One problem with ham radio these days is that most of the hams live where city laws and homeowner agreements don’t allow you to put a big old antenna. If you only work local stations on VHF or UHF this may not be a big problem. However, for RF usage, using a low profile antenna is a big deal. However, most modern radios can be controlled remotely. The well-known amateur radio company MFJ now has the RigPi Station Server and [Ham Radio DX] has an early version and has done a review.
As the name suggests, the box contains a Raspberry Pi. There is also an audio interface. The idea is to consolidate the rig controls along with other station controls (like rotators) and route audio back and forth to the radio. It also sends Morse code keying to the radio. The idea is that this box connects your radio to the network so that you can operate it with a web browser on a PC or mobile device.
According to MFJ, you can operate voice, morse code or digital modes easily and remotely. The box uses open source software that can control over 200 different radios and 30 rotors. Of course, you can do all of this yourself and use the same open source software, but it comes packaged well. [Ham Radio DX] says you don’t need to know much about the Pi or Linux to use the box, although of course you can get into Linux and use the normal apps if you tend to.
Even if you don’t want to send, such a setup could be used for remote monitoring. We’d like to see a companion box for the remote end that has the audio hardware, a keyer, and possibly a button that acts as some sort of remote control. Of course, you could probably find out how to do this yourself. We wonder if some ham clubs might offer a remote radio through such an interface – we’ve seen it before but not good.