Saturday afternoon here mid summer working outside and just wondering if any bands are open. How about a basic IOS app so we can check band conditions or keep a sked from anywhere. If thats too hard how about adding a web server to Wfview and we can leave a server running in the shack and connect with any browser on any phone that I can save in my home screen as a web app. Or run up a cheap AWS cloud server that sits in the middle so there are no firewall issues and charge a few dollars a month to cover the server costs. ZL2LD
Lots of good ideas here. We have run it on iOS as a test (on an iPad) last year, and it can be done. Since qt is supported on iOS and android, it’s a natural way for us to transition the code over to those platforms, without needing to re-write it for a web interface. It does need a lot of work around the interface, dialog boxes, audio devices, gestures, etc. But it is a natural fit! The waterfall on an iPad is really something, and with the right tweaks it will probably become a favorite way to use these radios for many users. On an iPhone, it could be, as you said, a nice casual way to tune around the bands or have a QSO. And we would work to support iOS and Android.
That said, your core development team is super busy right now, plus we would all need to “tool up” for iOS (and android) development. Believe me, it’s a great idea and it’ll happen once we have a few months to work on it. We all do wfview development in our spare time, with families and work taking priority. Not to mention cleaning the house…
A “middle” server is a nice idea for people stuck behind firewalls using wfview to wfview connections. We’d have to re-write things a bit for persistent connections and probably switch to TCP (from UDP).
When we’re ready for tablets and phones, we’ll make an announcement. You folks will hear about it first :-). I think we get pinged about this a few times a week, via emails or on the forum, so I get it, I know there’s a lot of interest! If we could just take a few months of unpaid leave (and not run out of money) a beta could happen pretty quickly…
Thanks for the ideas, keep them coming,
Over the years I have followed numerous attempts to run HF rigs by remote control. Many fail to be reliable or only work partially. I notice that it is beyond the ability of many elderly hams to even set up a fixed IP or use dynamic DNS and then to port map thru their router. Most get frustrated and give up. I live rural and have recently installed Starling and get 200Mb/s compared to my slow and unreliable Ubiquity radio link to my business but Starlink have no option for static IP. I have had to install OpenVPN on my home Macs to connect to work - what a hassle that was. Even my resident nerds at work struggled to get it working.
Many new generation IP cameras connect via the company’s own cloud server. That way you just plug the camera into ethernet or connect to the local wifi with an app and from then on the client can connect to the camera from anywhere. No static IP, no port mapping, no firewall issues. Of course there is the issue of privacy ie are my IP cameras routing all video via a server in China? Maybe or they might just be using the China server to set up the connection like Teamviewer does to connect client and server. HF radio QSOs are already public so the audio is not a security concern. All data would go via your servers so security like DDNS is built in.
I think the simplest solution would be to use a server at the radio site that finds it’s way home to the live.wfview.org server like ET calling home. That server could be any old PC or Mac. Pi solutions tend to be a bit nerdy and harder to set up and keep going by novices. If you set up a WFview server at live.wfview.org via a subscription it could mean that you just install the server on any old machine and set up the connections to the radio and then your cloud server takes care of the rest. The bandwidth requirements are very low compared to video so the AWS costs would not be high. As an open source solution it would also be able to accept plugins that take advantage of apps that control rotators, Steppir antennas, linear amps, power on/off relays etc.
The AWS server would present all data via web pages so any browser on any device will work to give dashboard and RX and TX audio.
I have thought long about a better way to change frequency than the current solutions as they all fall far short of USB devices like the lovely weighted tuning knob of the Icom RC-28 remote. Tuning in to the right sound for an SSB signals with up and down arrows at constant speed knob simulation is not nice. As you know the modern radios all have variable rate tuning which allows us to quickly get to a frequency then slow right down for final tuning. I think that poor user interface is the major reason people dislike using remote control software.
This cloud server idea also opens up the means for individuals like me to allow a few trusted friends in retirement homes or strict housing rules to use my station.
This could end up being much bigger than Mac’s and Icom radios.
The growth of progressive web apps is reducing the need for native apps meaning you only need a smartphone friendly web site and no apps and no Apple hoops to jump thru every time you make even a tiny change.
The server idea can work but can also have problems.
- it requires someone to operate it and cover the costs involved.
Wfview in not a for profit project so charging for a product can not/will not cover such costs. Not all users will be willing to pay for such a service.
- If for any reason you can not connect to the server you can not operate remote.
- If the server goes down you no longer can operate remote.
- Developers of the Wfview project would need to devote there valuable time to this server.
I’m sure there are other things that must also be considered.
All this is out of your direct control.
I had the server experience with a Flex rig. While the remote service worked very well there were problems that I could do nothing about. If it went down you were out of luck… no remote operation. I looked at other options for working remote but found they would not fully with this radios built in server. This included remote desktop solutions as well as the VPN solution (mentioned below).
This was one of the reasons I chanced to my Icom rig.
What I found to work very well is using a VPN on my local network. (It is actually an APP running on my Asus Router) Other VPN solutions may also work well.
Using a VPN I do not need to set up port forwarding from my radio server, just have it working on the local network. All traffic between the remote computer and local network is encrypted - more security. When I connect via the VPN, the remote computer, laptop tablet etc. works exactly as if it is connected at home on the local network. I can access any server/ computer on my network. I can use remote desktop on the local network to operate a a computer remotely. I have full control of how it all works including rebooting equipment if required.
Best of all I do not have to rely on any server that is operated by someone else.
73… Ken - VE5KC
Ay my company we changed from our own servers to AWS some years ago and the reliability has been much better than using our own servers and we don’t have to do any maintenance. That’s why so many companies are switching over to one of the cloud providers. They also do a very good job of protecting against cyber attacks.
I think that most hams would be willing to pay $5 a month to use this service. That’s less than a couple of cups of coffee. It could be billed annually in advance to reduce overhead costs with first month free so it is try before you buy.
I believe that software as a web service is the future. I have regular Microsoft teams meetings and I have never installed any software, just use Chrome browser on my Mac. Teams has audio and video as well as the ability to display desktop and images etc. It was incredibly simple to set up and use the very first time. I bought a RigPi when it first came out and the forum is still flooded with requests to help get it working on their radio. Most users have given up. WFview is way better already but cloud based service is next level.
VPN is too hard for many people to set up.
73 Peter ZL2LD
I think it’s a good idea in concept, and I think it could be done at a sort of “at-cost” price of a few bucks. We just need some time to work on things like that.
I actually suspect there’s a ripe market for a “rent my radio” kind of service too, for folks that aren’t in a good situation to maintain their own shack. (There are already some like this out there, but I think the simplicity of wfview would appeal to more people.)
Maybe something to look into down the road.
And to Ken’s point, I agree with what you’re saying too. I like having all the capability right here under my thumb. But for folks that don’t want to figure all that out, a simple solution might be just right, even if it does have more points of potential failure. At home here, I have my repeater with asterisk and my HF setup all running from dual AGM batteries with a 200W panel. But that setup isn’t for everyone!
Keep the ideas coming. It’s really healthy for us to hear these concepts.
My 7300 is on all of the time and used exclusively for remote access. It runs off a giant truck battery that is kept charged by a 20 watt solar panel. I could use a bigger panel. But, I’ve never run down the battery. 100 amp/hours is a lot of juice.
Also… I would really like to have an iOS app to access my remote system.
73, Doug – K0DXV