HamSphere, a virtual way to be on air … also from Antarctica!

WAP has recently got a  mail from Frank, FØDUW :

Hello, congratulation for your WAP website. I am on HamSphere 4.0 and we have Antarctica operators but this is virtual via internet. If you know an operator in antarctica who like to be on HamSphere 4.0 please give him the information.

73 de Frank FØDUW who was FT3/FØDUW on French Antarctica

The QSLs attached to the mail (see pictures  aside) did capture my attention, there were Antarctic QSLs for calls we never heard on the air!

So, I did ask Frank FØDUW more information about, and here is the answer:

Only amateur radio operator with a call sign can work a remote on HamSphere 4.

The TX and antenna are for exemple, located in Antarctica but the operator is, for exemple, in Paris. The propagation in Antarctica will be the same of real Amateur Radio. We have dirctional antenna and 100 watts.

Operators who are on HS like 14HS10 they can also work from Antarctica with  RM1 call sign. (See the picture). So this is virtual but realy like amateur radio. Just no need to travel on the frozen Continent!

73, Frank FØDUW

We personally didn’t know that,  and now we understood that HamSphere is a subscription-based internet service which simulates Amteur Radio communication over the Internet as designed by Kelly Lindman, 5B4AIT.

The simulator allows licensed radio amateurs and unlicensed enthusiasts to communicate with one another using a simulated ionosphere.

The system allows realistic worldwide connections between amateur radio operators as well as radio enthusiasts. In general it is similar to otherVoIP applications (such as Skype), but with the unique addition of characteristics such as channel selection by tuning, modulation, noise effects and shortwave propagation simulation.

We did also ask Mario Fontanella IK4HAQ (ex IK3HAQ) about a strange QSL, forwarded us by Frank FDUW.  Mario, kindly reply  with his comment:

I used to live in Venice, when I was IK3HAQ.  Now I live in Bologna and, there is no way to  install antennas from this QTH, I have been looking for solutions to keep my passion for radio communications active and I found HamSphere,  a web platform that simulates the HF propagation conditions according to the VOACAP indications, allowing radio amateurs and “radio enthusiasts” to get practice to listening to and virtually,  connecting other stations present, both physically and /or remotely, in various locations around the world.

These activities are not connected to the real Ham radio activity. Hamsphere is a system that uses Internet to connect to radio equipment through the ionosphere. It’s only a simulation, even if very well done.

Among the various active virtual stations,  there are some that operate remotely from the (simulated) positions of the Antarctic Bases and/or  the Antarctic islands.

It is, -I repeat-  only a simulation, not a real communications, therefore they are not valid for purposes such as Awards or recognition from the radio world, but only among the participants of the Hamsphere platform.

73’s Mario Fontanella IK4HAQ (ex IK3HAQ)

To our understanding and convinction, Ham Radio should not be a trick or a virtual game; a real DX contact, a real QSO especially with Antarctica must be struggled and perhaps suffered with a real radio, with a real antenna and not only with a PC or the desire to feel himself a virtual OM!

A motto says: The world is beautiful because it is varied!  OK…  varied, not spoiled!