KPA500, Win4K3, and DDU


w3qt_mike
 

Recently purchased one of KV5J’s Digital Display Units.  Physically attractive, it’s a nice addition to the shack and makes monitoring my KPA500 vitals a snap.  The unit, however, also gives rise to an unintended consequence.  In order to poll the amp it has to be connected to the amp’s RS232 (PC) port.  I also use Win4K3.  In order to use Win4K3 with the amp it has to be connected to the computer via the same RS232 (PC) port that would be used by the DDU.  A DB9 splitter cable will not work.  A DB9 manual switch box would work, but having to physically turn a switch eliminates computer control, so why not just manually operate the KPA500?  Eliminating the manual switch box reduces my options with the amp to an “either/or” choice – Win4K3 and no DDU or DDU and no Win4K3.  Has anyone else encountered this issue, and, if so, what is your workaround? 

 


Randy Farmer W8FN
 

Win4K3 can communicate directly with the KAT500 and display several pertinent status measurements. You just need a the KXUSB-a USB to RS232 adapter (with the 3.5mm plug) for the KAT500. In the Win4K3 setup there's a specific window for this. The Win4K3 display set is not quite as comprehensive as the KV5VJ dedicated display, but it has most of the critical info. I use this all the time to keep track of the PA temperature of the amp when I'm operating in high duty cycle contest mode.

73...
Randy, W8FN

On 8/6/2020 8:29 AM, w3qt_mike wrote:

Recently purchased one of KV5J’s Digital Display Units.  Physically attractive, it’s a nice addition to the shack and makes monitoring my KPA500 vitals a snap.  The unit, however, also gives rise to an unintended consequence.  In order to poll the amp it has to be connected to the amp’s RS232 (PC) port.  I also use Win4K3.  In order to use Win4K3 with the amp it has to be connected to the computer via the same RS232 (PC) port that would be used by the DDU.  A DB9 splitter cable will not work.  A DB9 manual switch box would work, but having to physically turn a switch eliminates computer control, so why not just manually operate the KPA500?  Eliminating the manual switch box reduces my options with the amp to an “either/or” choice – Win4K3 and no DDU or DDU and no Win4K3.  Has anyone else encountered this issue, and, if so, what is your workaround?



w3qt_mike
 

Randy,

Thanks for the reply.  I'm familiar with Win4K3's capabilities and have gone that route in the past.  I wanted something a little more comprehensive.  If I just wanted the temp of the amp I could set the LCD on the amp to report temp.  One wouldn't need Win4K3 for that.  Since I have Win4K3 and the DDU I would like to use both.  Looks like a DB9 manual switch may offer the most economical way to do this.  Again thanks for your thoughts.

73,
Mike, W3QT


redarlington <rdarlington@...>
 

Seems like a 15 minute job to code up the equivalent (and then some) for a PC.  I don't have one of these amps so I'm not the right guy, but it's likely trivial.   Not everybody runs a computer attached to their rig full time, so this gadget fills the gap for sure.  But if you do, then this thing won't work at all unless I misunderstand something (It uses the serial port you'd connect to your pc to control the rig -I think anyway). 

-Bob N3XKB


On Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 10:34 AM w3qt_mike <w3qt@...> wrote:

Recently purchased one of KV5J’s Digital Display Units.  Physically attractive, it’s a nice addition to the shack and makes monitoring my KPA500 vitals a snap.  The unit, however, also gives rise to an unintended consequence.  In order to poll the amp it has to be connected to the amp’s RS232 (PC) port.  I also use Win4K3.  In order to use Win4K3 with the amp it has to be connected to the computer via the same RS232 (PC) port that would be used by the DDU.  A DB9 splitter cable will not work.  A DB9 manual switch box would work, but having to physically turn a switch eliminates computer control, so why not just manually operate the KPA500?  Eliminating the manual switch box reduces my options with the amp to an “either/or” choice – Win4K3 and no DDU or DDU and no Win4K3.  Has anyone else encountered this issue, and, if so, what is your workaround? 

 


John H. Long Jr. <john@...>
 

Have you tried connecting it through one of the win4k3s virtual ports?



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: redarlington <rdarlington@...>
Date: 8/7/20 5:16 PM (GMT-07:00)
To: Elecraft-K3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [Elecraft-K3] KPA500, Win4K3, and DDU

Seems like a 15 minute job to code up the equivalent (and then some) for a PC.  I don't have one of these amps so I'm not the right guy, but it's likely trivial.   Not everybody runs a computer attached to their rig full time, so this gadget fills the gap for sure.  But if you do, then this thing won't work at all unless I misunderstand something (It uses the serial port you'd connect to your pc to control the rig -I think anyway). 

-Bob N3XKB

On Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 10:34 AM w3qt_mike <w3qt@...> wrote:

Recently purchased one of KV5J’s Digital Display Units.  Physically attractive, it’s a nice addition to the shack and makes monitoring my KPA500 vitals a snap.  The unit, however, also gives rise to an unintended consequence.  In order to poll the amp it has to be connected to the amp’s RS232 (PC) port.  I also use Win4K3.  In order to use Win4K3 with the amp it has to be connected to the computer via the same RS232 (PC) port that would be used by the DDU.  A DB9 splitter cable will not work.  A DB9 manual switch box would work, but having to physically turn a switch eliminates computer control, so why not just manually operate the KPA500?  Eliminating the manual switch box reduces my options with the amp to an “either/or” choice – Win4K3 and no DDU or DDU and no Win4K3.  Has anyone else encountered this issue, and, if so, what is your workaround? 

 


redarlington <rdarlington@...>
 

Actually, you'd want to connect it to a physical PC port that you map to the rig via com0com.  That would work.  That's how I get my loop controller to talk to my rig through the PC over USB while running various other software packages like n1mm, n3fjp, wsjtx, all at the same time.

-Bob N3XKB

On Fri, Aug 7, 2020 at 8:27 PM John H. Long Jr. <john@...> wrote:
Have you tried connecting it through one of the win4k3s virtual ports?



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: redarlington <rdarlington@...>
Date: 8/7/20 5:16 PM (GMT-07:00)
Subject: Re: [Elecraft-K3] KPA500, Win4K3, and DDU

Seems like a 15 minute job to code up the equivalent (and then some) for a PC.  I don't have one of these amps so I'm not the right guy, but it's likely trivial.   Not everybody runs a computer attached to their rig full time, so this gadget fills the gap for sure.  But if you do, then this thing won't work at all unless I misunderstand something (It uses the serial port you'd connect to your pc to control the rig -I think anyway). 

-Bob N3XKB

On Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 10:34 AM w3qt_mike <w3qt@...> wrote:

Recently purchased one of KV5J’s Digital Display Units.  Physically attractive, it’s a nice addition to the shack and makes monitoring my KPA500 vitals a snap.  The unit, however, also gives rise to an unintended consequence.  In order to poll the amp it has to be connected to the amp’s RS232 (PC) port.  I also use Win4K3.  In order to use Win4K3 with the amp it has to be connected to the computer via the same RS232 (PC) port that would be used by the DDU.  A DB9 splitter cable will not work.  A DB9 manual switch box would work, but having to physically turn a switch eliminates computer control, so why not just manually operate the KPA500?  Eliminating the manual switch box reduces my options with the amp to an “either/or” choice – Win4K3 and no DDU or DDU and no Win4K3.  Has anyone else encountered this issue, and, if so, what is your workaround? 

 


w3qt_mike
 

You read the issue correctly from my post.  One serial port - two ports for PC required.  A manual DB9 switch looks to be the answer.

73,
Mike, W3QT


w3qt_mike
 

John,

Thanks for your thoughts.  The problem isn't on the Win4K3 end.  I used to have the amp connected to the PC with Win4K3, and it worked out very well, but now I need two free RS232 ports on the amp - one for the DDU and one for the Win4K3 connection to the PC.  Easiest will be a simple manual switch to force a 2 from 1 port count. 

73,
Mike, W3QT


w3qt_mike
 

That's the problem, Bob.  I need 2 physical ports and only have one on the KPA500.  (Labeled RS232 (PC)).  Before I went with the DDU I had the amp connected to the PC through this port and then everything (DXLab Suite, K3s, KPA500, KAT500) controlled via Win4K3.  The DDU must be connected to the KPA500 port for polling, meaning I'm now short the port for connecting the amp to the PC.   Am I missing someting?

73, Mike, W3QT


Bill Mader
 

Apparently, the DDU design requires it to querry the KPA500, according to your description.  That design doesn't consider how many, if not most, KPA500's and KAT500's are connected to logging or other programs and what a second RS-232 transmitter will do to that communications.  I am glad to know this is how these work and sorry for your predicament Mike.

73, Bill, K8TE


w3qt_mike
 

Bill,
Thanks for the reply.  You understanding is exactly correct. 

73, Mike, W3QT


Keith KV5J
 

Let me clear something up.  My DDU for the KPA500 works great with N1MM+, N3FJP, and many other contest software.
If you are using WIN4K3, and want it to control the KPA500 my DDU is not going to work.  You can use WIN4K3 without KPA500
control and still get the functions of all 5 crucial readings.  You also can't run the Elecraft KPA500 utility at the same time.
The KPA500 is a mature product and the last firmware update was December 2019.  If you need to update the KPA500 just swap cables and update 
then swap back.  I have dozens of these in the field being used by contesters and DXers.  Plus if you are using any other radio besides Elecraft, it's a 
non issue.

73,

Keith, KV5J