[CQ-Contest] Remote, apples and oranges

Paul O'Kane pokane at ei5di.com
Sat Jun 22 04:34:53 EDT 2013

On 21/06/2013 20:50, Vladimir Sidarau wrote:

> 1. Apples (in your homeland).
> You have problems with location, antenna restrictions, you travel across the
> country and stay away from your beloved station for too long, etc. In order
> to find a solution and stay on the air, you build a nice remote-controllable
> station in the country side on a top of a hill and run it from a condo or a
> hotel.

> Your activity is subject to the domestic law.

That's correct, and domestic law may differ in each
country.  In EI, there is no general right to operate
remotely.  A single permit, that I know of, has been
issued by ComReg (our FCC) to do so - and only between
two specific locations, the home and the station of
the operator concerned.

> 2. Oranges (in a beautiful sunny place in another country).
> You build a remote station at a sunny location (abroad) for contesting.

> Your activity is subject to the international law. It might be extended
> worldwide agreements or reciprocal country-to-country agreements.

That's correct, but it should be noted that, unless
specifically addressed and permitted in the relevant
regulations, reciprocal country-to-country agreements
(such as CEPT) do not authorise transnational remote
operation. For example, without individual authorisation,
operation and control of a station located in Europe by
anyone located in North America is illegal.

> And finally, discussing the (2) using arguments from (1) is not quite
> appropriate. Or is it?

One thing the apples and oranges have in common is
that no contacts are possible without first connecting,
and staying connected, to the internet.  The internet
is everywhere, and makes it easy to have remote control
worldwide.  It also happens to be a public commercial
communications utility.

As a result, there's something different about remote
contacts - they're 100% dependent on the internet. It's
true that most contacts are also dependent on mains
electricity power, another utility.   The difference
is this is not a communications utility.

Our remote contacts require two independent comms
technologies, the internet and ham radio.  Without
either, no communications/"QSOs" are possible.  In
anyone's language, that represents hybrid communications,
no matter how transparent one component, the internet,
may be to either party involved.

There's nothing wrong with hybrid communications,
assuming the legalities have been taken care of, but
it is undeniably different from person-to-person,
RF-all-the-way ham radio.  It is person-to-person
internet-and-RF contacts.  Insofar as there are
ham-radio operators at each end, it's a step along
the path to CQ100, and its person-to-person
internet-all-the-way contacts.

The people who are using remote control think it
is perfectly normal and reasonable thing to so -
and so it is from their perspective.  But ham radio
is regulated worldwide, with differing regulations
in each jurisdiction, and we can't all do what we
want all the time.

Again, no matter how similar remote operation seems
to you (the remote operator), and even though no
one else can tell the difference (over the air), it
still represents hybrid communications, dependent
at all times on the internet.

I support Felipe NP4Z's suggestion that "a remote
category or at least an overlay should be added"
(in contests).

Further, since no one objects to signing /M for
mobile operation, why can't we have /R for remote
operation?  That keeps everyone informed of the
exact nature of our QSOs.

Paul EI5DI

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