WAØTDA Remote Base Ham Radio

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

February 2024 Status – WA0TDA online, W0EQO online, W0JH online

Pat, wa0tda, wearing FT8 - ham radio without the jibber jabber t-shirt & giving a thumbs up

Pat, WA0TDA

If you need transmit access (and hold a USA license), email wa0tda@arrl.net.  

  • WØJH is in service, and we are populating the user base – SARA club members and Handiham  club members. CW/SSB
  • WØEQO is up and running.  CW/SSB – SARA club members and Handiham  club members. CW/SSB.  Grid location: EN26lv
  • WAØTDA is up and running. CW/SSB.  Grid location: EN34mw

All of these radios are Icom IC-7300s.  They work great, but it is possible to overdrive them and cause them to briefly power cycle.  Check your microphone slider at the top of the Windows application and make sure it is not set too far to the right. Look at the transmit waveform as you transmit – if it shows any red, you are overdriving the radio.  If the radio power cycles, its connection to the host PC will be lost and the system will have to be restarted by an administrator.  Please be sure to let us know ASAP so that we can return the station to service.  

Other circumstances can also cause this problem, including:

  • Power outages, however brief
  • Operating with high power at a frequency where the antenna tuner cannot find a good match
  • Using too much compression
  • Ice/snow on the antenna, making tuning difficult
  • Failure of any part of the antenna and feedline

Note that there may be occasional unannounced outages when the antennas are disconnected during thunderstorms.

 

W0EQO -Windows Update

W0EQO router

Windows update has been completed on the W0EQO host PC.  A port forwarding issue has also been resolved, and the station has returned to service as of Friday, 27 October 2023.

 

Service Note: More ferrites added; grounding updated

In a recent stress test, the system shut down due to a higher than expected SWR at the higher frequency end of the 75 m phone band. Grounding was improved and more ferrite chokes were added to the leads connected to the radio.  A new stress test was performed at 100 watts and the radio did not power cycle.

The improvements included new bonding at the rig and accessories and a new 8 foot ground rod with completely new copper conductor to the station as well as a gas discharge surge suppressor.

In the accompanying photo, the new ground rod connection is visible along with the surge suppressor during the installation.  On the right is the basement window well, and in case you are wondering about the chicken wire on the window well, that’s to prevent critters from falling in and getting stuck down at the bottom.  I’ve rescued quite a few over the years!

Ground rod installed near basement window well, including copper lead into wall of house and gas discharge surge suppressor.

WA0TDA ground rod and surge suppressor.

If the rig recycles due to high SWR, an admin must be notified to restart the host software to get the station back in service for remote users.  Contact wa0tda@arrl.net.

W0JH will be offline beginning 04 Sept 2023

The POWER button on version 0.9x of RCForb software

W0JH is slated to be moved to northern Wisconsin soon.  The station has been running in a testing mode for over a month so as to work through any potential problems.  The station, formerly labeled w0zsw, will return to service after the move and be made available to Handiham and SARA members  who request transmit access.

WØZSW has been decommissioned

IC-7300 radio & LDG tuner
The time has come! Prior to its move north, the station will be taken apart and all accessories and cabling will be labeled prior to packing it up. This is the strategy we used to get the Park Rapids station configured here on my workbench before sending it up north for installation by Bill, NØCIC.

The WØZSW station, with new callsign WØJH, will be moving to the Hayward, Wisconsin area, with the new QTH in a rural area.  It should be ideal for a low noise floor!

My son Will, KCØLJL, and I will begin the process by taking the station offline and packing up the IC-7300 and its accessories. Some labeling may be required to facilitate reassembly at the new remote QTH.

The Host PC will need to be prepared for the move as well. It has been running for several years continuously and will need to be opened up for a cleaning to assure that its cooling system is clear of dust. Other “housekeeping” will need doing as well – we will need to be sure that the OS and all necessary software is up to date. Old software that hasn’t been used will be removed. Remote admin software will be updated as necessary. This will allow the station admins to manage the user base and fix most problems involving the host computer.

If the club decides to rename the station to WØJH, that change can be made in the RCForb host software prior to the move. We will consider changing the ZSW callsign to WØJH this year as long as we are making so many other changes. This leaves the WØZSW callsign free for use by the HANDIHAM Radio Camp. The callsign is already managed by Matt, KAØPQW. The station will continue to be open to use by Handiham members no matter which callsign is used.

Once the PC is cleaned up and tested, it will also be packed for its trip up north. Cabling and accessories will be included and labeled as necessary to facilitate reassembly.

There is no date certain for the station’s return to service.  A new antenna will need to be installed.

Suggested starting points for microphone gain & RF power settings

Screenshot of mic gain and RF power sliding controls s

To ensure consistent operation and not overdrive the radio, please start with the MIC Gain set to 50% for SSB operation.  If you are operating CW, disregard this setting.  Set the RF power slider to 90 watts to start.

Overdriving the radio can result in locking up the remoting PC, which will cause loss of control.  If this happens, please send an email to wa0tda@arrl.net and let me know so I can reset the system.

International Amateur Radio Day – Human Security for All

IARU Amateur Radio Day 2023

During the two weeks centered on World Amateur Radio Day, 18 April 2023, special event stations operated by IARU member-societies and others will be on the air to celebrate and call attention to the United Nations Human Security For All (HS4A) campaign. Human Security measures security at the individual level. First introduced by the U.N. in 1994, the concept identifies seven interrelated dimensions of security that are essential to an individual’s wellbeing: economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political.

World Amateur Radio Day (WARD) celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) in Paris in 1925, 98 years ago. IARU is the global federation of national amateur radio associations in more than 160 countries and is the recognized representative of the amateur and amateur-satellite services.

https://hs4a.iaru.org/

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