A case for remote stations…….

Posted: April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


I have just returned from the International DX Convention in Visalia where there were many passionate discussions about remotes. Some guys have very strong feelings for or against remotes. “Cheating” and “unfair propagation advantage” are often thrown out as highly emotional reasons to be against remote station use.

Here is a case for remotes: My SteppIR controllers driven element chip has failed. My giant Yagi above my house cannot tune and I am dead in the water at my own station until I can get it repaired. This antenna works 10-80 meters so I am essentially shut down. I can still do 160 from my station.

Now then, rather than sit on the sidelines and miss any good DX, I will be using Remote Ham Radio’s remote stations as I wait for my station to become fully functional. So in the next weeks if you hear me in a pile up, I am 100% on a remote station that I am paying 49 cents a minute to use. How cool is that?

I feel fortunate that there are alternatives that will allow me to continue to enjoy my hobby and not relegate me to the sidelines as a mere spectator in this great hobby.

So my little secret is out, I am using remotes and I like it very much!

What do you think?

  1. Warren says:

    As long as it’s ‘legal’ under the current DXCC rules do it! How one works DX within those rules is a personal choice. It’s not a contest with anyone except yourself — if you choose to make it so. If one wants to work DX QRP with wires only or QRO all knobs to the right into an aluminum overcast, it’s your choice. Operating remote within the DXCC rules can be a convenient option for some. But in your present circumstance it’s a necessity if you want to chase DX. GL es 73. Warren, NW4C

  2. ke9v says:

    I see no reason why anyone should care about the remote aspect of operation. Having said that, I think it crazy expensive. $30/hour to operate HF is not really affordable. At that rate it wouldn’t take long for you to buy a complete new SteppIR controller… 73 CU on the bands. Jeff, KE9V

  3. Roger AC6BW says:

    Operating the remote station is fine, and within the rules. However, as the ARRL states in their press release, it is up to you as to whether or not you feel it is ethical to submit any of those QSOs for DXCC credit, assuming that you had a propagation advantage (example, West coast op using an East Coast remote station to work into the Middle East).

    • n6pse says:

      Yes, I agree & adhere with that. I worked Vlad-SU9VB and I told him I was on a remote in W2. I dont need the contact for DXCC but I wanted to say hello to Vlad. It was fun to hear SU9 so well via the remote as Egypt is always very weak in California.

  4. Rick says:

    DXCC is the entry point for some things (club membership) and is a standard for comparison to others that share our interests.

    I find a certain immorality in using a remote station to take advantage of propagation. I feel any logged contact used for DXCC should be only within (the original) 150 mile limit from your point of starting. If you move further than that, you start over, one of the costs of moving. With current conditions, DXCC is not a serious challenge.

    For other remote use, such as HOA limitations, I understand, but it should be near where the operator is.

    To use stations across a country so wide as the US (or Russia, or China) and have them count for DXCC, is distasteful in the least and the ‘operator’ is simply buying the DXCC. Shameful.

    If the committee insists on allowing this, at least put an asterisk * next to the standings to show that the operator uses remotes further than 150 miles from the license address.

  5. Peter W2IRT says:

    As you know from other online forums, I’m strongly against commercial pay-for-play remotes, remotes using a not-via-amateur-radio intermediate path (i.e. The Internet) or remotes that would allow one to use propagation not normally available to one’s physical location. I do see the value in remote operation for casual operations for HOA-restricted hams or similar setups, but in this case, were it me, I would personally choose to remain QRT until a repair could be made or I’d visit a friendly local ham who wouldn’t object to my making the needed Qs with my own call on his station. And offer to return the favour if it was ever needed and to gladly help him with improving or fixing his station.

    Yes, it is within the rules to DX via remote, but you can rest assured that you’ll never hear this hard-core DXer operate remote in pileups. Maybe I’ll think differently when P5 is S9 out west but inaudible in W2, but I somehow doubt it .

    However, at its very core, there’s really only one thing that’s important: DX IS!

    • n6pse says:

      Hi Peter, yes I think a lot of guys would/will think differently when P5 comes on the air, or even Kingman or Palmyra for that matter. All the best and good DX!

  6. Rob - W8MRL says:

    My view has evolved a bit over time. Using a remote station, in and of itself, is a great use of technology. Making QSO’s via the remote station would be fun for a little gun like me.

    As long as those that use remote stations start a new log indicating the location of the transmit station, I have no problem with it for contesting, DXCC, etc. Anyone insinuating that they did it from their home station would be the only issue I have with remote operations.

  7. Al Burnham says:

    Substantially agree with W2IRT.

    ARRL, IMHO, has substantially cheapened the value of its premiere award, DXCC, by allowing DXCC credit for contacts made using remotes such as RHR.

    RHR went out of its way to make sure that it could be operated anonymously, thereby effectively checkmating ARRL’s ability to enforce any potential “no remote” rule.

    So ARRL caved.

    Any Joe Blo can now easily work rare ones using RHR and the contacts will count for DXCC. I, for one, am not impressed with contacts made in this manner.

  8. Ed Muns says:

    It’s unfortunate that so many people confuse remote ham radio with completely independent topics. Operating a remote station in NY is no different than traveling there and guest operating, or moving there and setting up your own station. Well, yes, it is different, in that it is much less expensive and that is the enabler that makes the technology so compelling.

    Topics like DXCC credit have nothing to do with remote ham radio. Whether or not ARRL counts your QSOs, or you choose to count your QSOs, is based on their rules (and/or your personal choice) on working some credits from CA and some from NY. It is irrelevant how you worked contacts in each QTH, but rather if two QTHs so far apart should “count”. The ARRL rules are clear. If your personal standards say that you should start over on DXCC if you move beyond some maximum distance, then fine. But, it’s not an issue with remote ham radio.

    • Al Burnham, K6RIM says:


      Guess it depends upon how one chooses to define the topics.

      The topic I’m specifically addressing is whether or not contacts made using RHR should count for DXCC. You say yes; I say no.

      As you state, the (recently made) ARRL rules are clear. RHR contacts now count for DXCC. I get that.

      IMHO, the DXCC award no longer represents the accomplishment that it did before ARRL started allowing DXCC credit for contacts made on RHR.

      The toothpaste is out of the tube, and can’t be put back.

      Too bad ………….


      Al, K6RIM

      • n6pse says:

        So much is said about RemoteHamRadio.com or RHR, probably because they charge for their service. Before RHR, there was RemoteHams.com which is a large group of experimenters and “makers” who have created their own Remote software and hardware solutions and they share them with like minded people. So its not just RHR that has opened remote station use to the masses.

        Indeed, the remote cat is “out of the bag”. He’s been out for 5-6 years now.

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