Typical of the four stations used in M/2
This setup is for a typical single operator one radio contest. Hardware starting at top is Alpha 87A or Expert SPE 2K, FilterMax II, LP-100 Power Meter, Two LCD monitors suspended from the shelf and completely adjustable, Flex 6700 or 6500, Maestro, Vibroplex dual paddles, RadioSport Headset, and Green Heron EK device.
The screen show N1MM, Green Heron Everywhere software control of antennas and rotators, four PstRotatorAZ controls of the two SteppIR DB42 Antennas, MonstIR and 3 element SteppIR with 40m loop. The N1MM UDP controls the SteppIRs and GHE selection of antennas.
Wiring needed only for antenna, network and power. Ethernet is the backbone for the Flex 6000 series, Maestro, and logging computers. The server is connected to the rotators, SteppIR controllers and Green Heron devices. All radios are hard wired interlocked so that only one transmitter can be used on a band at a time. The Flex 6000 series has an TX inhibit circuit connected.
We use Bluetooth wireless Logitech keyboards and mouse. The mouse is a roller ball as it is very fast for RTTY.
Goal: Maximize operator efficiency, ie keep hands on the keyboard and minimize fatigue
- Integrate all controls on the operators computer screen
- Provide two computer screens at eye level to have adequate space for all controls and important information
- An operator should be able to select any antenna for any band
- Filters and screens automatically follow band changes
- Rotators and switches will be on screen and only when that band is selected
- Anything on screen should be able to be remote controlled from another computer using the internet
- Steppir antennas shall be remote controlled on screen and follow the radio in use
- Minimize the cabling necessary for this implementation
- Use Ehternet networking for all stations
- Use wireless keyboard and mouse to reduce cables and EMI/RFI issues.
- Selected software and hardware to implement - Green Heron Everywhere, N1MM Plus Logger and PstRotatorAZ
- Installed a server computer for GHE
- Installed the StackMatch at the tower base for switching and interconnected to the GHE module. Antennas were added to improve the S/N ratio at the base unit
- Used GHE modules for 160m Array control, HiZ 8 control, Comtek 4 Square control, and in shack Stackmatches
- Used USB hubs to integrate the rotators and GH base unit in the shack to the server
- Installed a secure WiFi network with Verizon USB 4G internet wireless connection
- Connected the Steppir SDA 100 controllers to the server using serial to USB adapters
- Installed the PstRotatorAZ software server for control of the Steppir controllers
- Setup PstRotatorAZ clients on each station
- Set the UDP broadcast output of N1MM to the input of the PstRotatorAZ to follow the radio
- Each instance of PstRotatorAZ relays to the next and also to the GH client
- Programmed the GH client so that when a station changes bands only the relevant rotators and antennas are on screen
- Setup hotkeys to switch HiZ 8 directions
CW/SSB SO2R Setup
The FlexRadio 6700 has OTRSP, Open Two Radio Switching Protocol, in its software You can use keyboard shortcuts to combine audio, opposite radio focus, toggle cq between radios, change focus using the radio and N1MM Plus software together. The Steppirs can be controlled by either radio and the Green Heron show the relevant antenna controls for the two bands in use. Your hands should be on the keyboard except for tuning and minor adjustments. The FlexRadio series has a WinKey software emulation and the Maestro has an embedded WinKeyer chip.
How long does it take to switch from SO to SO2R? It takes a couple of minutes...connect the second amplifier coax and PTT, then select SO2R in N1MM Plus and allow Green Heron Everyone to watch both radio slices.
RTTY SO2R Setup
This setup adds MMTTY for each radio. This is taken during the contest. You can see how busy each band is from glancing at the Maestro Panadapter. You can visually tune to the next station on the second radio using two items: the panadapter and the MMTTY indicator. It is easy to interleave QSOs on both radios. Left ear, left radio and right ear, right radio...