W6IWI Portable

Louise and I are moving from Arvada CO to Tucson AZ. Between the time I tore apart the station in Arvada and I get to reconstruct the station in Tucson, I am operating mobile or portable. Portable operation is operation of the mobile Icom IC-7100 remotely from within an Airbnb or our new home

The IC-7100 can be controlled over USB. The USB carries CAT commands to control the radio plus transmit and receive audio. The ICOM RS-BA1-V2 software runs on a Windows computer and provides a remote user interface to the IC-7100. It can also provide an IP interface, but I am not using that.

The IC-7100 has a mini USB B connector. A Windows computer could be connected directly to this, but USB is generally limited to a 5 meter cable length. To get around this, I bought an IOGEAR GUCE64 USB extender. It plugs into the computer. A CAT 5 or 6 cable (up to 164 feet) runs to the other end of the extender, which has 4 USB ports. The IC-7100 is plugged into one of the remote ports.

The remote end of the IOGEAR GUCE64 is powered by a 5V 2A power supply. The provided supply generates some RF noise that gets into the IC-7100 receiver. In addition, it's nice to not have to run an AC power cable out to the car. I added a USB power outlet powered by the 12V battery that runs the radio. In addition, a USB to battel connector cable made it possible to run the remote end of the GUCE64 off the 12 volt radio battery.

A 50 foot CAT 6 Ethernet cable was run between the two ends of the GUCE64. After struggling with the ICOM RS-BA1-V2 software (almost no documentation is supplied), I was able to control the IC-7100 and hear audio from it. However, keying the transmitter caused the USB connection to drop.

To resolve the RF issue, I got a bunch of ferrite beads from DX Engineering. Several beads were added on each end of the CAT 6 cable. More were added to the USB cables at each end. More were added to the 5V power cable driving the USB extender. I also had to add ferrites to the computer keyboard cable. Without the ferrites, operation on 20 meters resulted in garbage characters being typed into the CW keyer text window. I am now able to run 50 watts on 40 meter CW and 100 watts on 20 meter CW.

The mobile battery charging circuit is described on the mobile page. When operating portable, the 12 volt gell cell is charged overnight with an AC powered charger, a Buddygo CT005. It's pretty nice (8A, 12V smart charger), but it generates a LOT of RF noise. For example, with the IC-7100 tuned to 14.124 MHz, the noise level is S1 with the charger disconnected, and a little over S9 with the charger connected and powered. This restricts use of the charger to overnight charging.

An Icom RC-28 encoder was also plugged into the control computer. This provides a rotary encoder that makes tuning the radio easier.

The remote end of the USB extender, USB outlet, etc. in the car hatchback. For more information on the equipment here, see the mobile section.
The portable shack. Windows computer showing the ICOM RS-BA1-V2 software, the Icom RC-28 rotary encoder, microphone, and USB extender.
A view of the RS-BA1-V2 user interface.