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Author Topic: Best new radio for remote operation?  (Read 644 times)

Posts: 1

« on: June 21, 2019, 01:27:55 PM »

I haven't been on HF for a long time... my last HF radio was a late-1970s model (FT-301D). But I'd like to get back on. Trouble is, I now live in a townhouse condo that doesn't allow outside antennas. Nor do I see an easy way to get coax from my basement wanna-be-shack to the (hot!) attic where I might be able to string a short wire (hence tuner needed). So I have two ways that remote operation might help. One is to put the radio on the second floor where I can easily put a cable through the ceiling into the attic. Then I'd remote it via Wi-Fi or a dedicated microwave link (I have one handy). Probably QRP, to avoid trouble. The other is to (eventually) put the radio at a friend's house, out in the boonies where there's room for an antenna, and remotely operate it via the Internet.

Since I don't now have a working HF radio, I wonder what y'all would recommend I buy that often be operated remotely. I'm not looking for high end, but I do like good tight receivers. I'm near Boston, in an urbanized area. Oh, and did I mention I like to operate CW with a straight key? So here's what I'm thinking about, what they seem to offer, and wonder which would be best.

- IC-7300. Good performer, and I like the SDR angle. So-so built-in antenna tuner. Icom's remote software looks fully functional, including the display.

- FT-991A. Pretty good performer. Good auto antenna tuner costs extra. Has 6, 2 and 432, which is nice, worth the price. Has CAT, but I'm not sure how much capability I'd have with remote software.

- TS-480SAT. Older, okay performer. Good auto antenna tuner included. Has CAT, and "remote" head, but it's not clear if control head functions can go beyond a cord.

- Xiegu G90. New 20 watt HF SDR. Good price, nice SDR capabilities including display, auto tuner (easier at 20W than higher power). A web site is devoted to remoting the older X-108, but not much on the newer G90.

Ideas? Thanks!
fred k1io

Posts: 108

« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2019, 03:03:27 PM »

Hey Fred,

Well if you ask ten different people, you will get ten different answers.

I have set up two remote stations. My best advice is to find a radio and software that you like and can control via the PC in the shack. That's the first step. If you can control it without touching equipment then you are more than half way there.

Second, find a remote software that works for you. I use Chrome Remote. The resolution is excellent and there is no issues are latency in the audio. This will also give you the ability to operate using a mobile device. Chrome Remote no longer requires an app to use with a PC. You can log in from anywhere using a Google account.

You can get much more elaborate that that but this all works well. I have ran CW and RTTY contests, not to mention FT-8, with this concept. I worked a RTTY contest from poolside with my iPhone...more than once.

Can't help you with using a straight key via remote...I suggest let the software do the keying but I understand the joy of using a key.

Remote technology has changed the rules. You can make it work.

David, NK5G

Posts: 582


« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2019, 04:59:44 AM »


There are many good options available for remote operations.  If you require using a straight key or paddle on the remote end then you will have to look for a hardware solution such as Remote Rig or RemoteHams ORB control device. 

I have used RemoteHams with an Elecraft K3 and it worked out great.  Very inexpensive way to go. 

I now have a Flex 6600M and remote control is built into the radio.  It is by far the easiest and cheapest way to do remote control.  No computer or extra hardware required in the shack.  Clients for iPhone, iPad, PC, MAC, etc.  Very capable built in antenna tuner.  Two independent very high performance receivers. The Flex 6400 with antenna tuner is $2300.  Add the Flex Maestro unit and it will be like you are sitting at the radio with straight key or paddles. Another less expensive option for remote straight key or paddles is using a pair of Winkeyers.   

You can also take a look at RigPi from MFJ.  That looks to be an inexpensive way to remote control a radio. $299  No remote straight key capabilities though.

RemoteHams remote control software is free however you will need a computer in the shack and the ORB device ($190) for straight key use on the remote end.

Have fun !! 

CW Academy Advisor (Level II)
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