Win4K3suite – KX3

About a month ago I read on the KX3 Yahoo group about new software called Win4K3suite.  During the holidays I decided to give the 30 day trial a go.

Here is a great video overview provided by the software’s designer Tom, VA2FSQ.

Download, execution, and setup are pretty straightforward.  Tom has a two great video tutorials to help a new user set up the KX3 Spectrum Scope and any 3rd party products (like N1MM and LOG4OM).

Be sure to use the latest Kx3 firmware version.  I had an error using beta firmware that was easily resolved moving back production firmware.  Tom, who has been very responsive to my questions, mentioned that there have been issues with old firmware as well.

Once the software is setup it works.  To be more precise it works very well!  Personally I am a big fan of simple software like this that is easy to setup and just works well.

The Control Center Window has a great layout.  It really feels like you have full control of the KX3.  There is even a “SPOT” button in the menu (and it actually works).  

Win4K3_Control

The spectrum scope is nice.  It is a bit different from what I am used to with NaP3/PowerSDR in terms of looks and function.  The scope is in a separate window…which can be very nice if you have two screens…but you may have problems fitting both on one screen (without any overlapping windows).  I also found that I cannot keep just the spectrum scope up if I close the control center window.  Point click tuning, the most important feature in any panadapter, works well (accomplished by a double click).   The spectrum scope always seems to be correct when I switch modes, etc (not like the issue that I have with NaP3).  Having had a Flexradio for a number of years I do notice a few things missing…the first is the on screen adjustable filtering that you can do NaP3/PowerSDR.  Second, I miss the great mouse controls to move through the spectrum scope easily.  Lastly, I really do enjoy the Panafall/Spanafall  “look” with NaP3/PowerSDR (with AVG turned on).  This scope feels a bit more bland.  Overall, the Win4K3 Spectrum Scope is different (not worse)…so it may just take me some time to get used to it.  I believe that Elecraft Owners with a P3 will enjoy it.  

Win4K3_Spectrum

Tom tells me that the panadapter is new (version 1.0) so there may be additional improvements once he had heard more feedback from beta testers.

Setup with 3rd party software is also pretty straightforward.  In this case, I simply used a pair of virtual ports (Com4 and Com5) I previously set up in com0com to connect N1MM to Win4K3.    There really isn’t too much else to it.

Win4K3Setup1

Conclusion:

Overall this program works very well and I would suggest that everyone give it a try (30 day trial) to see if it will work for them.   The software costs, $50, is well worth it if the software has a permanent place in your shack.

PROS:  Easy setup, clean layout, great rig control, and responsive service (with Tom)

CONS:  If you are a PowerSDR/NaP3 user the spectrum scope will take some time getting used to.  Its not bad…just different.

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KXBC3 – Notes

Today I was reading the KX3 Yahoo Group messages and came accross a conversation regarding the optional internal battery charger on the KX3.

Here are some notes I wanted to remember so I figured I would post them here (my thanks to Mark, KE6BB for his original response to the KX3 Yahoo Group):

  • There is a temperature protection feature in the KXBC3 that will display a message of “NOT 0-40C” if the cells go above the maximum specified temperature.
  • If the “NOT 0-40C” message appears during a charging cycle…then the charging cycle will resume once the condition is corrected (it is not known if that includes just letting the batteries cool down).
  • If using the recommended > 1900mA NiMH batteries it would be difficult to over charge these batteries using the KXBC3 (based on the constant charge rate and temperature protection)
  • If using modern NiMH batteries then there is no need to fully charge or fully discharge them to reduce memory effect.
  • Going to 100% occasionally is a good idea since that helps level out the voltages of individual cells
  • Never let the cells’ voltages drop below about 1v per cell (cell damage may occur and potentially the KXBC3 will not start its charge cycle)
  • Lastly, it is good practice to occasionaly check the voltage of each battery, after a good charging, to see if they are still with a few tenths of each other

The KX3 will turn itself off at 7.5V (or 7.0V depending on where you see it in the KX3 manual) so you will likely not run into the risk of going damaging the cells due to low voltage.

KXBC3 Manual is here

Here is more on the errors messages related to the KXBC3 (see image below):

KXBC3

KX3 – Trouble Shooting NaP3 – Sampling Rate Error

It has been awhile since I have connected my KX3 to NaP3 so today I decided to give this a try.

When I connected…I noticed this (the signal did not show across the full bandwidth):
NaP3

I took a look at my settings…they looked fine (I like to keep mine at 96K).
NaP33

To investigate I selected 48K and then noticed that the signal went wide.
NaP31

Then when I selected 192K and noticed that the signal went really short:
NaP32

At this point I realized that I had connected the R/Q output into the back of my computer and that I needed to adjust the mic input.

NaP34a

I made the change and guess what…it worked.
NaP35

After all this…I then realized that I had originally configured the Line In jack on my computer…and had simply connected into the wrong jack (in this case the microphone).

Nevertheless, I hope this helps anyone else who encounters this same issue.

Update KX3-2M Module – Images and Notes

Thanks to others who attending Pacificon we now have a few more photos of the KX3-2M module.

I know that many are looking forward to this as evidence of Wayne’s recent post on the KX3 Yahoo Group Blog and the 19 messages that followed (which contain great details).

KX3-2M_MSG_Wayne

My thanks to Scott, AK6Q (http://www.gemsproducts.com/) who posted these images to the KX3 Yahoo Group:

IMG_0920

Here is the note that was included in this image:

This is from PACIFICON, here is the SMA Antenna port as well as a shot of the 2M card installed it is the second card up from the gold SMA connector.

IMG_0921Here is the note that was included in this image:

Here is a shot again from PACIFICON of the KX3 Operating on simplex 146.520 the last two digits are 1.3 because of the need for temp compensation due the the newness of the board and not being completely updated. It was tx/rx on 146.520

Solved – KX3 Fldigi Issue (XMIT on Plug Connection into Mic)

On my original Fldigi setup post there are a few comments that mentioned that the radio would go into transmit (XMIT) when connecting a plug into the microphone socket on the KX3.  I did not have this issue so I could not direct others to a solution.

Today I found the same issue trying to connect a new Heil Pro Set Elite to the KX3.  When I connected the microphone the radio would go into transmit.

This is actually a fairly easy fix and was mentioned by “Terry” in the comments.

When I investigated I found that my radio had the MIC BTN settings as “Ptt UP.dn”…apparently to allow functionality for the MH3 hand mic.

 

KX3 MIC Settings (Before)

 

 

I just turned the MIC BTN settings to “OFF” and that seemed to solve the problem with the Heil headset.

KX3 MIC Settings (After)

 

 

As also mentioned by “Terry” you will need to change these settings if you go back to the MH3 microphone.

 

KXBC3 NiMH Battery Charger

So I installed this KXBC3 some time last year but have really only used it once.  Now that my batteries have run down I need to relearn how to charge the batteries again.

Apparently as part of the battery charger setup you must set the KXBC3 charge time based on the power capacity of your batteries.

To find the charge time you use the following equation:

Charging Time (hours) = 1.2 x (cell mAH rating)/200

I have 2300 mAh batteries from Energizer so the estimated charge time is: 13.8 hours

The KXBC3 gives you options for 4, 12 or 16 hour charge times.

I have heard, based on the KXBC3 documentation, that NiMH cells can take some overcharging but I didn’t want to push it so I set it for 12 hours.

Unfortunately I had to stop this process mid-way to pack up for Sapelo Island…so will charge again once I get down there.

 

UPDATE: KX3: How to configure N1MM to use function keys to send CW (without additional cables or hardware like winkeyer)

This is an update on my original post here:  https://k4mtx.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/kx3-how-to-configure-n1mm-to-use-function-keys-to-send-cw-without-additional-cables-or-hardware-like-winkeyer/

Earlier this week I created a post about my N1MM setup with my KX3 and in the post and video I noticed an error with N1MM sending the serial number {EXCH} when set up for contest modes.

Thankfully, somebody (Wilko PA3BWK) actually read my original post and pointed out to me that a recent update to N1MM may have included a fix to the serial number {EXCH} issue.

From N1MM’s update page (version 13.05.03):

CAT ASC Macro: If the function key contains “ASC KY” and the mode is CW added the following functionality. When the callsign box contains text, convert # to the current serial number and ! to the callsign. When the callsign box is empty, convert # to the last serial number and remove !. Remove the Entrywindow status error message when sending CW with CAT Macro commands. (BG6JJI) (coded by K3CT)

I downloaded the update and tested it with the current macro set and it now works great.

My setup for Field Day will likely be something like this:

F1 CQ,{CATA1ASC KY CQ FD * * CQ;}
F2 Exch,{CATA1ASC KY ! {EXCH};}
F3 Tu,{CATA1ASC KY ! tu * qrz;}
F4 MyCall,{CATA1ASC KY * ;}
F5 His Call,{CATA1ASC KY !? ;}
F6 DUPE, {CATA1ASC KY B4 ! B4;}
F7 QRZ?,{CATA1ASC KY QRZ de *;}
F8 Agn?,{CATA1ASC KY agn? ;}
F9 Nr?,{CATA1ASC KY nr? ;}
F10 Call?,{CATA1ASC KY cl? ;}
F11 Break,{CATA1ASC rx;}
F12 Wipe,{WIPE}

My notes (also mentioned in the update notes):

* is your call.
! is the other call (or if blank…nothing)
# is the serial exchange (I suggest using {EXCH} instead)
{SENTRSTCUT} will give you 5NN instead of 599

If you want to add/change your N1MM macros go here (see image below):

CWMessageEditor

My thanks to Jerry (BG6JJI), Wilko (PA3BWK), and John (K3CT) for helping me out on this.