Testing of RemoteRig over wireless broadband mesh

Mike Zl1AXG and Bernard ZL2BD getting setup for the RemoteRig test

On Queen’s Birthday Monday, a bleak and dreary day in winter, Bernard ZL2BD, Doug ZL2AOV and Mike ZL1AXG met at Bernard’s QTH to test the use of our RemoteRig units over the mesh network.

Bernard ZL2BD is seated at the Control Station end with the IC7100 control head. Mike ZL1AXG has thumbs up, because the control head is controlling the radio end via the mesh nodes. The mesh units are located on the elevated white boxes.

The Remote Rig devices (Radio and Control units) were configured with the radio end with a fixed IP in the address range of the mesh node.   The control device was configured to acquire an IP address using DHCP and connect to the fixed IP address.

The two mesh nodes can be seen on top of the white boxes with an air gap in between in the photo to the left. The RemoteDX Inc transceiver, an ICOM IC7100,  can be seen on the left hand side of the work bench.

No problems were encountered.  The test was concluded successfully as indicated by the power meter showing power out on TX (see photo). The IC7100 control head controlled the remote txcvr over the mesh in both TX and RX modes and there appeared to be no glitches with the audio feed.

The test was extended to see if the control head and RemoteRig control unit would work through Bernard’s own mesh nodes.  This further test was also successful. Further mesh tests will be conducted over the next week or so.

More work to be done!

Remaining tasks to be completed before the remote station build is complete and field deployment is possible include:

  • finalising construction of the environment control system (Doug ZL2AOV & Bernard ZL2BD)
  • finalising SCADA control software and testing (Frank ZL2TTS)
  • upgrading of the amateur broadband network to cope with bandwidth and security requirements i.e. backbone formation and upgrading of mesh node software on all nodes (Mike ZL1AXG to lead upgrade with a series of working bees)

Progress on the environment control system

Environment control metalwork

Doug ZL2AOV and Bernard ZL2BD posing in front of the Remote Station enclosure with the metalwork for the environment control mounts in hand.

These will be mounted on the door.  Flaps will open using servo motors for the air intake filter and outlet fans.

It was a couple of days work to make these!   Further work is proceeding on the thermostat control and servo system.

QHUG HF Remote Station Design Report

Check out the Documents page from time to time for the latest Remote DX design documentation.  This includes all current documents from the full design report to “as built” reports.  The currently available documents are listed below:

As Built Design Documentation

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As Built Note 8 _ RF Configuration 190.86 KB 4 downloads

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Fitting out of the Enclosure

Inside the Remote Site enclosure
Inside the Remote Site enclosure

Bernard ZL2BD has been busy over the summer installing the equipment for th Remote Site in the enclosure.

The enclosure (a ply box with inside and outside layers of fibreglass) is shown fitted out with:

  • Wellington Amateur Radio Club (www.zl2wb.com) transceiver (Icom IC7410)
  • Solid-state linears and power supplies (donated by Kordia Ltd)
  • Switching regulators to provide 230v DC, 24v and 12v DC for the various items
  • Two solar panel regulators
  • Wiring harnesses to connect to the huge battery bank.

Progressive testing is imminent – any noise problems will be dealt with as they arise.  A range of jobs remain including:

  • Completing the antenna switching equipment
  • Completing and testing the SCADA software to operate remotely (SCADA = Supervisory Controller & Data Acquisition). Frank ZL2TTS has been working on this.
  • Cooling circuitry – both assembly and installation.  The cooling equipment will be mounted on the enclosure’s front panel.

This work is not too far off being completed and the QHUG team will then move to a test period to ensure everthing works correctly, before antennas are constructed and the equipment is installed in the remote site.

Initial Remote Site Transceiver

The remote station will initially use the Wellington Amateur Radio Club Inc club transceiver (an Icom IC7410), with glass screen (using Ham Radio Delux at the city station end).  Once the remote station is up and running, dedicated equipment is likely to be purchased.   The plan is to initially have at least two remote radios and a collection of switchable antennas for non-WARC bands 80m through 10m.

Icom IC7410 Club Transceiver