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Author Topic: Remote control in contesting  (Read 2298 times)
5B4AGE
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« on: January 16, 2009, 12:12:06 PM »

Maybe this has been touched on before, but what is the general attitude to say, running a contest using your equipment in its registered operating location but  using remote control from another place, even in another country. It is obvious that the techique now exists to use the internet to power up the computer then the station and use it, run the contest, post the log and close it down again, all without the operator actually having to physically be on site. It seems to me that this is not strictly in the spirit of contesting even if it is not specifically disallowed in the contest rules. I live most of the time a long way from my registered QTH and although I have not used this method, it would be interesting to hear the views of the contesting community.
Dave 5B4AGE
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2009, 02:56:53 PM »

It is fine to do as long as you use the transmitter/antenna location as the actual location.
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W4YA
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2009, 07:55:56 PM »

ARRL contest rule 3.9 states:

3.9. Contacts made through repeaters, digipeaters, or gateways are not permitted.

I don't know what a "digipeter" or a "gateway" is, or how it applies to your situation. Before you spend time in a contest, you should ask the sponsor for a clarification.
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N5LRZ
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2009, 06:55:47 AM »

I agree with WB9CRY...

First for the record let me state that I suggest that any questions concerning the rules of any contest be directed to those people who sponsor the contest to confirm officially any repy received.

Having stated this...
 
I agree with CRY.  To permit remote operation from a very remote location is to deceive.  Otherwise we would have someone getting their friend in a otherwise desireable location to go remote letting another amateur use their radio to give a person in a common location an "Edge".  

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N5LRZ
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 06:59:32 AM »

My mistake...

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W4YA
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2009, 10:07:25 AM »

Who would be deceived? If the rig and antenna is in Cyprus, what difference would it make in a contest if the operator is also in Cyprus or somewhere else? In fact, a remote operator would be at a disadvantage because of the delays inherent in remote operation. A key or mike is connected to the rig in either case. The only difference would be the length of the connecting line.

How about this absurd example: I am in a contest in my shack in Florida using my Florida callsign. My computer #1 is connected via the internet finally to a server in Australia which then communicates back to another Florida server, that finally communicates with another computer #2 in my shack, that controls my transceiver. Would I be deceiving anyone if I said I was in Florida? If not, then what does it matter where I am sitting during the contest? Who would be deceived?

73, Jim W4YA

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N5LRZ
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2009, 04:34:39 PM »

Re YA...

Internet connections!  The internet goes to just about everywhere on the face of the earth (almost everywhere) in one form of access or another.  With proper internet interface anyone can be just about anywhere and access their radio or anyone elses radio easily.

I know a lot of people hmmmm have an extreme dislike for internet ham interfaces but the world is what the world is.
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N5LRZ
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2009, 04:36:28 PM »

Re YA...

Internet connections!  The internet goes to just about everywhere on the face of the earth (almost everywhere) in one form of access or another.  With proper internet interface anyone can be just about anywhere and access their radio or anyone elses radio easily.

I know a lot of people hmmmm have an extreme dislike for internet ham interfaces but the world is what the world is.
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KI6LO
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2009, 11:00:27 AM »

It seems to me so long as the point of origin of the RF signal being propogated is stated and known, then there is no deception and no advantage (other than not having to be in the remote location should it be non-hospitalible during said contest - like far North in winter, etc.)

So long as there is no additional gateway stations or digi/repeaters in the pathway between the originating location (point of defined RF source i.e the antenna) and any station working originating station, then the "No gateway or digi/repeater shall be used" rule has not been violated. If the contest sponser does not allow remote ops, then they should state so in the rules and give a distance limitation between the originating audio source (SSB), keyboard (digital) or jey/paddle (CW) and the RF originating point (antenna being used).

BTW if one doesn't know what a gateway station or a digipeater is, I would recommend a review of the licensing theory material.

Gene KI6LO
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W3TUA
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2009, 07:17:53 AM »

It's not an 'edge' if you use the physical location of the equipment as your given contest location/exchange.

Common sense.
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N3PRZ
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2009, 12:15:56 AM »

I think it is ridiculous that using a remote control system to operate a station is OK with some.  

My opinion is that it is just lazy.  If you want to contest in an area, than get off your lazy butt and go to the station.  To me, if you want to use a remote control in contesting, than start your own contest for remote controlled stations.

I certainly think it is wrong to do it from another country.  Especially a radio in the United States.  I think we should be able to control our own radios from our own shores.
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W4YA
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2009, 07:32:41 AM »

If you don't think remote control is proper, then you should do the following at your station:

1. Disconnect your antenna rotators and turn the antennas by hand.

2. Unplug your keyer and hardwire the key to the transmitter. Actually, the key wire is a form of remote control, so stop using CW. Same goes for the wire from the mike to the radio. Stop using phone.

3. Disconnect your earphones and use the transceiver's internal speaker.

4. If you use a foot switch, unplug it.

5. Disconnect all the control wires from your computer to your radios.

6. Eliminate all remote antenna switches.
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W7CF
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2009, 06:21:47 PM »

To N3PRZ & N5LRZ
Why is it ridiculous or deceiving to operate a remote controlled station? Since a lot in a contest is about propagation, what matters is the location of the actual RF source (antenna/TX) and receiver, the location of the operator is somewhat secondary. There is no competitive edge as long as the location of the RF source is clearly stated in the log and the op signs in accordance of the rules of the RF source’s location, e.g. KP4/W7ZYX

Besides, as W4YA illustrated succinctly above, what distance defines "remote" for you? Can a keyer/mic cable be 3ft but not 10ft? In the advent of SDR radios, what if I choose to run a contest from the cozy comfort and warm sunshine of my backyard deck, with the rigs in my shack and using my home LAN to connect? Is that already too remote?
It’s an interesting technical challenge per se to operate a rig and its accessory setup remotely, complete with tuners, antenna switches, rotors, amps. Having no direct physical means to e.g. reboot any stuck PC or fix any stuck switch, relay etc. Keeping all operational and being able to deal with & fix error conditions via remote during the heat of a contest is a nice feat by itself and as such well in the spirit of advancing the art of radio.

It would only become an unfair advantage if an operator were to remotely use multiple radios at different locations, e.g. have remote rigs at both coasts and switch back and forth as propagations changes over the contest and have straightforward access to both EU and AS all at once. Although, if one were to enter in a separate category similar to assisted, why not?
Thinking of it, a contest organizer could create in a SO2R/2Location category: one gets to place 2 radios at 2 locations of your choice. Strategically placing the rigs and setting up the connections is in itself a challenge, more so to keep it operating through a full contest.
After all contesting stands for having fun, excitment, competition and being able to improve my listening skills, knowledge on propagation and to operate efficiently
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KC9ATJ
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2009, 05:26:30 AM »

First off, let me just say that I don't really consider myself a contester.  I've dabbled in a few, but nothing serious.

But I think it would be fine to use remote control of your station.

Example:  My QTH is in Indiana.  I go on vacation in Florida, or even Europe (I don't really consider it to really matter).  I decide to enter into the RTTY Roundup (I think digi modes would be best for this kind of setup) or some other contest.  As long as I give the exchange to say I am in Indiana, I don't see what the big deal is.

Now on the other side, if I was using the same setup (transmitter in Indiana) and I was physically in Italy for example and I said I was transmitting from Italy, then I could see where some probems could come up.

I also don't see it as any kind of an advantage, except that a person who might not be able to compete in a contest can now compete.  The disadvantage to that person would be the lag time from the amount of time it would take for your computer to send you the information to your remote location and then the lag time back.

The comprimise would be having the ability to contest during a trip but not having a high score because of internet lag time.

Just my $.02

Joel
KC9ATJ
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KQ0C
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2009, 09:03:23 AM »

It seems to me that if you are using remote access to control a radio at your own home QTH there should be no issue. Say, for instance, you are travelling on business, but wish to participate in a weekend contest. All that does is facilitate more participation in the contest, which is to everyone's advantage.

I am not sure however that I like the idea of being able to charter a remote station in an exotic location for a DX contest. Let's say I could pay to use a remote station in North Korea for the CQWW contest. Might I not have a really unfair advantage? Or is it in everybody's interest to have North Korea on the air?.Should I open a business seting up a station for hire on some remote Pacific Island?

As we get more and more antenna restriction I do think that there is going to become a business in renting land in remote places to hams from which points they can set up "ideal" remote stations. Since I live in a valley and in a HOA community I'd love to have my station located on a nearby mountain top. Fair? I don't know.

But, in the end, I don't want radio to become just like sending e-mails over the internet. There is something cool about sitting at your radio directly sending out waves that can be recieved anywhere on the planet. Too much linking using the internet can lessen that thrill. Even if my signal get routed to a nearby mountaintop I'd feel like there was less of the true radio to radio connection.

And a really strange thought is the potential to have QSOs with yourself, in a contest or otherwise. If you operate a remote station in Bhutan can you contact yourself in Illinois?
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