Flex 6300: How can I Remotely Control the Base Radio Off and On?

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  • Updated 12 months ago
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I use my Flex-6300 in a remote location to avoid the QRM of the city and gain access to a better antenna.  This works great, as with the new software I can operate from anywhere with internet access.

But the radio is operating from a fairly remote location in the north Georgia mountains, and we have fairly frequent thunderstorms in the Summer months.  I would typically power off during an electrical storm.  I have a Nexia system installed in the home so I can remotely control the power to the Flex 6300.

But if I remotely turn the power off to the radio, I do not have the ability to remotely turn the 6300 back on after I restore power.  After powering down, the radio does not come back to the "on" mode when power is restored.  The radio and the antenna are grounded with a very effective ground loop in a trench surrounding the home, and radio has adequate surge protection.

Alternatively, I could accomplish the same goal by having the ability through the Flex Smart SDR remote client to remotely control the base radio on and off.

Anyone have any ideas on how to remotely control the Flex-6300 on and off?

Thanks!
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Bill

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Posted 12 months ago

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Gary Wells

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Bill, there are a couple of threads out here that address this by using a device called the Belkin WeMo. This can be remotely controlled from their app to turn on or off a device. The articles show taking a relay and powering it on and off and using the NO contacts into the Remote input on the back of the radio thru an RCA plug. When contacts close the radio turns on, opens the radio turns off. Some use a 12VDC relay powered by a simple wall wart, I went with a small 120VAC relay. Enable the Remote feature under Settings/Radio Setup.

The WeMo device can be a challenge to set up as it took me a few tries to get it to settle in but it does work. I did go one step further since I installed the Lutron Caseta wireless switches throughout the house. I wired up one of their on-off modules in the same way and I can control the relay reliably as I manage lights remotely. Pretty cool.

If you use a PC as well at the base station change the PC BIOS in the power-on setting to "turn back on after a power failure." Another great "saved my bacon" feature. Good luck.

Gary
WB9AYD
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K1UO - Larry

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Bill,  what are you using for antenna control or rotor control?   If using the Green Heron everywhere server software and client app you can assign a relay point to open/close a loop to the remote jack on the back of the 6300 and enable the Remote feature in SSDR settings/Raio setup..  This method requires a PC at the Remote end though.

There are numerous other ways to accomplish remote on/off control using different commercially available devices also.   A Microbit Webswitch 1216H comes to mind.  Other ethernet controlled relay devices are available on Amazon etc.
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Ken Hansen

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I bet a clever fellow could rig something up with a Raspberry Pi, a small relay, and a cord with a phono jack.

A device like this would likely come in handy:
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Bill,

I used a WeMo Maker wired to the Remote On in the back of the radio. Also a WeMo Mini Switch to control the DC power supply. The instructions they provide for setup were straightforward for me.

I just listed them on qth.com for sale since I have upgraded to the Digital Loggers web switch Pro. The DLI is more money but I needed to control more stuff.

I can say from m experience over the last two years that the WeMo devices worked well from either an Android phone or iPhone for control.

Dave wo2x
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Ernest - W4EG

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Thank you David ... See you with the remote Maestro; from the island!
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Jim Gilliam

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Don't forget abut the remote power AC units. Usually they come with at least 4 remotable AC outlets. They are very inexpensive and very easy to set up and have wonderful computer interfaces. For relay control just connect a 12 V wall wart to one of the outputs and a 12 V relay. One can save money by getting 4 or more remotable ports.
(Edited)
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kr4k

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I use the Remoterig Web-switch 1216H.  http://www.webswitch.se/wp/ or http://www.remoterig.com/wp/?page_id=166

I toggle the 6700's Remote Power On Input - back panel RCA connector.

The RemoteRig Web-switch has a good web interface. With DynDNS and port forwarding, you can easily reach it from anywhere.

I use this to control several things around the shack. There are 5 relays you can control via the web interface.

73/gus  kr4k
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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You can go a bit over with remoteQTH server https://remoteqth.com/remoteqth-server.php if you want a full station automation. I am testing it from about two months and it works very well.
Below there is my very first attempt to use the band-decoder feature working in sync with my 6300. On my RPI, I enabled the embedded RS232 (ttyAMA0) and connected it to the 6x00 using a FTDI USB/232 cable. 
In the video I am using a script to enable it but now you can select the ttyAMA0 port via the web GUI. Dan, OK1HRA, updated its server to make it working with Flex 6x00 FTDI cable (https://remoteqth.com/forum/remoteqth-rig-control-via-dev-ttyama0-serial-port)

73' Enzo
iw7dmh

(Edited)
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Bill

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Wow!
 
Thanks to all for your help.

I look forward to implementing the remote strategy.  I feel confident I will not get there....

73s

Bill
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Don’t worry, Bill. Take it a step at a time. The Flex is an amazingly caapable centerpiece for a remote shack. There is almost nothing you can’t do remotely.
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Bill / VA3QB

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Bill,  I operate from Florida as a snowbird. I use a Belkin Wemo to turn on a power bar.  I have the 12 VDC 30AMP switching power supply, HyGain DCU-1  digital antenna rotor controller and a remote TCP-IP antenna switch controller.  The Flex 6500 turns itself on when the power supply comes on use this procedure from the manual. 
****************************************************************
7.12 REMOTE POWER ON INPUT
This RCA connector is provided for remote power-on functionality. 
When the Remote Power ON feature is enabled, shorting this input to 
ground will activate the radio - opening this connector will disable 
power on the radio. Refer to the SmartSDR documentation for 
information on how to configure this input. (Note: 3.3VDC Max Input.)
****************************************************************

I just leave the shorted RCA jack plugged in all the time.

With your Wemo, go into your router and determine the MAC address  for it and configure an  DHCP IP address reservation for it (Note that the Wemo  MAC address is always one higher than what the APP shows it as) . This will prevent the WEMO from sometimes not showing up on your mobile phone App. Make sure you set up your router to give you remote access in the case you need to reboot it. 

I use a Thin Client computer at home running Windows 7 that is connected to the Rotor Controller. I run a paid version of PST Rotator ($20) on it. This allows me to turn the rotor in Remote as well. 

I have a VPN on my network which allows me to run Ham Radio Deluxe, DAX and CAT as well.  
This allows me to log using HRD Logger and run digital modes.

I also run Team-viewer for remote access to the Thin Client. Great free program.

I never do Smart SDR updates while remote.  Never !

I also have a second Wemo that I use to reboot the Thin Client if Windows decides to lock up. The Thin Client computer is setup to auto log in .  

I run the Flex 6500 Wemo using "Rules",  it turns on a 7AM and off at "11PM" . You can override it if you need to. 

On top of all that it helps to have a trusted friend willing to go into your home that is about set to about 46F to re-calibrate the rotor controller or solve other problems that you can determine remotely. 

This will be my first winter using Smart-SDR  V2 . Time will tell.

73
Bill
VA3QB 
 
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Don Richardson

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Hi All,
I am a new Flex Radio operator and do have a remote environment setup.  The radio is in Gray Maine, while the SmartSDR can be elsewhere.  This is a setup that I have put into service for my dad who is living in a location where he is no longer able to have an antenna.  Basically I needed a very simple way for him to turn the radio ON and Off remotely.

I am happy for the introduction of SmartSDR, as it removes the need for the VPN service to where the radio is in order to use it, but it does not solve the issue with turning the radio power on and off.

So, I have setup a system that links the radio part to the other interfaces (SmartSDR running and Maestro) via the web. On the radio side I have a Raspberry Pi that can control the Power Control Unit (PDU) unit that radio is plugged into.

The trick is to link the local Raspberry Pi to remote control in the cloud.  So, here is what I do to make the whole thing work without having a VPN network to the radio.

Radio Side:
On the radio side I have a PHP program running on the Raspberry Pi that reads a web address every 10 seconds.  This web address returns the state of what you want the radio to be in.  It will get an "ON" or "OFF". This web address is protected with a User Name and Password so that only I can control the power.

Once the state is received by this local application, it will tell the PDU to turn ON or turn OFF the outlet to the radio.

On the Cloud Side:
I have a public web page that presents the user with a very simple interface.  There is a picture of a Stop Light that will be either RED for the OFF state, or GREEN for the ON state.  This interface also gives you a button to change the state.  When you choose to change the state, it updates a local file to indicate your choice.  It is also this local file that feeds the remote call from the radio side to see what state the radio should be in.

Now, my Dad does not need a VPN connection to use the remote radio.  Simple and very easy to implement.  Of course there is some equipment needed on the radio side, like a compute platform (Raspberry Pi or the like), a Power Controller (PDU) for turning the radio outlet on and off, and some software running.

My intent is to publish this environment and make the software running on the cloud and Raspberry Pi available to whoever wants it.  Currently it is in a state that requires some specific configurations, but I am in the process of making this configuration pretty simple as well.  You never know, I might expand this to being able to control other radio parameters as well int the future.

By the way, this environment also logs the internal and outside temperature so that you can see what is happening around the remote radio end.  This also sends alert emails to let you know that set thresholds have been passed, as well and a web page that you can look at to see a graph of temperature information. (VPN required for this today)

If you are interested in what I am doing, please send me an email at DonRichardsonNH@gmail.com and I will provide a full overview of what I did and how you can do this yourself.
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Ken Hansen

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That’s nice, I like how the raspberry pi doesn’t need to be accessed over internet (it pulls info from webpage).

I wonder if it might be easier to set up a webpageserved up by the RaspberryPi and have that page directly control a relay connected to a GPIO pin n the Pi. The ‘trick’ would be to have the Raspberry Pi use an unusual port for Web server, like port 6300?

Great idea, clever solution.
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Don Richardson

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The whole Idea behind what I have don is that you do NOT have to open your router to incoming traffic.  It is all initiated from the radio end by polling for information and getting back what you need.  You could do that same thing with controlling power via programming a GPIO pin to open and close a relay to affect the power to the radio instead of having a PDU.  However, the PDU presents several interfaces to the local network, like SNMP, HTTP, and others which make it really easy to interface with.
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Jeff - K5JEF

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20 bucks from best buy,  you will need a relay for contact closure.  i bought a small relay with 110 volt AC coil and used the contact closure from the relay to short an RCA plug that is plugged in to Remote On on the Flex. Works great.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-wi-fi-smart-plug-white/5529012.p?skuId=5529012
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Ken Hansen

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Remotely? Interesting - it must rely on a server on the internet, similar to the Raspberry Pi solution described elsewhere in this thread.

Worth looking into, thanks for update!
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Don Richardson

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Hi Ken,
Not sure what you are saying.  Yes the raspberry Pi and Radio are on the same network.  However, using the radio remotely once it is turned on does not have the limitation of having to be on the same network.  I use the radio from a PC wherever I am using SmartLink, as well as from my Maestro wherever I am connected.

Have I missed what you were trying to say?
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Don Richardson

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Hi Jeff,
Yes this is a very good solution to controlling power.  I assume that there is some application that allows you to get to it without being on the same network???
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Jeff - K5JEF

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yes there is an app for iPhone and Android.  It is very basic, on/off and timers.  Mine has worked great so far.  If you watch bestbuy.com sometimes they are as low as 17 dollars or close to that.  It does rely on a server that you log into during setup.  It is automatic after that.


73, K5JEF
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Don Richardson

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Hi Ken,
That is a pretty cool device if you only want ON/OFF control of the radio.  If I did not have other environmental requirements, I would definitely use this device.

However, since my radio end is in a closet at a location that is closed up for the winter, I am thinking of using the PDU to also turn on some light bulbs in that area when it gets too cold out, or below the Flex operating temperature.

Since I am monitoring temperature in that space, I can control the PDU to turn on one, or both, of the remaining outlets to run a light bulb that may provide some heat in that space.  Can you access the outlet controller you mention on the local network via some other protocol, such as HTTP, REST, SNMP, or some other protocol?  If not, then I would not have control over using the lights for heat.

At the end of the day there are so many ways to do things, and I am glad to find you folks out there to share ideas with and keep the technology rolling.

Thanks for the great feedback.

Regards,
Don - KB1YWL
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kr4k

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I have a second capability via my RigRunner 4005i, which also has a neat web server to control 5 DC connections. See: http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=rr_4005i  I port forward web interface, and the web server is userID/password protected. This RigRunner supplies power to my Flex 6700.

73/gus
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Don Richardson

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Hi,
This is basically what my setup uses for a PDU, but I am using  the "IP Power 9258T 4 Outlet Remote Network Power Web Controller" found at https://www.amazon.com/IP-Power-9258T-Network-Controller/dp/B005D55HKU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=15...

This is a box, only about $110, that does the same job.  I could port forward the HTTP interface for this like you do but I am super scared of hackers out there stumbling across the port and breaking into my local network where the radio is.

I work for a software company that sells to the IOT market, and seeing what is going on out there has caused me to work outward.  A bit safer to reach out to get control info that allowing connectivity on the inbound side.

Of course this has it's security risks as well, but being behind a firewall, and having the access in the cloud User & Password protected, I have done as much as I can for now.

Thanks for the great feedback and sharing of ideas.

Regards,

Don - KB1YWL
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Jeff - K5JEF

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Now on to remote antenna disconnect.  All ways something fun to figure out with these remote-able transceivers.  Such a fun hobby.

73

K5JEF
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kr4k

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Just as I recommended the Remoterig Web-switch 1216H for turning on/off, I can equally recommend the RemoteRig Antenna-switch AS-1289, http://www.remoterig.com/wp/?page_id=2140. Been using mine for 3 years, and it works well. Has nearly identical web-interface as Web-switch, and it supports DynDNS too.

Have these devices plugged into a simple 8-port network switch, along with the 6700. They run on 12 VDC, fed from the same RigRunner 4005i as what supplies the Flex.

These RemoteRig devices offer two password levels - one to view status and one to change things.

73/gus
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Don Richardson

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That is a cool device as well.  When I get to multiple antennas at the remote site I will look at this device for the job.

What might you recommend for protection from a lightening hit?  Since no-one is at the radio site during the winter, I would like to watch thunderstorm activities and perhaps remotely disconnect the antenna to isolate it from the house?

Regards,
Don - KB1YWL