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TEAM W 4 AAW TOTALLY REMOTE MULTI-MULTI CONTESTING … THE NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE! PVRC-NC -- OCTOBER 1, 2015 ROWLAND K 4 XD / JIM W 4 TMO ADAPTED FROM A PRESENTATION GIVEN BY JOHN PESCATORE K 3 TN AT DAYTON AND WITH MUCH INPUT FROM MIKE W 4 AAW (EX-W 0 YR)
AGENDA • Politics of Remote Operation • The Stations – K 4 VV & W 4 AAW • What’s It Like to Operate Remotely? • What About the Results? • What’s Next? Join the Fun!
REMOTE OPERATION IS A HOT TOPIC…
BUT HARDLY A NEW ONE… REMOTE CONTESTING 1. 0 Source: Nov/Dec 1996 NCJ
REMOTE CONTESTING 1. 1 http: //www. kkn. net/dayton 2008/contesting_with_28_miles_of_feedline. pdf
AS ALWAYS, CHANGE BRINGS CONTROVERSY… IS IT LEGIT?
ACTUALLY, THE DEBATE ENDED 6 YEARS AGO: N 6 TR OPERATES VE 8 EV REMOTELY IN SS CW November 2009
LIKE MOST TECHNOLOGY, REMOTE OPERATION CAN BE USED … OR ABUSED!
INGREDIENTS OF A CONTEST OPERATION RADIO OPERATOR(S) RADIO(S) ANTENNA(S)
K 4 XD’S VIEW: THIS IS COOL ONE QTH VIRGINIA THE INTERNET NORTH CAROLINA ANTENNA(S) URUGUAY RADIO(S)
K 4 XD’S VIEW: THIS IS NOT COOL VIRGINIA EUROPE THE INTERNET NORTH CAROLINA JAPAN URUGUAY Actually even this was briefly “OK” in CQ’s Extreme Category, now defunct
THE REAL DECIDER: THE CONTEST SPONSOR AND LAWS OF THE COUNTRIES INVOLVED ARRL AND CQ ARE BOTH OK WITH REMOTE M/M CONTESTING AS TEAM W 4 AAW PRACTICES – WE ARE VERY CAREFUL TO ADHERE TO THE RULES!
TEAM K 4 VV W 0 YR W 4 AAW* A TOTALLY REMOTE MULTI-MULTI CONTESTING LABORATORY • This grand experiment started at Jack Hammett’s super-station, K 4 VV • Due to Jack’s failing health, his XYL decided to dismantle the station in mid-2015 • Mike W 0 YR, the team’s spiritual and real leader, offered to continue the effort using his own very fine station and a very similar technological approach • In Sept 2015, Mike changed his call sign to W 4 AAW to accurately reflect his location
FIRST A LITTLE HISTORY – K 4 VV USED IN OUR 2014 -2015 CONTEST SEASON
JACK HAMMETT’S DREAM • Jack Hammett, K 4 VV built his massive contesting station atop Catoctin Ridge, VA on property once owned by Arthur Godfrey, K 4 LIB.
TRUDGING UP THE HILL • Jack grew weary of trudging up the hill to the K 4 VV shack. He asked Mike, W 4 AAW (ex-WØYR), to help develop a way to operate the big station from his house, about 600’ away. • Mike first used Log. Me. In and Skype to connect from K 4 VV’s house radio room to the K 4 VV shack. • Then, sadly, Jack’s health declined.
THE RADIATORS AT K 4 VV • Tower 1: Big Bertha 10 M 5/5 OWA Yagis 15 M 5/5 OWA Yagis 20 M 4/4 OWA Yagis • Tower 2: Super Bertha 10 M 7/7/7 OWA Yagis 15 M 7/7/7 OWA Yagis 20 M 6 /6 OWA Yagis • Tower 3: 112' monopole Fixed 5 element yagis at 135° , 20 -40' for CA/SA • Supports 80 M dipole at 106' • Tower 4: 120' tower. 40 M 4/4 OWA Yagis • Supports 160 M dipole at 115'
THE WALL O’ RELAYS
POST 2015 CONTEST-SEASON K 4 VV IS DISMANTLED MIKE W 4 AAW STEPS UP AND TEAM K 4 VV BECOMES TEAM W 4 AAW
ANTENNAS AT W 4 AAW • MONOBANDERS for 10 -40 M • Tower 1: 20 M 5 element widespaced yagi @ 82’ • Tower 2: 10 M 5 element widespaced yagi @ 72' 40 M 2 element yagi @ 82' • Tower 3: 15 M 5 element widespaced yagi @ 82‘ (under construction) • FIXED LOW CARIBBEAN YAGIS (can be switched instantly) • Cushcraft A 4 S tribanders on Towers 1 & 3 at 40', aimed at 135 deg. for Caribbean • LOW BAND RECEIVING ANTENNAS • Full-size 80 M phased vertical array. • Inverted L for 160 M at 80' • DX Engineering YCCC 3 -inline vertical receiving array for 160 -80 -40 M. To be expanded later to a YCCC 5 -square.
W 4 AAW TOWERS 1 AND 2
TOWER 3 - READY FOR THE 15 M MONOBANDER
THE WALL O’ RELAYS – W 4 AAW • W 4 AAW – same switching capability as at K 4 VV • 6 x 3 Automatic Antenna Switch – any antenna switchable remotely to any radio using Top. Ten devices • Dunestar bandpass filters at each position • W 2 VJN Coax harmonic stubs as required • AUTOMATICALLY PREVENTS TWO RADIOS ON SAME ANTENNA • Ops look at N 1 MM+ screen to see what bands other positions are on
W 4 AAW OPERATING POSITIONS LEGAL LIMIT ON ALL POSITION 1: FT-2000 D, Acom 2000 A POSITION 2: K 3, Acom 2000 A, Remote. Rig POSITION 3: FT-1000 MP, Alpha 87 A All amps have automatic bandswitching and can be monitored/controlled remotely. Pos 1 & 3 can be operated remotely by any Team. W 4 AAW member. Pos 2 requires a Remote. Rig client ($) Rick N 1 RM Operating Position 2 at W 4 AAW
YCCC 3 INLINE VERTICAL RECEIVE ARRAY COMBINER
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO OPERATE REMOTELY?
OPEN SOURCE REMOTE OPERATION – ZERO COST • N 1 MM+ • Windows VPN • VNC Remote Desktop • Skype for SSB, Mumble for CW audio • WKRemote for CW keying via paddle This is the Setup Used by Most Team W 4 AAW Members
REMOTE CONTESTING 2. 0 – REMOTERIG Client side options K 3/0 -mini K 3/0, K 3/100 Almost seamless operation – turn the VFO knob, gain, filters, etc. and remote K 3 follows.
VNC REMOTE DESKTOP VIEW (NOW USING N 1 MM+)
VNC REMOTE DESKTOP VIEW
ALPHA 87 A CONTROL SOFTWARE Monitor power output and faults, reset amp if needed
ACOM AMP CONTROL N-Button Lite widgets turn amp on or reset it ACOM Director shows amp status, faults, forward and reflected power • Each position has a USB relay board • Widgets created with N-Button Lite software control the relays • Relays currently used for antenna switching and amp power / reset
AUDIO, KEYING AND RADIO CONTROL Function POS 1 & 3 POS 2 (K 3/Remote. Rig) N 1 MM+ F-keys Keyboard or Mouse input to VNC remote desktop Local N 1 MM+ AUDIO Skype (best SSB), Mumble (best Headset to Remote. Rig CW) or Rem AUD by DF 3 CB Local Mixer for N 1 MM+ SSB macros CW N 1 MM+ (ctl-K) or Win. Keyer Remote N 1 MM+ or local paddle to Remote. Rig Radio controls (tuning, filters, gain, etc) N 1 MM+ and radio control app on VNC remote desktop. Local N 1 MM+ and local K 3/x
ROTATING ANTENNAS, CHAT N 1 MM+ widgets show current antenna bearing Enter call-sign or prefix or bearing and Alt-J to rotate to new bearing N 1 MM+ window shows what bands each position is on – POS 1 on 40 M, POS 2 on 80 M, POS 3 on 15 M N 1 MM+ window shows inter-position chat Overlaid here with instant-select buttons for low Caribbean yagis
SCHEDULING Schedule app by N 2 IW
PROS AND CONS • • PROS • Open source means anyone can play. Just need a computer and Internet • Can be part of a M/M team even if you have limited time / family obligations • Cool technology and fun to see progress – we are breaking new ground • Contest using a station that exceeds many of our personal setups CONS • Missing the social element of in-person M/M • More software to configure (and curse at) • Internet issues can introduce audio delays and dropouts • Tuning with Open. Source model is clunky. Remote. Rig much better
SO… WHAT ABOUT THE RESULTS?
THE FIRST TOTALLY REMOTE MULTI-MULTI W 3 UL IN CQ WPX RTTY
2015 ARRL DX CW • With yet another snowmageddon bearing down on the DC area, Mike W 4 AAW says “Hey, kids – let’s try an all remote multi-multi!” • Ops: • W 0 YR, N 1 RM – in VA • K 3 TN, W 3 UL – MD • W 4 TMO, K 4 XD – NC • W 3 UL – FL (after a long train ride) K 3/Remote rig ops
2015 ARRL DX CW - 3830
INTERNET QRM/JITTERMAGEDDON Pinging xxx. xx. xx with 32 bytes of data: Reply from xxx. xx. xx: bytes=32 time=426 ms TTL=247 Reply from xxx. xx. xx: bytes=32 time=450 ms TTL=247 Reply from xxx. xx. xx: bytes=32 time=381 ms TTL=247 Reply from xxx. xx. xx: bytes=32 time=242 ms TTL=247 Ping statistics for xxx. xx. xx: Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss), Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds: Minimum = 242 ms, Maximum = 450 ms, Average = 374 ms
ARRL DX CW 2015 – FINAL RESULTS TOP TEN FINISH – IN GOOD COMPANY!
ARRL DX SSB 2015 - 3830
ARRL DX SSB 2015 - FINAL RESULTS ANOTHER TOP TEN FINISH – MOVING UP TO SIXTH PLACE!
CQ WPX SSB 2015 - 3830
CQ WPX SSB 2015 – FINAL RESULTS SECOND PLACE NORTH AMERICA M/M!
LESSONS LEARNED • The all free software approach has limitations (tuning, delay) but makes things widely accessible. • The Remote Rig approach solves most problems but adds cost and complexity – and single point of failure. • The Internet connection is your coax – don’t skimp. • Contesting is different from Dxing – especially M/M!
NEXT STEPS • Finish tower 3 and receive antennas • Webinars and training • Investigate new technology and refine the station • Recruit more ops – fill the schedule! • Continue to have fun!
TEAM W 4 AAW OPS Mike W 4 AAW Rick N 1 RM Bill KJ 4 VTH Bill W 3 UL John K 3 TN Tom CX 7 TT
TEAM W 4 AAW OPS Gary NC 4 S Jim W 4 TMO Tom N 9 NC (with tie) Eric KJ 0 D Rowland K 4 XD Rick WW 1 ME
TEAM W 4 AAW OPS Joe NE 3 H Larry N 6 NC We have room for YOU!
TEAM W 4 AAW BEHIND THE SCENES Paul N 4 PD John W 5 ODJ (w/XYL) Jeff K 0 ZR
TEAM W 4 AAW WANTS YOU! • Usually have open shifts to fill – you can participate as little as one shift (two hours) or (almost) all you want • W 4 AAW should be back on the air by mid-October • Will do full efforts in most CQ WW and ARRL events • Emphasis is on learning and fun – but we enjoy putting up a good score too! Join the fun / madness! For more info contact: Mike w 4 [email protected] com (probably soon w 4 [email protected] net) Rowland k 4 [email protected] net or any team member