MRP40 and W1EL Winkeyer.

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by AC2MM, May 8, 2021.

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  1. AC2MM

    AC2MM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    MRP40 Tx Setup.jpg WKUSB Setup.jpg WKUSB Setup.jpg Hello folks, I'm desperate for help on this one.
    I spent $96 on MRP40, and $160 on the W1EL Winkeyer so I could enter the world of CW (I can't memorize Morse) using a keyboard.

    After a strenuous week of reading the manual, sending emails back and forth to both creators, I thought we finally had it, because the Winkeyer was finally producing tones to the radio.

    I'm using a KW TS-590S, a SignaLink sound card. and thats it.
    The USB cable goes to Comport #5.
    The other stereo plug (supplied by Steve with the WKUSB) was installed into the Key2 port, and the other end into the Key port on the radio.
    I switched Menu #38 to OFF. rather, it was OFF by default), but the instructions said to disable the "straight key mode", which the 590 doesn't have, but a friend told me that this was Menu 38, switch it to OFF.

    Please note that to get things to work to this point, I switched on Keyport1 and Keyport2, switched OFF PTT and Sidetone was ON. That's an older picture. Sorry.

    Steve was more than helpful, but was as frustrated as I was, so in a last ditch effort, he downloaded the MRP40 to his laptop, gave me step by step instructions, which I followed exactly, and finally we got tones coming out of the WKUSB which we didn't before.

    But the radio won't go into transmit.

    Can someone help, please?

    Thanks in advance,
    Last edited: May 8, 2021
  2. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I sent you an email. I think you are almost there.

    KEY2 is used by the Winkeyer for PTT, which you are not using. Connect it to KEY1 again and uncheck PTT.

    You are going to have to set BK-IN by pressing the VOX button or the rig will act like a code-practice oscillator.

    Also, you probably have to be in CW mode for the rig to respond to the Winkeyer's input at the rig's KEY jack.

    After reading the manual, I believe there is no menu setting for key type because the TS-490S has two key jacks. The 1/4" jack appears to be for paddles only, and the 3/5mm jack is for external keying devices, such as the Winkeyer or a straight key.
  3. AC2MM

    AC2MM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I sent my reply, but I'm only reproducing parts of it that are relevant. In case someone else knows what's wrong.

    I'm not confused about Tones whatsoever. The Winkeyer sends electrical pulses into the Key port on the back of the radio simulating a Straight key. The MRP40, OTOH, sends only Software tones, like PSK, Olivia in DATA/USB Mode, etc. When it's in Winkeyer mode, it's suppose to transfer these tones to the Winkeyer, and the WKUSB then translates these tones into electrical pulses to the radio. Am I correct so far?

    I didn't want to mention this next part because it gets people going in the wrong direction. The Winkeyer works fine in HRD using CW. Perfect. I say this ONLY because it can provide clues that it is hooked up correctly, the radio is hooked correctly, SignaLink is correct, and Menu settings are correct, comports are assigned correctly.. My goal is to have HRD running, but the DM-780 turned off because two devices can't share a comport. I want MRP40 running instead. Also, in all testing the MRP40 is always processing the text to be sent and sending it to the Black window indicating it was transmitted. I've never had a problem with that.
    OK, now I'll answer as we go.

    First, let's start with what you do not need.

    1. You are going to have to use the sidetone in the radio or your MRP40 decoder will not show what you type in the receive window. If you have the Winkeyer sidetone turned on, turn it off, unless you want to hear the noise for some reason.


    2.You do not need PTT. Just because using the KEY2 jack and checking PTT made sounds, this is not correct. From the Winkeyer manual -

    PTT will not be used in most radio setups. It is provided to run an external antenna switch or to
    pre-key a linear amplifier. If you are just driving a barefoot transceiver, PTT will not be required

    So, if you have PTT checked in the Winkeyer setup, uncheck it.


    3. Your TS-590S most definitely supports straight keys, and this is clearly stated in the manual. What it does not have is a Menu Selection for a straight key, and the reason for this is because it has two key jacks. If you are using a 1/8" plug connected to the rig's KEY jack, you have it connected correctly for a straight key or external keyer. (You should never connect anything to the PADDLE jack except paddles.)

    Got it.

    4. If you want buffered keying, you will need to click on the "Send" button in MRP40 to send what you have typed. If you want to send as you type, uncheck this option.

    Done. I want buffered transmit.

    In your list of equipment on the QRZ post, you listed the SignaLink but not the Winkeyer. Both require a USB port, so you should be using two USB ports on your computer. If you have only one, you will lose the function of the one which is disconnected (TX or RX).

    Correct, I am using Comport 5 for the WKUSB. The Signalink uses another one. (I don't know the number)

    Now, for the things which you have probably overlooked. If you thought CW mode was something which "sends tones", that only applies to software which forces you to use SSB mode. Which, as you realize, disables the transceiver's wonderful CW features. So, forget about sending tones. You are running a box (the Winkeyer) which closes a contact internally, and the radio thinks you are using a straight key. It is as simple as that.

    I explained that in the beginning, I know this.

    1. In around 99% of modern rigs, you have to turn on something like BK-IN or VOX so that the key inputs automatically put the rig in transmit mode. There is no standard for this, but both Kenwood and Elecraft use the term VOX, even though CW mode is not voice. This is an important control for those trying to learn Morse, because it lets them use the rig's sidetone as a code practice oscillator without sending. You will want VOX on, unless you are testing your cables and software. (You might consider this testing to be the equivalent of code practice.)

    I don't want VOX on. It's not necessary to work as evidenced by the DM-780 working perfect with WKUSB.

    2. The other thing you have to do is be in CW mode.

    I know this already.

    3. The factory default for the Winkeyer is to use KEY1 output, with KEY2 available for a PTT line to control an external amplifier. It should be noted that the PTT line goes "True" for the duration of the message, until VOX times out. It does not send CW when used for PTT. Connect your RCA plug to the KEY1 jack on the Winkeyer, and the 3.5mm plug to the KEY jack on the transceiver. See page 3 in the transceiver manual.

    I have it plugged into Key2 because I use an Amp. But to satisfy you, I'll plug it into Key1. With Key1, when I send something, I hear the Morse over the radio, but it doesn't put the radio into Transmit. Now plugged into Key2, same exact thing. I'm in CW mode BTW.

    Now when you send from MRP40, the rig should go into transmit mode. There should be some kind of TX indicator to confirm this.

    Nope. No Transmit.

    Generally speaking, I've spent probably 35 hours on this so far using every combination of things I can think of. The important fact that it works perfect in the DM-7870 program tells me that things in the radio, and the WKUSB, are set correctly and wired correctly. I am 100% convinced until proven otherwise that the MRP40 is not sending over Tones to the WKYSB, period. Why do I know this? I proved it. There's a dial on the front of the WKUSB that controls your transmit speed. I enter a bunch of letters in MRP40, hit Send. The Dial has no effect of the sending speed. OTOH, when I set the MRP40 to 10WPM, everything slows down to 10 WPM. The fact that the Dial is not controlling the speed is because there's nothing coming across for it to control. This is a tough problem, that's for sure. I remember when I had to train new guys on how to troubleshoot and repair complex electrical systems in large manufacturing machines. I told them that 98% of the time, it's a loose wire or terminal. The training teaches you how to find it, that's the tough part.

    It's only a setting here in MRP40 I think, but finding it is the problem.

  4. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    OK, I will repeat my latest advice, which may benefit others.

    I suggest two tests for troubleshooting.

    1. Disconnect the SignaLink and the Winlink end of the KEY cable (the RCA plug). Attach a dummy load to the transceiver. Use a screwdriver to short across the RCA connector. The rig should go into TX mode. If it doesn't, troubleshoot the rig.

    Now to the part about VOX. From reading the Kenwood manual, I have no idea how you are getting it to work in HRD with BK-IN turned off. This is how a transceiver works in CW mode. If BK-IN is turned off, you have a very nice code-practice oscillator but will not go into Xmit mode when the rig is keyed. The VOX button is the control Kenwood uses to control the BK-IN setting in CW mode. (For confusion, it also controls VOX in SSB mode, when the BK-IN setting is ignored.)

    You might think of the VOX button as being "forked" in firmware. Same button, two different control actions.

    2. If it does not work, then there is something unknown going on with HRD. It may still be using audio tones through the SignaLink. The radio should ignore this in CW mode, but, on the other hand, it may not. To confirm this, connect the WinKeyer, unplug the SignaLink and try using DM-780 to send again. No transmit? Then DM-780 wasn't actually using the WinLink.

    You didn't mention CAT control. If you are using all the capabilities of HRD, are you using CAT? It is possible to control RX/TX with a CAT command. Also, some rigs support CW keying with CAT commands, but most do not.

    (The Elecraft KX3 Utility is an example of controlling CW keying with CAT commands. A very nice, though primitive, terminal window is available in addition to firmware tabs, and this is done with a 3-wire serial port. No control lines for traditional DTR/RTS keying. VOX must be enabled, of course, as there is no PTT.)

    My suggestion is to do the tests. I am very curious to see if Kenwood provides auto-TX with BK-IN turned off. This would make it impossible to use it for off-line code practice.
  5. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Which SignaLink do you have which has a comm port? As far as I know, these are sound card devices, not serial ports. They can create a PTT output, from an internal VOX circuit. If you do this, the VOX in the rig must be turned off, as you are using PTT. Is this how you have it set up?

    If so, you should be able to have a "consistent" rig setting for SSB / CW by disconnecting the PTT cable and enabling VOX on the rig.

    If you have another comm port in use, it is most likely what you are using for CAT.

    Do you have another USB cable connected to the back of the TS-590S for CAT?
  6. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I still don't know how the rig is working with BK-IN off, but that may be moot.

    All of the serial port settings have to be correct for it to work. What serial port settings did you get from running the Winkeyer "Comm Port Scanner"? Does it show anything other than the port assignment?

    MRP40 docs do mention the ability to set the serial port values, so that would be the first place I would look if in fact the Winkeyer is actually sending with the TS-590S BK-IN off.
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  7. AC2MM

    AC2MM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Dean (KG7WGX), my sincere thanks for your suggestion, it works perfectly now.

    I turned on VOX and set the radio to Full Break-In.

    Now MRP40 works with HRD or w/o, just the radio.
    I'll be using it with HRD to get the Logbook info, callsign lookup and all the rest. No sense having another Logbook involved.

    The translation capabilities of the MRP40 is outstanding to say the least.

  8. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Glad to hear it.

    I hope you have many hours of happy CW mode operating.

    When I first encountered this same issue on my KX3, two years ago, the "VOX" display puzzled me. It didn't make sense for CW mode. Fortunately the Elecraft manual had one or two sentences which explained it.

    After spending far too much time reading Winkeyer, MRP40 and TS-590S manuals, I am glad it was something simple and not some kind of port-mapping or serial port settings nightmare.

    73, Dean

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