Before I run remotely, the antenna needs to be connected to the input of the radio before I leave home. With the warmer season fast approaching and the possibility of lightning , I would like to install a wifi controlled coax antenna switch between the antenna and my radio. This would allow me to connect the radio to the antenna only when I wish to operate. Thank you for any ideas ...
I use two coaxial relays which are controlled with a WiFi AC controller. It supplys 120 vac to two small 12v wall warts. When the two relays are not energized, one shorts the antenna to ground and the other is open. When the relays are energized the grounded relay opens and the other connects to the antenna. I do this for lightening protection at my cabin in Big Bear. We get many close encounters and I have yet to have a failure. Sure there are more elegant ways.
Sounds like a nice easy project using your approach. I also found a 4 by 1 coax switch and wifi bd for 40 bucks. https://www.tindie.com/products/hbouz...
I guess my only concern with this approach is the possibility of the relays changing state during Tx due to coupling of Rf into the circuit cards. The radio transmitter would probably protect the output side...
Thanks for the reply.
This approach using physical separation just might help an antenna/radio survive a very-near strike.... my home is not located in an open area, so I'm hoping that if my lightening arrestors activate and bleed off any buildup of charge and voltage , the strike will hit a higher nearby tree. If I'm not operating at the time, the coax switch would add a bit more isolation.
I guess I'm a novice when it comes to interfacing with the Flex using utilities that other component hardware manufacturers may have. I currently use some basic add-on utilities or apps using my 6500, that don't connect to another piece of hardware. They work great. The problem with Flex hardware interfaces is the same as Windows and all the hardware pieces that windows has to interface with. People rave about the Apple computer and the ease of its use, but it's not due to Apple products, but rather that Apple controlled and controls it's hardware and software interfaces. Flex is doing the same thing as Windows. They can't control the inevitable onslought of hardware interfaces.. so the hardware provider pulls an interface solution rather than Flex pushing an interface solution . The ability to switch an antenna is so fundamental to a Ham radio! I have to go through a mishmash of confusion to get to my solution!! I'm not blaming Flex. Windows is still the computer solution for me. Flex is my radio... !
Here is the setup I use to switch between antennas from 80M through 10M on several different towers. The Bandmaster III switch is interfaced to my 6700 via the USB port on the radio. The BandMaster then controls two 6 port remote switches. As you change bands on the radio, the BandMaster follows and selects the correct antenna. When the radio is off all of the antennas are disconnected and you can have them either grounded or open.
I used to use DDUtil to control the BandMaster and after the new USB feature was added I changed it to be connected directly to the radio and it has worked great. The only data the BandMaster needs is the frequency so the radio USB port and software is well suited to do the job.
There are of course a number of other antenna switches and various ways to connect them for more or less complex antenna setups.
The USB interface details for the BandMaster are on my web page: http://www.nn4zz.com/FLEX6700.htm#Setup_and_testing
Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 - V 1.10.8
Nice setup. As I add antennas, I'l move to something like this. Like the use of the Flex radio frequency to select the antenna.
I'm still looking for simple solutions for remote WAN connection of an antenna or using the radio to connect an antenna when I'm using it remotely.
It also controls my beverage antennas and preamp. Its cheap and works great. Arduino clone boards sell on ebay for under $10. If you need more features later you just reprogram it.
George on Amateurlogic.TV used an arduino board and rc servo to remotely control a knob style coax switch. I think it was episode 70.
You don't need large antennas, but you do need different antennas so you can deal with different propagation conditions. A very simple example is adding a multiband vertical to your OCF. If you were to build a switch based on the advice given so far you will not be able to switch simply on a per band basis.
If you really want to do this right, you need more than a band data to switch interface; you need a solution that lets you chose antennas that are available for the band selected. Consider Hamation (sold by Array Solutions), 4o3a, or Green Heron's GH Everywhere. My personal vote goes to GH Everywhere as it supports a lot more switches while Hamation is an entirely closed ecosystem. GH Everywhere is the only wireless solution for the moment.
For example, for my station, let's say on 20, the screen will show the following:
1) Stack control panel (1 button for each antenna) + rotator control for the top antenna
2) OCF South (40-10)
3) OCF USA (40-10 cloud burner)
On 40, the controls are:
1) 4el yagi + rotator control
2) 4 Square control panel
3) OCF South
4) OCF USA
In both examples the antennas that do not apply to the current band (e.g., 4SQ on 80 or the 160m phased verticals) are not being shown and you cannot select or control them.
Obviously you don't need this level of complexity, but the point is that the setup allows for multiple antennas per band, which is not possible if you only have a switch that follows the band data.