Ham radio without a radio

QSLremote3

K4QKY continues to celebrate the goodness of Amateur Radio and sometimes can be found operating remotely courtesy of https://remotehams.com/ as discussed in this article.  Some hams will scoff at the thought of this. For others, it may be just the ticket to continue enjoying the hobby once they are unable to operate with their radio gear.  

RemoteHams provides the server and RCForb Client software provides my linkage to the server.  Various volunteer ham radio stations worldwide have formed a network of servers.    Don is one of many hams who are the fortunate recipients of this wonderful service.  RCForb client software setup is discussed below.  No hardware is required other than a microphone and a Windows or Android device.

remotehams

  1. Microphone audio output is routed to a computer, laptop, or Android via a USB cable.  
  2. Audio from the microphone goes to the input of the installed Reaper digital audio workstation (DAW) or any other DAW of your choice. It is then processed primarily by vst plugins such as noise gate, EQ, and a compressor.
  3. Audio output from your DAW is routed to RCForb client software for onward streaming to a Remotehams server station of your choice.
  4. The remote ham operator hosts the server and radio equipment for transmission/reception with you as his client acting as the control operator for the connection.  

Note:  This scheme is primarily aimed at hams who enjoy experimenting with transmit audio processing techniques.  If you are not interested, simply skip step D and send your microphone audio directly to the RCForb client.

  Setting up your microphone, audio processing system, and RCForb client

  • Make certain that your microphone is properly adjusted.  Avoid excessive gain and speak no more than 3 inches from the microphone to minimize shack noise.

  • Download and install virtual audio cable software from https://vb-audio.com/Cable/.

  • Download and install Reaper from https://www.reaper.fm/

  • Start your Windows or Android sound app.  If you use MS Windows, look for a panel like the one shown below.

playback  
The "Playback" tab is selected as shown above. Designate your computer speakers as the Default device and Cable input as the Default communication device as shown.  Click "Speakers" and set the starting level to 70 and click "ok".  Next, click the Advanced" tab and format to 16 bit, 48000 Hz. Last, click apply/ok.
recording

Then, click the "recording" tab to reveal the above image.  Set the Cable output as the Default device as shown.  Click the Microphone and set it up according to your microphone instructions.  Start out with about a 50 level.  Next, click the "Advanced" tab and format to 16 bit, 48000 Hz.   Avoid setting any exclusive modes or audio enhancements.  Lastly, click apply/ok.

  • Download and install Reaper from https://www.reaper.fm/.  Learn more about this simple yet powerful DAW by googling "Reaper for voiceovers".  Open Reaper and set up your audio preferences as shown in the screenshot below.  You will find other useful information about the use of DAWs and VST plugins elsewhere on this site.
    reaper
  • Download and install RCForb client software from https://remotehams.com/.  It would be helpful if you also took time to become well further acquainted with RCForb by reading/watching the listed references.  Also, Google "RCForb".

  • Open RCForb client software and select the "Audio" tab in the top left corner of the screen.   See the below screenshot.  For received audio output, select your speaker system from the SPKR box.  For input, select  "cable output" in the MIC box as the source for drawing the audio from your DAW's processed output.
    rcforb

        • Note:  The website at https://n4gyn-ray.com/n4gyn-remote/ is a useful resource for hams wanting additional information on setting up and operating remotely.  Thanks, Ray Bailey, N4GYN for creating your website and providing a remote station for hams like me who no longer have radio equipment.