how to reloading firmware?Trying to fix poping problem in transmit mode?

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I was wondering  if someone in the community or at Flex could tell me how to refresh the firmware in my 6500?  I, and several of my Flex friends are experiencing popping sounds when in transmit mode, either Tune, FT8, AM or FM will create the pop; even running low power such as 2 or 3 watts. You can hear the pop in any receiver tuned to the transmit frequency and see it on the panadapter if you are looking at the transmit signal with the base line on the screen.

We believe its the Flex because our radio's (6500 and 6700's) will generate the popping when running via SSDR on a PC, running iOS on an iPhone via the local network and bypassing the network with the PC directly connected to the Flex.  In all these tests the mic I was using is going into the Balanced input on the radio; I was not using PC or iOS audio.

Because it seems that the radio is the common element in all these tests and I don't want to down rev from 2.6.1 to 2.4.9 because from what I have read it's messy, I was wondering is there is a way to just reload the 2.6.1 firmware over whats there??

By the way, two of our friends that have 6400's are NOT experiencing this problem.

Any help will be sincerely appreciated.
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k0eoo

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Posted 3 weeks ago

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Bill -VA3WTB

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This is always while bare foot?
Since i read this post, I have been trying to hear what your hearing on my flex 6500 and I can't hear any pops. Perhaps delay your TX a bit, it settings.
(Edited)
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Pat - WH6HI

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 I have also been experiencing this situation.  It happens bare foot and I see it on multiple applications using DAX, not sure if I hear it in phone mode.  But being bare foot or with amp has no effect.  But does note seem to affect reception by receiving stations.  But is seen on the transmitter stream in the Panadapter.  The amplitude of the noise pulse line varies indicating it is also a wave form.  I think that the FPGA is

breaking into oscillation randomly in the modulation routines.  This is my guess, since it happens with multiple apps.  Also since others indicate that it is happening on SSB as SSB not using DAX.  So DAX is not part of the issue.  Could not for some reason get second picture showing wsjt-x,  but looks the same. 
(Edited)
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Pat - WH6HI

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Second try...wsjt-x... had to submit separately.... missed the amplitude waveform but it was clean.  As to the possibility that a reset will correct this problem, not sure, since I have reset for other reasons and it not has been corrected.  My radio is a 6500..... multiple PC’s on both Windows 7 and 10 have been used and the issue persists.  In fact these pictures are on my new computer that I have just put on line as part of upgrade to Windows 10.  


(Edited)
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k0eoo

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Thank you Bill and Pat for your comments. 

Bill, adding some TX delay did not resolve problem  But I did notice problem does not appear if I press TUNE while in CW mode, problem only appears in SSB, AM, FT8 and FM.

Pat, yes, when running FT8 with WSJT all of us notice this problem, we can see it in the panadapter spectrum display as a hiccup in the noise floor. QSL on your comment regarding a factory reset not resolving problems in the past...
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Pat - WH6HI

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This also happens in fldigi.... I use the newest version. So it is not strictly a wsjt-x problem.  I have 1ms or less latency on my Ethernet.  These hiccups only happen during transmission.  Every thing in my data com system is shielded and grounded and power is filtered with additional ferrite devices.  I do think this issue is internal to the Flex.
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Pat - WH6HI

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Tune would be carrier only with no modulation.  I see the problem only during the use of modulation from the Flex.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I'm not certain that reloading the firmware will resolve your problem.  This is usually a network issue or a resource contention issue such as feeding a lot of spots to the radio regardless if you are displaying them on the panadapter or not.

But, if you want to do it, the only way is to run a previous version of SmartSDR (2.6.0), update (downgrade) the firmware, verify that it is working, shut down the previous version of SmartSDR, start up the current version of SmartSDR (2.6.1) and update the firmware.

I HIGHLY recommend that you back up (export) your profiles before doing this.  And just to make sure that the database is not inconsistent, do a factory reset and import the profile export you created using SmartSDR v2.6.1.
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Pat - WH6HI

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Tim, do you think this should be elevated to the level of a “bug” report?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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At this point, there isn't enough information to consider this a software defect as there are environmental factors that have to be eliminated first.
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Pat - WH6HI

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Tim, are you thinking of possible RF ingress issues, as environmental.  What other environmental issues would you suggest  we check for? I am going to retest at little or no power into well shielded dummy load and see what happens.  Feedback on what other environmental factors would be appreciated.
(Edited)
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k0eoo

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Tim, this issue is easily reproducible using my test, see my post for details.  If Flex can't reproduce problem on their 6500/6700's than I would think your comment would be valid, otherwise...
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I am still trying to reproduce this here, but I can't. If it is a bug would you not think all customers with 6500, 6700 would see this?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Spectrum anomalies seen on the panadapter and transmitted as RF can be caused by several factors.  If the audio source and destination are a PC running a digital mode, "environmental" ones would include things like network issues that is resulting in dropped network (VITA-49) packets, long-duration DPCs that do not result in audio corruption, A power supply that is not well regulated or antenna system issues.

In addition, if the radio is being "oversubscribed" from a resource standpoint by external processes, such as being sent a large amount of spot data that has to be processed regardless if it is being shown on the panadapter, this can cause an interruption of audio data.

And there is the possibility that there is a software race condition of some sort that is causing the problem.

But also know that the issue can be caused by a combination of factors and there is no single "silver bullet" fix where eliminating one factor resolves the problem.

When you are having issues like this, the only way to troubleshoot is to reduce the external variables that make up the system to the bare minimum and start adding back in variables until hopefully one of them results in the problem reoccurring.

An example of this would be to disconnect all external cables to the radio except the minimum number to operate the radio (DC power and possibly Ethernet) and connect it to an RF dummy load.  Startup the radio and try to reproduce the issue.  If you can't, add a connection back to the radio one at a time and/or connect it to a PC and start the digital mode app (I prefer to reconnect the antenna and RF grounds last).  Sometimes in the process of disconnecting and reconnecting, the problem goes away.
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k0eoo

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Tim, I did everything you said in your last paragraph and I still have the problem with popping in the audio as heard on an external receiver on a dummy load running only 2-3 watts, on several bands.  Please read my post at the top of this thread.

Please Don't confuse my problem with those posts using WSJT on FT8.
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k0eoo

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I should mention that when you key-up the transmitter in TUNE or MOX that  you leave the TX keyed-up while you listen in the external receiver.  Generally within 1 or 2 minutes you will hear multiple pops in the external receivers speaker.  If you're in AM mode make sure you turn the mic gain all the way down.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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@k0eoo  You need to open a HelpDesk ticket for this issue.
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k0eoo

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Thanks Tim, I will.
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k0eoo

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Thank you for the comments Tim.  I don't know why this is happening on v2.6.1 and did not happen on 2.4.9, same with the other Flex users of 6500/6700's here in MN.  I will give going back to a previous version a try later this week.

Dennis, k0eoo
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Pat - WH6HI

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I concur that I did not see this happening in V 2.4.9....
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bobby

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As long as you follow tims suggestions of saving your profiles, hopefully you saved them in 2.49 before you upgraded as well and after the radio downgrade do a factory reset, then when you install smartsdr for 2.49 I had to check the boxes to remove DAX and CAT when I uninstalled 2.6 then install 2.49 with DAX and CAT, start up the radio after the full reset connect with Smartsdr and load your 2.49 profiles saved then everything worked great for me.

The tuner works like it should again, the api I wrote my custom software for works great again and the profiles work like they originally did and now useful again!

YMMV but I certainly would remove and reinstall DAX/CAT since there are BSOD issues being reported now with the new versions. The list just keeps getting longer supporting not upgrading .. just my opinion but I can see the forest through the trees while most cannot.
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k0eoo

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Thanks for the heads-up Bobby, I have 2.4.9 profiles so I should be good to go....
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Roger

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I have the same issue and have tried direct connect with three different computers and reloaded 2.6.1 and is still doing it. Using the LatencyMon tool and the highest is 299 us DPC and all are under 3 - 4 bars of green. 

Roger
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k0eoo

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Update to the popping problem when running AM and FT8.  After talking with Flex it was decided I should send my unit in for some testing and possible updates.  So I disconnected the radio from all its umbilical cords and set it on the bench while I contemplated not having my favorite radio for 1-2 months.While I was thinking about shipping it back my friend Roger, W0RPR who has a 6700 and was experiencing the exact same problem, started running his directly with his Maestro and to our surprise his pops went away.

So I decided to reconnect my radio one cable at a time, off of its usual shelf so I could make sure all the connections where secure.  I started with the 3 minimum required to make the radio go, Ethernet, power and antenna.  results, all work with NO pops!!  I started adding cables, ran my amp and connected a mic and still NO pops! 

I have all but the USB cable and 2nd antenna connected and plan to connect those in a day or two after my radio has had a couple days of pop free operation to confirm this is no fluke.  I will update this thread and Flex in a couple days with the final results...

So far it looks like the problem was a loose or intermittent connection, if that's the case I walk away from this experience with egg on my face having wasted many peoples time....

Dennis, k0eoo



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k0eoo

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Update to my last post on the popping problem.

I connected my USB hub to the back of the radio and the POP came back!!  Looks like something with the USB hub is causing the problem.  I have two FTDI serial adapters connected to that hub.  The hub I'm using is NOT a powered one which is what Flex recommends.  I plan to go on the web and find a powered hub with some isolation for lightning protection.

In addition, my friend W0RPR, Roger, who has a 6700 with the same popping problem was driving his RF-Kit amp with a single FTDI serial adapter solved his popping problem by unplugging the adapter from the USB on the back of the radio.

Dennis, k0eoo
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k0eoo

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Epitaph:

The issue is not the hub but the two FTDI adapters I have plugged into the back of the 6500. One is a FTDI serial adapter from Tera Grand and the other is the Denkovi/SainSmart USB 8 relay board I use to drive my remote antenna switch. Flex said I need to have genuine FTDI manufactured adapters , which I don't have and don't think I will order.

So, my solution is to reconnect those two USB cables back to the PC (where I originally had them) and go back to using DDUtil.  So far that is working great.

Dennis, k0eoo
(Edited)
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k0eoo

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The statement I made above, "The hub I'm using is NOT a powered one which is what Flex recommends" is misleading the way I stated it.  I am not using a powered USB hub.  Flex recommends using a powered USB hub.  They have a link in the Flex USB interface guide to such a powered hub.