I was thinking about remote operations the other day. This can mean different things to different people. For me it’s usually just operating the radio that’s out in the shack, while I’m sitting in the family room. Since I have my own domain I could technically do this from anywhere with a broadband internet connection. And there are many hams who are doing this due to vacations, business travel, and any assortment of antenna deeds, covenants, and restrictions. I have already successfully used Windows Remote Desktop to lot onto my home desktop while visiting my parents in Indy.
Modern software such as Ham Radio Deluxe allows hams the ability to command and control a rig remotely as well as log and operate digital modes. Adding a VOIP audio program such as Skype allows the ham to go a step further and operate phone modes as well. Since PowerSDR is a standalone program for the Flex Radio operating HRD tends to complicate things. The few times I’ve operated remote from inside the house I just Remote Desktop so that I could see my exact desktop screen from the shack on my remote computer. It worked pretty well for psk-31.
So all this leads me up to my idea. In order for this to work I have to leave everything in the shack setup and in line so it’ll be ready for remote access. This included the coax switch. I normally like to switch mine to the center, grounded position when I’m not out there. I know this won’t protect me from a lightening strike, but it my be good enough to save the front-end from static dishcharges brought on by dry, snowy winter winds, etc. I’m thinking about a way to run a small app on the desktop of the computer that would ground the antenna feedline or switch it in for operation. It would have to be USB since serial ports are so yesterday! It could be used for one to many antennas. I know there are several remote antenna switches already on the market that have the ability for computer control. They’re pretty pricey…even the one from Ameritron.
I don’t know if I’ll ever build this thing. I’ve attempted to draw circuits and make plans a couple times in the past but never get around to building it. It seems like it could be a useful and interesting project.