Monthly Archives: March 2017

53.63 -1Mhz pl100 testing from north of ENO

As of March 25, K4WCV’s new 53.63 repeater is on the air though the coverage on it is not as good as we think it eventually will be. The repeater is running from a location north of ENO, right on the Orange Durham county borders about 7 miles northwest of Durham. The antenna is currently a multi-band Comet GP-15 vertical 90′ up. The repeater is a GE-Master II and a Sinclair 6-can helical duplexer.

Coverage is probably:

  • all of Durham
  • Chapel Hill
  • most of Hillsborough
  • Efland
  • i-85 from Efland through Butner.
  • east to Creedmore

Over the next several months we expect the antenna to be replaced with a mono-band 6meter base-station antenna, about 40 feet higher than the existing multi-band antenna.

The repeater transmits on 53.63Mhz.  Input is -1Mhz split with required PL tone of 100hz.

Touch tone code 111 is available to record your audio for testing. Key down and press 1 1 1, and then unkey. The repeater will send morse code “OK”. Now key up and talk for 10 seconds. Unkey and the repeater will play back your voice. The sound quality is a little restricted on the playback but you can definitely tell if you are choppy or noisy or have no audio.

The repeater is simulcast on 443.75 Mhz from the same site.  Eventually there are expected to be two repeaters where 443.75 +5Mhz will be available and will be fully linked to 53.63.  KK4PH is supplying the 440 repeater hardware.  KM4KZ supplied the antenna, coax, mounting, air-space.

Bob, K4WCV, has been running the 6m interest net on the OCRA 53.45 repeater for the past year. Until two weeks ago it was on Friday night at 8:30pm. The net recently moved to Wednesday night at 8:30pm, still on 53.45Mhz.   Wednesday night, on one or both of the repeaters, will be a good time to see who can work the new repeater.  Stay tuned!

KK4PH, W4RFQ, KA2DEW, and KW4KZ are helping Bob with site, technical assistance, equipment, testing, tuning, wiring, pats on the back, pity, and anything else to get the repeater on the air!

Information web-page for hams in Raleigh

http://torborg.com/a
I created a web page to provide information for hams, originally new hams, but it kind-of got out of hand. The page is intended for hams in Raleigh, specifically, but much of the material is interesting for the surrounding region as well.  I wrote a repeater listing page which was intended to be more up-to-date than RARS’ page.  Now RARs links to my page.  Please comment if there is material missing that seems like it should be there and especially if the page is completely wrong about something.

I’d like to add a new page which lists the best repeaters for drivers in NC and in surrounding states.  145.21 and 442.15 are examples of wide coverage repeaters in this area.  What’s are some good ones useful while driving in other areas including in SC, GA, TN, WV, VA ?
Thanks for the help.
The page is at http://torborg.com/a

73 de Tadd – KA2DEW, Raleigh NC

 

Monday Night 10 Meter SSB Net (March 27, 2017)

Tonight we had 9 check-ins.

Upcoming Events:

1. DFMA membership meeting: April 2 at Bullock’s Restaurant

Check-ins:

1. NC4CX – Butch: Unable to check-in last week as he could not hear net control. Did listen to those that he could copy. Did not get on WPX at all this weekend. Listened but nothing new heard. Did work Ivory Coast before they left. Hope they confirm as it is needed. Did get Niger for an all time new one.
2. KZ1X – Steve: Using a different antenna tonight – a 10 meter squalo about 10’ off the ground. His usual antenna is under construction. Worked 12 contacts on WPX and now only 1 short for a SA prefix for Excellence Award.
3. KJ4UZU – Clint: Has rf audio issues with his FT897. Now using the Kenwood and all is fine. Did work a few countries in the WPX contest – about 11 contacts. One new one on 80 – Iceland and now looking for a confirmation. Also worked Western Sahara on 80 and looking for a confirmation. Still stuck at 90 confirmed. Worked Papua New Guinea on 40 from the mobile.
4. W4BOH – Wilson: Nothing new at the Wilson residence. Went to Peter’s over the weekend. Did some metal detecting today with his grandson. Got the Loudenboomer going. Found a power supply issue and also a filter choke issue. Replaced it with a choke from the Land of Magic inventory and now the high voltage is MUCH better. Going to write it up for the link. No new DX – Niger pileups were horrible. Listened Bangladesh – wonder if anyone worked them. Had a very enjoyable trip to the mountains but some rain on the way home.
5. KG4NNT – JR: Able to hear Bruce. Glad to be in the net tonight.
6. KA5ETS – Doug: Wilson came up a few S-Units due to turning his beam. Not going to be able to do much with Field Day this year. Got on 60 meters a few months ago and getting used to that. Running some JT65 around 5:00am. FCC may open more of 60 meters up for wider use. Awaiting their decision. Also now have a vertical for 80 meters with 4 radials. Have worked some Europe and Russian stations with JT65.
7. WA4PSC – Howie: Sorry to have missed the OCRA meeting last week. Been involved driving Sarah around but she is on the mend and actually drove her car the other day. Been working on lots of new projects for Dayton. Trying to get parts with long lead times reduced. Just got in from the machine shop – now eating dinner.
8. KU4GC – Dee: Missed most of the net tonight due to an OCRA Board Meeting. Heard Doug and Howie only. Not much to report. Worked Ukraine on 160 JT65. Also putting some time in on the Link proofreading. Enjoy The Egg and I breakfast.
9. N1LN – Bruce: Net Control

OCRA Board Meeting, February 27, 2017

The minutes of the 2/27 meeting were approved unanimously at the 3/27 board meeting.

***************************************************************************

The OCRA Board met on Monday, February 27th at Mike Carwile’s QTH. This was the first meeting since the 2017 elections, with new VP Karen Snyder KD4YJZ, new Secretary Joel Dunn KM4NOU, and new Board member Lad Carrington W4ORD attending as members.

Attendees: Dee Ramm KU4GC (Board Member), MK Ramm W4MKR (Board Member), Lad Carrington W4ORD (Board Member), Keith Stouter W1KES (Board Member), Mike Carwile KK4BPH (Board Member), Dan Eddleman KR4UB (Treasurer), Joel Dunn KM4NOU (Secretary), Dave Snyder W4SAR (President), Karen Snyder KD4YJZ (Vice President), and Mike North KK4EIB (Board Member).

The first order of business was the Officers reports.

Dan KR4UB reported that we had a total of 72 members with dues current and that we maintain an appropriate reserve balance in our accounts. Dan also explained how he managed Quicken record keeping for individual members, couple members, and family memberships. He then described the process of exporting the Quicken data to the new website database, and passed the presentation to Joel KM4NOU to show.

Joel KM4NOU gave a presentation of the website database, which is developed using the Participants Database plugin. We are developing the ability to allow members to maintain certain information themselves. Joel showed a new membership list page, which allows sorting and selection and is easier to read! Additionally, Joel and Dan both showed how easy it is to post to the website by an authorized user (member accounts need board approval), and Joel created an account for President Dave!

Michael KK4EIB gave a repeater update, and reported that the we have three of the four brackets needed for the repeater on UNC-CH Neurosciences, but still need to buy one for $120. He also has Autocad drawings which will be annotated to show the hardware for the OCRA installation. Howie Hoyt WA4PSC who has previously done an installation on campus, showed the drawings he prepared that were accepted by UNC-CH.

We confirmed that we would have two tables at RarsFest, and Dee KU4GC will make sure that we have this arranged. Dave W4SAR said that he has an ICOM 706 for the table (that was a donation some years back to OCRA) and Dee said he has another 706 for the table. We need to ensure that the membership at large knows that we have these tables for displaying merchandise. We will also be represented at Durhamfest.

Lad W4ORD brought up a concern that if the membership votes to participate in events, that they should understand that this comes with a commitment to volunteer. He asked the officers to stress this when the club committed to volunteer activities.

We had preliminary discussions about Field Day. Dee KU4GC will no longer be coordinating food plans, but he will share the 10-15 years of historical information that he has. Dave W4SAR said that it was important to get a food committee started at the next member meeting, to allow sufficient time for planning. John Boone KM4MDR has already agreed to plan the Pot Luck dinner.

We adjourned at 8:15PM

N1MM+ Prep for Training

If you were at the last OCRA meeting you heard and hopefully participated in the discussion to standardize all Field Day stations on N1MM+ logging software. Not only will this make the post FD log integration process MUCH easier, it will allow all operators to easily move from station to station to help fill in some of the open times and it may allow for a technology jump to network all the stations together. This could promote both FUN to see how everyone else is doing real time and help with log accuracy. (more on this when the upcoming training occurs)

Before that training takes place, it would be very helpful for those of you not yet exposed to N1MM+ to spend some time looking over the following web links. I have found that when I attend training of any kind, going into that training class with some level of topic knowledge is VERY helpful. This helps you, the instructor and also other class members as the quality of the questions and discussion is much more ‘on topic’.

Whether you plan on being a Team Captain or not – please look over these links. If you have any questions, please send me an email. (bemeier@bellsouth.net)

1. Getting Started with N1MM+ (Documents / Getting Started)

http://n1mmplus.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php

2. Then move to N1MM Logger PLUS – FULL INSTALL

http://n1mmplus.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php?page=Full+Install

3. Finally – here is a You Tube video showing some very useful configuration information and process

Happy Reading !!!

73,
Bruce – N1LN

Field Day 2017 plans

Field Day plans for 2017 are starting into motion. So far it looks like we will again have a 9 Alpha Battery operation, a club operation using battery power only to power transceivers, 5 Watts maximum output.
Here are the current stations and band captains:
80 M, 40 M, 20 M and 15 M CW- Again run by the CW gang out of the MCU
40 M Digital (W4SAR) 20M Digital (KM4MDR) out of the barn loft
80 M Phone (W3AHL) out of RV
40/15 M Phone (K4SAR & KV7D) out of camper (suggestion made at meeting to split out 15)
20 M Phone (W4ORD) out of tent
Due to poor prospects for propagation, 10 meters will not have a dedicated station. The VHF band captain from last year cannot participate, so that slot is open if anyone is interested.
Food- Dee KU4GC and M.K. W4MKR have stepped down from running the field canteen, we’re looking for others to step up and fill this important function. So far, John KM4MDR has agreed to coordinate the Friday night potluck, probably the biggest single social activity between the two clubs. Lad W4ORD has agreed to run the grill on that Sunday morning for breakfast. We still need to work out dinner for that Saturday evening, as well as keep cool drinks on hand for the entire operation.
Logging/Networking- This year we will try to have everyone up and running on the N1MM freeware contesting log program. If we all use the same program with a wireless network in place, one master log will be compiled on the fly. Bruce N1LN is willing to run a couple of clinics, we will have an introductory demonstration of ZOOM teleconferencing at the April OCRA meeting. In May, a hands-on clinic for the band-captains will be held working with the N1MM Field Day template, using ZOOM teleconferencing on their logging laptops. Some volunteers are stepping up from both DFMA and OCRA to plan out the wireless network to be used for Field Day, all logging computers must have this capability.
Bonus Points- We actually had more QSO points than our close competitor in California last year. However, they still edged us out from second place by strenuously making all the bonus points they could. This year, we need more volunteers to assist in making up all the points we can. We did not have an ongoing educational activity last year(100 points), and never had anyone passing traffic (10 points each). If you don’t want to operate the full weekend, getting bonus points may be more your speed!
I look forward to the continuing discussions, and eagerly anticipate what further plans we come up with for Field Day this year!

73,
W4SAR

March 20th, 2017 – Monday Night 10 Meter Net Notes

Joel KM4NOU, filled in for Bruce N1LN as Net Control.

Joel reported that he’d had a nice weekend visiting his son and family in Centreville, VA.  Grandma always likes to visit the granddaughter, Sierra, who is now 10 months old! Joel took his radio and portable antenna with him and was able to participate in the Virginia QSO party as a Virginia station.

KZ1X (Steve) – a little DXing; some antennae problems

KR4UB (Dan) – administrivia, working on taxes, first pass thru; needs to work on DMFA club minutes (this prompted Joel to remember that he needed to work on OCRA meeting minutes!)

KU4GC (Dee) – confirmation on Thailand, new country; DMFA board coming up; visit to the Egg and I; some power supply problems

KJ4UZU (Clint) – new country on 80, French Polynesia on JT65; a couple of new countries on 80M; looking forward to the weekend contests; worked Ivory Coast on 80M;

W3AHL (Steve) – Been a while since he was on the 10M net; some time working on the tower today, cranked it up today; spent several hours working on ICOM HT; shack computer wouldn’t power up so has to work on that;

KA1HPM (Nick) – with contests over the weekend, enjoyed contesting and some DX; working on digital interface for JT65; heading to Nags Head in May, working on the rig for traveling;

KX4P (John) – using old Collins running barefoot, glad to be heard. Still working on 100 countries confirmed digital (stuck at 99);

KG4NNT (James) – in and out on the second list;

W4BOH (Wilson) – Reporting from the Land of Magic; Working on an old amp, fixed power supply; went out to local greasy spoon for dinner; Some DXing, got Ivory Coast, etc.

We had a total of 10 stations, including KM4NOU as Net Control.

OCRA Monthly Meeting, March 2017

The OCRA meeting for March was held on Monday, March 13, and was well attended with 31 operators in attendance! Always fun to hear the introductions and roundtable.

We started with an update from Steve on ARES. He has built and relocated cables in the emergency communications radio room, so they are ready for use. Additionally, he reported that classes are being offered during the first week of May for DHS emergency communications, ICS protocols, and AUXCOMM. Steve said:

  • The classes offered below are excellent opportunities, with the AUXCOMM course being the most useful for Amateur Radio operators with an ARES/AUXCOMM interest.  Note that to obtain certification, there is a task book requiring you demonstrate your understanding and ability to perform the tasks, witnessed  by a qualified supervisor.  Which is how critical training should be conducted!  You have about two years to complete the task book signoff, although many of the tasks can probably be completed during the Exercise on May 5th.
  • Note that prerequisites are:  completion of IS-100, 200, 700 & 800 courses; a General class license or above; experience with auxiliary communications and a desire to learn how to work with a COML in a NIMS/ICS environment.

See his email of March 13 for detailed information on how to sign up.

Dan presented the Treasurer’s report, including a discussion about the new membership processes. We have the new membership list on the website; dues updates will be posted to this list every two weeks. Dan also reported as repeater coordinator that the 442.15 repeater will be used for upcoming special events (see the website for information). He also reported that RARS is redoing their website, with a new location to sign up for public service events. OCRA leadership will be looking at ways we can also leverage online event signup.

Dee reiterated that we have a total of 4 tables for DFMA and OCRA at the upcoming RARSFest. Jack reported that we do need volunteers to help with DurHAMFest.

Joel and Dan gave a presentation on the member database on the new website, including the ability to collect information on member interests and make this available for search and filtering. We will be expanding our use of this database as we discover other things we want to collect and manage. Dan emphasized that we are doing this with security and privacy in mind, using HTTPS for data transmission.

Dave led a discussion about preliminary field day planning. He had previously posted a message about this, but emphasized that the clock was running and we needed to start detailed planning as we are only 3 months out. Getting band captains identified is critical! Bruce will be organizing CW, Lad will do 20 phone, Adriano will do 40 phone, we’ll run 10 and 15 together. John and Dave will be working on digital modes, and Jack will do a VHF station. A major change will be use of a common logging program, N1MM. Bruce will lead a training session on this. Joel suggested using the Zoom communication program for an online training session, and all agreed that this was a good idea.  Joel volunteered to do a presentation on Zoom at the April member meeting. This will be very helpful to Joel, as he’s out of town on a business trip for the April member meeting, and this way he can not only attend but present!

Upcoming Public Service Events April 2nd & 22nd – Volunteers needed – 442.150 repeater to used

Supporting public service events is an excellent way to make Amateur Radio visible to the community, support worthy charitable causes and to hone your field operating skills.  The two events OCRA provides course communications for each year are:

  1. The Not So Normal Run on Sunday April 02 in Carrboro with about 400 runners expected.  This will be our second year participating in the NSN Run.  The course has changed this year, being simplified to a single 6.55 mile loop that is run 1, 2 or 3 times depending on the event.  We haven’t identified where we will be located along the course yet, but will probably need 5-6 volunteers.  The event web site is:  http://notsonormalrun.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=6757
  2. Tar Heel 10 Miler Run on Saturday, April 22 is a large event with over 6,500 runners usually.  The course and our positions are the same as last year, so we need 7-8 volunteers.  The event web site is:  http://tarheel10miler.com/

I’ll provide more info soon, along with requests to sign up for course positions.  These are fun events and are good first-time public service events for newer hams, as well as useful training for ARES volunteers.

Reserve the dates on your calendars if you are interested.  Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Steve, W3AHL Orange County ARES/AUXCOMM EC

for W3AHL, Dan KR4UB

OCRA 442.150 Repeater to be used for the April 1st, 2017 Spring Fling Bike Event

Permission has been requested and granted for use of the OCRA 442.150 repeater to provide communications support for the Spring Fling Bike Event on Saturday April 1st, 2017.

Net control for the OCRA ARES 9:30am net on that day should use the abbreviated net protocol to facilitate any bike traffic needs to be passed during the net.

This is a 25, 50 and 100 mile bike event that requires SAGS, as well as hams assigned to Rest Stops. This is the first fund raising event of the season sponsored by TeamCBC and for the benefit of the National MS Society.

  • Location: Inside-Out Sports, 2002 Grisdale Ln., Cary, NC 27513
  • Ham Coordinator: John Stone (K3RHJ)
  • Website: TeamCBC

When contacted by Dan Sears, KD4AGQ regarding the event, he also passed the info along that changes are being made to the RARS website and that a new volunteer signup site is being used for this event at  http://zoneapex.net:8082

OCRA and DFMA members are encouraged to sign up for the event that will take place out of Cary into southern portions of Orange County.  Further information at the event can be found at the TeamCBC website.