Bayside Amateur Radio Society Logo Remote Site Control

Introduction

  1. Need for a specification

    Building a software application is a like building a bridge. Before you start construction you need a detailed design. You cannot start to build until you know where the bridge is positioned, how many lanes, how far is has to span and what type of footing are going to hold up the bridge. At this stage the Mt Cotton Project is still in concept stage. We need to work through the details so a specification document can be written. Like build a bridge we need a detail set of plans.

    I have produced some menu screens with associated function descriptions. This is a first "stab" at a monitor and Control System. This is not intended to be the final product, rather, a starting point for discussion. Not all menu items may be displayed for all users and we will probably separate users in administrators and general users.

  2. Breaking the project into Stages

    Initial we can consider all the possible feature and "nice to haves", After this initial stage I would like to separate the software project into essential function and stage two functions to come later. Like the bridge, we need to get the foundation in place first.

    Bear in mind that I do not know precisely how all these functions are going to be implemented. Some will be easy, some may not be feasible, the majority will take time. It is essential that the hardware specs are as detailed as possible before the software is contemplated. The Software logic depends on the Hardware logic!

  3. The Master Controlling Computer

    I anticipate that this control system will run on a Raspberry Pi (RPi) located at Mt Cotton that is connected to the battery source in preference to the UPS. The network router should be similarly powered and connected direct to the control computer and not via the switch.

  4. Application Development

    I propose that the functionality will initially be developed in a scripting language using character based screens. This will allow for fast development and ease of change. At later stage we can build a GUI (Graphical User Interface) with all the pretty buttons and images ("Eye Candy"). The buttons and other widgets in a GUI require procedures to run in the background. These scripts can be converted to a suitable language to suit the selected GUI front end. Initially, we do not have the resources to be developing the graphical components. The functioning and testing should have the priority. My hope is the we will eventually run a web server on the control computer, hopefully still a Raspberry Pi (RPi) to conserve power consumption. Tools such as HTML5, JavaScript, Python, and PHP may well be employed at a later date.

  5. Testing and Hardening the system

    A test plan should be developed and the system "hardening" by getting feedback from first time users.

  6. Assumptions about Antennas - Check This Logic.!!!

    The *not* energised state of all antenna port on all radios will leave all antennas connected to dummy loads. As a result the only way a radio can transmit into an open circuit is through a logical fault in the application. It is also assumed that all radios will only transmit in suitable antennas. That is that all antennas will have an acceptable SWR for the frequency on which they are able to transmit.

  7. Login and Security

    Access will be by ssh or putty type applications. The login procedure will be the standard Raspberrian login. A successful login will present the user with the Master Menu displayed in Screen 1. Note: Security will have to be considered more fully.



[Top][Home]


Login Screen:

Login Screen


[Top][Home]


Screen 1: Master Menu

Master Menu


[Top][Home]


Option 0 - VK4RDB Station Identity and Facts

Descriptions of station, location, Licences Details, BDARS description, Conditions of Use for Remote Station

[Top][Home]


Option 1 - Emergency Shutdown

This option will power down all radios and antenna relays. Assuming the power down state of the five antenna relays will either disconnect antennas or connect them to 50 ohm dummy loads. We may also consider what other devices should be power down (See Appendix A).

[Top][Home]


Option 2. - Select Radio to Operate

This will select a radio to manipulate. At this stage it will be one of two.
Select Radio Menu


[Top][Home]


Screen 1-2-1 - FlexRadio Menu:

FlexRadio Menu


[Top][Home]


Screen 1-2-2 - Icom IC-970 Menu

Icom IC-970 Menu


[Top][Home]


Option 3 - Station Status Menu

This Will be a quick check on all the network connected devices attached to the remote facility. See Appendix A for currently planned devices and Appendix B for possible other devices. This may be a as simple as a ping command to the device and listen for the expected reply. This can be enhances, in time, to check more thoroughly. Eg that certain processes are running when resource permit. The Nagios application may be a suitable application.

Screen 1-3 - Station Status Menu


[Top][Home]


Screen 1-3-3 - Antenna Status Report Menu

Screen 1-3-3 - Antenna Status Report Menu:


[Top][Home]


Screen 1-3-3-1 - Antenna Status Report Ground Based Antennas

Screen 1-3-3-1 - Antenna Status Report Ground Based Antennas:


[Top][Home]


Option 3 - Station Status Menu

Screen 1-3-3-1 - Antenna Status Report Tower Based Antennas:


[Top][Home]


Option 3 - Station Status Menu

Screen 1-3-3-3 - Antenna Status Report Horizontal wire Dipoles:


[Top][Home]


Option 4 - Station Status Menu

This will present a menu that allows for interrogation and manipulation of the PDU with built in safety factors. Obviously, the network router used for control and the control computer should be connect directly to power (not through the PDU). All other should be able to be power cycled.

[Top][Home]


Option 5

Option 3 - Station Status Menu

Heart Beat Menu is to allow the setup of alerts for system failures or events that need attention. This could be a connection to an one or more administration computers. It could be a system of SMS messaging that sends text messages via an external SMS messaging service. This facility should allow the selection of individual events to be monitored or not and the maybe the time interval

[Top][Home]


Option 6 - Book a time slot on a Radio

A booking system is highly desirable. Some form of calendar that allows time slots to be allocated to users. Google Calendar may be a suitable candidate. See https://developers.google.com/calendar/quickstart/python This requires a user the have a google account. There are advantage to using google Calendar as it will handle a lot of the user interface via a separate Web based login.

Booking will be for a maximium of one hour but can be booked for less time. If a booking is not utilsise for 10 ten minute after the booked than it is forfieted and becomes available for standby.

The Standby list is only available for a 24 hout period and is mainatained on a first come first served basis. (FIFO) If the standby booking is not taken up within 5 minutes the remining time will roll to the next member in the list.

Calendar Functions

  1. Make/edit Booking.
  2. Disconnect radio if time is up, after a warning, if another booking follows.
  3. View bookings (admim only)
  4. Radio utilisation (admin only)
  5. Lock out a period for maintenance (admin only).
  6. Book on the standby list.
  7. View Standby Position
Booking reminders? SMS email and notification if user are logged in.

[Top][Home]


Option 9 - User Account Menu

Allow user to view and maybe edit some details of his/her account. Should show User login, First Name, Last Name, Member Number, Call Sign, Financial status, Expiry Date, Next Booking date and radio.

This should have a option to display personal log data.

[Top][Home]


Logout - Logout Procedure

The logout procedure has to clean calendar events, log events, and shutdown radios that may be in use. The Radio should be powered down and the antenna relays set to dummy loads. The user time of exit logged. Any remaining time on the current session should be released to standby in the calendar.

Dropout will be trapped and wilallow the member to recover his session for 5 minutes.

Option 1-9: Logout Procedure

[Top][Home]


Appendix A - List of Devices

Current Device:
  1. Proxy Server
  2. 4G Broadband Wireless Modem
  3. ADSL Modem
  4. Network Switch (if managed)
  5. Switched PDU
  6. UPS (if network Enabled)
  7. Computer managing IC9700
  8. FlexRadio 6400
  9. MMDVM Radio
  10. Blitzortung
  11. APRS Receivers Terrestrial
  12. APRS Receiver Satellite
  13. Microwave link
Possible Extra Devices:
  1. Seismic Device
  2. Echolink Computer
  3. ADSB receiver
  4. Homebrew lightning tracker 'BDARS'
  5. Frequency Reference
  6. Beacon(s)
  7. WSPR station (multi-band)
  8. IRLP Computer
  9. SDR based Rx only station
  10. Allstar Computer
  11. Antenna Rotator
  12. IP Camera
  13. Enviormental Detectors (Lightning, Temp, Humidity)


[Top][Home]


Appendix B - Antenna Logic

Radio Antenna Ports:

Icom IC-970 Radio:
      2m port -->Relay 1 +-->Relay 3
    70cm port -->Relay 2 +-->Relay 3 
    23cm port -->No Relay
  2.4GHz port -->No Relay
      GC port -->No Relay

FlexRadio 6400:
       6m port -->Relay 4
       HF port -->Relay 5


Relay States:

It is important that a relay failure does not allow a Radio to transmit into an
open circuit.
 
Condition 0     Power Down State 
                     R/L 1 Not Active
                     R/L 2 Not Active
                     R/L 3 Not Active
                     R/L 5 Not Active
                     R/L 5 Not Active                             

Condition 1     IC 970 is on 2M Beam 
                     R/L 1  Not Active
                     R/L 2 Not Active
                     R/L 3 Not Active
                   
Condition 2    2M on Vertical 
                     R/L 1 Active
                     R/L 2 Not Active
                     R/L3 Not Active
Condition 3   70cm on Beam
                     R/L 1 Not Active
                     R/L 2 Not Active
                     R/L 3 Not Active
Condition 4 70cm on Vertical
                     R/L 1  Not Active
                     R/L 2  Active 
                     R/L 3  Active

Condition 5   6 Meters on Beam  
                     R/L 4 Active 

Condition 6  6 Meters on Dummy load
                     R/L 4 Not Active

Condition 7 HF on Antenna 
                     R/L 5 Active

Condition 8 HF on Dummy Load
                     R/L 5 Not Active


[Top][Home]




[Top][Home]


Glenn Lyons VK4PK
glenn@LyonsComputer.com.au
Ver:gnl20190320 - pre published v0.9