions before:
Have you listened to non-decoding slices through earphones on the radio to see if the audio sounds okay?
Have you listened to the audio on the PC by using the "Listen" feature in the SOUNDS > RECORDING tab of the speaker icon in the Task tray?
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k3Tim

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On a separate slice run FLDIGI in frequency analysis mode with the Scope enabled tuned to WWV. This would verify rig and DaX are stable. 

A 6500 running latest WSJT, two slices, one slice on FLDIGI , Windows 10 runs w/o issues.

Good Luck.,..

Tim / k3TiM - 7
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Pat N6PAT

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Tim,

I'll give that a try later

Thanks
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Pat N6PAT

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Lots of good suggestions.

Please note that I have the 6700 directly connected to the Windows 10 computer

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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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You made some contradicting statements, you said you use Meinberg and show the screen shot of the servers you're connecting to so we must assume the computer is connected to the internet, then you said, "The only connections with the radio is via cable to the computer. That's all "

So now the mystery thickens, how is your computer connected to the internet if you have the ethernet cable from the 6700 directly to the computer as you stated?  A second ethernet port, wifi?

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Pat N6PAT

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My computer is connected to the internet for Meinberg.

My 6700 is only connected to my computer via Ethernet cable with no other connections which is what I said. I only use Meinberg to eliminate the possibility of a timing issue which it is not. I often disconnect Meinberg and can run FT8 without it.

The only reason I installed Meinberg in the first place was because everyone thought it was a timing issue which it is not.

I am not accessing the 6700 via internet , wifi, etc. I only access it via Ethernet cable and I can completely shut off my computer's internet connection and still operate the radio and it fails then as well.

To clarify: It fails when I use Meinberg and my computer is connected to the internet. It fails when I disconnect the internet and Meinberg. It makes no difference. Sometimes it runs for hours other times for just a minute to two.
(Edited)
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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You still haven't explained how your computer is connected to the internet, only that your computer ethernet is ONLY connected to 6700.
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Pat N6PAT

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When I have my computer connected to the internet like right now it is via wifi to my router.

You seem to be missing the point that the decoding failure happens when my computer is connected to the internet and even when it is not connected to the internet. The internet connection is not the cause of the problem.

You do not need an internet connection to run SSDR
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Not missing the point at all and no you do not need an internet connection to run SSDR, most of us know this, but you do need it to run other programs on your computer running such as Meinberg and WJST-X if you have reporting enabled automatic updates from anti-virus programs and Microsoft. My suggestion was to turn off or disable everything you can think of needed internet. Again using logic, since you haven't gotten another 6xxx to eliminate or further prove the radio is the problem, we are left to looking at your computer/software/network.
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Pat N6PAT

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Mike,

I did do all that. I've disconnected my computer from my router and the internet, shut off ever application and service that windows does not require to function including Avast antivirus.

All that was left was the computer and the 6700 connected to the computer via Ethernet and SSDR. I even shut off the speakers. It would still fail.

I tried this on the 8.1 and Win 10 computer.

Keep in mind that FRS has said they found a problem with the radio that they have never seen before and could not determine the cause. Not my words but Gerald's
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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That was before you mostly got a new radio, this problem does not follow all 6700 radios around.
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Pat N6PAT

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This problem has continued after I got the radio back from FRS and I tried all the same things to see if I could find the cause.

Please note the date on the video I made showing the moment FT8 stopped working. This was after I got the radio back from FRS. I added those videos to the current trouble ticket
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Bill -VA3WTB

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We know you are dealing with Flex away from the community, private, It looks like nothing has been accomplished on the community and it does not look likely. Best of luck finding answers.
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Karl KB2AS

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Pat,
In my previous post I failed to mention that the same thing happens to the DAX IQ channel when running CW Skimmer, that is my reason for saying this is not a WSJT issue.
This has been observed on the two previous versions of SSDR, as well as the current 2.5.1. It occurred on my previous 6500, now running a 6700, sent the 6700 back to Flex a few months ago, the problem still exist. There are times when I can run for several days without an issue, or a minute or two like you stated before the decode stops. A few DAX restarts may fix it, sometimes it doesn't even with computer and 6700 roboots. When that happens I'll run on the laptop or a remote desktop until until the main computer decides to work again. I have not run WSJT long enough on the other computers to experience this problem, usually within a day before the main computer works again.
This has been my experience, sounds similar to yours except that you experience this on different computers. My OS is Win 10.
No suggestions to offer to offer, just sharing my experience.

Karl
KB2AS
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Pat N6PAT

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Karl,

Thanks for the info. I do use CW Skimmer along with Spot Collector and I haven't had any issues with them. I don't use them nearly as much as I use FT8 so that might explain why I don't see issues with them.

Next time this happens I'll turn CW Skimmer on and see if it has a problem
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Karl KB2AS

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Pat,

Here is another observation I made this morning, and this has been running all morning.
On my laptop, I am running CAT and DAX only, and one instance of WSJT, the laptop is decoding with a normal looking waterfall, the main computer stops decoding after a few minutes each time DAX is restarted, but the laptop continues to decode despite the bad WSJT waterfall on the main computer.
I reinstalled WSJT a few times on the main computer today, makes no difference in decode. Previously the main computer usually corrects itself after a while, no such luck today.
I was convinced it was DAX and this computer issue, I am ready to add WSJT and this computer back in the mix.
The suggestion in a previous post to have someone log into your radio or borrow another computer and set up like I did with the additional DAX connection may at least prove the radio is not an issue in your setup.

Karl
KB2AS
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Pat N6PAT

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I do have 2 computers. One is a Windows 8.1 and the other is a Windows 10. The decoding fails on both at completely random times. I've switched the radio from one computer to the other many times.

Two completely different computers with no connections between them and It doesn't matter if they are connected to the internet or not.

Thanks for the suggestion but I think the fact that it's failing on both computers rules out that it's a computer issue.
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Volker Geith

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Hi Pat,

do you have an external GPSDO installed? I had RF interference to the external GPSDO and the Flex kept on switching between TCXO and GPSDO which made similar problems.

73

Volker, DL4RCE
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David Warnberg

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"Thanks for the suggestion but I think the fact that it's failing on both computers rules out that it's a computer issue."

Yep, send it back, it's the radio..
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Pat N6PAT

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@Volker,

Unfortunately I do not have a GPSDO installed. I sent the raido into FRS for a frequency instability issue and they said it was due to the failure of the XO which they replaced.

While at FRS Gerald said that they found a problem with the radio that they never saw before and could not diagnose. As a last resort they replaced the entire transceiver board in hopes of solving it.

The radio has a history of a serious issue of unknown origin as confirmed by FRS
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Volker Geith

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Oh, Ok Pat, then Good Luck, hope everything will be fine soon!

Volker
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Bill -VA3WTB

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It is possible this will never be solved, Maybe time to sell? and go with something causing less stress. Amazing, with the new board, as giving you a new radio things still are not ok.
It sounds like why you have owned that radio, there was a time when all was just fine then suddenly it started acting up.
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Pat N6PAT

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No one is going to buy this radio for a reasonable price with the history it has and I would never sell it without first informing the buyer of the problems it has
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K5ROX

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Pat ive been dealing with a different problem on my 6600 since new, flex keeps insisting it everything but the radio.......At one time after they kept insisting it was my computer. yet I had tried the other 3 in the house I went and bought a brand new $900 computer, problem still same.

On your radio, ive pretty much read all the post and I believe it is your radio.

Mine will sometimes go 2 weeks before it restarts on its own, yours is pretty easily reproducable, I know you don't feel like it but its better then my situation.

Good Luck!
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Pat - WH6HI

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Hi pat, try this change in AGC operation. Here is how I set up the AGC functions on the radio and wsjt-x. On the radio set AGC-T to Fast with the slider all the way to right. Set wsjt-x to flatten via the check box on the waterfall window. Now set DAX audio level on the wsjt-x window to 60. This level will now be held at 60 no matter the RX conditions. Works very well for me on my 6500.

Aloha
Pat
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Pat N6PAT

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Pat,

Thanks for the suggestion. I've experimented with those controls many times to no avail however I will try them as you've suggested again. Who knows, it mat have an impact.
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Pat N6PAT

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@K5ROX,

I've spent close to $2,000 of my own money so far trying to isolate and correct whatever is causing this. No luck so far. Gerald told me that FRS has over $4,000 invested in the repair of this radio yet I still have the problem.

The total cost will soon exceed what I paid for the radio.
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KM4CQG

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Pat

I watched your Videos and read the pages of Posts your issue seems to be the Dax Corruption issues I and others have been plagued with for years.

When FT8 is running are you using the computer for other functions?
I ask because this seems to increase the likely hood of the FT8 corruptions issue.

What I have done to help not fix the issue is manual load DAX and CAT not have them auto load it helps for a while. Sometimes I can't even finish a 20min session without the corruption issue and other times 2 hours no issue.

Either way your not alone one other thing make sure that your Ports don't go into a Powersaver mode sometimes this causes a problem.

Ian
KM4CQG


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Pat N6PAT

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Ian,

I thought about that. Several times I've shut down every app and stopped every service that windows doesn't need to function and then launched SSDR but it still failed,  sometimes immediately and other times after several hours.  Even disconnected from my router and internet. The radio is connected to the computer via Ethernet cable.

I've tried this with both computers 8.1 and 10.
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Joe N3HEE

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You can rule out a DAX issue by using the audio line out from auxiliary connector on rear of radio. Use this line audio to feed your computer line input. Make sure to stop DAX during this test.
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Paul - K6HR

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Hi Pat,

I had the same exact problem using an i5 CPU with 8GB RAM. The decoding would stop for no apparent reason. I have resolved the problem completely. I'm not 100% happy with the solution, but it solved my problem. I could see this happening with an i3 CPU also. After watching the video you posted I thought this might be worth mentioning.

It's the SmartSDR (any version) Display Settings.

Humor me, and I'll go away if this doesn't solve it. Heck, maybe I'll even buy your "broken" radio if this doesn't do it! Hi! Hi!

Let's go drastic first.

Start with just one Panadapter open.
Set every Display control to ZERO (set all 6 sliders completely to the left)
Turn off the AUTO black level and choose DARK from the dropdown menu.
Finally, turn off 'Weighted Average'.

Now, run WSJT-X as you always have.

Drum roll please...!
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Pat N6PAT

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I don't know which display settings you're talking about.  On the monitor or do you mean the pan?

Never mind...I'm sure you meant pan. I'll give it a try
(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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That really messed up my pan display. Like it was in slow motion. No thanks.

Now what was that about buying my radio?
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KM4CQG

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Paul K6HR

I was skeptical about your solution as I have tried many fixes.
After a 3 Band 3 hour monitoring running most with dual bands there was no DAX corruption.

So Paul tell me my Dell is a I7 the Video card is driving 3 monitors this computer is dedicated just the the Flex 6700 what was overloading the DAX?

I'm still testing it but for right now........................

My Hats off to you Sir!!!!!

Ian
KM4CQG
(Edited)
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Ray - K6LJ

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Pat - i think you missed Pauls point. Regardless of what the display is showing he wanted you to see if the decoding / maybe a Dax issue was changed. You dont need the display when using the wsjt screen. Ian seems to thinks it works. I havent had the issue here so i can leave the display running but if it works it could be a work around.
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Pat N6PAT

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I understand his point.  However, I do look at the pan display as well as WSJT-X when working FT8 as I like to see what else is on the band.

I haven't tried it yet past the point of messing up the pan display but if you have to mess up the pan display just to overcome another issue then that is not what I would call a working solution.  That's certainly not what I would expect from a $7,000 radio.

I'll wait until decoding fails again and try his method
(Edited)
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K5ROX

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You could use a crystal oscillator to see if radio is drifting.
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Pat N6PAT

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Gerald said they fixed the drift issue by replacing the XO
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Paul - K6HR

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Pat, Let me know what happens after you turn off the display sliders in SmartSDR and then I'll tell you what I did next...you won't lose the panadapter at all, just bear with me and I'll walk you through it. First I need to know what happens at the 'drastic' step of turning off the display.
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Pat N6PAT

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I just booted up the radio again. Right now it's working. Sometimes it can work for a couple of hours before it fails. I'll let you know
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Ray - K6LJ

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If you like to look around and operate SSB consider upgrading to ver 3. You could have 2 computers running SDR. Both could be connected, 1 running wsjt the other SSB or whatever. If the work around functions you could still be operating from the other computer at the same time. Seperate displays and would not need the display for wsjt. I have a maestro running wsjt and my computer running SDR. I talk on phone while monitoring wsjt. Of course cannot xmit at the same time and the receive is interrupted when xmitting but works great
Ray
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Pat N6PAT

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Why would I need to do that? I have 8 pans available on my 6700 and many times I'm running all 8. That's exactly why I bought the 6700.

Whatever pan I'm using I want to have the ability to see what else is on that band. Sometimes I only want a single pan open.

The last thing I want to do is spend even more money on this hobby. I have no desire for multitask so no reason to purchase v3.
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Pat N6PAT

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I should add that a work around is not a fix. That would be like buying a new car and having to use duct tape to hold the door closed

I spent a great deal of money on this radio and I don't want to reply on weird do-this-do-that workarounds. I expect the radio to work as advertised.
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Joe N3HEE

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You can also use a WEB SDR receiver to test with.  This is quick and easy to do.  I was decoding FT8 using a Kiwi SDR and WSJT this morning.  Worked great.  This test will tell you if the problem is with your radio.  I was able to decode simply using my web cam mic as input to WSJT.  You can also use a virtual cable such as Voice Meter to route audio to WSJT.  
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Pat N6PAT

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Thanks for the suggestion.

I've all ready eliminated everything but the computer and radio and given that the problem happens on both the windows 8.1 and windows 10 computers with nothing else connected or running I'm certain that it's the radio.

FRS said it had a problem they've never seen before and could not find the cause so it looks like I'm the 1 in a million. Lucky me!
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Joe N3HEE

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Ok, Pat.  I will leave you with these thoughts and then I will get out of the loop.  I enjoy troubleshooting ( that's part of what I do for a living) and this has been most interesting.  However, I think a few things were left on table to test.  

As you know, FT8 has requirements that should be able to be met by almost any radio within the past decade or so.  For decode it needs a fairly stable receiver, an audio source, and a fairly accurate computer clock.

It seems that others in this thread have had similar issues with decoding FT8 and some have indicated it was an issue with DAX.  Have you ruled out DAX ?  I know you have ruled out computer hardware but not any FRS software components such as DAX that I am aware of.

It is very easy to bypass DAX and feed audio directly from your 6700 to WSJT.  Simple cable (1/4 inch stereo to 3.5mm stereo cable) from headphone jack or powered speaker jack to computer line in would work for testing purposes.  Heck even a cheap microphone or web cam connected to your computer will work.  Just play the audio from powered speakers and pick it up using the mic. Shut down SSDR all together for this test. 

Test the stability of your radio by tuning (zero beat tone using LSB) to WWV and let it sit there for a few hours and see how much drift you have.  I bet very little if any ?

Rule out or confirm the radio is the problem by using another radio or web SDR radio.

Or, send the radio back to FRS and have them hook it up to FT8 on their bench and see if they can replicate and find the issue for you. 

Good luck with this Pat.  I hope you get this resolved.

73, 

Joe
N3HEE


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Pat N6PAT

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Many people have said they suspect that DAX could be the issue given that DAX has long-standing known issues.

That begs the question: Why hasn't DAX been fixed?
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Paul - K6HR

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Hey Pat,
Is it still running since last night with the SSDR display turned off?
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Paul, what you are talking about, Is Flex aware of this so they can look at this closer at their end?
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Pat N6PAT

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Paul,

I didn't try that method after I saw that it was messing up the pan. I didn't pay $7,000 for a radio just to have to try messing wiht all the controls to get it to work properly.
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Paul - K6HR

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Well, I have the solution for you whenever you are ready.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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It’s probably time for Flex to close this thread
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Michael N3LI

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I second that motion.
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Michael Walker, Employee

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I have not read all the comments, but there are some good areas here on possible issues.

While DAX seems to be the common thread, I have seen the exact same failure on my FT897 with a External USB sound card (no DAX).

There are times when there are software problems that are the result of many different 'players' and things just fail.

Is it WSJTx that is the problem or the management of the Audio in Windows?  Both are key components here.  

If you have written code for a living, you will know that you need to figure out a way to have it fail repeatedly so you can then debug it and fix it.  That is not the case here since there are no Log files you can turn on or other debug code.  It is painful at best.

What will likely happen is that it may just go away as a problem on a Windows Update, WSJTx Update or maybe even a DAX update (for Flex Users).

Mike
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Pat N6PAT

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These are all good suggestions. I've tried so many things but to no avail. The problem still occurs at completely random times.

Again I should point out that I have literally replaced every single thing except the radio. All hardware components have been replaced with brand new components and all software has been removed and reinstalled.  I've also used all variations of SSDR 2.x but the problem continues
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David Warnberg

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Why don’t you offer to have someone else connect to your radio and test?
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Pat N6PAT

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I'm not sure what that would do. I've already tried it with 2 different computers already including a brand new Window 10 that I bought just to try and solve this.

I also tried with the  internet connected and internet disconnected. I don't use remote capabilities. And the radio is connected to the computer via Ethernet cable not via router
(Edited)
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David Warnberg

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It would prove that if someone has a working version of WSJT-X and it still has the same issue it is the radio.. if it doesn't show the same issue it's your software somewhere... IT 101
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Pat N6PAT

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I am aware of IT test procedures having been in IT for many decades including owning my own software company.

Unless the other op is running a bootleg copy of WSJT-X then they are using a version that I've already tried as I've tried all general release 2.x versions

Also, I do not connect my radio to my router and do not allow other people to connect to my network.

But I do appreciate the suggestion. Thanks
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Looks like there is no more need for this discussion.
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Michael N3LI

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Has anyone told him about the buffering issues that can sometimes come up with a direct radio to computer connection?
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Michael I have not heard of these buffering issues as I've not come across these problems, but I am using the standard configuration of a wifi router with WAN connected to the internet and the shack computer and 6700 connected to the LAN, this also allows my Maestro to connect to the same LAN or by wifi when I do a walk about the property.

He seems convinced it is the radio, and until he reports that he has tried another 6xxx with wonderful success, he really should be open to something else and that the drop out is a symptom of another problem. At least that is how I would approach this.
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Michael N3LI

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Hi Mike, the computer versus router buffering issue is something that Tim reported on some years back when he suggested a router might be better than direct. From the post regarding direct versus router:

"Well, not exactly equal. Functionally yes, but operationally a switch/router will have more port level buffering and (maybe) packet CRC checking. Also Windows is NOTORIOUSLY bad at IP routing so connection a FLEX-6000 directly to the PC and another network connection, either wired or wireless can be problematic. "

I vote for the switch router." end quote.

This is a strange situation, with strange twists and turns, and I'm really at a loss to figure out how to help - I'm pretty certain if I could get my hands on the radio, I'd have it figured out quickly. The Radio? that's the last on my list of what it is likely to be. I'd be looking first at WSJT-X and multiple instances, and then some of the whacky power saving or allowing devices to take over issues in Windows. 

In the Youtube video, you can see the DAX channels putting out sound, you can see the SSDR Panadapter working. You can see the receive level in WSJT-X receiving audio.  What you don't see is WSJT-X decode button turning blue. It would be very cool to see the WSJT-X version of the Panadapter to see what it is doing at that time. 

Oh - and Processing is on and it's in DX+ mode. I don't know if that is shut off when in DIGU. For that matter, I don't know if is in DIGU mode. But it isn't going to be too pretty if the TX signal is compressed. But that's a different issue.

The receive levels are also low.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I don't think it's the radio either being that they changed out the board giving back basically a new radio. But why did everything work before with all the same settings as he uses now?
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Pat N6PAT

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Correct.

All of the configurations, both radio and computer, worked fine until I started having the frequency instability issue that FRS confirmed. Now it's a mess.

I only added Meinberg, new computer , etc, etc to try and solve the problem.

I know you guys worship Flex radios and cannot bring yourselves to accept that it could in fact be the radio that's the problem but please consider this:

When FRS could not find the cause to the problem they tossed in the towel and replaced the transceiver board. Now that's all good and great but if they couldn't find the origins of the problem then how do they know it was located on that board and not on some other component of the radio and manifested itself as a problem with the main board?

Remember, First I was told the problem was separate from the frequency issue that I sent the radio in for. Then I was told that it was merely a symptom of the frequency issue. Then I was told once again that it was a separate issue. Sounds like a lot of guessing.
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Pat,,Because some of this makes no sense. This is what we know,, Flex could not locate the problem for that one board not ever seeing that problem before. The board they replaced is the only board in the radio. I think. Only one large board in the 6500. So they gave you a new radio. And tested like all other Flex radios. Your Radio would not calibrate because of an unknown problem. That had to be fixed before moving on. Of coarse they were quessing, something never seen before?

Saying that we are disiples and we worship Flex is simply incorrect. Many of us have had very few if any problems with our radios,,, So yes I AM A HAPPY FLEXER,,,why not?
Very sorry your having so many problems, but please consider many of us are very happy customers, no need to be condesending. It is understood some may and have run into problems and we are all here to try and help. I am very happy with my radio and I have had wonderful service from Flex when I sent it in for a problem,,don't be angry with me!!!  or us.

But there are a few things here that do not add up and you have trashed basically any further testing people mentioned. Such as using a wonderful tool like remote. I know you don't like anyone remoting in and I get the reasons,,but it is for troubleshooting only.

This will likely continue on the community for many more weeks, When  this discussion gets closed, you will think up another one and start all over again. I truly wish you find your answers and all is well but it seems clear many here are wasting time trying to help you, and you are still working things out with Flex in private.
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Pat N6PAT

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I will ask you the same question I just asked Gerald in the ticket. And be honest with your answer:

Would you buy a $7,000 from a company if you knew beforehand that the person that designed the radio and runs the company could not find the cause of a problem that the radio had and could not fix without replacing the entire board?

A second question: What happens if this same problem started showing up in other radios? How many more boards is FRS going to replace because they still do not know what is causing the problem before they say "sorry but we can't fix it" ?

Your answer please
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Question #1 Would I buy a radio knowing it can not be fixed? of coarse not.

Question#2  How can I know the answer to that?

And both questions are really really cheap shots. easy targets.
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Pat N6PAT

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Well, it looks like I'm stuck with a real lemon. It works when it feels like working and it doesn't work when it wants to annoy me. This was my retirement present to myself. So much for a happy retirement.

Thanks Flex.
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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It would be great if someone nearby you would have a 6700 or some 6XXX to just plug into your cables or maybe even swap with you to see if you can move the trouble..  that's one old sure fire way of troubleshooting.  Probably you or someone else has already thought of this, huh?  Sure wish I could help. Mike  W1BFA
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Pat N6PAT

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Mike,

Thanks for the suggestion.

I don't know anyone else in my area that has a Flex. I pretty much keep to myself and mind my own business always trying to be a good neighbor and respect other's privacy.
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Paul - K6HR

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Pat,
Maybe by now you have realized that you can't run SmartSDR with maximum display settings on an i5 processor especially when WSJT-x is running. I think you tried it my way and it worked, but you can't admit that now because you're dug in too deep. You didn't even ask what the correct display settings were! Quit your crying and buy a capable PC or get a 'traditional' radio.

If you want to sell the radio I'm sure someone will buy it, since there's nothing wrong with it.
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Pat N6PAT

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I started this thread and now I would like the moderators to close it. I'm stuck with a pile of junk and that's the way it is.

Gerald and Dan are well aware of the situation and my feelings. If any of you want to be kept updated on this please email me. I already have a growing list

Moderators please close this thread now.

Thank you.
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Michael N3LI

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I am tired of this abusive person who tells people that have spent a lot of time tring to help him "Flex Worshippers".  How dare you? Seriously Pat, you need to sell your Flex, buy something - anything else, and spread your sunshine on that other group.
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Paul - K6HR

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Run for the hills!
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Pat - WH6HI

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I would at least ask for a one for one trade, you might get lucky, and get a good one.
Photo of Paul - K6HR

Paul - K6HR

  • 126 Posts
  • 22 Reply Likes
It was already swapped for him once.
Photo of Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ

Dan Quigley N7HQ, 4O7HQ, Service/Support Manager

  • 39 Posts
  • 51 Reply Likes

Folks, thank you for jumping in and assisting Pat, N6PAT.

A few times a year, we run across more complicated, systems-level problems that resist attempts to identify a single root cause, because there is more than one issue.  In these situations, we work with the customer to systematically isolate the problem at the customer's pace.  In this case, we identified a problem with his radio, have repaired it and recertified that his radio passed our factory tests. 

Even with a properly functioning radio, Pat is still having issues, and as we would with any customer, we are actively working with him in his helpdesk ticket so that we can track it to a successful conclusion. 

73,
Dan Quigley, N7HQ

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