Remote access to your uBITx

There have been quite a few posts recently on the BITX20 list about remote access to your µBITx.  There are a number of ways to achieve this, but Jens (KM6ZJV) has provided a useful summary of how he has achieved this using a v5 µBITx connected around the clock to a Raspberry Pi 3 used as an FT8 monitor.

Jens  can access it from anywhere on any device (laptop, iPhone, iPad) with VNC and OpenVPN.

A big advantage of this setup is that the radio is always ‘ready for action’ – even if you have only a few minutes time to transmit (FT8 or FT4 or FS8).

As others have mentioned, the Raspberry PI comes pre-installed with VNC.

Using OpenVPN

OpenVPN can easily be installed with:

OpenVPN allows access to the Raspberry Pi VNC server with the same IP address / port number used in your local network (without a VPN connection). OpenVPN client applications are available for all major platforms.

Of course, once you have established the OpenVPN connection, you can access any other  part of your home network (fileserver, printer, etc.) as well – not just VNC running on the Raspberry Pi.

Jens does not not recommend directly enabling a port to connect to the Raspberry PI VNC server, instead enable a port to connect to the OpenVPN server.

Using Teamviewer

Frank KJ5WI suggests an alternative in teamviewer host.

Teamviewer host on the Raspberry Pi from the above link will allow a remote connection without opening anything. When the webpage opens, scroll down and watch for the pi logo on the right side.  Frank says that the Sun City Georgetown amateur radio club uses Teamviewer for remote access to their club station radios.

KM4UDX took a bit to get both computers trusted and set up… one running on Ubuntu/AtomicPi and the other Win10/oldlaptop. But he says, “it works!”

The  screen capture above from his win10 laptop controlling the AtomicPi with ubuntu controlling his V4 uBITX running WSJTX and completing a JT8 QSO.

Don KM4UDX is thrilled to have remote control!

After his initial success, he switched to FL-Digi and this works as well sending the keyboard via the link to FL-Digi text input window. However, if the uBITX audio output level is set too low from the last time you have adjusted the speaker volume, then you have no way to change/increase the uBITX output level to make Fl-Digi happy.

Challenges with remote operation on the µBITx

Don sees the real advantage from complete visualization of the transceiver (.e.g. Flex).  If he had all of the uBITX functions on the screen, then the volume controls would be screen sliders allowing adjustment of all functions via the remote control.

The first challenge is how to adjust the uBITX volume levels in software through some sort of interface.

The second challenge is not seeing the RF output levels.  While you can adjust the drive level remotely, the impact on RF power output levels is not known, and could result in harmful emissions.