Ray loves the thrill of Contesting! Getting in the trenches for 48/hrs is what he does!
This page will be dedicated to his Remote Contesting Experiences with 3830 write-up and pics.
Since 2017 Ray has operated contests remote only access. He won 17′ ARRLDX SSB High Power USA! The WW2DX Multi-team won 17′ CQWPX SSB as M/S and outscored the M/2 and M/M teams in the USA from their flagship Eastport station. Ray and his RHR team are dedicated building world-class stations for others around the world to operate. Buiding a competitive contest station is difficult enough but his team adds another level of complexity by doing it remote access. In 2017 the RHR team started operating contests seriously by its members and the staff. Top spots in the USA have been obtained using the RHR service. However, to do it successfully you need SO2R capability which RHR currently has at the W1/Eastport site with limitations. They have some work in front of them implementing both the RHR service and incorporating SO2R contesting. In 2018 they plan to add SO2R capability in W1/Lubec and W2/Summit. Ideally, the RHR long-term goal is to have an M/M setup in Eastport where they can have the best operators in the USA or abroad join them for a contest w/o traveling to the station.
Today, only one other station in the USA has been doing it successfully SO2R for the top spot other than RHR. Tariq N2QV and his well-engineered Superstation in Liberty, NY. N2QV Superstation
Its been quite a battle the past year between the N2QV station and the excellent operators going against the best RHR has to offer. They have won a few events and so has RHR members. This is what competition is all about, its thrilling to watch two well-engineered stations competing for top scores and doing it remote! The RHR team hopes to see more competition in the future not only against the N2QV station but other remote competitors. Some have called this an unfair advantage on reflectors (Cq-Contest, Eham) but to the contrary, it’s just an even playing field now. The best operators now have access to the east coast propagation with well-oiled machines!
How Ray operates from home QTH. K3/0 SO2R setup and K3/mini from the kitchen table.
HH2AA 2017 CQWW CW
I Can’t think of a better way to spend a day in the fall. This was incredible fun!
Who is HH2AA? https://www.qrz.com/db/hh2aa
HH2AA is a special event station located in the mountains just south of Port-au-Prince. The suffix AA = Air Ambulance. The HH2AA is a group effort between the Haitian Radio Club, Felix HH2FX, Jean-Robert HH2JR and RemoteHamRadio. All the proceed using HH2AA on the RHR network is given back to the people of Haiti.
About HH2AA: It located on a 6300′ Mountain and is remote access only! It operates on solar power with a reliable fiber connection. It started in 2015 with a trip to Obleon, Haiti to do a site survey of the location, It didn’t take us long before we had an OCF @ 80′ on a 100′ tower and operational by remote access. This video doesn’t do it justice but it gives you an idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=IENKWZTtFdM In early 2017 a new fiber connection was installed. This meant we could expand the station capabilities. Two weeks ago, Lee WW2DX and I traveled to HH2AA and installed new antennas. The top antenna was fixed NE (Europe) @ 66′ Cushcraft A4’s and A3’s NW (USA) @ 33′ on the 100′ Rohn 45 tower. We also expanded the solar capacity by adding more batteries. We didn’t know what to expect but we anticipated it was going to be better than the OCF dipole. Photo:https://photos.app.goo.gl/1P6qugjAWSw6NNXt1
Back home in USA and preparation for CQWW. On our return back to NY we notice that the reliable fiber connection at the HH2AA site was down and no-timetable for its return. This was terrible news and dampened any dreams of a planned M/S, unfortunately, it was called off. Meanwhile, my wife Lori seized on the opportunity and made plans for a family get together on Sunday. I knew that I could play around a bit Friday and some on Saturday and made alternative plans to operate the Summit station in the Catskills remote. Miraculously, the fiber returned on Thanksgiving and the connection was solid. I played around with the new antennas on Thanksgiving day and all seemed great! I tried to get a team together last minute but it wasn’t in the cards. I decided to operate P/T and give these new antenna a rip.
What happened in the contest was not even in the realm of reality. The world must know HH2AA is on solar power and its a must to get them in the log while you can. I made this assumption based on the craziness. The pileups were ruthless and operating split for obvious reasons in a contest is not a good idea. I tried every method to control the madness, maybe a seasoned operator on CW could have handled this better but I was clearly over my head. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hide high in the band to control the rate because of skimmers. The only thing that worked was run a bit and once the pileup became uncontrollable was a move to another frequency. A look at the skimmers (RBN’s) suggests that HH2AA even with 100W is doing well in EU, USA and Asia. The JA’s were super loud even on 40M! It’s evident the station capability is beyond expectations.
Whats next? The RHR team is heading back to HH2AA in Dec/Jan to install 50′ R45 tower with 6M5 6M antenna and MomoBeam Penta for 10/12/15/17/20 on a rotor. I think its very possible to do an SO2R operation from HH2AA in the future with the new antennas and upgraded solar. Its something we may consider if we continue to expand. The remote technology is getting better. Its now possible to operate a station in another country and have a blast! I pinch myself every time I turn the radio on and the banner flashes welcome to HH2AA on my K3-Mini or any other site I operate remote.
I would like to thank Felix HH2FX, Jean-Robert HH2JR, Ayiti Air Anbilans and the RHR development team for access to this wonderful station. Without this joint effort, this wouldn’t be possible. Thanks for all the Q’s
Special thanks to Lee WW2DX and Rock WW1X for keeping this stuff working 24/7/365. 73, Ray W2RE
2017 CQWW SSB
Remote Operation from Eastport, Maine
First of all, Congrats to Doug Grant K1DG! Incredible job OM!
Let me first talk about station operation and future developments before I get into the contest. My last CQWW operation was in 2012 which I participated from my Summit, NY Qth. I was physically onsite operating with Yaesu 1000mp’s and tube amplifies, I now look back and think how archaic that operation seems to me today. I still operate that awesome Catskill QTH but with a K3/0-mini on my kitchen table. W1/Eastport: In 2015 we purchased 63/ac land on the Atlantic Ocean where it meets with the Bay Fundy in Eastport, ME. IMHO, its ideally the best location in the USA. The video was taken by drone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWmTk1A3M1Y The Eastport station is completely automated for remote operation and it works awesome for daily use but it has limitation for contesting as configured today in SO2R or Multi. As we continue to build this station out with future towers/antennas development we will cleverly incorporate seamless operations for contesting. Like anything, it takes time to develop a station but we add another whole other level of complexity doing it remote.
W1/Lubec: In Dayton this year, Dr. David Borenstein KA2HTV asked If we could develop him s station just like W1/Eastport for his own personal remote operation. In a few short months, we went from nothing to an awesome station located in Lubec, Maine. The video was taken by drone:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-UlYfwBL7g Nate N4YDU (NR3X) had the opportunity as mentioned in his post to operate this newly developed station that we call W1/Lubec. Nate did an incredible job even w/o 2nd radio. Pretty impressive!
Contest: Nate kept me motivated with an inner competition between ourselves. To keep it interesting we decided to post our scores live on Cq-contest. Now, that was fun! I didn’t think it was possible to make 4600 Q’s without a 10M opening but I underestimated the power of this location in Maine. Making 2000 Q’s on 15M was a nice a surprise too. Both 20M and 15M were an endless pit of callers and it never stopped. John ON4UN would give me updates on my signal on 15m and 20M. He couldn’t believe that I was 59+50db on both 15 and 20. Thanks for the updates OM! Final thoughts: It’s magical when I turn on the radio that is located 500 miles away. I didn’t have a single issue the whole weekend.
Special thanks to Lee WW2DX and Rock WW1X for keeping this stuff working 24/7/365. 73, Ray W2RE
2017 CQWPX SSB (WW2DX)
Lets do WPX!
It’s hard to believe that its been close to 3 years since WRTC 2014 and that was the last time myself and W2RE have operated a contest together. Like all contests, there is a fury of activity just before the start to make sure everything is in order for the test. The big issue this time around was locating the 4O3A lockout box which was found less than 24 hours before the contest that was buried in a box and collecting dust. After wiring up the foot switches, testing the station for full operation we were ready to make a go at it. This is the first time we have tried a full remote M/S event. The location of the actual operators was at our RHR office in Pawling, NY. The office space is new, warm and walking distance to most anything we need. W2RE posted on Facebook Thursday looking for any ops who would like to join our team. Luckily Noah K2NG and Dave NA2AA both replied and said they could join us!
We had two K3/0’s setup in the office, one was the run radio and other was for chasing mults. Unfortunately, the station in Eastport has been initially built for DXing so there are no filters installed at the station yet. This caused a lot of hash on the 2nd radio and removed the ability to use the 2nd radio on the same band so we were limited to about 5 mults per hour to keep in with the 10 band change rule. We alsohad some sort of audio issue on the mult radio which we ended up solving by replacing the wall wart power supply.
During the battle.
The first night is always a grind. We used the built in score reporting tool in N1MM+ to post our real time score to cqcontest.net which worked flawlessly. The first night it was clear everyone was dealing with the same conditions and slow rates. At 4:45am EST the game changed for us, this is when the first EU contact was logged on 20m. After that point we were off to the races and rate kept climbing and we clearly watched our score start to pull away from the rest of the pack. Miraculously we were able to keep this lead for most of the remainder of the contest but more on that a little later.
Saturday night we had a great opening to Asia on 20m, really loud JA’s and another nice run of BY’s, HL’s and YB’s. What a rush it is to see just about every qso logged show up red in the entry window! Althougha nice run to Asia we logged very little VK/ZL during this time, we even spent some time becoming directly to the VK/ZL but could not stir up any takers. The only station problem we had all weekend happened around 2am Sunday morning the tower would not rotate CW. We could move CCW and we did a few times in short increments to see if we could get it to swing back CW but no deal. After trying everything we could being over 500 miles away we just had to deal with it. The stacks were pointing to 29deg and we were nervous come the 20m opening. We feared being that far north and the narrow beam width of the stack would surely kill our advantage during the 20m opening, we were wrong. We ended up getting a huge run of asiatic russians with all kinds of unique prefixes which we would never have worked with the wall of central and southern EU! I guess a blessing in disguise which worked out for us and we were able to sustain our lead. Without any explanation, we tried the CW direction later in the morning and things were working as expected. Gremlins. We ended up spending more time on 80m since the band was not as crowded as 40m while still being able to sustain a EU run. Another nice advantage of being that far north and east.
Operating this station for the past year and it never ceases to impress. You can listen to EU around the clock on 40m.
We recently had fiber installed at the site and you would simply never know you were operating 500 miles away from the transmitters with perfect and flawless connections, still seems like magic. Sure beats the 18 hour round trip drive!
Some pics of the station and the operators.
This is going to be close.
Wow, what a rush it was watching the scoreboard! To be honest I thought the half a million lead
was going to be easy to sustain, well it wasn’t. Truth be told, one of the big advantages we had was 15 meters never really opened. If 15m opened the numbers would have been much different. The first 45 hours of the contest everyone was basically on 1 or 2 bands but the last 3 hours more bands were open and that’s when our lead was quickly closing directly in front of us, every 5 minutes of the refresh the gap was getting closed. The WX3B team did tremendous job hammering away at the last 3 hours of the test. I bet if we listened really hard we could hear Jim cracking that whip! Within the last 10 minutes the WX3B team had just edged ahead and we were in adrenaline mode, I think W2RE lost his voice from the last hour of the contest! It was also great to see a young M/M team at K1TTT (NE1C) who did a great job!
Thanks to Noah and Dave for joining us last minute, we enjoyed their company and their operating skills! Congratulations to all the other operators who toughed it out over the weekend. I’m proud of all the hams who through the decades have pushed the envelope further and further in technology. We had four guys sitting in a warm office in NY playing radio with absolutely no issues operating a station over 500 miles away just like we were sitting at the station. Exciting times for the hobby.
73 Lee WW2DX
2017 ARRL DX SSB
|Remote Operation (W1/Eastport Maine)
First major contest event for me since WRTC 2014. The last time I did an effort S/O was 2103 ARRLDX SSB. I’m glad to be back!
I operated remotely from the comforts of the RemoteHamRadio office in Pawling, NY to the new station in Maine. It certainly beats driving 525 miles to the station!
The Internet connection was perfect and the RX audio was solid. Using the RHR web based software to control the station with the K3/0 combination is an amazing experience.
The location of this station could arguably be the best in the USA, it sits on 63ac overlooking the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean in the far NE corner in the USA. You can see VE9 across the bay and on a clear day see Big Ben! Station location with birds eye taken with a Drone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWmTk1A3M1Y
Thanks to Dennis W1UE and Marty KC1CWF for expediting a YCCC SO2R Box and cables for Elecraft K3/0, it worked flawlessly. Unfortunately, the ideal SO2R setup is not capable at this station as configured today. The station is operated daily on the RHR network and is complicated to switch over to an SO2R environment and back quickly. To fix this problem we will use some clever switching for CQWW. However, even with its drawbacks restricting some bands on the second radio it still performed better than my expectations. The only regret was not having the ability to push the station to its full potential.
I found the low bands to be very poor and really hurt the station performance. I was really looking forward to some 80M and 160M runs from this salt water location that never materialized, so unfortunately not much to report on the low bands. However, It was a slugfest on 20M and 40M and I quickly learned what this station is capable of. The first morning (Saturday) around 0930z I could hear weak Europeans on 20M and decided to try and grab the bottom of the band but K3LR was already on 14.150 calling CQ. So, I found 14153 open and started my run, at 0945z my first station was logged. It was pretty insane from 1000Z until about 1800Z with a few 200+ hours. This phenomenon was also noted on 40M at 1900Z both Sat and Sun. My biggest concern is possibly having many uniques in my log on 20M, I worked a lot of QRP stations that seemed thrilled to be heard. I used the same strategy on Sunday.
We have big plans for this station. In 2017, we have scheduled to build a 160M array that will be like no other! WE THINK BIG!
Special thanks to Lee WW2DX for getting the SO2R setup at the office and Rock WW1X for making remote operation so easy using the RHR web-based software.
73, Ray W2RE