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Re: [stationpro] StationPro Update

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  • Paul Christensen
    Jim has produced one of the most exciting kits I ve seen in a very long time. I only know of two other commercial products designed for switching
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 6, 2010
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      Jim has produced one of the most exciting kits I've seen in a very long time.  I only know of two other commercial products designed for switching transceivers, but this is the first device of its kind that allows for seamless switching between multiple transceivers and external power amps.
      Subject to Jim's consent, I hope to post a detailed description of the web controller within the next couple weeks.  In a nutshell, more-or-less, here are some hilights of the web integration into the StationPro II:
      - Small embedded web control PCB, suitable for mounting inside the StationPro II.  Since the StationPro I uses some continuous-closure logic between two transceivers and amps, the interface would require additional logic modification to the StationPro I;
      - The web controller is low-cost (USD $35) and available through Amazon.com.  This is one of the few web controllers that allow for both momentary and latching logic needed to work with the StationPro II.  An additional USD $10-$15 in parts is required to construct the logic interface board;
      - Built-in secure web server through standard HTTP Port 80.  Other HTTP ports will require re-programming the web control board.  The web controller supports 8 control channels, 8 return status channels (to monitor the transceiver/amplifier state of the StationPro II), 3 ADCs, and several temperature and humidity sensors;
      - No PC required at the StationPro II.  Simply connect any CAT5 Ethernet cable between the StationPro II and any open router port.  It's best to assign a static LAN port to the Web controller (e.g.,, then ensure that router Port 80 is open on that LAN IP address;
      - No software required.  Since the web control board is HTTP accessible, connectivity to the StationPro II from a remote location is accomplished through any web browser, and is independent of the remote PC's operating system.  So, any web browser operating under Windows, MAC, or Linux, etc. will work;
      - No programming required -- unless you want to.  The basic web server interface is extremely simple in control and status monitoring and gets the job done just fine.  Those wanting customized labels, colors, etc. can re-program the web controller.  The manufacturer provides a detailed programmer's guide;
      - My test controller is wired to activate the StationPro II's three transceiver positions and three amplifiers.  That takes up 6 of the 8 web control channels.  An additional channel is used to remotely power up/down the StationPro II through the added PhotoMOS device.  That leaves one extra command channel to use for another function like the "swap" or "amp tune," although these functions may not be quite as relevant for remote operation.  Still, an extra port is available to use as you wish.
      - A small interface board must be constructed, consisting of five opto-couplers and a single low drop-out 9V voltage regulator.  All interface switching is solid-state, silent, and optically coupled.  At a later point, perhaps someone with the necessary PCB CAD skills can produce an interface board.  Still, the parts count is low and I suspect anyone possessing the skill to build the StationPro II can also build the interface on Vector board, Perf board, etc.;
      - A PhotoMOS device is used to switch power on/off to the StationPro II.  The StationPro II can remain asleep until the PhotoMOS is activated through the web interface;
      - LED "Link" and "Activity" Ethernet port indicators can be brought out to the StationPro II's rear panel to assist in network troubleshooting;
      In addition to the above, Jim and I have been corresponding together on some RS232 programming options, as well as adding a set of amplifier lock-out (ALO) panel jacks for ease of interfacing to sophisticated SWR/wattmeters like the Telepost LP-100A, ArraySolutions PowerMaster and RadioCraft series of meters.  I'm sure Jim will have more on that as time moves on.
      I am very appreciative of Jim for allowing me to be one of his "beta builders."  This is one truly unique and enjoyable project that can benefit most of today's stations.  As Jim indicated, it would be a good idea to get your parts order initiated now through Mouser Electronics.  I think this will be the most successful construction project ever presented in QST.
      Paul, W9AC-
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2010 9:05 AM
      Subject: [stationpro] StationPro Update


      Hi gang,

      A couple of items: First, I received the page proofs for my QST writeup yesterday, so it's still on track for the August issue, which should start appearing in about a month. If you haven't ordered parts from Mouser yet, I'd recommend you do so before the article appears in order to minimize any backordering problems.

      Second, if you're building an SP-I, be sure and check the errata sheet from the "downloads" webpage, because I inadvertently left a 1K resistor and a 1N4005 diode off the SP-I Mouser order form. The download page now has the corrected order form. (The SP-II order form is fine, with no omissions.)

      Third, I've received several inquiries about possibly modifying the SP-II for remote control operation. Paul W9AC has successfully modified his SP-II for remote control over the internet and has promised to writed up his modification, which is quite elegant. Paul found an inexpensive ($35) embedded web control interface PCB which mounts inside the SP-II enclosure, and is connected to the internet through a second RJ45 jack which he added to the rear panel. A very slick job.

      Fourth, a couple of hints on finding hookup wire, if you don't already some in your junk box. The assembly manual calls for short lengths of 22AWG stranded wire, which is the most common type. For my own SPs, I used teflon insulated wire, which I like because the insulation doesn't melt when soldering. It's pricey if bought new, but one can frequently find it in various colors at hamfests or on eBay. (Multiple colors are convenient, but not necessary.) Another source of hookup wire is to buy a length of multicolored computer ribbon cable and peel off the strands, as needed. And yet another source is to strip the jacket off a length of multi-conductor cable.

      Lastly, I've been working on my StationPro website, and presently plan to publish it around July 1. I'll send out a notice when it's up and running.

      Thanks to all who have emailed me reporting on their kits. So far, everything seems to be going smoothly. And of course, you're encouraged and welcome to post your experiences and suggestions on this site.
      Jim W8ZR

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