Overview


StationPro Announcements!

1 August 2014: My inventory of SP-II kits has been restocked, and kits are now available via the Harbach Electronics secure order form which you can get to by clicking on the "Order Kits" button above.

9 August 2014: New replacement black panels are now for sale from the Harbach Electronics website. These are exactly like the original gray panels but have a textured powder-coated black finish with white lettering. The price is $30/ea plus shipping ($20 and no additional shipping if ordered with an SP-II kit.) The price includes a new replacement power switch to facilitate swapping panels.

Black SP-2 Front Panel

 

Welcome to the website for the "StationPro" master station controllers, featured in the August 2010 issue of QST and winner of the Cover Plaque Award. Click on the above navigation panel for kit availability, technical details, answers to FAQs, schematic diagrams, assembly and operating instructions, and much other information.

New! Read eHam reviews of the StationPro HERE and read the QST article HERE.


WHAT IS IT? The StationPro is a build-it-yourself master station controller for amateurs with more than one rig. The StationPro enormously simplifies station operation by allowing the operator to mix and match transceivers, linear amplifiers, microphones, speakers, key, data, and all control functions in any combination. It also transfers RF from a selected rig and amplifier, up through the six meter amateur band, eliminating coax cable clutter and the need for coax switches. There's nothing like it available anywhere else. As shown above, the StationPro comes in two versions, the "basic" SP-I and the "deluxe" SP-II. Click on the arrow at the left for a video demo.

Both versions transfer key/paddle, microphone (two can be selected), speakers, RTTY/packet, computer, linear amplifier relay and ALC, line in/out, footswitch (or PTT) – up to twenty-four separate control lines, including several spares and user-configurable lines. The SP-I accomodates two transceivers (or receiver/transmitter pairs) and two linear amplifiers. The microcontroller-powered SP-II accomodates up to three of each and has a liquid crystal display plus additional features to make your station operation more convenient. Check out the QST article and download the Operating & Assembly Manual from this site for a complete description of features.
Rear Panel of the StationPro II
The StationPro interfaces your transceivers to all your linear amplifiers, including vintage and homebrew amps, no matter whether they use positive, negative or AC relay control voltages.  This flexibility means no more worries about the voltage and current limitations of your transceiver’s amplifier keying circuit

PCB Wiring

EASY TO BUILD If you've every wired a kit before, you'll have no trouble assembling the StationPro. My kits contain all the printed circuit boards and custom pre-punched and silkscreened enclosures. You can instantly order the remaining parts on-line from Mouser Electronics (an international distributor of electronic components) by clicking on a link to a pre-filled-out order form. International sales are welcome. Click HERE to go to the StationPro ordering page.

You can also download HERE a comprehensive step-by-step assembly and operating manual that is
loaded with photos and construction tips. Whether you're a new ham or seasoned old-timer, you'll find "homebrewing" your own StationPro will be both enjoyable and educational.

The StationPro II's controller circuitry is housed on four modular printed circuit boards (shown at the right) to minimize point-to-point wiring. To further simplify assembly, the StationPro uses uncrowded circuit boards and no surface-mount components.The StationPro I and II share the the same main and rear panel circuit boards, so upgrading an SP-I is a matter of adding a microcontroller circuit board and a new front panel circuit board. Both units use the same remote RF relay unit, shown below. It takes 7-10 hours to build a StationPro I and about 14-16 hours for a StationPro II.

All the RF switching is done in this custom high power RF relay unit (tested to 2500 Watts), which mounts behind your operating table. Its purpose is to route the RF output from a selected transceiver to a selected amplifier. The unit contains a bypass relay for "barefoot" operation and is automatically operated by the StationPro's control unit via an ordinary CAT5 Ethernet cable. All of the RF power relays and coax jacks mount on a single printed circuit board inside the RF unit, so no point-to-point wiring is required.

Newly available PCB-mount power relays do all the RF switching and easily handle the US legal power limit with plenty of reserve capacity and negligible VSWR and insertion loss up through the six meter amateur band. The photo at right shows one of the StationPro's Tyco/Shrack RTB14012 relays with the cover removed. The compact construction and short wide leads are what give it excellent RF properties and power handling capability.

RF Power Relay

Transceiver "pods" are the StationPro's answer to vexing behind-the-desk cable clutter. Each pod is a simple "breakout box" which is configured during assembly for your particular rig. Inside the small plastic enclosure is a universal printed circuit board, so builders can use as many or as few functions as they need. Vintage radios, such as Collins or Drake rigs, use only a few control functions, while complex rigs, such as the Icom IC-7800, may use many. The pods connect to the StationPro's control unit with an ordinary 25-conductor computer serial cable. Three pods are supplied with each StationPro II kit (two with the StationPro I).

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? A complete StationPro I costs about $400, and StationPro II about $600. Because I not running a business and only want to recover my costs, this is less than half what a commercial manufacturer would charge. More importantly, the StationPro will completely transform your station's operation. Having used three SP-IIs in my own station (powered up 24/7) for more than a year, I literally couldn't get along without them. Thus I know you'll find that the StationPro is not only fun and educational to build, but will quickly make itself an indispensible part of your amateur station.

Vintage radio collectors often have several "boatanchor" rigs. (A test for you old-timers: how many pieces of equipment in the photo can you identify?) The StationPro makes it easy to switch between vintage stations. And of course, it really shines with modern transceivers. Furthermore, up to three SP-IIs can be networked, to allow control of up to nine rigs and amplifiers!!

 

Below are photos of a "limited edition" StationPro IIB, with black anodized front panel and engraved lettering (but othewise the same as the SP-II). These were custom-ordered for builders and not currently for sale.


Please enjoy the rest of the StationPro site, and feel free to send me any comments and suggestions. Thanks for looking!