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Author Topic: Remote Station Control  (Read 259 times)
K1UO
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Posts: 20




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« on: January 08, 2007, 05:34:59 AM »

I am living in a Condo Complex and am looking to hook up with those who remote control their entire stations. I have a 2 acre lot about 10 miles away that can be used for my remote location.  Need lots of info help on the What's and How's to accomplish this.  Thanks  Larry K1UO
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3228




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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2007, 07:07:43 AM »

The soon-to-be-available TenTec Omni 7 may make your job a lot easier ... anyway, there are a LOT of questions you have opened the door for ...

What sort of station are you considering putting up?  Big contesting style operation, with 3 towers?  Or just a casual-use setup?  Something in between?

Does the remote side have broadband internet access available?

What modes do you like best?

Do you have a budget?

Are you computer/networking savvy?

Do you have any gear now that you want to use?

What do you expect your operator console will look like?

These are a good start ...
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K8AC
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Posts: 1475




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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2007, 07:21:51 AM »

A little over a year ago, I successfully ran my station remotely from a hotel room 300 miles away.  I'd begin by checking out one of the remote control stations currently operating via the Internet (sorry, but can't recall their call letters).  They allow you to register your call and then operate their station remotely.  There's also at least one discussion forum for the subject- maybe on Yahoo Groups.  Here are some other ideas to get you started.  I assume that the remote site will have a PC connected to the rig and that communications will be via the Internet.

1. You'll want a broadband Internet connection at each end.  Getting your router/firewall to pass the necessary traffic can be tricky, but this could be worked out long before you have a remote site operating.

2. You'll need a way to completely control the remote PC, and that includes a way to power it up and down or reboot it.  For remote control of Windows itself, I used RealVNC on my notebook and the remote PC.  It wasn't a freebie, but worked better than the free versions I tried.  This gives you the ability to run any PC application remotely just as if you were sitting in front of the remote PC.  

3. Some transceivers are better suited for remote control than others.  I used my Kenwood TS-480 which worked very well and Kenwood supplies free remote control software which I found to work at least as well as others, such as TRX Manager.

4. For the audio transport in both directions, I used Skype.  That's free, and another thing that you could get running prior to even having a remote site set up.    Again, there are issues to deal with in regard to your router or firewall.  

5. If you want to venture into CW, you should be thinking about a keyboard based CW program.  There are free ones available for download that work well.  

6. Turnaround (switching from receive to transmit or reverse) time is problematic and will be manageable for normal QSOs, but is a problem if you try to operate contests.  

7. The antenna switching situation is simplified if you have a SteppIR beam, as the controller will track frequency and band changes without additional hardware or software.

I suppose the turnaround time problem could be solved by using some sort of UHF or VHF link between the two sites that could operate in a full duplex fashion.  There are undoubtedly many other approaches to implementation that I didn't try.  I was looking for a way to do it on the cheap, and was satisfied with the results I got.  Depending upon where you live, the biggest challenge might be how to prevent thieves and vandals from breaking into the remote site and carrying everything away.  
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2007, 08:52:20 AM »

Larry, you might contact Dwight, K2YT/6, who has one of the best sounding, elaborate "remote" HF stations I've come across.  He lives close by to me in an antenna-restricted area and has his entire HF station set up on the roof of a commercial building about 10-12 miles away. He uses a TS-480HX, SteppIR beam/rotor/tower, dipoles for the lower bands, etc, and controls them all from anywhere in the world via the internet.  But it's all "his own equipment," and not anybody else's, and it's the same as calling in on the telephone or using UHF as a remote control link.

I just chatted with Dwight while he was on vacation in Maui, but operating his "home station" from his hotel room, and of course very strong since that station is only a few miles from me.  He's taken the time to work out the kinks and it sound great on the air.

WB2WIK/6
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K1UO
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Posts: 20




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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2007, 09:37:47 AM »

Thanks all for the good info....I was thinking of putting up a single 80ft tower with a steppir antenna and also x-arms to put up an 80M 4 square like ON4UN/s arrangement.   The new Ten-Tec Omni VII looks like a good radio to build around and I'm not sure yet of the amp but it needs to be fully automatic to follow the radio' band changes.   It may be possible to use a VHF link...not sure yet but can definately use a DSL based link.    The radio and everything will be at the remote end so need to figure out how to send voice and CW between here and there!

   It would also be nice to be able to hook back into the Home setup if i was on Vacation for example or in Florida for the Winter!!

No clue on what to use for equipment yet but getting ideas!  I miss my 150ft rotating tower and stacks 40-10!!!  NO chance of that again though but maybe at least I can keep up with DX totals...Had them all till health issues caused the move here to Condo last Summer.  Now already 3 behind.....

Thanks again

Larry K1UO
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AI4NS
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Posts: 320


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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2007, 07:30:04 PM »

Go to Larry's site also. He has done a lot of experimentation with remote operation, plus he builds a great power meter.
http://www.telepostinc.com/n8lp.html#top

Mike
AI4NS
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K9KJM
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Posts: 2415




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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2007, 12:16:58 AM »

Take a look at the Kenwood TS-2000 "Sky Command" system.......  
At ten miles away, You MIGHT be able to consider control of a transmitter "local" IF you can get to it soon enough to shut it off in the event of a failure of other control methods...............  (Remote control is YOUR license at risk)
I have recently purchased a TS-2000 just for this reason. So I can operate HF, Or at least monitor it from a UHF hand held radio while walking in my neighborhood...   I really dont plan any fancy remote controls, And also will be within a few minutes of the transmitter. I just dont want to be always tied down to sitting in front of the HF rig during long nets, etc.
My first impressions of the TS-2000 are pretty good. I am comparing it to my Icom 756PRO, and Icom 910H VHF/UHF. So far the Kenwood is a fairly close second behind the Icoms in most respects. A contest rig it is not, But for casual operation I have to give the TS-2000 good marks.
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