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

Repeater Back on the Air

Despite some rain and wind, Mike Rink W2HYP, Jim Stefano W2COP, and I managed to get our antenna mounted about 45 ft up the tower, and get the repeater on the air.

There is still an issue with the radio.  Seems squelch related, but while there, we could not find any simple answer.  It was working OK with some occasional issues that were minor compared to what it sounded like 6 weeks ago.
Even though the antenna will be going up another 120ft or so, I hear it fine from my shack with a collinear dual band up about 20 ft close to Lake Ontario.  It was fairly noisy mobile with a 1/4 wave north of 104.
Unless we get some unusually decent weather that falls on a weekend where Tim is free, we may wait until spring to raise the antenna.
I’ve gotten info that the Yaesu repeaters are taking 3-6 weeks to ship out.  So we may get it by the end of January.  They have shipped over 600 so far.  Very few have been turned down, usually due to incomplete paperwork.
Linking up to other systems (WiresX/Echolink. etc) will be in the not-to-distant future.
Thanks to Mike Rink and Jim Stefano for helping getting the antenna up and on the air today.  Thanks to Fred Miller WO2P for doing some metal work with the antenna mounts.
Also thanks to Tim Warth AA2RS for his work on the tower last week, and all the XARC guys mentioned previously who have helped with moving and antenna work.
Below is a photo of the hill where the repeater is located.  This is from Route 15A just south of Lima and before Hemlock.  There are two towers up there, and the bigger tower can be seen from here – it is 200ft and has a flashing light on top.
IMG_0831a

System Fusion Info

As you might have heard, we have made a decision to buy as Yaesu DR1X repeater than operates supports the Yaesu digital mode called, System Fusion.

Obviously many things have to happen before we’ll see that on the air, but in the mean-time, here are some links (some of this is obviously Yaesu marketing driven):

 

Antenna Work Party

We attempted a work party at the new repeater site, but the weather didn’t cooperate.  Foggy up on that hill, colder too.  We did manage to get some things done, and we have a plan to do some more work after Christmas.  Here are a couple photos –

Repeater antenna Work Party
Repeater antenna Work Party

L to R – AA2RS, W2COP, AE2EA, K2AS, K2RAH, W3MUD.  W2HYP photographer

 

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L to R – W2COP, AA2RS, W2HYP, K2AS, K2RAH, AE2EA   photographer W3MUD

End of an Era

Over the years, the XARC has been known for several things: Foxhunts, Field Day, our club station, and our repeater, among others.  The repeater, actually three repeaters , were located in the premier location in the city of Rochester.  The Xerox Tower, the tallest building in the city.  There were other commercial repeaters located there, but the XARC repeaters were the only amateur radio repeaters at that site.

It started in 1981, with help from member Dan Thomas KJ2E, when we got approval to locate a repeater in the building.  We partnered with Paul DiLorenzo, WB2IMT to place a 220 Mhz repeater at the site.  Sometime in the mid-80’s, a 440 Mhz repeater was added.  Pete Secrist, WB2SUN was our repeater trustee at that time.

In the late 80’s, a fairly recent ham, John Wright, KE2MK who had interest in building controllers, proposed adding a 2 meter repeater to the mix.  It was at first located in Webster, NY at the Xerox facility there, but was eventually moved downtown.

A new controller in the mid-90’s allowed the three to be linked together, and the two meter machine had excellent coverage and experienced heavy usage for many years.

By 2010, corporate support for employee clubs disappeared at Xerox.  We lost our club station, the club languished a bit, and repeater usage dwindled.  In 2013, the Xerox Tower was sold to a real estate company.  Xerox still leased most of the facility, but the roof of the building was no longer controlled by Xerox.  We received word in early 2014 that the locations of our repeater antennas were income generating space, and that they would be available only with a lease agreement.  Since the monthly cost would be higher than our yearly budget, there was no way we could afford to stay.  We would be allowed to stay rent free until upgrades were in place at the site and a paying customer was located.

Also in mid-2014, there was renewed interest in re-activating the club.  We investigated alternate repeater locations, and found something south of the city.  While plans were being worked out, a mysterious signal started to interfere with the 2 meter repeater, intermittently.  The 220 and 440 machines were shut off.  With an eviction notice not far off, we decided it wasn’t worth a huge effort to investigate the source of the interference.  Then it began to get worse.  We had some delays to getting an antenna installed at the new site, so some decisions had to be made.

With the ongoing interference issue getting worse, the repeater essentially unusable most days, we either had to shut it off, or move it.  So we are planning to remove it from the Xerox Tower in the near future, and hopefully get the 2 meter installed and running at the new location.  It may not have a permanent antenna at first, but something at least usable.

When complete, we hope to have something at an excellent elevation, though at 25+ miles south of the city.  HT coverage will likely suffer in the city and north, but we hope mobile and base access will be very good throughout the Rochester area, with increased coverage south.

With any luck we will continue to have use of the 145.29 repeater for many years to come.

Bad Day for a Wedding

After missing this years Field Day to go to my son’s graduation from the Police Academy, I was looking forward to next years FD.  Then I got an email from one of my wife’s Aunts.  Her daughter, who we are Godparents of, is getting married June 27, 2015!  In Colorado.

Looks like I’ll have to wait for the 2016 FD.

XARC / W2XRX

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