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eHam Forums => Station Building => Topic started by: KB8BAB on September 09, 2012, 06:02:48 PM



Title: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: KB8BAB on September 09, 2012, 06:02:48 PM
I've been looking around......not finding much......as far as simplicity or price goes.
The Station Pro looks really neat, but it's quite costly and I do not have 3 amps or rigs currently...I also have not seen any "used /for sale units...

I've got two rigs and one amp that I would like to switch between so I'd want to switch:
- The audio from each rig to a single speaker.
- The ALC and amp control signal from each rig.
- The RF from each rig to the amp.
- The mic from each rig ( big maybe)....
All contained in one unit....

Anyone know if something like this is available (alternative to Station Pro) or is this a home-brew project (which could be fun as well)

Or in case some does have a Station Pro they're willing to part with...drop me a line..

73

Bart


Title: RE: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: N3WAK on September 10, 2012, 03:55:27 PM
Bart--I don't know if I can answer your entire question, but I'll tell you what I do, which is fairly easy. 

ALC/amp relay:  On my rigs, there is an RCA jack for each on both of the rigs and the amp.  Starting at the amp end, I went to Radio Shack and got an RCA "Y" connector.  It has a male RCA plug on one end (which plugs into the amp) and two RCA connectors on the other end.  RS has several types--male to male/male and male to female/female.  It doesn't matter which you use.  But then you get--probably on the same display rack, an RCA extension cable that will mate with the end of the Y coming out of your amp and the corresponding jack on the rig.  By using a "Y" connector, you are just giving yourself the equivalent of two ALC jacks on the amp and two relay jacks on the amp.  You can even attach additional Ys should you ever get three rigs.  (Not that hams needlessly acquire extra rigs.  I sure don't--NOT.)  However, you can only use one rig at a time with your amp. 

There may be a better way to do it, but I use an identical "Y" with my speaker...to use my one speaker with two rigs.  But--only one rig can utlize the speaker at one time. 

RF to amp:  Run a coax patch cord from each rig to a good-quality antenna switch.  I like the Alpha Delta switches far better than, for example, the MFJ switches.  Most of these switches are labeled for one transmitter with two antennas.  But they work just fine "backwards" with two transmitters and, instead of an antenna, connect a patch cord from the switch to your amp.  This is exactly the same concept as a Y from Radio Shack.  (I use four Alpha Delta switches here, to route lots of separate, but very necessary, rigs through my amp and then into various antennas.  This is exactly the same concept as the Y from Radio Shack, just on a bigger scale.  Works FB here at my QTH.) 

Can't help you with the microphones, though.  There are fancy ways to do it, but the easiest are: (1) buy two mics, or (2) swap one mic between the rigs.  Heck, you're only talking on one at a time, anyway. 

Good luck!  73, Tony


Title: RE: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: KB8BAB on September 10, 2012, 04:23:48 PM
Bart--I don't know if I can answer your entire question, but I'll tell you what I do, which is fairly easy. 

ALC/amp relay:  On my rigs, there is an RCA jack for each on both of the rigs and the amp.  Starting at the amp end, I went to Radio Shack and got an RCA "Y" connector.  It has a male RCA plug on one end (which plugs into the amp) and two RCA connectors on the other end.  RS has several types--male to male/male and male to female/female.  It doesn't matter which you use.  But then you get--probably on the same display rack, an RCA extension cable that will mate with the end of the Y coming out of your amp and the corresponding jack on the rig.  By using a "Y" connector, you are just giving yourself the equivalent of two ALC jacks on the amp and two relay jacks on the amp.  You can even attach additional Ys should you ever get three rigs.  (Not that hams needlessly acquire extra rigs.  I sure don't--NOT.)  However, you can only use one rig at a time with your amp. 

There may be a better way to do it, but I use an identical "Y" with my speaker...to use my one speaker with two rigs.  But--only one rig can utlize the speaker at one time. 

RF to amp:  Run a coax patch cord from each rig to a good-quality antenna switch.  I like the Alpha Delta switches far better than, for example, the MFJ switches.  Most of these switches are labeled for one transmitter with two antennas.  But they work just fine "backwards" with two transmitters and, instead of an antenna, connect a patch cord from the switch to your amp.  This is exactly the same concept as a Y from Radio Shack.  (I use four Alpha Delta switches here, to route lots of separate, but very necessary, rigs through my amp and then into various antennas.  This is exactly the same concept as the Y from Radio Shack, just on a bigger scale.  Works FB here at my QTH.) 

Can't help you with the microphones, though.  There are fancy ways to do it, but the easiest are: (1) buy two mics, or (2) swap one mic between the rigs.  Heck, you're only talking on one at a time, anyway. 

Good luck!  73, Tony

Tony,

You don't have any ALC or Relay interference from one radio to the other using the "y" connector??
Antenna switch for selecting the rigs...good idea...

73
Bart


Title: RE: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: N3WAK on September 11, 2012, 05:01:57 PM
Hi Bart.  No interference at all--but you only use one rig at a time.  I buy the shielded audio cables with RCA connectors at Radio Shack.  Foolproof!  Give it a try--guaranteed. 

73, Tony


Title: RE: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: N3WAK on September 11, 2012, 05:07:49 PM
One more thing, Bart.  The coax switches I use aren't two rigs/one antenna.  I use the four rigs/one antenna one, and hook that to a one rig/four antenna one.  They're exactly the same coax switch, just one is "backwards."  With a short patch cords between the switches, I have a bunch of combinations--that is, I can switch between four rigs and four antennas, or four rigs and three antennas with a dummy load in the 4th position.  I actually have four switches hooked together in this way, because I have lots of rigs and four antennas. 

I am sure there are fancier ways to do this, but this works fine for me.  I took a label maker (from Wal-Mart) and labeled each of the positions on the various coax switches, which means I don't have to remember which position corresponds with which rig or which antenna. 

73, Tony


Title: RE: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: KB8BAB on September 13, 2012, 01:41:37 PM
Cool...thank you..thank you....!


Title: RE: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: KB8BAB on September 15, 2012, 07:14:26 PM
Just found something neat at Radio Shack that works really nice.
Its sold as an A/V Switch Cat# 15-312.
It's an A-B switch with RCA only connections for video, audio left/right in, then A or B with the same configuration out (video,audio Left/right)
Internally it has a pair of multi-contact switches.

I'm routing the audio from each rig through the video (yellow RCA) connectors.
Relay and Alc through the audio (red/white RCA connectors).

Works perfect....for about $18...

Using an antenna switch for the RF side.....

Going to patent this as a "LBSPIII"......(Low Budget StationPro II)...LOL

73

Bart


Title: RE: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: N3WAK on September 16, 2012, 06:32:14 AM
Hi Bart.  I'm glad that you found something that works for you.  I will take a look at your A/V switch next time I am at Radio Shack.  By saving so much money on a fancy multiple rig/mic/speaker controller, think of how much money you have left over for (1) beer and pizza, and (2) the next absolutely necessary and only semi-redundant rig at your QTH.  Good luck! 

73, Tony


Title: RE: Controlling two rigs and 1 amp.
Post by: KB8BAB on September 17, 2012, 02:03:54 PM
Hi Bart.  I'm glad that you found something that works for you.  I will take a look at your A/V switch next time I am at Radio Shack.  By saving so much money on a fancy multiple rig/mic/speaker controller, think of how much money you have left over for (1) beer and pizza, and (2) the next absolutely necessary and only semi-redundant rig at your QTH.  Good luck! 

73, Tony

LOL.....Tony, you are 100% correct!....

Bart