Remote Operation

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  • Updated 6 months ago

This was my first foray into remote operation at a different site with a Flex (although I did run a remote station with the RRC/Elecraft combo in the past).

The remote site is some 700km away, but with high speed cable internet available (but, limited cell service). I am using a 6600 and a Digital Loggers  web switch all installed in a rack mount. There is a computer at the remote end and I have found it easiest to use Teamviewer to control the web switch and any other peripherals. The only antenna up at the moment is a 80m sloper.

I did have an initial problem connecting with Smartlink. The service which installed the internet service and other electronics swore to me that the Cable modem was in bridge mode (and it appeared that way when I looked at the router). I put out a plea for help to the community and Tim suggested it was likely the modem was not in bridge mode. A call to the Cable company confirmed this and they were able to remotely put the modem in bridge mode which resulted in Smartlink working (through an IQrouter). Even with UpNP enabled I still had to manually forward the ports though.

Testing last night from my home QTH worked very well. The only issue is the Cable service at the remote site. I have high speed at the remote end at am seeing 83 down and 14 up with no buffer bloat which is very good. However, I am at the tail end of the cable service and during peak periods (early evening) the speed drops dramatically (14 down and under a meg up with bloat). As I plan to do mainly low band operation from the remote site this should not be too much of an issue and I have asked the Cable company to look into the service(I am not holding my breath).

Many of you provided suggestions and helpful comments over the weekend. Thank you!

73

Tim VE6SH

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Tim Ellam

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Posted 6 months ago

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Steve

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Smartlink needs a lot of work..it works ok on the LAN but leaves a lot to be desired on the WAN side.  I am just finishing up a month long trip and I have had many connections issues along the way.  I  COMPLETELY understand many of the connection issues involved with "the cloud"  BUT when I can run Teamviewer and Skype much more succesfully than this application it concerns me.  I do not know how it is designed and what the problems are but as an end user I really do not care.  I just want it to work properly.  I understand it will never be completely without problems without a dedicated circuit between me and the radio but the amount of receive dropouts has been terrible.  I also have NO waterfall and unless minimized no panadapter.  I did setup a VPN and got the panadapter and waterfall back bit it seems I should not have to do that.  I recently bought the 6500 for "Smartlink" and dumped the 5000...shame on me.  The 5000 was a terrific radio.  Anyway enuff rambling.  Hopefully the deficiencies will get resolved.  Oh, and on the LAN I have panadapter "reflections" on the display.  I have been thru all of the common fixes for these problems with no results.  FlexRadio needs to take another look at how they are doing "Smartlink' .  Again, sorry for the rambling. 
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Bill -VA3WTB

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This is one thing about using our radios over networks, It is almost impossible for Flex to account for every network configuration in the world. Steve mentioned in another post that Flex is working at this time to improve some things using the maestro abroad. You may have missed that.

I for one have used my laptop in many places here in Ontario Canada with very good results. the networks in the areas must have be setup fine for Smarlink.
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Tim Ellam

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I think Bill is right. The networks are the unknown factor. We have limited choice in Canada for high speed (Cable or Telco) and so far in my experience the larger services seem to work ok with Smartlink. I know where I live outside of the major cities high speed is very limited and you are dependent on WiMax with less than stellar results. At the remote location the only option for high speed is Cable as the Telco does not offer it and I have limited to no cell service so a LTE hotspot would not be an option.

73

Tim VE6SH



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Bob - W7KWS -

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I've been running remote very successfully for well over ten years using Windows native Remote Desktop for visuals and a SIP VOIP application for audio. I've run many rigs this way, most recently my Flex 6300.


One thing is clear, Remote Desktop, SIP and many other network-centric apps have indeed been designed for every network that I've encountered including dozens of McDonalds, Starbucs and various hotels. They all work.  I'm confident that SmartLink will achieve this level of usability as soon as Flex accounts for the large packet problem they have recently identified and then add in a splash screen for logon that's required at many remote locations.

Designing for the great majority of networks is done routinely by many others but there appears to be a learning curve Flex is working through.  But it isn’t the end of the world while they do this. When frustrated by SmartLink’s current weaknesses, you can work around them.  To do this run SmartSDR on the PC at your station and access it with Remote Desktop. See the photo below for a picture of this using my cell phone.  It’s quite usable on the full HD, 5.5” screen using pinch zoom but a mouse and nice large laptop or tablet works even better.

(Edited)
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W2PP

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Regarding your Digital loggers, you mentioned using it via Teamviewer. I run a remote observatory and having the web page of the Digital loggers switch in my browser is very fast.  Just port forward one port to the internal IP address of the switch and then you'll have the ability to keep the DL web page open on your desk top. 

In my case, the computer locally turns all the gear on and operates independently of me.....98 percent of the time!  But, it sure is nice for testing during the day to have that web page, try it, you'll find it very helpful.

Did you setup auto ping?  You should, routers choke, things happen.  The DL switch can restart your router/modem combo, save you a ton of aggravation.  One last reason if this last one isn't enough, to expose the web page is if your computer chokes, OR Teamviewer doesn't work for some reason, and it happens, you can reset the computer independently via the DL web page inside your home browser.

We also use Raritan switches which allow complete command of the computer from afar, thus if the HD dies you can still save yourself.

HTH
Peter
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Here is the web pages for my 2 digitalloggers. And yes the auto ping reboot saved me several times.
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Ryan - NC4RA

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I just purchased the digital loggers web power switch pro and purchased the iPad app. The switch seems to be much beefier than using something like a wemo. I’ve only played with it for a few minutes but I’m having problems getting the app to see it. I can control it via the webpage no problem. I’m starting to think that the app doesn’t support the new model?

Ryan, NC4RA
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Tim Ellam

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Could be. I have had no luck with the Pro either. The Oder web switch works fine with the app.

Tim VE6SH
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W2PP

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Not sure of your complete setup, but, is port forwarding setup inside your router?  Otherwise I don''t know how it could talk to the app?
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Ryan - NC4RA

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Thanks Peter for pointing me in right direction. I haven’t setup anything really other than initial setup / ip
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Tim Ellam

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Howard. Yes. I have my home station on this app, but it does not appear to let you add a second power switch at a different location. I called DL and they suggested a couple of changes but no luck. They could not be of further assistance as the app is by a third party not DL.

Tim VE6SH
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Tim

The pictur above shows my iPad app with two digital loggers switches on it. That app definitely will take more than one device
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W2PP

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I've never seen that web page, looks like an Iphone perhaps.  I use windows which explains why I've never seen that one.  Sounds like you have it pretty well sorted.  Still, port forwarding is not hard to arrange, then get your public IP and voila.  It would look something like this:
66.68.247.102:4001
and the web log in should pop right up.
HTH
Peter
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I use Smartlink but keep a VPN as a fallback. VPN sometimes works better. It gets over the fragmentation issue.

Ria
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Like Ria I use both SmartLink and VPN

Plus I have a backup cell service link into my home network in case my cable modem service fails which it has a couple times when I was thousands of miles away.

When remote. You cannot have too much redundancy.