The New Quartz Hill User Group Remote Site Project

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One gate has closed forever, but another one is about to open …

QHUG has been looking for a new site for some years without luck.

However, in the last 12 months considerable rethinking has gone on.

Firstly, it was realised that we did not need to necessarily pursue a large site with several hundred acres of antenna farm, but rather we could get by with more compact high-gain HF arrays (e.g. Four Square Arrays) for the lower bands.

Secondly we realised that we didn’t need to travel a long way out of town to operate in a contest or DX.  We could simply build a compact remote site and transport signals back to Wellington over a high speed data network.

This website is dedicated to describing the project build for the new remote site.

It will keep you informed about:

  1. Project purpose
  2. Project developments and the timetable of work
  3. Project teams and their activities (e.g antennas, off-grid power, mesh data network)

All the key events in the life of the project will be documented here, culminating in the return of ZL6QH to the major HF contests!

Once our build of a remote site has been completed we will set up a new website with a new name that is more focussed on our new core mission.  In the mean time, check out how the ZL6QH remote station is progressing here!


Fitting out of the Enclosure

Inside the Remote Site enclosure
Inside the Remote Site enclosure

Bernard ZL2BD has been busy over the summer installing the equipment for th Remote Site in the enclosure.

The enclosure (a ply box with inside and outside layers of fibreglass) is shown fitted out with:

  • Wellington Amateur Radio Club ( transceiver (Icom IC7410)
  • Solid-state linears and power supplies (donated by Kordia Ltd)
  • Switching regulators to provide 230v DC, 24v and 12v DC for the various items
  • Two solar panel regulators
  • Wiring harnesses to connect to the huge battery bank.

Progressive testing is imminent – any noise problems will be dealt with as they arise.  A range of jobs remain including:

  • Completing the antenna switching equipment
  • Completing and testing the SCADA software to operate remotely (SCADA = Supervisory Controller & Data Acquisition). Frank ZL2TTS has been working on this.
  • Cooling circuitry – both assembly and installation.  The cooling equipment will be mounted on the enclosure’s front panel.

This work is not too far off being completed and the QHUG team will then move to a test period to ensure everthing works correctly, before antennas are constructed and the equipment is installed in the remote site.




Antenna systems overview

The QHUG remote HF station site has yet to be finalised.  However, a couple of sites are being actively investigated.

The plan is to install four square antennas on the lower bands (80m, 40m and probably 20m) and to use fixed yagi antennas for higher bands.

Much of the cost of low band antennas is in buried radial systems.

Two QHUG committee members have been experimenting with construction of four square controllers (as indicated below)

An early prototype from ZL1AXG

Remote switching equipment is also being built.  This includes four square switches and antenna switchs.  Arduinos are being used at remote and base station to provide a physical controller at both ends.  Bernard ZL2BD has designed the hardware and Frank ZL2TTS has been designing software.

Remote site enclosure

Enclosure-Bernard-ZL2BDA remote site enclosure was purchased by the QHUG committee in September. The cabinet is approximately 960mm x 960mm x 1800mm.   It is made of 18mm plywood and covered in fibreglass inside and out for a fully weatherproof finish.  The door is fitted with two security locks.

This is an ideal enclosure for a remote site and was obtained at a very reasonable price.  Thanks also to Malcolm ZL2UDF for facilitating transport of the enclosure to Wellington.

Mesh node expansion

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Installation of an Airgrid M2 at Mt Climie

Mesh nodes on high points will extend the Wellington mesh network into areas where remote sites are likely to be feasible, including the Horowhenua (on the West Coast north of Wellington) and the Wairarapa (to the East of Wellington over the Rimutaka mountain range).

In the photo above, amateurs from several branches cooperate to install a mesh node on top of Mt Climie, which looks down over the Wairarapa and the Hutt Valley.  The Mt Climie node gets traffic from another high site at Colonial Knob (near Porirua).   James ZL2ET already has an experimental node outside Carterton in the Wairarapa working through Mt Climie.

Initial Remote Site Transceiver

The remote station will initially use the Wellington Amateur Radio Club Inc club transceiver (an Icom IC7410), with glass screen (using Ham Radio Delux at the city station end).  Once the remote station is up and running, dedicated equipment is likely to be purchased.   The plan is to initially have at least two remote radios and a collection of switchable antennas for non-WARC bands 80m through 10m.

Icom IC7410 Club Transceiver

Transporting signals from the Remote Site

The dyanamic nature of the mesh (Thanks to Wikimedia)

The new QHUG DX and Contesting remote site will be able to be controlled remotely and have audio will be able to be sent to and from the remote site from anywhere in the Wellington Region via the rapidly developing Wellington Region Broadband-Hamnet(TM) network.

The first three nodes in the mesh network were established in mid-November 2014.   Even at this early stage, the vision was to create a transport mechanism for a remote HF DX/Contesting site.   A of the end of October 2015, there are over 30 nodes in the mesh, which stretches from the Kapiti Coast through to Porirua, Upper Hutt and North Wellington.   Quartz Hill User Group has already committed resources (in the form of Airgrid M2s) to bring the mesh to potential remote site locations in the Wairarapa (accessible from the new node on Mt Climie) and the Southern Horowhenua (accessible from new nodes on Mt Field that will be up and running shortly, courtesy of Kapiti Branch 69 NZART).

More details on the mesh network will be provided here shortly.  For those operators not yet on the mesh, check out more information at   For those already on the mesh network, checkout diskstation/wordpress/  for more details.