Wanted: Construction project team member

The Remote Site team lead (Bernard ZL2BD) is looking for someone to build a cooling module for the remote enclosure.   Fans mounted on the front panel of the enclosure will be controlled by a thermostat (coming on at a particular temperature and going off at another).   This project could use an arduino or traditional Honeywell type sensor.   Most of the work is in making the aluminium cowlings for the intake and exhaust ports.  Please contact ZL2BD if you are interested.

Committee update

Your committee has met early in the New Year (committee meeting minutes are located elsewhere on this website).    It resolved to form three working groups to progress development.  Each working group has representatives from the committee, but we will adding other regular members to working groups as well.

If you have an interest in the following working groups, please let your committee know  (by emailing info@remotedx.nz):

  • Remote site development
  • Broadband network development
  • Software development

We recently held a working bee to test out the remote facilities under development.   A report on this will be available shortly.

The website is undergoing development and will provide access to a greater range of information on what’s going on.

Welcome to RemoteDX

remoterigThe Quartz Hill User Group (a committee of the Wellington Amateur Radio Club Inc) operated ZL6QH from Makara from 1997 – 2007.  The arrival of a collection of wind generators on the site saw us departing as a result of the S9+40 interference!

For several years we searched for a replacement site. Eventually we came to the realisation that we weren’t going to find a site that would host a collection of long wire antennas (with 300m legs).  We have rescaled the vision! We envisage remote sites with a smaller footprint using antennas such as fixed beam antennas on the higher HF bands and four square arrays on the lower bands.

With the support of our host branch (Wellington Amateur Radio Club Inc – Branch 50 NZART) the Chair and Secretary/Treasurer of the Quartz Hill User Group (Mike ZL1AXG and Doug ZL2AOV) have been visiting branches in the area to gauge interest in the creation of a new special interest group.  There seems to be quite a bit of interest with around 50 people having already signed up to receive email updates.

The plan is to launch a new incorporated society in November that would take over the role of administering a remote site and support technologies such as the high speed broadband network to transport signals back to town.  This is not about creating a new NZART branch (but we will affiliate with NZART), but rather to create a regional support structure to support remote HF sites.

This site will give you an introduction to the proposed RemoteDX Inc constitution and update you on preparations for installing equipment remotely with control out of Wellington.

 

Mike ZL1AXG

QHUG committee to negotiate access to a site

The QHUG Committee is making good progress on the remote site equipment.  Recent activity has included:

  • Nearly complete fit out of the enclosure
  • Purchase of a transceiver (IC7100) specifically for the site
  • Approval to negotiate with a potential site owner
  • Testing of software for remote control equipment
  • Completion of base and remote control units
  • Planning for solar panel installation

Fitting out of the Enclosure

Inside the Remote Site enclosure
Inside the Remote Site enclosure

Bernard ZL2BD has been busy over the summer installing the equipment for th Remote Site in the enclosure.

The enclosure (a ply box with inside and outside layers of fibreglass) is shown fitted out with:

  • Wellington Amateur Radio Club (www.zl2wb.com) transceiver (Icom IC7410)
  • Solid-state linears and power supplies (donated by Kordia Ltd)
  • Switching regulators to provide 230v DC, 24v and 12v DC for the various items
  • Two solar panel regulators
  • Wiring harnesses to connect to the huge battery bank.

Progressive testing is imminent – any noise problems will be dealt with as they arise.  A range of jobs remain including:

  • Completing the antenna switching equipment
  • Completing and testing the SCADA software to operate remotely (SCADA = Supervisory Controller & Data Acquisition). Frank ZL2TTS has been working on this.
  • Cooling circuitry – both assembly and installation.  The cooling equipment will be mounted on the enclosure’s front panel.

This work is not too far off being completed and the QHUG team will then move to a test period to ensure everthing works correctly, before antennas are constructed and the equipment is installed in the remote site.

Antenna systems overview

The QHUG remote HF station site has yet to be finalised.  However, a couple of sites are being actively investigated.

The plan is to install four square antennas on the lower bands (80m, 40m and probably 20m) and to use fixed yagi antennas for higher bands.

Much of the cost of low band antennas is in buried radial systems.

Two QHUG committee members have been experimenting with construction of four square controllers (as indicated below)

An early prototype from ZL1AXG

Remote switching equipment is also being built.  This includes four square switches and antenna switchs.  Arduinos are being used at remote and base station to provide a physical controller at both ends.  Bernard ZL2BD has designed the hardware and Frank ZL2TTS has been designing software.

Remote site enclosure

Enclosure-Bernard-ZL2BDA remote site enclosure was purchased by the QHUG committee in September. The cabinet is approximately 960mm x 960mm x 1800mm.   It is made of 18mm plywood and covered in fibreglass inside and out for a fully weatherproof finish.  The door is fitted with two security locks.

This is an ideal enclosure for a remote site and was obtained at a very reasonable price.  Thanks also to Malcolm ZL2UDF for facilitating transport of the enclosure to Wellington.