locked Kenwood TS440s/Signalink USB combo ALC vs PWR vs SWR issue #signalink #Kenwood #FT8


know whey <jaypea500@...>
 

I have a post up at the Kenwood TS440s group, but I figured there may be better answers here. After all, I'm running, or at least trying to run, the subject combo with WSJT-X.

Here's the situation: when I transmit FT8 using WSJT-X, the rig acts weird. If I set things up so the ALC is just barely, almost unnoticeably, jiggles, the SWR goes to infinity and the power shows, maybe 5 watts. Dropping the transmit level with the rig's mic level or the Signalink TX control brings down the SWR during TX but the power goes to zero and I see nothing on the ALC, so I've no clue if I'm throwing out a signal. I've also tried to make adjustments using the PWR slider on the software, but that just exacerbates the issue.

I have everything working on an Icom IC-705, but I wanted to see if I could get more contacts using 20-25 watts with the Kenwood.

I've watched the couple of YouTube videos that show setting up that combo, but even following their lead I get the same result.

BTW, the TS440s works fine using the mic for SSB phone comms.

Many thanks...

...joe KD2QBK


William Smith
 

Sounds like your interconnect cable or antenna has a problem. Try transmiting into a dummy load using a different piece of coax.

73, Willie N1JBJ

On Aug 13, 2022, at 6:04 PM, know whey <jaypea500@...> wrote:

I have a post up at the Kenwood TS440s group, but I figured there may be better answers here. After all, I'm running, or at least trying to run, the subject combo with WSJT-X.

Here's the situation: when I transmit FT8 using WSJT-X, the rig acts weird. If I set things up so the ALC is just barely, almost unnoticeably, jiggles, the SWR goes to infinity and the power shows, maybe 5 watts. Dropping the transmit level with the rig's mic level or the Signalink TX control brings down the SWR during TX but the power goes to zero and I see nothing on the ALC, so I've no clue if I'm throwing out a signal. I've also tried to make adjustments using the PWR slider on the software, but that just exacerbates the issue.

I have everything working on an Icom IC-705, but I wanted to see if I could get more contacts using 20-25 watts with the Kenwood.

I've watched the couple of YouTube videos that show setting up that combo, but even following their lead I get the same result.

BTW, the TS440s works fine using the mic for SSB phone comms.

Many thanks...

...joe KD2QBK


JP Tucson, AZ
 

Hi Joe,

First of all, you should not being seeing ANY ALC, unless you are trying to run full power; i.e. 100 Watts, which is way too much power for FTx modes. 50W if more appropriate, you can jump up to 100, if you really are chasing a rare DX, and have fading, but turn it back down after completing the QSO.

Next, so you know, I have a TS-440SAT & a SignaLink USB myself, and getting it to dance can be a bit touchy, but once you understand what is going on in the chain, it will work like a champ!
I have logged nearly 11,000 QSO's in just over 2 years with mine.

So, the best thing you can do for yourself is to put snap on ferrites on ALL cables!!!!! ALL of them! Coax, control, power, computer cables (ALL of them!!!), SignaLink, power meters, etc. This will knock down RFI. The mouse and keyboard on your computer are especially vulnerable - I think because of being USB as well.
Next - and this also cannot be emphasized enough - GROUND your station well !!!!! Ground each piece of equipment. I use a 4 foot x 3/4" copper pipe along the back of the corner desk, and have that grounded to the rod outside thru a pair of 6 ga. solid bare copper wires (they run about 7 to 9 feet out the window PVC board down to the ground rod right under the window.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but I have ZERO RFI in the shack - NONE!!!

Now, let me clue you in on this... just set the wsjtx power slider to max, and never touch it again. I have never had any luck with using it, it is not calibrated, and besides, you will do the vast majority of your power adjustments during the wsjtx 'TUNE' cycle, by adjusting the TX knob on the SignaLink.

Now, many folks have issues with not being able to drive the power high enough, and have to move that internal jumper to increase the drive. See the SignaLink manual for that!
Start with a dummy load. You have a short coax, and the load is right there.

The Mic gain should be about 3/4. My experience, no more than 7/8 for digital.

Make sure in your settings and audio mixer that your computer sounds are muted as you don't want computer sounds, music, alerts, etc. going out over the air - in fact, that isn't legal to do!

So-
Lower power
Ferrites
Grounding
Proper drive to radio- audio mixer and SignaLink levels

And if you have all of that into a dummy load, then switch over to an antenna; and start to have issues, then you probably need to add ferrites to your antenna coax. If you still have issues, recheck your antenna system with an antenna analyzer, because you probably have some issue(s) you may not be aware of, or see using SSB, etc.

Hope this helps

73 - John


Michael Black
 

And is your ground rod also tied to the house ground like it should be?

Mike W9MDB

On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 10:08:08 AM CDT, JP Tucson, AZ <samcat88az@...> wrote:





Hi Joe,

First of all, you should not being seeing ANY  ALC, unless you are trying to run full power; i.e. 100 Watts, which is way too much power for FTx modes. 50W if more appropriate, you can jump up to 100, if you really are chasing a rare DX, and have fading, but turn it back down after completing the QSO.

Next, so you know, I have a TS-440SAT & a SignaLink USB myself, and getting it to dance can be a bit touchy, but once you understand what is going on in the chain, it will work like a champ!
I have logged nearly 11,000 QSO's in just over 2 years with mine.

So, the best thing you can do for yourself is to put snap on ferrites on ALL cables!!!!!  ALL of them! Coax, control, power, computer cables (ALL of them!!!), SignaLink, power meters, etc.  This will knock down RFI.  The mouse and keyboard on your computer are especially vulnerable - I think because of being USB as well.
Next - and this also cannot be emphasized enough - GROUND your station well !!!!!  Ground each piece of equipment. I use a 4 foot x 3/4" copper pipe along the back of the corner desk, and have that grounded to the rod outside thru a pair of 6 ga. solid bare copper wires (they run about 7 to 9 feet out the window PVC board down to the ground rod right under the window.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but I have ZERO RFI in the shack - NONE!!!

Now, let me clue you in on this... just set the wsjtx power slider to max, and never touch it again.  I have never had any luck with using it, it is not calibrated, and besides, you will do the vast majority of your power adjustments during the wsjtx 'TUNE' cycle, by adjusting the TX knob on the SignaLink. 

Now, many folks have issues with not being able to drive the power high enough, and have to move that internal jumper to increase the drive.  See the SignaLink manual for that!
Start with a dummy load.  You have a short coax, and the load is right there. 

The Mic gain should be about 3/4. My experience, no more than 7/8 for digital.

Make sure in your settings and audio mixer that your computer sounds are muted as you don't want computer sounds, music, alerts, etc. going out over the air - in fact, that isn't legal to do!

So-
Lower power
Ferrites
Grounding
Proper drive to radio- audio mixer and SignaLink levels

And if you have all of that into a dummy load, then switch over to an antenna; and start to have issues, then you probably need to add ferrites to your antenna coax. If you still have issues, recheck your antenna system with an antenna analyzer, because you probably have some issue(s) you may not be aware of, or see using SSB, etc. 

Hope this helps

73 - John


Joe Subich, W4TV
 

On 2022-08-14 11:08 AM, JP Tucson, AZ wrote:

I use a 4 foot x 3/4" copper pipe along the back of the corner desk, and have that grounded to the rod outside thru a pair of 6 ga. solid bare copper wires (they run about 7 to 9 feet out the window PVC board down to the ground rod right under the window.
Seven to nine feet is a quarter wave on 10 and 12 meters. You do not
have an RF ground on those bands as a quarter wave from the ground rod
is a high impedance point!

In addition, is the "RF ground rod" tied to the power meter ground as
required by NEC ("code")? If not you have a serious safety issue in
the event of a (nearby) lightning strike or power surge as the two
"grounds" will take different levels and cause power to flow between
the two *through your equipment*. This is often enough to seriously
damage, if not destroy, the equipment and can cause electrical fires.

73,

... Joe, W4TV

On 2022-08-14 11:08 AM, JP Tucson, AZ wrote:
Hi Joe,
First of all, you should not being seeing ANY ALC, unless you are trying to run full power; i.e. 100 Watts, which is way too much power for FTx modes. 50W if more appropriate, you can jump up to 100, if you really are chasing a rare DX, and have fading, but turn it back down after completing the QSO.
Next, so you know, I have a TS-440SAT & a SignaLink USB myself, and getting it to dance can be a bit touchy, but once you understand what is going on in the chain, it will work like a champ!
I have logged nearly 11,000 QSO's in just over 2 years with mine.
So, the best thing you can do for yourself is to put snap on ferrites on ALL cables!!!!! ALL of them! Coax, control, power, computer cables (ALL of them!!!), SignaLink, power meters, etc. This will knock down RFI. The mouse and keyboard on your computer are especially vulnerable - I think because of being USB as well.
Next - and this also cannot be emphasized enough - GROUND your station well !!!!! Ground each piece of equipment. I use a 4 foot x 3/4" copper pipe along the back of the corner desk, and have that grounded to the rod outside thru a pair of 6 ga. solid bare copper wires (they run about 7 to 9 feet out the window PVC board down to the ground rod right under the window.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but I have ZERO RFI in the shack - NONE!!!
Now, let me clue you in on this... just set the wsjtx power slider to max, and never touch it again. I have never had any luck with using it, it is not calibrated, and besides, you will do the vast majority of your power adjustments during the wsjtx 'TUNE' cycle, by adjusting the TX knob on the SignaLink.
Now, many folks have issues with not being able to drive the power high enough, and have to move that internal jumper to increase the drive. See the SignaLink manual for that!
Start with a dummy load. You have a short coax, and the load is right there.
The Mic gain should be about 3/4. My experience, no more than 7/8 for digital.
Make sure in your settings and audio mixer that your computer sounds are muted as you don't want computer sounds, music, alerts, etc. going out over the air - in fact, that isn't legal to do!
So-
Lower power
Ferrites
Grounding
Proper drive to radio- audio mixer and SignaLink levels
And if you have all of that into a dummy load, then switch over to an antenna; and start to have issues, then you probably need to add ferrites to your antenna coax. If you still have issues, recheck your antenna system with an antenna analyzer, because you probably have some issue(s) you may not be aware of, or see using SSB, etc.
Hope this helps
73 - John


know whey <jaypea500@...>
 

From one JP to another, thanks for that info. Quite helpful. Ferrites on order.

A couple of interesting things:

1. I generally RDP into a headless PC that's used only for radio work. So no real keyboard/mouse there, but still enough wires to adorn with ferrites.

2. I hear you about RF grounding. Trouble is, I'm on the second floor. So I've got an MFJ-931 artificial ground that I've been toying with. Rig ground connected to the unit with a counterpoise draped around the room for now. My eventual plan is to use it with an outdoor ground rod instead of the counterpoise. Supposedly, the 931 is able to place a far off RF ground directly at the rig with some fancy footwork on the controls. I will probably tie the pertinent equipment grounds to single point in the room, and connect that to the 931. As far as tying it to the house ground, as Mike suggested below, that probably won't happen. The house ground is way off on the other side and in the opposite corner of the house. If I were retired and planning for full-blown, legal limit, globe-trotting SSB phone work, I'd probably do it right and put up an out-building next to the house for a shack with easy access to grounds, etc. But that's a ways off at this point.

3. I'm also not sure the rig's in-built ATU works properly. Lots of whirring, but not really doing much else. So I'm getting an outboard manual tuner with better metering. Antenna is a homemade end-fed sloper around 60 feet or so with a 49:1 unun feeding a short length of LMR400 to the rig. I'll soon be re-orienting the sloper to get it to 65 feet. That's pretty much the farthest as I can get on my plot.


Michael Black
 

You can probably just ground to your house ground lug on a socket.
Would be of interest to measure the resistance of ground on two different circuits in your unit and get an idea of how good your ground to the panel is.
I assume you have an electrical panel in your unit?  That should then be grounded at the main entrance to the building.
Do NOT put it an outside ground rod without connecting it to the building ground.

Learning how to use a VNA can help a lot -- just adding lengths of coax can make your antenna tuning much easier.  Multiband can be challenging to get them all working well.

$110
https://store2.rlham.com/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=75242&osCsid=ogs7mjmj9n4h7jlsb0h3va3m61

Mike W9MDB

On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 11:44:11 AM CDT, know whey <jaypea500@...> wrote:





From one JP to another, thanks for that info.  Quite helpful.  Ferrites on order.

A couple of interesting things:

1. I generally RDP into a headless PC that's used only for radio work.  So no real keyboard/mouse there, but still enough wires to adorn with ferrites.

2. I hear you about RF grounding.  Trouble is, I'm on the second floor.  So I've got an MFJ-931 artificial ground that I've been toying with.  Rig ground connected to the unit with a counterpoise draped around the room for now.  My eventual plan is to use it with an outdoor ground rod instead of the counterpoise.  Supposedly, the 931 is able to place a far off RF ground directly at the rig with some fancy footwork on the controls.  I will probably tie the pertinent equipment grounds to single point in the room, and connect that to the 931.  As far as tying it to the house ground, as Mike suggested below, that probably won't happen.  The house ground is way off on the other side and in the opposite corner of the house.  If I were retired and planning for full-blown, legal limit, globe-trotting SSB phone work, I'd probably do it right and put up an out-building next to the house for a shack with easy access to grounds, etc.  But that's a ways off at this point.

3. I'm also not sure the rig's in-built ATU works properly.  Lots of whirring, but not really doing much else.  So I'm getting an outboard manual tuner with better metering.  Antenna is a homemade end-fed sloper around 60 feet or so with a 49:1 unun feeding a short length of LMR400 to the rig.  I'll soon be re-orienting the sloper to get it to 65 feet.  That's pretty much the farthest as I can get on my plot.


Reino Talarmo
 

2. I hear you about RF grounding. Trouble is, I'm on the second floor. So I've got an MFJ-931 artificial ground that I've been toying with. Rig ground connected to the unit with a counterpoise draped around the room for now. My eventual plan is to use it with an outdoor ground rod instead of the counterpoise. Supposedly, the 931 is able to place a far off RF ground directly at the rig with some fancy footwork on the controls. I will probably tie the pertinent equipment grounds to single point in the room, and connect that to the 931. As far as tying it to the house ground, as Mike suggested below, that probably won't happen. The house ground is way off on the other side and in the opposite corner of the house. If I were retired and planning for full-blown, legal limit, globe-trotting SSB phone work, I'd probably do it right and put up an out-building next to the house for a shack with easy access to grounds, etc. But that's a ways off at this point.
Hi Joe,
Let's consider what actually is your antenna. Half of the antenna is the wire outside. The second half is whatever wires, conducting structures etc. you happen to have inside your house. The MFJ-931 nicely feeds that half of the antenna and really invites half of the radiation energy inside. It actually is an antenna tuner that makes the counterpoise resonating at the working frequency. The virtual ground is just a point where antenna voltage may be less to more than half of an equivalent RF voltage present is a dipole antenna feed point. You are working inside your antenna! That energy radiates and goes to every wire close to the counterpoise including all house electrical wires. It is not a surprise at all that you have problems. Even, if you have a "virtual ground" at your rig grounding point and all tied pertinent equipment, your mains plug has an RF voltage that forces current into your PC and any connected equipment including USB connection. Ferrites may help or not. You need to reach a certain threshold to get RFI immunity.
The counterpoise and MFJ-931 should be connected to the ground of the end fed antenna transformer for best result. In your case it may be difficult. In any case getting the counterpoise outside could make a huge difference.
If you have any possibility to have a more balanced antenna e.g. dipole, then an antenna (current) balun may be all you need. The dipole legs may have much less than 180 degrees angle between them.

By the way a short counterpoise and MFJ-931 may make a very high SWR, when not in resonance. If you had a dummy load, you should check and adjust your equipment using it to see that all is set properly.

73, Reino OH3mA


Jim Brown
 

On 8/14/2022 8:08 AM, JP Tucson, AZ wrote:
Next - and this also cannot be emphasized enough - GROUND your station well !!!!! Ground each piece of equipment. I use a 4 foot x 3/4" copper pipe along the back of the corner desk, and have that grounded to the rod outside thru a pair of 6 ga. solid bare copper wires (they run about 7 to 9 feet out the window PVC board down to the ground rod right under the window.
What you have done in the shack sounds good, but there is FAR more to Grounding and Bonding than that. Study N0AX's ARRL book on the topic, to which I contributed, and/or the slides for my talk at Visalia several years ago.

http://k9yc.com/GroundingAndAudio.pdf

73, Jim K9YC


JP Tucson, AZ
 

Well... NO! That is 7-9 feet of 6ga. wire. that isn't counting the 4 foot of the ground pipe, nor the braid to ea. equipment.

I just didn't spell out every little detail. I thought the way I stated it was fairly obvious. Ground equip., to ground pipe, ground wires to rod.

I've got it covered. Not my first rodeo. If I didn't, I don't think my logbook would bulge out so much... haha...


I am still working on adding a secondary ground rod that is salted and wet (from A/C condensate).


Jim Brown
 

On 8/14/2022 3:12 PM, JP Tucson, AZ wrote:
Well... NO! That is 7-9 feet of 6ga. wire. that isn't counting the 4 foot of the ground pipe, nor the braid to ea. equipment.
I just didn't spell out every little detail. I thought the way I stated it was fairly obvious. Ground equip., to ground pipe, ground wires to rod.
The earth is a big resistor. Connecting to it is critical for lightning safety, but it looks like a high value resistor to RF, so it does NOT carry antenna return current very well, and the high resistance it adds in series with the antenna will burn transmitter power.

As Reino has said, return antenna current will flow on whatever CONDUCTORS are connected to your rig. Like house wiring. That's why end-fed wires need a good counterpoise and a serious transmitting choke.

For chokes: http://k9yc.com/2018Cookbook.pdf

For counterpoise/radials and ground losses:
http://k9yc.com/160MPacificon.pdf
Yes, it's about 160M, but it scales to higher bands.

73, Jim K9YC


Gary - AG0N
 

On Aug 14, 2022, at 16:12, JP Tucson, AZ <samcat88az@...> wrote:

That is 7-9 feet of 6ga. wire. that isn't counting the 4 foot of the ground pipe, nor the braid to ea. equipment.
You might want to read up on grounding. You should NOT use braid.

Gary - AG0N


David Herring
 

Braid is OK indoors where it will not be subject to moisture. This is, of course, assuming that actual tinned copper braid strap is being used, not braid which was harvested from coax.

73,
Dave - N5DCH

On Aug 14, 2022, at 6:53 PM, Gary - AG0N <wb0kkm@...> wrote:



On Aug 14, 2022, at 16:12, JP Tucson, AZ <samcat88az@...> wrote:

That is 7-9 feet of 6ga. wire. that isn't counting the 4 foot of the ground pipe, nor the braid to ea. equipment.
You might want to read up on grounding. You should NOT use braid.

Gary - AG0N





SteveO
 

If you're running EFHW, I have had problems as well. Ordered 50 clamp on MIX 31 ferrites and put them on everything... multiples on the coax etc.

Lot's of experiments but might fix one band but not others.

I happened upon the MFJ-2912 Wall-Mount Balun. I put a 12 foot coax from the UN-UN to the MFJ-2912 and then run my 30+ feet of RG8x cable.

Instantly fixed my shack/radio problems. Liked it so much I purchased a second one for my portable EFHW and now I have not interference in the shack.

Just a thought....

Best regards,
Steve - KC5NK


Gary - AG0N
 

On Aug 14, 2022, at 19:59, David Herring <david.n5dch@...> wrote:

Braid is OK indoors where it will not be subject to moisture. This is, of course, assuming that actual tinned copper braid strap is being used, not braid which was harvested from coax.
It has nothing to do with moisture. It has to do with braid looking like an inductor at times. Inductors are a resistance to RF, therefore they can defeat the purpose of the ground strap when made of braid.

Gary - AG0N


David Herring
 

Yes, if you mean by "looking like an inductor" as "there being impedance," I agree. In my last message I forgot to mention that they also need to be short for that very reason. But then again, there’s impedance to RF using just regular wire and so it needs to be short between equipment that one is bonding together, also. Every conductor RF flows on presents impedance to some degree or another - I’m not thinking of a single exception….

Short = less impedance, fat = less resistance.

In my experience, the short distances we talking about in bonding equipment should not present enough impedance to be show stopper for braid. I would not use it for longer runs, say out to the ground stake or something. For that I’d consider a really big wire or a flat copper strap.

All that said, everyone is welcome to make up their own mind. K9YC.com <http://k9yc.com/> has an amazing amount of good information about this if anyone reading this thread wants more information.

73,
Dave - N5DCH

On Aug 15, 2022, at 7:23 PM, Gary - AG0N <wb0kkm@...> wrote:



On Aug 14, 2022, at 19:59, David Herring <david.n5dch@...> wrote:

Braid is OK indoors where it will not be subject to moisture. This is, of course, assuming that actual tinned copper braid strap is being used, not braid which was harvested from coax.
It has nothing to do with moisture. It has to do with braid looking like an inductor at times. Inductors are a resistance to RF, therefore they can defeat the purpose of the ground strap when made of braid.

Gary - AG0N





Bogmonte <w7zdx.wa@...>
 

I run 133 feet of wire fed with a 9:1 un-un. I also run over 200 feet of
wire fed with a 49:1 un-un. No known issues. I guess at the end of the day
it's what works for you.

I took down my skywire loop to try something new. It was around 560 feet of
wire fed with a 4:1 balun.

Good luck! 73

Big W7ZDX

On Mon, Aug 15, 2022, 10:43 SteveO via groups.io <sollmann22=
yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

If you're running EFHW, I have had problems as well. Ordered 50 clamp on
MIX 31 ferrites and put them on everything... multiples on the coax etc.

Lot's of experiments but might fix one band but not others.

I happened upon the MFJ-2912 Wall-Mount Balun. I put a 12 foot coax
from the UN-UN to the MFJ-2912 and then run my 30+ feet of RG8x cable.

Instantly fixed my shack/radio problems. Liked it so much I purchased a
second one for my portable EFHW and now I have not interference in the
shack.

Just a thought....

Best regards,
Steve - KC5NK






JP Tucson, AZ
 

Hi Joe,

The 440's ATU is only good to about an SWR of 2:1.

I have a Yaesu FC301 manual tuner with an 80-10m Off Center Fed Dipole, and works great. Good up to 300W. They aren't made anymore, but check around your local hamfest as I did & got mine for $75, or checkout ebay too.