Logging remotely by WAN using different computers ?

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I'm really enjoying my 6300, mostly used remotely via VNC. I've been considering the v2.0 upgrade but like many others, I'm having a hard time to justify spending US$200 (~Cdn$250). Of course a computer is required at the radio end in order to remote in by VNC but don't most of us have a shack computer for logging and other ham related applications anyway ? That leads me to my question for v2.0 users who operate remotely via WAN from different computers. How do you log, and how do you keep your log between various operating computers in sync ?   While I'm at it, how do Maestro users log ? Sort of negates the whole Maestro experience if you also need a computer alongside in order to log when operating remotely.

Thanks, Hugh VA3TO
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Posted 10 months ago

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Craig - KØCF

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I use DX4Win for logging. To keep synchronized, I simply store my log on DropBox (which generates a local folder on any connected PC). You just have to be sure to close DX4Win on your shack PC when leaving to operate remotely (and on the remote when operating locally). When you save  your log to the local DropBox folder, it is automatically updated to the cloud and subsequently to any other connected PCs.
73,
Craig, KØCF
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Probably the best answer. Cloud based log files work. No need to have a computer running at “home.” I run MacLoggerDX on a remote laptop, with the log kept on iCloud. A suitable SSDR client (Dogpark SDR in my case), and away we go. No computer on at home, no VNC, no VPN.
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Mark - WS7M

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George, has Dogpark been updated to support the smartlink remote stuff at all?
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Ted VE3TRQ

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From the dogpark software site (which indicates SmartLink support):

dogparkSDR is not a Windows port. It's a native Mac application, written from the ground up to take advantage of macOS unique capabilities and interact as you would expect a Mac user interface to operate. It was designed to be a window into your Flex 6000 series radio and takes care of setting and displaying radio parameters, displaying the Panadapter and Waterfall as well as routing the radio audio in and out of the Mac.

DXCluster spots from MacLoggerDX , dpSDR Memories are displayed in the panadapter and can be clicked for quick tuning and lookup. The FlexControl is supported as is Local and Remote (Mac) Audio, Tracking Notch Filters (TNF), DL3LSM's xDAX, CWX with macros, local sidetone, radio Memories and SmartLink remote access.
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Thanks for the reply Craig.  I assume you can point the logging directory in DX4Win to the DropBox directory.  I've been using WSJT FT8 a lot and just use the built-in logger. Unfortunately you can't  change the location of the log directory. If it is possible then maybe someone can enlighten me on how.
73, Hugh VA3TO
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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SmartSDR for iOS has a built in logbook feature. I use that when operating remotely via iPad or iPhone.

Maestro doesn't have a logbook. You can use a computer and you can actually connect to SmartSDR CAT via SmartLink  even though you are using Maestro and it will read frequency data from the radio. You can also use a smartphone app such as HamLog but this can't read from Flex radios. 

You can also log on paper.

Ria
N2RJ
(Edited)
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Hugh - VA3TO

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My point is just that... the only thing the Maestro offers is rig control by knobs, at great expense.  And portability is diminished by the need for an additional computer (or "device")... unless you still like logging by paper.

I just think that with some minor hardware upgrades and some software, it could be way more useful and probably yield higher sales.  Hell, then I might even by one, but not as it stands. See my comments in another reply below.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I am reluctant to support the idea of user-installed software. It could introduce things like viruses and other malware. If you want an all in one solution, SmartSDR for iOS is there, and that is a more controlled environment. Maybe Flex could add a log function but I don't think they would want to open up the embedded Windows on the tablet to start installing everything and anything, otherwise just go ahead and buy a surface pro or even a Dell Venue 8 which is rumored to be one of the tablets used. 
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Agreed, and it doesn't have to be user installed software. Even the simplest of loggers which creates a standard ADIF file like the one used in WSJT, and a simple browser keeping in mind that its clear purpose is to be used for callsign lookup or other basic net tasks, not dancing bologna graphics or other fanciness that a full featured browser offers.  NO USER INSTALLED SOFTWARE necessary.  These could be embedded and updated within FLASH upgrades to the Maestro.

 I thought  these forums were put in place in a large part for user feedback and suggestions. You seem keen on defending any critiques.  Are you a Flex employee ?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I am absolutely not a Flex employee. I, like you, am a user. 

Initially the question was asked how to log while remote. I gave that answer. Now it seems to be steering in the direction of having a logging feature on Maestro. 

The idea of user installed software makes me cringe, that is all. 
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Yes, the thread took a turn as they often do, but that's okay... I think !?

>The idea of user installed software makes me cringe, that is all.
Yep, understandably so but it doesn't need to be done that way.
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David Salomon

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Hugh -

I don't use DX4WIN, but I can tell you how to make it think the directory is where it expects to find it, but it's really in another location, i.e. in a Dropbox folder.

Windows supports symbolic links.  Creating a symbolic link creates a pointer to another location.  However, ,as far as the OS and all programs are concerned, they still see the original location.  I use this a lot when my C drive gets too bloated to move some files to a much larger drive.  Here's a URL that does a pretty good job explaining what they are, how to use them, and how to create them.

https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/16226/complete-guide-to-symbolic-links-symlinks-on-windows-or-linux/

The only thing I would NOT recommend is using symbolic links for files that the OS needs to see when booting.

I have used this with Dropbox and it works fine.  If you do try it, I strongly suggest backing up your DX4WIN files first, just to be safe.

73 - David, AG4F
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Thanks David. I'm going to have to try this. I've been using FT8 mode in WSJT-X almost exclusively and making use of its built-in logger. For reasons unknown to me, the log directory is fixed so your solution may work out well.
(Edited)
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Craig - KØCF

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David, that is a great tip! A really powerful way of getting around unreasonable restrictions in software like WSJT-X. (BTW, my DX4Win files are automatically backed up to an alternate cloud provider all the time. They are way too valuable to me to take any chances! Fortunately, DX4Win allows you to choose where to store its files, including an alternate backup location.)
73,
Craig, KØCF
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I use N3FJP's ACLog.  I am currently experimenting with dual-site logging by storing the data files in a OneDrive directory.  It works pretty well, better than when I tried it with my Dropbox account, but if you enter too many things too quickly it will throw an error.  N3FJP does not officially support this way of doing it, but he suggested that I try and report back to him how things have gone.  

The one thing I haven't done is link the remote version to LOTW.  If I make any contacts, I simply wait until I am back home to load them to LOTW.  I could probably get it working, but it would require messing around with multiple copies of the security key and I would probably mess it up....

Ken - NM9P
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Thanks for the reply Ken.  Sounds similar to AG4F's solution.
Hugh.
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KF4HR

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I enjoy using my Maestro but given its price it really is a shame it wasn't designed around an iPad or Android OS that would [also] allow the device to handle remote logging, and other features and programs.  But it is, what it is. 
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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The Maestro is designed around a Tablet OS -- Windows 8. The big advantage for Flex is that much of the Windows SSDR can be borrowed to run in the Maestro. In theory, there's no reason that other Windows applications can't run on the Maestro.   A few apps, like a browser or a logger, would make a lot of sense for many users.
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KF4HR

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Interesting.  It would be nice to know how to turn that theory into actual practice.  
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Hugh - VA3TO

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There we go, a pop-up logger with the ability to link a Bluetooth keyboard to the Maestro... that might grab my attention.
(Edited)
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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A keyboard, a mouse(!), and a bluetooth headset  might be good add-ons.  The hardware and OS probably would support GPS and a video camera.  Screen capture would be interesting, too.  But FRS may be right to draw the line more or less where it is between the Maestro radio controller and any associated laptop or smartphone the user may want to carry along.  Opening up the Maestro to random user apps could lead to support chaos, not to mention redesigning the user interface.

It would be useful, however, if there was some Maestro-to-smart device local interface (like SSDR CAT/DAX over bluetooth or wifi), so that your logging program could access the radio's settings when you're on the road.  Also, to support all-digital FTDIGI / WSJTX modes when roaming, like we have now for your PC attached to the radio at home.
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Hugh - VA3TO

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I use a Logitech K400 wireless keyboard on some of my hardware. It's a bit more compact than a standard keyboard but not too small, and it has a built-in track pad so you don't need yet another barnacle (mouse) hanging off the Maestro.  Perfect size for OTG.  There are many other wireless KB/mouse options too, some the size of a TV remote if portability is key. 

IMO  GPS &  video camera support are a bit frivolous and unnecessary for most radio operating.  As you say, it would only result in further support chaos. The more reasonable the requests, the more likely to be considered and implemented.

 I think a pop-up logger & support for a KB/mouse (and maybe a simple browser for callsign lookup ?) for the Maestro are not an unreasonable request, and would make it much more attractive.  Shame they didn't include a USB port or two, then it would only be a matter of an HID driver and a little software.
(Edited)
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Mark WS7M

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This one reason I use HRDLOG.net which is totally online.   I can log to it from almost anywhere.
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Eduardo Carvalho - KC8R

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Hugh,

I currently use DXKepper from DXLabs for logging day to day and I don’t keep it in the cloud. When I am away and log using some other method, SSDR for iOS for example. I then export the ADIF from that logger and import it into DXKepper.

This is the same method I use for contests when using N1MM.

It is not as elegant as remote files, but works well.

Eduardo, KC8R
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Steve Bunting

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I’m not tracking awards real-time so have a copy of N1MM and upload to club log using the third party gateway app. My definitive log sits in clublog and I DL every so often as a back up onto my main PC.

73
Steve. M0bpq
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Ross - K9COX

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My solution is simple, I do not log nor do I contest.
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Matt (K0KB)

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Very insightful
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Ross - K9COX

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I like to think of it as overstating the obvious.
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David H Hickman

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My setup is for 100% remote use.  I use a softether VPN and can access the radio via a PC, Maestro ( hooked into the Ethernet port of the remote PC, Maestro via a point to point VPN and occasionally an iOS device.  With my setup, I can have one computer connected as the radio console, my new maestro, or an iPad as the console. A laptop is then used for digital modes/recording/and the logbook.

I use HRD ( paid version) and keep the logs on a MySQL database that is hosted in my cluster at home. 

Basicaly if I have low enough latency and bandwidth for a vpn connection, the config works fine and I am maintaining only one set of logs via several different computers when needed.

When the rare chance that I am in the shack, the local computer works as expected for full control of the station.

The 2.x upgrade will not allow you to do something like this yet.  2.x does not support remote CAT at this time so all log book entries are manual and/or third party control of the rig will not work.

You can set up something similar for less than the $200 upgrade and have a much more flexible setup in the long run, while learning some good it skills and concepts.


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AA0KM

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One of these for logging later I suppose while using Maestro. Date and time stamped.
(Edited)
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AA0KM

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https://www.amazon.com/YOUTHINK-Rechargeable-Recorders-Dictaphone-Microphone/dp/B01N11TML6/ref=sr_1_...   

And I am sure there is better quality recorders out there. Just an idea.