Like many amateurs, COVID-19 has brought me back on the air and doing some work in the shack. In my case, with limited space for shack operation, this meant working on tweaking my remotely controllable shack to suit changing circumstances. So, here's a rundown in my setup, which is currently CHF/UHF only. HF is still oly able to be operated locally.
My system has evolved, but it currently has a few parts:
EchoIRLP node. Enables Echolink and IRLP connectivity with the outside world.
Repeater controller/audio switching matrix.
70cm repeater. Can be configured to cover my end of town, but to avoid licensing hassles, it currently runs into a dummy load to provide local access to the system - a glorified wireless mic. ;)
Remote base - frequency agile remote base using Hamlib and some custom shell scripting. The remote base radio is currently a FT-736R and is my primary means of getting RF out.
Data port - this is an extra audio port added to the system for a PC running soundcard data mode software. This port is connected directly to the remote base radio, bypassing the rest of the system. The data port has an additional feature - I connect to it from the other end of the house using USB over IP.
Logically, the controller has 3 hardware ports - 70cm (local repeater), allmode (remote base) and svxlink (was an experiment initially, but now feeds a streaming audio feed). By default, VoIP audio is fed to both 70cm and streaming. The 70cm and streaming ports are permanently connected together.
For "idiot proofing" reasons (given it's my shack, you can guess what idiot I'm protecting the airwaves from :D ), I have defined 3 modes of operation, controlled by an additional script. These are:
VoIP - All 3 system ports are connected together and IRLP or Echolink connections are permitted. The remote base radio is therefore active, but "parked" in a way that prevents it from transmitting. This mode allows the remote base to be easily switched to a local frequency, but requires deliberate action to do so. In otherwords, this mode is designed for flexibility - defaults to a "safe" configuration, but that can be easily overridden by manual commands, forcing me to think before doing something potentially stupid. :D
Local RF. In this mode, VoIP is disabled - IRLP disabled, Echolink set to "busy". Anything transmitted on the local repeater goes to air on the remote base Tx frequency and vice-versa. Because the local access is full duplex, this is a handy "wireless mic" mode. Additionally, any scheduled outbound VoIP connections are cancelled, while this mode is active. The remote base is also disabled, and operations involving a frequency/mode change actually enable the remote base, make the change and then disable it. Suffice to say VoIP on an unconnected repeater without warning can be disconcerting, and if there is VoIP already present, the potential for links and loops could cause even worse!
Digital - here, the remote base is logically disconnected from the system and disabled. Only means of keying the transmitter is via the digital mode port. VoIP connections are allowed, but only activate the 70cm repeater. This prevents digital mode operation and IRLP/Echolink interfering with each other. If I want, I could be liaising with someone via Echolink or IRLP while testing a weak signal digital mode with them.
These mode switches are controlled by the extra script I wrote, which parses the command line to decide what mode the system needs to be in, before passing the actual command to the remote base itself to make any frequency/mode changes, etc. Commands which aren't associated with a mode change are passed directly to the main remote base.
Anyway, if you're interested in reading more about the remote base part of my system:
... I'm sure it's clearly explained in the Zmodem docs.
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* Origin: Freeway BBS Bendigo,Australia freeway.apana.org.au (432:1/101)