Posts Tagged ‘remotes’

The Joys Of HF

It seems that contesting clubs in Manitoba and New England want to show non-hams, new hams and all hams, the 'joys of HF radio'. In a beta test of their idea, called 'Discover the HF Experience', participants in Manitoba will have the opportunity to get on HF by operating K1K, in Massachusetts, remotely, from the Garden City Canada Inn located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Saturday, April 2nd.

Future events will take place in Massachusetts from the Yankee Clipper Contest Club's venue on April 10th and a much larger operation, featuring four operating positions at Dayton in May, at the ARRL's Expo site. Full details of all operations can be found here.

The idea was the brainchild of Gerry Hull, W1VE who, along with Cary Rubenfeld, VE4EA, has brought his idea to life.

“Our amateur population is at an all-time high, but most new hams are getting a Technician ticket, getting on VHF and UHF, and hanging out with like-minded friends,” Hull said. The limitations on what Technician licensees can do often leads to boredom, Hull said, “and they drop out of the hobby. They never get the exposure to HF ham radio, and as any veteran radio amateur can tell you, that’s a lifelong exploration.”

Now I fully concur that far too many of our newest amateurs land on VHF or UHF and never move, almost totally unaware of what HF radio is all about. Being exposed to HF radio is a great idea, yet ... and maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I'm not sure that this 'first experience' is best done via remote operation. From my own initial exposure to ham radio, seeing the magic happen in a basement or attic radio shack, complete with glowing dials and a wall full of QSL's from all over the world, was enough to hook me for life. I'm pretty sure that same feeling can't be conveyed by sitting in front of a laptop and pushing a few keys.

I am not a fan of 'remotes' but from what I have seen, this may be one of the better examples and if it grabs and convinces even a few to explore HF on their own, that would be a good thing ... then all we'd have to do is get them on CW !

Remotes

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.

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