Remote Control - My Progress

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  • Updated 2 years ago
Hi All,

One of my fun things about this hobby and things in generally is the setup, preparing for control, etc.

One of the reasons I like the Flex 6K series radios is that they can be controlled remotely.  Being TCP/IP devices I can easily write custom software to do fun things and with the introduction of 2.x this has gotten even easier.

In fact, before 2.x the issue to remote use a Flex 6K was in setting up a VPN and getting remote operation to work that way.  With 2.x the need for a VPN sort of went away but I still find the VPN to be useful for getting into the home network.

But now that the Flex can be remote controlled, what about all those "other things" we need to control?

Everyone has their own way but here is what I've done.

I make use of the switched Web Power Outlets from digital loggers.

I also setup a Raspberry Pi running the standard Raspian Linux.  I installed the apache web server, php and created a simple web page.

For $25 I purchased two of these relay controllers for the Pi:

I could have build my own or found one with more relays but these were quick and easy.

I use the PIGPIO GPIO library on the Pi.  It has a nice daemon and also is easily accessed from any language including php.

Because I've used it before I use a php framework for the website called "Code Igniter".  At first look it seems complex but it offers many cool features once you get to know it. But frankly everything I'm doing can be done with simple HTML.  My reason for using Code Igniter is personal and also I have some expansion plans for the website that Code Igniter will make easy.

Everyone has their own needs.  For me I needed to remote control a Palstar HF Auto Tuner, turn on, off, and enable my SPE 1K-FA amp and control a few other things.   

I have a remote relay to switch my matching network in/out of the feed and I also have a home intercom that is sensitive to RF.  So I wanted to be able to turn that on/off.

In addition I wanted to be able to cycle power on various things including the entire station.

So I put all of these controls on a very simple website.  It looks like this:

This was created in about 10 minutes and I plan to spiff it up with better styling, buttons, etc.  But for now it is functional and I can control these things via my phone.

When I installed the remote relay to switch out the matching network I tested it using my phone and this website and I could hear it click when I cycled it.

All of this was accomplished for the price of a Raspberry Pi, SD card, relay boards and time time in wiring things up.

I also have a PTZ camera pointed at the HF auto tuner display and the amp.  Currently my amp is on its side because the table is just too small.

All of this is accessible via the web.  Everything is password protected and on strange ports so while hacking is not impossible it is somewhat harder.

I recently tested my setup while sitting in a traffic jam for an accident.  We were not moving at all so I pulled out my phone and connected to Flex via SmartLink then using my web page made sure things were all set right and made two contacts on 20 meters.

I could see the tuner via the camera, I could control the various things using my raspberry pi website.

To me this is all the cool stuff about having a Flex Radio, internet and some creativity.  I just wish I could sport better antennas.  That will come I hope someday.

Anyway, for me, the Flex radio has been one of the best things to happen in Ham Radio.  Add in the cheap little Raspberry Pi and some cool software written and available for free and we can do stuff now days I only dreamed up just a few years ago.

Hopefully this inspires others that your remote control and better station control ideas can become reality.

Mark - WS7M
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Mark WS7M

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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

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Very cool stuff, Mark! You are certainly an inspiration to many. Out here we have a house that is "wired to the max" with automation for a disabled individual. It is called "Future Home" and was built by IEEE members. See because you would be good at that. I'm sure there are many needs for the skills that you have worldwide. You blessed me (with others). I wish others with your skills and capabilities would reach out and bless the disabled community like you did. 73, Dave K4EET
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Mark WS7M

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I've added some QRZ lookup and logging functions to the page.  Currently logging goes to HRDLOG online logging.