1. Why did we form a separate society (RemoteDX Inc)?
Because the DX/Contest site project to replace the ZL6QH facilities once enjoyed at Makara has outgrown Quartz Hill User Group’s capacity.
2. Why the name RemoteDX Inc?
The group’s aim is to develop and maintain both a remotely controlled HF DX and contest site, and the systems for securely accessing it – hence RemoteDX.
3. What does “accessing” mean?
It means controlling the transceivers and linear amplifiers remotely, changing antennas, switching (rotating) their beam direction, sending and receiving voice and digital communications. Everything is under the control of the authorised user. This includes turning on and off the remote site.
4. And if something goes wrong?
The communications system is set up to simultaneously monitor the operating environment, to disable or shut down problem elements and signal the problem to the operator. The use of close-spaced vertical arrays significantly reduces the risk of antenna failure; all cables will be underground, and the power supply will comprise batteries and solar panels. Thus the likelihood of failure is reduced … although never eliminated.
5. Why not stick with QHUG?
QHUG was set up by Branch 50 NZART (Wellington Amateur Radio Club Inc) to manage and develop the former RNZ receiving station at Makara, west of Wellington. It was always known there would be a limited lifetime (the site was earmarked for a wind farm, now fully operational).
Branch 50 NZART was incorporated to permit QHUG to enter into rental agreements, and to protect club members from legal liability. Forming a separate society and winding-down QHUG has removed that responsibility from WARC Inc (Branch 50 NZART).
6. Why is it an incorporated society?
A not-for-profit incorporated society offers legal protection for members and discretion in the activities it undertakes and how it conducts its business. The Constitution is written in such a way that it should also be zero-rated for tax purposes. An incorporated society requires 15 members, which was comfortably met from amateur operators around the region (from all local branches).
7. Will it be another branch of NZART?
No. RemoteDX is an “interest group”, but it is not competing with NZART branches for membership. Its members are expected to be spread geographically, mostly in the southern North Island, and will probably already be members of an NZART branch.
However, the society will seek affiliated status with NZART as its objectives are broadly in line with Amateur Radio objectives world-wide, including fostering the hobby.
8. Where will members meet, and how frequently?
An annual meeting is necessary. It is expected that membership will be geographically spread, hence the provision for business to be conducted electronically. However, physical meetings are possible, either as necessary or on a semi-regular basis if members wish this. In general, volunteers will come together to develop or service facilities according to need and ability.
The Constitution is written in such a way that most regular business can be conducted by email – special conditions are in place to ensure that a majority voting response on important matters is ensured before the outcome can be determined. The test for any proposal will be: How many members are involved? Have they all been advised? Have a majority responded? Is the majority response from those members responding for or against the proposal?
A website has been established (www.RemoteDX.nz) to both promote the project and maintain a record of events and decisions made. Both Br 50 NZART (Wellington Amateur Radio Club Inc) and QHUG already run such websites (www.zl2wb.com and www.zl6qh.com). Both these websites will remain, but zl6qh.com will not be updated.
9. Can clubs become members?
No; this is an “interest group” for individuals. This group is not competing with other clubs for membership. Members will very likely already be members of one or more NZART branches.
10. How was RemoteDX Inc set up?
It was formed as an incorporated society in November 2016. Eighteen amateurs signed the resolution to incorporate, with another (non-signing) person witnessing their signatures and details. The society has now been registered with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies.
Prior to establishment of the society, a series of meetings at regional radio clubs indicated strong support for this project. A database of names and email addresses has been developed.
11. Is there a Constitution I can read?
A link to the Constitution can be found here.
12. What will it cost?
No subscription has been set for 2016/17. At this stage, actual operating costs of the society look likely to be small, with site rental the principal ongoing factor. It is intended to be off-grid, using solar power to charge a large bank of backup batteries.
All official communications are intended to be electronic.
It is expected that a significant amount of the electronic hardware involved will be donated, either by individuals or by organisations with similar aims agreeing to merge their efforts. It is expected that most work will be done by members volunteering their time and expertise — a “mututal interest” group.
The initial costs look like being a society incorporation fee, and any costs associated with setting up a bank account plus hall hire for the inaugural meeting.
In any case, subscriptions are set by the annual meeting, and there won’t be one for about 12 months — all radio amateurs attending the inaugural meeting and signing the establishment resolution were automatically declared as members (see the draft Constitution for further details).
13. What will happen to QHUG?
Wellington Amateur Radio Club members have already agreed with a QHUG proposal to seek wider support, and to vest QHUG assets in the incorporated society that is proposed. QHUG will be dissolved before year end by WARC Inc (it’s a subcommittee of WARC Inc) and residual financial matters will be settled at the close of the club’s 2016-17 financial year.
15. Where does the author of these FAQs fit into all this?
The author of this document, and the proposed Constitution for RemoteDX Inc, is Doug McNeill ZL2AOV. Doug is secretary-treasurer of WARC Inc as well as being the club’s newsletter editor and contact person. He is also secretary-treasurer of QHUG, having taken on the treasurer’s role upon the recent retirement from the group of Ralph Sutton ZL2AOH. Doug is involved in the Broadband-Hamnet project only as a participant (running a node at his home QTH. He hopes to reduce his overall involvement once the new society is in place.
16. Who else has mutual interests in these activities?
Mike Woods ZL1AXG is currently chairman of WARC Inc and convenor of QHUG. He is also involved with the Broadband Ham-mesh project.
Frank Jansen ZL2TTS is a WARC Inc committee member and has been writing software for the RemoteDX communications interfaces; he has been recently invited to join QHUG.
Bernard Robbins ZL2BD has been developing the physical infrastructure for the project. He is a WARC club member but not on its committee.
Yan Devos F1JUJ (recently arrived from South-east Asia) is an IT specialist who has been invited to join QHUG; he is a WARC club member.
Several other Radio Amateurs are involved in the Broadband Ham-mesh project, principally from other clubs in the region (Kapiti and south). Their support for the project is very important.
Update 27 November 2016