W8MP goes remote

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Mark, W8MP, making a point during his presentation.

On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, Mark, W8MP (above), gave a great presentation on Remote Ham Radio. Remote Ham Radio is a pay-for-play service that allows you to access some truly great “super stations” around the country. For example, here’s a video showing the antenna system at one of the stations in Eastport, ME, which Remote Ham Radio claims is the closest that you can get to Europe here in the U.S.:

 

There are stations on the East Coast and West Coast, as well as in the heartland, Puerto Rico, and Haiti.

Using these stations isn’t cheap. Remote Ham Radio offers two plans:

  • RemoteDX costs $99/year, plus $0.09/minute to $0.49/minute. This plan gives you access to ten stations with output power up to 500 W and rotatable beam antennas and wires on the low bands.
  • PremiumDX costs $999/year, plus $0.09/minute to $0.99/minute. This plan gives you access to 21 stations, legal limit output power and large antenna stacks and phased arrays (e.g. four-squares).

Because you operate these stations via a web browser, Mark was able to give us a demonstration of how these stations work. He connected to one of the Eastport, ME stations, took a look at the DX spotting window, and selected a station operating 80m CW from Gibraltar. He clicked on the station, and it automatically tuned to that frequency and mode and set up the four-square array to direct the signal to Gibraltar. After two or three calls, the station came back to him.

After that, the presentation took a crazy turn. Tom, W8TAM, spotted someone doing a Parks on the Air activation in Georgia. We then proceeded to work him from the Eastport, ME station and the KP4 station.

The evening ended with a debate on whether or not this service is worth the money. Those in favor argued that you’d probably spend as much on your own amateur radio station as you would for this service. Others were more skeptical. Since we were having this discussion as we were heading out the door, we left it all up in the air (pun intended).

On March 13, 2019, Bruce Blain, K1BG, will talk (remotely via Skype) on entry-level licensing over the years and the ARRL’s proposal to give more privileges to Techs.

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