Sunday, April 07, 2024

Cheating? Yay or Nay?

What say you?

I have a very good Ham friend who is in a dilemma.

He is a senior Ham, and a few years ago, he moved into his daughter and son-in-law's house after his wife passed away. He's always been active, having great stations and decent antennas when he had his own house. Not wishing to be a bother or an imposition, he has made a lot of sacrifices and compromises.

He's always had verticals, wires and even a tower and a yagi when the house was his and his wife's. However, now he has resorted to a GADS antenna - gutters and downspouts. That's not his problem. In fact, he's been quite pleased with that setup as it has allowed him to do a lot. He gets his share of DX and  stateside contacts, as well as ragchews.

The problem is the solar panel system that his daughter and son-in-law have installed on their roof. So much RFI is generated that he can only operate on 40 Meters and below. Starting at 20 Meters, there is so much garbage generated at regular intervals across the bands as to make them useless.

He's tried contacting the solar panel company, but as you might expect, they don't seem to be anxious to help, even though that's required by law. About a month ago, the problem disappeared and my friend was estatic. The letdown came a few weeks later when his daughter informed him that there was something wrong. Their provider wasn't giving them their discount for the electricity being pumped back into the system by the panels. They called the installer who rectified the situation, only to re-introduce the dreaded QRN that my friend thought was gone forever.

So I made a suggestion that he should use his laptop and use a webSDR receiver as his receiver. He'll still transmit like always, but for 20 Meters and higher he'd rely on receiving through an SDR receiver that is in his area. It's not 3 or 4 states away, it's local as far as radio is concerned.

He told me that he had thought of that, but as a Ham licensed for over 50 years, it feels like 'cheating" to him. It's not like he's contesting or anything, or trying to get a leg up on anyone else. I told him it's a matter of survival. And in this case, getting on the air this way isn't nefarious or under handed in any shape, way or form.

So what say you? Let me know what you think by posting a comment. My friend is a regular reader and I'd think he'd appreciate some opinions other than mine.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. Anonymous2:57 PM

    I would say no. I have a kiwiSDR online and frequently, everyday, see people using as a remote receiver.
    A list if Kiwi's about 670 of them is located at
    Feel free to use mine all you like.
    Rich, WD3C

  2. I would also say no, it’s not cheating. Whatever you need to do to get on the air is all fair game.

    It is not a contest with strict rules.

    It’s ham radio. It’s meant to be fun!

    Chris, WA2SEM

  3. I don't believe it's cheating and I think he's earned the right to do what he wants.

    For me, that would also include blasting the solar panel company and the installers on every platform I could find. Being retired means you have time to harass those that need it!

  4. If he were living in a senior home environment, his situation would, probably, be worse. Likely no antennas at all and an acre of SPs everywhere. So, compromise is necessary, and he is living under his daughter's roof now. After all, his daughter had to live under his house rules when she was living with mom and dad. Forty meters is a good band and, apparently, he manages to make "traditional" 2x contacts there. I agree with your own suggestion re 20 meters and higher hf ops. Heck, his outgoing signal is unaided. The remote receiver is a sort-of "hearing aide", no? Above all, he really shouldn't antagonize daughter and SIL. 73 de Dick F8WBD

  5. I don't think it's cheating. If I work him (and I hope I do), I can't tell what he's using to receive my signal. Your friend shouldn't over-think it, and just have fun being on the air again! 73, Craig WB3GCK

  6. Where is it written that a receiver needs to be "co-resident" with the transmitter? I think it is a great answer. In fact, there are many who do something similar. I live in an HOA where one (or maybe more) hams have remote rigs located outside the HOA boundaries and operate those rigs remotely all the time. There's not much difference. Go for it!

  7. It is no cheating, it is just making use of resources available today. He can also try to fit is some #31 ferrite clamps on the cables of the solar converter to see if it does help. Unfortunately it most times are the optimizers that cause the QRM. I shouldn't feel guilty, even top DXers worldwide use webSDRs for receive. 73, Bas