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Mega-station for rent - by the hour, from where you sit now.

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KA3JLW, Feb 10, 2013.

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  1. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's a lot to this and it is well thought out. To sum it up - you have a radio 'head', the faceplate to a radio. Via the internet, you control the real station, making HF contacts and controlling all aspects of the station from wherever you are. You get the right to do this for a combination of an annual fee plus an hour charge for access.

    It'll be interesting to see how it does 'under fire' with, say, 7 different people reserving different time slots in one day. I suspect that by and large, it'll work fine most of the time.

    I think this capability is one that will be key to the future of ham radio (which will be different from the past) and that local clubs should consider modest versions of this for club members, at a price of course, especially near rural areas. I've talked about this in other threads; WW2DX actually made it happen and in spades. Kudos and I hope he does well with this.

    Now, let the "that's not ham radio, that's against Part 97, where's the fun" complaining begin...

    (note - the title says "mega station" - it is actually multiple mega stations, with more coming.)
  2. N0WYO

    N0WYO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think it'll be interesting to see who they get to pay $5,000 per year to use this service! ;)
  3. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    They'll get takers. I'm considering. My gut tells me that a more modest station at a more modest price will be where the 'sweet spot' exists.
  4. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The ultimate solution - buy your DXCC totals and awards. Savor the accomplishment!
  5. M6RIK

    M6RIK Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is actually a great idea and I would be happy to use this or a similar service.

    However the pricing puts this way way way way way way way way out of what i would be willing to spend on such a service.

    Good luck.
  6. KC0W

    KC0W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Three decently equipped stations but all located in (ho hum) NY state.

    Some nut should construct a TRUE "mega station" (their words) in some place like............Ohhhhhhhhhhhh............ND.

    Tom KCØW
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think charging fellow hams to use an amateur station is wacky.

    Then, I always thought "private" repeaters who charge members to use a repeater system was similarly wacky, and that's been going on for decades.

    Dave WA6TWF here in So. Cal. had a "Super System" on the air for years, with a very large HF station and a 90' Sky Needle with stacked HF beams located in Orange County, accessible for use by hams using UHF-FM rigs; so, you could drive around with a 440 MHz hand held and work DX on 20m using a kilowatt and a beam at 90 feet, and have frequency and rotator control and all that jazz -- 25 years ago. This is not a new idea, although more modern software and hardware interfaces have made it easier, and available via the internet instead of UHF.

    We had a system in central NJ a very long time ago (like 1977), K2ASG, who had a 90' tower with a triband quad on it and a kilowatt remote controlled station accessible via his 2m FM repeater which was at the same site. We used touch tones to "dial up and down the band," and also to turn the rotator, turn the amp on and off, etc. That was 35 years ago, verifying this is really a very old idea.:p And there was "no charge" for that, at all. It was open to anyone who could access it.

    The whole idea is cool, but charging for it isn't.
  8. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why not?

    I don't own a classic car. Should my only access to such cars be either
    a) I buy one, or
    b) I know someone willing to loan me one for free?

    Why can't there be a middle ground, where I can enjoy someone else's car for an agreed fee?

    The examples you gave - obviously, someone paid for the gear and spent time to set it up. They were kind enough to open it to any licensed ham it seems. That's great but why not find a way to share the cost? It might help with upkeep and improvements.

    How about another hybrid, one that's used for some of the Carribean contest stations, where 6 guys chip in to set up the station. Is it wrong that they do that (it is more a condo model than a timeshare) and should they not rent the station when it isn't in use?

    What's compelling to me is that this is "The Cloud" colliding head on with ham radio. The compelling thing about "the cloud" in IT isn't so much technological, rather it is a different billing model where users pay by consumption rather than by the cost of the gear. The cloud owner takes significant risk but the upside on that risk can be fairly large as the equipment is 'monetized' in a maximum way. It is taking a cab vs. owning a car - both have their place and both can make sense in the right circumstances.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know.

    But one thing I do know is "the cloud" isn't being used by anyone serious about data protection, such as my several dozen customers who do television and motion picture production; they are very concerned about asset security.

    Of course, they are also very concerned about I/Os and bandwidth, and unless you can upload and download 2K-4K uncompressed video in real time (several hundred to a few thousand MB/s), the cloud won't serve their purpose because there's too much latency.

    So, they're not using it.

    Maybe one day...
  10. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd sure rather spend one a years worth of the dues they are charging on going to a Caribbean contest station for as long as I can on that amount of money even if it was only a few days and not a contest weekend.

    Check back with them in a few months and see how many "contributors" they have.
  11. WH2HAO

    WH2HAO QRZ Moderator QRZ Page

    It seams to me , although a technologically cool idea, it diverts the whole practice of amateur radio. Now people can be licensed, and yet never touch a coax feed-line, a radio, a soldering iron, an antenna or wire dipole, yet can win ARRL awards with a rented shack. Mmmm kind of spoils it I think. That being said. In reference to Tom's suggestion, I think the better place would be Guam !!! If anyone can help me get my antenna and tower up, they can use my station for free !!! Now that's a deal. lol..
  12. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've said before that I think club stations are a big part of what's missing from ham radio today - there just aren't as many accessible club stations as there were years ago, places where newbies and those who didn't have a shack of their own could go and operate. For some of us, it became a 'hangout', resulting in good friendships that led to more ham radio activity. There are all sorts of reasons. Places that used to sponsor ham clubs no longer do. Places that were open to hams no longer are thanks to security and liability concerns. There are fewer competent hams around to build and maintain the stations.

    So, remote operation might open up possibilities. If your radio club has a member who owns a warehouse in an industrial area where nobody will question a ham antenna, with power and Internet access and hopefully some environmental controls, there's an opportunity. Instead of meeting at the club station, though, you access it remotely. With the mobile computing technology today, you and your friends can still meet at the nearest coffee shop and operate the club station from there!

    I don't like charging for it, either, but they charge to use many private repeaters, too, and some of them used to be outrageously expensive.
  13. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    The government is using it all over and in various versions that take care of security concerns, like a "CoLo" (Co-located) version where the data center sits on Govt. property but is owned/operated by a contractor. In other instances, some agencies are operating clouds where bandwidth is purchased by other agencies. It isn't the norm, but it is established.
  14. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Got me thinking...

    You know, I bet that clubs were (in part) more popular back "in the day" because they offered help getting on the air. It was harder back then. Go back far enough and you HAD to pick up a soldering gun to get on the air. It was hard and you needed help. The reasons for going to the club were selfish - to get on the air - and the fraternity came second.

    With this kind of remote capability, clubs could do that again but this time helping to overcome HOA limitations. Maybe the currency in a club station isn't money but assistance - like, if you help with emcom at the annual town 5K, you get operating time. Or if you help maintain the station you get first crack at the best operating times. Or it could simply be money - I don't see the great harm in that.

    We have a LONG tradition of handing gear, advice, time and opportunity to others to get them up and running. And as we've said over and over again - ham radio sells itself - access to a club station, using one's own call - will compel some to want to set up their own station when/if they can. For those who never can, well, the station provides them a way to participate. It won't ever be free, nothing ever is.

    I see nothing but good from a more pervasive, accessible remote capabilities.
  15. KC0W

    KC0W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page


    Wake Island (KH9)...........Better.

    Kure Island (KH7)............Best.

    Navassa Island (KP1)........Nirvana.............minus (thankfully) Courtney.

    What was this thread about again? :)

    Tom KCØW
  16. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The appeal of this is utterly and completely lost on me, but if you like it, go for it and don't look back!
  17. K2XT

    K2XT Subscriber QRZ Page

    What does a 150 ft Rohn 45 tower cost? And the guy wires? And the rotator? And 4 stacked monobanders? And the hardline? And the hole for the concrete? And 10 yards of concrete? And a few yards at each guy anchor point? And the INSTALLATION. And the insurance for the installers. And the maintenance. Now multiply that by 2 or 3 or 4 for the number of towers they have. Now what does a 4 square cost for 80 meters, and another one for 160 meters? And all that radial wire. And the time, and the time. And mowing the grass. And the lightning arrestors, and the conduit, and the shack, and the transceivers, and the big solid state linears? And the computers. And the internet connections? And the real estate taxes. And the software. And the software development time. And the planning, and engineering. And now multiply all this by 3 or 4 or whatever it is, number of sites they have. And the training and the documentation, and the support for the users. And they ship you a K3/0 transceiver configured ready to work. And they should give this away for FREE? Pretty funny.
  18. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would rent a US big station. I think this would be great for us poor slobs stuck in suburbia covenant purgatory! I've thought about buying couple acres outside the city and putting up my own remote station there.
  19. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    IMO, nobody should invest all that unless they want to use it; and not expect others to reimburse their expense.

    I operated from K2GL a few times (the Tuxedo Park, NY superstation in the 60s-70s-80s) and Buzz installed, let's see, I think two dozen towers, up to 320' tall and averaging about 180 feet, with monobanders for everything, thousands of feet of 1-5/8" Heliax, and six complete stations for contesting and never expected anyone to pay him a dime to use all that. He just liked to see it get used, and win contests.

    Hundreds of similar stations around the world are set up like that.

    It's what puts the "amateur" in amateur radio.:eek:
  20. W2RE

    W2RE Ham Member QRZ Page

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