Radio registration unsuccessful, could not access Smartlink Server

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  • Problem
  • Updated 3 weeks ago
So, I installed our Club Flex-6400 over the weekend, and several of us have been successful in accessing it remotely over the last few days.  Suddenly, last night, the radio dropped out of the Smartlink window.  If I connect to the PC I have on the same LAN with the radio, SmartSDR works fine.  However, if I go into the smartlink setup window, and it appears that the radio is not registered.  If I try to register it, I get the "Radio Registration Unsuccessful" message.  

Given I'm not seeing a ton of other complaints in the forums, I'm assuming the "Mothership" is not down, and something else is awry.  I have no idea why this would quit working spontaneously like this.  I had used it remotely, just hours before it started failing.  The network is obviously up, since I can remotely connect to the PC that's behind the router.

<soapbox>
I'll take this as an opportunity to b*tch about this architecture.  The fact that I can't just enter a freakin' IP address to connect to my radio is infuriating.  Flex-radio has value-added this Smartlink thing, and made the radio completely dependent on some "database in the sky" for access.  As hams, we should be technically competent enough to define a few ports on a router, and enter an IP address into a fat client if we want to circumvent all this crap that makes the radio unreliable.  One of the precepts of Ham Radio is disaster preparedness.  The fact that my club can't access the radio if some random part of the internet is down, even if we have local connectivity, is infuriating.  

It's further frustrating, since as a University, I have a WAN network in our shack, and I could just plug the radio right in, and give it a WAN address on the Internet.  But nooooo, I couldn't do that.  Instead, I had to take a router from home, disable the wireless, and use it as a NAT to cope with this Smartlink crap.  Grrr.

</soapbox>

Anyway, suggestions on making the radio spontaneously heal and start talking to the smartlink mothership again would be appreciated.

Crankily,
Mike / KD2EAT
Advisor, Amateur Radio Club at Cornell, W2CXM
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Michael Hojnowski

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  • frustrated

Posted 3 weeks ago

  • 3
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Stephen Cook

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I have had his happen a couple of times and a reboot of the radio resolved the issue.
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Michael Hojnowski

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Ugh.  Charming.  One reason we were so looking forward to remote access is that our shack is up 5 very tall flights of stairs, with no elevator. lol.  I guess I'll haul my busted knees up the stairs and try that.
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Mike Webb KC0YHM

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I agree with Mr Hojnowski... I operate remote only...Station in MN and home in FL...once in a while the smartlink service does go out...but the majority of times cutting the power to the radio will do the trick...not just powering the radio down...removing the 12vdc supply. I use a RC USB powerstrip to do this.
All the best.
Mike
KC0YHM
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Stephen Cook

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I have found just powering the radio down using the “Remote Power” (via the RCA jack on the back) then powering it back on the same way is sufficient. I too operate remote (only about 1.5 hours away) and the “Remote Power” has saved my bacon more than once.
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Michael Hojnowski

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Thanks both for the thoughts on Remote Power.  Looks like I'll have to set something up on a Raspberry Pi or something so that I can powercycle either the radio via the RCA jack, or the power supply via a remotely controlled power outlet.  
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Jim Gilliam

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You can always use a VPN. It takes an IQ in the double digits to set one up.

Jim, K6QE
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Paul

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I imagine "as a University" they probably already have at least one VPN.
FWIW, my VPN pre-dates Smartlink by a couple of years. My used 6500 came pre-loaded with version 2 so I was interested to compare the two remote scenarios. My conclusions are;
(a) SmartLink offers nothing extra but might be useful if you're not able/inclined to set up a VPN.
(b) If you are, then do so. I'm glad it wasn't me that paid the $200 to upgrade the 6500 to v2.

By the way, I shorted the remote-on socket to ground and use a GSM controlled switch to kill/resore the power. This gives remote on/off independently of the internet. In spite of dire predictions, this has so far worked and the radio comes back on gracefully each time.
(Edited)
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WA5GP

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I too am having the same issue; the suggested fix's have not worked on this end. Keeps saying cant connect to server.  Oh well so much for advanced technology.  :)
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Stephen Cook

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Have you ever been able to connect to the SmartLink server from the radio?
(Edited)
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WA5GP

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Yes from the Ipad  Does not show radio now and doesn't or won't connect to Smart Link Server
(Edited)
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Stephen Cook

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I would check the SmartLink Setup. Ensure the “Test” is successful.
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Mark Thomas

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I share Mike's ongoing frustration about theSmartSDR and Maestro client inability to specify a base radio by direct IP address. For those of us with already established multi-subnet LANs, private WANs, and conventional (non-broadcast-passing) site to site VPNs, we have to work around this silly design limitation. Being able to connect between various kinds of IP clients and servers across IP gateways is one of the most fundamental and basic aspects of IP networking.

Explanations to date have included concerns that this would make it easier for hams to make radios insecurely accessible via public IPs, or that having an option for direct IP entry adds confusing technical complexity that will disorient less technical users, but I disagree with the rationale.

Many common networking setups, intentionally, by design, DO NOT pass broadcasts for performance and other reasons related to basic networking functionality, and in some cases security. If I have two sites connected by a site to site VPN or dedicated private connectivity, on different subnets, why should I have to set up some new custom broadcast-passing VPN for the sake of the radios, or use public IPs and Smartlink when I already have direct private IP connectivity? Examples include Cisco AnyConnect SSL VPN, and site to site VPNs using GRE or IPSEC tunnels and routers, or even just a wire running between buildings, but with a router involved.

The radios now have the option to restrict IP connectivity to RFC1918 ranges, enabled by default. The iOS iPhone/iPad SmartSDR app thankfully DOES permit direct IP entry as one of the optional ways to connect to a radio. What is the big deal here? Why not just add the option to SmartSDR for Windows and the Maestro???

Mark Thomas KC3DRE
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WQ2H - Jim Poulette

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Sorry to hear of your "busted knees". That would no doubt make me "cranky" as well.

Good luck !

73
Jim, WQ2H
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Bob G W1GLV

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If Smartlink is setup properly it works flawlessly. If your router does not support auto port forwarrding then you have to do it manually. With this said you should be in for the greatest adventure in ham radio. Networking is a very exacting science, one character missing or not in the correct position muddies the operation. Good luck
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