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Mobile Operation?

Tried posting this on FB and the post disappeared so cross posting here.

I'm spending more and more time on the road for work and would like to try HF mobile. However mounting an HF antenna on the company vehicle is not possible. I see there is an iOS app and didn't know if this was possible using a cellphone connection or not?

Comments

  • Jeff SchwartzJeff Schwartz Member ✭✭

    Yes it is possible via a cellar connection but is obviously dependent on that connection. I have made both SSB and CW contacts with my iPhone portable and mobile.

  • Bob  KN4HHBob KN4HH Bob Member ✭✭

    Randy, I routinely run "Maestro Mobile" My Maestro is velcro'd to my lower dash panel and using Smartlink, I use my cell phone hotspot to link the Maestro to my Flex 6500 at trhe home qth.


    Bob, KN4HH

  • A Maestro would be nice. But with limited availability and the price the same as what I paid for my 6300, I would like to consider another alternative.

    I'm not a fan of iOS but may have to reconsider. Has anyone tried running SmartSDR on a Windows mobile computer or is that too much overhead for reliable operation?
  • Jeff SchwartzJeff Schwartz Member ✭✭

    I have used a laptop with an iPhone as a hotspot for my WiFi access on numerous occasions running SDR using my 6600M base station via smart link. With a reliable cellular signal it works very well. I would assume that going mobile with it would work the same but again, it will all be dependent on your cellular signal connection as you travel.

    Jeff / KI0KB

  • Jeff SchwartzJeff Schwartz Member ✭✭

    Randy, by the way, it’s a Windows laptop with an i7 processor. I suppose you could run your laptop at home connected to your Flex rig directly with an internet cable or via your home WiFi to make sure whatever laptop you’re using can “handle” SDR before you take it on the road.

  • Dudley  WA5QPZDudley WA5QPZ Member ✭✭

    Randy,

    I run IOS version of SmartSDR often, and it works very well, you need just under 1 mbit network for SmartSDR to work, with the display refresh slowed down and close the waterfall to help get under the 1 mbit rate.. You may feel better using an iPad rather than the iPhone, I see you can get an new iPad for under $280 now ,but work well with a cell or dedicated hotspot. As with most IOS apps, you can install on up to 5 devices as long as using the same Apple login as when you purchased.. And the purchase price is for a lifetime license for that version.. This development caused me to pull my HF radio from the car, operating from the home station was a lot more dependable .. 😁

    Dudley

  • Those are all great ideas and suggestions. I would prefer to stay away from iOS but it might be a simpler solution than a windows laptop.

    However I have another problem that also needs a solution before moving on.

    My service van only has driver and passenger windows and naturally a windshield. I can only use my phone if the tower is in front or to the side of my vehicle. So I'm looking for a way to roof mount a cell antenna connected to a small RF booster inside. Or a wifi hotspot with an outside antenna. My area of travel is rural Iowa so I need all the signal I can get.
  • Bill AB7AABill AB7AA Member ✭✭

    Hi Randy,


    I operate mobile using a Windows Surface 3 tablet with a USB tether to my cell phone. Runs well even with dual pan adapters in diversity reception. It best operates with a wireless Logitech trackerball for a mouse. You don't have to touch the screen while driving and can keep the trackerball stationary on our lap or armrest. It does go through your mobile minutes fast but travels well.


    73,

    Bill AB7AA

  • Thanks Bill. Good to know a windows device will work. I'm still trying to find either a booster or hotspot that uses an external antenna. Found several that have self contained antennas but that's not any better than using my cellphone that drops calls.
  • Bill AB7AABill AB7AA Member ✭✭

    Hi Randy,


    I attach my Samsung Android to the top of the rear view mirror with a large rubber band and do not use a signal booster. This gives better reception from the top of the windshield. Tethering via USB gave a better connection than Wifi hotspot. I have a solid connection while driving all over town. I use a single headphone headset but check your state's laws. I have also used the cars entertainment system via bluetooth. PTT is with the trackerball parked over the MOX button then just mouse click it, or if you have a quiet car use VOX. The tablet is much more viewable than a smartphone and you don't have to hold it.

    73,

    Bill AB7AA

  • Bill,

    I'm sure getting the phone high and close to the windshield makes a big improvement. But out here in the cornfields of Iowa, towers can be several miles apart so an outside antenna is a high priority.

    Here's another newbie question. The used 6300 I bought is only running version 1. I'll have to upgrade to get Smartlink. Or are you running SmartSDR on your tablet with some kind of remote desktop program?

    Randy

  • John KB4DUJohn KB4DU Member ✭✭

    Randy, one way to operate remote is to use a computer local to the radio with the flex software running then use a desktop sharing product to view that pc remotely, like teamviewer, but there are others. Later version of SmartSDR include features to enable remote access.

  • Thanks John. I had read that some remote desktop applications sometimes do unpredictable things to the audio path. However if it works, that is certainly a cost effective way of remote control.

    My LTE signal is weak at best in many areas. I was wanting to use the most efficient bandwidth method. Be it either the iOS app, SmartSDR or SmartLink on a tablet/laptop in the mobile or remote desktop.

  • I've used a Verizon LTE Jetpack hotspot connected to an external antenna for years. Works very well.

    Howard

  • Bill

    Just read a posting from Michael Walker on the Facebook group that a Windows laptop will not run SmartSDR. How are you connecting to your rig?

  • KD0RCKD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭

    Hi Randy, check the post from Mike again... I haven't seen the post, but I don't think he would make that blanket statement. Perhaps he was making a statement about a special situation or context. @Mike-VA3MW maybe you can chime in here... SmartSDR is specifically designed for Windows and it is immaterial whether it is running on a laptop or desktop. There is a minimal amount of computer spec that you need regardless of platform, but SmartSDR generally takes less compute power than some other SDR radios. This is because Flex radios do the heavy digital signal processing work while the PC does the less intensive display and interface (GUI) part. I recently upgraded my laptop, not because of SmartSDR, but because of the compute requirements of things like CW Skimmer. In any event, I use a laptop with SmartSDR and have had almost zero problems with this setup. I also use the same setup when camping in my 5th wheel camper (see my QRZ.com page for pics).

    73,

    Len, KD0RC

  • Sorry, I said laptop instead of tablet, my error.

    Mike said SmartSDR wouldn't run on a Windows tablet. Bill AB7AA said he was running a Windows Surface 3 tablet but didn't say if he was using a remote desktop program or SmartSDR to access his radio.

  • Bill AB7AABill AB7AA Member ✭✭

    Hi Randy,

    My Surface 3 runs Windows 10 and SmartSDR with no problem. Len is correct that SmartSDR is more bandwidth efficient than Teamviewer, which I used to use for years before SmartSDR had the capability. I do use both sometimes so that I can control my rotors and SPE amplifier when needed. Since I got my PGXL this has become less necessary. I would go with SmartSDR as the primary, it is designed for it and works very well. I sometimes have teamviewer in the background if I need those other devices at the ready, or just run it when I need to change beam heading. Be sure to pull over before big changes. Click-to-tune, volume control, and PTT I can do on the road. The bluetooth trackerball with scroll wheel are indispensable. All antenna switching automatic (160-2M) either via DDUtil (Yagi's) or simple impedance match LPDA and fan dipole.

    73,

    Bill AB7AA

  • Bill,

    Thanks for the clarification. Here's another newbie question. Since your running SmartSDR on the Surface, I assume that is with SmartLink? The used 6300 I bought runs version 1. So to get SmartLink I believe an upgrade is needed?

  • Bill AB7AABill AB7AA Member ✭✭

    Yes Randy,

    You need to run either V2 or V3. to run SmartLink. Might as well by the latest V3 since it all costs the same at this point. When you install it on the Surface, don't install DAX or CAT unless you want to hook up physical devices (footswitch or SignaLink) on that device. This will save memory and processing power.

    I haven't tried using my phone on the rear view mirror arrangement on the road yet but will be making a trip from Tucson to LA in early November. I'll let you know how it does on the open desert tower spacing along I-10, but here in town it's rock solid. I use ATT but have not looked at others.

    Bill AB7AA

  • Bill AB7AABill AB7AA Member ✭✭

    Randy,

    Just got back from LA and can report that the setup worked very well on the open highway in the open desert. Only had it disconnect a couple of times in areas that were understandably poor such as going through mountain passes or when grouped with trucks going under a bridge. It was a lot more reliable and certainly better performance to use my home station remote versus a mobile rig in the car.

    Bill AB7AA

  • Thanks for the update! I hope to have a mobile setup soon.

    You mentioned running a single headphone headset. Is it bluetooth or wired USB?

    Randy WB0VHB

  • Bill AB7AABill AB7AA Member ✭✭

    Randy,

    It is an older single headphone bluetooth Blueparrott B350-XT. Be sure to check the driving laws in the states that you'll be operating. Some ban double headsets and I think that only a couple ban any at all.

    Bill

  • Keith WA0BEUKeith WA0BEU Member ✭✭

    Great discussion and comments!

  • ka9eeska9ees Member ✭✭

    @Bill AB7AA

    I'm gonna have to try my BlueParrot C300XT.

    Ed KA9EES

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