Why bother with a lengthy and oft frustrating remote antenna switch project? Well, the joy of success, of course.
Often, during this design and build project, I have wondered why I was bothering to take it on. I had already a working antenna patch panel that let me route a loop array to different dual channel receivers. Built two years ago from some BNC female-to-female connectors, my 3D printed patch bay worked fine.
Then, I got it into my head to automate the process with some sort of antenna matrix switch. That got me started down the route of microcontroller RFI elimination and well isolated coaxial relays.
When I finally got the complete system (shown above) up and running in May, I definitely experienced the joy of success. I knew why I had bothered with my remote antenna switch project. The whole thing feels so functional and natural in my radio shack. I wonder why I had never done this years ago.
Along the way, I got to leverage a lot of my skills and experience in working with various microcontrollers, as well as writing software for process control. Plus, I learned a whole lot about EMI from microcontrollers and USB serial connections, as well as the importance of shielding and filtering control lines. As with most projects, my efforts provided lots to write about, as well.
Interestingly, this project was more about the challenges of system integration rather than building from scratch. According to Wikipedia, “System integration is defined in engineering as the process of bringing together the component sub-systems into one system (an aggregation of subsystems cooperating so that the system is able to deliver the overarching functionality) and ensuring that the subsystems function together as a system.”
Remote Antenna Switch Project Systems Integration
As you can see above, my project pulls together antennas, filters, switches, computers and radio receivers into a complex whole. One that is easy to use. I get modern diversity reception capability across all of my receivers. This includes array patterns and noise cancellation.
I can play with this for years. And, probably will.