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At my old QTH, I had a 50 foot tower in the back yard and neighbors knocking at my door for both real and imagined TVI problems. When I moved, I wanted to have better relations with my new neighbors and so I started thinking about radio remote control. I was blessed with a work QTH where I could install some antennas so my first station was set up there. Even though I live a short distance away, getting into the car and driving to work was not my idea of a hobby.
Being a DX'er I knew that I needed the BIG SIGNAL only to break the pileups. 95% of the time I could hear the DX station just fine without a giant antenna array. In fact, I strung a 40 meter dipole in my attic and could hear almost all and work some of the DX on 40 meters. The really juicy DX eluded me because of the pileup wall. Realizing that the hard part of remote control would be getting the receive audio back to my home, I decided to sidestep that part and set up a transmit only remote location.
I acquired the cheapest rig I could find that could be controlled via computer (a used Icom IC-735 thanks, K2OC!). With some rig control software (Rig Control from MFJ) installed at my work computer, I was able to control the basic modes (frequency, CW/SSB, etc) of the IC 735. I then got some remote control software (PcAnywhere) and called up my work computer from the home computer. Even though the MFJ program worked very well locally, it's a Windows based program and the graphics took forever to send back and forth over a telephone line. I was able to QSY and control the rig, but only if I had PLENTY of time.
To get around the problem with graphics, I bought a DOS logging program (from PDA) that also offered rig control. Since only the data itself had to be sent back and forth this sped things up considerably. In fact, by adding the CW interface I was on the air using the home computer keyboard as a cw keyboard. This was pretty cool, but after working with it a week I realized that contesting or highly competetive DXing would not work under this scheme. Although it seemed pretty quick, in the heat of the hunt, it took too much time to QSY. You need to be FAST in this man's ham world.
Now for the big breakthrough. I had been reading about Icom's rig control (CI-V) port and using the CI-V adapter. The rig's CI-V signals are TTL (0 to +5) and need conversion to RS-232 levels (-12 to +12v) for interface to the computer. This is what the adapter does. I had overlooked a part of the CI-V instructions set that covered what Icom called "TRANSCEIVE" operation. When I realized what it would do, my jaw dropped: YOU CAN TIE 2 ICOM TRANSCEIVERS TOGETHER SIMPLY BY INTERCONNECTING THE TWO CI-V PORTS! When you do this, one unit will operate as a master and the other will be a slave. When you turn the dial on one Icom, the other will track the frequency exactly and nearly instantly without a computer being involved! You can change bands, mode, VFO's on the slave unit simply by doing the same thing on the master!
I then "tied" the two together via a radio link (more on this later) and when I tune my rig at home, the rig at work follows immediately. This works so well that when you operate my "station" at home you cannot tell that you are operating via remote control.
I use a link to my repeater at home which I can access with my link radio running into a dummy load. That's how I've worked over 200 countries on my dumm load!
If I get requests, I'll post my station diagram on this page.
THIS IS A WORK IN PROCESS...more later. If interested and don't want to wait, contact me at email@example.com