Setting up a Remote Station – Part 11

I thought I’d add some screenshots of what the control UI looks like.

The one above shows the main screen with the various controls on it. Only two need to be touched in normal circumstances: the Radio Control button and the Windows PC button. These both kick off automations that sequence through turning things on or off – they don’t control things directly.

At the top of the screen are a number of tell-tales that indicate the state of various components, plus basic propagation information.

You can also see the lightning detector and some elementary status info. if Blitzortung reports lightning within 25km, a script runs that sends a Pushover alert, waits a couple of minutes and then kicks off the Radio Power Off script as if the user had tapped the Radio Control button.

Lastly you can see the state of the ATU, you can toggle the Lock function on the ATU to disabled the auto-tune function, and see whether it is tuned or not.

This image shows more comprehensive propagation info.

Lastly, you have a screen with some system status information.

There are more screens accessible via the side menu bar, but these three cover 90% of what’s needed. I’ve seen some remote control screens that are, in my opinion, far too crowded with irrelevant information. All that does is hide important information and controls and overwhelm the user with noise. (again, my opinion).

incidentally, all these screens are produced using the standard controls provided with Home Assistant, plus some useful ham-related plugins (e.g. Blitzortung and HF Propogation)

Setting up a Remote Station – Part 10

Hopefully the image above should help to understand what the station consists of. The station comprises:

  • a 240V network with the UPS at its core and feeding:
    • two Tapo switches (one for the PC and one for the Radio PSU);
    • the permanently-on auxiliary 12V PSU that powers the Sonoff, network switch and the ATU controller; and,
    • the permanently-on PSUs for the Router and the Pi-based Station Controller.
  • A mixed wired and WiFi network connecting most devices.
  • The main Radio PSU – Flex – ATU – Antenna Disconnect RF chain.
  • The Sonoff that switches the Flex on and off and operates the PTT when needed.
  • The Pi-based Station Controller running Home Assistant.
  • The Windows 10 PC used for digital modes.

I hope this all make sense.

Moving on, the station has been operating from my home QTH for some time now whilst I scout out a suitable remote location. I’m glad to say that a local farmer has agreed to let me site the station on their land. The only downside is that the station needs to be outside, so I now need to source a suitable IP65 or IP66 (but ventilated) wall-mounted cabinet to house it all in. Not easy to find!

For the antenna, there is a convenient line of trees close by and a 10m high barn; to which they have agreed I can mount a 20m pole to be one end of the doublet antenna I intend to use – the other end being one of the trees. With luck I’ll be able to erect a decent doublet at 20m off the ground and fed by balanced feeder from the SG-230; which will be mounted 2-3m off the ground at a convenient location midway between the ends of the doublet – probably somewhere on the wall of the aforementioned barn. I’ll use a 12V combiner to feed power to the ATU and the antenna disconnect unit.