Topics

Equipment Planning Question #elmer

Robert Vaughan - KF6RCC
 

Dear All,

I don’t know if this is the right forum to ask this question, but if it is not, please delete it. 

My dilemma is that the perfect place for 2 Meter antenna is 50 feet from my house. I do have RG 59 coax and ethernet from the house to that location.  My question is can I have a unit located near the antenna that is remotely controlled by my computer in the house?

Is there an inexpensive way to do this?

Is there a great way to do this without regard to cost?

Sincerely,

Robert Vaughan,
KF6RCC 

Jef - N5JEF
 

Bob -

An antenna fifty feet away at VHF is not really a problem.  Using RG-59, however, would be a poor choice.

RG-59 is 75 ohm coax intended for TV antenna feeds.  It will work but cause poor SWR and higher loss than necessary.  Maybe you meant RG-58, which looks almost the same but is 50 ohms.

Fifty feet of RG-58 will give about 2.56 dB loss.  So with 50W in, and 1:1 SWR, about 27W will be radiated.

Or you can use the most common ham choice for lower loss cable:  LMR-400.

Fifty feet of LMR-400 will give about 0.76 dB of loss. So with 50W in, and 1:1 SWR, about 42W will be radiated.  The small loss is completely negligible.

You can usually buy LMR-400 for something under $1 per foot, often with connectors already installed for you.

- Jef  N5JEF




On Mon, Oct 8, 2018 at 10:45 AM Robert Vaughan <bob@...> wrote:
Dear All,

I don’t know if this is the right forum to ask this question, but if it is not, please delete it. 

My dilemma is that the perfect place for 2 Meter antenna is 50 feet from my house. I do have RG 59 coax and ethernet from the house to that location.  My question is can I have a unit located near the antenna that is remotely controlled by my computer in the house?

Is there an inexpensive way to do this?

Is there a great way to do this without regard to cost?

_._,_._,_

Bob <wotbob01@...>
 

I agree with Jef. Go with LMR400, 9913, or similar 50 ohm, better match, less loss.

I can't comment on a remote controlled "unit"

Bob  WE6C



From: Jef Allbright <jef@...>
To: sfarc@w6ek.groups.io; bob@...
Cc: Orion Endres <ojendres@...>; Michael Perry (KK6GLP) <mrprry2@...>
Sent: Monday, October 8, 2018 11:09 AM
Subject: Re: [W6EK Groups.io] Equipment Planning Question

Bob -

An antenna fifty feet away at VHF is not really a problem.  Using RG-59, however, would be a poor choice.

RG-59 is 75 ohm coax intended for TV antenna feeds.  It will work but cause poor SWR and higher loss than necessary.  Maybe you meant RG-58, which looks almost the same but is 50 ohms.

Fifty feet of RG-58 will give about 2.56 dB loss.  So with 50W in, and 1:1 SWR, about 27W will be radiated.

Or you can use the most common ham choice for lower loss cable:  LMR-400.

Fifty feet of LMR-400 will give about 0.76 dB of loss. So with 50W in, and 1:1 SWR, about 42W will be radiated.  The small loss is completely negligible.

You can usually buy LMR-400 for something under $1 per foot, often with connectors already installed for you.

- Jef  N5JEF




On Mon, Oct 8, 2018 at 10:45 AM Robert Vaughan <bob@...> wrote:
Dear All,

I don’t know if this is the right forum to ask this question, but if it is not, please delete it. 

My dilemma is that the perfect place for 2 Meter antenna is 50 feet from my house. I do have RG 59 coax and ethernet from the house to that location.  My question is can I have a unit located near the antenna that is remotely controlled by my computer in the house?

Is there an inexpensive way to do this?

Is there a great way to do this without regard to cost?



Robert Vaughan - KF6RCC
 

Coax and ethernet were buried underground about 17 years ago as part of structured cable.  Although in conduit, it would be just about impossible to replace at this time with other antenna cable.  Come to think of it, the distance is not 50 feet but rather closer to 100 feet.  Let me clarify my original question, is there equipment available to remotely operate a ham radio from ethernet, to change frequency, to change bands, To change all the functions, and to transmit and receive?  I am looking for an inexpensive solution or a solution without regard to cost.

Sincerely,

Robert Vaughan,
Attorneys-at-law

Robert Vaughan Law Offices
11879 Kemper Rd., Suite 1
Auburn, CA 95603

 This e-mail (including any attachments) may contain material that is confidential and for the sole use of the intended recipient. It may also be protected by the attorney-client privilege, attorney work product doctrine or other legal rules. Any review, reliance or distribution by others or forwarding without express permission is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender immediately and delete all copies.

On Oct 8, 2018, at 11:08 AM, Jef Allbright <jef@...> wrote:

Bob -

An antenna fifty feet away at VHF is not really a problem.  Using RG-59, however, would be a poor choice.

RG-59 is 75 ohm coax intended for TV antenna feeds.  It will work but cause poor SWR and higher loss than necessary.  Maybe you meant RG-58, which looks almost the same but is 50 ohms.

Fifty feet of RG-58 will give about 2.56 dB loss.  So with 50W in, and 1:1 SWR, about 27W will be radiated.

Or you can use the most common ham choice for lower loss cable:  LMR-400.

Fifty feet of LMR-400 will give about 0.76 dB of loss. So with 50W in, and 1:1 SWR, about 42W will be radiated.  The small loss is completely negligible.

You can usually buy LMR-400 for something under $1 per foot, often with connectors already installed for you.

- Jef  N5JEF




On Mon, Oct 8, 2018 at 10:45 AM Robert Vaughan <bob@...> wrote:
Dear All,

I don’t know if this is the right forum to ask this question, but if it is not, please delete it. 

My dilemma is that the perfect place for 2 Meter antenna is 50 feet from my house. I do have RG 59 coax and ethernet from the house to that location.  My question is can I have a unit located near the antenna that is remotely controlled by my computer in the house?

Is there an inexpensive way to do this?

Is there a great way to do this without regard to cost?

_._,_._,_

Greg D
 

What radio(s) do you currently have?

Many can be controlled from a PC - ICOM has CI-V, Yaesu has CAT, etc.  If you happen to have a controllable radio, you should be able to set up a PC at the remote location, and via remote desktop application, control the radio and get back the audio.  Transmit audio might be a bit more difficult (I haven't done a remote mike), but theoretically possible.  I think the only significant mode that you'd have trouble with would be CW...

If you're buying a rig, have a chat with Alan about his remote control ICOM rig.  I think he was using this:
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/rsba1/default.aspx

Greg  KO6TH


Robert Vaughan wrote:

Coax and ethernet were buried underground about 17 years ago as part of structured cable.  Although in conduit, it would be just about impossible to replace at this time with other antenna cable.  Come to think of it, the distance is not 50 feet but rather closer to 100 feet.  Let me clarify my original question, is there equipment available to remotely operate a ham radio from ethernet, to change frequency, to change bands, To change all the functions, and to transmit and receive?  I am looking for an inexpensive solution or a solution without regard to cost.

Sincerely,

Robert Vaughan,
Attorneys-at-law

Robert Vaughan Law Offices
11879 Kemper Rd., Suite 1
Auburn, CA 95603

 This e-mail (including any attachments) may contain material that is confidential and for the sole use of the intended recipient. It may also be protected by the attorney-client privilege, attorney work product doctrine or other legal rules. Any review, reliance or distribution by others or forwarding without express permission is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender immediately and delete all copies.

On Oct 8, 2018, at 11:08 AM, Jef Allbright <jef@...> wrote:

Bob -

An antenna fifty feet away at VHF is not really a problem.  Using RG-59, however, would be a poor choice.

RG-59 is 75 ohm coax intended for TV antenna feeds.  It will work but cause poor SWR and higher loss than necessary.  Maybe you meant RG-58, which looks almost the same but is 50 ohms.

Fifty feet of RG-58 will give about 2.56 dB loss.  So with 50W in, and 1:1 SWR, about 27W will be radiated.

Or you can use the most common ham choice for lower loss cable:  LMR-400.

Fifty feet of LMR-400 will give about 0.76 dB of loss. So with 50W in, and 1:1 SWR, about 42W will be radiated.  The small loss is completely negligible.

You can usually buy LMR-400 for something under $1 per foot, often with connectors already installed for you.

- Jef  N5JEF




On Mon, Oct 8, 2018 at 10:45 AM Robert Vaughan <bob@...> wrote:
Dear All,

I don’t know if this is the right forum to ask this question, but if it is not, please delete it. 

My dilemma is that the perfect place for 2 Meter antenna is 50 feet from my house. I do have RG 59 coax and ethernet from the house to that location.  My question is can I have a unit located near the antenna that is remotely controlled by my computer in the house?

Is there an inexpensive way to do this?

Is there a great way to do this without regard to cost?


Gary - KC3PO
 

What's your overall goal? Why are you looking into a remote setup? It sounds like you might be unnecessarily complicating things - you'll have to run power out there, the exterior unit will need to be protected from the elements (particularly temperature extremes, assuming you have a plan for rain/snow/etc). And of course you're adding complexity, which is usually not ideal. Who wants to be outside futzing with something in the middle of winter, summer or monsoon? If all you're planning on doing is communicating with repeaters, you have a choice of an ideal antenna location with less than ideal but not horrible run of coax or a less than ideal antenna location with short cable run. Flip a coin and get 'er done. The differences between the two will be more minimal than you think and either solution will most likely not have a problem hitting repeaters.

- Gary  KC3PO

Skip - K6DGW
 

There's a way to do just about anything ... except drive faster than the speed of light or discard angular momentum if you're a spaceship. RemoteHams uses a software app called RCForb. It's designed mainly for HF usage, but could be adapted for a VHF transceiver. It requires some computing power at the remote radio site. Microbit [Sweden] offers RemoteRig which does not require a computer anywhere. It too is designed for a variety of transceivers, all HF. If you're good at electronic design, you could fashion an interface at each end to use it ... it would be a bit of a task however. Some VHF transceivers have a removable front panel that can be located remotely from the radio [mainly for mobile applications]. You would have to pull some cable through your conduit. This is the scheme that Rick, K6VVA ["The Locust"] uses to control a remote radio on a family-owned hilltop behind his home via a 5 GHz link. You might ask him ... beware, The Locust gets very involved in his projects and can be a bit overwhelming. Don't let him near your fridge. [:-) I'm sure one could also conjure up a one-off using an Arduino, Hamstack, R'Pi, or Dogbone. <K6DGW>

Robert Vaughan - KF6RCC
 

Dear GARY,

Thank you for your advice. I am going to consider it. I already have
power to the place. In fact, it’s a power pole that I own that has
wires going to the PG&E pole. Currently, I have a dsl modem at the
pole. The poll is mine, so I believe that I can attach an antenna to
the top of it.

I may just talk to the local repeater or possibly more than that.
Even, HF in the future, if I upgrade my license.

However, the ICOM radio that is priced at $12,000 is out of my league.
I am not sure whether the lesser costing ICOM VHF/UHF radios have the
same capability. It’s beginning to look like there may be more
difficulty in this project than it’s worth.

I may be vain, but I don’t necessarily want a radio antenna sticking
out of my roof. Although I have a weather station and solar panels.
This would add another utility item.

The power pole where I would like to place an Antenna is hidden in a
forest of trees and not easily seen from most areas around my home,
but the trees are not tall enough to interfere with the radio.

Sincerely,

Robert Vaughan,

Robert Vaughan - KF6RCC
 

Dear Skip,

Thank you for your very informative answer. I will start more research
using the information you provided.

Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Robert Vaughan,

Greg D
 

Hi Bob,

Another possibility might be a stealth antenna, such as a "Ventenna"
which looks like an over-sized vent pipe. Pick a pipe that's behind the
ridge of the roof, and nobody would know it's even there. Even a
regular dual-band base station antenna, painted black, would be pretty
hard to see. Down the road, wire antennas work well for HF, and it
sounds like you have the space to string them. My 80 meter loop
antenna, strung around the back yard, is practically invisible even when
you're standing under it. Not all antennas need to look like they came
from Central Casting.

Besides the visual, one thing to consider is to keep the antenna away
from the power lines, separating them for reasons of both safety and
reduced pickup of RF interference that the power lines often carry.

I may be imagining things, but I'm thinking that Richard might have one
in his Silent Key stash that could turn up at Friday's White Elephant
sale. Failing that, the ARRL has a book on stealth antennas, to help
homeowners who live in deed-restricted developments. Antennas make for
easy and satisfying construction projects.

Greg KO6TH


Robert Vaughan wrote:

Dear GARY,

Thank you for your advice. I am going to consider it. I already have
power to the place. In fact, it’s a power pole that I own that has
wires going to the PG&E pole. Currently, I have a dsl modem at the
pole. The poll is mine, so I believe that I can attach an antenna to
the top of it.

I may just talk to the local repeater or possibly more than that.
Even, HF in the future, if I upgrade my license.

However, the ICOM radio that is priced at $12,000 is out of my league.
I am not sure whether the lesser costing ICOM VHF/UHF radios have the
same capability. It’s beginning to look like there may be more
difficulty in this project than it’s worth.

I may be vain, but I don’t necessarily want a radio antenna sticking
out of my roof. Although I have a weather station and solar panels.
This would add another utility item.

The power pole where I would like to place an Antenna is hidden in a
forest of trees and not easily seen from most areas around my home,
but the trees are not tall enough to interfere with the radio.

Sincerely,

Robert Vaughan,


Bruce Anderson
 

Robert,


If your concern is an antenna sticking out of your roof, consider a "Ventenna". Attaches to an existing roof vent on your house. No one will know the difference. Dual band too!

Bruce-K6BAA

https://www.ventenna.com/



On 10/9/2018 8:08 PM, Robert Vaughan wrote:
Dear GARY,

Thank you for your advice. I am going to consider it. I already have
power to the place. In fact, it’s a power pole that I own that has
wires going to the PG&E pole.  Currently, I have a dsl modem at the
pole. The poll is mine, so I believe that I can attach an antenna to
the top of it.

I may just talk to the local repeater or possibly more than that.
Even, HF in the future, if I upgrade my license.

However, the ICOM radio that is priced at $12,000 is out of my league.
I am not sure whether the lesser costing ICOM VHF/UHF radios have the
same capability.  It’s beginning to look like there may be more
difficulty in this project than it’s worth.

I may be vain, but I don’t necessarily want a radio antenna sticking
out of my roof. Although I have a weather station and solar panels.
This would add another utility item.

The power pole where I would like to place an Antenna is hidden in a
forest of trees and not easily seen from most areas around my home,
but the trees are not tall enough to interfere with the radio.

Sincerely,

Robert Vaughan,




Alan Thompson
 

Hi Robert,

Since Greg made mention of my remoting into my radio, I'll chime in. I have an ICOM 7300. The 7300 is 160 - 6 meters only so won't help you with 2 meters. The Yaesu 991A covers 160 through 70 CM, and is comparably priced to a 7300 at around $1,000. However, during my research, I came across a number of comments about problems with the 991A, and I decided to go with the 7300 and a separate, dual-band VHF/UHF ICOM 2730. 

Part of my thinking was that I wanted a really good base station that would last me for at least a few years, but I didn't want to move an expensive receiver back and forth to my car once I decided to go mobile. The 7300 has been flawless, and also allowed me to remote into it with a laptop or PC from anywhere I have an Internet connection.

A lot of great suggestions were offered above for third-party Remoting solutions, but all involve some level of complexity to setup. Here are my suggestions:

1. Start Simple. Don't try to setup what you first described right off the bat. You would likely get overwhelmed (if you're not already :)

2. If you want remote access to reach two meter repeaters, why wait for a radio? Sign up on Echolink.com now and download the desktop and phone apps. It's free. Get yourself a decent headset that will plug into your PC or laptop. I use a Logitech H390 USB headset that costs all of $18, including shipping, and gets great sound reports. Search for the W6EK repeater in the Echolink app and hop on. Join us for the weekly SFARC Net on Thursdays, and the Elmer Net every other Wednesday. Easy Peasy!

3. Now you've bought yourself some time to do your research on rigs and control methods and make your selection. I see you currently have a Technician class license. I recommend you think about what you would like to own once you get your General or Extra-class license and buy accordingly, with an eye towards expanded band privileges. 

4. Once you're ready, order your new receiver(s) and get a modest single- or dual-band vertical antenna. Good, dual-band verticals under 6' tall can be had for less than $100 and are hardly noticeable. Install it on your roof as high as you can (or wherever your spouse will let you), and run a few feet of good cable into the house. That way, you can set up a base station, close by, in your own home, and then experiment with remoting into it, starting with a laptop right next to your rig, so you can see what's going on at both ends.

5. Once you perfect that, move your laptop to to the living room and make it work from there.

6. Then you can think about moving the whole affair to your preferred remote location. There, you can put in an even bigger antenna if you like. I have a Diamond X510 dual-bander that's about 17' tall at my house. With the 50-watt 2730, it gets out just fine, and I can hit repeaters all up and down the Sacramento Valley, as well as into Amador and Placer County. The 2730 moves back and forth between my home and car as needed. (My car has a dual-band mag-mounted antenna that also moves to different cars as needed :)

--

73,

Alan Thompson - W6LAN
S
enior Technician
El Dorado Networks