First Digital QSO

Not sure if anyone else has had a digital QSO yet on the repeater, but Steve KA1CNF, Tom KC2TCK, and myself had a digital QSO on the repeater earlier today.  Steve was going back and forth between his truck and his shack, and had some issues hearing the repeater from his truck, but he was loud and clear on my rig, as was Tom who was mobile on 590.  It was like they were sitting right next to me.

My first listen to digital, and I was impressed.

Maybe we can get a quick demo in Thursday night.

Yaesu System Fusion Repeater on the Air

4/4/2015

I went back down this afternoon and finished installing the System Fusion repeater.  Assuming I set everything up correctly, in order to use the repeater in FM mode, you’ll need  110.9Hz encode AND decode.  The reasoning behind this – if two people are having a QSO in digital mode, no PL tone is transmitted and FM users will not hear the digital signal.

It is set to Auto mode, which means if two users are both digital, the repeater will transmit digital.  If one user is analog FM, the repeater will transmit analog FM.
Digital users “should” be set to Auto in most cases.  This will allow FM users to co-exist.  We may set up some digital skeds (4 of us?) to test out the digital mode.
My initial observation is that the signal strength is close to what is was.  We may be a few watts less than before.  It is set to 20 watts.
I’ve had a few FM QSO’s so far, and seems good.
Some photos of the site access
IMG_0987 IMG_0988 IMG_0989 IMG_0990
Video – A short video of the path to the repeater.  You can see my tracks from the day before.  Much colder today, maybe 34 degrees versus 52 yesterday.  Snow is not quite as slushy.

4/3/2015

Well, the new repeater was almost up and running tonight.

Since I was thinking about going to the RARA meeting, which is about halfway to the repeater site from my house, I decided to leave a bit early and see if I could get the repeater installed without any help.  I brought a hand truck and some straps, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive my FWD vehicle in the wet muddy conditions, all the way to the tower.
Since most of the snow is gone around here, I figured there might be a little more up on that hill, but I was surprised how much was still up there (I should have listened to Rich).  The first 100 ft or so was plowed by someone previously to allow access to the first tower, but they piled snow in front of the road back to the other tower, and it was still about 3-4 ft high and 12 feet wide, completely blocking the way.  Behind it there was snow cover on the road as far as I could see.
I was worried about hauling the repeater through mud and standing water, so my initial thought was I had wasted my time driving down there.  But I thought about it for a couple minutes and saw a possible way around the initial barrier, so I thought I’d give it a try and if it was too difficult, I’d stop and give up.  So I pulled out my hand truck, lifted the repeater and cabinet out of my vehicle and strapped it to the hand truck.
The snow was wet and icy like a slushie, and varied from 10 inches to about 20 inches deep.  Underneath the snow was 4-6 inches of water.  As I had only sneakers on, it was clear my feet were going to get wet.  The hand truck has pneumatic tires, so it wasn’t too bad.  It took me maybe 10 minutes to go the 100 yards or so back to the repeater shack.
All in all, not too bad.  At least I’ll accomplish my goal.  So I shut off the old repeater and started hooking everything up to the new one.  That’s when I realized the jumper cables have PL-259s and the repeater has N- type connectors.  I knew I would forget something.  I bought a couple UHF – N adapters when I was testing it out at home, but totally forgot what was down there.
So I reinstalled the old repeater for now.  If I can, I’ll get back down this weekend and finish the job.  We should at least get a comparison to the old machine using the same antenna.
We’ll need more than a day or two of warm weather to get things melted down there before any more antenna work can be completed.

Presentation for April General Meeting – Fox Hunting 101

XARC Meeting
April 9 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Venue
Webster Rec Center
1350 Chiyoda Dr., Webster,NY 14580
Presentation/Discussion for April 9 XARC General Meeting
Please join us for our General Meeting (Business and Presentation by Brian, K2AS; Jon, N2JAC; Fred, WO2P; Ned, W2NED). This month’s presentation will be “Fox Hunting 101”. Be prepared for the XARC’s May hunt!
Topics to be covered are:
  • What is fox hunting
  • Types of hunts
  • Rules, procedures, scoring
  • Equipment (receivers, antennas, attenuators)
  • Techniques (body fade, tune off frequency, maps/triangulation)
  • Foxes (building, using)
  • Advanced hunting equipment
  • Hunting hints
  • Demonstrations; and of course – story telling!
~ Rich, K2RAH

New Repeater Getting Ready

Thanks to Mike W2HYP and Fred WO2P, the new repeater is close to being ready for installation.  Mike donated this Motorola cabinet, and Fred made some modifications to allow our repeater to fit.

The cabinet is nice because it is fully enclosed, but it is very shallow.  The repeater depth was quite a bit deeper, so Fred reversed the orientation of the brackets to give us an additional inch and a half, then cut an opening in the rear cover of the cabinet to allow the repeater to protrude out the back.  Since the repeater is fully enclosed, it should be fine.

He also fabricated a shelf for the repeater, as Yaesu recommends a shelf to help support the weight.  Additionally, he made plates with threaded holes to captures the bolts to hold the repeater.  So it looks like a solid installation that should last for years and handle future expansion if required.

90% of the ventilation holes in the repeater chassis are outside of the cabinet, so cooling shouldn’t be an issue.

XRX Repeater Cabibet 3 XRX Repeater Cabinet 1 XRX Repeater Cabinet 2

Presentation/Discussion for March 12 XARC General Meeting

 Jon Dickason will make a presentation/discuss how the local ARES/RACES organization provides communications for public service events, exercises and local disasters, how we use APRS to do real time tactical mapping for these events, and how we create our own wireless Intranet using easily modified consumer wifi routers. RACES also regularly practices with Dept. of Homeland Security, FBI, ARMY, border patrol, etc., and local law enforcement.

Please join us for this presentation as well as our regular General Meeting agenda items.

~ Rich Hull, K2RAH

Weather at K2AS

I’ve had a personal weather station running at my QTH for about 6 years.  For the last 5 or so it has been feeding the data to a Linux PC running various version of Ubuntu, and using a software package “Wview” to process the information.  It created HTML pages, FTP’ed the files to my website, submitted data to the CWOP “Citizen Weather Observer Program”, and also submitted info the Weather Underground.  A few of years ago I added a webcam to the system.

Continue reading Weather at K2AS

Local License Classes and Testing

RARA (Rochester Amateur Radio Association) will be holding amateur license classes this spring – from WB2SXY:

Classes for Tech, General and Extra will start 10 Mar 2015 at

RIT, Jefferson Road, Henrietta.

Classes will run for 10 weeks, ending 12 May 2015.

Exams for all licensees will be held also at RIT
on 21 Feb 2015, 21 Mar 2015, 18 Apr 2015 in the mornings.

see rochesterham.org for details.

My eBay HQ-145-X

I bought this Hammarlund HQ-145-X on eBay.  I paid a little more than I planned, but I got tired of losing auctions.  Got it Monday, and there is little cosmetic damage.  Dirt, on the other hand, is a different story.  The cover is well ventilated with thousands of holes, and 50+ years of dust build-up was on the top of the chassis.  The underneath side was clean.  It did work – I heard signals with just a wire off the back of the radio.  Audio gain pot was noisy, some controls not real smooth.

Continue reading My eBay HQ-145-X

XARC / W2XRX

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