Remote SDR Station Reference Architecture

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  • Updated 2 years ago
Some months ago, I posted a number of questions to this community asking for help in coming up with my remote station design. I received numerous extremely helpful replies and have received tremendous support from both this community and FlexRadio. I could not be happier with my FlexRadio experience so far, which is a testament to the high quality of both the company and this community.

I would like to share the results of my efforts and put forth a fledgling reference architecture of sorts for a remote station architecture, in the hopes it will help others who are moving in this direction.

A Software-Defined Radio Remote Station Design

I hope this information proves useful for others who are on their SDR remote station journey.

Best,
Rick
W5FCX
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Rick - W5FCX

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Posted 2 years ago

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Ross - K9COX

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Thank you for the effort Rick to publish your journey. Needless to say well done, I see you are an accomplished individual.
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David G4NRT / Z21NRT

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Excellent article Rick,  Thank you.  As we used to say in the mob: Bravo Zulu!
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ka7gzr

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Very good Rick. Well illustrated and very easy to follow!

Jim

ka7gzr

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W3EX -- Tom

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Nice article Rick. I have been doing remote ops for some time using Teamviewer, Skype for the audio paths, Digital Logger switch etc. I have not tackled VPN as yet. Am wondering if it is really needed unless you intend to remote the Maestro. I am still hoping that Flex will come out with a firmware upgrade that handles VPN. What do you recommend for VPN? I would rather not go the router method at both ends because of expense. I recently downloaded a software solution but it looks very complex to set up. Looking forward to you follow up post.
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Rick - W5FCX

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Thanks Tom.  Many of us are using SoftEther, which is a free VPN software solution that's very powerful, relatively easy to configure and flexible enough to run on a Windows PC or low-cost Raspberry Pi.  I believe many are running it successfully on the Raspberry Pi - you will find other posts here in the community and detailed YouTube videos for configuring it.

I can tell you for certain that Maestro does not do VPN and WAN well. It's not designed to tolerate higher latency networks like mine with slow, unpredictable DSL latencies and congestion.  

For me, the best VPN client is actually SmartSDR on iOS running on an iPad. It works very well, even in the face of relatively high network latency.
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W3EX -- Tom

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SoftEther is the one I tried, but need to spend more time with it. Will check out the youtube videos. I am very fortunate in having a FIOS 80/80 connection at the home end. Very nice. I see no latency within the LAN but anticipate issues when remote at some locations. I have run remotely from the Bahamas (cable modem) in the past before I had the flex system. Teamviewer combined with Skype for the audio paths has worked very well. I have had difficulty with the teamviewer based VOIP as compared to Skype. I also have a MARS station located at my QTH for ops in the area that don't have antenna capability. They use a TeamSpeak gateway that seems to work well. A digital logger switch is used on that system as well and overall control is done through teamviewer to the dedicated pc that the rig is attached to. It is all pretty magical when you think about where are hobby has evolved from. 
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Rick - W5FCX

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Thank you all.  Glad you liked the post.  More details will be forthcoming as time permits.  

Merry Christmas!
Rick
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Paul

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A good looking remote station Rick, thanks for sharing the details.

I would suggest only one additional item; a simple GSM controlled switch at the base station. A text or phone call to this device can then turn the AC to the transceiver on or off if the internet outage cannot be rectified by any of the other devices and you are stuck on transmit. "Belt and braces" if you like. Wise especially where the base station computer is windows based.

Happy Christmas.
(Edited)
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Rick- K2RB

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Great job Rick. I have been playing with remote for many years and your essay is a great guide. In January the Hudson Division has a seminar program called Ham Radio University where seminars are held in many different categories of ham radio. We get about 500 attendees and I hold a seminar on remote operating. This year with the addition of IOS, VPN and Maestro I hope to explain to the participants where it is today. Your article is very helpful and it gave me so many new ideas. Total revision is in the works. Thanks for your excellent work. Rick, K2RB
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Winston VK7WH

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Hello again Rick.

As some of my comments were off topic, I tried to respond to your reply to my posting on your website. Each time I try, I am asked to respond to the Capcha code but none is displayed.

Would it be easier for you to send me your email address to winston (dot) henry (at) bigpond (dot) com ?
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Rick - W5FCX

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Sorry about that. The Captch is removed.  My email is rbraddy (at) gmail (dot) com.

RIck
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Winston VK7WH

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Thanks Rick, my reply on your website went through this time. Also thanks for the PDF link.

Old habits die hard. Although I operate mostly on a paperless basis, I still like to have certain important documents all together in a folder. I suppose it's like still having one foot back in the last century!

Best 73

Winston