WA0TDA Remote Base Ham Radio

Operate an amateur radio station from anywhere with an Internet connection.

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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.

HF Remotes Policy: Political rants & hate speech

Pat, WA0TDA, wearing headset and holding licensing manuals.
A word from the Admin’s desk. 

I never thought I’d have to write something like this, but we live in strange times, don’t we?

The HF remotes are available to help operators who need access to a resource that will help them stay on the air when they are traveling, living in circumstances that preclude antennas, are unable to access their own stations due to age or disability, or who simply want to use this technology as a convenience to operate from a location within the propagation zone of a particular remote station.

These shared resources are a community place where standards of The Amateur’s Code are valued and followed. There is zero tolerance for any kind of hate speech, bullying, or rants that incite conflict.

Think before you speak. I am quite tolerant and realize that everyone makes mistakes. A cuss word may slip out. Someone else may say something awkward or inappropriate. Handle it as if you are speaking to a gaggle of church ladies.

Remember that we in ham radio have a potential worldwide audience of listeners of all races and ethnicities and religions. What is a joke to one may be a hurtful slur to another. If you need an example, I need to dig no further than my listening to a guy on a 75 meter net call Covid-19 the “Kung Flu”. Do that on one of the remotes I administer, and you will be banned. Everyone should know better. Thankfully this did not involve a remote user.

Once banned, it will be necessary to supply me with a physical written letter delivered by the USPS explaining how this will not happen again before reinstatement can be considered.

We are all in this together. Let’s be thoughtful and helpful to each other.

Sincerely and 73,
Admin

Patrick Tice
wa0tda@arrl.net

Yes, you can say it… But should you?

Ham station with laptop PC connected to DMR radio for programming.

A laptop PC is connected to DMR radio for programming. The IC-7200 station is in the background.

Cast your thoughts back to the middle of the 20th century.  Yes, I know many of you can do so – you were born in that era and, though childhood memories may be a bit fuzzy.  Lots of us are old guys who grew up in a Minnesota that was much more rural and young and Christian and white. We pretty much agreed on most things.  That made it relatively easy to manage our politics, but even back then we knew our best bet was to keep our traps shut about that topic during Thanksgiving dinner.

In fact, when I got interested in electronics during high school, the more or less default advice on being a good ham radio operator was to never broach any of three deadly subjects on the air:  sex, religion, and politics.  

That was good advice then and it’s good advice now.  In fact, it’s even more so in 2020, when our new Minnesota is so diverse and our political landscape is so polarized.  We come to ham radio because we share a common interest in one or more of its many facets – circuit building, antennas, public service, contesting, DX, hidden transmitter hunting, space communications, digital modes, CW, DMR, SOTA, portable operation, special events, teaching and volunteering, and so many more.  Most of us leverage those topics by making them part of our on the air activities.  

No one is suggesting that talking about non-ham related activities is a bad thing.  In fact, it’s fun to connect with others who share your interest in other hobbies or topic areas like history, science, aviation, firearms, or stamp collecting.  

But much of life is about being practical.  Making good choices. Thinking about consequences. 

So yes, we can talk about the toxic three: sex, religion, and politics. The question is whether we should, because going there is like stepping into a minefield.  You may get through unscathed, but like as not someone is going away unhappy. Back in mid-20th century Minnesota, we were more alike than different, and the mines were further apart.  Today, we are way more diverse – different in our ethnicity, age, religious background, and yes, politics. That makes for a minefield with a lot more mines.  

Don’t assume that the op you are talking with on the air shares your beliefs on these toxic three.  You may be surprised that even those in your own demographic think differently on one or more of them.  Furthermore, the damage can filter outward from such conversations and be bad for Amateur Radio in general.  I have lost count of the remarks about “old dudes on 75 m” that I have seen on social media platforms frequented by younger folks.  Guys going on about their politics and religion are a MASSIVE turn-off to young people who might be interested in ham radio. 

Are we in it for fun, friendship, public service, and learning?  Yes!  

Are we in it for arguments and proselytising?  Not me. Let’s make better choices on the air. Please. 

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