The Casual DXer Advantages of SmartSDR for iOS and SmartSDR via Maestro
While some of us have the ability to block-off large chunks of time to be on the air, many of us have to grab our radio time when we can – usually while on the fly.
Sometimes being on the air involves multi-tasking – perhaps food prep while waiting for UPS to deliver and expecting a business call… hard to go down to the shack and ignore the world in situations like that.
Sometimes that slice of possible radio time means you don’t get enough outside time as you really want to be outside.
In winter sometimes it is nicer to stay in front of a fireplace if you can.
I’ve found a way to get a few QSOs in during these slots of time I just cannot go down to my main operating station in the shacks.
I’m saying the plural shacks, as at both my main home QTH and my Washington Island QTH 115 miles north I have a Flex-6700 station in the homes’ basement. Home I coopted what was intended to be a “wine cellar” room when we moved in as my main operating station location. On the island there was a really nice workshop area in the semi-finished basement that was a natural for both a Flex-6700 and a Collins S-Line setup.
A long time ago George W9EVT recommended never putting your operating position more than 10-20 footsteps away from where you otherwise would be. W9EVT’s thought was you would be able to operate a lot more if it was convenient to your regular life. I’ve kind of violated this recommendation at both QTHs by being 2-3 times further away.
So my problem is I could not allocate shack space at either QTH that is truly in the main living area.
This cut into my on-air time. In the case of the home QTH the cool wine cellar room simply is uncomfortable for much more than an hour. The air is too chilly, plus it has bone chilling cold hard tile flooring, and in the end is too tucked out of the way. On the island the only time it is desirable to be in a basement is when it is super hot outside. Otherwise I’d rather be in eth main area or outside (eventually I will have a Garage with workshop changing things).
Since both stations have a Flex-6700 there is an easy solution.
Go LAN-Remote. As long as the Flex-6700 and a remote client are on the same subnet block of internal IP addresses you can go wireless as far as your router will let you.
If I am going to be on the air for more than an hour or repeatedly in the same spot, setting up a Maestro is the way to go. Both QTHs have one, and a computer to use with the Maestro if wanted.
But if I am truly on the run, using SmartSDR for iOS on my iPhone 6plus or iPad Air is simply magic!
Example, earlier I had about 20 minutes I would be waiting for family before leaving for an appointment, and using the iPad I quickly grabbed several DX QSOs, including the Spanish African Enclaves (EA9) and the South Cook Islands (E51). Slick, quick and a blast!
I occasional use a Raspberry Pi powered VPN setup with a Maestro to extend off my home Flex-6700’s LAN to my office 3 miles away, but that hasn’t worked so well due to the dynamic office environment. Thought I might get quiet lunch hours in of operating, but if I am here people need decisions and the interruptions are too many.
So my recommendation if you are a Flex-6000 owner is to check out SmartSDR for iOS to increase your casual DXing time, and you will pick up more DX QSOs as a result.