Remoting K8GU…kinda

We welcomed our second child, a daughter, into the family last week.  Since she is our second, the time in the hospital was more about making sure she was healthy than us learning all the ropes.  So, I had some undisturbed time to read on the Internet with a sleeping baby on my chest…and wish I could remote control my station.

Having been party to the discussion surrounding remoting a local contest station (K4VV), I had seen enough traffic about different VOIP options to start with Mumble for the audio stream.  I set up a Mumble server on my Linux server at the house, and then setup the Mumble client on my hamshack computer.  I ran a 1/8-inch TRS cable from the rear-apron line-out port of the K3 into the line input of one of my sound cards on the computer.  I put a free Mumble client on my iPhone and viola!  It worked out of the box.

I have been using Pignology’s HamLog on my phone for quick logging of one-off QSOs and goofing off with its vast array of tools.  HamLog also has the ability to remote control a rig using Pignology’s hardware.  Since, I’m really not in a good position to drop $300 on a box I’ll use a couple of times per year, I reasoned that there might be an alternative.  Enter the socat utility:

[email protected]:~# socat /dev/ttyUSB1,raw,echo=0 tcp-listen:7373,fork

Freakin magic.  I used HamLog to connect to a “Remote PigTail” and it mostly works.  The frequency display does not seem to work and HamLog loses the connection if the phone falls asleep.  But, it is functional.  Another interesting wrinkle is that when my shack PC screensaver comes on, it mutes the audio stream piped into Mumble.  But, those are all minor irritations at this point considering the trivial amount of effort that went into getting a remote control going…

Ethan Miller, K8GU, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Maryland, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Remoting K8GU…kinda”

  • Steve, km4aij:

    Hi Ethan, thanks for posting this article.
    I have set this up just as you described and it seems to work ok.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that I have some type of echo that I can’t get rid of. I have verified that this is not generated from the client-side as I’ve disabled the echo function.

    I am using a centos linux server as the murmur server, and I’ve configured a windows 7 desktop PC as the main radio-side client. (I am using an easy-digi interface to connect the pc sound card to the radio, and ptt via VOX .. very easy!!)

    On my side, I am using the mumble app on my android phone.

    I have opened up the specified port on my router, and used a dedicated hostname to point back to my own PC so I can access the mumble server from anywhere via my phone or another PC.

    Anyway, other than the strange echo problem, it works perfectly and its FREE.

    Thanks, 73, km4aij.

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