In my last update I have posted a live demo of the IC-706 remote setup. This setup was using a gstreamer-based audio client and server, taking advantage of state of the art audio codec called Opus. This setup was working fine over reliable network connections; however, as soon as I got on a mobile network the simple gstreamer pipelines were no longer sufficient. So it was time to write a simple audio client and server pair that are better suited to handle network dropouts.
Good news folks: I have had my remote controlled IC-706 on the air and it works! So far I have only tested the receiver and on the LAN, but I still consider it to be a significant milestone because it was the first time I had the controls and the audio work together with a good antenna connected to the radio.
Last night I reached a significant milestone in this DIY remoterig project for the IC-706: I had the radio and the front panel talk to each other through a pair of Beaglebones and without any PC in the loop and without any wires between the boards for transferring power and discrete signals.
Yesterday I have implemented emulation of keep-alive messages on server side. This means that the keep-alive messages sent by the front panel roughly every 100 ms are no longer sent over the network; instead, they are generated in the servers main loop with 150 ms interval.
In my first post about the IC-706 remote kit I wrote that we don’t really need to care about what data protocol is used between the radio and the front panel; all we need is to route the data between a serial port and a network socket. However, it turns out that taking a closer look at the protocol is not only a good idea but also necessary for efficient remote control.
Few months ago I purchased a used ICOM IC-706MKIIG in good condition and for a quite reasonable price. The primary reason for this acquisition was that l am spending 2.5 hours every day driving a car between my home and my work place and I wanted a mobile radio setup for shortwaves. Because of the detachable front panel the IC-706 is extremely suited for this purpose.