Fast Setup for KX3 with NAP3
The following limited reference has been put together in an effort to help KX3 users be able to quickly setup NAP3 off the RX/IQ. This document also covers LP Bridge and PSK using Ham Radio Deluxe and DM780. The document starts off with MAP3 and then covers LP Bridge and finally DM780 last. It has been laid out this way to help you build connectivity and debug issues one piece at a time as not to over complicate the process of getting everything to work.
You are strongly advised to follow this approach.
I am going to make some hardware suggestions here as well and you need to know up front I in no way endorse any of these products or even this setup itself.
You should be forewarned that this setup can be unstable. Others as well as myself have observed that once you switch from CW and back to SSB for example, you will have issues. This is not easily cleared at that point as even restarting the program and the radio often won't clear it. I have found that stopping NAP3, LP Bridge, And any other Cat connected software and then restarting them seems to clear some of the issues.
Ok, with disclaimers out of the way there are some things I believe you need to have to be successful. I believe you'll need an Isolator, or two if you want to transmit to the computer in digital modes. Radio Shack has them for $20 each on sale that has worked fine for me. I can not guarantee you that it's perfect or that it doesn't limit the KX3 in some way. A discussion with Howard at Elecraft leads me to believe that this isolator is sufficient. http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062214
You'll need a sound card. I am using the Sound Blaster XFi HD USB card. It supports 24 it 192k sampling. http://tinyurl.com/9y9ho3a. This sound card actually works well with the digital modes as well. For this SB Xfi HD sound card if you use it, you'll use the phono/line in RCA jacks on the back to run your RX/IQ for input. The above referenced isolator works well with a 3.5 to 2.5 mini jack adaptor, also available at radio shack. The line out jack with a second isolator works well going back to the Mic Input for digital modes and has been tested with DM 780. The isolator for digital is optional though as an RCA to mini jack cable works fine as well. The cable that accompanies the isolator is all you need to connect from the above soundblaster and the KX3 Mic input jack. Of course if you prefer not to spend money on a sound card or have one already in your PC you can translate my directions to use it instead.
You'll need a way to connect to the RX I/Q port. With the above referenced hardware the only additional item you will need is a 3.5 to 2.5 stereo mini jack adaptor. The Isolator and sound card have the rest of what you need. You'll need the KX3 Cat cable for full point and click Panadaptor capability. You will need some info for this setup, here is what you need and how you get it. You may also want to use LP Bridge so that you can use multiple CAT control software with this setup. This will accommodate logging packages such as CommCat, HRD, DM780, FLIDigi, Ect.
Com port info for Cat control You can find the com port by going into your control panel under Device Manager and look at com ports in the list, expand it and look for the USB Comport that is added when the KX3 cable is plugged in. Write down the port.
Sound card info and setup
You'll need to go into Sound under control panel and find the device you selected for input under record. Open the properties and work through the taps. Click listen on, click mute off on the next tab and also set the volume level to 70. The last tab will let you select the sample rate. Set it as high as it will go. Depending on your sound card you may not be able to support 192K at 24 bit. Some cards may only support 48000 16bit. The sound blaster supports 192K 24 bit. If you are using the sound blaster USB I referenced above, then don't use the phono device, use the Line In device. They use the same RCA Jacks and the line in device will allow you the higher sampling rate. Write down your device name and selection on sample rate and bits.
On the KX3 go into the menu settings and ensure the serial port is on and set to 38000 baud. Make sure RX/IQ is on in the menu as well.
Optional: Enable RX Shift to 8K in the menu, you’ll need to set an 8K Global offset in NAP3 if you change this setting. Connect a cable to the RX/IQ port.
Connect the other end to an isolator. Connect the other end to the sound card. Be sure to get the 3.5 to 2.5 stereo mini jack adaptor so everything can connect. Depending on your sound card you may need an RCA to 3.5 mini jack adaptor to connect it either to your PC line in. Again, if you use the sound blaster you only need the 2.5 to 3.5 adaptor and the RCA jacks on the isolator will plug into the sound blaster USB sound card. If you prefer to use Ham Radio Deluxe you'll need to set it up using the com port info you wrote down and then start them and ensure it connect to the KX3. You may need to choose K3 for the radio in these programs as the KX3 may not appear as radio selections. So far I have not run into any issues using K3 as the radio to select for cat connections.
I reccomend using PP Bridge once you have NAP3 initially working rather than going through Ham Radio Deluxe.
Open NAP3 and Reset the NAP3 database. The program will close and restart. If it doesn't restart then restart it. If this is the very first time you are starting NAP3 you don't need to do this. If you have already tried to configure NAP3 and had issues, this is the best way to ensure you get a fresh start. Also, note that in Windows Vista or Win7 & 8 you many need to run NAP3 in compatibility mode for it to work. To do this, right click the icon and in the properties you can set compatibility to Win XP. It may help to also set the program to run as administrator.
Very few things need to be changed in NAP3 to get it to work with the KX3.
On the first tab in NAP3
The delay on the first tab needs to be set at 10ms delay. Close settings and click start in the menu. If things look or sound choppy go in and start changing the delay until things sound right and the display looks right. You may have to go one click at a time and if going up doesn't work try going down. You need to give each change second to take effect. You can hit the Apply button in the bottom right corner if you feel the changes are not taking effect. In the last Tab IF Frequencies you’ll want to set an 8K Global Offset. See screenshot below.
Note, sometimes not all options will be available for change. I have not figured out why this does this yet. The important thing right now is to get the Global offset to 8000 if you set the KX3 RX Shift to on in the KX3 menus. As referenced this is optional. You may find that coming back to this screen in later sessions will enable you to change these settings. This should work, I didn't need to change anything else for the KX3 to work. You're now ready to run NAP3, you should see 96K of bandwidth if you opted for 192K in your settings. This more or less confirms that at a minimum the radioshack isolator works. I can not vouch that it does not hurt performance in some way. Given the fact that I hear weaker signals in NAP3 than through the KX3 I would say its adequate. You can use the scroll bar in the bottom right side to adjust the spectrum display width to the level that is comfortable to your liking. I generally widen it to wear the slopes on the sides disappear.
Note, the off center look to this display is due to the RX Shift being set to 8K in the menu options. if you can get everything to work without the shift (i have in the past) then you will have a more pleasant user experience. I have to laugh because there is some insanity to the offset, it seems to change like the whether. At present I find that with RX Shift Off I need a negative 5000 Offset and all works well. The screenshot below shows how this differs. You may notice a dip at center frequency, I have read this is normal for soundcard based SDRs so do not worry about this.
Warning The global offset seems to shift from time to time. The exact reason for this is not known at this time other than changing to CW mode (common for tuning up your Amp or for working CW) will cause everything to seriously get out of whack. Setting your Cat control to K3 in NAP3 verses KX3 seems to help. Starting NAP3 after LP Bridge is running and having your KX3 already tuned into a strong station will greatly help. If you start NAP3 and see a hot signal dead center and it moves where ever you click then you have either an RFI issues or a ground issue. For example, the fans on my laptop cooler cause this. I also have this issue without an isolator.
Fast Hints in NAP3. If you hover over the Avg button you can change the color of the waterfall and the base level that the signals display by using the scroll feature on your mouse. Right Clicking while using the scroll wheel on tyhe mouse will raise and lower the base line. You’ll also notice the color of the waterfall change as you do this. I keep my base close to the bottom. You can also choose different skins in the setup tabs on NAP3. At present I have a transmit issue where my sound on Xmit comes through NAP3 for a few seconds before going away. At present I am using speakers on the KX3 for sound and muting NAP3 until I figure it out. It seems though easier to pull out weaker signals when using NAP3 sound, the same may be true when using a headset on the Kx3. I still need more time with this radio. This looks to be an issue of using Ham Radio Deluxe.
you may also notice that before hooking up a signal to the computer that NAP3 has a spike in the middle. You may also see other spikes and mistaken them for signals. If you look at NAP3 before and after applying a signal, there should be a considerable difference. With a signal it should look trike the screen shots in this article.
if you notice a spike in the center even with a signal, you may have an interference issue. You can work through and locate it sometimes by unconnecting other devices from your computer or radio until the spike goes away. These spikes can come from powered speakers, USB devices, fans, ect.
HRD & DM780 Using the Com Port you created in LPBridge you will setupHam Radio Deluxe to connect to your radio.
To use digital modes in HRD there are two ways you can choose to go for your audio out of the radio and into the computer for receive in DM780. You can connect a direct cable from your sound card line in to your phones jack on the KX3, or you can create a virtual audio cable, just google the program and download it and follow the instructions. Once you have it you can set the output in NAP3 to Virtual audio cable one. Then you can select that as the input in DM780. This will direct your sound output to the virtual audio cable so you'll lose sound from NAP3 if you do it this way. See the screen shot below for the setup outlined in red, note that you must change NAP3 as well to point its output to the Virtual Audio cable (VAC).
For transmit on the soundblaster I use the RCA output jacks to the mic input on the KX3. Using an isolator will help protect your radio. You can use your line out jack on the PC if you are not using the sound blaster USB to the Mic in jack on the KX3. In DM780 you'll choose the sound blaster speaker for the output. In similar fashion above you'll need to make sure it's enabled in the control panel as you did above for the line in. Remember earlier we said you'll select either your line out or your virtual audio cable for receive. Yes, this is using the same input for the RX/IQ. I am suprised this works, however it does. Alternately if you prefer you could run a line form the phones jack on the radio to an input on your sound card and use that.
In DM780 you'll need to assign the Xmit in DM780 to the TX button. It will give you an option and this way when you transmit the CAT control will key the rig to transmit and also stop transmit when it's sees <STOP>
LP BRIDGE LP Bridge is very easy to setup. Google it until you get to its homepage. There you'll find the full install package and then the update package. Install the full package first, then the upgrade afterwards. Once it's installed you'll connect LP Bridge to the radios com port in the top left corner. Next create an SDR connection just to the right. The port you create can not be a port already assigned or in use by another program. Port 0 or Port 99 makes good choices for this. This will be the port you can not select in NAP3.
Finally, in the middle section of the LP Bridge screen you'll creat additional com ports, as many needed for as many programs you plan to connect. Do not create more than you need though and remember, they can't already be used ones. Usually 6&7 should be available. Remember in all this your KX3 has a max baud rate of 38000. The bands in all your programs when setting up in them need to all match 38k, N, 1. Once you have connected LP Bridge to your KX3 and turned on the virtual com ports you have created and see them working you can minimize (don't close) LP Bridge and open up NAP3 and connect to the SDR com port you created. Next you can open up Ham Radio Deluxe and connect to the virtual com 6 or 7 you created. From there you can open DM780 and connect to Ham Radio Deluxe. Now your ready to try digital. I fine that 14.170 on 20M is usually active and a great place to test.
Find a blank spot on the water wall and try CQ. See if the TX red lights up on the KX3 while transmitting your CQ. If it doesn't then you need to set your TX to the TX button in options. After a few CQs you may get a response. If not then try making a contact with someone calling CQ.
Here is a short video on YouTube showing PSK31 running with NAP3, Ham Radio Deluxe, HRD Logger, and HRD DM780 all connected by LP Bridge. http://youtu.be/QaurKGrGzek
If you have suggestions, corrections ect, please feel free to make them or send me e-mail. NI0Z Mark