Rocket M2 no wifi device detected and cannot save settings

Having a brutal time with a pair of rocket M2's (both XM, AR7240 boards) that I am attempting to use for this project
So far I cannot use any of the Rocket M OpenWRT builds, while I can successfully load them and have CLI access through serial none have a usable ethernet connection. I can see it via ifconfig, but cannot get to it from my connected computer. Did some digging, found out that the Bullet M XM builds should work. Using those I can successfully load openwrt and access luci over a functional ethernet connection. But, I have no wifi. nothing in the config files, no detectable devices, no wireless tab in the luci interface. I managed, one time, by using win SCP to pull kmod owl loader over and install via opkg, to get the wifi working and the wireless tab to appear in luci. but everything vanished after a reboot, even the password I set.
What I've managed to glean from reading is this may be an issue with stuff being written to the wrong areas in memory, but this is way past my level of knowledge. Anyone have any ideas? and what information could I post to assist in tracking down this problem?