QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

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QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

wayne burdick
Administrator
Hi all,

You may have noticed that QST recently reviewed the K3's performance before/after swapping in a new KSYN3A synthesizer. While the review text was accurate (and complimentary), there was a significant error in the KSYN3A TX phase noise plot (Figure 10). This error made it appear as if the original synthesizer had lower (better) wide-spaced phase noise than the KSYN3A (starting where the plot lines cross), which is not the case.

We should have caught this ourselves before the article went to print. We greatly appreciated the League's efforts to determine the source of error -- equipment setup -- and re-test. The digital-print version of QST will be corrected, and a correction will also appear in the December QST.

The ARRL sent us the revised TX phase noise plot for the K3+KSYN3A that they tested. You can see it here:

   http://www.elecraft.com/specs/Joel's%20K3%2010-19-15%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP

In addition they're testing a K3S. Its TX phase noise plot looks as good or slightly better:

   http://www.elecraft.com/specs/K3S%2010-19-15%20%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP

These plots (used with permission) were for 20 meters, and are also representative of the other bands, including 6 meters. The bottom line is that the K3S, or a K3 with a KSYN3A, has extremely low phase noise at both close and narrow spacings. In the case of narrow spacings, the new synth also significantly improves the RMDR (reciprocal mixing dynamic range) over the original, as described in the article.

Note that the above plots show *transmit* phase noise. In receive mode, phase noise with the new synth is even lower, especially at close spacings (under 3 kHz from the carrier).

There's one other measurement in the QST review that needs a disclaimer. As you may know, the KSYN3A allows the K3 (or K3S) to be tuned down to as low as 100 kHz, thus including the 137 kHz band. The review showed an MDS of -44 dBm at this frequency, while in fact it is more like -115 dBm. It appears that the K3 under test didn't have the RF board modification required, or the modified KBPF3A filter module.

73,
Wayne
N6KR


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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Ken Chandler
Hello Wayne
Would like to view both ARRL (old v new) synth plots side by side if possible!
Don't subscribe to ARRL, so not privy to that info!!

Ken.. G0ORH - M3i

Sent from my iPad


> On 20 Oct 2015, at 01:03, Wayne Burdick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>
> You may have noticed that QST recently reviewed the K3's performance before/after swapping in a new KSYN3A synthesizer. While the review text was accurate (and complimentary), there was a significant error in the KSYN3A TX phase noise plot (Figure 10). This error made it appear as if the original synthesizer had lower (better) wide-spaced phase noise than the KSYN3A (starting where the plot lines cross), which is not the case.
>
> We should have caught this ourselves before the article went to print. We greatly appreciated the League's efforts to determine the source of error -- equipment setup -- and re-test. The digital-print version of QST will be corrected, and a correction will also appear in the December QST.
>
> The ARRL sent us the revised TX phase noise plot for the K3+KSYN3A that they tested. You can see it here:
>
>   http://www.elecraft.com/specs/Joel's%20K3%2010-19-15%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP
>
> In addition they're testing a K3S. Its TX phase noise plot looks as good or slightly better:
>
>   http://www.elecraft.com/specs/K3S%2010-19-15%20%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP
>
> These plots (used with permission) were for 20 meters, and are also representative of the other bands, including 6 meters. The bottom line is that the K3S, or a K3 with a KSYN3A, has extremely low phase noise at both close and narrow spacings. In the case of narrow spacings, the new synth also significantly improves the RMDR (reciprocal mixing dynamic range) over the original, as described in the article.
>
> Note that the above plots show *transmit* phase noise. In receive mode, phase noise with the new synth is even lower, especially at close spacings (under 3 kHz from the carrier).
>
> There's one other measurement in the QST review that needs a disclaimer. As you may know, the KSYN3A allows the K3 (or K3S) to be tuned down to as low as 100 kHz, thus including the 137 kHz band. The review showed an MDS of -44 dBm at this frequency, while in fact it is more like -115 dBm. It appears that the K3 under test didn't have the RF board modification required, or the modified KBPF3A filter module.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
>
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Re: [Elecraft_K3] QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Fabio IZ4AFW / NZ1W
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
Wayne,
    thank you for your clarification. That was something that appeared very
strange to me while looking at the graphs, and was thinking if it was some
sort of mistake. Probably many people had my same thoughts.
Unfortunately the QST paper copies can't be fixed, and this will generate
some confusion in the next weeks. The same for the MDS issue.

Anyway, thanks for the clarification! I have one more reason to upgrade my
synthesizers now, and I'll do that as soon as I have one excuse for a trip
to the USA :)

Ciao, 73
 Fabio
 IZ4AFW / IO4W / NZ1W



2015-10-20 2:03 GMT+02:00 Wayne Burdick [hidden email] [Elecraft_K3] <
[hidden email]>:

>
>
> Hi all,
>
> You may have noticed that QST recently reviewed the K3's performance
> before/after swapping in a new KSYN3A synthesizer. While the review text
> was accurate (and complimentary), there was a significant error in the
> KSYN3A TX phase noise plot (Figure 10). This error made it appear as if the
> original synthesizer had lower (better) wide-spaced phase noise than the
> KSYN3A (starting where the plot lines cross), which is not the case.
>
> We should have caught this ourselves before the article went to print. We
> greatly appreciated the League's efforts to determine the source of error
> -- equipment setup -- and re-test. The digital-print version of QST will be
> corrected, and a correction will also appear in the December QST.
>
> The ARRL sent us the revised TX phase noise plot for the K3+KSYN3A that
> they tested. You can see it here:
>
>
> http://www.elecraft.com/specs/Joel's%20K3%2010-19-15%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP
>
> In addition they're testing a K3S. Its TX phase noise plot looks as good
> or slightly better:
>
>
> http://www.elecraft.com/specs/K3S%2010-19-15%20%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP
>
> These plots (used with permission) were for 20 meters, and are also
> representative of the other bands, including 6 meters. The bottom line is
> that the K3S, or a K3 with a KSYN3A, has extremely low phase noise at both
> close and narrow spacings. In the case of narrow spacings, the new synth
> also significantly improves the RMDR (reciprocal mixing dynamic range) over
> the original, as described in the article.
>
> Note that the above plots show *transmit* phase noise. In receive mode,
> phase noise with the new synth is even lower, especially at close spacings
> (under 3 kHz from the carrier).
>
> There's one other measurement in the QST review that needs a disclaimer.
> As you may know, the KSYN3A allows the K3 (or K3S) to be tuned down to as
> low as 100 kHz, thus including the 137 kHz band. The review showed an MDS
> of -44 dBm at this frequency, while in fact it is more like -115 dBm. It
> appears that the K3 under test didn't have the RF board modification
> required, or the modified KBPF3A filter module.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
>
> __._,_.___
> ------------------------------
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Petr, OK1RP/M0SIS
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
Hi Wayne,

thank you very much! It is explaining a lot...

It is really appreciated to have so close-in support from you!

best regards,

73 - Petr, OK1RP
73 - Petr, OK1RP
"Apple & Elecraft freak"
B:http://ok1rp.blogspot.com
MeWe: https://bit.ly/2HGPoDx
MeWe: https://bit.ly/2FmwvDt
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

wayne burdick
Administrator
In reply to this post by Ken Chandler
Hi Ken,

When they issue a revised Figure 10 for the article, we'll put it on our website.

73,
Wayne
N6KR



On Oct 20, 2015, at 12:07 AM, Ken Chandler <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello Wayne
> Would like to view both ARRL (old v new) synth plots side by side if possible!
> Don't subscribe to ARRL, so not privy to that info!!
>
> Ken.. G0ORH - M3i
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
>
>> On 20 Oct 2015, at 01:03, Wayne Burdick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi all,
>>
>> You may have noticed that QST recently reviewed the K3's performance before/after swapping in a new KSYN3A synthesizer. While the review text was accurate (and complimentary), there was a significant error in the KSYN3A TX phase noise plot (Figure 10). This error made it appear as if the original synthesizer had lower (better) wide-spaced phase noise than the KSYN3A (starting where the plot lines cross), which is not the case.
>>
>> We should have caught this ourselves before the article went to print. We greatly appreciated the League's efforts to determine the source of error -- equipment setup -- and re-test. The digital-print version of QST will be corrected, and a correction will also appear in the December QST.
>>
>> The ARRL sent us the revised TX phase noise plot for the K3+KSYN3A that they tested. You can see it here:
>>
>>  http://www.elecraft.com/specs/Joel's%20K3%2010-19-15%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP
>>
>> In addition they're testing a K3S. Its TX phase noise plot looks as good or slightly better:
>>
>>  http://www.elecraft.com/specs/K3S%2010-19-15%20%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP


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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Ken Chandler
Thanks Wayne, Appreciated.


Ken.. G0ORH

Sent from my iPad


> On 20 Oct 2015, at 15:35, Wayne Burdick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Ken,
>
> When they issue a revised Figure 10 for the article, we'll put it on our website.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
>
>
>> On Oct 20, 2015, at 12:07 AM, Ken Chandler <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hello Wayne
>> Would like to view both ARRL (old v new) synth plots side by side if possible!
>> Don't subscribe to ARRL, so not privy to that info!!
>>
>> Ken.. G0ORH - M3i
>>
>> Sent from my iPad
>>
>>
>>> On 20 Oct 2015, at 01:03, Wayne Burdick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>> Hi all,
>>>
>>> You may have noticed that QST recently reviewed the K3's performance before/after swapping in a new KSYN3A synthesizer. While the review text was accurate (and complimentary), there was a significant error in the KSYN3A TX phase noise plot (Figure 10). This error made it appear as if the original synthesizer had lower (better) wide-spaced phase noise than the KSYN3A (starting where the plot lines cross), which is not the case.
>>>
>>> We should have caught this ourselves before the article went to print. We greatly appreciated the League's efforts to determine the source of error -- equipment setup -- and re-test. The digital-print version of QST will be corrected, and a correction will also appear in the December QST.
>>>
>>> The ARRL sent us the revised TX phase noise plot for the K3+KSYN3A that they tested. You can see it here:
>>>
>>> http://www.elecraft.com/specs/Joel's%20K3%2010-19-15%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP
>>>
>>> In addition they're testing a K3S. Its TX phase noise plot looks as good or slightly better:
>>>
>>> http://www.elecraft.com/specs/K3S%2010-19-15%20%2020%20meter%20phase%20noise.BMP
>
>
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Rick Stealey
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
I spotted the "anomoly" immediately in the composit noise chart.Really weird, how there was a crossover.  I even re-read the text to see if they pointed it out.  Nope.There is even an article in the issue by the publisher about the quality process they go through to assure accuracy in product reviews.  Wayne, Elecraft deserves not just a reprint of the corrected chart, they should reprint the entire product review.

Rick  K2XT    
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Ed W0YK
The plots have been updated in the online QST article:

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/arrl/qst_201511/index.php#/60

Ed W0YK

_________________________________________________________________

Rick K2XT wrote:

I spotted the "anomoly" immediately in the composit noise chart.Really
weird, how there was a crossover.  I even re-read the text to see if they
pointed it out.  Nope.There is even an article in the issue by the publisher
about the quality process they go through to assure accuracy in product
reviews.  Wayne, Elecraft deserves not just a reprint of the corrected
chart, they should reprint the entire product review.

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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Bill-3
In reply to this post by Rick Stealey
This is what happens when there is less then careful/knowledgeable proof
reading.

Bill W2BLC K-Line
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Scott Manthe-2
Maybe. Or maybe the copy editor is a fan of Flex gear. 😊

Rick, K2XT is correct. Not to go off the deep end here, but a simple
correction doesn't undo the damage to Elecraft's reputation that this
"error" appearing in print has caused. QST really should reprint the
entire review with an explanation of why it is doing that. Maybe they
need to reassess (yet again) the quality control in their editorial
process.

73,
Scott N9AA

On 10/20/15 4:08 PM, Bill wrote:
> This is what happens when there is less then careful/knowledgeable
> proof reading.
>
> Bill W2BLC K-Line
>

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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Hank Garretson
> One line for the FCC requirement, then a broad line showing the curves of
> the three best rigs tested so far.
>

Please give a reference for "FCC requirement." Best I have been able to
find are wishy-washy words addressing something like best or current
engineering standards.

73,

Hank, W6SX
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Rick Stealey
In reply to this post by Scott Manthe-2


> That would give a clear view of whether this transmitter was just barely good enough or among the best.
>
> wunder
> K6WRU


The link to new data that Wayne sent showed a VERY beautiful, detailed readout from their test gear.  Not that crude, little (what looks like) hand drawn chart that you need a magnifying glass to see, and which you have to interpolate to try to get meaningful info from.  No wonder they fouled up the report.
Rick  K2XT    
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Joe Subich, W4TV-4
In reply to this post by Scott Manthe-2

On 10/20/2015 4:48 PM, Walter Underwood wrote:
 >
> One line for the FCC requirement, then a broad line showing the
> curvesof the three best rigs tested so far.

Unfortunately, there is no FCC requirement for transmitted phase
noise.  Showing the "best three" on the graph is a good idea but
the graphs are generally hard to read.  I would like to see the
data presented in tabular form with values at 5 KHz, 10 KHz, 50 KHz
and 100 KHz (at least) *with equivalent transmitter noise output*
in 500 Hz and 2400 Hz bandwidths for a 1500 Watt signal.

ARRL have generally done a poor job in explaining the issues of
transmitted phase noise - perhaps because of the substantial number
of rigs with transmitted phase noise greater that -128 dBc/Hz at
100 KHz or more.  When one considers than 1500 W is +62 dBm, phase
noise at -128 dBc/Hz represents a substantial interfering signal
for a distance of several miles at HF - potentially S7 or S8 (ca.
-80 to - 85 dBm) in an SSB bandwidth at 100 KHz or more from the
transmitting carrier.

Transmitted phase noise is not just a problem for Field Day
any more <G>!

73,

   ... Joe, W4TV


On 10/20/2015 4:48 PM, Walter Underwood wrote:

> I wish the transmitted noise was presented more like a proof of performance.
>
> One line for the FCC requirement, then a broad line showing the curves of the three best rigs tested so far.
>
> That would give a clear view of whether this transmitter was just barely good enough or among the best.
>
> wunder
> K6WRU
> CM87wj
> http://observer.wunderwood.org/ (my blog)
>
>> On Oct 20, 2015, at 1:30 PM, Scott Manthe <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Maybe. Or maybe the copy editor is a fan of Flex gear. 😊
>>
>> Rick, K2XT is correct. Not to go off the deep end here, but a simple correction doesn't undo the damage to Elecraft's reputation that this "error" appearing in print has caused. QST really should reprint the entire review with an explanation of why it is doing that. Maybe they need to reassess (yet again) the quality control in their editorial process.
>>
>> 73,
>> Scott N9AA
>>
>> On 10/20/15 4:08 PM, Bill wrote:
>>> This is what happens when there is less then careful/knowledgeable proof reading.
>>>
>>> Bill W2BLC K-Line
>>>
>>
>> ______________________________________________________________
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Grant Youngman
In reply to this post by Bill-3
It was also a process issue. One wonders what others errors have been reported as "fact" because equipment wasn't properly set up.

I have personally never made a mistake -- right -- NOT ;)   Mistakes happen. But this needs more than a footnote's worth of clarification ...

Grant NQ5T

Sent from my iPhone

> On Oct 20, 2015, at 3:08 PM, Bill <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> This is what happens when there is less then careful/knowledgeable proof reading.
>
> Bill W2BLC K-Line
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Jim Bolit
In reply to this post by Rick Stealey
In today's age, a simple "My Bad", while slapping your chest, absolves
anything from an erroneous product review to murder one.


Jim

W6AIM

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Elecraft [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Rick
Stealey
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 11:36 AM
To: Wayne Burdick; [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase
noise plot

I spotted the "anomoly" immediately in the composit noise chart.Really
weird, how there was a crossover.  I even re-read the text to see if they
pointed it out.  Nope.There is even an article in the issue by the publisher
about the quality process they go through to assure accuracy in product
reviews.  Wayne, Elecraft deserves not just a reprint of the corrected
chart, they should reprint the entire product review.

Rick  K2XT    
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Jim Bolit
In reply to this post by Rick Stealey
We live in a digital age, why not provide (on the arrl.org site) the
absolute data in a "standardized" table that can be analyzed with common
database or spreadsheet programs?

We are currently relegated to estimating what a 1.75 inch by 1.5 inch size
graph shows, with the width of the line appearing to be approx. 3dB!!!

It is the 90's after all...................

Jim

W6AIM



-----Original Message-----
From: Elecraft [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Rick
Stealey
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 2:33 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase
noise plot



> That would give a clear view of whether this transmitter was just barely
good enough or among the best.
>
> wunder
> K6WRU


The link to new data that Wayne sent showed a VERY beautiful, detailed
readout from their test gear.  Not that crude, little (what looks like) hand
drawn chart that you need a magnifying glass to see, and which you have to
interpolate to try to get meaningful info from.  No wonder they fouled up
the report.
Rick  K2XT    
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Jim Brown-10
In reply to this post by Jim Bolit
On Wed,10/21/2015 9:16 AM, jim wrote:
> In today's age, a simple "My Bad", while slapping your chest, absolves
> anything from an erroneous product review to murder one.

Someone at ARRL simply made a mistake. We all make mistakes -- he who
does nothing does nothing wrong. I saw an email from the responsible
party at ARRL acknowledging his mistake, apologizing for it, and
providing the corrected data.

73, Jim K9YC
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

wayne burdick
Administrator
We also bear some responsibility, since the review was sent to us before publication. The Elecraft CSI team is still trying to figure out how we missed this one.

Wayne
N6KR


On Oct 21, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Jim Brown <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed,10/21/2015 9:16 AM, jim wrote:
>> In today's age, a simple "My Bad", while slapping your chest, absolves
>> anything from an erroneous product review to murder one.
>
> Someone at ARRL simply made a mistake. We all make mistakes -- he who does nothing does nothing wrong. I saw an email from the responsible party at ARRL acknowledging his mistake, apologizing for it, and providing the corrected data.
>
> 73, Jim K9YC



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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Eric Swartz - WA6HHQ
Administrator
And with that, lets end the thread.

73,

Eric
Moderator, from time to time..
elecraft.com
_..._



> On Oct 21, 2015, at 10:01 AM, Wayne Burdick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> We also bear some responsibility, since the review was sent to us before publication. The Elecraft CSI team is still trying to figure out how we missed this one.
>
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
>
>> On Oct 21, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Jim Brown <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> On Wed,10/21/2015 9:16 AM, jim wrote:
>>> In today's age, a simple "My Bad", while slapping your chest, absolves
>>> anything from an erroneous product review to murder one.
>>
>> Someone at ARRL simply made a mistake. We all make mistakes -- he who does nothing does nothing wrong. I saw an email from the responsible party at ARRL acknowledging his mistake, apologizing for it, and providing the corrected data.
>>
>> 73, Jim K9YC
>
>
>
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Re: QST Review of KSYN3A synth has erroneous TX phase noise plot

Bob McGraw - K4TAX
In reply to this post by Jim Brown-10
I'm always reluctant to submit an item for publication.  Even after many
reviews, by myself and others, there's likely to  be errors found.

73
Bob, K4TAX

On 10/21/2015 11:55 AM, Jim Brown wrote:

> On Wed,10/21/2015 9:16 AM, jim wrote:
>> In today's age, a simple "My Bad", while slapping your chest, absolves
>> anything from an erroneous product review to murder one.
>
> Someone at ARRL simply made a mistake. We all make mistakes -- he who
> does nothing does nothing wrong. I saw an email from the responsible
> party at ARRL acknowledging his mistake, apologizing for it, and
> providing the corrected data.
>
> 73, Jim K9YC


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