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SteppIR and Computer vs Radio

KM4CQG Member ✭✭

Hi all

Finishing relocating the station to our Mtn home and have installed a SteppIR big IR and SDA2000 controller.

  1. My question is it possible to have the SDA Controller work from both the Flex Radio as well as the Computer. Or must I just choose 1 source only
  2. Also the back of the SDA2000 has a USB port does that do anything at the present time?
  3. I purchased the Flex USB to serial why did I need the SteppIR serial to serial cord?

Thanks in Advance




  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    I moved this to the Remote category.

    There are many solutions to this but they require some inginuity.

    For me, I have my Steppir connected to my RPI and then I use the tools we all share in NodeRed to control the Steppir. This is the point I have gotten to.


    The most plug and play way is to have a PC local to the radio and connect to it remotely with a remote desktop program. As it turns out, this isn't as ugly a solution as you would think as it then gives you the ability to run all your Ham programs on the local PC, do software upgrades and then only have 1 computer to maintain.

    This means you can then use any computer you have lying around to connect to the remote ham shack. And, if you start to add more hardware to the remote station that has Windows application programs you don't need to figure out how to make them work remotely.

    I started remoting in 2005 and I spent 1 year trying to do it without a PC local to the radio and it was painful.

    In the long run, this was the easiest and most reliable solution. Again, that is just the way I chose to do it.

  • fpmacko
    fpmacko Member ✭✭

    Re your No. 3...

    The Flex USB-to-serial cable gives you

    the standard serial pinouts used by all RS-232 interfaces over a DB-9 connector. Your SteppIR S12 cable adapts that standard serial pinout to that of the SteppIR controller, which is different. In this case it's just a crossover. See the attached SteppIR document.

    73..... Frank / WA3NHK

  • KM4CQG
    KM4CQG Member ✭✭
    edited October 2022

    Thanks Mike and Frank.

    I was trying to avoid having to run the local computer when operating remote hence the question.

    In the end Mike I might just using Remote Desktop as you stated.

    I ordered enough DB9s to play with multiple setups.

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    I honestly think that in the long run, it will be much easier.

  • fpmacko
    fpmacko Member ✭✭

    Nice setup, Ian. And I agree with Mike.

    73....Frank / WA3NHK

  • KM4CQG
    KM4CQG Member ✭✭

    Well I started this Thread back in Oct since then I built the SteppIR but it sits in the garage.

    The motor was tested along with the controller. Since I'm in the Mtn home decided to hook everything up.

    The 6700 and AutoTrk work great I especially like how I was able to program the USB to follow an active Transmitter.

    I didn't bother with the computer as I don't won't to rely on a local PC.

    No luck with the PTT tune inhibit for some reason. But I was only trying the 6700 TX1. Which isn't really necessary. I will try the PGXL PTTA and PTTB next time to stop the Stepp from tuning.

    If anyone has any tips other then active and low let me know for inhibit function.



  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Hi Ian

    If you are building a remote that is some distance away, I highly recommend having an PC local to the radio that you can connect to for many things.

    Your plan is likely different, but you may want to have a listen to the reasons why I now do that after running a long-distance remote since 2005. It is part of my lessons learned.

    In the Flex world, I use the PC to run all my hamshack Apps, but I use SmartLink to another PC or Maestro for the user audio/ptt, etc. For me, it was a great combination of both worlds.

    For what it is worth. 73, mike va3mw

  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    There are ways to use the PC connection of the SDA200 into Node Red while still having the radio connection also. The radio connection can allow the antenna to track radio frequency to adjust automatically and the Node Red connection allows you ro have a web based "dashboard" where you can put the antenna into tracking or manual mode, normal, 180, or bi-directional mode.

    Node Red can also be used to interrupt radio PTT while antenna is moving.

    One more advantage of Node Red is integrating more shack ancillary equipment into the web based dashboard.

    P.S. - I'm going to be setting up a remote base in Hawaii. The primary antenna is a MonstIR @ 68 feet at 350 feet above sea level. Should play very well. We've been doing testing on FT8 with a Flex 5000A from there and soon to be replacing it with a 6400.

    And.... The contacts from the HI station will not count for my DXCC total stateside.


    Dave wo2x

  • KM4CQG
    KM4CQG Member ✭✭

    Mike, Dave

    Thanks so much for the fast reply. I rely on both your vast remote experience in this matter.

    Previously I used to float around in the pool with my Laptop whole different game now.


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