As we extend our reach into the Universe, remotely controlling equipment in space will become ever more vital. Thanks to the people who have developed the Internet, remotely operating Ham Radio stations worldwide is a reality nowadays too. My remotely controlled Amateur Radio station is located on our property, out in the middle of nowhere in the bush, about 10 miles or so from the nearest town and about 100 miles away from home, from where the radios are remotely controlled. The radio station is unattended, solar powered and turned on remotely when about to operate and then turned off again remotely when closing down. Other wise, if left on all the time, the battery would soon become unusable. A 4G Wireless Internet connection is used between the property and the town and a fibre optic Internet connection between home and the town. ie. about 90% fibre optic and 10% wireless Internet connection.

 

                 
                 

By writing this page, I'm trying to inspire you to give remotely controlling your station a go. In my case, without it, I would hardly be able to operate at all. Personally, I found this difficult to achieve but with perseverance, was eventually able to works things out. Perhaps you can too. Hopefully, the information here may help.

To see a basic remotely controlled FT-450D station which is less confusing than that below, click on this image which will open in a new window, the 'Green Shed'. Then, if interested, come back to this page which gives more information.

                 

 

                 

This  remote  radio  system,  operated  via  a  cable  Internet  connection  at  the  Control  End  and  a  wireless  Internet  connection  at  the  Radio  End, uses  the  'RemoteRig'  configuration  shown  below.  A  desktop  PC  at  the  Control  End  which  uses  the  program  Ham  Radio  Deluxe (HRD)  controls  the  Amateur  Radio  station  which  is  about  150  klms  away  on  our  property  is  the  South  Australian  Bush. The  Swedish  made  RemoteRig  system  enables  various  configurations  to  be  employed  so  that  you  can  operate  remotely.  ie.  there  are  a  variety  of  ways  of  going  about  it. If  interested,  have  a  look  at  their  configuration  page  to  see  which  would  suit  you  best.  click here.

                 

                 

The home Qth from where the station is remotely controlled. It's 150 klms away, located on our Bush property.

This system uses a Wireless Internet connection (4G, 2.4Ghz) at the Radio End.

                 

                 

External  Internet  (mobile  phone)  antennas  are  needed  at  our  property  to  receive  the  Internet  signals  from  the  nearest  town,  ten  kilometres  away.  The  property  at  the  radio  end  is  fairly  isolated  so  the  background  noise  level  on  the  radio  is  strength  zero.  Since  the  radio  station  at  the  property  is  unattended,  an  SMS  Relay  switch  is  used  to  turn  the  radio  and  wifi  RemoteRig  on  and  off  when  I'm  at  home,  150  klms  away.  In  my  case,  the  relay  switch  and  wi-fi  modem  are  connected  to  a  12  volt  battery  and  left  turned  on  all  the  time.  { Rik, VK3EQ, who uses the same NightHawk modem, was kindly telling me that if you download the latest software for this modem, then you don't need to leave the battery in the modem. You can use a separate power supply for it and switch the power to the modem on when about to operate remotely, and then turn it off again when finished. Apparently this modem draws about 170 or 180mA. This is what Rik has done with his RemoteRig system and IC7000. He was saying he needed to find this solution to the problem of the modem not always staying turned on when using the inbuilt battery. - I haven't had this problem with mine though - so far. Rik was also saying that you can use an Ethernet cable between the modem and the RemoteRig RRC. }  One  of  the  radios in my case,  the  IC7600,  draws  around  3  amps  on  receive,  so  the  SMS  switch  is  used  to  turn  on  both  the  radio  and  RemoteRig  when  operating  and  then  afterwards,  switch  them  off  again.  This  particular  SMS  switch  has  4  separate  switches.  By  using  your  'smart'  mobile  phone,  the  SMS  switch  is  turned  on  or  off  when  you  send  the  appropriate  SMS  message  to  the  number  of  the  Sim  card  within  the  SMS  switch.  A  few  seconds  later,  an  SMS  message  is  then  sent  back  to  you  to  let  you  know  that  the  relay  switch  has  been  turned  on  or  off,  as  the  case  may  be.  This  SMS  relay  switch  was  very  expensive - about $600 Aus. This particular one  works  on  the  3G  network. Also,  with  most  modern  radios,  within  the  menu  settings,  you  can  find  the  'Time  Out  Timer'  or  'TOT'.  For  remote  operating,  I  understand  that  this  should  be  set  to  3  minutes.  This  is  a  safety  feature  for  remote  operating  (eg.  in  the  event  of  losing  Internet  connection)  whereby  the  transmitter  having  been  turned  on  for  3  minutes  will  automatically  switch  off  -  from  transmit  to  receive.

                 

The  wireless  Internet  antenna  and  the  SMS  switch  external  antenna  at  the  Radio  End.

(You  could  probably  use  a  single  antenna  with  a  'splitter.')

                 

SMS Relay switch on the left and SMS text sent to and received from the switch - click to see a larger image.

                 

12 Volt Relays to turn the radios and wifi RemoteRigs on and off.  NightHawk, Netgear wifi modem at the radio end.

                 
                 

The following only applies when using a wireless Internet connection at the radio end. When I replaced my wifi router at the radio end with a new one because I had had it for a few years and it had deteriorated and was no longer usable, I ran into a problem which I thought was unsolvable.

Nowadays, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use a function called 'CGN' on their wireless Internet connections. This means that the wireless IP address is no longer public and therefore, when, at the control end, trying to find the remote modem at the radio end (using a dynamic website address), this RemoteRig system will not work. This caused a lot of problems whereby I had to cease remote operating for about a year, when as luck would have it, a fellow Ham here in Adelaide, Matt, VK5HZ, who is a network technician, sent me an email to say that he had helped VK3SSB who, not long ago had the same problem. The following applies for my Service Provider here in Adelaide, South Australia, which is 'Telstra'. It would probably be a little different for your Provider if you live outside of Australia. If using a wireless Internet connection at the radio end, you will probably need to look into this matter to resolve the problem of CGN. For more information about CGN, click here.  In my case, I had to ask Telstra to switch off the CGN function on my account (according to the SIM number used in the modem). However, they would not do that unless you have a business account with them, whereby you need to supply them with an Australian Business Number (ABN). I am retired and have been so for a few years now, so there is no way that I could obtain an ABN. Here in VK5 with Telstra, it is a matter of getting access to a special 'APN' called telstra.extranet  which is enabled on the Telstra end of your account (Sim card numbered account) and then set up in my wifi modem at the radio end. The code that was needed to be put on my account is 'GPTEXB3'. I am hoping that this information will be useful for Amateurs here in Australia and possibly overseas. After having sent my Internet Service Provider - Telstra - a kind letter via snail mail, not email, explaining my situation, they agreed to switch off the CGN function on my radio end, wireless router account (the Sim number account within the router) and I am more than happy to say that this remote system is now working again. For VK Amateurs, the address that I sent the letter to is: 'Telstra. Locked Bag 20026, Melbourne. VIC. 3001.'

                 

                 

The  radios  shown  are  the  IC-7600  and  IC-7300.  It  may  look  confusing  but  of  course  only  one  remote  radio  is  used  at  a  time.  This  particular  SMS  relay  switch  has  4  separate  switches.  Individual  30A,  12V  relays  are  connected  in  series  with  the  SMS  relay  switches  to  turn  each  radio  and  wifi  RemoteRig  on  and  off.  When  the  wifi  RemoteRigs  are  first  turned  on,  they  automatically  connect  to  the  modem  and  soon  become  reachable  (usually within  a  minute  or  so)  from  the  control  end  by  use  of  their  dynamic website addresses.  If  you  intend  to  use  this  system  and  are  using  only  one  radio,  then  use  the  free  RemoteRig's  dynamic  address.

Every  thing  here  is  powered  by  the  large  lead  acid,  deep  cycle  battery  (670AH)  as  seen  above. Power  Line  Interference  at  my  home  Qth  is  often  strength  nine  but  the  background  noise  level  on  the  remote  radios  is  close  to  strength  zero, depending  on  static  and  over  the  horizon  radar.  This  is  one  of  the  greatest  benefits  of  remote  operating.  In my case, there  is  plenty  of  room  for  antennas  at  the  radio  location  too.  I  should  think  that  you  could  do  this  sort  of  thing  with  a  satellite  Internet  connection  too  and  the  military  would  have  more  sophisticated  systems. The system here is working well now. The 4G modem in use now at the radio end is very reliable and receive and transmit on SSB work very well. The old 3G modem which was previously in use, was not as reliable. This does not mean that 3G wont work for you. You may have a better 3G modem than I had, for example.

                 

You  may  like  to  download  and  print  this  PDF  -  Remote Control Your HF Rig via the Internet By ... - ARRLIf  you  are  an  ARRL  member,  you  might  be  interested  in  this  page  -  http://www.arrl.org/link-remote-control  To see the settings in my Control Remote Rig device, click here. To see the settings in my Radio Remote Rig device, click here. The settings used may be helpful to you. Also, the APN which my ISP, Telstra put into my wifi router remotely via the Internet can be seen here. They turned off the CGN function at their end too. Kevin at Ham Radio Deluxe has been very helpful with configuring their program but I would especially like to thank 'Matt', VK5HZ, without whose help the CGN problem would not have been overcome.

                 

 You may also be interested in this remotely controlled $100 camera which is located near the radios, positioned behind a window in the shed. If interested, click on the picture. The page will open in a new window.

The 2 youtube videos below show my setup using the Remote Rig system and Ham Radio Deluxe. The 4 minute video on the left shows the reception from the IC-7300 remote radio, and the 10 minute video shows the reception from the IC-7600 remote radio at the home Qth. They were made in Dec. 2018 using my cell phone.

                 

Setting up this remote radio system was a learning experience for me. I found that it paid to do things slowly, otherwise it could be frustrating at times.

My hope is that this page may be helpful to you in acquiring information which can enable Amateur Radio operators

to remotely control their stations, whether in your own country or just about anywhere on planet Earth. Perhaps one day, even on another planet.

                 


                 
                 
                 
                 

   26th December, 2018. I was very pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Matt, VK5HZ, without whose help this remote system would not be working, because of the CGN problem. It was sent from the Australian Davis Research station in Antartica where Matt is working. He is about to use the RemoteRig system down there. With Matt's permission, his email is reprinted below. As I type this, the expected maximum temperature here in Adelaide Australia today, is supposed to be 41 degrees Celsius, that's well over 100 F. I can only imagine what the weather is like where Matt is located.

Hi Rob, I just read on your website that you have your RemoteRig up and running again, fantastic! Glad to hear that writing to Telstra to plead your case helped.
I'm in Antarctica working for the next year and purchased a set of RemoteRig boxes to use locally on the station LAN (no NAT issues thankfully..). The two huts where the transceivers and antennas are located are a bit of a walk from the main station so I bought the boxes to allow me to get on air a bit easier, particularly in the winter. The main antennas we have are similar to your terminated vee, being terminated triangles. Unfortunately they're not a very flat VSWR and most of the ham bands are around 2-3:1 or even more so I'll need to get a tuner going to get best performance out of them. I have an SPE amplifier coming down at the end of January that has a tuner good for up to 3:1 so hopefully this works well. During summer the antennas are used for aviation operations, but in the winter I'll be able to use them more regularly.
I have the call VK0HZ for down here, hopefully catch you on air sometime in 2019. I have a blog that I'm slowly putting up a few posts on, vkzero.com if you want to check it out.
All the best,
Matt  VK0HZ / VK5HZ  Davis Station, Antarctica
                 
                 

       3rd March, 2019. Very pleased to receive an email from 'Tony', VK1VIC, who is setting up a remote system using the Remote Rig method as well. He has a farm that he is going to rent out which also runs on solar power. He intends to move into the nearby town but remotely control his radio station on the farm where he has located a very nice antenna system.

Hi Rob,  Many thanks for your reply mate.
I currently have the 706Mk2 remoted from the woolshed across WIFI back to the main house.Through summer is was nice to sit in the kitchen and not in a bloody hot tin shed. HIhihi.Saved me from walking around in the dark when the snakes are out and about.
Will let you know how I go with the CGN. I have 3 commerical 3G routers that I plan to use.  Dual external antenna sockets.
Regards
Tony V  blog: https://vk1vic.wordpress.com  VK1VIC / VK2VIC
                 
                 

       25th March, 2019. Great to hear from Marcus, AK7MG. He has developed a different way to go about remotely controlling his radios. It's too technical for me, but may suit you. Have a look at Marcus's website which is listed below in his email to me.

Hello Rob,  Hope you are doing well. I have viewed your remote station setup videos and find it very impressive. I also have been interested in remoting radios for some time and ended up creating a new project that allows me to control my IC-7300 with a Raspberry Pi and mobile phone / tablet.  Anyhow, I thought I’d drop you a line as you or your friends might find it interesting.

Please see:  www.remotetx.net

The approach does require continuous cloud resources so there is a small ongoing cost to keep it all running, but it makes the networking, audio and security turnkey and very easy to setup.  Also, it would probably address the CGN problem, though I haven’t tested it on a system like that.  I have successfully tested it through a t-mobile cell network with Apple devices that quit allowing native ipv4 addresses and forced use of ipv6 when on cellular. The system uses about 80kbps bandwidth both ways so generally works fine on broadband cellular networks.  Because the 7300 has both the USB and the ‘Remote’ CI-V port, you could actually use USB to control the radio with one system and a combination of MIC/AF and the ‘Remote’ port to control it with a second system.  Remotely, then you could choose which system to use; remote-rig or mobile/tablet/cellular.  Cheers and 73,  Marcus,  AK7MG.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worldwide HAM Radio QSL Website

                 

                 
 

 

 

 

 

                 

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