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[TowerTalk] Remote station operation

Subject: [TowerTalk] Remote station operation
From: David J Rodman MD <>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 07:53:17 -0500
List-post: <>
Hi, I believe that my station is the most complex full featured internet control station anywhere. The project started when I had a high voltage short at my house which took out half of my ham equipment. When I rebuilt the station, I decided to go from analog station control features to digital. Moreover, the changes had to be usable if one was actually operating at the station and not via internet. There are lots of ways to do this. My situation was pretty unique because I have 12 antennas, 8 rotors, now 5 listening antennas, steerable parasitic elements for 160m, low band preamplifier, battery backup for the transceiver. Several of the yagis are stacked and I use a WX0B with a dual feed line to control a 3 yagi array for 10m. I have a 4Square for 80m and an amplifier. I wanted it all accessable over the internet and I wanted everything to work transparently.

I use PCAnywhere for station control. I have been using EyeBall Chat for audio. The transceiver is Ten-Tec Orion. The amplifier is Alpha87A. The Orion control software, the Alpha and the TIC ring rotor software is available commercially. All my antenna switching is via special program coded for me using the Alpha DAS box (I have 5 of them). I interfaced the station slowly and made one or two functions at a time. It took months to make work properly and has been up and running for about a year now. I do not show this off. I do not have a web site or brag. It just works and I use it.

Most important problems and observations to overcome was the creating of latching interfaces with the DAS boxes. They are ON/OFF controllers. For example, one might want to switch and hold a receive antenna while changing a transmit antenna. I chose this method. I have lots of CMOS boxes and relays to hold functions so that the DAS box can go to some other spot. One might also write and use software to directly control COM or USB port switch interfaces. Also, the audio is slow. There is about 1200 to 1500 msec delay by the time the signal goes from my office to the station. This is fine using CW or especially RTTY or PSK. Pileups are a bit difficult as I come back slowly and often find myself calling when I shouldn't. In the old days we called people like that LIDS. This is not a contest setup. I have to be physically at the station for that activity. I have worked SSB DX also, but the audio has some digital characteristics I would like to modify, but haven't had the time. I am mostly a CW fan and to be honest the maintenance on this setup is very exhaustive. The station is in a remote location and when I service it on the weekends, typically I get up at about 3AM, drive to the site, work all day and return "home" by dinner time. Family functions often interfere and the workload is staggering. I will be happy to offer specific details later but right now, I am out of time. Good luck.

See: for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless Weather Stations", and lot's more. Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any questions and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.

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