Remote Base

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OCARC provides an HF radio station to club members that can be operated entirely remotely. This page outlines the steps required to install and configure the appropriate software in order to operate the remote base. A basic overview of the radio operation, explaining the buttons and slider adjustments, is also included. For more detailed information on the radio, feel free to download the operating manual from http://www.yaesu.com. It can be found in the section FT DX 3000, under the files tab.

Current Status

Antenna: Off Center Fed Dipole oriented roughly East-West at approximately 10 meters elevation. 

For this type of antenna, the internal tuner should be used on all bands.
The internal tuner in the radio should successfully [Tune] this antenna on most bands from 80m through 6m.
The antenna is not designed for use on 30m or 15m and does not usually tune on these two HF bands.
If you can get the antenna to tune on these bands, performance will be poor.
If the [ATU] button is not highlighted after a tuning attempt, do not transmit, as the tuning procedure was not successful.

Reminder: When finished using the radio, please set the controls back to their default values to make it easier for the next operator. The default values, where applicable, are listed in this wiki, and may be printed out if desired.

Software

  1. Go to http://www.remotehams.com and create an account
  2. Download the RCForb Client software and install on to your machine
  3. Once your account has been approved, start the RCForb Client software
  4. Find the radio "VE7OGO Radio #1" and double-click on it. (The #2 radio is not for normal remote operation)
  5. Try adjusting the frequency. The system will tell you that your account doesn't have permission to do this, and give you the opportunity to request permission. Do this.
  6. Send an email to mailto:remote@ocarc.ca with your callsign and qualification (basic, Basic+, Basic+code, Advanced), and I will approve your account (listen-only for users that don't have HF privileges)
  7. Once you get an email from me confirming approval, you now have full access to the remote station!

A few operating notes:

  • Make sure you have the antenna tuner switched on (the [ATU] button), and that you tune the antenna for the frequency you want to use (the [Tune] button).
  • The [TXd] button toggles transmit and receive.
  • Make sure your microphone level is appropriate to give a clean transmission. The adjustment is at the top of the screen labelled "Mic". This adjustment can be sensitive, so watch your ALC when transmitting!

If you have questions or concerns, please email mailto:remote@ocarc.ca and I will try to help out. I didn't write the software and I don't run the remote hams.com site, so if you have issues with the software or your remote hams account, please check out their forums and support.


Radio Operating Information

  • The buttons on the right of the remote base interface turn on or off many features of the radio. Some of these features can be further adjusted using the sliders on the left side of the radio. For example, the button [MNF] turns on the manual notch filter. The frequency of the manual notch can then be adjusted using the slider <Notch>. More information on each of the buttons and sliders is given below.
  • When you are finished using the radio, please set the radio buttons back to the default settings.
  • Default Button Settings: [ATU], [PWR], [VFO A] and [Tx-m] should be ON, and all other buttons should be off. If possible please set most of the Sliders and Drop-Down Options back to their suggested default values when you are finished using the radio, so it will be ready for the next operator.


BUTTONS

A green button is ON, a grey button is OFF.


General Buttons

[ATU] When ON, indicates the built-in tuner is in line. Normally this should be left on.

[Tune] Retunes the tuner for a better match. NOTE: if the tuning process seems to happen very fast and the ATU button turns off, the tuner FAILED to find a match. In this case do not transmit!

[TXd] Places radio in transmit. NOTE: The radio stays in transmit until you press this button again!

[PWR] Turns radio off or on. Normally leave it on.


Receive Filter Buttons

[NB] Noise blanker. The noise blanker level can be set using the <NB Level> slider.

[NBw] Noise blanker alternate setting (wide). Try it if the regular noise blanker is not effective.

[ANF] Automatic notch filter. This works in the AF stage to remove interfering carriers. Since it is in the AF stage, the AGC will still reduce the gain of the radio on receive if the carrier is strong.

[MNF] Manual notch filter. This works in the IF stage, but must be manually set using the <Notch> slider. This notch can be very effective at removing an interfering carrier, and since it works in the IF stage, the AGC will not reduce the gain of the receiver, allowing you to hear weak signals more easily.

[DNR] Dynamic noise reduction. Works in the AF stage to remove background noise. The level can be set by the <DNR Level> slider. Larger values result in more noise reduction but may muffle the audio if set too high.

[Cntr] Audio Contour. This acts like a custom audio filter. The center frequency of the filter is set using the <Contr Freq> slider. The amount of enhancement (positive) or notch (negative) for this filter is set using the <Contr Lvl> slider.


VFO Operation Buttons

[VFO A] Sets receive to use the main frequency on the right (big numbers). This is the VFO you should normally use.

[VFO B] Sets receive to use the sub frequency on the left (small numbers).

[Lck] Locks VFO A so it cannot be tuned.

[Lck(s)] Locks VFO B so it cannot be tuned.

[Tx-m] Sets transmit to use VFO A (main). This is the VFO you should normally use to transmit on the same frequency you are listening to.

[Tx-s] Sets transmit to use VFO B (sub). This would be used only if contacting a Dxpedition station, where you need to operate “split” with a transmit frequency different than the receive frequency.

[A>B] Copies the frequency in VFO A to VFO B.

[B>A] Copies the frequency in VFO B to VFO A.

[B><A] Swaps the frequencies in VFO A and VFO B.


SLIDERS

<Notch> (default 1.5 kHz) Manual notch filter. See [MNF] button to activate.

<DNR Level> (default 3) Dynamic noise reduction. See [DNF] button to activate.

<RF Gain> (default 255) Normally set fully to the right for maximum sensitivity.

<RF Power> (default 100%) Normally set fully to the right for 100 watts output.

<IF-Shift> (default 0 Hz) Moves the center frequency of the IF filter. See also <Fltr Width> slider. Normally left in the center at “0”.

<Contr Lvl> (default 10 dB) Audio Contour. See [Cntr] button to activate.

<Contr Freq> (default 2000 Hz) Audio Contour. See [Cntr] button to activate.

<Mic Gain> (default 30) Normally set to 30. Rather than changing this value, adjust your transmit audio level using the “Mic” control (beside the “Vol” control) at the top of the screen.

<NB Level> (default 50)

<Fltr Width> (default 2400 Hz) IF filter width. See also <IF Shift> slider. Normally 2400 Hz is a good setting to reject adjacent interference but still retain good audio receive quality. When the Filter drop-down menu is set to Wide, the width can be varied from 1800 to 4000 Hz. When the Filter drop-down menu is set to Narrow, the width can be varied from 200 to 1800 Hz. The ranges for CW are narrower, all the way down to 50 Hz.


DROP-DOWN OPTIONS

\Mode/ (default USB) All the modes available on the radio are displayed, but only operation in USB or LSB is supported for remote operation at this time.

\AGC/ (default Auto) When left on Auto, the best setting will be chosen according to the \Mode/ selected. You may override the automatic setting if desired.

\PreAmp/ (default Preamp 1) On noisy bands you may want to set this to IPO On instead.

\Attn/ (default Off) On an excessively noisy band, additional attenuation may be desired.

\Filter/ (default Wide) See <Fltr Width> above.

\Roof Fltr/ (default 3kHz(A)) The roofing filter is usually set automatically when the \Mode/ is changed, as indicated by the (A) after the bandwidth. You may override the automatic setting if desired.

\Tx Meter/ (default SWR) Choices are SWR, ALC, Compression, or RF output power.

\Ant/ (default One) This should be left on antenna One. Antenna Two may be temporarily hooked up for testing purposes but its availability cannot be guaranteed.


FREQUENCY CONTROL

Change frequency using the up/down arrows in the frequency display, or place your cursor on the number to be changed and use the scroll wheel on the mouse. You can also place the cursor on the tuning knob (large for VFO A and small for VFO B) and use the scroll wheel. You can even “grab” the tuning knob and turn it!

The two light grey drop down boxes next to the tuning knobs set the tuning speed. A suggested step size of 0.5k appears to work well in most instances. Regardless of this setting, you can change the frequency in increments as small as 1 Hz if you use the up/down arrows in the frequency display.