locked weird random/intermittent/recurring rig control failure


andypdanp@...
 

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)

Handshake=none

Force Control lines: DTR (blank) RTS=high

PTT method=RTS    Port=COM6

Mode=USB

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?)

 

73,

 

Andy K3NP

 

 


Bill Somerville
 

On 04/01/2020 21:11, andypdanp@... wrote:

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)

Handshake=none

Force Control lines: DTR (blank) RTS=high

PTT method=RTS    Port=COM6

Mode=USB

Split=Fake it

Andy,

any chance of sharing with us the actual error message from WSJT-X? For you convenience you can copy the full error message text, including the important details panel, to the Windows clipboard by hitting Ctrl+C while the error message window has keyboard focus.

You could use "Settings->Radio->PTT Method" as CAT if you correctly set the Tx audio source setting according to how the audio is fed to your rig by your interface. Set it to Front if it goes to the mic socket, set it to rear if it goes to the ANI pin of the rear REMOTE socket. I believe the RigBlaster interfaces feed the audio to the mic socket.

You should set "Settings->Radio->Handshake" to "Hardware" and leave both Force Control Lines options blank.

73
Bill
G4WJS.


andypdanp@...
 

Hi Bill--

Sure thing. It's attached. Thank you!

73,
Andy K3NP


andypdanp@...
 

Hi again Bill--

I tried setting rig control to CAT, and got the same behavior as I mentioned before; the rig keys, i hear a tone but nothing actually goes out over the air. I have a speaker connected to my Rig Blaster's "audio out" monitoring jack, so that's where I can hear the tone, and I see the TX red LED on the radio illuminate and hear the relays click on, but no actual modulation occurs over the air. This happens whether I set front or rear for the audio source. I am using a Kenwood TS-480 SAT and a Rigblaster Advantage, so there is a modular cable going from the RB to the radio's mic jack. There is also a specialty serial 9-pin cable I got from West Mountain Radio that connects between the serial port on the Rigblaster and the serial port on the radio. I got this after learning the hard way that a standard serial cable doesn't work. If I recall right, one of the wires has to be flipped, sort of like the old null modem cables/serial adapters of bygone days.

RTS is the only setup that works it seems. Choosing DTR does not key the radio at all. Current settings of my radio screen are attached.  These work....until they don't ;) 

Also, if I set flow control to Hardware, I immediately get an error that will not resolve until I change that setting back. It says "Hamlib error: IO error while testing getting current VFO. Also attached.

Thanks again for helping me!

73,

Andy K3NP


andypdanp@...
 

Just finished operating for about the last hour and the errror did not pop up, thought it did earlier tonight. Recent changes tonight are: 1) changed the data bit and stop bit settings from 8 and 1 respectively to "default". 2) moved the Rigblaster around a bit on the desk. Insured all cables were snug while I was at it. 3) Updated my JT Alert from 2.15.5 to latest, 2.15.6. 

'Nite all--thanks again!

Andy K3NP


Seannon Baker (AG0NY)
 

Andy, I'm having pretty much the same issue, I think a lot of the rig control error when it pops up may be the USB port changing, the no transmit is the one that's more confusing and troubling for me... this started 3 days ago for me, I have also completely removed WSJT-X including config files, changed settings and I still am not getting any TX... attached are shots of the settings I have, FLRig and FLDigi work normally and are the same settings as here, perhaps one of the Devs can check on this issue, there's someone else posting about this as well

Seannon, AG0NY

OS: Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine (AMD64)
RIG: Kenwood TS480HX (next to latest firmware Kenwood site shows still as latest)
RT Systems USB to Serial Adapter (for this radio)
"Echolink" Audio to Mini DIN6 cable (with added ferrites to help with stray RF, full set of ferrites on other cables (like the European model)