There has been a lot of discussion lately regarding the upcoming ARRL's review of DXCC requirements regarding, amongst other things, the use of  "remote" stations. It seems that most folks are either dead against them or all for them, with little middle-ground. But one thing is for certain ... remotes are here to stay and are growing by leaps and bounds.

The biggest controversy seems to be whether DX worked via a remote should count the same as DX worked from one's home station. Many think that DX worked via a remote should still be countable for your DXCC credits but should be in a separate class or have a separate endorsement indicating such ... others see no separation is needed.

I guess a lot depends on how one views the DXCC program overall. Some see it as a competition against other stations while others view it is a personal challenge for one's own satisfaction and the only competition is with one's self.

For example, if a New England 160m amateur spends many years perfecting his system and struggles for those hard-fought Asian or South Pacific contacts, should these contacts be held in the same regard as the New Englander's 160m neighbour who works all of the Asian-Pacific with ease via a remote station on the west coast? Should both DXCC certificates be the same? There is also the question of remote stations "for rent" and the overall ethics or "legality" of such within the amateur radio service.

The only direct exposure I have had to remote station operation is hearing what was clearly an east-coast remote being operated by an amateur on the west coast, while working Europeans. No problem with that, however, the operator was giving his location as CN87, Washington state ... clearly deceptive, as many Europeans were delighted to think that they had just worked a new state in "7-land"!

I suppose that no matter how strict the "rules" for remote operations eventually become, there will always be those willing to play by their own rules, as is human nature.

The genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back. I think the ARRL has some tough decisions to make ... hopefully they will be well-thought out and not based solely on financial interests.
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “Remotes”

  • KC4YLV Matt:

    I’m very nervous about old engineers building up million dollar superstations with the intent to lease them out to other contesters. It would be a terrible decimation of the contester hobby.

    Also there was a big issue with a remote station lately and from what the story laid out, it really implied that some hams may have taken advantage of a somewhat not-all-there old contester and his big rig station and turned it into a “remote” for their club. he hadn’t used it in years.

    Lots of ethics questions coming into play on this one.
    I say keep it simple – no amateur RF link to the remote, no points. Internet backbones are cheating.

  • Nick, KB1RVT:

    This topic does deserve more discussion and examination. I would like to see it extend to VUCC credits as well. In this case the op is working their “home” stations via internet/ computer from remote locations. Is this in the spirit of the rules which specifies the geographical radius from within the contact must be made? True the station is the same, but the operator is away, and the internet connection is necessary to complete a contact. Should these QSOs be counted in the same way? Or do they deserve a “separate” category?

  • Richard KWøU:

    I agree with the thread that this raises some very tough questions. But, if a person is operating remote and honest about it, how is that different from being portable? Either way the equipment “moved”, just not the operator.

    Last night I worked a young man supervised at a club station in Hawaii. He was /W2, remote to New York State. Good practice for him (he’s coming up on a tech exam) everyone had fun. I don’t know if his transmitter’s site would count for WAS but that’s where his signal was coming from.

    There has been some discussion of remote operations from rare DX sites (TN was specifically mentioned). A good aboveboard system might eliminate the need for some very difficult DXpeditions. Again, not “pure” hamming, but then I don’t know if using DX Summit is entirely “fair” either–after all, not everyone has online capability. All this seems to be another case where technology is ahead of the rules.

  • Brian ve3bwp:

    Who cares where the remote operator is as long as he/she is reporting the location of the “station” (Transmitter/Antennas).

  • mark W5PYN:

    I would not be too sure about the “here to stay” statement.If they are non-profit or free to everyone, they should be allowed. However, if they are using an amateur radio station license for business purpose, they are no longer amateur by definition and are operating an illegal shortwave station.the IRS and FCC should intervene on these operations, investigate them and by no means should these commercial sites be allowed to enter any contest or awards pursuit.Let alone be on the air.
    These are not club stations or maintenance for repeaters, these are commercial stations operating under the auspices of amateur radio.

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