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Reviews Categories | Ham Software - Other than logging | Icom RS-BA1 Help


Reviews Summary for Icom RS-BA1
Icom RS-BA1 Reviews: 46 Average rating: 2.7/5 MSRP: $100
Description: remote control software for newer Icom radios.
Product is in production.
More info: http://icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/rsba1/default.aspx
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KT4WO Rating: 4/5 Jun 7, 2017 11:25 Send this review to a friend
2nd review  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been running this software for a few years now and still give it a 4.
As I said in my 1st review, I can see why some have
issues in setup. It requires better than normal knowledge of networking. As one ham put it "If you still use AOL, it's not for you!!...haha"
I use on a 7200, 718 and 706M2G and so far can
use from work without issues. As many have stated, the manual is poor at best. I didn't even use it, just "winged it" and it took less than 15 min the first time I setup. I also AGREE it should be FREE!!
and it's outdated. But overall, it's the best package/ROIP I have found for Icom's.
 
W6CAW Rating: 0/5 Jun 7, 2017 10:02 Send this review to a friend
A mess!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Gave mine away when I sold my IC-7600. Spent my entire life in the electronics industry and was a computer consultant from 1984 till i retired in 2007. I have never seen such a un-organized piece of junk from any manufacturer. I am sure I could have figured it out eventually but my new motto is, if I can't make a software package work in 30 minutes it's out of here. This is the plug and play era. There is no excuse for crummy software like this.
 
AA7ST Rating: 0/5 Jun 6, 2017 11:40 Send this review to a friend
Big Limitation no Virtual Machine  Time owned: months
Be warned: This software does not work with virtual machine on the remote end. This is mentioned nowhere in either the iCom literature nor on the reseller's page. If you attempt to use this software on a Mac for example running a virtual Windows machine, you will get a cryptic error message from the Icom "Remote Utility":Real serial driver error". This error message is not covered in the documentation nor does Icom customer support know anything about it. They do say, once they understand the usage, that it does not work in a virtual machine.

(I had a somewhat distasteful conversation with the sales manager at the store from which I purchased the 7300, AH4 and some other stuff, arguing most vociferously that all bets were off with a VM.)

This whole issue could have been avoided if either Icom or the reseller simply reported that native Windows hardware is required and it will not work in a virtual machine.
 
WE6EE Rating: 3/5 May 30, 2017 22:08 Send this review to a friend
People are talking past each other  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Folks who are having good results with RS-BA1 are right: it works reasonably well, and may be the best choice for operating a late-model Icom rig remotely.

Folks who are struggling are also right. The docs are pretty bad, and you need to have a pretty good understanding of what it is doing in order to configure your network correctly. I think people who are familiar with this sort of thing are underestimating how daunting it can be to non network types of people.

Even has a computer professional, one of the things that drove me mad about the documentation is the stupid use of "local" and "remote", with "remote" meaning the computer attached to the radio, and "local" meaning the computer you are interacting with, potentially far from the radio. This is further complicated by the fact that "remote" is also used to denote the serial connection over CI-V on the back of your rig. Better nomenclature, almost standard in the computing universe, would have been "host" -- meaning the device that is attached to the radio, the one "hosting" your session, and "client", meaning the machine that is taking advantage of a service provided by the "host." Oh well.

So, anyway, my quick pointers on setup:

- if your rig has an ethernet jack, find the instructions for rigs using a host computer, and hide them. Similarly, if your rig does not have an ethernet jack, hide or burn the instructions for a rig that does. That's just extra paper you do not need and it will confuse you.
- install the latest icom drivers on the host and client computers.
- install the software on the host and client computers, then upgrade it to the latest version from icom on the host and client computers
- test a local connection completely on the host computer before trying to connect from a client computer
- then test with a client computer on the same lan
- once that works, then set up the port forwarding on your router and try from a remote location

A note on security:

Windows on a normal home PC is not known for being a robust server OS and running this software essentially turns your computer into a server. Furthermore, turning on port forwarding essentially opens that computer up to the Internet. There *are* bad guys who will try to get into your computer, and honestly, I can't say how robust this software is to such an attack. If someone were to get access to your host computer, they could make it do anything, including attack other computers on your home LAN.

Because of this possibility, I segmented my home network using two routers. The first router connects to my cable modem. I connect the machine hosting the RS-BA1 server to that LAN side of that router. I turned OFF the WiFi on that router. I then connect the upstream port of the second router to one of the LAN ports of the first router, and the rest of my home network is on the second router. I open up port forwarding for RS-BA1 on the first router.

The end result is that I can access RS-BA1 from the outside world, but the firewall in my second router makes it impossible for the outside world OR the computer running the RS-BA1 to access my home LAN network.

A note on software quality:

The server software is not as robust as one would like, which is bad for remote control software. For example, if power to the radio is cut, the USB port connected to your computer will "disappear" and RS-BA1 will be unhappy, and it will not become happy again when power is restored and the USB reappears. It needs to be stopped and restarted. So, plan on having a way to restart the software when it inevitably freezes for one reason or another. That said, my experience is that the server has been relatively stable.

Regarding the rig control part of the software, it's OK. I find the mouse gestures to be pretty weak, and I wish the screen adjusted to look more like the rig it was impersonating, but I guess it's OK

Alternatives to RS-BA1

I spent a lot of time trying to remote my rig using only free software and Linux. In the end, I was able to get it to work, but it did not work particularly well. I used the unix "socat" command to forward and unforward my rig's serial port over the network. For the audio channels, I forwarded the audio over the network using pulseaudio -- a powerful and incredibly finicky bit of Linux software. Unfortunately, pulseaudio does not apply and clever codecs to reduce the data rate and make the audio robust to network dropouts, so it works well over a LAN, but only so-so over the Internet. That said, I have been able to have QSOs using my IC-7300 using nothing but a Raspberry Pi on the host side and Ubuntu Linux on the client side.

After all of that, I can say that the one problem that RS-BA1 really solves properly is conducting audio smoothly over the Internet. Honestly, if there were generic software for doing that and only that, I think I'd be inclined to dump RS-BA1 and just roll my own remote solution.
 
K0BEL Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2017 11:04 Send this review to a friend
Easy setup, works fine  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
IC-7200. Windows 7. I was nervous after reading the reviews on the setup here on eham. But, it didn't take very long to set up the software. It took less than an hour. I needed to walk back and forth between the base and the remote PC - One was in my barn, the other in my house. Next time I would put the 2 computers side by side. The hardest part was that the software on the base must be running, but 'connect' can't be clicked. Next it was almost impossible to find the radio's CI-V code (76). I don't use my laptop mic or speakers. The PC headset works fine, and the volume is more than loud enough - Both directions. This software does everything I need it to do. FYI: IMHO, it is overpriced. It should come free with the radios.
 
KC6KNL Rating: 5/5 May 1, 2017 18:05 Send this review to a friend
Great Software, less than steller instructions  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked up this software to use with IC-7300. I also bought the Icom RC-28 Encoder.

I have a basement hamshack and wanted to access the IC-7300 from an upstairs home office.

IC-7300 in basement is connected via USB to a Windows XP Laptop [RS-BA1 Server].

Upstairs PC is a Windows 7 Desktop [RS-BA1 Client] with RC-28 Encoder and PC Analog Headset.

Icom instructions were not that great. I followed instructions from a couple of YouTube videos.

Even these YouTube videos didn't cover everything because the videos were filmed on a setup that was already installed.

Since I am not accessing from Internet, I donít need to configure Port Forwarding on Access Point Router. I will perform this configuration at a later date.

Software works great. I had to figure out how to configure the speaker and mic audio on Windows Mixer and in RS-BA1.

I can now remotely use the basement IC-7300 from upstairs.

Highlights

PROS
Power up and down the IC-7300 via RS-BA1
Change Tuning Steps on the fly
One click access to functions that are Menu embedded in 7300
Mouse Point and Click on Waterfall to go to frequency. More precise than 7300 touch screen.
Audio Latency appears to be almost realtime
Software GUI VFO dial moves in realtime with RC-28 VFO Dial spinning
Waterfall changes quickly when changing bands
Stores last frequency used on each band, not sure if software or 7300 retains
Runs on Windows XP and Win 7.

CONS
Less than stellar instructions for setting up
Need RS-BA1 for Mac, IOS, and Android
Software has a 16-Bit look and feel. Reminds me of old PCR-1000 Win 3.11 software.
Virtual Serial connection is used on USB, which maxes out at 115200 bits per second.
 
VA3VMD Rating: 4/5 Mar 23, 2017 07:19 Send this review to a friend
Works as designed / Convoluted Install Procedures  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First and foremost I believe the LOW rating for this product is predominantly due to the convoluted Install procedures and documentation of the product. Icom should better streamline and simplify the install, procedures and documentation.

I am an IT Networking professional and was successfully able to complete install and remote within a few hours after ironing out a few bugs. The software is solid and works as designed but the major flaw is the ineffectiveness of the documentation provided for the install. The documentation in my opinion is NOT detailed enough and is convoluted for the average user.

I resigned myself to view several YouTube videos to assist because of the lack of detail. Furthermore, if you are truly going to remote you MUST understand Firewall rules and be comfortable with opening up or forwarding ports, IP networking, and DNS... without doing this you will never get remote to work.

The software once installed works effectively and I tested from within my home network and truly as a "Remote" station.

Based on "my" experience I would have to agree with the rating that most have given because unless you have any techsavy knowledge..... this install will be a FRUSTRATING experience for the average user.

My rating (4) is based on the 'functionality" aspect of the product, I would rate the documentation and install (1).

 
WE4HAM Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2017 06:22 Send this review to a friend
Good program  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Like others have said you need to understand your home network and configuring your router and firewall. There are several good Youtube.com videos for those that need to see how to configure the RS-BA1 software. Make sure you have the correct USB drivers and down load the latest updates. At this writing the latest version that I have was 1.93. I have also noted that I had to reboot the computer after making some changes in the utility software.

I would think that newer computers and radios with built in USB ports would be simpler to configure.
 
W6EZY Rating: 0/5 Feb 16, 2017 07:50 Send this review to a friend
Poor  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This software does not work as advertised. It is overly complicated and almost impossible to install. I had a IT friend that is also a ham, we couldn't get it to work. A waste of money. They should offer a refund. Flex does it right, it seems that a Company as large as Icom could at least get their software right. I bought a 7300 because it is billed as SDR, far from it.
 
KK8ZZ Rating: 0/5 Jan 5, 2017 16:00 Send this review to a friend
Run, Don't Walk  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
In more than a decade of posting reviews here, I've never offered less than a "3", but this kluge of a disaster in software deserves my first "0".... obtuse, confusing, ancient design, just plain awful-awful-awful software. I'd rather drink vials of Drain-O than try to set this up again. If you think it can do anything for your IC-7600, IC-746PRO, IC-756proIII or especially your beloved waterfall-enabled IC-7300, think again. Just poke yourself in the eye, it will feel better than setting this up. So bad it's probably banned in Utah. And I stand behind every word...OMG this is such crap. Don't even consider it... and I'm a 40+ year Icom fan....
 
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