J. Robert Witmer, W3RW
From Sept 2019 QST
Imagine hunting 6-meter DX at a restaurant while eating breakfast, or making an all-time new DX contact while waiting for a flight. I’ve found myself operating remotely in these types of situations, and many others, using nothing more than my smartphone. If you think this type of operating is complicated and expensive, prepare to be surprised! My approach to remote FT8 operating combines WSJT-X software and a remote computer-control program called TeamViewer. Both WSJT-X and TeamViewer are free for personal, nonbusiness use. WSJT-X is available at Dr. Joe Taylor’s, K1JT, website, and TeamViewer at
The combination works Enjoy From Almost Anywhere Figure 1 — TeamViewer starting up when installed on the station computer The author relaxes outside while making contacts on 6-meter FT8 via remote control from his Fire HD tablet. FT8 well because, for FT8, audio streaming is not required. We’ll start with a description of a single-band remote operating setup, and then add suggestions for a multiband approach.
Be sure your computer is not set, via some type of internal time setting, to shut down or go to sleep to the extent it cannot be awakened via TeamViewer. You may have to experiment to find what settings need adjustment.
A related issue is automatic operating system upgrades. Try to schedule auto updates to occur when you are not operating remotely. If the computer with WSJT-X restarts, you will lose access via TeamViewer. (When the computer and TeamViewer restart, TeamViewer assigns a new password, which unfortunately you probably won’t have knowledge of when operating remotely!)
Consider adding a Wi-Fi controlled power outlet for your transceiver’s power supply, but be sure it is tolerant of RFI. It is always a good idea to have an alternative means to shut down your radio if necessary.
Keep in mind that the TeamViewer software on your remote laptop or mobile device will log you out after approximately 3 minutes or less if your device goes to sleep, or if you switch to another app. If it does disconnect you, simply re-enter your station computer’s ID and password (if required) to resume access. It’s important that you select KEEP CURRENT for the random password function in the TeamViewer ADVANCED menu tab.
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There are many VNC program that you can use to do this remote connection. Team Viewer and RealVNC are just a few that have a cloud connection that lets you get though your computer firewall and not to have to set up port forwarding. But note if you are going to share the computer connection with several other people most of the cloud companies will want your to pay for the non-free version of their software. This is the problem we are having at the club house.