Remote CW contest setup

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I have a new 6400 waiting for me to unbox this week. My primary interest is remote CW contesting from a different QTH, using my laptop and Flex Control, and N1MM software. I expect to have N1MM or CWX key the remote rig.
Is this going to be possible?
Can N1MM be run on the remote PC and interface to the rig?
Will I be able to hear CW sidetone remotely from N1MM (or CWX)?
Paddles at the remote location would be nice but I think not possible without a Maestro?
Will I have to setup a VPN and remote in, like I had to do with PowerSDR and my 1500?
Am wondering how much of this I can do without VPN or without a Maestro, and yet still have access to N1MM and preferably have a sidetone at my remote operating position.
Remote contesting with SmartSDR for iOS probably adds another layer of complexity to interfacing all this, that is probably better as it's own topic.
73,
Steve AK0M

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Steve Sutterer

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Posted 3 weeks ago

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Mark WS7M

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Steve,

Not the expert here and I'm sure others will chime in.

First N1MM should be able to run your radio remote.  Using SmartLink with the latest release DAX and Cat work remote.  Cat will provide CAT controls (needed by N1MM) to your radio.

This will all work but the settings will need to be correct.  Not difficult but you must setup SmartCAT then setup N1MM to be looking at what was defined in SmartCAT.

You do not need a VPN with SmartLink but the key is to have a really good router and internet at the location where your radio is.   Also where you plan to operate from needs reasonable internet as well.

Since you plan to do CW here is one issue.   Keying done by N1MM to the radio will NOT generate side tone that you can hear when remote.  This is due to the network latency.  But the keying is very good and your PAN will give you all the indication you need that your keying is working.

CWX will give you side tone.  

Paddles don't yet work remote unless as you say you have a Maestro.  However this link shows you how you can build something that will work:
https://iw7dmh.jimdo.com/utilities-for-remote-operations/sw-keyer-for-remote-operations/

To my knowledge the flex control will NOT work.  However there are a number of people including myself that use inexpensive DJ controllers to control our radios.  Basically we convert the MIDI signals from the control to API commands to the radio.  These will work just fine remote.
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Steve Babcock

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The lack of N1MM keyboard CW sidetone being returned from the remote PC has NOTHING to do with latency!
This is a recurring discussion here and I fear is why the Flex team has taken so long to add a return sidetone. When sending CW from the remote location using a PC at the radio there is no need to correct for latency at all. Thesudeton just needs to be returned in the same way radio rx audio is sent.
The ONLY time latency is an issue for sending CW is when CW is sent via a paddle at the control end. In this case the ONLY solution generate a local sidetone. This is exactly what CWX and Marstro already does. This is also what RemoteRig does.
I have communicated this to the Flex team via a service ticket and I hope they move forward and just simply add the sidetone steam to the return audio.

In the meantime, I have a workable solution upswing TeamViewer. Here is a copy of a post I made to the community last month:
thought I would share a "solution" for the remote sidetone problem.
First of all, after reading most comments in the community archives about this issue over the last few years it seems that perhaps there is a miss understanding (or lack of consensus) about why there is a desire to get the remote sidetone sent from the remote radio.
For some Flex users it seems they want to be able to send hand-sent or winkeyer CW from a PC over SmartLink and hear the sidetone back from the remote. This is hugely problematic because of latency. This is NOT what is required here at VE6WZ. Clearly this is why the Maestro generates a local CW sidetone with CWX and it works great. This is what Remoterig does also.

***The desire to have the sidetone returned from the remote is ONLY when using KEYBOARD CW from a logging program like N1MM. In this case the delay is a non-issue.***

At VE6WZ using Remoterig K3 twin set-up I have operated numerous CW contests by logging into the remote via TeamViewer (or other remote desktop apps) and used the PC at the remote to run N1MM to do all the logging and send the CW. The CW is always sent without error. Sending CW over the internet has proven to be un-reliable with my WISP provider. It seems to me that this should not be a complex functionality for the Flex team to implement. Just send the sidetone audio stream the same way the RX audio stream is sent. Obviously there needs to be a toggle to turn the sidetone off when using the Maestro to send CW which provides a local sidetone. Implementing this involves no complex solution for dealing with latency.

Here is the solution that works for me (quite well) based on the way I operate:

Most remote desktop applications stream audio from the remote computer. I have tested this with both TeamViewer and Splashtop.

Basically, I plug the headphone out from the Flex into the line-in on the PC. I configure the PC audio to send the line-out audio to the default play back device. This sends the radio audio via TeamViewer. The issue of coarse it that the RX audio is being sent during receive which will conflict with the SmartSdr rx audio. This is easily solved with a small box with a relay which mutes the audio during RX, but is toggled ON using a PTT out line from the Flex.
Now, when I operate....I have SmartSdr running on the PC in one window, TeamViewer in another window and send keyboard CW from the remote PC with the sidetone audio clearly provided. Smart Sdr sidetone level control controls the sidetone level.
Using a Maestro would prove a bit more complicated but would just require an audio-mixer to combine the audio from the PC (the sidetone audio) with the audio from the Maestro.

This is a work-a-round but it sure would be nice to have Flex provide the option to add the sidetone stream to the RX stream.

de steve VE6WZ.
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Tim Ellam

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And Steve you can confirm the Flexcontrol works remotely?

Tim VE6SH

Go Stamps
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Mark WS7M

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Agree.  The issue is with paddles.

My answer is technically correct.  Flex does not return the side town remote because they are concerned about latency.

I wish Flex would give us the returned side tone so we can decide if we want to use it.
(Edited)
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Steve Babcock

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Flexcontrol works perfectly via remote. This weekend was operating CQww via my laptop logged into my remote station 1000 km away. Flexcontrol works perfect with all functions.
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Steve Sutterer

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DJ controllers will work with SmartSDR? I've used one with PowerSDR, but was not aware there is an interface for SmartSDR... that would be ideal for remote (or local)...
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Yes, CWX works remotely. You can use winkeyer. No, there is no sidetone for winkeyer remotely, as far as I know.

N1MM can be on any PC, doesn't have to be the one running SmartSDR. It does have to run SmartSDR CAT (and DAX if you want to playback/record phone or use digital modes. ).

Paddles ARE possible without a maestro. Someone here developed a program to do it. 

No VPN is required. All you need is SmartLink. 


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Mark WS7M

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Ria, have you had a chance to look at Johns VPN issue?