- Link to Glentek Internet Remote Control Site
- Using Gain-Probability to Compare Antenna Performances
- Care and Feeding of Solid State Power Amplifiers
- Radio Remote Control: my earliest attempts
- Other Essays by K9SO
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- Other related links
Internet Linking for Ham Radio Remote Control
Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 11/11/2007 - 14:50.
Well, I got hacked because of leaving some ports open and the little so and so tore my computer to shreads. Now, with the new Internet Radio Controll in a box (see links on main page above), there's no need to worry about security. But more on that later. I think it's secure with the PC control now. But security concerns make the "no computer needed" idea much more attractive. See [ http://www.GlentekCorp.com ]. Below is the previous edit of this section. Bottom line, be careful about opening ports! See an updated version of this article at http://www.k9so.net/?q=node/7
View the attachment 1 (word file)or attachment 2 (pdf)to see a view of my remote operating screen. Here you will see a SKYPE audio link, a SKYPE video link and the Glentek remote RF power meter screen [see http://www.GlentekCorp.com ]. The center of the screen in the rig control software (Ham Radio Deluxe) and on the lower right, the CW Keyboard screen. Top left and right are the local and remote linking screens using W4MQ's Internet Toolkit program.
It's been almost 7 years since I took apart my old remote operating site. The details of this are included in the other section below. But what a difference 7 years of absence has made! Guys like W4MQ, W7DXX, N7VB and many others have taken remote linking with Kenwood into the stratosphere. I don't consider myself a pioneer, but we're IN ORBIT now!! Below, I am going to document what I had to go through in order to get my new, internet-linked ICOM radio site up and running "the old way". You may still want to follow this path.
I will explain EchoLink first since that is a good first step and then get into some of the internet linking options such as developed by W4MQ and others.
First of all, let me say that I have limited expertise in all things computer. I'm an RF guy. But if you want to do this, you need to learn some computer stuff. There's no way around it. This stuff is not Plug and Play. But here is one non-computerwise persons journey through geekdom. I learned enough to become dangerous.
You don't need a radio interface to do any of the following. Only an internet-connected computer and a microphone. Supposedly, EchoLink will work at dial-up connection speeds, but I have not tried that.
1. Go to www.echolink.org and click the DOWNLOAD link. Download and install the software.
2. You need to prove you are a licensed HAM in order to operate EchoLink. Follow the instructions regarding both Verification and Authorization. I registered using my LoTW signature (that took about 8 hours to come back), but I think the phone number verification is better if you have a land line telephone registered to your license address. KC9JOB did this and got authorization back in minutes.
3. Once you are verified and authorized, the program will start and display a list of stations that are currently on line. You are probably not ready for a QSO yet so immediately go to the toolbar and click TOOLS=> LIST ME AS BUSY. If you don't, you may start getting calls from other hams on line. Almost immediately, I got a call from VU2SAX in India. Cool, but I didn't have a microphone to answer him yet.
4. Plug in a microphone and go through the process of testing it and setting the proper levels.
5. In the list, you will see ordinary call signs and then callsigns with -L and -R suffixes. Pick one that is a -R (these are Repeater Links). The ordinary callsigns (e.g., K9SO)are not linked.
6. Click on the selected -R callsign. You may get a "TIMED OUT" message. Move on and find one that you can connect to. The new EchoLink software gets around all of the PORT FORWARDING issues, but only if BOTH ends are using the latest revision. More on how to get around this later. If you are using WindowsNT with SP2, you may get an error message regarding "Block this program?" Unblock the program.
7. Once connected, the repeater will announce you "K9SO HAS CONNECTED", but you will not hear this locally. Announce yourself "K9SO listening" by pressing on the SPACE bar on your keyboard. This is PTT control, but the initial setting is press once for PTT and release (TX). Press again and release to release PTT (RX). This can easily be changed to press and hold if you'd like.
8. Readjust your audio settings if necessary. Proper levels are indicated on the bottom of the screen. You should go well into "yellow" on voice peaks.
EchoLink is a VOX system. There are ways to get around this, but I won't get into that as yet either.
The biggest problem with getting started with EchoLink is that most of us operate behind a router and we don't directly connect to the internet. Usually, the ROUTER is your wireless box and not your modem box (the box directly connected to the TV cable or DSL line). I have a cable modem at home and a DSL modem at the office. At home I use a NETGEAR wireless router. At the office, I have a LINKSYS wireless router. Both seem to work well without getting involved with PORT FORWARDING issues (again, connections are limited to those stations running the latest EchLink software). Connecting to stations (by now you know they are called "NODES") running the latest EchoLink software should not be a problem. If you get a TIMED OUT message from everyone you try, you likely have a local software firewall issue and not a router firewall issue. You need to allow an exception for the EchoLink software. However, some brands of wireless routers (most notably MOTOROLA) don't seem to be as easy. KC9JOB can connect to K9SO-L through EchoLink at most Internet "cafes" but can't get past his Motorola wireless router. I'll post the work-around for the Motorola router when HE figures it out (hi hi).
Now, if you're going to set up your own remote control station (SYSOP mode in EchoLink), you're going to have to face the PORT FORWARDING issue with your wireless router sooner or later. There is an excellent discussion and tutorial on PORT FORWARDING on the Echolink page. I suggest you read it before going on. CAUTION: THIS IS A SECURITY CONCERN.
Now, having gone through all of that, I must tell you that I don't think EchoLink is the right audio path for your remote base. After working with it for a while, I felt it was way too slow (1-2 seconds of delay). Another option is SKYPE.
Skype provides internet VoIP between Skype accounts for free. The audio quality is excellent. You will need two Skype accounts, one for each computer (host and client). You will need to set up the Host computer account for auto answer. Find a file called CONFIG.XML, open with Notepad, and change the friends auto answer from 0 to a 1. You will then need to add your client computer as a "friend" or "contact". With the exception of the auto answer (no longer shown in the instructions), the setup is pretty easy and self-explanatory.
Note: there is a continuation and update of this posted at http://www.k9so.net
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