Elecraft XG3 control issue. Bug?


#1

Hello.

While evaluating Wizkers:Radio some more, this time using my Elecraft XG3 sig’ gen (somewhat simpler than a KX3!) and also on a PC where I don’t have to fight to see all the “viewer” screen, I’ve found what may be a bug.

XG3 firmware is rev 01.16 Serial Comms are at 9600bd, the PC is running Mint 17.2 32 bit, and Chromium says this about itself:-
Version 49.0.2623.108 Built on Ubuntu 14.04, running on LinuxMint 17.2

Anyway…

Overall it works as advertised, you can control it just fine. And I have to say, it’s “Beacon Management” is wonderful! Nice job sir.

But, after its sent a beacon in CW, though control still works, the display on the PC is not updated, if for example you change band or signal level. (Using the program controls, or the XG3 hardware buttons.)

The lights on the Elecraft USB<>serial cable are still blinking, so something is going on.

Also, changing the frequency in the “Direct” control tool, works (monitoring the thing on a nearby rig) as does turning the output on/off, but even that displayed frequency is not updated when you change frequency by clicking on the “yellow band” buttons.

The red buttons ±, Level & On/Off buttons don’t do anything either, I’m guessing they should, as the mouse cursor turns to the “Hand & Finger” when you move to them. Interestingly, the serial interface lights don’t blink when you click them, where as if you click on one of the yellow status “button/lamps” they flicker almost immediately, and the state of the XG3 does change.

I also get a “Port Error” popup at odd times,

Often when clicking on the main blue “Send Beacon” button. But the overall the control of the XG3 carries on.

Sometimes too, the beacon text field is cleared for some reason. I have to disconnect and reconnect the XG3 to get that back.

Is there any port traffic logging facility I could use, to capture some data for you?

Despite these issues, I’m liking what Wizkers can do now, and the potential of what it could be made to do in the future.

All the best Ed.

Dave G0WBX.

PS: I’ve not tried the sweep facility, yet…


#3

Thank you so much for your feedback! This is super valuable to help me improve things.

You have actually found a XG3 firmware bug - basically the XG3 gets confused after sending a beacon. I should have a workaround in the next release, as well as the buttons working. On/Off won’t actually turn the XG3 off, but toggle RF output.

I will also improve the user experience when sending a beacon - everything will get disabled, and the “Send Beacon” button will turn into “Stop Beacon”, which reflects the way the XG3 works, as everything is disabled until it receives a command to tell it to stop sending.


#4

Thanks Ed for confirming I’d found “something”.

Do we treat it as a “Feature” and not bother reporting it to Elecraft, or ??? I can see arguments both ways.

I’ve only used the XG3 in the past for (as it was intended) checking RX front ends etc, but the beacon mode is an interesting prospect to play with. It’s a pity it (and the KX3) is not stable enough to run as a WSPR beacon, but I think with careful use of the Beacon text string, it could be used with the CW Reverse Beacon Network.

I’ll play more with both the XG3 and KX3 via Wizkers:Radio as time permits.

73 Ed.

Dave G0WBX.


#5

I am definitely going to report this to Elecraft, as soon as I have found a way to reproduce every time. Elecraft is abou 30m by car from where I live, and a lot of Elecraft employees are regulars at our ham meetings in the bay area, that definitely helps!

Basically when sending a repeating beacon, the XG3 will go on indefinitely until you send something on the serial port. But… if you send a long chain of commands right after the beacon stops, then the XG3 gets into a weird mode where it only accepts one character a a time on the serial port and replies right away. For instance, if you type “O” then it just sends the output status immediately, without waiting for additional characters… The only solution is to turn off the XG3, or to make sure you send a couple of short commands after leaving beacon mode to avoid getting in that situation. Well here you go, I just described it :slight_smile:

Yes, with a proper UI for using the XG3 in beacon mode, this makes the device a lot more interesting and fun to play with! Use with RBN definitely would be cool.

All the improvements/fixes will be released over the week-end.


#6

Received feedback from Elecraft: they have identified and fixed the issue on the XG3 - I received a test firmware that seems to solve the problem, so I’m pretty sure it will be released by Elecraft soon.

Now that’s excellent customer service :slight_smile:


#7

I am seeing some really flakey behavior between whizkers and the XG3. Everything is up to date, whizkers, firmware on the Xg3, OS on computers. On the Mac (El Capitan) , i cant connect at all, i just get a i/o error dialog, i know i am connecting to the right port, because the XG3 util has no problems. On the PC (WIN 10 64 bot) it connects on the second attempt after throwing up an error dialog, and then seems to work ok. In whizkers there is no option other than the port selection, no baud rate etc, which is weird for a serial connection.


#8

Thanks for the report - I will test on the latest version as soon as I’m in front of my XG3 and report. Can you share a screenshot of the error by any chance?