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Author Topic: Complete computer controlled radio for quadriplegic.  (Read 5962 times)
WB6RLC
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« on: November 18, 2010, 11:22:42 PM »

  My club has taken on a project. There is a young man who would like to become a ham. He also has Muscular Dystrophy and is a quadriplegic. To operate his computer, he uses an IR link attached to one corner of his eye glasses to a receiver on his desk and a small “clicker” he uses with his left hand. His speech is pretty good. He wants to use HF SSB and maybe go digital.

 So...I am looking for suggestions on HF rigs and possible programs to run them. I do some PSK31, but other than that, I am pretty much lost on even where to start.

  73

   Glenn
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W8JX
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 06:28:58 AM »

I would suggest you look at a Kenwood TS-480 SAT. It has excellent remote control ability with supplied software by Kenwood and it is a pretty decent radio too. I know because I have one here as a extra rig and i am still impressed with its performance and noise reduction under poor conditions and clean receiver. Easy to add speech too as well if you want too. 
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KB1NXE
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 08:37:04 AM »

There are the FLEX radios that are Software Defined and computer controlled.

http://www.flex-radio.com/

Most of your currently produced radios can be controlled via HRD and DX Lab Suite.

http://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/

http://www.dxlabsuite.com/
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W8JX
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 02:37:43 PM »

The problem with a Flex radio here is that they can take a lot of computer resources to run meaning a newer computer and if you multitask the computer it could because burdened if not pretty powerful whereas with a regular radio that is simply computer remote controlled there is far less overhead and resource demand on computer hardware and this is a consideration for someone that has motor control problems and is totally dependent on computer and you want a system with low resource draw and as reliable as possible. 
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KB1NXE
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2010, 08:03:24 PM »

Agreed.  Hence, the info about HRD and DX Lab Suite....
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2010, 08:15:07 PM »

Yes that has merit but native software for say a Kenwood would give you full menu control as well. Another radio to look at might be a Kenwood TS-590 as it has a USB interface for remote control and it also supports full audio in and out on this connection as well opening up some interesting remote control possibilities. BTW, I am not implying that Kenwood is only solution here but i am familiar with their control software.
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KB1NXE
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2010, 01:39:45 PM »

The advantage one of the integrated suites of software has over the native Kenwood (or soon - Icom) software is just that.  They are integrated suites of rig control, logging and digital modes (as well as ancillary control over devices such as rotators and Coax Switches).  These benefits are surely helpful to a handicapped HAM who is unable to keep a written log or press buttons on a rotor controller. 

For instance.  In my shack right now, I have a system using an Icom 756 PIII (could just as well be any modern rig from any manufacturer), IC-PW-1, Wave Node WN-2 Tail Twister Rotor with Idiom Press Rotor EZ Card with Serial option and a home brew Coax Switch.  I am able to change bands using HRD and Frequency, and the Amp, Coax Switch all track.  Those changes can be made with a mouse click.  Once I find someone in the HRD log that I'd like to try and work (via the built in DX Cluster window) I double click on that call and it QSYs to the frequency.  The Coax switch selects the correct antenna.  A right Click and an ADD and I now have all the other stations info in a log window with heading and distance info as well.  Click on the heading info and the rotor slews over to the correct heading.  So, I call the other station and he hears me.  Since it's an integrated suite of software, the log pulls in Frequency and mode info, the time is populated and since it is connected to the Internet, it pulls in the stations QTH and other pertinent info from QRZ.COM.  With the Wavenode WN-2 I am able to toggle power supplies or other controls as well as monitor power levels for 4 devices and the DC power supply. 

These are things that cannot be done by a rig control program alone.

Just my nickles worth.
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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2010, 05:40:26 PM »

The advantage one of the integrated suites of software has over the native Kenwood (or soon - Icom) software is just that.  They are integrated suites of rig control, logging and digital modes (as well as ancillary control over devices such as rotators and Coax Switches).  These benefits are surely helpful to a handicapped HAM who is unable to keep a written log or press buttons on a rotor controller. 


This has merit but these package software setup cannot exploit the features on the radio the way native software can.
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WB6RLC
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2010, 05:53:38 PM »

Lots of good info here. Keep it coming. He lives in a group home, with about 10 other “clients”, so a rotor and beam are not an issue. We will most likely set up a vertical or multi band dipole. Actually, the biggest drawback to the software will be me learning it to teach it to him!  Hi.

  Glenn
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2010, 07:59:03 PM »

This has merit but these package software setup cannot exploit the features on the radio the way native software can.

False: There are no secret commands; the so-called "native software" uses CAT instructions available to every transceiver control application.
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W8JX
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2010, 10:29:39 PM »

This has merit but these package software setup cannot exploit the features on the radio the way native software can.

False: There are no secret commands; the so-called "native software" uses CAT instructions available to every transceiver control application.


It is not a question of secret commands as it is user interface. The GUI can vary a lot with various packages and the GUI is what makes it pleasant or unpleasant to use.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2010, 04:26:13 PM »

This has merit but these package software setup cannot exploit the features on the radio the way native software can.

False: There are no secret commands; the so-called "native software" uses CAT instructions available to every transceiver control application.


It is not a question of secret commands as it is user interface. The GUI can vary a lot with various packages and the GUI is what makes it pleasant or unpleasant to use.

Your original claim was these package software setup cannot exploit the features on the radio the way native software can. Now you're changing your claim to only native software can provide a pleasant graphical user interface? Are all the pleasant GUI mechanisms locked away within the radio, inaccessible to all but native software?

     73,

        Dave, AA6YQ

   
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W8JX
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2010, 06:55:59 PM »


Your original claim was these package software setup cannot exploit the features on the radio the way native software can. Now you're changing your claim to only native software can provide a pleasant graphical user interface? Are all the pleasant GUI mechanisms locked away within the radio, inaccessible to all but native software?

     73,

        Dave, AA6YQ

   


No not at all, example the control software for my 480 lets me control all manor of operation and even more than I can with radio directly but I have not seen another  "brand" software GUI that supports all these features and then some. So, again the GUI (Graphic User Interface) and the easy with ALL f radios features are available  and the easy with which you can access them is what brings it all together.
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KB1NXE
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2010, 11:04:21 AM »

Dave,

   As much as you and I have butted heads in the past, I am in complete agreement with you on this.

   To the original poster; Dave is the Author of the DX Lab Suite of software.  He is very active on the forums and is a good source to help you fulfill this requirement.
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N9RO
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2010, 01:08:46 PM »

I would definitely NOT use any type of Flex radio, stability and reliability would be my two major concerns.  Great software control programs are available for all radios today and since front panel knobs could be of little value I would look at something like the TS-2000B with a remote control head.  The small remote head could be mounted on the wheelchair with easy finger access; in this case I believe focus should be on what can be done via the fingers NOT the hands.  I would look into ways to not have the head tethered to the rig via wire, perhaps using one of the new IP devices?   If you decide to provide access via a mobile device then I would consider writing some simple Macro programs (no programming knowledge needed) so with one touch or click many actions would be taken.   I too am permanently disabled own both a Flex and TS-2000 and understand the frustration of not be able to simply get up walk over and plug/unplug a cable or change radios.  I use an SDR-IQ remote (although only receive) when I am wheelchair mobile in the house.  Another consideration is how well the solution works over the long term?  I think all of us with serious disabilities can tell you that for one reason or another what I can do today is not necessarily what I will be able to do next year.   I commend you on this undertaking; this is one ham radio project that can truly make a difference, improving the quality of life for someone less fortunate is a good thing.   Just my opinion for what it’s worth.
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Real techies don't use knobs.
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