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Reviews Categories | Interfaces, Radio to computer, amp, rotor, coax switch, internet | Green Heron Engineering GH Everyware Wireless Control System Help

Reviews Summary for Green Heron Engineering GH Everyware Wireless Control System
Green Heron Engineering GH Everyware Wireless Control System Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $Hardware: 129 to 272 (2017)
Description: From the GHE Web manual:
GH Everyware Wireless is a distributed network solution to any station switching requirements
that uses relays or manual switches. This can include antenna selection relays, directive
antenna controls (4 square, 8 circle etc.) stacked antenna controllers, Beverage antenna
switches, etc. The system can eliminate or reduce the use of control cables and control boxes,
replacing them with a robust wireless (802.15.4) network and on-screen controls that you may
customize for whatever relay control system you utilize. In addition, the system allows shared
access through the use of standard IP (Internet Protocol) techniques. Any number of operator
positions on separate computers, may share any or all of the switch and rotor devices under GH
Everyware Wireless control AND they may also be utilized over the Internet. The system
components are flexible and expandable to meet any station complexity requirement.
Your existing antenna relays, stack controllers, 4 square controllers, transverter selection boxes
(or any other device that uses relays) may be remotely operated and monitored from inside the
shack, or anywhere in the world via the internet. At the same time, eliminating the control
cables, eliminating the control box at the operating position and allow sharing of these devices
among multiple operating positions or locations. GH Everyware also allows integration of RT-
20, and RT-21 rotator controllers into the systems either connected via separate COM/USB
port, or even though the shared wireless link to the GHE Remote’s RS-232 port.
Product is in production.
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W8FN Rating: 5/5 Sep 21, 2017 16:06 Send this review to a friend
Trade wires for bits  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've now been using the GH Everyware system in my station for several months, and can recommend it without reservation.

As a hardcore contester, I need my station to be as automated as possible. My current SO2R station is built around a pair of Elecraft K3 transceivers and incorporates a LOT of automated switching to provide selection of station antennas, transmit bandpass filter banks, multiple receiver antennas, and other miscellaneous control functions. Until recently, the station switching control had been done by a pair of the extremely fine microHAM Station Masters, one at each radio position. The Station Masters are in turn controlled via the MK2R+ SO2R controller. The hardware based system works very well, but it has two disadvantages: 1) The system requires lots of cables for all the control lines, and 2) Several additional custom control boxes with their own interconnect cables are necessary to manage the outputs of the Station Masters.

In my 2nd floor shack the switching hardware and its associated wiring is installed in the attic on the other side of the wall facing the station, so it was no big deal to run the control cables a few feet through the wall. I plan to retire and relocate away from the city in a year or two. My goal for the retirement station is to have the switching hardware located close to the base of the (eventual) tower rather than near the radio station. Installing long runs of all the necessary control cables with their attendant lightning protection, etc. would be an extremely expensive and laborious project. With this in mind, last year I began to consider how to provide remote operation for the RF and control switching hardware. I finally came up with the idea of programming a pair of Arduinos and some miscellaneous hardware to do the control over either a long RS-422 line or perhaps a Wi-Fi link. I even did some research and bought the parts to set this up. I'm a pretty good hardware geek, but I never have and likely never will be a software guy. I bought a couple of books, but kept putting off diving into learning to program the Arduinos to do what I needed.

At Hamvention this year I stopped in at the Green Heron Engineering booth. GHE proprietor Jeff, W2FU, gave me an extensive demo of his wireless GH Everyware system. After some discussion it was apparent that he had long ago solved all the problems I would face with a custom Arduino setup, and more besides. The straightforward Windows software was already written and supported by GHE. Shortly after returning home I began to look into updating my station control to the GHE environment. I ordered my first installment of equipment in June and began to build up the new control system. A single GHE Wireless Base unit and five Wireless Remote units comprise the updated control hardware. The Remotes drive a set of 16-relay and 8-relay boards available online for ridiculously low prices. The 10A relays on these boards in turn control all the RF and control switching hardware necessary to run the station. The GHE software communicates seamlessly with the N1MM Plus contest logging software and allows complete control.

My daily logging program is DX4WIN, which doesn't have the capability to directly interface with the GHE environment. This problem was solved by the excellent PstRotatorAz software by Codrut, YO3DMU. After a bit of investigation and email consultation with Codrut, I determined that PstRotatorAz could do the interface job. It takes frequency data from DX4WIN via the SteppIR interface logic and then transmits the data in N1MM format to the GHE system via network UDP broadcasts on the same ports used by N1MM+. It works flawlessly. The PstRotatorAz software supports a huge array of software and hardware (not just rotators) and is an extremely powerful tool in its own right.

The GHE software control system does have a couple of cons. The first of these is that the on-screen controls take up a fair amount of monitor display real estate. I worked around this by installing a second monitor, at a cost of around $100, and configuring my Windows desktop to put the GHE controls (and a few miscellaneous applications as well) on the second screen. The extra desk space freed up by eliminating the 7(!) custom control boxes associated with the hardware control system gave me room for the extra monitor. The other possible downside is that the software environment becomes more complex. I think this is a good trade-off. I've had a couple of questions (not really problems) on the GHE software and Jeff has been willing to spend considerable time on the phone working through the issues and helping me understand the more subtle aspects of how the software works. His support is excellent.

If you're looking for a good way to remotely control your station, the Green Heron Everyware system is probably the solution you've been looking for.

Randy, W8FN

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