Since Matthew’s arrival, the radio shack has moved to the loft which is boiling in summer and freezing (literally at the moment) in winter. Apart from operator comfort, the ladder blocks part of the hall, meaning it really isn’t a convenient place at all. Some time ago I started to set up a remote shack, so that I could operate from anywhere in the house from my laptop. I used Bluetooth to transfer the audio and serial port servers to carry data back and forth to the radio. This worked OK, but ebay sourced kit proved to be unreliable. There are PC based systems out there and although I got one working it meant leaving a PC on at the radio end, which I didn’t want to do.
Just before Christmas I saw the remote rig interface advertised from Microbit (www.remoterig.com). This seems to answer many of my problems: streamed audio and serial control over one link with jitter free CW and the companion 1216E switch allows me to turn everything on and off over the network as well.
I bought a box (MKI, MKII was released 2 weeks later grrrr) and have just configured it to work over my LAN, learning a chunk more about networking in the process. I then realised that I would want to run the system from my new laptop that doesn’t have any serial ports. Faced with the possibility of having to hang a stack of converters of the laptop so that I could run N1MM I realised there was another way – using my MicroHam MKII interface to handle all of the rig control, CW generation (for contests), DVK and digi modes from a single USB port. Bingo! The only problem was that I had to design and build all of my own interface cables. I have done this over the last week for my FT-847 to get started on all bands easily. Whilst it is not that neat at the operator end, see the photo, it should be very effective. All I need to do now is attach the damn things and see if it works. The temperature here in London is well below freezing, so I won’t be sat in the loft doing this over the weekend, so I will try to drag a few bits down onto the kitchen table workbench to see how I get on...... Perhaps after Sarah and Matthew are safely tucked up in bed!