Thursday, December 09, 2010

Death of 20m incorrectly reported

It's a good job I looked at the beacon reports this morning or I wouldn't have noticed that there were no reception reports for the 20m band. The problem was that I had visited 20m yesterday and put the K3 into data mode. An annoying feature of the K3 is that when you change bands it restores the mode you last used on that band. It does that even if the band change is being made under software control, even if the mode it is restoring is inappropriate for the frequency you are changing to under the band plan. This is totally bonkers logic because no computer program worth its salt should make assumptions about the state of the radio so when changing the frequency it should also set the mode. Unfortunately if it sets the mode too quickly, or before the frequency change is sent, the K3 "feature" overrides the mode set by the software. Consequently the option in Faros to "force CW mode" doesn't work on the K3 and you are left in the mode you last used on that band.

Faros is not alone in experiencing this problem. Complaints have been frequent on the Elecraft reflector that when clicking on DX cluster spots in various programs the radio changes to the right frequency but is in the wrong mode. One of the reasons I wrote KComm specifically for the Elecraft radios was that I could make it work the way the radios work instead of being stuck with some generic logic. But there is nothing I can do about programs I didn't write. I wish that more ham radio applications were open source so you could fix problems like this yourself instead of having to ask a developer to make the necessary changes (and very often getting nowhere.)
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