May 30: W0EQO, online; W0ZSW online; WA0TDA online

Icom IC-7200

The IC-7200 station

Thunderstorm season has begun!  Storms can pop up quickly, and when they do, the stations may be shut down in order to allow the antennas to be disconnected so as to avoid lightning damage.  There may be little or no warning, but the stations will return to service after the storms pass.  This is just an inconvenience we have to live with during the late spring and summer. 

Remember:  WA0TDA, W0ZSW, and W0EQO all accept multiple users at the same time!  Please do not log off because someone else is already connected.  You will be able to hear both received at transmitted audio at all times.  You can take turns transmitting, assuming you are all okay with staying on the same frequency together.  The first station logged on is the one controlling transmit by default.  Use the “ASK” button to request transmit.  If you want to change the frequency, be sure to text and ask for permission to do so from the other users.  

W0EQO is located in northern Minnesota, near the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  W0ZSW & WA0TDA are located in the Minneapolis – St. Paul East Metro area.

You can browse the worldwide list of Remotehams-enabled stations that are online here. 

Check out the Blitzortung lightning map here.
Please remember that sometimes the stations may need to be shut down with minimal notice when thunderstorms are in the area of the antennas. This is done to prevent lightning damage to the equipment.

Don’t hear anything?  It may be HF propagation.

The IC-7200 station

Thunderstorm season begins

lightning

Thunderstorm season has begun!  Storms can pop up quickly, and when they do, the HF remote base stations may be shut down in order to allow the antennas to be disconnected so as to avoid lightning damage to the radios, host computers, and computer networks. 

There may be little or no warning, and the stations will return to service after the storms pass.  This is just an inconvenience we have to live with during the late spring and summer.  You can check the WX at the WA0TDA station to see what might be going on. High dewpoints (usually over 60 degrees F) are associated with unstable air and possible thunderstorms. 

Report a problem: wa0tda@arrl.net

W0ZSW returns to service after antenna change

 

The W0ZSW station with IC-7300 & LDG tuner

W0ZSW was offline for antenna maintenance and host PC updates.  It has returned to service with an inverted vee maypole antenna and has been tested on 160, 80, 40, and 20 meters. Antenna tuning may take longer than usual on frequencies that the LDG AT-1000 PRO tuner has not already memorized. Frequencies that it “knows” will tune almost instantly. Please let me know if you run into any problems with antenna tuning.

The old antenna system will be taken down soon and reconfigured later this summer.  It had suffered decreased performance after it had to be partially taken down and moved for tree trimming last year. Plagued by a high noise level, it was clearly underperforming on receive and would need to be relocated.  There is no particular timeline for this project, nor have I decided on exactly what will replace it.  However, the inverted vee maypole, formerly service the WA0TDA remote, is working very well and is much less noise-prone because it is well away from the house, fed with buried coax.  Users should notice quite an improvement.

The WA0TDA remote is still on the air with an enhanced Butternut HF9V vertical antenna, ground mounted with buried radials and fed with underground hard line. It is also an excellent antenna system, but users will notice the different characteristics of a vertical antenna.

Unfortunately, this means I have no antenna for my IC-706M2G digital station at the moment.

W0ZSW offline due to radio encoder failure

The VFO encoder on the W0ZSW IC-7200 has failed.  Although the VFO can of course be controlled by the remote software, unfortunately this is NOT the case with the audio input mode, which depends on the VFO encoder to “choose” the necessary USB input instead of MIC.  When the radio gets stuck in MIC mode, no audio can be transmitted.  Thus, except for CW operation, the radio is only useful as a receiver.

The only options at this point are to use the station as a CW only one or to go off the air until a replacement is found or a repair can be made.

At this time the station is off the air.

 

W0ZSW back online after updates, internet outage

W10 update screen

W0ZSW went offline Thursday, April 23, due to a Windows update.  That was followed by an overnight internet outage on Friday in which a downstream router was assigned a new IP address outside the range of port forwarding, causing the W0ZSW host PC to be unable to talk with the Remotehams.com system.  The problem was diagnosed and corrected on Saturday morning.

Return settings to normal before logging off

Mouse pad & mouse

Did you change anything but the VFO setting?  If so, please reset the controls you changed back to these “normal” settings so that the next user will not be confused: 

  • RF Gain 100%
  • Power output: 100 W
  • Squelch: Open
  • Split mode: Off
  • Comp: On
  • AGC: Slow
  • Transmit meter:  Either Power out or SWR
  • ATT (attenuator) Off  (This is sometimes mistaken for the antenna tuner.)

Thanks, and enjoy the remote!

73 – Pat
wa0tda@arrl.net

March 29 – First thunderstorm outage of the season

Stations WA0TDA & W0ZSW went offline late in the day on March 28 and remained out of service on the morning of Sunday, March 29.  This was an orderly shutdown to preserve the station hardware from lightning damage as thunderstorms moved through Minnesota.  Lightning strikes were detected within 1.3 miles of the stations.

Both stations will return to service before 9:00 AM CDT Sunday, by which time the antennas will have been reconnected and the systems rebooted.

This is a good time to remind users that shutdowns for thunderstorms may occur without notice now that the season has started.