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OZ4UN Denmark flag Denmark

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Licensed in 1963. QRV on CW from then as OZ4UN until 1973. In the 1970's QRV as DJ0IV, QTH in Seeheim, a bit south of Darmstadt in the Bergstrasse area. Returned to OZ land in 1982.

Since 2006 I have used remote operation basically to see if that would be an acceptable way to operate e.g. if we would move into a flat. We never moved but remote operation gradually took over, so now I am only in my shack during contests.

I am every day connected to my rig, from a laptop, iPad or iPhone. When using a laptop I simply use HRD running on the shack notebook. I use some of the HRD facilities like the logbook and the audio grabber. Both work fine for my use. I use Teamviewer for remote access. When using the iPad or  iPhone I dont necessarily use Teamviewer. I do that if there is a problem to be solved in the shack and always before I use the KPA (e.g. checking the SWR). I connect to the K3 from an app written by Mike, KS7D. If you are interested please check Mike's webpage -its worthwhile. Anyone can quickly set up for remote operation of a K3 or KX3 from iPhone or iPad, and its lot of fun. I can do 24 wpm CW from the iPhone keypad and from the iPad 30 wpm isnt a problem. Working split and find out where the DX is listening is no problem. I have worked many DX peditions using the iPhone.

The iPhone app (K3iNetwork) controls the K3 and keys the internal keyer in the K3. Mike is working on an update (K3iDitDah) whereby you can key using the iPhone as a touch-type paddle.That will make the iPhone a very attractive way of making CW QSOs from just about anywhere! Audio is received using Skype (or IP-Sound on laptops).

If you use Logmein for remote access you can operate your rig from just any PC connected to the internet - it only needs to have Skype installed. No ham-radio specific program is needed.

If you do like me you will most likely get addicted to it smiley  Since I started using remote control I have been far more QRV than I would otherwise have been.

My rig is a K3 - and a K2 for the occasional portable operation (e.g. from OX). Both rigs have the 100W amp. Recently added the KPA500 and KAT500. My antennas are supported by a high maple tree next to our house. An 80m delta loop with apex about 18m above ground is fed in the bottom wire midpoint by 450 ohm open feeder. In the top of the tree, near the apex of the loop, I have a short dipole for 30m -10m, also fed by 450 ohm open feeder. The two halves of the dipole are simply strapped to each a branch, so even if you know where to look they are hard to find.

Since 2001 I have been QRV from time to time from Greenland - made possible in connection with my job. Here are a few selected photos from some of the operations.

8 band vertical using 11m fishing pole, Constable Pynt, East Greenland, aug 2012

 

OX/OZ4UN 8 band vertical using 11m fishing pole 2012

The vertical and full moon

 

OX/OZ4UN set up in the carpenters workshop, Constable Pynt aug 2012, 50m coax to the vertical

 

Checking a newly installed VSAT (Skaergaarden East Greenland 2011) using remote connection to OZ4UN in Fredensborg Denmark. Great way to check-out a newly installed satellite link!

It is not all ham-radio - here Paradise Valley West Greenland in 2008

East West - home is best. Operating remotely - the rig is just upstairs.

Remote setup with linked winkeyers

Remote setup for using linked winkeyers (laptop, winkeyer, external loudspeaker, paddle and mouse (and an iPad)

 

Here follows a description of the low cost Remote Control system I have ended up using extensively. Do not continue unless you are interested in Remote Control :-)

 

Always ON radio

OZ4UN

This is an attempt to describe one of several possibilities to operate your ham radio gear remotely. For me it all started in around 2005 or 2006, when I read a short note by Steph F5NZY in FOCUS about the use of Ham Radio Deluxe for remote control of his rig. The idea of remotely operate your radio immediately fascinated me. I was at the time interested in finding out whether that might be a satisfactory solution if I would move to a flat with antenna restrictions. So I downloaded HRD and spent quite some time to make it all work with my K2. And it did work, but compared with today’s remote operations it was not too stable and sending CW was a bit of a challenge.

Never the less I used that set-up for quite a few years. It was based on using HRD in a server-client mode. That means HRD was running on both the server (a laptop in my shack) and on the client (the laptop from where I was operating). This uses a virtual COM port (serial link) over the internet to connect from the client keyboard through a USB port on the server to a Winkeyer. But the serial link was breaking down all the time and took long time to re-establish, while I still had audio connection and could hear the other station asking where I was. Frustrating! Furthermore the way HRD works for CW it will take at least one second from the time you type a character until it keys the TX. So I was forced to always start sending even before the other station had finished and also be sure the buffer did not get empty. If the buffer got empty it would cause a long break in my transmission causing confusion.

So I gave up the server-client configuration and started using Logmein to remotely access the server running HRD. This was more stable but keying was still having the buffer problem. The biggest advantage of using Logmein is that you connect to your shack server via Logmein.com using the same URL even if your shack has a dynamic IP address. The router in the shack is configured to notify Logmein in the case that the IP address is changed by the internet provider. It seems not an important point for me at this time since my dynamic IP address now has been static for 18 months (it might change while I write this though).

Using Logmein for remote access has the advantage that the client PC does not need to have any other programs installed than a browser and Skype. In fact I tried once to operate my rig  from a computer shop using one of their computers on display – just to try it.

The biggest improvement came when I started using the Winkeyer controlled from the WKdemo program as opposed to connect the key via HRD. The change was dramatic.  WK-demo is having a very simple user interface, but has all what you need. First of all, the latency from entering a character until the TX starts sending is very low. In fact so low that it is possible to work QSK QSO.

For the remote access to the server, I decided to use TeamViewer to remotely access the shack Server. I can now connect to the Server from all my remote devices (laptop, iPhone and iPAD) using  WiFi or 3G or 4G networks. TeamViewer is the key program in this set-up. If it runs properly I can make changes to the other programs if necessary.

There are more dedicated solutions avoiding the use of computers like RemoteRig. When used with e.g.  a K3/0 you have RC almost as good as being in front of the rig. It probably is the right solution for a fixed set-up. But if you travel and anyway need to bring a laptop (or maybe a smart-phone) the solution I am using is both cheap and minimalistic. Some hams might find it awkward to change frequency using the mouse or the arrow-keys. I have the Griffin PowerMate which can be used for frequency control like a VFO knob, but I find it just as easy to use the mouse scroll-wheel or the arrow keys. So my Griffin is collecting dust.

Installing programs

What is best: one large program, launched with a single click, doing everything: rig control, keying, logging, etc. or several smaller, individual programs? I think several individual programs have the advantage that they will not crash at the same time and they are not more complicated to use. In any case, if you want to operate from both laptops and smart-phones or iPADs you probably need several small programs anyway. So my solution is based on several free software programs, laptops/iPhone that I had anyway.

 

The following programs are installed on the Server (Lenovo notepad 2.3 GHz 4GB RAM running WIN7):

  • TeamViewer (v.8.0), allows remote access to the Server from anywhere
  • HRD (v.5.24), incl. HRD Logbook, used for control of the K3 and for logging and audio recording
  • WKdemo, used to key the USB Winkeyer
  • Logmein Hamachi (v.2.2.0), provides a VPN channel between the server and the client, necessary for IP-Sound
  • IP-Sound (v.0.57a), working as server-client either directly via local WiFi or via the VPN channel when the client is in the IP cloud
  • Skype, mainly used for audio to devices unable to run IP-Sound (iPhone, iPAD)
  • SServer, used for control of the K3 from iPhone or iPAD (cannot operate simultaneously with HRD)

 

The following programs are installed on the client laptop:

  • TeamViewer, allows remote access to the Server
  • Logmein Hamachi, provides a VPN channel between the server and the client, necessary for IP-Sound
  • IP-Sound, working as server-client either directly via local WiFi or via the VPN channel when the client is in the IP cloud
  • Skype, may be used for audio as alternative to IP-Sound

 

The following programs are installed on the iPhone and iPAD:

  • TeamViewer, mainly used for starting SServer on the Server (if it was not done on the previous session)
  • Skype, used for audio
  • K3iNetwork, used for control of K3 and for keying of the K3 internal keyer from keypad
  • K3iDitDah, used for control of K3 and for keying of the K3 internal keyer from the touch-panel. Still in development stage.

 

In the Wireless Router (D-Link) I have set up port forwarding as follows

HRD using port 7805 and 7806 for both TCP and UDP

(but I think this a left over from when I operated in Server-Client mode)

IP-Sound using port 4444 for both TCP and UDP

Sserver using port 2001 for both TCP and UDP

 

When setting up TeamViewer for the first time you just follow the steps on www.teamviewer.com. When you subsequently connect, it only takes a second. Install HRD or whatever program you want to control your rig. I use one of the old free HRD versions (5.24) which works fine for my use (rig control and logging), but others may want later versions.

 

Similarly the VPN program Logmein Hamachi is downloadable from https://secure.logmein.com/products/hamachi/ (you can easily do with the free version) you follow the guidelines to install it on both Server and Client. They will connect to each other using some automatically allocated IP addresses like 25.xxx.xxx.xxx. I have had some problems (still unresolved) where I had to uninstall and install the Hamachi VPN again (on the client). It may be caused by the program automatically upgrading (but I am not sure) and only takes a minute. The laptop is having a lot of other programs running (including other VPNs) which doesn’t make it easier to find the cause.

 

Download and install Skype if you do not already have it.

 

Download and install IP-Sound from: http://sm5vxc.software.informer.com/. It provides excellent audio even with 8 kbit PCM which uses 16-17 kbit/s but maybe you will prefer 16 kbit PCM which uses 33 kbit/s. It uses less bandwidth than Skype and provides better audio quality for CW, but maybe not for SSB (I don’t use IP-Sound for SSB). I have had some problems with IP-Sound from time to time but seems like I have always been able to recover to normal function.

 

Getting on the air

You will start installing all the programs you need on the shack Server (depending on whether you want to use laptop with IP-Sound or iPhone with Skype or any mix). Check that HRD and WKdemo work correctly with your rig.

Next step you start TeamViewer and Skype on both the Server and the laptop. Establish a Skype connection (the Skype on the Server should be set to auto-answer) and familiarize with using HRD and sending CW using WKdemo. It may be easier to start with Skype for audio, since you may already have experience with it. Next step is trying the IP-Sound connected over your WiFi at home. Remember to open the port (entered in “Tools>Properties>Network”) in your router. You add the IP addresses under “Client>Add”. They will be 192.168.x.x and you can find them running IP-config from the DOS-prompt window.

 

Now turn ON both Hamachi programs. After synchronization both ends must show two green lights (one for the local end and one for the remote). When Hamachi is locked you start IP-Sound on both Server and Client and add the VPN addresses under “Client Add”. The addresses are shown on the Hamachi windows when they are in lock. When all is done you can connect the client IP-Sound to the Server IP-Sound either direct or via the VPN. When you operate from outside in any WiFi hot-spot, you can only use the VPN connection.

 

It sounds more complicated than it really is. Under normal conditions the Hamachi VPN will start automatically when the computer starts so you just start IP-Sound and connect. It takes no time.

 

Operating with iPhone and iPAD

The programs for this have been made by Mike KS7D. You can see much more about this on his web site http://www.ks7d.com/. You need to install the SServer program on the shack Server. On the iPhone or iPAD you install K2iNetwork from the app-store. You have to set up IP address and Port number (port number also in the router) and select radio (K3 or KX3). When I want to use it from home, I set the IP address 192.168.x.x of my Server and when from outside (WiFi hot-spot or 3G/4G network) I use my shack IP address (93.164.x.x). You need to install Skype on your iPhone or iPAD for the audio. If K3iNetwork does not connect it may be due to typing error in the IP address, it might be that SServer is not running (because the last use was with HRD and HRD was not disconnected and SServer not started). Check the IP address first and if OK then open Teamviewer to close HRD and start SServer).

 

Power ON and OFF

There are very useful IP 230VAC power switches on the market. Even some that keeps monitoring your network connection and taking action (e.g. resetting a router) if network connection to reliable third party is lost. However I have so far been using a GSM unit which controls 230VAC relays by SMS commands. One relay is used to short pin-8 on the ACC connector to ground and the other is used to switch on the 13,8V PSU (and a slave 230VAC power bar for some other things). When switching OFF you have to give the K3 a CAT command (“PS0”) before you switch OFF the PSU. This is easily done from K3iNetwork which has a number of programmable macros. One macro sets the K3 to my favorite start configuration (NB: ensuring no split selected!) with power, audio and key speed levels. Another macro activates the ATU.

 

Safety issues

When the K3 and PSU both are switched OFF (by GSM/SMS) in my set-up, the shack Server (notebook) and the router are still powered ON. I have considered switching OFF the Server and use WakeOnLAN to wake it up, but never succeeded in making that work. When I am away I therefore let the Server just run 24h (the power consumption is very low). I have had some problems presumably when the Server did an automatic update. So I have now disabled the automatic updates and do the updating manually from time to time. When I am at home the Server is put to hibernation after use and woken up (manually) again in the morning. The router has been ON ever since it was installed.

I do switch OFF the K3 and PSU when lightning is close and I plan to add coaxial switches to disconnect the antennas from the K3 whenever it is switched OFF, well knowing that this protection also has its limits. However, during the 7 years I have been using remote control I did not yet have any damages from lightning.


 Screenshot of remote screen with WKdemo, HRD log and HRD on the screen

 

Screenshot showing SServer, WKdemo, HRD and the Hamachi and IP-Sound windows (both ends)

 

Screenshot showing remote control of the K3 (HRD and HRD logbook), the KPA500 (Elecraft SW), KAT500 (Elecraft SW), Winkeyer (WK demo). Also shown SServer which when running allows an iPhone or iPad to control the K3 using K3iNetwork or K3iDitDah.

 

Operating remote with paddle

K1EL has developed software for operating over IP with a paddle. There is a very well written whitepaper on this on his website:

http://k1el.tripod.com/WKremote.html

It explains how to set up two winkeyers. One in the shack (the server) and the other at the operating position (the client). Just follow the set up description and you can soon work remotely using a paddle. The client program will adjust the server Winkeyer to the speed setting on the client and the speed of the client will be just a little higher. You can try adjust the client Winkey speed a little down but if it is too low, the server Winkeyer will insert spaces between characters and the code will not sound good. If you don’t touch the potentiometer the transmitted code will be perfect (sound exactly as if you were using the keyboard).

For those of us using special characters (Scandinavians use æ, ø og å as follows æ= .-.-  ø= ---.  å= .--.- )there is a slight problem since the Winkeyer does not recognize these (and other) special characters. Unfortunately K1EL has no intention to change the software. When you enter a special character the winkey software will display a * and the server winkeyer will not output anything.

Screenshot shows the two Winkey Remote windows, one in the server window and one to the left of it. I included the drawing from K1EL document on Remote Winkeyer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1290822 Last modified: 2014-09-24 11:01:15, 21399 bytes

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