PGXL learnings

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Received PGXL 2 days ago and currently learning/testing.
Few questions to other users:

1. PGXL Utility jumps in CW mode on every dot/dit as 0/1500/0/1500.... , it is painful to watch. Is there any averaging or delay in that reading?
It is only happening on PGXL utility, on Amp itself looks normal.

2. Last night had an issue that I cannot explain:
TX on 160m with no Amp, SWR about 1.4-1.5. 
TX on 160m with Amp about 1200W - same SWR
TX on 160m with slowly lowering input power from about 60w to 30w, slowly raising SWR and around 30w input SWR jumps to 3.3 and going to Alarm state.
Raising input power above 40w, shows normal SWR again.

3. I cannot reach full power on 160m and 80m , it is about 1300w.
More drive power resetting back to a lower level - i can see it on Power slider of the 6600. APC is not engaged.

4. I enabled Meffa in settings, checked instructions, I do not see anything on the screen that tell me it is enabled.

Could someone tell is it all normal and how to improve that behavior.
I may have more questions as I learn it.
Thanks
Sergey, KN7K
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Posted 2 months ago

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bahillen

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I turned Meffa OFF. I use wire antennas and SWR is probably higher than many others system.

With Meffa turned on as I changed power the SWR would go up and sometimes report HI SWR on the utility. I thought I had an antenna problem with chokes, but all went away when I turned off Meffa. I am too busy using my PGXL to analyzing Meffa an how and why is does its thing.

It does say it is for SSB and CW. My on observations were with digital.

73
Bill W9JJB
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Sergey Abrikosov

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I tested CW only, so it does happening in CW
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WX7Y

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what firmware version are you using, they just sent out a new TEST version that supposedly helps with the SWR issue if you have it.
Bret
WX7Y

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Sergey Abrikosov

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it came with ver 3.2.15
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KF4HR

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Reference #1, what do you see jumping?
Reference #2 and #3, are you seeing the same results when using the amp into a dummy load? 
And what is your input voltage?
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Sergey Abrikosov

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"Reference #1, what do you see jumping?"
On Amp I see for example 250w output, on Utility I see 250-23-0-250 and so on fast changing reading during CW. number between 250 and next reading 250 jumping around fast on every dit/dot.
Do you have the same reading?
I cannot find any settings for utility to change that delay.

"Reference #2 and #3, are you seeing the same results when using the amp into a dummy load?" - Need to try, did not have time yet

And what is your input voltage?" -246V
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KF4HR

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As soon as I get time I'll check to see if I can replicate your jumping readings but I suspect the fast changing readings you are seeing may be because the Utility is sampling not only the peak CW readings but also the rise and fall of the CW waveform, hence the varying readings.  That's my guess.  Perhaps FRS can weigh in on this.

Reference your comments 2 and 3, it will be interesting to hear whether you see the same conditions into the dummy load.
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Pat - WH6HI

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Just a question.  Have you used this 160 m antenna at high power before?  Reason I asked is that, I have a similar experience using a different make amp.  I found that the antenna was breaking down, not sure what, at this point but it was definitely the antenna.  All was normal into dummy load.  In my case the antenna uses coils to shortening the antenna length.  I think moisture, in my case, is the cause of my high power problem.  The Q of the antenna is high with very high voltages present on the coil and the end of the antenna.  Just some thoughts to consider in relation to your problem.  
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Yes, i have Acom2000A on my desk that's running full power just fine.
I never seen SWR is 1.4-1.5 at 1500W and 3.1-3.3 at 300-500W on Acom.

When I have time I will try Dummy Load.
Very busy to dig a dirt for tower while Portland rain did not start :)
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Pat - WH6HI

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Thanks for the info.  When I dug the hole for my tower, I was lucky to have a neighbor with a very fine small back hoe that did the 4x4x5 ft base in less then an hour!  
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Here is a video for Power reading on PGXL vs on screen Utility
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UjaMxwRaCZ1oAI_TkE14bAf0pmEgK4UL

Sergey, KN7K
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Tried 160m without MEFFA, same thing -  slowly reducing power from 1400w where it shows SWR=1.8, as soon as power getting below 750W- SWR raising to above 3.3 and shows ALARM.

Tried from lower power 
200W , SWR =1.5
400W, SWR= 1.5
440-460W, SWR goes to 3.3 with ALARM
780W and above SWR 2.6
960W, SWR=1.6
1100W, SWR=1.6
1330, SWR=1.7
Problematic range 400-800W !

Tried on 50 Ohm Dummy load - no problem.
Going from 100w to 1600W with SWR 1.1-1.2 all the time !

Conclusion - PGXL cannot deal with real Antenna?
I use Inverted L - 43ft vertical+20ft horizontal wire.
It is full Inv L for 80m and matching switching at the bottom of vertical for 160m.

Acom2000A handle this antenna on both 80m and 160m last 5 years - not a single glitch.

Sergey, KN7K
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kjave63@yahoo.com

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You know I have my problem of total "high SWR" on 80 meters, but I have this EXACT PROBLEM that you describe here on 40 meters.   The other bands work perfectly so far.    This is EXACTLY my problem on 40 metes, but NOTHING works on 80 meters, any output above 250-300 watts from the PGXL to ANY of my 1:1 completely resonant antennas on 80 meters, goes immediately to shutdown due the the dreaded red "HIGH SWR".    Did you figure out what the problem was on 40 doing this?
Keith KJ8DO
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Hi Keith,
I cannot comment about 40m, my tower is damaged and I do not have an antenna for 40m. All my tests done on Vertical 80m and 160m.
I have ticket opened and as you are and waiting for reply.

Also sent you email.
Sergey, KN7K
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Sergey Abrikosov

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(Edited)
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KF4HR

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Sergey - I checked and I cannot reproduce your issue with my PG-XL (using a 160M EFLW).  I'm curious whether you have approached Flex Support about your problem and if so, what was their response? 
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Sergey Abrikosov

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I opened ticket and got reply from Tim, he is taking it with Engineering team.
Based on the fact that I cannot reproduce it on the dummy load and my Acom2000A show the same (~1.5) SWR from min to max power level, I assume that that PGXL cannot deal with complex load.

Each antenna is different, here is my Vertical measurements





Sergey, KN7K
(Edited)
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KF4HR

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Interesting graphs Sergey.  I notice a couple of graphs indicate reactance drops very low, at a couple of points almost to zero (short).  It will be interesting to hear what FRS says.
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Volker Geith

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This looks like something is overheating when connected to the antenna. Sure dies not look good :/
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Sounds more like a software tweek to me.
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Finally had time to measure output on dummy load.
I compared PGXL Power Output results with Microham SM0RF RF Vector Analyzer.
SM0RF sensor connected right to the output of Ant A



Here are results below.
Note 1: All Transmits were Dashes in CW 
Note 2: 6m with Meffa gives different reading in the ranges on every TX



I did another test for a Hi SWR issue that I see on 160m on all bands on Dummy Load.
All bands tested show the same SWR when I change Power from Min to Max, in another words - no SWR changes on Dummy Load.

Sergey, KN7K
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Chris DL5NAM

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Sergey, your Max Power values are the max what you get out? What input level you need?

73 Chris
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Chris, 
Yes Max Power means how much I can get Power output.
I cannot get more than 50w on input, SSDR SW automatically bouncing input power to 50W.
I can do less than 50W from the radio but not more.
Sergey, KN7K
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Sergey Abrikosov

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One more note - it seems like a SW has a limit to run it at safe level (per my table above).
I tried to bypass SW limit by clicking Tune button and I can get higher output.

With Input Power more than 50w, can get to higher output power.
Not sure why it is difference in Power reading between PGXL and Microham. 

(Edited)
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K1UO - Larry

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Sergey..  The SSDR Software is limiting your power because the Radio SETTINGS tab, then enter the TX Tab, is probably set to 50 watts.  You can change that to whatever you want up to 100% power out for the Radio itself.
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Hi Larry,
I will check.
But based on the fact that my SSDR power set to 100w and any time PGXL wake up from Standby, SSDR automatically drops to 50w, I assume there is an automatic set by SW to have it at that level.
Sergey, KN7K
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Sergey Abrikosov

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OK, it is indeed in RF PWR settings, i see some bands 100, some 50.
I never touched it, I guess it is remember some of my previous settings.
Yes, I can go higher than 50w.
Thanks Larry, good catch
Sergey, KN7K
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Chris DL5NAM

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So you have to restart your work with output again. Will nice to see.

Chris
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Sergey Abrikosov

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I do not think so, table above was completed with variable power by pressing Tune button, so this is the same as use Power  slider.
Sergey
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Well, I thought it worked, but testing again this evening, my original statement  stays true - when PGXL wake up from stand by, it is bouncing my input power from 100w to 50w on Flex6600.
Any time i change it in TX Band setting above 50w, it is automatically go back to 50w.
Seems like SW Safety level.
Can other owner confirm that you radio can get more than 50w input when  PGXL in Operate status.
Sergey, KN7K
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AC9S

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I have the same HI SWR  problem on 40 M with my PGXL which has been sent back to Flex to fix a power supply problem.   Two problems - HI SWR and PS failure.  FRS corrected the PS and is sending the amp back to me while still determining the root cause of HI SWR.

One thing I noticed is that whenever the PGXL flashed HI SWR my external wattmeter, an Elecraft W2, did the same.  The W2 is immediately after the amp and prior to an external antenna tuner, which I have in bypass mode 99.9% of the time.  

At first this led me to believe I had a problem with my antenna, a SteppIR, but substituting an Elecraft KPA500 and then an Alpha 8410 showed no SWR problems when I ran all powers from 200 to 1500 watts.   Honestly, I was relieved it wasn't the antenna since I wasn't looking forward to dropping the SteppIR from its 90' perch in cold weather.

I wonder if the amp might not be going into a parasitic oscillation when it flashes HI SWR.  That might explain high swr on the external wattmeter.   As others have reported my PGXL is rock solid into a dummy load as well as on all other bands.

Keith - AC9S
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Keith, sorry to hear about your (well your amp) issues.
I would agree that some kind of oscillation ocures as Id is going very high and seems like SW algo just report it as Hi SWR.
At this point I do not want to speculate about possible route course as I understand it is not easy to figure out.
I collected requested info for Flex - my setup, Antenna measurements charts and so on.
Hopefully they can figure it out.
Sergey, KN7K
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KF4HR

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Can other owner confirm that you radio can get more than 50w input when  PGXL in Operate status.

Sergey - I checked.  No problem driving my PG-XL with over 50 watts.  40M Band,  50 watts of drive maintained 1572 watts, and 65 watts drive maintained 1908 watts.  I experienced no errors or warnings of any kind.  These tests were using the Tune mode, a 5K Palstar Dummy Load, Flex-6700 running at 13.6vdc (13.1vdc keyed), and 248vac feeding my PG-XL.  

I hope they can resolve your issue quickly.
(Edited)
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Great, Thanks for checking.
I have no problem to drive more than 50W in Tune mode, but it bouncing back in operation mode to 50w only and on some bands I can not get 1500w from PGXL with drive at 50w.
Did you try CW or SSB or FT8 to drive output power from SSDR >50w?
Thanks
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KF4HR

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No problem exceeding 50 watts of drive in CW and SSB modes.  (I don't use FT8).  I tried several bands.  No problems or errors >50w drive.
(Edited)
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Sergey Abrikosov

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What SSDR SW are you using? I am on ver3.1.8.
I will share my video shortly
Sergey, KN7K
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KF4HR

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I'm also using SSDR v3.1.8, and my PG-XL is using firmware version 3.2.15.
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Sergey Abrikosov

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hmm, same here...

Please check my video below
Sergey, KN7K
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Erik SM0JCA

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TX power settings is made at two different places on my Flexradio 6600.
1) TX Band settings where the setting is made per band and the level is stored when saving profiles alternatively when you change the power slider. The value is stored on the fly automatically.
2) Under the tab SETTINGS/TX you have a second max power level value. Look at the very bottom of the window for TX timings and there you will find Max Power. Mine is set to 100W. That is the default value for the radios max power as I understand.

Maybe your setting is 50W, just an idea! If you can check that and tell us what you find.

Erik SM0JCA


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K1UO - Larry

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Serge,      It is easy enough to do a firmware upgrade in the Amp.  Have you tried reloading the firmware level in case the original is corrupted .  I think a reload of the radio firmware would not hurt either at this point.   Also, as others have mentioned, maybe delete and rebuild your 160M profile on the Bands that kick back to 50W,

Good luck.
(Edited)
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Here is demonstration of SSDR limit output power to 50w whenever PGXL switch status from Standby to Operate.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=11UWyanu7JIV17NZLj4LxhzLZ62ty37Z0

Can someone let me know what I am doing wrong or how to make it more than 50w?
Thanks
Sergey, KN7K
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Chris DL5NAM

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What happen if you Power OFF PGXL? Same behavior? 
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Chris,
When PGXL is Off it is the same as PGXL in Standby mode.
I can set and operate any power from 0 to 100w. 
Sergey, KN7K
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Chris DL5NAM

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and in Operate Mode independent?
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Chris DL5NAM

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sorry : CW, SSB or Digi
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Sergey Abrikosov

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yes, i see the same on CW, SSB, DIGU
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KA9CFD

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I wonder if its something about your transmit profile and the new auto save feature. Have you tried to create a new transmit profile or reset the one you are using and see what happens? Maybe turn off the Maestro also. I dont own one so I dont know how it effects things. GL de ka9cfd
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Sergey Abrikosov

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KA9CFD - Bingo!

Today I decided to turn just radio - I could change output power on my 6600 to anything form 0 to 100w.
Than I added Maestro - same as above - all good.
Than I added Stacks3 - that's where the limit to 50w outpout coming from.
Found than menu and changed from 50w to 70w for now



Thanks everyone for ideas and inputs.
This one for sure is the user issue :)
One mystery solved.
Sergey, KN7K
(Edited)
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KF4HR

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Glad to hear your issue is resolved.  I assume that's the same transmit parameter listed in SSDR under Settings -> Radio Setup -> TX -> Max Power.



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Sergey Abrikosov

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Yes, the same parameter.
But Stack3 will take over that parameter if set to the lower value than SSDR.
 In my case SSDR set for 100w Max Power and Stacks3 was at 50w, so Stack3 overrule SSDR

Sergey, KN7K
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KF4HR

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Wow, I wasn't aware of that.  Thanks, good to know!
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KM4CQG

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Had a feeling there was a 3rd party software causing this.
I trouble shot a similar issue with DDUTIL for a Ham on here.

Glad it worked out.

Ian
KM4CQG
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KF4HR

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Sergey - Reference the Max Power settings in SSDR and Stacks3, I was experimenting with these parameters.  In my case I could not get Stacks3 to override this setting in SSDR.  When I made a Max Power change in SSDR it automatically changes in Stacks3, and vice versa. 
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Interesting, it does do on my setup.
Anyway, I put 80w in Stacks3 and leave 100w in SSDR.
anytime PGXL going from Standby to Operate SSDR power changes to 80w and it works for me.
Sergey, KN7K