Kenwood TS-590 remote control with a Google Android tablet

I decided to see if I could get my Android tablet to control my TS-590 through my home wifi.  The experimental arrangement below assumes a working knowledge of the TS-590 and worked for my particular hardware, but you may need to adjust it to suit yours.  I used RS232 for CAT and ACC2 for audio, with an external audio vox unit (but see later).

Please note that you experiment with the arrangement described below entirely at your own risk!

Make sure you have the transmission timeout on the 590 set “on” just in case it all locks up.

It worked well with the tablet on my home “G” wireless LAN.

Software

  • Teamviewer and Skype
  • You need two Skype accounts – one for the originating PC and one for the tablet.

Settings:

Teamviewer on PC connected to the rig via ARCP-590

  • Options>Audio conferencing>Conference call configure>No audio.
  • Options>Audio conferencing>Speakers>Not muted.
  • Options>Audio conferencing>Microphone>Muted.

Sound settings on PC connected to the rig (Intel motherboard based soundcard, other hardware will vary)

  • Recording device – line in, listen to this device off, levels to suit, enhancements etc. all off.
  • Playback device – speakers (in my case also line-out)>levels – make sure line-in is at zero level (important).
  • Make sure speakers, if connected to line out, are at zero volume.

Skype on PC connected to the rig

  • Set to automatic answer.
  • Options>Audio settings>Microphone>Use line-in (important).
  • Options>Audio settings>Microphone>Automatically adjust microphone settings>ticked.
  • Call can be originated in either direction.

High-end Android tablet (Ice Cream Sandwich OS)

  • Use headphones (essential or you get audio feedback).
  • Otherwise standard sound settings.
  • Standard Skype settings, or auto answer depending on how you want to do it.
  • Teamviewer is available on Google Play, use the Remote Control version.  You may need to adjust some of the settings.
  • I found seeing the remote mouse somewhat confusing so kept it switched it off (default).
  • The touch screen worked intuitively.

The TS-590

  • Speaker volume at zero, particularly when testing in the same room, or it all howls.
  • I think it will be possible to use DATA VOX for keying the rig, but in my case I cannot test that because my audio vox is in a homebrew interface I use for switching between the computer audio source and my voice keyer audio source (also homebrew), and is hard-wired into ACC2.

Local QSO on 40m gave good audio reports off the tablet, albeit level a little down.  That is obviously just a tweak to a volume slider somewhere.

Key requirement is to turn all the Teamviewer audio off and to ensure that there’s no audio feedback path anywhere else, which eliminates an otherwise horrible echo.  Headphones on the tablet are absolutely essential to avoid audio feedback at that end.

Note the tablet battery gets a bit of a hammering when operating like this…

Enjoy!

Additional notes from subsequent experiments with a 2 year old Android phone

  • Less reliable than the tablet on wifi, probably due to processor and graphics differences?
  • Not really usable on my less than strong 3G data connection.  Audio was fine but remote control had large delays.
  • Watch out for data consumption costs if testing on a phone 3G data account!
  • On the phone I had a tiny almost invisible fixed cursor in the middle of the screen and the remote PC display moved around under that, so you have to move the ARCP-590 controls under the cursor and then touch to operate!
  • Phone got warm, so was clearly working hard.
  • Conclusion – not really suitable with my phone, but a more recent phone and strong 3G signal might be OK?

All trademarks acknowledged.

This experiment is based on the article by Ian Wade G3NRW at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/wadei/TS-590S_HOWTO_remote_operation_v1.0.pdf

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