[CQ-Contest] Contest station automation

Gerry Hull gerry at yccc.org
Wed Oct 28 19:26:22 EDT 2015

Hi Guy,

Very interesting project!

I'm writing a universal antenna controller app for windows that will
control any of the following relay boards.  They can be configured to
control any standard antenna relay switch, from DowKey SPST to  Six-packs
or Ameritron switches.   These following very low cost solutions can
automate in-shack switching arrangements.  I'm interested in internet-based
controllers as I'm doing a lot of remote ham radio.

USB Solution:

This FTDI FT232H breakout board has a USB connector and drivers for every
OS.  It has 16 GPIO (input/output) pins.  It's $14.95.  A bonus is that is
has an EEPROM where you can program the chip with an english name (in case
you want more than one in system.)


Along with that, here's a 16-relay IO board, opto-isolated, with 10A DPDT
relays.  $16.28.  Mates perfectly with the above board.


Both these sellers are in the US.

Ethernet (internet-based) solutions:


The problem with the above is that it is only 8 ports.  For switches like
the six pack

Here's the same thing with 16-relays, web controlled, for much less money
(but no case).  (It is the same $16.26 relay board as above, but with an
Ethernet controller and web interface.)


You need 16 relays to control 2x6 or 2x8 switch.

I am actively coding  a Windows app hat will control any number of
different antenna switches.   It will have a common user interface,
user-configurable, and driver modules for the various relay boards.  I'll
make it available to the ham community when complete.

I'm also looking broadly at how every component in a common contest station
(Rigs, Amps, Antenna Switches, Power Meters, etc) can be remote controlled
using common, standardized protocols meant for high-speed real-time
communication over internet protocols.  (Websockets, Javascript objects,

If any of this is interesting to you or any other contester, get in touch
with me.

73, Gerry W1VE
gerry [at] w1ve.com

On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 4:49 PM, Guy Molinari <guy_molinari at hotmail.com>

> Hello fellow contesters,     I've been thinking about how to automate my
> station even more and help eliminate some of the missteps that can occur at
> 2am when I am really sleepy.    Also, anyone building a contest station
> knows how damn expensive copper has become.    So in the ham spirit I
> started working on some WiFi based antenna switching hardware.    Also,
> given how cheap LCD TFT touch screens are becoming I decided to incorporate
> a highly customizable UI into the mix.    Here is a video of my efforts to
> date:
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktlY2si2bK4
> If this is of interest, please contact me at molinariguy at gmail.com
> Would be great to get someone with a large station to try this out.
> 73,Guy, N7ZG
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