Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Using a suffix for a remote station?


#1

In advance of getting my remote station on the air, the following question comes to mind.

“Should I be using a suffix to indicate that I am operating through a remote station which is not at my home address. If so which suffix?”

Obviously we are no longer legally required to use any suffixes, but they can still be helpful for some people.

My logic is simple:-

If I simply used my callsign without a suffix & someone looked it up on QRZ, they would think that they had worked my home QTH (which is in a totally different grid square to the transceiver which is at a remote location around 30-40 miles away).

I could sign /P as somebody suggested in another topic, but in my mind that could be misleading because if I hear someone sign /P, to me that would generally imply a fairly small portable/compromise antenna and low power. After all, how portable is a full wave 160m loop mounted on four 10 meter tall masts? I’m not exactly going to stuff it in my backpack & take it to my local SOTA summit!!!

I would have suggested /A as being a more appropriate suffix as it is a officially recognised suffix (although admittedly not used very often these days). Technically the transceiver is at an alternative address, so I would consider this to be correct…

My concern is that this unusual suffix (which is rarely used on the air) may confuse people and cause more problems than it solves, especially using CW with people who may still be very new to CW (I include myself in that category).

Looking at this from an activators point of view, how often do I actually bother to check callsigns in QRZ when I get home?

Virtually never.

With the exception being if it is a DX station or an American station (as I like to keep track of which states I’ve worked into).

Applying my initial logic to this, if I looked up an American station by callsign, they might be operating from their home location but the station could be at another address on the other side of the country. Hence I would think that I had worked a different state.

I guess I’ve just answered my own question!!!

Signing /A (an officially recognised suffix to donate an alternative address) seems like the most appropriate, especially if I set it up in QRZ with the correct grid square.

Your thoughts/suggestions?


#2

I would go with /A.


#3

Is it not more appropriate to let the licensing authority know where the station is actually located as the home QTH is really only an administrative address? That would then avoid the need to sign /A.


#4

I see one problem with that Gerald.

What I failed to mention in my original post (and maybe should have stated), my plan is to move the HF to the remote site (far too much QRM for HF at my home location) and then use the mast at my home QTH for VHF (probably going to stick up a 2m beam and a rotator) and basically improve my VHF setup.

So I will still have a station at my home address.


#5

Looking at https://rsgb.org/main/archive/consultation-archive/ofcom-consultations/licence-review-preparation/licence-suffixes/ would indicate it would be /A assuming the remote is fixed. If temporary then /P.

Could be a question for OFCOM.

Neil


#6

In that case you will have to use a suffix and /A does appear to be the most suitable. Presumably the remote location has mains power, so the installation could hardly be called portable. Of course the fly in the ointment is that /A is not internationally recognised, though I have never had an issue the few times that I have used it.

Just a thought - once you are operational, how about making the situation absolutely clear on your QRZ,com page as this is a reasonably universal term of reference for the amateur radio fraternity?


#7

Unfortunately not, otherwise my life would be so much easier!

That said, I would suggest that 300 watts worth of solar panels isn’t exactly portable either!

In my view (and some might disagree with me), whether I see a station as portable or not comes down to how easily it can be packed up for transport & how permanent it is.

If it consisted of a trailer mast and was set up for a couple of days as a contest station (with the intention of it only being there for a couple of days) I would argue that it is portable.

As this is intended to be a fairly permanent fixture, eventually consisting of a couple of antennas, with four large 10 meter tall masts to support a full wave loop, I would argue that it isn’t particularly portable, or temporary.

I understand that you can set up a secondary callsign in QRZ, intended for portable ops or if you have more than one callsign (club callsign or if you keep your foundation or intermediate call active).

I’ve yet to look into and fully understand exactly how this option in QRZ works but that is likely what I will do & cross reference my main page to the /A & vice versa.


#8

I think the whole thing can be made a lot more complex than it is now. You could invent your own suffix the way goons and half-wits used to say “static mobile” when they went square wheels. How about signing as /RS for remote station? Or /NAH for not at home? :rofl:

Seriously, operate from one location as M0GQC/P and M0GQC from the other… Everyone understands /P. That’s it. No need to ask Ofcom (which is a very dangerous thing to do, never ask Ofcom, just don’t), no need to set up QRZ pages describing your remote station and it’s location so it can be more easily stolen. Just go on the air and enjoy the radio because all this officialdom and bureaucracy doesn’t matter at all.


#9

Intuition tells me that /A is most appropriate, but on reading the licence, that applies to operation from an “Alternative Address”, which is defined as a fixed postal address in the United Kingdom other than the Main Station Address. So, does your remote location have a postal address? If it does, /A is right.

If the location does not have a postal address, it is a “Temporary Location”, and /P is appropriate.

It is not clear to me why the existence of a “fixed postal address” matters, but that is what clause 17(1)(b) says. I suspect it is a historical relic, dating back to the days when you had to give written notice of your intention to set up the station at an alternative address.

Martyn M1MAJ


#10

If you were going to be operating from the alternative address for more than 3 months, if I remember correctly!

Or did you then resort to using your callsign without the /A… it was a long time ago :-s


#11

Saying “M0GQC/P in JO05GG” seems so easy in comparison to everything else :slight_smile:


#12

That was my initial thought. I can see that turning into a bureaucratic nightmare!!!


#13

There are further complications if you desire to operate your remote station on the 5 MHz band. Pages 18 and 19 of your Licence relate to this. In particular, you are not allowed to operate on 5 MHz from an Alternative Address … only from the Main Station Address or from a Temporary Location. Therefore it would not be permissible to use the /A suffix on 5 MHz. Also, on page 19 the Licence states that “The Licensee shall only operate the station to the extent that the Licensee can be contacted on a telephone which is located in close proximity to the Station

Furthermore, there is a requirement to give the location of the Station at the Temporary Location every 30 minutes to an accuracy of at least 5 km

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#14

I was going to look this up but you beat me to it!

I had a funny feeling that there was something in the licence conditions preventing remote operation on 5 MHz, but I couldn’t remember what it was.

The radio which I will be installing (Yaesu FT-857) was built before 5 MHz was released for amateur radio use and unfortunately it hasn’t had the wide band TX modification. In other words, it’s not actually capable of transmitting on 5 MHz.

I guess to that end it becomes a bit of a moot point.

The clause about having a phone is a bit of a strange one.

I see the logic in so much that they want to be able to contact you if there was a problem and you were causing interference (5 MHz is used by the military after all and they don’t want any interference to military operations).

This does assume 1 thing though:-

That they have a number for whatever phone that I happen to have “in close proximity to the station”, be it a landline or a mobile if I am operating portable.

Note that it doesn’t specifically state that this has to be my own phone. How do they know what number to contact me on if I’m carrying a mobile phone from work, or I’ve borrowed a phone belonging to either a friend or family member? I doubt that whoever would call has a list of possible numbers to try calling me on.

Just an observation but it seems like a bit of a oversight when they wrote the licence conditions. I wonder if someone screwed up?!?!?!


#15

Can of worms :unamused:
Please don’t go there.

73,
Rod


#16

Not at all. Look at Ofcom’s Guidance for Licencees paragraphs 2.71 and 2.72:

2.71 Under note (g)(x) to Schedule 1 of the licence, licensees may use the 5 MHz band only if
they can be contacted by ‘phone. We impose this requirement, so that we can get the
station closed down promptly. If contact details have not been maintained, we cannot do
so and it may constitute a breach of this condition, in addition to a breach of Clause 6(2).

2.72 You can update your contact details via the licensing portal, which is also the quickest
way of ensuring that new details are recorded.

Seemples!


#17

In this context I would interpret “the station” as being the location from which you are operating rather than a remote TX or RX site. The idea being that they need to be able to tell you to stop transmitting.

The requirement to give your location periodically would also be a slight challenge to your desire to keep the site covert for security reasons!


#18

It is a bit of a nightmare. FWIW, I have provided Ofcom with my home phone number and also the number of the one mobile phone that I always have with me when I go /P. They have acknowledged that they now hold both numbers on file. I hope this is enough to satisfy the regulations!

Another point … whatever band you are using, it would seem that your remote station would be governed by the rules which apply to “Unattended Operation”. On Page 9 of the Licence, Note (ll) states that “Unattended Operation means the operation of Radio Equipment by the Licensee when the Licensee is in a different location to that where the Radio Equipment is located”. This definition appears to describe precisely what you are proposing to do and the relevant rules are in Paragraph 10 of the Licence. Mercifully, they do not seem to present any real problems.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#19

Really? If giving Ofcom a phone number is a “nightmare” how do complying with other relevant licensing conditions for remote operation rate - like verifying that the proposed use is within the T&Cs of the service provider of the communication link to the remote station, and that the link is adequately secure, and implementing the necessary failsafe protocols?


#20

Hi Walt

I suspect that James is aiming more for “remote control” rather than “unattended” operation?

(ff) “Remote Control Operation” means Unattended Operation but where the Radio
Equipment is operated by remote control, that is, where the Licensee has the ability to
control the Radio Equipment from a different location to that where the Radio
Equipment is located;