Remote Rig Control
The first requirement for operating your station remotely is the ability to control your transceiver using software running on your remote and home computers. You will need a means of interfacing between your home computer and radio and software to use that interface remotely from your remote computer. This interface will differ somewhat from radio to radio but most modern rigs (last 10-15 years?) have at least some capability for computer control. My Kenwood TS-570S requires only a serial cable from my computer to the radio. In the case of my Icom IC718, the radio requires a CI-V interface, which can be purchased from Icom or you can build one yourself with only a few readily obtainable components. This link describes a simple circuit which I built to connect my computer to my IC-718. Consult your radio’s operator’s manual for details about the means of remotely controlling your radio. Newer computers may not have serial ports but inexpensive serial cards can usually be installed or USB-to-Serial adapters can be used.
Remote Radio Control Software
Once the computer and radio have been interfaced, software is necessary to connect to the radio so it can be operated from the computer. Of course, for remote operation this software must be capable of operating from a remote computer by connecting through the internet to the home computer which is interfaced with your radio. There are a number of software products available for this and most are free or inexpensive. After reviewing many of them, I chose Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD), developed by Simon Brown, HB9DRV, which can be downloaded from this site.
If your radio is capable of computer interfacing, HRD will provide full control over the internet. All front panel controls on your rig are duplicated and can be remotely operated using HRD. Other features that I found especially important for remote HF operation are the HRD Remote Server and the HRD Serial Server provided with the program. The Remote Server permits the HRD program running on your remote computer to connect directly to your radio at the home station using the internet. HRD also includes a remote rotor control feature but I chose another product for that purpose.
To use HRD to remotely control your rig, you must start HRD and click on Remote on the main menu. A Remote Server Configuration screen will open; click on HRD Remote Server and Configure to open the editor for the HRD remote server configuration file. You can make various changes to this file but the one that is essential is the line that defines the Users. You are User1 and you must enter a user name, password, and options. Edit the line to “User1=’user name’,’password’, restart”. You may enter up to 20 users. Save the edited configuration file (File, Save); do not change the location of this file. Now, close the editor and click ‘Start’ to start the server. Exit HRD; when you use HRD to connect with your rig over the internet, HRD must not be running on your home computer.
Once your have configured HRD to connect to your radio and configured and started the Remote Server, you must shut down HRD on your home computer before you can connect to your radio from your remote computer over the internet.
For a complete understanding of HRD, or any other software you choose, you must carefully read the operator’s guide!
Typical HRD Screen