Swiss Remote DX Amateur Radio Station at 1'660m
Frederic (HB9CQK) and me started our Remote DX-Station project in the Swiss mountains in September 2018. We have many challenges such as strong wind, ice, thunderstorms, lightning, big temperature differences, Windows 11 updates, etc. Since 2019, we made a lot of remote-station expierence and we are still learning news with such a great Remote Site.
Goal of the solution:
The aim of our Remote DX-Station is to operate a remote radio site via a fast Internet access, where there are almost no "man-made interference" (e.g. PLC, power supplies, solar power system, DSL-lines, etc.). Ideally, the location is slightly elevated and has a 360° all-round view.
Flexradio 6700, OptiBeam OB9-5 extra heavy duty Beam for 10m, 12m, 15m, 17m, and 20m, OptiBeam OB5-6 (6m), 54m Wire-Antenna with a Stockcorner JC-4s Tuner (30-160m), Expert 1.3k Amplifier, Prosistel PST61D Rotor, Genius Rotator, Balun Designs, Lightning Protection, Airspy HF+ with Spyserver SDR, KiwiSDR, Nport 5410 for Expert Remote-Control, and a public WebSDR Server (HF) with a Wellbrook ALA1530NL Loop and WebSDR Server (UHF/VHF) with a Diamond X-50N (2m/70cm) Antenna for the HAM community.
WebSDR and KiwiSDR Receivers for the HAM-Community
WebSDR HF at 1'660m JN47GA
6 RSP1A SDR Receivers with a Wellbrook Loop
WebSDR 2m/70cm at 1'660m JN47GA
WebSDR 2m/70cm with a Diamond X-50NA Antenna
KiwiSDR for HF at 1'660m JN47GA
KiwiSDR Receiver with the Wellbrook Loop
HBRadio 2/2023 - Remote DX-Station at 1'660m in German
Planung, Aufbau und Betrieb der Remote DX-Station auf der Rigi Scheidegg auf 1'660m
OptiBeam with snow, moon, sea of fog at 1'660m
Have a look at the WebCam
Frédéric HB9CQK provides additional information.
Article in German about our Remote DX-Station from Jörg (DD8JM)
Since summer 2020, we have a 100 Mbit/s fiber optic Internet connection at 1'660m for our remote Flexradio connection !
On May 17, 2022 we installed the new OptiBeam OB9-5 extra heavy duty version in hopes that this beam will now stay in tact for longer than just one year. Since 2019, 3 beams have been lost due to the extreme weather conditions at this location at this height.
Our new Rigi Dashboard (April 2023) works now with a Node Red Solution running on a Raspberry Pi 4. Two 34" Screens for the Rigi-Dashboard and a Shure SM58SE Studio MIC with the Scarlett Solo MIC preamp for an excellent remote audio completes the solution.
18.12.2023 - after problems with the potentiometer in the PST61D rotator, we have now installed the Genius Rotator solution from 4O3A with the magnetic azimuth sensor.
After several Flexradio SmartLink service outages we have now installed a Softether VPN-Server on a Raspberry Pi3 with the following benefits:
- Indpendent from Flexradio SmartLink Server Service (AWS-Cloud)
- Fast & reliable
- Under own control
- Low maintenance
- No SmartLink Login anymore
Softether VPN-Server Documentation [1’627 KB] in order to avoid SmartLink Service outages in the future as a backup solution
Flexradio 6700 High End SDR Transceiver with 8 VFO's with SmartSDR v3.4.23
OptiBeam OB5-6 for 6m,
OptiBeam OB9-5 extra heavy duty beam for 10m, 12m, 15m, 17m, and 20m,
54m Wire-Antenna with JC-4s Stockcorner Tuner for 30m to 160m and 1kW,
Expert 1.3k Amplifier as Antenna-Switch and Tuner,
Prosistel PST61D Rotator,
Genius Rotator solution with magnetic Azimuth sensor from 4O3A
Airspy HF + with Spyserver powered by a Raspberry Pi4,
WebSDER Server (Linux Server) with 6 SDRplay RSP1A for HF (160m up to 10m),
WebSDR Server (Linux Server) with two Nooelec R820T2 USB SDR-Dongles for 2m/70cm,
KiwiSDR with Wellbrook Loop ALA1530LN
NPort 5410 serial port Mulitplexer for remote control of the Expert 1.3k amplifier,
Winradio G33DDC Excalibur Pro professional SDR-Receiver with Wellbrook Loop ALA1530LN,
RadarScape FlightRadar Receiver,
Gas Lightning Protection from Huber+Suhner with three Coax-Relais,
Remote 230V Power ON/OFF for 8 devices,
4G/SMS-Box to switch ON/OFF (230V) the main Internet-Router,
Remote Web-Relais to Switch ON/OFF our HAM-Devices,
WEB Temperature Monitor-Device with 4 temp. sensors,
1:1 5kW Choke from Balun Desings,
LPF-1 Low Pass Filter for OptiBeam and Wire Antenna,
SoftEther VPN-Server on a Raspberry Pi3 to avoid SmartLink Outages,
Active Antenna Splitters ELAD ASA15 and ELAD ASA16 for our SDR-Receivers with the Wellbrook Loop,
Node Red Dashboard running on a Raspberry Pi4 (4GB),
Lenovo ThinkPad L580N Notebook with Windows 11 for local maintenance of our devices,
150 watt heater for the winter season
Node Red Remote DX-Station Dashboard
More Details [6’714 KB] about our Node Red Dashboard
Node Red Introduction [11’443 KB] from Kyle AA0Z
- Rotor Control (ARS USB Box from EA4TX) with Raspberry Pi
- KM-Tronic temperature device with 4 sensors in our RIG-Cabinet
- Live weather from Rigi Scheidegg openweathermap.org
- Solar and DR2W Propagtion Information
- Band Activity from DX-Heat.com and DX-Spots from My Summit
- KM-Tronic 8-Port Relay Board
- Detail Weather Diagrams from openweathermap.org
- Raspberry Pi4 (4 GB) System Information
- Lightning warning with Audio Notification (<25km)
Genius Rotator Solution with magnetic Az. Sensor
The sensor uses a magnetic compass that reads azimuth. This insures you will never have problems with pulse, pot meter sensors, broken indicators or innacurate readings.
- Accuracy within 1 degree
- No need for initial calibration
- User programmable true north and magnetic north correction
- The sensor can now be used independently from the motor control unit
- Windows application, Android App, and integrated into the SmartSDR App for iOS and MAC
Genius Rotator Solution from 4O3A
Installation OptiBeam OB9-5 extra heavy duty
Below some audio examples: 20m in SSB, from SDR receiver K3FEF in Milford, Pennsylvania, USA with a G5RV antenna. Distance: 6366.42 km (3979.012 miles) and from Brasil on 10m.
Audio 20m WebSDR K3FEF USA - Jabra Headset WIDE
Audio 10m WebSDR in Brasil - Jabra Headset WIDE
Our great OptiBeam OBDYA12-5 suffered a broken boom due to very heavy ice/snow load combined with high wind speeds (2. Feb. 2022). It looks like no regular antenna design can survive the exteme WX conditions that we encounter on Mount Rigi. However, the 6m 5 element OptiBeam ist still doing fine and the 54m longwire although torn apart by the broken antenna was an easy fix and works OK. The OBDYA12-5 was a fantastic antenna and we already miss it a lot. We hope Tom from OptiBeam will be able to create an antenna for us with a much stronger boom that has a chance to suvive these storms, although we are very much aware that this will not be easy. Sadly below you can find the "final pictures - RIP" from our OBDYA12-5.
Drone Flight - 11. October 2021
Drone Flight - 360 View at 1'660m
17. June 21 Installation of New OptiBeam OBDYA12-5
First Installation 28. August 2019
2. Jan. 2020 - Drone Video of the old OptiBeam
Winter Storms in February 2020 - Rebuild in June 2020
Three strong winter storms (Petra, Sabine and Bianca) totally destroy all our antennas.
Our remote station had already survived several severe thunderstorms (including one that un-rootet a large fir tree close by), so we thought we were safe. The trouble started with storm Petra. There was already ice on the antennas and storm Petra came with heavy snow and strong winds. It broke off two elements of the the 6m beam and bent the top tube. The 40m EndFed wire was torn apart. The pictures below show the state after storm Petra.
The next storm (Sabine) was even stronger than Petra, but it did not do additional damage because there was little snow on the antenna at that time. Snow and ice have an incredible effect on the wind load. The following picture shows the antenna after storm Sabine. The HF beam recovered nicely once the snow and ice was gone and was still working OK.
The last storm Bianca did the rest. There was again a lot of snow and ice on the antenna. The top tube broke apart and everything came down (see the picture below from the morning after).
Due to the current world-wide Corona health crisis we cannot replace the antennas immediately. However, we have already fixed the EndFed antenna and the KiwiSDR is back online for you. We have replaced the FlexRadio 6500 with a FlexRadio 6700 and added two AirspyHF+ SDR's that are able to monitor the bands 24/7 using WSPR and FT8.
Installation 29. August 2019
Almost 2 years ago we carried out first talks with representatives from Rigi Railways Inc. about the possibility of renting a no longer used mast 1660 metres above sea level and using it for Amateur Radio. In autumn of 2018 we installed a temporary G5RV and two Colibri SDR receivers to find out if this location could be used for amateur radio. We found that we had some noise up there, but it was A LOT better than what we encounter at the home QTH of HB9RYZ and HB9CQK! Planning went ahead and Frédéric HB9CQK and myself decided to get our HAM Dream finalized.