Topics

Tuning knob behavior

Phil Karn
 

How do people feel about the way the tuning works?

You do need a way to tune rapidly across a lot of spectrum, which is why
many radios (like the ubitx) '"accelerate" the tuning when you turn the
knob rapidly.

But I have always found this disconcerting. In the "good old days"
before synthesized tuners, you knew that if you turned the knob say 1/2
turn to the left and then 1/2 turn to the right, you'd be back on your
original frequency no matter how fast you turned the knob. That doesn't
happen here unless you turn the knob slowly enough to avoid triggering
the acceleration.

Heathkit (remember them?) had an interesting feature on one of their
flagship radios: there were two finger indents in the knob, and the
tuning speed depended on which indent you used. Never actually had one
of those radios myself but it seemed like a good idea.

I suppose this is one of those things that boils down to personal
preference. Don't want to start an argument...

Oh, and I think the 50 Hz tuning step is too small, but I haven't worked
out whether the synthesizer in the clock generator chip can do smaller
steps.

I guess I'm just spoiled by SDRs. My own SDR can tune in arbitrarily
small steps. A millihertz, if you really want.

Phil

Jack, W8TEE
 

Phil:

I had a "Fast Tune" process that worked the way you mentioned, which did allow you to speed from one end to the other of a given band. However, most hams didn't like it. JackAl has a cursor that sits above the "increment digit" in the frequency, but requires you to "poke" the increment button (+ or -). Some radios (e.g., the G90) have you push the tuning encoder switch, but that, too, means pushing on a switch and, depending upon the mass of the xcvr, it may slide across the desk when you push it. The perfect solution to this problem is...don't have a clue. When someone figures it out, let me know!

Jack, W8TEE

On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 1:39:40 PM EST, Phil Karn <karn@...> wrote:


How do people feel about the way the tuning works?

You do need a way to tune rapidly across a lot of spectrum, which is why
many radios (like the ubitx) '"accelerate" the tuning when you turn the
knob rapidly.

But I have always found this disconcerting. In the "good old days"
before synthesized tuners, you knew that if you turned the knob say 1/2
turn to the left and then 1/2 turn to the right, you'd be back on your
original frequency no matter how fast you turned the knob. That doesn't
happen here unless you turn the knob slowly enough to avoid triggering
the acceleration.

Heathkit (remember them?) had an interesting feature on one of their
flagship radios: there were two finger indents in the knob, and the
tuning speed depended on which indent you used. Never actually had one
of those radios myself but it seemed like a good idea.

I suppose this is one of those things that boils down to personal
preference. Don't want to start an argument...

Oh, and I think the 50 Hz tuning step is too small, but I haven't worked
out whether the synthesizer in the clock generator chip can do smaller
steps.

I guess I'm just spoiled by SDRs. My own SDR can tune in arbitrarily
small steps. A millihertz, if you really want.

Phil






--
Jack, W8TEE

Phil Karn
 

On 2/12/20 10:39, Phil Karn wrote:
Oh, and I think the 50 Hz tuning step is too small, but I haven't worked
out whether the synthesizer in the clock generator chip can do smaller
steps.
Excuse me, I meant to say that I think the 50 Hz tuning step is too LARGE.

I need something to wake me up.

Phil

Curt
 

Phil

my first reaction - no way I can operate this tuning control, especially since I 'used' to speed up when I hear a signal.  then I tried someone's custom tuning firmware - I didn't like that either. 

since then, I have adapted.  if you don't need the fast tune feature, the firmware can be taught not to do that.  I am still using stock firmware, for now.  Very popular is updating to the CEC firmware, and also there is the W0EB/W2CTX firmware.  your display strategy may influence your choice. 

I am doing CW fine with 50 Hz, and voices sound okay - but I don't have perfect pitch to play a violin. 

Operate whatever version you have - get some more experience, then research the alternatives.  Perhaps learn how to merely slow down the how the existing tuning algorithm works - maybe someone has made this fix available. 

Curt

Jerry Gaffke
 

Two encoders, one for each hand.
If right handed then left hand sets the tuning speed, and verse-visa.

This could feel strangely familiar to those who cut their ears on a regenerative receiver.

Jerry, KE7ER


On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 10:54 AM, Jack, W8TEE wrote:
had a "Fast Tune" process that worked the way you mentioned, which did allow you to speed from one end to the other of a given band. However, most hams didn't like it. JackAl has a cursor that sits above the "increment digit" in the frequency, but requires you to "poke" the increment button (+ or -). Some radios (e.g., the G90) have you push the tuning encoder switch, but that, too, means pushing on a switch and, depending upon the mass of the xcvr, it may slide across the desk when you push it. The perfect solution to this problem is...don't have a clue. When someone figures it out, let me know!
 

Arv Evans
 

Jerry KE7ER

Great idea.  Wish I had thought of it.  With two encoders we could probably eliminate all
the push-buttons.    8-)

Arv  K7HKL
_._


On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 1:22 PM Jerry Gaffke via Groups.Io <jgaffke=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Two encoders, one for each hand.
If right handed then left hand sets the tuning speed, and verse-visa.

This could feel strangely familiar to those who cut their ears on a regenerative receiver.

Jerry, KE7ER


On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 10:54 AM, Jack, W8TEE wrote:
had a "Fast Tune" process that worked the way you mentioned, which did allow you to speed from one end to the other of a given band. However, most hams didn't like it. JackAl has a cursor that sits above the "increment digit" in the frequency, but requires you to "poke" the increment button (+ or -). Some radios (e.g., the G90) have you push the tuning encoder switch, but that, too, means pushing on a switch and, depending upon the mass of the xcvr, it may slide across the desk when you push it. The perfect solution to this problem is...don't have a clue. When someone figures it out, let me know!
 

Dean Souleles
 

Phil -

Ian Lee's CEC firmware dispenses with the variable speed tuning.  You set tuning increments - and they can be a low as 1Hz.  

You don't say which version you are on - but it works well with the stock 16x2 display on V5 and prior.   It does everything I want and runs on the stock Arduino. I have upgraded to the 2.8" Nextion using the CEC firmware and I am very happy with it.  The CEC firmware does not and will not work with the V6 display.  For that you need to check out some of the other alternatives.

73 and good luck,

Dean
KK4DAS




Dean
KK4DAS

Jerry Gaffke
 

Yup, I've been thinking of doing that for several years now.
But you still need a button of some sort to actually make a menu selection.

Jerry, KE7ER


On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 01:58 PM, Arv Evans wrote:
Great idea.  Wish I had thought of it.  With two encoders we could probably eliminate all
the push-buttons.    8-)
 

Arv Evans
 

Jerry

If using encoders with built-in push-buttons, that might be all that is needed. 

Arv
_-_


On Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 5:39 PM Jerry Gaffke via Groups.Io <jgaffke=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Yup, I've been thinking of doing that for several years now.
But you still need a button of some sort to actually make a menu selection.

Jerry, KE7ER

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 01:58 PM, Arv Evans wrote:
Great idea.  Wish I had thought of it.  With two encoders we could probably eliminate all
the push-buttons.    8-)
 

W2CTX
 

You need a better quality encoder/switch or you might wind up selecting an item above or below the one you wanted!



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: Arv Evans <arvid.evans@...>
Date: 2/12/20 8:07 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Tuning knob behavior

Jerry

If using encoders with built-in push-buttons, that might be all that is needed. 

Arv
_-_


On Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 5:39 PM Jerry Gaffke via Groups.Io <jgaffke=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Yup, I've been thinking of doing that for several years now.
But you still need a button of some sort to actually make a menu selection.

Jerry, KE7ER

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 01:58 PM, Arv Evans wrote:
Great idea.  Wish I had thought of it.  With two encoders we could probably eliminate all
the push-buttons.    8-)
 

Jerry Gaffke
 

I agree, I hate using an encoder switch for a select,
you often move the encoder a tick or two when you try to push it.
Also, as previously mentioned, you have to hold the rig down with the other hand. 

I'm thinking two encoders, one on each side, a microswitch low and in the middle.
A display across the top.  Nothing else on the front panel.

Rotate the left side to select a function, perhaps tuning at 1hz, 10, 100,1k, 10k, 100k, 1mhz.
Also some menus beyond that, each menu with a half dozen different menu items.
Once that is set up by the left hand, rotate the other encoder with the right hand to tune
or select a specific menu item.  To act on a menu item, hit that switch with either thumb.
Your hands never leave the encoder knobs.

If left handed, there's a menu item in there for you to swap the encoders.

The switch should be quick and sure, actuating with downward pressure
so the rig doesn't skitter across the desk.  I'm thinking one of those microswitches
with the long lever arm, the end of the lever sticking out a hole in the front panel.
After selecting the proper menu item, the switch serves as a hand key in a pinch.

Jerry, KE7ER



On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 05:24 PM, W2CTX wrote:

You need a better quality encoder/switch or you might wind up selecting an item above or below the one you wanted!
 
 
 
Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
 
 
Hide quoted text

 

-------- Original message --------
From: Arv Evans <arvid.evans@...>
Date: 2/12/20 8:07 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Tuning knob behavior
 
Jerry
 
If using encoders with built-in push-buttons, that might be all that is needed. 
 
Arv
_-_
 

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 5:39 PM Jerry Gaffke via Groups.Io <jgaffke=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Yup, I've been thinking of doing that for several years now.
But you still need a button of some sort to actually make a menu selection.

Jerry, KE7ER

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 01:58 PM, Arv Evans wrote:
Great idea.  Wish I had thought of it.  With two encoders we could probably eliminate all
the push-buttons.    8-)
 

AndyH
 

I'm not a fan of variable rate tuning.  The CEC software provides plenty of tuning rate options and it's easy to use the switch on the encoder to change rates.

Andy

Reed N
 

I go back and forth about this. On one hand, having the ability to slew large amounts can be quite nice. On the other, as you point out, having fixed steps gives a solid consistency. With a knob-only interface, I think that slewing far is more important, but the v6 has "keypad" entry and band buttons for large jumps, so maybe consistency is better? Jury is out for me on this one, because neither option is perfect in all normal usage scenarios.

The Si5351A can generate very precise frequencies, but there's a trade off of knob turning vs actual movement. Most of the time, I don't want to have to do 100 turns to get a 1Hz increment. I also don't usually want to shift 1MHz on each encoder tick. Ashhar probably picked 50Hz because it's good enough most of the time. However, If you're willing to change the code, you can pick your favorite step size really easily (provided it's at least 1Hz - sub-Hz is possible, but you'll have to do a fair amount of refactoring). Change the "50" on these two lines of code to whatever step size you wish.
https://github.com/afarhan/ubitxv6/blob/master/ubitx_v6.1_code.ino#L632
https://github.com/afarhan/ubitxv6/blob/master/ubitx_v6.1_code.ino#L638
(or https://github.com/reedbn/ubitxv6/blob/master/ubitxv6.ino#L387 if you're using my version)

I think the *ideal* solution is to have a setting that lets the user choose whether acceleration is on, as well as the step size. Those are both on my road map for v6, but I haven't gotten around to them yet (obviously). I believe that the KD8CEC+nextion software supports adjustable step size, and I think the TSW Teensy software added that too. Not sure if either has acceleration profile settings.


Reed

Jack, W8TEE
 

Andy:

I'm working on the CAT interface that Hans added to his QCX. My goal is a CAT interface that doesn't require you to lug a laptop with you into the field for a SOTA activation. So far, it looks like this:

Inline image

and I've been following this thread to see what the consensus is for frequency changes. Like they say about us economists, "If you laid all of the economists end-to-end, they'd never reach a conclusion!" It appears to be the same here. I think my solution will be a NO push button on the front panel that advances the increment value by one digit (e.g., a 10x change) each time you press the button. After a user-defined number of presses, it "wraps" back to the starting position. I would probably start with the 10Hz digit and have 4 presses (e.g., 10KHz) before wrapping back to 10Hz. Since this will also be Open Source, the user can easily change the "press" count factor. My version uses the Teensy 4.0, which has a mega-munch of memory and a 600MHz clock, so adding features isn't an issue on the display side of things. I think this approach for a frequency delta is better than an encoder switch press because my tests suggest it obviates the "rig sliding" problem which forces you to hold the rig with one hand as you press the encoder switch with the other. Given what I've read in this thread, the NO switch seems to be a viable solution.

The T4 is overkill for what it currently does but, because it will be Open Source and in C, you could easily substitute a cheaper chip (STM32??) for the $20 T4. However, I need the resource depth and horsepower for the bottom half of the screen. I still have a lot of work to do, but, man, where can you have this much fun for $50?

Jack, W8TEE


On Thursday, February 13, 2020, 12:17:41 AM EST, AndyH <ahecker@...> wrote:


I'm not a fan of variable rate tuning.  The CEC software provides plenty of tuning rate options and it's easy to use the switch on the encoder to change rates.

Andy

--
Jack, W8TEE

AndyH
 

I'm somewhat surprised by the 'rig sliding' comments.  My µBITX is in a metal box with stick-on rubber feet, and I'm using a spinner knob with an inexpensive encoder.  I put four fingers on top of the case and my thumb falls on the tuning knob.  It's a one-hand operation throughout.  While I sometimes misjudge the length of press required to enter the step size function in Ian's software, making a step change is two button presses - one in and one out.  I would guess that a system requiring more button presses might provide more opportunity for sliding, especially with a lighter radio.  Can't say for sure, though, so that's just a guess.

73, Andy, KG5RKP


On Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 08:18 AM, Jack, W8TEE wrote:
 
Andy:
 
I think my solution will be a NO push button on the front panel that advances the increment value by one digit (e.g., a 10x change) each time you press the button. After a user-defined number of presses, it "wraps" back to the starting position. I would probably start with the 10Hz digit and have 4 presses (e.g., 10KHz) before wrapping back to 10Hz... I think this approach for a frequency delta is better than an encoder switch press because my tests suggest it obviates the "rig sliding" problem which forces you to hold the rig with one hand as you press the encoder switch with the other.

GM4CID
 

The pRxTx Android app from Dan Tonna YO3GGX will CAT control quite a few functions to the uBitx, worth giving it a try with an old Android phone or tablet capable of OTG function. 

73 Bob GM4CID

Wayne Leake
 

 AndyH,
 While I like the idea of rubber feet, I dislike stick on types. Far too many times I have seen stick ons come off.
 I much prefer screw on types.
 Whether using sheet metal types, or nut and screw, they are far less likely to ever come off by themselves.
 I have had way too many stick on feet come off over the years.

 Wayne WA2YNE


On Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 12:24 PM GM4CID <gm4cid@...> wrote:
The pRxTx Android app from Dan Tonna YO3GGX will CAT control quite a few functions to the uBitx, worth giving it a try with an old Android phone or tablet capable of OTG function. 

73 Bob GM4CID

Ted
 

Bob,
What is OTG function and how does one hook up pRxTx to the uBitx?

Ted
K3RTA

David Wilcox <Djwilcox01@...>
 

I don’t trust the stick on rubber feet so I use a drop of super glue gel on each one I install.  I do the same with those stick on pads you put on the bottom of the feet of chairs to keep them from scraping the floor. Works well.  

David J. Wilcox K8WPE’s iPad

On Feb 13, 2020, at 3:27 PM, Wayne Leake <wayneleake@...> wrote:


 AndyH,
 While I like the idea of rubber feet, I dislike stick on types. Far too many times I have seen stick ons come off.
 I much prefer screw on types.
 Whether using sheet metal types, or nut and screw, they are far less likely to ever come off by themselves.
 I have had way too many stick on feet come off over the years.

 Wayne WA2YNE


On Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 12:24 PM GM4CID <gm4cid@...> wrote:
The pRxTx Android app from Dan Tonna YO3GGX will CAT control quite a few functions to the uBitx, worth giving it a try with an old Android phone or tablet capable of OTG function. 

73 Bob GM4CID

Phil Karn
 

On 2/12/20 22:40, Reed N wrote:
I go back and forth about this. On one hand, having the ability to
slew large amounts can be quite nice. On the other, as you point out,
having fixed steps gives a solid consistency. With a knob-only
interface, I think that slewing far is more important, but the v6 has
"keypad" entry and band buttons for large jumps, so maybe consistency
is better? Jury is out for me on this one, because neither option is
perfect in all normal usage scenarios.
Glad to see I'm not the only one who feels this way!

Many old radios solved this by putting a flywheel on the knob. With
everything properly oiled, you could just give the knob a quick twist
and it would cruise to the other end of the band. I think it's the lack
of that feature that's causing our dilemma today. Even if you could add
a flywheel to the encoder shaft, the portable QRPers would probably
complain about the extra weight.

Phil