Monitoring the ATU power meter via webcam

The snag I’ve now got is that I want to monitor the ATU power meter which is fine if you’re sat next to the rig, but no use if I’m remote.

The easiest solution is to stick a camera in front of it and view the output over the VNC connection. I toyed with several ideas of how to do this, but at this point the simplest and cheapest is to use a conventional USB webcam and just have an open window to the output on the screen when using the radio.

I managed to get hold of an HD webcam relatively cheaply, picking the Hewlett-Packard HD 4310. People had commented that it only had a plastic lens, was generally too plasticy etc but at the end of the day it’s looking at an ATU so I wasn’t overly fussed

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With a the application of a few sticky fixers and a strip of insulation tape the camera was anchored to the desk in the right place so hopefully it doesn’t get knocked or moved.

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Unfortunately I’m still using the default software which comes with the camera which is bloated to the point of crazy with all sorts of rubbish for social media use. I’ll eventually install something like Yawcam (http://www.yawcam.com/index.php) as a server and stream the output to VLC which has a very nice minimal interface and does server streaming very well, but in the meantime I’ve got a visible power meter which can be viewed wherever the radio is accessed from.

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The next problem to overcome is the required manual interaction with the ATU when changing band. At the minute I’m happily sat on 20M playing PSK-31, with an SWR of 1:1 but I’m sat next to the radio. If I want to be anywhere else the issue comes as to how to tune the antenna. The obvious solution is to use an auto ATU such as an SGC SG-211 auto-ATU

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I’m kicking myself as there was one on eBay a month or two ago and I let it go and no one bought it which is a bummer as now there’s none floating around. It would have been the ideal solution.

I like the Elecraft T1 but there’s still a need for interaction to kick it off into tune. Oh well, that’s a problem for another day!

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