Page update: 23 April, 2013 12:32
The Handiham Remote Base is more complicated than a typical ham radio
station. Since it is controlled via the Internet, a computer connected to the
station via an interface must be listening for your commands at all times. So,
beside the regular radio equipment, we have to have computer equipment,
interface hardware, and a solid Internet connection at all times. In addition,
the computer must be told what to do by software. Since the software is always
under development, changes and upgrades will be made as necessary. Because the
system is more complicated, it is also more vulnerable to things that might go
wrong. For example, if the Internet connection should go down, station control
will be lost. In that event, the station will timeout. We all know how computers
sometimes run slowly or have something unexpectedly cause a problem after a
software update. These things are bound to happen, but we hope to keep them to a
Sometimes something odd or expected will happen in station control or
function, and we don't quite know how to fix it but we know under what
conditions it is likely to occur and how to work around it. These are what is
called "known issues". This page was set up to provide a list of
current known issues with the Handiham Remote Base. It is a good place to look
if something doesn't seem to be working right, because chances are someone else
has noticed the problem and let us know about it.
If there is a problem with the station that you have noticed reoccurs on
occasion, please let us know about it so that we can try to re-create the
conditions that caused the problem and thus diagnose it and repair it. Issues
that cannot be repaired will be listed here. To let us know about an issue,
please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update on software development
List of Issues - You may also wish to visit the FAQ.
- Choppy sound on station W0EQO transmit signal: IRB Sound is one of the sound client options from the setup pull down
menu. It delivers a good option to using Skype, but only with W0ZSW.
The sound with this client is reported to be choppy when used instead of
Skype on W0EQO. At this time we can only recommend IRB Sound with W0ZSW if
you don't want to use Skype.
- IRB Sound may be set as default in both stations, and will work great for
receive. Transmit will be choppy on W0EQO, however, so if you decide
to transmit on W0EQO, just close IRB Sound and call "Handiham Remote
Base" on Skype. You will hear the audio from the radio and
transmit will work just fine. Be sure to disconnect on BOTH Skype and
the W4MQ software when finished using the station.
- Radio stuck in SPLIT MODE: You find the radio in split mode because someone has changed it from
normal VFO mode and has not returned the radio to normal non-split operation
before logging off. You make sure the W4MQ software has screen focus (in
other words, it is your active Window), and you press the letter
"s" to toggle the split VFO mode off. To turn split on again,
press "s" again. Please leave the radio in non-split mode when you
are finished using it. The list of keyboard commands is very useful.
the keyboard commands here.
TIP: Easy fix for being stuck in SPLIT MODE: The latest client
software release returns the radio to normal VFO operation upon log
off. You can avoid leaving the radio in split mode by simply logging
off and then logging back on.
- Unexpected Skype disconnects: W4MQ software login seems to go normally and Skype connects to the remote
base automatically, but then almost immediately disconnects. We are aware of
this issue but have no solution at this time. Try logging in again and
chances are the station will stay connected. This generally only happens the
first time you try to connect during any given session. It may be a timing
issue between Skype and the W4MQ software.
TIP: Fix connectivity and timing issues by
upgrading to the latest version of the W4MQ client software.
- Sometimes Skype will not disconnect on its own when you log off the
W4MQ software. Be sure to hang up the Skype call manually if that
happens. Otherwise Skype may remain connected to you for hours, tying it up
so that other users cannot access the station's audio.
- W4MQ software crash with a runtime error 6. This
sometimes shows up with several versions of Skype. If it happens, you should choose
IRB Sound when you set up the sound
type in the W4MQ software. Once you have made this change, Skype must be connected
manually. Sometimes Skype will not disconnect on its own when you log off
the W4MQ software. Be sure to hang up the Skype call manually if that
For example, if you are going to use station W0EQO, here are the steps to
- Use the station pull down to select W0EQO.
- In the W4MQ setup menu, change the sound type to IRBSound. Use
the default "Med Quality" setting.
- Log in to W0EQO. You will hear audio through IRB
- Close IRB Sound but keep the main W4MQ client running.
- Choose "Handiham Remote Base" from your Skype contact
list and connect.
- You are now hearing audio through Skype, and you may transmit and
receive using Skype.
- When you log off, Skype disconnects automatically.
TIP: Avoid runtime errors by:
- Never run more than one instance of the W4MQ software at a time.
Started another session before closing the software will usually produce
a runtime error.
- Use IRBSound for your first choice of audio instead of Skype if
runtime errors are a problem.
- W4MQ software crashes with a runtime error 6 although it has worked all
right earlier in the same computer session and you have already chosen IRB
Sound and followed the procedure listed above. If this happens, close the
W4MQ software (Kill it with the Task Manager if it will not quit and is
stuck.) Then close Skype. Skype must be completely closed, not resident in
the System Tray. Re-start the W4MQ software, then restart Skype and proceed
- Unable to control station after you inadvertently use station dropdown
and select a different station than the one you are already logged into. Never
touch the station dropdown once you are logged in! The system will
drop your connection if you do so, and the host computer will remain tied up
for as long as it takes to time out, making it unavailable to other
What to do if this happens to you and control is lost: Use the
station drop down to select the station you had been logged into. It
will show that it is "IN USE", but ignore that message and connect
anyway. The IN USE will temporarily drop away, then you will be
connected normally. Once connected, proceed to use the station as you
had planned. Disconnect when finished by logging off
- EchoLink users accessing the receive function may see an incorrect
frequency in the text box. For example, it may show the last frequency used,
say 3.925 MHz, even though the sound from the speaker is from WWV on 5 MHz.
When you change frequencies via the text box, this corrects itself.
- Voice frequency speech output cannot be turned off. We do not have a
workaround for this in the W4MQ software at this time, but it is on our
TIP: We have turned the voice frequency volume down, but you can
hear it more clearly if you set the RF Gain down. Be sure to turn the
RF Gain back up again so you can hear the receiver.
- 160 and 6 m do not support transmit at W0EQO. The antenna tuner does not have a
range compatible with these bands, so transmit has been disabled on 160
and 6 m until such time as changes are made in the antenna system. You
may listen on both bands, but not transmit.
- IRB audio stutters. This is for users who are using the internal audio
application in the W4MQ software only. Sometimes the audio stutters and is
unusable for Windows Vista users. We suggest switching to Skype for your audio.
- When using the built-in logbook, keyboard command for paste CTRL-V
causes the rig to transmit. Type in callsigns and QTHs, etc. instead of using copy
- Logbook does not save entries when using Windows 7 and 8. This is a
known issue related to the way the software saves the log files.
Windows does not allow saving to the affected program file directory.
This will be fixed in a future release.
- Dialog appears saying, "This action cannot be completed because the
other application is busy. Chose 'Switch To' to activate the busy
application and correct the problem". When you choose
"Switch To", nothing happens. No known solution. Kill W4MQ
software application with Windows Task Manager. Avoid using keyboard paste
commands in logbook function.
- Delays and dropouts can happen because of bandwidth issues, but in some
cases the apparent dropouts are caused by the fact that Skype does not
provide a full duplex audio stream. Skype appears to use a form of VOX
switching between transmit and receive, which can cause the receive audio to
drop whenever the microphone picks up a noise. Fortunately that's not a
problem on transmit, because the audio output of the TS-480 is muted. It is
possible to reduce the VOX-induced receive audio dropouts by using earphones
for listening (or by reducing the speaker volume), and by going into Skype
Tools, Options, Audio Settings and unchecking the box that says "Let
Skype adjust my audio settings". If that box is checked, Skype will
crank up the mike gain when you're not talking, which aggravates the receive
audio cutouts and can also make the transmit audio sound like it's going
through a compressor.