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Pioneering Remote Multi-Multi K4VV Contesting Station Closes, But Project Continues

07/07/2015

Due to health issues facing Jack Hammett, K4VV, the Virginia mountaintop station bearing his call sign that pioneered totally remote multioperator, multitransmitter (MM) contesting, has been shut down. The equipment is being dismantled and the equipment sold off. The K4VV remote multi-multi contest station project team won’t be disbanding, however. Instead, it will transition from “TeamK4VV” to “TeamW0YR,” operating from another Virginia station some 18 miles from the K4VV site, said Mike Lonneke, W0YR.

“This past winter’s brutal conditions caused serious damage to antennas on three of the towers at the big K4VV contest station, sitting atop Virginia’s Catoctin Ridge,” Lonneke told ARRL. He said Hammett, a veteran contester, had built K4VV into a contest superstation, but more recent health problems had prevented him from being actively involved in the station’s activities. The 20-member TeamK4VV has been operating Hammett’s station for the past 5 years at his invitation, and the contest enthusiasts turned K4VV into the first completely remote MM contesting superstation.

With no operators in the K4VV shack, TeamK4VV finished 10th in the ARRL International DX SSB this past March, with a claimed score of 5.3 million points. At the end of March, the team managed an 11th place claimed finish in the CQ World Wide WPX SSB, operating as AC3U, racking up 14.3 million points.

“Then, things came apart,” Lonneke said. “The drive mechanism on K4VV’s Super Bertha failed, boom guys on the top 4 element 40 meter OWA Yagi worked loose and hung down, endangering other antennas, and several other serious problems came to light.” He said TeamK4VV members were ready to carry out the repairs, but when Lonneke approached Hammett to have the work done, he learned that, in view of Hammett’s worsening health, his family had decided to close the station.

“Just weeks before the CQ WPX CW — even as John, K3TN, was making a detailed presentation on K4VV’s Totally Remote Multi-Multi contesting effort at Dayton Hamvention — team members began the sad task of dismantling and selling the amazing panoply of equipment at K4VV,” Lonneke said. “The tower professional who handled the original antenna installations is involved presently in disposing of the antenna systems.”

But with a new name and renewed spirit, TeamW0YR has begun planning to resume its totally remote MM contesting activities in earnest this September. W0YR recently took delivery of a new, additional tower. In June, Lonneke upgraded his station’s vital Internet connection to equal the data throughput speeds that had been available at K4VV.

Up to five operators may log on, listen to, or operate any position at W0YR, Lonneke explained. He pointed out that team members won’t need to purchase any new gear or software in order to use two of the W0YR operating positions.

“Team members who have Elecraft K3 transceivers and RemoteRig interfaces use the third position,” Lonneke said. All positions have fully automatic amplifiers. An antenna switching system designed by Top Ten Devices allows the remote operator to select any available antenna from any position, with a lockout feature. Any position can turn the rotators for the band it’s using. Four remote audio systems are available: RemoteRig audio, DF3CB’s RemAud, Mumble, and Skype.

The team also may use any of several call signs available to it, including W0YR, W0NA, W4YY, KK3TN, AC3U, and KT6V.

“The team is getting ready to work the IARU HF World Champsionship in order to ‘wring out’ any faults,” Lonneke told ARRL this week. “Even though there is no MM category in the IARU, we will run MM and turn in a check log.” — Thanks to Mike Lonneke, W0YR

 



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