HF Remote Antenna (not radio) ?

ScubaJungle

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I upgraded to General a few days ago and Im really enjoying HF.
Since my situation right now doesn't allow the best set up, I would like to put up an antenna at my family's property up north - they have 10 or so acres.
Does anyone have any experience with setting up remote antenna configurations - and only the antenna? I know that doing a remote rig set up is fairly easy, but I would like to have my rig here so I can use my qth antenna when I want to, since it does work well and Im sure there will be times when one is better than the other.

Software, hardware, etc suggestions?
 

popnokick

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I want to be certain I understand what you're asking: You want to put an antenna far away (several hundred miles?) from your radio and use it remotely without having a radio at the remote site? It's not possible to remote an antenna due to what would be huge and unacceptable losses in RF via the transmission line... even if you could find a coax long enough (or a provider to supply several hundred miles of coax?). You're going to need a transceiver and antenna at the remote site... and remotely control the radio (lots of ways to do that).
 
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mmckenna

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Can't be done the way you want.

You'll need a radio at your family's property and control it remotely.

While there are ways to convert small sections of the RF spectrum to an optical signal, it still requires some RF equipment at the antenna. It's done now in the cellular industry, but it requires dedicated fiber optic connections between the equipment. The cost of getting a dedicated fiber across part of the state is going to be way, way, way, way, way out of your budget. And getting the custom equipment to do it is just going to double that cost. Much easier, cheaper and sane to have a dedicated remotely controlled HF radio at your remote location.
 

prcguy

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The OPs family property sounds like a great candidate for a RemoteRig setup. The Icon IC-7100 is a favorite to RemoteRig because its got great performance HF through 70cm and the control head has a built in speaker making for nice desk setup. I have three IC-7100s all used remote with one in So Cal, one near Dallas, TX and one near Boston, MA.

I'm currently vacationing in Big Bear, CA with a RemoteRig box with IC-7100 control head and I can connect it to any of my remote radios across the country. Right now its on the So Cal radio so I can chat with friends in my home neighborhood on 2m simplex and later I'll see whats going on on some Dallas 2m repeaters then maybe check into the ECARS net on 40m on the east coast.

A 10 acre plot in Fl gives a lot of options for HF antennas. If the OP doesn't want to put a RemoteRig there, can I?


Can't be done the way you want.

You'll need a radio at your family's property and control it remotely.

While there are ways to convert small sections of the RF spectrum to an optical signal, it still requires some RF equipment at the antenna. It's done now in the cellular industry, but it requires dedicated fiber optic connections between the equipment. The cost of getting a dedicated fiber across part of the state is going to be way, way, way, way, way out of your budget. And getting the custom equipment to do it is just going to double that cost. Much easier, cheaper and sane to have a dedicated remotely controlled HF radio at your remote location.
 

K4EET

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@ScubaJungle, One thing to keep in mind is this. While you may not have a "real" transceiver at your QTH, the remote these days will very often mimic the look and feel of a real transceiver on a computer screen. If you get a newer radio that is made for remote operations or even a software defined radio (SDR), you might like what you have on the computer screen even better than the actual transceiver. Ask around at your local club and see if any members might have some examples for you to take a look at. 73, Dave
 

ScubaJungle

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I want to be certain I understand what you're asking: You want to put an antenna far away (several hundred miles?) from your radio and use it remotely without having a radio at the remote site? It's not possible to remote an antenna due to what would be huge and unacceptable losses in RF via the transmission line... even if you could find a coax long enough (or a provider to supply several hundred miles of coax?). You're going to need a transceiver and antenna at the remote site... and remotely control the radio (lots of ways to do that).
Not quite, its 33 miles, but Im not talking about running coax, I meant running a remote rig type set up but with only the antenna.
Can't be done the way you want.

You'll need a radio at your family's property and control it remotely.

While there are ways to convert small sections of the RF spectrum to an optical signal, it still requires some RF equipment at the antenna. It's done now in the cellular industry, but it requires dedicated fiber optic connections between the equipment. The cost of getting a dedicated fiber across part of the state is going to be way, way, way, way, way out of your budget. And getting the custom equipment to do it is just going to double that cost. Much easier, cheaper and sane to have a dedicated remotely controlled HF radio at your remote location.
Yeah, fiber optic cables for 33 miles is not going to be anywhere near my budget! It would be cool though! Thanks, at least I know what Im looking at now. I thought I would save money by avoiding an extra radio, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Luckily the remote rig set up is also pretty easy to do.

The OPs family property sounds like a great candidate for a RemoteRig setup. The Icon IC-7100 is a favorite to RemoteRig because its got great performance HF through 70cm and the control head has a built in speaker making for nice desk setup. I have three IC-7100s all used remote with one in So Cal, one near Dallas, TX and one near Boston, MA.

I'm currently vacationing in Big Bear, CA with a RemoteRig box with IC-7100 control head and I can connect it to any of my remote radios across the country. Right now its on the So Cal radio so I can chat with friends in my home neighborhood on 2m simplex and later I'll see whats going on on some Dallas 2m repeaters then maybe check into the ECARS net on 40m on the east coast.

A 10 acre plot in Fl gives a lot of options for HF antennas. If the OP doesn't want to put a RemoteRig there, can I?
Wow, cool. That would be a great rig to use for that too. I wonder if I can even get it set up in my car via a hotspot on my phone or something.

I should start an antenna farm up there, lol.
:ROFLMAO:

@ScubaJungle, One thing to keep in mind is this. While you may not have a "real" transceiver at your QTH, the remote these days will very often mimic the look and feel of a real transceiver on a computer screen. If you get a newer radio that is made for remote operations or even a software defined radio (SDR), you might like what you have on the computer screen even better than the actual transceiver. Ask around at your local club and see if any members might have some examples for you to take a look at. 73, Dave
Thanks, I have played around with some of the software, like Ham radio deluxe, and I agree the screens are great, often better.


My biggest concerns are software/hardware issues. I've been having this issue with Ham Radio Deluxe/IC-7300 where I will transmit PSK31 (or any digital mode), and if the volume is too high, or whatever is not perfect, the radio will time out and hang on transmit.
Im pretty sure this is from too much RF energy coming through the cable and back to the computer - I've added ferrites and chokes and it has helped a lot, but hasn't solved the issue. My concern is something like that would happen, and then I can't shut/restart the radio. Ill have to iron out the issues before using digital I suppose.
 

ra7850

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The OPs family property sounds like a great candidate for a RemoteRig setup. The Icon IC-7100 is a favorite to RemoteRig because its got great performance HF through 70cm and the control head has a built in speaker making for nice desk setup. I have three IC-7100s all used remote with one in So Cal, one near Dallas, TX and one near Boston, MA.

I'm currently vacationing in Big Bear, CA with a RemoteRig box with IC-7100 control head and I can connect it to any of my remote radios across the country. Right now its on the So Cal radio so I can chat with friends in my home neighborhood on 2m simplex and later I'll see whats going on on some Dallas 2m repeaters then maybe check into the ECARS net on 40m on the east coast.

A 10 acre plot in Fl gives a lot of options for HF antennas. If the OP doesn't want to put a RemoteRig there, can I?
pcrguy,

I'd love to hear more about how you're doing this remote connectivity, would you mind elaborating on the details?

Thanks
 

prcguy

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The Icom IC-7100 has a remote head with about 15ft of cable between the head and the radio guts. Audio and serial commands pass along the cable. The RemoteRig boxes replace that cable with the Internet, so the radio guts live somewhere with power and antennas then you are free to take the control head and microphone anywhere you have Internet so it can connect back to the radio guts.

There is also a WiFi option for the RemoteRig boxes so you can even tether the control head side to your cell phone as a hot spot and operate mobile or anywhere your cell phone has coverage. When operating you have a real control head with real knobs and a microphone and its no different than operating the radio as you would normally, the audio is perfect and every function works as if the two radio parts were connected via its factory cable.

I also have an LDG IT-100 tuner on each radio for the HF side and I just push the tune button on the front of the remote head and it tunes the antenna like you were there.

Here is the radio and RemoteRig info:



I might also add, the laptop I'm typing on right now while on vacation has Icom RS-BA1 software that remote controls my Icom IC-7610 and IC-9700 at my house from the laptop from anywhere. This is more like running an SDR with everything on the computer screen, which I'm not that fond of but its a very good implementation of remote SDR type software.

And the comment on being on vacation is kind of ludicrous, as I don't have a job.



pcrguy,

I'd love to hear more about how you're doing this remote connectivity, would you mind elaborating on the details?

Thanks
 
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vagrant

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I use the WiFi RemoteRig with a Kenwood 480SAT which also has a remote head. It works very well. Additionally, I use a small battery pack to power the remote rig and control head so I can use it in the backyard, in a vehicle etc. with my phone as the Internet gateway.

Alternatively, I have used the Kenwood remote control software that requires a computer at both locations. That also works quite well. Still, prcguy’s recommendation of the 7100 is a good multi band solution.

Once things settle down, I will find myself in Japan again making contact via the RemoteRig or software control. I can then exchange QSO cards in person, after radio contact thousands of miles away while sitting next to each other. Memorable and good for a laugh.
 

ra7850

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The Icom IC-7100 has a remote head with about 15ft of cable between the head and the radio guts. Audio and serial commands pass along the cable. The RemoteRig boxes replace that cable with the Internet, so the radio guts live somewhere with power and antennas then you are free to take the control head and microphone anywhere you have Internet so it can connect back to the radio guts.

There is also a WiFi option for the RemoteRig boxes so you can even tether the control head side to your cell phone as a hot spot and operate mobile or anywhere your cell phone has coverage. When operating you have a real control head with real knobs and a microphone and its no different than operating the radio as you would normally, the audio is perfect and every function works as if the two radio parts were connected via its factory cable.

I also have an LDG IT-100 tuner on each radio for the HF side and I just push the tune button on the front of the remote head and it tunes the antenna like you were there.

Here is the radio and RemoteRig info:



I might also add, the laptop I'm typing on right now while on vacation has Icom RS-BA1 software that remote controls my Icom IC-7610 and IC-9700 at my house from the laptop from anywhere. This is more like running an SDR with everything on the computer screen, which I'm not that fond of but its a very good implementation of remote SDR type software.

And the comment on being on vacation is kind of ludicrous, as I don't have a job.
Thanks for all of the great information! Ive never heard of that RemoteRig before.

Robert
 

popnokick

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RemoteRig fully enabled and configured costs about the same as buying an IC-7100.... which you will also need. So your cost for a full HF remote setup will be about 2x the cost of an IC7100 + antenna.
 

vagrant

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The price new isn't as much as a 7100. I had an extra RemoteRig (non WiFi) sitting on a shelf, so I sold it a couple months back for like $360 and included the various cables and power supplies.
 

vagrant

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As previously mentioned, remote control software can do it. I have a Kenwood 590 and I am able to remotely control the radio with software Kenwood make available for free. The radio is connected to a computer at the house and I use a tablet or laptop for remote control with a headset. It works fine. I know Icom has remote control for some of their radios as well, but I have never used it. Also, I believe the Icom 7610 does not require a host computer, as it has an ethernet connection.

Hmmm... I believe HRD can also control various radios when using host and client computers as well. It has been a while, but I think I tested that with a Kenwood 480. That was with the free version about eight years ago, so the latest paid version may handle even more radios now.

Read up on HRD and then update the thread on what it can do. Others will find this thread via Internet searches as well. I have been using the same remote options for years. There are probably other options available now. Still, being able to use the remote head directly, is nice.
 
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cpfinlay

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Is remote rig really needed though? Can't I just have HRD up and use some sort of remote control software?
The antenna needs to connect to the transceiver. You will need a remote rig to utilize an antenna 30 miles away.

If you have an Icom 7100 (or similarly capable radio) you can do either and/or both as mentioned above. In fact, if you couple an Icom RC-28 with the RS-BA1 software on a laptop it's a pretty great portable/remote experience even without using RemoteRig! That transceiver (and a suitable power supply and antenna tuner such as the AT180) doesn't even take up much space at the remote site.
 

popnokick

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As I noted earlier in the thread, there are lots of ways to remotely control a transceiver. RemoteRig is but one of them... more costly, but also probably the easiest to set up and most reliable for use. I have the RS-BA1 software for my IC-7100.... but it does not do audio well remotely. Consequently, I switched to Ham Radio Deluxe and it is much better control of the radio than ICOM software. However, the 7100 is one of the few radios for which HRD does not support audio directly. I've been experimenting with other methods (e.g. Mumble) but no joy yet. Since I mostly use digital modes on HF I don't really need microphone audio for transmitting... and HRD works beautifully in conjunction with WSJT-X and FLDIGI... for about 1/9 the cost of RemoteRig. There's also the MFJ-1234... and I tried but gave up trying to get audio to work with it.
 

ScubaJungle

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The antenna needs to connect to the transceiver. You will need a remote rig to utilize an antenna 30 miles away.

If you have an Icom 7100 (or similarly capable radio) you can do either and/or both as mentioned above. In fact, if you couple an Icom RC-28 with the RS-BA1 software on a laptop it's a pretty great portable/remote experience even without using RemoteRig! That transceiver (and a suitable power supply and antenna tuner such as the AT180) doesn't even take up much space at the remote site.
Yes, I understand that, I meant do I need a "remote rig" speaking of the actual specific product, rather than just using a remote desktop setup with software interface as I am using now. But I see that is just one possibility.
As I noted earlier in the thread, there are lots of ways to remotely control a transceiver. RemoteRig is but one of them... more costly, but also probably the easiest to set up and most reliable for use. I have the RS-BA1 software for my IC-7100.... but it does not do audio well remotely. Consequently, I switched to Ham Radio Deluxe and it is much better control of the radio than ICOM software. However, the 7100 is one of the few radios for which HRD does not support audio directly. I've been experimenting with other methods (e.g. Mumble) but no joy yet. Since I mostly use digital modes on HF I don't really need microphone audio for transmitting... and HRD works beautifully in conjunction with WSJT-X and FLDIGI... for about 1/9 the cost of RemoteRig. There's also the MFJ-1234... and I tried but gave up trying to get audio to work with it.
Hmm, I didn't know that HRD doesnt support the audio for the 7100. Ive been using it for everything so far with my IC-7300, but haven't specifically tried remote control yet. I have used it with PSK31, CW, Olivia, etc as well as with JTDX/WSJT-X as you mentioned, and it works great. At first, I did have a lot of issues with the connection hanging and timing out, but I realized its due to the output audio level being too high and so adjusting it low enough seems to have fixed the issue with that. SInce then its been problem-free and great. I will give remote control a shot and report my findings though.
 

popnokick

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UPDATE on HRD and IC7100 audio: The way that you set remote RX / TX audio via USB is in HRD's "DM-780" application tab in the Program Options > Soundcard menu. There is a checkbox there that explains that if it is greyed out, your radio is not supported for their "Headset Audio" option. In the past, this has always been greyed out with my IC-7100. However, I just checked it again for the first time in about six months and it is NO LONGER greyed out... so something has changed (I'm running the most current version of HRD). I checked the box but still no audio... however there may be some other 7100 settings I now need to adjust. My digital stuff is working just fine... I'm concerned I may mess that up if I start playing with radio settings trying to get analog tx / rx audio working. Regardless, if I get it working I'll post here.
 
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