Page updated on Tuesday, April 23, 2013
FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. It's always a good idea to look through this list when a question pops up in your mind, because you may find the answer here. Please help us to make the station better by letting us know when the instruction pages are not clear, or if you find errors. If you have a question that you think should be included here, please send it to email@example.com.
Handiham remote base tips (in FAQ format)
Q. My existing W4MQ software performs sluggishly, with delays when I use pulldown menus or try to toggle between receive and transmit. Can this be fixed?
A. Yes, that problem can be fixed by the installation of upgraded software.
Q. Do you have a new release of the W4MQ web transceiver software available?
A. We have new software as of 29 January 2013. Please upgrade as soon as possible.
Q: What bands and modes are available?
On W0EQO, because of antenna limitations, transmit is inhibited on 160, 60 and 6 meters. Transmitting is possible on all other HF bands, within the privileges of your license class and using modes allowed by the FCC for each sub-band. You may listen to the TS-480 on any band and mode that the radio supports, except that the Web XCVR software inhibits the use of FM mode below 29.5 MHz.
Q. Does the W4MQ software run on a Mac or on Linux?
A. It has been tested on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 & 8 32 and 64 bit. It does not run on any other operating system, though it may be possible to run it under WINE with Linux.
Q. I have Windows 7 and am using the W4MQ software. Will it still work if I upgrade to Windows 8?
A. Yes, the software will work on Windows 8.
Q: Is remote base operation legal?
Q: What is the session timer?
A: As a control operator, you are responsible for knowing and complying with the FCC regulations for your license class, just as if you were operating your own station at home. There are some safeguards built into the W4MQ control software that inhibit transmissions according to the FCC band plans, the user's FCC license class, and the operating mode. However, don't depend on the software to keep you out of trouble! For example, the software does not prevent you from operating too close to the band edges. Remember that you may not operate closer than about 3 kHz above the lower edge of the phone band in LSB mode, and 3 kHz below the upper edge of the band in USB mode. In the case of DX operators, operation is permitted only within the bands allowed by your own license class in your own country, but not to exceed the privileges of a US Extra Class operator.
Q: I have found the radio in split mode because someone has changed it from normal VFO mode and has not returned the radio to normal non-split operation before logging off. How do I change it back to normal VFO mode so that I am transmitting & receiving on the same frequency?
A: You make sure the W4MQ software has screen focus (in other words, it is
your active Window), and you press the letter "s" to toggle the split
VFO mode off. To turn split on again, press "s" again. Please leave
the radio in non-split mode when you are finished using it. The list of
keyboard commands is very useful. Find
the keyboard commands here.
Q: Can I run more than one instance of the W4MQ software at once on the same computer?
A: No, the software will hang and fail to load completely if you try to
open a second W4MQ window.
A: The main reason is that an HF remote base station is a completely different animal from a VHF/UHF repeater. Repeaters operate in narrow-band FM mode or one of the newer digital voice modes such as Icom's D-STAR. In the case of FM transmissions, the repeater receiver typically uses a "noise squelch" circuit to detect the quieting of the background noise that occurs when a signal is present at the repeater input. When digital techniques are involved, much more sophisticated means of detecting the presence of a valid input signal are available. In either case, FM or digital, the receiver "knows" when a transmission stops, and the output of the repeater receiver is quiet when there is no signal. Now let's compare that with the output of an HF receiver in SSB mode, listening on 75 meters in the evening. In addition to the many strong ham SSB signals, there will be static crashes, splatter from other ham conversations on nearby frequencies, weak ham signals sharing the same frequency, and maybe a foreign broadcast station. There's no simple and reliable way for the receiver to tell whether or not a valid signal is present. On EchoLink, you can't talk until the other station quits transmitting. Since the HF receiver doesn't know when that happens, neither does EchoLink. With a separate control link, you can decide when to key the HF transmitter, and that control link has to be provided by the W4MQ or other rig control software.
There are a number of other very good reasons why we are using the W4MQ rig control software to control the HF remote base stations. The software includes many safeguards that help to protect the equipment and to comply with FCC rules. For example, transmit is inhibited on bands where the SWR is too high, which might result in damage to the radio or the external antenna tuner. Transmission is also limited according to the frequencies available to the license class of each user. Remember that both the control operator (via the Internet connection) and the station trustee are responsible for compliance with the FCC rules! With the features built into the W4MQ software, we are able to make both of the Handiham remote base stations available to members of all license classes.
Q: Do you have a list of known issues?
A: Yes, known issues are listed at: http://www.handiham.org/local/blind/known_issues.htm
Courage Kenny Handiham