KY6R Ham Radio Command and Control “Platform”

The support in the Maker world is just fantastic, with a spirit and camaraderie (that at least) rivals the ham radio community. The sharing and sense of wonder is very refreshing to me. Also the diversity is refreshing too. Ham Radio (and especially DX-ing) I hope gets joined at the hip with the Maker Crowd. I did see signs of this at Dayton, and the ARRL is doing yeomans work in this regard – Bravo ARRL!

I found this really cool idea by Giorgio Campiotti on YouTube. I can’t find his call sign, but I love the idea to use actual physical controls in the shack for the L and C and with wireless, set the BT1500A settings manually, but remote.

Luckily, with my test last weekend, I found that the BT1500A could use the same switch settings and only the L and C controls need to be tuned. This means the only control cable I would need would be to power 12v to the Palstar tuner (to engage the right relay) and also a 5v line for the Arduino that would be out back. Here’s my idea:

But I could even get away with something this simple:

Video by Adafruit – a company run by “Lady Ada” – AC2SN

Lets take this one step further – maybe use my Android phone as a remote control?

What is especially cool is that the “Makers” are into radio controlled cars that use servo or stepper motors, so basically, its all Open Source, and I doubt I will even need to do more than plug stuff in and download code. In fact, because the remote car needs steering, that’s a lot more complex code wise than what I need. But that’s fine – I could take a remote car program and chop out anything except for the servo or stepper motor control.

I even had another weird idea:

Basically, start designing and building a ham radio control and command platform – that uses the Raspberry Pi to control Arduino based remote devices – like my antenna tuner and also a wireless remote antenna switch.

Here’s the answer to these questions:

  1. Is ham radio still relevant?
  2. Is DXCC still relevant?
  3. Can we get new, fresh blood to join the ham radio ranks?

The answer is YES. Sure, the EMCOM crowd sure seems to be very healthy, but what about building stuff and DX-ing (which are my interests). Well,  Ham + Maker is THE answer!


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