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Reviews Categories | Interfaces, Radio to computer, amp, rotor, coax switch, internet | RemoteShack Help

Reviews Summary for RemoteShack
RemoteShack Reviews: 25 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $500
Description: Remote xcvr control using only a cell phone
Product is in production.
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VA3API Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2015 12:16 Send this review to a friend
RBC-212   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this interface for my TS-480HX remote station. I was up and running in 20 min.

I had a small question of which I emailed to the company. John Troy answered my question in minutes and told me to contact him at home if I had any additional questions.
W5YE Rating: 5/5 Nov 9, 2014 15:12 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding remote control of my HF station  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I looked at several methods to remote my station for an RV trip I was preparing for. Most of them required a good internet connection at both ends ... Something that is not always constant ... Lose connection at either end, and your dead in the water, unless you have a friend near your base station that you trust, and who has the knowledge to go in your shack and reset your internet connection. Something that is not always available.

During my recent RV trip from Texas to Florida and back, I had very poor internet connections at most of the RV parks where I stayed. They won't spend the money for good WiFi hookups.

The only remote setup that would work under these conditions was the Remote Shack, because it doesn't rely on an internet connection. I used my cellphone for perfect control, and excellent reports from my contacts. John Troy (owner) is a real support-minded guy. He answers the phone - no "press 1 for sales; press 2 for tech support" ... etc .. etc ... He even answers the phone on Sunday!!! He really got me going in short order. Thanks, John.

I highly recommend the Remote Shack control system manufactured by John's company - And Remote Shack is "All American Made" . They are located in Plantation, FL.

Bottom Line - if you want a very dependable, easy to use remote system, you can't go wrong with Remote Shack.

Brian - W5YE
AK4ZX Rating: 5/5 May 14, 2014 11:43 Send this review to a friend
Possibly the Easiest and Simplest-to-Use Remote Control System.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Summary. RemoteShack is a simple to set up & use device that permits you to remotely control your desktop ham radio at your home or office...pretty much any place with a phone or Internet connection. Pre- and post-purchase sales support is phenomenal as is pure technical support. It does not require you to disassemble parts of your rig (like a remote head) and take with you. It supports multiple methods of remotely-connecting to your desktop rig. It is possibly the easiest and simplest-to-use remote control system.

Technical documentation is available on-line before you purchase permitting you to fully understand the device, how to connect & use it, and ask any questions you may have. Time normally wasted when you are away from your QTH, can now be used to be on the air more than ever before. It is one of the best amateur radio purchases we've made. Now there's no more waiting to get home to use your rig...even if you're waiting in your car, walking the dog, or taking your child to a park.

Pre-Sales/Technical Support: Excellent
Ease of Setup & Use: Excellent
Minimum Physical Changes to Place Rig into Remote Control Function: Excellent
Ability to Use & Operate in a Variety of Locations without Reconfiguration: Excellent

Background. I have used RemoteShack for about three months though I started looking at remote control devices a year or so ago. After reading all I could about the concept, the rules, and my strong desire for a system that was easy to set up & use, I kept coming back to RemoteShack. While attending Hamcation in Orlando, I stopped by RemoteShack's booth and talked to John Troy. I'm sure he must have recognized me as I've "peppered" him with lots of questions before but true to his reputation, he answered all my questions (again) with courtesy and a smile...this time I was hooked. During our numerous conversations, he knew that it was very important to me that a remote control system be able to turn my Icom 7100 radio off & on as needed...I just don't like the idea of leaving my radio turned on, on the oft chance I would be remoting-in that particular day.

Initially, it was a bit uncertain if RemoteShack would do that with a 7100; however, John assured me that if it did not or he could not make it do that, then he would give me a full refund. So I stepped out on faith a bit and purchased RemoteShack and a couple of accessories. In the week prior to shipment, John and I exchanged several emails and phone calls regarding the remote power on/off CIV command and determined that one did exist for the 7100. So he re-programmed the device to include that command in addition to the normal set of most-used commands. He shipped the device (which I quickly received) and as they say, "the rest is history".

I had RemoteShack connected and set up with my Icom 7100 within about 15 minutes and with only one phone call to John to fine tune a setting. It is a liberating feeling to be able to sit on your deck and use your rig or when you're waiting to pick up your child at school, your rig is a close as your cell phone. It's somewhat akin to using wi-fi for the first more being stuck inside your computer room or in this case, your ham shack.

Connection Methods. Of the various methods which can be used, my personal favorite is using Skype with RemoteShack though the device works perfectly fine with the other methods. My preference is to be able to see my Icom 7100 display when I am operating remotely. Unfortunately, the 7100 does not have a "video out" connection so it does not provide a way to obtain the display signaling via a connection or a jack on the radio. Fortunately, with a simple USB webcam I can now see the 7100 display remotely. I simply located the webcam directly in front of my 7100 and Skype transmits the USB video to me remotely on my cell phone, iPad, etc. Again, RemoteShack does not require this to work but it is more icing on the cake.

Accessories. One of the newest accessories that I purchased was the RBC-CMI-1 Client Microphone Interface. This is truly a significant enhancement to RemoteShack's already easy-to-use features. With the CMI-1, you can control your radio via the mic-mounted keypad rather than having to be dependent up on your phone's keypad or the keypad provided via Skype's software. This is a major plus in my use of RemoteShack. It also returns the "feel" of operating a rig vs. controlling it with a cell phone or other non-traditional devices.

I use this with RemoteShack almost every day. I can even slide it in my shirt or pants pocket and operate my rig while walking at the park. The mic does it all.

Rig Capabilities Influence Things. As every ham knows, every rig is different and each provides a varied set of technical features. The varying features can affect how you connect with RemoteShack (as well as other remote control devices). In my situation, I use an Icom SM-50 Desktop Mic. The mic is one of the connections to RemoteShack. As I preferred to not plug/unplug my desktop mic, John suggested a simple network switch to permit the desktop mic to remain plugged in and ready for use when working at your shack. The switch was an $8.00 item on eBay. It makes setting the rig for remote control even easier. So make sure you discuss your rig with John in advance to take care of your preferences and what the rig is capable of doing.

Considerations When Using Skype. Using Skype depends upon the Internet. With any Internet connection, the quality of the connection can affect things and using Skype/the Internet with RemoteShack is no different. Fortunately, I've found that except on very, very few occasions, RemoteShack and Skype work perfectly together. If you do hit a snag, it is almost always going to be related to the Internet instead of RemoteShack.

If you decide to use Skype with RemoteShack, you will need two Skype accounts. No problem since Skype is free unless you opt to use some of its more advanced features which are NOT needed by RemoteShack. One account is to associate with the "host" computer at your shack which will be connected to RemoteShack…the other for use with your mobile device (cell phone, iPad, etc.).

An Internet Connection. I have had excellent results using my iPhone's hotspot feature as well as a standalone hotspot (available from all cellular carriers). It should be noted that even with extensive use of RemoteShack with my cellular carrier's Internet connection, communications carried out via RemoteShack as well as control functions, do not use extensive bandwidth so your data plan is not likely to be substantially affected by use of RemoteShack.

Pre-Purchase Considerations.

Spend a lot of time on RemoteShack's website. Many of your questions and concerns will be addressed.

Those considering purchase of RemoteShack should first determine if it will work with their rig. If there are any doubts, just contact John Troy for an answer.

Your rig's capabilities will influence what you can do with RemoteShack and how.

Download and read the technical documentation and user manuals for RemoteShack as well as any accessories you are considering for purchase. Understanding is the key to making sure your expectations can or will be met by RemoteShack and/or its accessories.

Get a good feeling as to how you will use and connect to RemoteShack.

Consider use of RemoteShack as another way to leverage use of your radio equipment and to create more opportunities for contacts and service to others.

K4CIO Rating: 5/5 Apr 5, 2014 07:14 Send this review to a friend
Absolutly the BEST  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have tried many solutions to remote control my station with marginal results for years. I have tried home brew thru Remote Rig I was not satisfied until I came across Remote Shack and John.

One problem is the lack of support dealing with offshore vendors. With Remote Shack this is surely not the case. When they advertise 24x7 they mean it and have always come through. From initial setup, which was a snap, though the final complex setup I am currently running John and Remote Rig were there.

I am running and remote controlling the following:
• Yaesu FT-2000D/ FTDX-9000D
• Yaesu Quadra Amp
• SteppIR DB-42, DB-18E, BigIR Vertical/ 80 M
• G-2800DXA Rotor
• GS-232B Computer Interface
• Epiphan VGA2USB VGA to USB Converter, Frame Grabber

From Remote Shack:
• RBC-212 Remote Base Controller
• Rotor Y Control Cable
• 2 RBC-PSS Serial Switch
• CM-1 Computer Microphone Interface
• Computer Audio Interface cables

You cannot go wrong buying from John. He stands 100% behind his product and will take immediate action to solve any particular configuration you may have.
What else can I say?

Mark K4CIO
WA1GZY Rating: 5/5 Oct 19, 2013 12:21 Send this review to a friend
The Ultimate Mobile Communications System  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Imagine being able to operate your transceiver, change frequency and band with by touchtone command (any brand, any model) and even rotate your beam antenna by touchtone-entering a degree heading! REMOTESHACK.COM makes it 'plug n' play' simple with audio quality that can't be distinguished from a base station. Portable operation only requires you have a cellphone and nearby telephone connection to your base station QTH.

In my setup, I control a Kenwood TS-990 in combination with a solid state linear amplifier SPE Expert 2K-fa, SteppIR 2 element 40-6 meter yagi and Green Heron Engineering RT-21D antenna rotator control with Yaesu GS-800 rotator.

Mobile "on the go" QSO's are now as easy as operating from the base station.
Here's how:
Set up a telephone connection near your base station transceiver. In my QTH, I ordered VONAGE "Pay As You Go" digital phone service with unlimited incoming calls for $5/month plus tax. (With a dedicated local telephone exchange, I do not tie up the house phone line).

The REMOTESHACK RBC-212 module plugs into the supplied telephone modem or any landline phone outlet. Cables are provided to interface with most Icom, Kenwood , Yaesu, TenTec, Elecraft transceivers.

Call home to your base station with your cellphone and enter the requested password. Your radio comes to life and confirms frequency and mode. Disconnecting will happen automatically if you lose your phone connection.

To make it even easier, consider ordering the CM-1 Touchtone command microphone. It plugs in to your cellphone and the included noise-cancelling microphone delivers superior communications quality audio.

Customer support is legendary! In my setup, I needed to share the Kenwood TS-990 serial COM port providing link CAT data with the REMOTESHACK RBC-212 module and the SPE-Expert linear... Common wisdom says it can't be done. Within a few days REMOTESHACK founder, John Troy had the solution with a custom-designed programmable serial splitter!

For comparison, I also have the popular REMOTERIG.COM internet remote base system by MICROBIT, a well respected Swedish company. This requires a transceiver with removable control head and internet connection which is nearly impossible to maintain if traveling in an automobile. Unless you are fluent in Swedish, computer savvy and can do battle with internet firewalls and other internet port assignaments, I strongly recommend potential remote base amateurs stick with John's REMOTESHACK system. Both the REMOTERIG and REMOTESHACK systems work well, but why not make it easy for yourself!
KK4CSJ Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2013 07:44 Send this review to a friend
Great Product!!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After having a problem with the 1st unit, John very quickly responded and sent a new one. I hooked it up and have used it almost every day since. It works flawlessly every time and and very pleased with it and the great support I received. Thanks from a very satisfied customer. Dan, KK4CSJ
WA0CQG Rating: 5/5 May 15, 2013 08:04 Send this review to a friend
Great Product & Support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the RBC-212 remote base controller, the CPI-1 cordless phone interface, and the 40 Amp 12vdc relay kit and am using it all with a Yaesu FT-897D. I have all three modes of control set up: Skype via the Internet through a iMac, Telco line control via VONAGE, and local control using a Panasonic cordless phone throughout the house. Performance on all is great!

What has been the best is the support of John Troy at REMOTESHACK.COM who always seems to be there to help with simple, stupid, or hard questions.

In general, my recommendation to potential buyers is: read the web site files, read the documents supplied with the gear, look for cockpit errors, and call John for coaching as needed. All commands are done by DTMF so my cordless phone and iPhone work great and I like SKYPE when away because I can avoid using minutes on my data plan.

I spoke of cockpit errors and I will use a recent case to support this. I could get the RBC-212 to connect and respond but there no longer was any voice annunciation to tell me what frequency or mode the radio was using. I was sure the RBC was broken. I was in panic that I had broken something. But it was not broken and through phone support John Troy found the problem: i had inadvertently set the volume via software to at off or close so I could not hear the voice. It turned out to be simple -- thanks to outstanding customer support.

I use the 40-amp relay kit to turn the FT-897D on when I connect. But there are times when I am home and want to use the radio directly and without RBC control. I needed a manual power on switch and with the help of John -- and two diodes and a toggle switch I added the function.

One last thing. MFJ and promise "plug-and-play" set-up. As most of us know from computer manufacturer promises, this really turns out to be "plug-and-pray" instead. But not the case with the RBC-212. If you order it for a particular radio AND with the cable set for that radio, you can have it working in five minutes. Then, take the plastic laminated cheat card and practice and learn the commands while sitting in from of the radio. Next, go in the field and remotely control your station -- AND ENJOY!
WB7UVH Rating: 4/5 Mar 28, 2013 13:16 Send this review to a friend
Great way to remote  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Remote Shack provides a very simple way to work remotely. John has been very helpful and responsive. None the less, I rated Remote Shack a 4. It is advertised as plug and play, however with Icoms and my rural location, a bit more was required.

1.Tried with land line but the tones weren't detected properly so it was recommended I go with internet phone service. It would not work with Ooma. I switched to Vonnage with DSL and it works fine.

2.I was using a Blackberry (quit laughing) and have since switched to a Motorola RAZR (Droid) and it performs much better. Bigger keys if nothing else.

3.It was originally set up with an Icom IC-706MKII. It was necessary for me to send the Remote Shack and the radio back to John so that he could tweak the firmware.

4.I wanted to switch to an IC-735. Unfortunately, the communication rate of the IC-735 is too slow for Remote Shack.

5.So next up was an IC-718 which I did need to send back to John for firmware tweaking. It works fine and I am very pleased with the results. He has upgraded the firmware to provide muting after the first tone is sent. This is definitely an improvement.

6.I use an MFJ Mic Switch to make it easier to go from the headset to the Remote Shack when I need to.

So, if you want very simple way to work HF remotely, this is a good solution. I would recommend talking with John first about your rig to determine if you will need to send it back to him for any required firmware changes. I use an Able Planet headset with the Droid.
W5ZZT Rating: 4/5 Feb 22, 2013 16:48 Send this review to a friend
Now working for me.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have written reviews for the remoteshack before and was less than satisfied. I am glad to report that with the great customer service provided by John at remoteshack I am finally able to enjoy the system.

The key to the system is to understand what it will and will not do. Most importantly you need to understand that a direct cell call may not always work due to the way some networks handle the normal static of a HF signal. In the city I live I can use the system from a normal cell call with no issues. I can also do this a couple hundred miles from my home city. Some cell signals outside that area use some kind of DSP processing taking out all the static including weak signals. When this happens the connection cannot be effectively used.

Late last year John suggested using Skype so having unlimited data on my plan I gave it a try. While it worked some of the time the throughput could not keep up and the audio was lost. I set the unit aside and didn't use it until I received another from John a couple of months later. I could not believe he continued to work on a solution for my issue. His latest suggestion was to use the FREE magicjack app that is available for my iphone and also for android phones. It does use your data plan so be careful if you do not have an unlimited plan as I do with Sprint. This solution worked great!

So now, in most cases, I can make a regular cell call and it works perfectly with my iphone. If I have a problem anywhere with the DSP issue I use the magicjack app and it works just as good. I now regularly use the system and I must say the software is flawless! Sure there are new things I would like to see but it works just fine as it's implemented.

I rated the product a 4 because some of you may not have unlimited data on your cell phone. In my case I could have given it a 5 as I always have a way to make it work but I chose a 4 rating overall.

I have tried several solutions to a remote base installation and don't think you will find a better system around. Just understand the limitations, as I now do, and you should be happy.

I use it with my TS-2000 and it even turns the radio power on and off. I have had many QSO's with great audio reports.

N8BI Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2012 22:56 Send this review to a friend
A Great Product and Customer Service  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased RemoteShack at Dayton 2011 but unfortunately a lightening strike took out the Radio I was planning to use. Over a year later I obtained another transceiver not on the approved list. I called John for Technical Support who without hesitation worked me through the changes as though I had just purchased RemoteShack. The result, using a second phone number in my Shack with Skype on my Laptop and iPhone 5 I have operated my station remotely while cruising in the South Atantic, driving around downtown, or at the office. Being able to use 5 over 5 on 20 and other large antennas mobile or portable is a treat! Adds a new dimension. I look forward to future RemoteShack products and John's great customer support!
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