Friday, October 14, 2016

Complete Control of My K2 From A Site Far Away from Home

Well, I finally was able to successfully remote the K2 for the grand total price of $89.  The only thing that cost money is the USB controlled power strip that can be used to remotely turn the rig via a computer command.  Here are the cost savings compared to several options I have researched:

Alternative Options:

Remote Shack Option:

RBC-120REL Remote Control Relay $130 or RBC-9REL 120 Volt 8 Outlet Power Strip $180
RBC-212 $499.95 + $79.95 for the cable kit for the K2.   The RBC-212 is the remote box that is needed to interface to the power-on relay and to interface with the control computer.  All the features are better explained in  The remote shack option does not make any provision for CW operation unless the software you choose can provide this functionality through software.

Remote shack box + cable = $580
Remote Power switch = $180
Software (Ham Radio Deluxe) = $100

Total Cost = $860

Remote Rig Option:

The "remote rig" option invlves "two black boxes".  One black box connects to the remote rig and the other black box connect to the control device.  The control device can be a K3 Twin, a K3/0, or a Rig with a removeable head that can function as a "twin" or a computer that runs software such as HRD, TRX Manager, N4PY, etc.  The remote box has an input for a remote paddle unlike the remote shack for those that love CW.  The cost for the The RRC1258Mk2s remote rig boxes is $499 from Ham Radio Outlet.  You still need a device to power on the rig remotely, for this you need the Microbit Webswitch 1216H.   The web switch is $184 excluding VAT.

Remote Rig Boxes = $500
Microbit Webswitch = $184
Software (Ham radio Deluxe) = $100

NY4G Option:

Have my K2 interface directly to a remote computer.  The rig is controlled via CAT commands.  When I am in the shack I can control my rig through the computer or manually (the old fashioned way) by turning the VFO and the radio buttons myself.  The remote functionality is through the internet dialing in to my remote computer via Team Viewer (free).  You can also use Logmein which provides the same functionality for $149 per year for 2 computers.  The audio is managed through Skype.   You basically set up a Skype account for the remote rig.   You call the remote rigs computer Skype account and you can hear all the audio from the remote compute.  It helps if you have a high end USB microphone like a Snowball available from for $59.  SSB is a little tricky and has to be done via VOX and a headset microphone positioned near the computer speaker.  The software I am using is K2S.  Here is the breakdown of the costs assuming you already have a dedicated computer in the shack that you otherwise use for computer logging and other things:

Remote Power Strip - USB Controlled = $89
Software - K2S - Free
Remote Log-In Software - Teamviewer 11 = Free

Total Cost = $89

Savings over Remote Rig  = $784-$89 = $695
Savings over Remote Shack = $860-$89 = $771

Step by Step Instructions:

(1) Dial in to the Remote Computer Via Teamviewer 11 from the Control Computer  - establish remote control over the computer
(2) Call the Remote Computer via Skype.  Accept the Skype call through the remote interface
(3) Power up the remote radio using a command issued through the remote computer to turn on the power supply circuit.  At this point you should be able to hear radio through the Skype audio.
(4) Execute the K2S rig control program

You can now get on the air remotely.  You can do everuything to your rig as if you were in front of it. The only thing you can not see is the SWR.  In my case I use resonant antennas so that is not an issue.

I will have a YouTube video demonstration in a later blog post..

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