With apologies to “100 watts and a wire”, why not go big with the SPARC remote club station! For those that may not know, one of the benefits of SPARC membership is access to a great remote station. The station happens to be the SPARC club station we use for contesting. The station is available using the RemoteHams software (free or $10 for an Android app).
Using your PC and headset, or a paddle and keyer if you prefer (including a straight key if you are really adventurous), you can connect just as if the station were in your own home.
It does not take much to get started and you have access to a station capable of running on 160 meters through 6 meters and everything in between (except 60m). Dean W8IM–our nightly NTS rep–uses the remote with a paddle to work the CW NTS nets. Others have been having fun this week working VP6R. In this age of homeowner’s associations that make setting up a tower at home difficult, you can use the station’s Log Periodic antenna, Elecraft K3 and Elecraft KPA1500 amplifier.
Less you think you are limited to just the interface of the RemoteHams software, I included a screen shot of the setup I just used to contact VP6R a few minutes ago. I use DXLabs Suite of software. I can still connect my logging software to the system so it should be quite familiar. This works with any standard logging software that talks to a radio over a COM port–in other words, all of them.
That screen shot is of both my monitors so if it is hard to read, the thing that looks like a K3 in the middle is the RemoteHams software. The compass rose next to that is the rotor controller. The screen above shows the amplifier status. Other displays are the DXLabs’ DXKeeper, Commander, DXView and SpotCollector. But again, you could use HRD to drive it just as easily.
If you are interested in learning more about this, please join our email list at SPARCRemoteHFStation@groups.io. You can find more information about the remote here. Our only requirement is that you are a member of SPARC but also that you are a local member (Tampa Bay area). You also have to have either a check ride on the station or show you can operate it based on prior experience (online meetings work). Some computer literacy is helpful too.
So jump in and join the fun. Remote operation is here to stay and many of the members of SPARC helped build the station so it might as well get used as much as it can be.