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