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VPN Setup

This is mainly for the BAC contest this weekend.

Download (64bit windows):   https://swupdate.openvpn.org/community/releases/openvpn-install-2.3.6-I603-x86_64.exe
Download (32bit windows): https://swupdate.openvpn.org/community/releases/openvpn-install-2.3.6-I603-i686.exe
Install that as administrator, then download and copy the contents of this zip file to C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config

VPN Config: http://fbom.club/vpn.fbom.club.ovpn

This should give you an icon that will have Connect as an option, which will ask for a username (your callsign) and the password (which we will give you on IRC). This will then assign you a 10.8.0.x address.


N1MM+ Setup

  1. Install N1MM+ and run it to update to latest version.
  2. Go to Tools -> Update wl_cty.dat (internet) and update your country file.
  3. Close N1MM+
  4. Download the BAC UDC file from here and place in your Documents/N1MM+ Logger/UserDefinedContests directory
  5. Download the KA1DS N1MM+ database from here and place in your Documents/N1MM+ Logger/Databases directory
  6. Launch N1MM.
  7. File -> Open Database -> KA1DS database file you saved previously.
  8. File -> New Log in Database KA1DS
  9. In N1MM+ New Log Dialog Box
    1. WA1J_BAC
    2. Operator: MULTI-MULTI
    3. Band: ALL
    4. Power: HIGH
    5. Mode: SSB
    6. Overlay: N/A
    7. Sent Exchange: W
    8. Operators: <Your Call>
    9. <OK>
  10. You should have N1MM+ running now with a Callsign, a serial box (not editable) and a Booze box.
  11. Time to get networking started!
    1. Turn off windows firewall.  You’re behind NAT so dont worry.  N1MM needs to talk to ports that windows firewall doesnt like on the WAN side.
    2. Windows -> Network Status.  A box should appear saying “Click to start networking”.  Click the box in the window.  Stations should be appearing if the VPN is working as it should.  Dont worry if your IP isn’t on the same subnet as everyone elses.
    3. Window -> Info (your chat/irc log)
    4. Ctrl-E to open up chat window where you can type lewd things to people.

DC Powered Shack PC

Last week I was thinking about my new house and the awesome shack I could build in one of its many empty rooms.  All the pretty equipment I could buy started flowing through my head and our IRC channel.  Since the house is going to have a standby generator, I was thinking about a UPS for the desktop computers in the shack.  Then the idea came to me, why not run a DC powered computer?  Well, that sounded like a great idea!

Through my research, I found the Intel NUC machines.  I knew we used these at our office for our 40+ conference rooms, but I didn’t think about their power bricks for power.  After some researched, I found a few models that have their specs for 12V-19V.  These models are the NUC5i5RYK and NUC5i5RYH.  They are Core i5 processors with up to 16GB ram and m.2 SSD drives.  The K model only allows the m.2 SSD drive, while the H model allows a m.2 SSD drive AND a 2.5″ SSD SATA drive.  They are a case difference between them (take a look, you will see H is taller).

nuc_powerbrick I got a NUC5i5RYK for testing, and put 16GB (2x 8gb So-dimm) memory and a 80gb m.2 SSD drive into it.  I installed Linux Mint for testing, but these will run windows 7 and 10 without problem.  I did a quick test on the machine to make sure everything was working, then I cut the cable off the power brick.  This is where the first surprise showed up.  The power supply cable is a simple coax type cable.  It had a foam dielectric, with a non braided shield and a multi threaded conductor center line.  This was fairly easy to change into Anderson Powerpole connectors with a little bit of heat shrink.

nuc_idle_wattageOnce I got it setup correctly with the powerpoles, I powered the NUC back up with my linear power supply.  It powered up nicely without any problems.  During bootup, my inline meter said it was pulling up to 23 watts, but when it got to the desktop screen (within about 10 seconds of total poweron), it was at its idle power usage of 8 watts.

20150914_180119I fired up Firefox on the desktop and started up a HD youtube video in full screen.  This gave me a power rating of around 20 watts while watching videos.  I couldn’t easily get it to pull more than this during my tests.

Since it was running off the power supply fine, I decided to put it on a small SLB I had laying around (that wasn’t fully charged).  This is when I decided to start taking pictures of the usage, so the voltage looks lower than my power supply was giving out.

20150914_191902It ran fine from 13.8V down to 9V.  Once it dropped below 9V, the NUC turned off.  Here you can see that it was running 9.38V and not having any issues.

So, what does this get us?  A dual screen capable PC that will run straight off your DC power distribution.  No external UPS needed if you already have a battery system for the shack for emergency power.  There is also no aidsy switched power supply wall warts to make noise in our local areas.  Next up?  Trying to find a good 12V monitor.

Setting up crossband repeating on a Kenwood TM-D710

Setting up crossband repeating is pretty straightforward with this radio. In this version I use a TM-D710A with the Greenlight labs GPS module to set up crossband repeating and test it with my TYT-UVF1 handheld.

There are a few little things that are not obvious in previous instructions I found on the internet, so here is my attempt to explain it.

JT65 via RemoteHamRadio.Com (Browser based)

Today, I was bored and decided (and it was suggested to me) to try to get a JT65 QSO via Remotehamradio.com.  I was able to get this done and was able to log Italy tonight with it!

First JT65 QSO

It shouldn’t take too long to do this for anybody else.  This was using the $99/year + station fees subscription (RemoteDX) there at RHR.

The needed tools (how I did it) are:

  • Virtual Audio Cable (Must purchase it or it will spew Trial over the air while transmitting)
  • WSJT-X
  • Chrome Browser
  • RHR Subscription

First thing first, install Virtual Audio Cable (VAC).  Then go into the Virtual Audio Cable Control Panel and setup two virtual cables like so:

 

This will get you the cables setup the way I had them working.  The main difference is Cable #2 has MIC AND Line selected instead of just Line.

 

Next, goto the playback devices in your OS (right click speaker in task bar and do Playback Devices on windows 8).  You will want to set Line 1 as your Default Device.  Also, make sure you have all windows sounds off, and do not have any other applications that will do sound enabled.  This isn’t such a bad thing, as Line 1 is going INTO your JT65 application, not being sent out to the radio, so it will just mess up decodes if you dont.

 

Next, startup WSJT-X, and go into settings.  Add your callsign if needed, and change the grid square to the radio site’s grid.  This is to make sure everyone is seeing you as coming from the remote site’s location and not your home QTH.  Radio should be set to NONE (you can’t remote control RemoteDX at this point), then go into Audio.  Set Input to Line 1, and Output to Line 2.  When you hit OK, you should not get any errors.  If you do, I am not sure what caused this.  I had to change the windows default device back to normal then do these, then windows default playback device back to Line 1.  Your mileage may change.

Finally, on the Remote Ham radio console, hit troubleshoot audio, and let it have access to your microphone.  Then click the little camera at the top right of the address bar, and change the Microphone to Line 2 like below:

This will require you to restart chrome after you do that change.  Once you do, you can test again and see if it is picking up the Tune tone from WSJT-X.

 

To hear either virtual cable out your normal speakers, you can use the audio repeater program:

Just select the virtual cable as Wave In, and your normally default output device on Wave Out.  Then push start.  This will let you troubleshoot the setup without changing things around much.

 

I then got onto a station, set the frequency to the correct frequency for the band I wanted to use, and let it decode a few minutes worth of audio.  It should be pretty obvious if it is working or not in the waterfall.  The waterfall wont look like a normal waterfall, it will probably have tiny horizontal lines on it.  That will be fine.  It should start decoding after your first full cycle.

To transmit, you will have to hold down the Push To Talk button on the web panel at about :58 seconds to let the latency catch up.  When WSJT-X shows me that it has stopped transmitting, I let go of the PTT.

Currently it isn’t as hands off as a local radio with CAT control, but who knows what the future could hold?

 

-N3BBQ