Not receiving RF after a while


Michael Eckard
 

(Also posted to the Wikidot Forum)


Hi.  I'm hoping someone can suggest what might be wrong.  I'm sure it is probably something obvious.


I have APRSIS32 running, which I am trying to operate from my QTH as a fill-in digi and iGate.  I initially had it setup and running through a Mobilinkd TNC.  It worked fine, but it seemed like after a period of time (maybe couple hours) I would come back and the scroller was not showing anything received through RF.  More recently, I got a PK-232 and set it up to run the home station.  At first, it appeared to be working like a charm (and perhaps better than the Mobilinkd with my home radio).  But same issue...after an hour or few I look and I'm not showing RF received stations in the scroller.  (Lots of stations...just all coming through IS)


Any ideas on what the problem might be?  (The station id is KE4DHK-10)


Thanks,
Michael
KE4DHK

 


Randy Love
 

Is it a windows pc that uses a USB->serial dongle?

If so, check the PC power setting to make sure it isn't turning off the USB after a certain amount of time.

good luck,
73,
Randy
WF5X

On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 10:18 PM, michael.eckard@... [aprsisce] <aprsisce@...> wrote:
 

(Also posted to the Wikidot Forum)


Hi.  I'm hoping someone can suggest what might be wrong.  I'm sure it is probably something obvious.


I have APRSIS32 running, which I am trying to operate from my QTH as a fill-in digi and iGate.  I initially had it setup and running through a Mobilinkd TNC.  It worked fine, but it seemed like after a period of time (maybe couple hours) I would come back and the scroller was not showing anything received through RF.  More recently, I got a PK-232 and set it up to run the home station.  At first, it appeared to be working like a charm (and perhaps better than the Mobilinkd with my home radio).  But same issue...after an hour or few I look and I'm not showing RF received stations in the scroller.  (Lots of stations...just all coming through IS)


Any ideas on what the problem might be?  (The station id is KE4DHK-10)


Thanks,
Michael
KE4DHK

 



Michael Eckard
 

Thanks for the thought.  I don't think that is happening, but I will check.  My station continues to transmit fine after it appears to stop receiving rf.  So it seems to be talking to the tnc and radio, just not showing any stations received through rf.


Michael Eckard
 

By way of update, still haven't been able to figure out the problem.

I reinstalled the port in APRSIS32, reset the TNC, restarted the laptop, checked (and disabled) all power saving settings...basically reset everything.  I restarted APRSIS32 and the PK-232MBX, and it was working great.  Lots of RF received stations, as indicated by "*" in the scroller.  

Happy, I went to bed.  This morning, I checked the system and same problem: it had stopped showing RF received signals at some point.  The PK-232 port is still open and showing ok in APRSIS, and it is transmitting fine.   But all stations in the scroller are coming in from IS, not RF.  (This includes one of our major digis that I can reliably receive from here.)

So, to my novice mind, the problem does not seem to be the TNC (and recall I had the same problem with the Mobilinkd TNC via Bluetooth), and it does not seem to be power settings or windows connection issues.  I can't help but think it is a timeout setting, or that I have some settings wrong, in APRSIS.

Any other thoughts or suggestions?  Anything that would cause APRSIS32 to stop recognizing RF packets after a period of time?  (And thank you in advance.)

Michael


Rob Giuliano
 

I am not real familiar witht the Mobilinkd, but I am fairly familiar with the PK232.
You might comment in more detail about your port settings, so we can determine if those are causing issues.

For instance, are you using a Simply(KISS) port, or is APRSIS32 using and commands?
  If the later, where did you get the commands?

I recently helped a user who had their TNC in KISS mode, but didn't use the Simply(KISS).  The worked to take the TNC out of KISS, but the <OpenCmd> were for a different TNC (wasn't expecting to use them).

If/when the system "Quiet Time" expired (was 60 and RF not that active at times), the APRSIS32 sent the commands and the TNC exited KISS.  Unfortunately, the did not cause the TNC to re-enter KISS mode.

This was found by reviewing the port logs and finding "missing " after some period of time?

 
Robert Giuliano
KB8RCO



From: "michael.eckard@... [aprsisce]"
To: aprsisce@...
Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2018 9:25 AM
Subject: [aprsisce] Re: Not receiving RF after a while

 
By way of update, still haven't been able to figure out the problem.

I reinstalled the port in APRSIS32, reset the TNC, restarted the laptop, checked (and disabled) all power saving settings...basically reset everything.  I restarted APRSIS32 and the PK-232MBX, and it was working great.  Lots of RF received stations, as indicated by "*" in the scroller.  

Happy, I went to bed.  This morning, I checked the system and same problem: it had stopped showing RF received signals at some point.  The PK-232 port is still open and showing ok in APRSIS, and it is transmitting fine.   But all stations in the scroller are coming in from IS, not RF.  (This includes one of our major digis that I can reliably receive from here.)

So, to my novice mind, the problem does not seem to be the TNC (and recall I had the same problem with the Mobilinkd TNC via Bluetooth), and it does not seem to be power settings or windows connection issues.  I can't help but think it is a timeout setting, or that I have some settings wrong, in APRSIS.

Any other thoughts or suggestions?  Anything that would cause APRSIS32 to stop recognizing RF packets after a period of time?  (And thank you in advance.)

Michael



Ken
 

Michael,

 

I have not been following this thread closely. In Windows 7 or 10 there is a hidden power management setting for USB Hubs. The default setting for Windows 10 is to allow the computer to shut down the usb hub to save power/

 

To disable that setting --- Open the Device Manager, Expand the Universal Serial Bus Controllers, On any USB setting that end in “Hub” right click and select Properties. Select Power Management at the top, Uncheck the box to allow to turn off the power.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Ken WE6U

 

From: aprsisce@...
Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2018 6:25 AM
To: aprsisce@...
Subject: [aprsisce] Re: Not receiving RF after a while

 

 

By way of update, still haven't been able to figure out the problem.

 

I reinstalled the port in APRSIS32, reset the TNC, restarted the laptop, checked (and disabled) all power saving settings...basically reset everything.  I restarted APRSIS32 and the PK-232MBX, and it was working great.  Lots of RF received stations, as indicated by "*" in the scroller.  

 

Happy, I went to bed.  This morning, I checked the system and same problem: it had stopped showing RF received signals at some point.  The PK-232 port is still open and showing ok in APRSIS, and it is transmitting fine.   But all stations in the scroller are coming in from IS, not RF.  (This includes one of our major digis that I can reliably receive from here.)

 

So, to my novice mind, the problem does not seem to be the TNC (and recall I had the same problem with the Mobilinkd TNC via Bluetooth), and it does not seem to be power settings or windows connection issues.  I can't help but think it is a timeout setting, or that I have some settings wrong, in APRSIS.

 

Any other thoughts or suggestions?  Anything that would cause APRSIS32 to stop recognizing RF packets after a period of time?  (And thank you in advance.)

 

Michael


Michael Eckard
 

Thanks for the response Robert.  On the PK232, I currently have it setup as Simply(KISS), though I once all the kinks are worked out I would like to set it up as KISS with appropriate start/stop commands.   The Mobilinkd was Simply(KISS), too.

The port settings on the PK232 are as follows:

Quiet time: 0
RFBaud is 1200
RF to IS is checked
IS to RF is checked
Enabled is checked
Xmit Enabled is checked
Beacon is checked

Under device, I have it on the correct com port, set for 9600 baud (which is what I have the PK-232 set for).  No parity, one stop bit.  I initially set it up with 7 data bits (which worked fine), then I set 8bit conversion to "on" on the PK-232 based on some of the recommendations on the web, and made the corresponding change in APRSIS32 to 8 data bits, and that worked just fine as well.   Same issue with stopping RF receive after a period of time either way.

Thanks for your thoughts on this.  I'm also happy to set and paste any logs that would be helpful in diagnosing the problem.

I know this isn't a commercial tech support line, so thank you to you and everyone responding to help me troubleshoot this.  I appreciate it.


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

I suspect that Robert is on the right track.  A simple test for this is to set the Quiet Time on the RF port to 0 which disables the quiet detection and subsequent execution of the s.  The wait and see if the port stays RF-active.

Or you can simply disable and re-enable the port and see if RF packets stop flowing.

Or to test the TNC, shut down APRSIS32 and fire up a terminal emulator and let it run monitoring the flow of data from the TNC.  If it stops after a few hours, you know it's something in the TNC or connection, not APRSIS32.  This is not 100% as there have been times that when the TNC transmits, RF comes back the line and drops USB to serial connections.  This can be verified by disabling transmit on the RF port and see if the problem goes away in that state.

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32

On 3/3/2018 10:33 AM, Rob Giuliano kb8rco@... [aprsisce] wrote:
I am not real familiar witht the Mobilinkd, but I am fairly familiar with the PK232.
You might comment in more detail about your port settings, so we can determine if those are causing issues.

For instance, are you using a Simply(KISS) port, or is APRSIS32 using and commands?
  If the later, where did you get the commands?

I recently helped a user who had their TNC in KISS mode, but didn't use the Simply(KISS).  The worked to take the TNC out of KISS, but the were for a different TNC (wasn't expecting to use them).

If/when the system "Quiet Time" expired (was 60 and RF not that active at times), the APRSIS32 sent the commands and the TNC exited KISS.  Unfortunately, the did not cause the TNC to re-enter KISS mode.

This was found by reviewing the port logs and finding "missing " after some period of time?

 
Robert Giuliano
KB8RCO



From: "michael.eckard@... [aprsisce]"
To: aprsisce@...
Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2018 9:25 AM
Subject: [aprsisce] Re: Not receiving RF after a while

 
By way of update, still haven't been able to figure out the problem.

I reinstalled the port in APRSIS32, reset the TNC, restarted the laptop, checked (and disabled) all power saving settings...basically reset everything.  I restarted APRSIS32 and the PK-232MBX, and it was working great.  Lots of RF received stations, as indicated by "*" in the scroller.  

Happy, I went to bed.  This morning, I checked the system and same problem: it had stopped showing RF received signals at some point.  The PK-232 port is still open and showing ok in APRSIS, and it is transmitting fine.   But all stations in the scroller are coming in from IS, not RF.  (This includes one of our major digis that I can reliably receive from here.)

So, to my novice mind, the problem does not seem to be the TNC (and recall I had the same problem with the Mobilinkd TNC via Bluetooth), and it does not seem to be power settings or windows connection issues.  I can't help but think it is a timeout setting, or that I have some settings wrong, in APRSIS.

Any other thoughts or suggestions?  Anything that would cause APRSIS32 to stop recognizing RF packets after a period of time?  (And thank you in advance.)

Michael




Michael Eckard
 

Thanks, Ken.  I was not aware of those settings, but I have gone in device manager and turned that feature off with respect to each of the "hub" listings, as you suggested.  Hopefully that helps, but since APRSIS32 was still getting regular beacons, etc. out on the PK-232 after the RF received stations stopped showing up on the scroller, I'm not optimistic that will fix my problem.  In other words, if the power management is shutting off power to the USB port after a period of time or that was otherwise kicking the TNC out of kiss mode or something, wouldn't that equally affect the ability to transmit?  

But I'm eager to try in the hope that it could be a fix.  I'm working on mounting this station in a 4u rack case, so I have the TNC disconnected this morning, but I'll have it back connected and running this evening, which in turn means I should know if that fixed the issue in the morning and will update the post accordingly.

Thanks again.
Michael


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

Those settings all look good and definitely Simply(KISS) is the way to go for TNCs that can be locked into KISS mode.

If you check Enables / Logging / Port() and Enables / Logging / File Enabled then your RF port will start generating debug information and that information will be placed into the current APRSIS32.LOG file.  These log files rotate every time you restart APRSIS32 and the most recent 10 are kept, so the interesting log information may be in one of the more recent numbered files when you get it.

As Robert pointed out, if the Port() has anything about "missing " that means that data is still coming from the TNC but it isn't KISS data.  Some TNCs fall out of KISS when you power cycle them (especially Kenwood APRS radios prior to the D74) and some just go deaf after a period of operation (the EJ-41U embedded in an Alinco DR-135 has this issue, but the T2/T3-135s are rock solid).

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32



On 3/3/2018 11:32 AM, michael.eckard@... [aprsisce] wrote:
Thanks for the response Robert.  On the PK232, I currently have it setup as Simply(KISS), though I once all the kinks are worked out I would like to set it up as KISS with appropriate start/stop commands.   The Mobilinkd was Simply(KISS), too.

The port settings on the PK232 are as follows:

Quiet time: 0
RFBaud is 1200
RF to IS is checked
IS to RF is checked
Enabled is checked
Xmit Enabled is checked
Beacon is checked

Under device, I have it on the correct com port, set for 9600 baud (which is what I have the PK-232 set for).  No parity, one stop bit.  I initially set it up with 7 data bits (which worked fine), then I set 8bit conversion to "on" on the PK-232 based on some of the recommendations on the web, and made the corresponding change in APRSIS32 to 8 data bits, and that worked just fine as well.   Same issue with stopping RF receive after a period of time either way.

Thanks for your thoughts on this.  I'm also happy to set and paste any logs that would be helpful in diagnosing the problem.

I know this isn't a commercial tech support line, so thank you to you and everyone responding to help me troubleshoot this.  I appreciate it.



Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

Are you sure that transmit was still working after the reception quits?  Have you heard the packets on another radio on the frequency or seen the transmit light illuminate on the radio or observe the packet(s) decoded on another APRS station?

Sometimes we think a station is transmitting when in fact the packets being observed are coming via the APRS-IS.

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32



On 3/3/2018 11:37 AM, michael.eckard@... [aprsisce] wrote:
Thanks, Ken.  I was not aware of those settings, but I have gone in device manager and turned that feature off with respect to each of the "hub" listings, as you suggested.  Hopefully that helps, but since APRSIS32 was still getting regular beacons, etc. out on the PK-232 after the RF received stations stopped showing up on the scroller, I'm not optimistic that will fix my problem.  In other words, if the power management is shutting off power to the USB port after a period of time or that was otherwise kicking the TNC out of kiss mode or something, wouldn't that equally affect the ability to transmit?  

But I'm eager to try in the hope that it could be a fix.  I'm working on mounting this station in a 4u rack case, so I have the TNC disconnected this morning, but I'll have it back connected and running this evening, which in turn means I should know if that fixed the issue in the morning and will update the post accordingly.

Thanks again.
Michael



Michael Eckard
 

Thanks, Lynn.  I'll check those logs as you both suggest. 


In terms of transmitting, I believe it is.  I'll pay closer attention to the issue tomorrow morning if it is not receiving RF again and will confirm by powering up and checking my mobile rig.  But in the meantime, here is what I see on aprsdirect.com.   They are showing that the last station directly heard by mine was our local club digi (WA4USN-5) at 6:29am.   (That is the only fixed station in my area that I'm in reliable range of.)  Conversely, my station (KE4DHK-10) was last heard by the same club digi at 9:21am this morning, which is probably about when I powered the PK-232 down this morning to work on the rack mount box. 


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

I see that your station is KE4DHK-10 from your Wiki post.  Unfortunately, I've been rebuilding my OpenStreetMaps tile server after an SSD failure so I had my APRSIS32 RF monitor down.  I just fired it up (well, firing it up, my server is memory-overloaded with the planet import) so I should be able to tell you who is seeing you and what you are seeing once it is all back up and running.

Let us know when you have the TNC reconnected and running so I know when would be productive to check for traffic from KE4DHK-10.

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32



On 3/3/2018 11:44 AM, 'Lynn W Deffenbaugh (Mr)' kj4erj@... [aprsisce] wrote:
Are you sure that transmit was still working after the reception quits?  Have you heard the packets on another radio on the frequency or seen the transmit light illuminate on the radio or observe the packet(s) decoded on another APRS station?

Sometimes we think a station is transmitting when in fact the packets being observed are coming via the APRS-IS.

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32



On 3/3/2018 11:37 AM, michael.eckard@... [aprsisce] wrote:
Thanks, Ken.  I was not aware of those settings, but I have gone in device manager and turned that feature off with respect to each of the "hub" listings, as you suggested.  Hopefully that helps, but since APRSIS32 was still getting regular beacons, etc. out on the PK-232 after the RF received stations stopped showing up on the scroller, I'm not optimistic that will fix my problem.  In other words, if the power management is shutting off power to the USB port after a period of time or that was otherwise kicking the TNC out of kiss mode or something, wouldn't that equally affect the ability to transmit?  

But I'm eager to try in the hope that it could be a fix.  I'm working on mounting this station in a 4u rack case, so I have the TNC disconnected this morning, but I'll have it back connected and running this evening, which in turn means I should know if that fixed the issue in the morning and will update the post accordingly.

Thanks again.
Michael




Rob Giuliano
 

If the computer sends data to the USB port, it will "wake it up" to send it.  It should stay awake until it times out again, so I would have expected periods of data after each transmit.

I'd be thinking about Lynn's comments on RF getting into the system.  How close are the cables to your coax, rf port of the radio, and/or antenna.

Although moreso with HTs where the antenna and everything is right there, RF causes more headaches, especially USB devices.  Do you have chokes on the USB wires?  You can find cables with them fairly easily.
 
Robert Giuliano
KB8RCO



From: "michael.eckard@... [aprsisce]" To: aprsisce@...
Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2018 11:37 AM
Subject: RE: [aprsisce] Re: Not receiving RF after a while

 
Thanks, Ken.  I was not aware of those settings, but I have gone in device manager and turned that feature off with respect to each of the "hub" listings, as you suggested.  Hopefully that helps, but since APRSIS32 was still getting regular beacons, etc. out on the PK-232 after the RF received stations stopped showing up on the scroller, I'm not optimistic that will fix my problem.  In other words, if the power management is shutting off power to the USB port after a period of time or that was otherwise kicking the TNC out of kiss mode or something, wouldn't that equally affect the ability to transmit?  

But I'm eager to try in the hope that it could be a fix.  I'm working on mounting this station in a 4u rack case, so I have the TNC disconnected this morning, but I'll have it back connected and running this evening, which in turn means I should know if that fixed the issue in the morning and will update the post accordingly.

Thanks again.
Michael



Michael Eckard
 

Ok, station is back up and I've enabled those logs you suggested.  As soon as I hooked back up and opened APRSIS32, I noticed its not catching the RF receives.  I'll let it run a bit and see what those logs say.


Michael Eckard
 

I let it run for a few hours this evening, and consistent with the problem I've been having, it shows now RF packets received.  (I do see it keying the radio when beaconing, though.)   I pulled the logs, and here are a few of the lines that I thought might be pertinent.

Activity:WinMain:2018-03-03T22:10:06.437 RFPort[1] PK232MBX(Simply(KISS)) 1200 via COM5:9600,N,8,1

Port(PK232MBX):WinMain:2018-03-03T22:10:06.437 Starting Port(PK232MBX)
Port(PK232MBX):Port(PK232MBX):2018-03-03T22:10:06.437 CpReader Running on COM5:9600,N,8,1 (1 OpenCmds, 1 CloseCmds)
Port(PK232MBX):Port(PK232MBX):2018-03-03T22:10:06.437 Opening COM5:9600,N,8,1
Port(PK232MBX):Port(PK232MBX):2018-03-03T22:10:06.437 Opening COM5 with 4 Args

Port(PK232MBX):Port(PK232MBX):2018-03-03T22:50:59.375 Sent[75]:<C0 00 82 A0 AE AE>b`<E0 96 8A>h<88 90 96>t<AE 82>h<AA A6 9C>j<AE 92 88 8A>d@c<03 F0>@225059h3254.32N107945.05W#ke4dhk@...<C0>






Michael Eckard
 

Also, after exiting APRSIS32, I did got back into Putty and the TNC does appear to be receiving packets, such as:

WA4USN-5*>APRX28 <UI>:
!3247.46N/07954.49W#WA4USN 146.79- T123.0 www.wa4usn.org


Michael Eckard
 

Update:  So I've been doing some more reading online and I might have found the problem, or perhaps part of the problem.  After doing some adjustments, I'm receiving RF right now.  (But I have before too so I'll let it run for some time and see if it stops receiving RF, or if it carries on now.)

Here is what I did.  Maybe someone more knowledgeable on this stuff can tell me if this might be the fix, or if what I did has nothing to do with anything.  :)

I realized the PK-232 manual says the box by default looks for 7 bit and even parity.  I lost track, after so many adjustments and trying different things, of whether I had the ports setup the same.  So I decided to give the PK-232 a "rest" command, then I exited the terminal.  I set the COM5 port settings to 9600 baud, 8 bit, no parity, and no flow control.  Then, I set Putty to the same specs and opened another terminal, and then did an auto-baud routine using the "*" command.  

After the PK-232 came up, I set the following commands:

8bitconv on
awlen 8
mon 6
KI $01

I then exited Putty, brought up APRSIS32, and confirmed the port settings for the PK-232 were 8 bit, no parity, etc.

So far, RF coming through.  (I have internet disabled just to see cleanly.)  My uneducated theory is, if this does fix the issue, then maybe I've wrongly convinced myself that the problem was not with the PK-232 settings and that it was "working" with tx before but not recognizing the AX25 packets because the port settings were a bit out of sync and it wasn't handling the last bit properly or something?  (And I would have to also then assume that the similar problem I have been having with Mobilinkd is related to a power saving setting on the Bluetooth port, I suppose.)

I'll enable internet for normal operation and give a SITREP after a few hours, but I wanted to share the above for the good of the order, either (a) so someone can say the above isn't the issue, or (b) if it does happen to fix the problem, the next sucker who tries this can maybe save a few days of headache!

Michael
KE4DHK


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

If that's what you see in Putty, your TNC is not in KISS mode.  That's all humanly readable which is some sort of terminal or command mode.  In KISS mode, you will not be able to read the headers of packets, but only the payload.  And there likely won't be any line breaks either.

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32



On 3/3/2018 8:33 PM, michael.eckard@... [aprsisce] wrote:
Also, after exiting APRSIS32, I did got back into Putty and the TNC does appear to be receiving packets, such as:

WA4USN-5*>APRX28 :
!3247.46N/07954.49W#WA4USN 146.79- T123.0 www.wa4usn.org



Michael Eckard
 

Sorry, Lynn...that packet was after I took it out of kiss mode.  Should have made that clear.  It was in kiss mode before.