Remote Latency (RTT) change with Maestro CW keying

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I've been receiving reports of bad keying when I try to operate my Wisconsin station remotely from my North Carolina home. I have mirrored systems at each location so I can listen to my Wisconsin signal from North Carolina and vice versa. I have confirmed that my Wisconsin CW is broken ("stuttering"?) when I key it from the NC Maestro. Keying settings are correct since on occasion, keying is just fine. 

I operate via a VPN and not via SmartLink. The system has operated flawlessly for over 5 years this way. 

Since I'm running SmartSDR v. 3.0.27 at all sites, I have the capability of logging into the Wisconsin radio via a PC and via the Maestro simultaneously and I can see network diagnostics on both links. The two access points are side by side and plug into the same network switch. 

Here's the issue causing the bad CW (I think): I normally see a consistent average RTT latency of about 72 mS. When I key the Maestro via the paddle, the Maestro diagnostics shows the latency rising from 72 to nearly double that (130-140mS). The connection "quality" bars go from 3 yellow to 1 red. I do not see any change in latency on the PC connection to the same radio (simultaneously). I see no change in the PC "quality" bars either when I key the Maestro or via CWX.  I believe this rapid change in latency in the Maestro connection is causing the keying problems.

Keying via CWX on the PC is fine, is not distorted, and it does not affect the latency of the connection as does keying on the Maestro. All of my tests on the network itself show no problems. 

I'm puzzled by this one other than to say there's some defect in the Maestro here. Ideas?

Equipment involved:
Wisconsin: 6600 and PowerGenius XL amp
NC: Windows 10 PC and 1 year old Maestro.
PFSense router/VPN and 10/100 unmanaged switch.

 
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K9SO

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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JohnSweeney

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I believe this is defect #7378 which has yet to be fixed by Flex.  It is the single reason why I stay with V2.49 even though I would love to have Version 3 functionality. See this post:
https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/maestro-cw-bug-7378-not-fixed

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K9SO

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Thanks for that info John. I back loaded 2.5.1  from the startup menu earlier and I think it was showing the same symptoms but admittedly, I didn't test very thoroughly.

Maybe 2.5.1 has the same issue? I'll try 2.4.9 tomorrow.

Thanks again,
73,
Fred
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JohnSweeney

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yes, 2.5.1 has the same issue.  It is the only reason i stayed with 2.4.9.   When operating remote most of last Winter, I was extremely impressed with how well CW worked with my keyer plugged into my Maestro.  I am old fashioned and like to send CW with a paddle.  When I heard that Flex broke that capability in the new software releases, I was very disappointed.  I do hope it is fixed before this coming Winter as I really want Version 3 functionality.
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JohnSweeney

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By the way, I will be happy to eat my words if someone from Flex tells me I am wrong on any of my statements.
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K9SO

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I have to say that in my view the shine has come off the FlexRadio apple and I've removed my rose-colored glasses. 

I changed my system back to 2.4.9 this morning and all is working again. To me, that's the smoking gun.  I conclude that FlexRadio, with version 3.x,  has knowingly released a piece of software... THAT THEY CHARGE $300 PER RADIO for... that doesn't work. I say knowingly because they have a defect number assigned to this problem that still hasn't been resolved. I suppose in the minds of software engineers this makes it all right.

It does not make it right. This defect is a product killer. John isn't being old fashioned here ... paddle keying is what CW is all about. RemoteRig knows this and their system of remote keying actually works. I may have to go back to that if Flex keeps messing with the software without properly vetting it. "We need the revenue ... release 3.0 ... we'll fix it later."

I changed to FlexRadio and bought two radios, amplifiers, and two Maestros at least partially because of how well the remote paddles worked. I upgraded to 3.0 because it was the latest and greatest. Now my Maestros don't work with a paddle any more?

I spent $7000 for amplifiers worth $5000 without an auto tune feature that was promised and never delivered.

Having spent nearly $20,000 on FlexRadio hardware over the past few years, I naively expected more.

The shine has come off this apple. 




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JohnSweeney

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I do wish someone from Flex could give us some encouragement on this issue instead of silence.
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N3MLB

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I just purchased a 6400 and the Maestro.  Both work fantastic except for the CW from the Maestro.  I loaded 3.0.27 because it was the latest version.  Here's what I experienced.

The 6400 is connected directly to my Wifi Router (TPLINK).  The Maestro is connected via the same Wifi Router; to the same network via 5G.  RTT is 1ms, Total RX rate is 1400 kbs, Max Latency RTT is 110 ms and 7 dropped out of 120,000 packets (0.001%).

Listening via WebSDR and sending a series of V's, I hear U's.  I press the MOX button, start transmitting the same series and obviously, no issues.  Of course, I have to unpress the MOX if I want to go back into receive mode.  I'm sitting next to the router.  It doesn't matter if I connect to 5G or something lower, the same results.

I downgraded to 2.4.9 and the problem went away.  Works flawlessly so far.

Question: What is the harm in using 2.4.9 on the Maestro?  Also, does that mean on the computer I'll have to downgrade to 2.4.9 as well?

de N3MLB

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K9SO

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Yes. In order to operate the radio with the Maestro, you had to reload 2.4.9 into the radio also. So in order to access the radio from the PC now, you will have to run 2.4.9.

Of course, you could still run 3.x, but you would have to select that when connecting and wait for the radio to reload the firmware for that. That just takes a minute or two.

You should read the release notes for all the SW versions released since 2.4.9 to understand the downside. There were some improvements, but of course as you discovered, the big downside is that CW keying does not work properly with 2.5.x or 3.x versions when using the Maestro on high latency connections (e.g., >50ms RTT). 

Apparently, you are seeing this with low latency connections as well so you may have something else going on. Check the TX delay settings on your Maestro and make sure your PTT outputs (TX1/TX2/TX3) have a lower timing setting. I use 0 for the PTT and because I have a Genius amp, I use 40 for the TX delay. 

You should have some TX delay programmed in to allow for other things in your system (relays, etc.) to operate. I'm guessing that the settings are different between the two versions and you haven't transferred the profiles?
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N3MLB

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Thank you!  I feel silly asking that question about the version numbers.  I found out quickly when the 6400 was rebooting.  ;)

I seems I spoke too quickly.  I'm not convinced downgrading solved the problem. Eventually the problem came back.  The Transmit Delay and PTT delays may be the key.  I'll run some more tests on both versions and report back for the group.

Thanks for the help!
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N3MLB

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Here's a quick update. I did try downgrading but I had the same results.  Actually, it was hit or miss.  Sometimes I had jitters, sometimes I didn't.  It seems I had to reboot and it was about a 60% chance jitters came back.  I upgraded back to the original 3.0.27 and the problem didn't come back as long as the following occurs:

  • I'm running on ac power.  ie - no battery 
  • I had a solid 5 bars and on my 5G WiFi or connected directly into my router (Ethernet)
I can reproduce the problem 100% of the time when running on battery power.  Since the Ethernet port is disabled when running on battery power, I can't test the Ethernet port.

I can't explain why the original problem disappeared by downgrading and then upgrading back to the original 3.027.  So to recap, I couldn't send CW most of the time because of jitters.  Rebooting would eventually solve the problem but the problem would eventually come back. Downgrading and then re upgrading solved the issue... so far.

FYI, SSB works 100% of the time, no jitters on AC power or running on batter power.  I'll continue to test.

de N3MLB

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K9SO

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I think at this point you should open a trouble ticket. The engineers are very good at diagnosing issues like this. 
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N3MLB

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Here's an update and my resolution. I opened a support ticket and I was told that perhaps the battery was dropping below the required power.  To prove this, I was told to use a cell phone charger that was rated for 5v, 2.5 amps.  The problem went away which told me it was the battery.  I drained the new battery and then fully charged it.  I haven't had a problem since.  I've been operating CW for the past two to three hours and haven't had a single hick up or jitter.

Let me say this also. Support was fantastic!  Wow!

Now, I'm getting back to working CW from my couch... dit dit...

de N3MLB


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K9SO

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Good to hear!

I've gone back to remote paddle keying using my RemoteRig boxes (which work very well) until Flex can fix the v3.x Maestro keying issue. 

73,
Fred
K9SO
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N3MLB

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Fred, I'm back to using v3 with no issues except for the battery. Just an FYI.
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N3MLB

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Let me correct myself. No issues at all with battery or plugged in with version 3. What should I look out for?