Cell Phone Control Of Your Ham Radio w/o A Cellphone Cable!

Some products in the electronics world are amazingly complex and after taking a good amount of time to understand and set-up, they work.  In the past 24 hours or so I was VERY happy to see just how seemingly simple to set-up and use the remote station platform called RCForb really is.

I certainly am no Electrical Engineer or Software Guru.  I have been a ham for 10 years and have worked the digital side of ham radio for maybe 5 – 6 years.  So – my caveat is that some of this MAY seem simple because I have been through it before, have made my mistakes, and know what not to do and what TO do.  I am also pure Polish, so…  smile.

Here is a link to the THREE components of this magic that I am running:

http://www.remotehams.com

NOTE:  You have to be a licensed ham to use all the capabilities of the system.  To prove that, they require that you upload an OFFICIAL COPY of your FCC license.  There are other types of copies you can obtain from the FCC.  The Official Copy can be tough to obtain, but is free!  To get it you will need to go the FCC.gov’s ULS database and use your FRN number and password to request it.  If you can’t find those and or forgot them – you can reset your password easily.  For the FRN number you need to contact their support people through their website – or call, etc..  Given the amount of requests they must get I think they respond pretty quickly.  “Grumpy Guss” probably won’t agree.  He’s “that guy” that will grouse about anything…  My scientific sample is based on one personal interaction years ago…

Now – you can control OTHER’s ham radios with TWO pieces of software from the website above.  You need the SERVER software (third piece) if you want to control your own and optionally allow others to also control your hardware.

There was an article in the recent version of QST magazine about this system that got me interested.  The article was quite good.  I was able to read the article, find and download the software, install it on my PC and Android smartphone, register for the system, upload my license, configure all components to at least acceptable functionality for my needs – all without any material amount of time reading manuals.

I found menus straight forward.  Another caveat.  I do run Ham Radio Deluxe on my PC and run a RTL-SDR radio with various software.  Because of that, many of the setting requirements made sense to me and I was able to pretty much breeze through the process.

I wrote this blog post for a couple of reasons.  One is to give credit to the creators of the system.  The other is to give them some free advertising for their fine product(s).  Mission accomplished!  I now am able to listen to our ham radio base station literally from anywhere in the world.  For me, this is likely to be in the living room, bedroom and maybe while out mowing the golf course.

Good luck with the system.  I saw and downloaded the manuals and fully intend to read through those (in typical male fashion) now that the installation is complete and functional.

Until next time – stay radio active!

73,

 

Jon E. Kreski – AB9NN

www.AB9NN.com

www.HamRadioResources.com

www.HamRadioResources.com/store

www.twitter.com/AB9NN

Things I Haven’t Done For A Really Long Time

Things I Don’t Do Any More: · Run about 200 educational and fellowship training nets for ARES/RACES as Emergency Coordinator. Each week having a training topic, a training question and time for instruction and fellowship. · Do severe storm spotting as I did for the past 10 years, running a … Continue reading

Ugly Heavy Duty Portable Tunable HF Antenna Mount

Being a relative newbie to antenna mount creation I fully realize there are a lot of things that this particular cobbled together portable HF antenna and mounting system is not. My objective was NOT to create a well engineered mounting system that I could manufacture and sell. Why? I am a humble bean-counter that was bored enough to study enough to pass my ham radio licenses. Rather, I had some spare parts from prior radio projects, an old tire replaced on a boat trailer and an idea that combined an ARES / RACES cached set of mounts and antennas PLUS a shelving project plan I saw in Handyman magazine that used commercial pipes and flanges for the supports. I priced that out for my ham shack shelving and found I could use other materials for far less cost. If you watch Dave Ramsey on YouTube or such – you will see a really nice set of shelves. Very helpful to envision what is possible, thank you very much! When I thought about this project – these various components just all came together to form this system.

Before I lose you – here are it’s strengths – and then the nitti gritty details of how to build it and how it operates:

* Portable. This system breaks down and unscrews to components that can fit in a car.

* Sturdy. I suspect, but am not sure, that this will survive un-guyed to somewhere around 90 mph. I have tested this system during the NW Lower MI winter of 2017. It endured high winds of around 50 mph, an ice storm, snows, rains, accumulating snows, melting snows, direct sunlight, very cold temps, etc.. Why use a heavy tire when some elegantly designed aluminum tripods are available that are much lighter to transport long distances? Because my objective was to have this mount survive an entire winter. The tire sits nicely atop snow. A tripod may not. The tire is also heavy – that provides more resistance to tipping. I had to move this a number of times during the winter for snowplowing purposes, etc.. The tire concept served my purposes well. I know for use on an apartment deck or backpacking long distances an ultra-lightweight tripod would probably be better. If you want to have something you can assemble and see it “still standing” at the end of the deployment – weather that’s a week or a year – then this rugged mount fits the bill!

* Quickly Deployable. Once constructed (welded, etc.) this can be taken from car to field- ready deployment in… minutes. My guess is 10 or so although I did not put a stopwatch to it.

* Reasonable Cost. We replaced some tires on our boat and had some extras in the garage. I would not use them for long trips with the trailer, but for this purpose they were just fine.

* Tuneable – With or Without A Tuner! The Wolf River Coil has a tunable element – a plastic sleeve if you will. This sleeve anchors a piece of strong spring steel that is “bent” into a V notch. That sleeve can be loosened with a plastic bolt and the sleeve can be slid – with some force – up and down along the coil. It takes, for me, a pretty good amount of force to move it. Their website gives approximate number of “clicks” needed to tune the coil, to a given band. With the 102” whip I was able to work 160 – 20 meters. Tuning will be discussed below. Other bands are possible with shorter whips.

* Changeable. The top flange was used so that different mounts for different antennas could be quickly deployed. Unscrew the current one and screw a new one on, reattach the radials (future improvement?) and off you go!

* Enhanceable This project could be taken in several new directions, depending on your technical prowess with automotive mechanics, etc.. For example – if I knew how and had the time and funds for it – it would be really cool to have a matched set of these. A phased array or ground mounted beam comes to mind. Or – Have a light weight axle connecting the two of them. Have a little platform that would sit on the axle and would have the rest of the components fastened to it – with bungee cords, ropes, straps, etc.. Have a light weight post and handle attached to the axle. This could be driven to a woodsy location, assembled as a cart, then pulled by hand for a good distance over rough terrain for remote deployment. Don’t forget the battery, of course! Continue reading

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