Using Amazon Alexa to Start/Stop your Station

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Since I have several of the Amazon Alexa products in my home and much of my home is controlled by automation I decided to create an Alexa routine to Start and Stop two of my ham stations.

There are several Alexa aware power strips but in this case I chose to use this one: Web Power Switch Pro Model https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0765NCB2L/...

Here is the example Alexa routine that I use. Now with a simple voice routine I can turn two different Flex radios and associated hardware on and off.





73,

Mack
W4AX
Alpha Team
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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  • works well

Posted 2 months ago

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John - AI4FR

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Same here but I am using different hardware.

Basically when I say good morning to my cell phone, it tells me the WX, news, appointments, etc., as well as turning on all the equipment in the shack. From there various software programs are started automatically. In short, when I come in to the shack I just need to find a station to work.

The above is also useful if I have early morning appointments away from home. As I get close to the QTH, the above routine is ran so that amateur radio operation is ready before I walk in the door.

A reverse procedure is done when I am finished operating for the day. In stead of coming back in to the shack to turn things off, I run a routine that does it automatically.
(Edited)
Photo of Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

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Nice! I'm adopting Alexa in my home recently (going thru phases). What hardware are you using to turn on the radio? I know power strips and plugs can be turned on/off but the Flex itself, how do you turn it on/off?

Santiago
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Santiago,

I use this relay Enclosed AC/DC Power Relay with Protection & De-Bounce. Screw Terminals. 120V Trigger Input. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017743I7S/...

I connect a home brew cable from the relay contacts to the REM ON connector on the back of the radio. Remember to enable Remote On in SSDR setup.

73,

Mack
W4AX
Alpha Team
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Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

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Thanks Mack. Will certainly look into that. 
Photo of Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

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Mack, good morning. Took the liberty to drop you an email.
Santiago
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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Santiago,

I'll reply later today.

Mack
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Ross - K9COX

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Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

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Thanks Ross. Will be checking on these.
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Bob G W1GLV

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I've been using these for a couple years, no hiccups.
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John - AI4FR

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I use 5 of them but purchased two of the 4 packs. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079MFTYMV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Santiago, To power cycle my Flex 6700 I use a relay I found in my junk box(I have 100's of odd ones) which is controlled(powered) by a wall wart.

N1VE made a very nice and simple drawing of a relay and wall wart which can be seen below.



Photo of Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

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Nice! Drawing really helps understands....that'll be my next project for sure!. 

Thanks,

Santiago
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Robert Lonn

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ABSOLUTELY NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!  The Voice Command used Will Not Work!!!!! Please use the one below, thanks!!!

Alexa Turn On Station One and  have "RobotDog" bring me a Bud Light!! That is the only command that will work!!!! :-) 

Robert
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Justin - KL2D

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If you’re an Apple guy, I am using an iDevices smart switch

 https://store.idevicesinc.com/idevices-switch/

To turn on a Digital Loggers AC relay to turn the flex off and on

 https://www.digital-loggers.com/ac.html

Which then controls the rest of the shack hardware with a couple of West Mountain Radio power strips (there’s probably a more efficient way to do this but I had two left over from a different project)

 http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=rr_4010s_plus

The switch is controllable with Apple HomeKit, Siri, etc. 

Just another way to skin the cat...

73
Justin
KL2D
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Joe N3HEE

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I wrote an Alexa skill to learn Morse code. It’s called Continuous Wave. Give it a try !

I also use Alexa to turn my radio, power supply and shack lights on and off. This is done through Home Assistant home automation hub. It can be controlled locally or remotely without using the vendor’s cloud service.
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Steve Potter

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If you use Google Home/Assistant, or whatever its called currently, here is a simple and very inexpensive solution to provide both local and remote control over the radio power and mains power.

I have created a two-stage remote power system, stage 1 will switch on or off the mains power to your PSU, and stage 2 performs the graceful power on/off of the 6000 series radio.

You can stay at stage 1; the only downside is that you are effectively shutting off the power to the radio rather than a graceful shutdown via remote control.

Stage 1 consists of a Google Assistant / Alexa controlled mains socket, such as the TP Link Kasa or Jomarto smart sockets which I use: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07LBNPPTF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

1. Insert your smart plug into your mains socket and follow the instructions to set it up with your Google or Alexa, you can then plug your 13.8v power supply into it. This is often a two stage process in itself as many IOT devices use their own software to setup, and then link into the Google Home or Alexa controls.

2. Your 6000 series radio and accessories would be connected to the 13.8v supply

3. In SmartSDR enable Remote on.

4. Make up a phono lead and plug this into the Remote socket at the back of the radio, to stay at Stage 1 just short out the cable. By shorting the cable, when power is applied to the radio it will automatically switch on.

Stage 2 consists on adding a relay to control the remote socket of the radio

1.       Obtain a low voltage smart relay such as this from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07V739ZRD?tag=amz-mkt-chr-uk-21&ascsubtag=1ba00-01000-org00-win10-other-nomod-uk000-pcomp-feature-scomp-wm-5&ref=aa_scomp_srdg2&th=1

2.       I suggest you encase it in a suitable project box.

3.       Connect the 7-32v power input to your 13.8v power supply

4.       Set it up with its app downloaded (eWeLink) and check it operates on command, add it to your Google Home or Alexa.

5.       Connect the Remote cable you made earlier to the Normally Open connections of the relay

This way you power on the 13.8v supply via the mains smart socket, which also powers the relay board, by connecting the remote cable to the normally open connections the 6000 series radio will stay switched off,  once the relay board is powered on (give it a few seconds to power up) command the relay to close, and your 6000 series radio will switch on, you should normally turn the radio off with the relay first before optionally switching off the mains. Ensure you select the latched mode rather than inch mode on the relay board.

You can create a Google Home Routine to combine the commands, but I find it better to have the two independent. You can add more smart power plugs to control more devices, and there is a multi relay board available as well.

I also have my Auto ATU powered by my 13.8v supply and my transverter, so these are always ready when power is switched on.

Full remote power control for less than £25.

This solution does need a 2.4Ghz Wifi and Internet access to work, most IOT devices do not support Mesh WiFi but my TPLink Deco Mesh WiFi has a guest mode and I leave that on 2.4Ghz only and it works fine, properly password protected of course.

How does this work over the Internet??? Well I am unsure of Alexa as I moved over to Google Home a while ago, but with Google Home, as long as you use the same account on your mobile Google Home app as on the Google Home Mini or whatever hub device you have, you can switch devices on and off over the internet just using the Google Home app.

NB: I quickly glossed over the setup procedures for the plug and relay, but they all follow a similar process, should you use the devices here I can help if required. In effect you need to register your username (email) and password with the recommended application for the device, connect to the 2.4Ghz WiFi and connect to the device, you can then use the app to check the device control works. In Google Home, you need to press + to setup a device and choose the ‘Works with Google Option’ and then scroll down the long list to the application name you have just setup, you will have to enter the same username and password you setup earlier and then any devices controlled by that app will be added to Google Home. You can move them to the right room i.e. Shack, and change the name of the control if necessary, mine are called ShackPower and FlexRadio.

I can control easily by voice when I am home, but remotely I need to use the Google Home app and click the controls.

This all looks a chore, but if you have ever played with voice controlled lighting or power, its very simple, takes longer to read than to do.
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KF4HR

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I use an Insteon Hub (and Alexa Skill) to control 120vac and low voltage connections, but unfortunately Insteon does not sell a 240v/30a switching device.  I'm curious what others are using to remotely power on/off their 240v powered HF Amplifier? 
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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I use a 240VAC contactor with a 120 VAC relay. 
​Packard C340B 3 Pole 40 Amp Contactor 120 Volt Coil Contactor
by Heating & Cooling Parts
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZRWG9C/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_odDUDb2F15QZM

Then I turn the 120 VAC relay on and off using a small WiFi enabled switch. 

73,

Mack
W4AX
Alpha Team
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KF4HR

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Thanks Mac.  I received the 3-pole 40A Contactor today.  My plan is to use an Insteon 120vac On/Off module to key it, and my Echo Dot for voice control.  After I get this arrangement put together I plan to relocate my PG-XL to my wiring closet.  Should make for a much quieter shack. :)
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Mack McCormick, Elmer

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I am a big advocate of a completely quiet shack. I too have my PGXL at my antenna entry point and it works beautifully. You can see a pic of it's location here: https://www.qrz.com/db/W4AX . I have have taken measure to have dead quiet computers and other devices. 

You can also see a pic of my contactor to power on/off the amp at QRZ page above.

73,

Mack
W4AX
Alpha Team
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Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

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Hello all. Happy to say that with the help of this community (including offline help by Mack and John) I ́ve been able to incorporate remote power on/off of my station. 

I ́m using an enclosed ac/dc relay and rca cable to power on/off my Flex 6300, along with Gosund Smart Sockets for the radio, power supply, rotor control box and shack pc (including my 3 monitors). I will be incorporating an Acom 600S and some led lights to the equation in next couple of weeks. 

I added a couple of Scenarios on Gosund Iphone App to turn on/off the Flex only, the Flex and Power Supply, the whole shack environment, etc. and in turn I ́ve created routines on my Alex app to execute the Gosund scenarios. 

I ́m really thankful for the help in the Flex Community. One more goal achieved on my Flex system journey.

Now, on to my next project: installing and setting up my Green Heron Select8 with Wireless Base antena switch. 

73 

Santiago
HI8SMX



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John - AI4FR

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Awesome Santiago!! Really glad to hear it is coming together.

Kind of a "wow factor" when you flip things on for the first time using a cell phone.
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Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

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Yes, it is!. I also created an automation that when the weather is "rainy" at my QTH the shack is turned off completely. 

Thanks for your help John.

Santiago
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John - AI4FR

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Santiago Mejia - HI8SMX

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Agree.

I bet Mack has something like that already!
(Edited)