locked weird random/intermittent/recurring rig control failure


Hello all—



I’ve been using WSJT-X with JTAlert and my Kenwood TS-480 and WMR Rigblaster Advantage for several years now without issues. But several months ago my desktop PC’s Windows 10 crashed and I had to reinstall Windows 10, and all my programs as well. When I initially reinstalled WSJT-X and JT Alert, I was able to find files with my previous settings in the AppData folder in my saved Windows.old directory (auto-saved files from the previous, crashed installation) on my hard drive, so I didn’t have to manually set all the settings again.


However, ever since then, randomly I’ll randomly get a popup that there is a rig control error, with buttons displayed to retry, configure, etc. I click “retry” and it restores to working condition right away. But the problem will recur, typically within 5-10 minutes. It happens more often when I’m just monitoring the radio than when I’m transmitting. It also frequently happens when I first start WSJT-X.


Yesterday, I completely uninstalled both WSJT-X and JTAlert, and verified no traces of anything left in folders like AppData, Program Files (x86), etc. Then I rebooted my PC and reinstalled both programs from scratch, and manually re-entered all my settings. Unfortunately, the problem still occurs, though perhaps not as often.


Someone on a Facebook group suggested it might be an RF problem; so I re-routed my serial cable that connects the Rigblaster to the radio so that it was no longer wrapped/bundled with other cables. I also discovered that the serial plug to the radio had not been screwed down, so I did that. And I was hopeful that maybe this  was all just due to a loose connection. Unfortunately, it still occurred a couple times tonight, although noticeably less—perhaps twice in 45 minutes, during which I operated and worked a bunch of stations without a problem.  I did various power output levels from 30 to 200 watts; they seemed to work fine for the most part; there was no correlation between using high power and the problem suddenly occurring. Again, this usually happens when I’m not transmitting at all.


I also tried changing the settings on the “Radio” tab:

Handshake: I switched between default, none, XON/XOFF,  hardware, etc;

Forcing RTS line low, or high. None of that seems to make a difference.


Someone on FB asked me why I have the rig control set for RTS and not CAT; when I select CAT, the rig keys up and I hear a tone, but no audio goes out over the air, and the radio’s wattmeter reads zero watts out. And if I choose DTR, nothing happens at all when I try to tx. I also changed the polling interval from 1 to 2 seconds. I don’t typically use VOX, but I just tried it and it works, albeit with a slight delay to start tx, so I might set it for VOX a bit and see if that changes anything.


I do note that when I first start WSJT-X, the problem almost always occurs. I do have JT Alert set to autorun/auto start WSJT-X, so I actually start JTAlert first and it in turn starts WSJT-X and also opens my log, website for PSK Reporter etc.


Current radio control settings are:


Rig: Kenwood TS-480   Poll interval=2s

CAT control: Serial Port 5    (Note that my serial ports for rig control, PTT, and CW keying are virtually created/split by the Rigblaster’s software, which actually uses COM3)

9600 baud (which is also what is set on the radio)

8 data bits, 1 stop bit (per TS-480 manual)


Force Control lines: DTR (blank) RTS=high

PTT method=RTS    Port=COM6


Split=Fake it


Latest troubleshooting steps:

-I looked at my ports in Device manager: for the virtual ports created by the Rigblaster software, under the General tab it says “working properly” but under the events  tab it says “Device FABULATECH\VSPC\DEVICE4294967294 requires further installation.”. This is apparently the virtual port driver.

-I unistalled Rigblaster, downloaded latest drivers form WMR, reinstalled RB. Above issue with the ports still persists.

-changed auto start so JTAlert no longer auto starts WSJT-X; I open WSJT-X manually first, then I open JT Alert. *NOTE: now the rig control error happens after opening JTAlert, not WSJT-X.

_I also reinstalled JT Alert from scratch again; under the TCP settings (for text messages etc.) I left the defaults. Previously I had changed them to match what was displayed prior to my computer crash. It was only 1 port of 3 that was 1 number different, and it doesn’t  seem to affect my rig control problem.


-I tried leaving just WSJT-X running for a while with no JT Alert; unfortunately, after about 10-15 minutes, the problem happened again.


Thanks in advance for any ideas you can provide on how to resolve this problem!  (Maybe a bad USB cable to the Rig Blaster and/or bad CAT control cable between Rigblaster and rig? Or maybe I need to start WSJT-X manually and then start JTAlert afterwards?)




Andy K3NP



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