Introduction To Remote Servers
A popular feature found in Ham Radio Deluxe that is not found in many other ham radio software packages is the ability to operate your station via HRD's built- in remote server software.
There are places, however, where you may not be able to operate your base system from remote. These places are, for example, your work environment where the computers you use are behind a firewall or router that are not under your direct control. Certain ports need to be available through the firewall and routers in order for you to connect remotely to your base station and these may be blocked in a corporate environment due to various reasons.Ham Radio Deluxe is evolving into a program that supports all the serial port-enabled devices that you control at your remote station.
There are two Remote Servers built into the HRD software. For radio control you use the Ham Radio Deluxe Remote Server. For other devices such as keyers and rotators you use the Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port server. (See the chapter on HRD Remote Serial Port Server)
This chapter deals only with the Rig Control Server.
Note that the Ham Radio Deluxe Remote Server is highly optimized for use with Ham Radio Deluxe and should be used to control the radio.
The process of setting up these remote servers is not something an inexperienced computer
user should attempt. Find a friend who makes his living setting up and maintaining computer networks. Be kind to them and reward them so they will come again and help when something stops working.
HRD Remote Vocabulary
While setting up the HRD Remote server, you may run into many terms used that you have heard but are not exactly familiar with. We'll go over many of these terms and explain what they mean and how they are used in conjunction with the HRD Remote Server. If you ever need to contact HRD support, knowledge of the terms used will help you describe an issue to the technician and will also help you understand the technicians responses.
Below are brief definitions of some of the vocabulary words we'll be working with when discussing the HRD Remote Server installation and operation.
- Host - This is the computer that is physically connected to the radio equipment in your ham shack. This is also the only computer which runs the HRD Remote Server.
- Remote - The laptop or other computer used to connect to the Host system from a remote location. This computer is not physically connected to any equipment in your shack.
- Localhost - Or IP Address 127.0.0.1 is the loopback Internet protocol (IP) address also referred to as the "localhost." The address is used to establish an IP connection to the same machine or computer being used by the end-user.
- LAN - A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus or office building and has its network equipment and interconnects locally managed.
- IP Address - An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device (e.g., computer, printer) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing. Its role has been characterized as follows: "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A route indicates how to get there."
- Port Forwarding - In computer networking, port forwarding or port mapping is an application of network address translator (NAT) that redirects a communication request from one address and port number combination to another while the packets are traversing a network gateway, such as a router or firewall. This technique is most commonly used to make services on a host residing on a protected or masqueraded (internal) network available to hosts on the opposite side of the gateway (external network), by remapping the destination IP address and port number of the communication to an internal host.
- External IP Address - If you are planning on connecting to your system via the internet from outside your home network you are going to have to know the exact internet IP Address of the computer you are connecting to. This connection must be a full time connection. ISPs assign a Dynamic IP Address to your computer system. For example, your dynamic IP address may be 188.8.131.52. This would be the address you would use to connect from your remote computer to your base system over the internet. The problem comes in when most ISPs change that address from time to time without you knowing it. Some change the IP address at random times, others change your IP address each time you disconnect and reconnect your modem to the internet while others change your IP address each day. There are two solutions to this problem. The first is to contact your ISP and request a STATIC IP address for the system where the remote server is running, (your shack computer). This is usually inexpensive, around $5.00 or so a month added to your internet bill. The second solution would be to use a service such as NO-IP, DYNDNS or any one of many such services which provide a free solution to the problem of not having a static IP address. These services monitor your IP address and track any changes while providing you with a constant connection through their DNS servers so any change in your IP address will not effect the address you use to connect to your remote system. If you are installing on a remote computer then the computer must have a static (non-changing) public IP address. If you have a public IP address which is not static then visit http://www.no-ip.com/ and use the free IP redirection option.
- Internal IP Address - There is another IP address that also requires attention if you plan to run the HRD Remote server on a computer in your shack. If you have only one computer in your shack and it is connected directly to the internet via a modem there isn't much problem. A problem arises if you have more than one computer in your house and they each connect to the internet through a router, wireless or hard wired. When connected to the internet via a router, each computer connected to the router has it's own INTERNAL IP Address. Just like with your Internet IP address, this internal IP address can change depending on the sequence the differ- ent computers are booted up and access the router. It is advised you set an internal STATIC IP address for the computer running HRD's Remote Server software. You will find instructions to do this in the next section of this documentation.
- Firewall - You have probably heard this word and know what it is. You may possibly have more than one on your computer system and not know it. You are probably familiar with your Windows firewall or one within your Anti-Virus software, however, you may also have one in your router or modem. You need to check for both and make sure you open up ports 7805 (Ham Radio Deluxe Remote Server) and 7806 (Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port server) for incoming TCP traffic.
How Remote Servers Work
In this example the remote station uses serial ports as follows:
- COM1 --> IC-7800,
- COM4 --> WinKey keyer,
- COM6 --> AlfaSpid rotator.
Your VCP software needs to be able to create two virtual null modem "cables".
In this example the "cables" map ports as follows:
- COM20 <-> COM21, and
- COM22 <-> COM23
The local station connects as follows: IC-7800
Remote port selected, TCP/IP connection made with the Ham Radio Deluxe Remote Server running on the remote computer (port 7805). The Ham Radio Deluxe Remote Server connects to the IC-7800 using COM1.
The Ham Radio Deluxe Winkey interface connects to the Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port client on the local computer using the COM20 <-> COM21 virtual cable. The Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port client connects to the Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port server on the remote computer using
TCP/IP (port 7806).
The Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port server connects to the K1EL WinKey using COM4.
The Ham Radio Deluxe Rotator interface connects to the Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port client on the local computer using the COM22 < - > COM23 virtual cable. The Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port client connects to the Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port server on the remote computer using TCP/IP (port 7806).
The Ham Radio Deluxe Serial Port server connects to the AlfaSpid rotator using COM6.
Setting Up A Local Static IP
It is very important to setup a static ip address for your computer if you are going to use port forwarding. When you have port forwarding setup, your router forwards ports to an IP address that you specify. This will probably work when you initially set it up, but after restarting your computer it may get a different IP address. When this happens the ports will no longer be forwarded to your computer's IP address. So the port forwarding configuration will not work.
What is an IP Address?
IP addresses are four sets of numbers separated by periods that allow computers to identify each other. Every computer has at least one ip address, and two computers should never have the same ip address. If they do, neither of them will be able to connect to the internet.
Dynamic vs Static IPs
Most routers assign dynamic IP addresses by default. They do this because dynamic ip address networks require no configuration. The end user can simply plug their computer in, and their network will work. When IP addresses are assigned dynamically, the router is the one that assigns them. Every time a computer reboots it asks the router for an IP address. The router then hands it an IP address that has not already been handed out to another computer. This is import - ant to note. When you set your computer to a static IP address, the router does not know that a computer is using that ip address. So the very same IP address may be handed to another computer later, and that will prevent both computers from connecting to the internet. So when you assign a static IP addresses, it's important to assign an IP address that will not be handed out to other computers by the dynamic IP address server. The dynamic IP address server is generally referred to as the DHCP server.
All Windows versions, Vista to Windows 10, are very similar when it comes to these steps. If you can, print out these pages of instructions as you will have difficulty viewing them on-line while you preform the configuration tasks.
- Open up the start menu, and look for the Search programs and files box.
- Type CMD in the Search programs and files box, and press Enter on your keyboard. This will bring up a black command prompt window.
There are alternate ways of getting to the "CMD" prompt window, depending on your Windows version. You can click the "Windows Key +R" to open the "Run" dialog and type "CMD" in the run box, or in Windows 10, you can right-click on the "Start" button and select "Command Prompt" or "Command Prompt (Admin)" from the menu option.
- The command prompt may look different on your screen, but it doesn't really matter. Type ipconfig/all at the prompt in the command window, and then press the enter key. This will display a lot of information. If it scrolls off the top you may need to enlarge the window.
- Record the following information: IP Address: ____.____.____.____
IP address Subnet Mask: ____.____.____.____
Default Gateway: ____.____.____.____
DNS Servers: ____.____.____.____
You may not have three DNS Servers. Just leave the unused blank. We are only concerned with IPv4 entries, you can ignore the IPv6 stuff.
The name server entries are a bit complicated. Name Server is just another name for DNS (domain name server) . Some router's act as a proxy between the actual name servers and your computer. You will know when this is the case, because the Default Gateway will list the same ip address as the Name Servers entry.
We need to have the correct Name Server IP addresses. If we do not, you will not be able to browse the web. There are a couple ways to get these. The first way is to log into your router's web interface, and look at your router's status page. On that page you should see an entry for DNS Servers, or Name Servers. Write down the ip addresses of your Name Servers.
Another way to get the correct Name Servers to use, is to give your ISP a call. They should know the IP addresses of your Name Servers right off. If they ask you why you need them, you can tell them you are trying to setup a static IP address on your computer.
- Type exit in this window, then press the enter key to close it.
- Once again open the start menu. This time click Control Panel.
- Click on Network and Sharing Center.
- Single click Change adapter settings on the left side of your screen.
- You might have more than one Internet connection listed here. You will need to determine which adapter is your connection to the Internet if this is the case. If you have a choice of a wired or wireless connection, choose the wired connection.
- You can either right click or double click on your network adapter and choose properties to open up the properties window of this internet connection.
11. Click on Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4) and then the Properties button.
12. You will see the following screen:
- Before you make any changes, write down the settings that you see on this page. If something goes wrong you can always change the settings back to what they were! You should see a dot in the Obtain an IP address automatically box. If you do not, your connection is already setup for a static IP. Just close all these windows and you are done.
Pick an IP address and enter it into the IP Address box. The IP address you choose should be very similar to the router's IP address. Only the last number of the ip address should be different. If the router's IP address is 192.168.1.1, I might choose 192.168.1.10. The IP address you choose should end with a number between 1 and 254, and should not be the same as the router's IP address. Every device that connects to your network needs to have it's own IP address.
Put the subnet mask we previously found in the subnet mask section. The default gateway should go into the Default gateway box. Enter the DNS Servers we previously found into the two DNS Server boxes. Click okay all the way out of this menu.
If you find that you cannot pull up web pages, the problem is most likely the DNS numbers you entered. Give your ISP a call, and they will be able to tell you which DNS servers to use.
That's it you should be done! If you can't connect to the internet go back and change your configuration back to what it originally was.
Another very important aspect of using the HRD remote server is the ports used by HRD to transfer the data between the HOST and the Remote computers. This is done via ports 7805, for the Rig Control server and 7806 for the Serial Port server.
What is port forwarding?
Port forwarding is a way of getting data to be routed to one specific computer from the internet or intranet. If you have more than one computer connected to your router, either wireless or wired, port forwarding will tell the router which computer certain data is to be routed to. This is important with the HRD Remote software because we want the data from the remote computer to be routed to the specific computer that’s connected to the radio equipment.
Each computer that connects to your router has its own unique internal IP Address. This address would be something like 192.168.x.x. When data on port 7805 comes into the router, if port forwarding is not used, the router doesn’t know exactly where to send the data, so, the computer that sent the data will receive an error message. By using the port forwarding option available in your router, you can specify which computer is to receive the data coming in on port 7805.
Both TCP and UDP protocols must be forwarded to the computer the radio equipment is connected to. If you own your router, your user manual will have instructions on how to setup port forwarding. If your router is leased, you may have to contact your ISP and get their support department to setup the port forwarding for you.
If you don’t have a user manual for your router, the website https://portforward.com/ can be a place locate instructions for port forwarding with your particular router.
Installing The Servers
To install the service select Remote Service from the Tools> Programs > Remote Servers.
- Press Ham Radio Deluxe Remote Server to select this server.
- Press Install to install the service, and then press Start to start the service.
You can start the Windows Services applet (Start > Settings > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services) to modify the properties of the service, for example disabling automatic startup.
NOTE: You need to make certain you open your FIREWALL and put in a rule to allow incoming connections on Port 7805. If this is not done, it's likely when you attempt to connect to from remote, the connection will fail. You also need to ensure you have port 7805 forwarded in your router to the computer that's connected to the radio equipment.
Configuring The Remote Server
We are now ready to configure the Remote Server. Press the "Configure" button on the Remote Server panel.
- Uncheck the option that says "Share all Local Com Serial Ports"
- Select the Com port that is connected directly to your radio. Only one com port should be selected in this option.
- Enter a user's name and password and check the allowed options located just below the Password.
- Click the "Add\Update" button to add the user to the configured users list.
Each user who accesses the system must have a username and password. Enter the Username and Password for each user who will access the system and click the "ADD" button indicated by the #4
Connecting to the Remote Server
You can now test the Remote Server setup from the computer that's connected to your radio equipment.
Make sure the Remote Server is running, then in the Rig Control screen, click on the "CONNECT" icon or click on "FILE > CONNECT" on the top menu to open the Rig Connect Screen.
On the lower portion of the screen, make sure NOTHING is checked to auto-start. Make sure, especially, there is not a check mark in the box that says "Always connect to this radio when starting HRD Rig Control. Once you are sure nothing is checked in this area, close the Rig Connect screen and shut down HRD completely.
You can now restart the HRD system. The Rig Connect screen will now come up.
On the "NEW" tab, make sure your radio is selected as shown above. In the "Port" field, select "REMOTE". In the "Speed" field, make sure the speed is set to the actual connect speed of the radio, as if you were connecting to it normally.
Once all set, click the "CONNECT" button.
In the "Connect" screen, enter the ADDRESS 127.0.0.1 This is the address of the LOCAL computer.
Enter the PORT 7805. This is the default port used to connect to the Remote Server Enter your Username: then the password you entered previously in the configuration.
Make sure the "UDP" box is UNCHECKED
Now, your ready to click "Connect". Once you click the Connect button, if all goes well, you should see the following screen.
Click the [OK] button on the screen above and the next screen will show:
In the above screen, make certain the "Radio Control" port is correct. If your radio is connected via TWO com ports, and most that are connected via USB will have two ports, a STANDARD port and an ENHANCED port, make sure the Rig Control is set to the "STANDARD" port. Select the "Enable" option in the Optional PTT (TX) Configuration window and select the "ENHANCED" port from the dropdown. Now, click the "green check [OK] button to connect to the radio and your Remote Connection will spring to life.
When the connection with the radio has been confirmed a Remote Connection display window shows you the data throughput and average round-trip time.
Clicking the [ >> ] button on the above screen will expand the screen to show you the full information about your Remote Connection.
Use the Remote Connection window to show the status of the remote connection.
- Round-trip time: the time required to send a message from Ham Radio Deluxe to the remote server and get a response. This will be very similar to the value shown when you use Ping to interrogate a remote host. Typically values of 50 milliseconds or less are very usable.
- Refresh interval: the interval between refreshes of the selected Regularly Read options.
- Send frequency: when the frequency is updated over a link with a high round trip time (> 100ms) the performance will be less than optimal with Sync selected so if the round trip is high select Async, otherwise just select Sync. The disadvantage of using Async is an 'elastic band' effect while tuning by dragging Ham Radio Deluxe's small tuning marker.
- Regularly Read: the options that are regularly updated. If you are using a fast link - for example to a local station with a low round- trip time then you can safely select all options. The disadvantage of selecting options such as Buttons, Dropdowns, Sliders and Status Texts is that it may take a second or two before Ham Radio Deluxe detects that you are changing the frequency by dragging the tuning marker and the current refresh operation cannot be interrupted.
If you have a slow link - a round-trip time > 100 ms - then select only Meters. As this is a remote station it is unlikely that anyone else will be adjusting the radio's controls so you will not need to refresh buttons and dropdowns as you would with a locally connected radio.
The disadvantage of not selecting Buttons and Dropdowns is that inter-button dependencies will not be shown - for example you may have 4 AGC buttons Off, Fast, Medium and Slow, only one of which will be active at any one time. If Buttons is not enabled for regular refreshes then pressing Fast will not update the other AGC buttons. In this case you must press the small refresh button to the right of the Buttons check box.
To refresh all display options click Refresh All.
Connecting From Remote Location
Once we know the system works from a LOCAL connection, we can now connect from a remote location.
When connecting from a remote computer, remember, you are connecting to the “Remote Server” which runs in the background on the host computer. Once you have the Remote Server up and running, you must shut down HRD on the host computer in order to connect to the remote server from the remote computer.
Make sure you have the same version of HRD loaded on a laptop. Set the laptop up with all the software for HRD and run. Follow the connection instructions above to connect via remote to your host system, with one exception. If you are connecting to your HOST computer from inside your home, using a wireless WIFI connection, in the "ADDRESS" box of the Connect screen, make sure you put the INTERNAL IP ADDRESS of the HOST computer. It will be something like 192.168.x.x
If you are connecting via the Internet, in the ADDRESS box, make sure you put your Internet IP address, which can be something like 156.225.36.06 or similar.
Everything else in the connection screen remains the same no matter where you are connecting from.
One thing to keep in mind when using Remote Audio. You are using the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and sometimes the audio quality may not be as good as normally expected, and there is usually some delay between the remote computer and the host.
After the completing of the rig control portion of a remote station you will need to setup the ability to pass audio to and from the remote station. Currently HRD does not have any way of transferring audio between the host and remote computers. We currently rely on some 3rd party software for this purpose. We hope in the near future to have a solution built-in to the HRD software to handle the audio between the remote and host computer systems.
Skype has been a traditional method of passing audio in both directions. This requires having TWO Skype accounts, one for the Host and one for the Remote. On the Host machine, Skype is configured to pull the audio from the radio and send it over the internet. On the Remote computer, Skype is configured to receive the audio from the internet and play it through the computer's soundcard and speakers.
Another option for remote audio is a small remote audio Server and Client called RemAud. RemAud is a FREEWARE Voice over IP (VOIP) application primarily designed for two -way amateur radio remote audio over the Internet. RemAud uses streaming-audio technology in a client–server architecture. It features high radio sound quality, low latency, low bandwidth and very low CPU usage. RemAud uses the TCP protocol for an easy installation behind routers and firewalls. You can get more information and download the software from: http://df3cb.com/remaud/
Using Skype or RemAud may require installation of some VAC (Virtual Audio Cable) software on the host as well as the remote computer. There are some commercial and free VAC solutions available on the internet. Just do a Google Search and I’m sure you will locate something that will serve your needs.
HRD Headset Monitor
A new option was added to Digital Master 780 in Ham Radio Deluxe Version 6.2. This option brings us one step closer to being able to provide fully integrated audio within the Ham Radio Deluxe suite of programs for remote operation, without having to rely on 3rd party software such as Skype. This option allows the user to operate voice communications using a standard, inexpensive computer headset. The "HRD Headset Monitor" is discussed in the DM-780 manual. The drawback to using this option is the fact that due to the many different ways of keying the transmitters, and the way audio is handled in the radio itself, this does not work on all radios. If you are using an interface such as the SignaLink USB, on the Host computer, this option will probably work, however, we can’t guarantee it. This option has been tested with an FT-857D radio using the SignaLink audio interface and it works quite well with this configuration for communication on HF and in the FM mode on 2 meter repeaters. The only issue we found with this test was, due to the way audio and the PTT for the FT-857D is handled, the radio had to be put into the Packet mode in order to transfer the audio and key the radio.
Alternative To The HRD Remote Server
We realize that sometimes the ability to operate your ham station from a remote location is a very desirable feature, however, the HRD Remote Server is a complex and sometimes a difficult system to setup and sometimes it doesn’t give you the results your looking for due to hardware limitations of your radio or other equipment at your base station.
For those who have difficulty setting up the HRD Remote Server and getting proper audio transfer via the internet there is a commercial software package available which might just provide everything you need to operate your system remotely.
TeamViewer is a highly secure and safe alternative to using the HRD Remote software and gives you the ability to operate your home station in exactly the same manner as you would if you were sitting in front of your equipment. With TeamViewer’s built-in audio capabilities, you can operate in voice modes, have full control and use of DM-780 for digital modes, including CW even if you’re using the Winkeyer. Log your contacts directly to your HRD Logbook, control your Rotator and even track satellites with the HRD Satellite tracker. Anything you can do while sitting at your home computer’s keyboard can be done via TeamViewer.
Although TeamViewer is a commercial software package, it can be installed, configured and used free of charge for “personal use”. Teamviewer can be loaded on your host computer system and on a laptop and configured to allow you to connect to the host from anywhere you have access to a WIFI Internet connection.
Teamviewer is not only available for Windows but also for Mac, and Linux systems. There are versions that can be installed and run on I-phones, I-pads, Android and Windows phones, ChromeBook and other tablets.
For anyone going on vacation, has a definite need for controlling their system remotely or someone who has difficulty setting up the HRD Remote Server, TeamViewer is a quick and easily configured alternative.