Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Odd K3 bug

One of the things I did today was add support for a Griffin PowerMate USB tuning knob to the next version of KComm. Why did I do that? Well, I have had a PowerMate kicking around in a drawer for a couple of years after I used it with my old and now abandoned K2 remote program K2Net. I have persistent back problems at the moment. Reaching forward to turn the dial of the radio doesn't help. And while I've been searching for Sporadic-E signals on 10, 6 and 2 I've been doing a lot of that. So I thought that having the Griffin PowerMate as a tuning knob right at the edge of the desk within easy reach would be easier on my back.

First, I had a fight to get the PowerMate working. It would appear that the version 1 point whatever drivers that came with the PowerMate originally don't work under Windows XP SP 2 or 3. I eventually hit on the idea of seeing if there was newer software on the web and downloaded a version 2 point something. That solved the problem, and I soon was able to tune the K3 through KComm by getting the PowerMate to send special keystrokes that are converted into VFO UP and DN (down) commands.

This was working nicely until I happened to be listening to a CW signal and could not tune away. The K3's CW decoder was turned on, a fact that I did not initially consider relevant. After checking the source code, using the communications trace window to check that the UP and DN commands were being sent to the radio, I spotted that the commands were being ignored whilst the K3 was displaying decoded CW text in the VFO B part of the display. When no CW is received after a few seconds, the display reverts to showing the VFO B frequency and if you are twiddling the PowerMate knob at the time, the K3 suddenly starts changing frequency.

I've informed Wayne at Elecraft, and he is looking into it.

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