OCRA Membership Meeting, September 10, 2018

Introductions:

Sixteen members were present, with three people taking exams.

Treasurer Report:

Balance continues to be strong.  Currrent membership is at 78, with 23 needing renewal, and one expiring this month.

Seventeen new members have joined since January.

Repeater:

Dan (KR4UB) brought the latest Southeastern Repeater Association (SERA) repeater journal, providing a listing of repeater frequencies and other relevant information. The SERA was founded in 1971 as the North Carolina FM Repeater Association Inc., when a group of state repeater owners got together to form an organization designed to assist in coordinating, providing communication & technical information, and bringing together all amateur repeater owners into one united body.

RepeaterBook applications are available for Android and Apple devices.  The applications are helpful to identify local repeaters during travels.

Have another Meal (HAM)

Wilson (W4BOH) has offered to host a family friendly, fall cookout of burgers and dogs in October.  You should have received an email via the group.io list serve.  If you did not receive an email, but are interested in attending, please let Wilson known. Please bring vegetables and desserts to share.

Green Bank Telescope

Dan (KR4UB) is planning to revisit the Robert C Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in Green Bank, West Virginia.  The Green Bank site was part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) until September 30, 2016. Since October 1, 2016, the telescope has been operated by the newly separated Green Bank Observatory. The telescope honors the name of the late Senator Robert C. Byrd who represented West Virginia and who pushed the funding of the telescope through Congress.

The Green Bank Telescope operates at meter to millimeter wavelengths. Its 100-meter diameter collecting area, unblocked aperture, and good surface accuracy provide superb sensitivity across the telescope’s full 0.1–116 GHz operating range. The GBT is fully steerable, and 85% of the entire local celestial hemisphere is accessible. It is used for astronomy about 6500 hours every year, with 2000–3000 hours per year going to high-frequency science.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES):

ARES:

Steve (W3HAL) stated OC Emergency Services has requested that OC ARES/AUXCOMM volunteers be on standby for probable activation to support evacuation shelters due to forecasted flooding, high winds and power outages. Details are pending updates on Hurricane Florence’s path and timing and probably won’t be available until late Wednesday or Thursday morning.

The typical scenario would have one or two shelters plus the EOC opening, with a team of two ham radio operators per site for two 12 hour shifts per day.  That would require 12 volunteers each day.

As always, the first priority is to make sure your family is safe and prepared for the storm, as mentioned on Saturday’s ARES Training net.  Meanwhile, evaluate your availability to deploy on Thursday, 09/13 through Saturday, 09/15.  If you think you might be available, depending, on how the storm actually affects our area of course, please email me directly so I can get a rough idea of how many volunteers might be available.

Volunteers would need to be registered in the AUXCOMM database to deploy to the EOC.  For shelters, at least one on the team would need AUXCOMM registration and the second could be an ARES volunteer.

And one final reminder to log into the AUXCOMM database and verify your contact info is still valid, if you haven’t done so recently.   https://www.auxcomm.us/db/nc/  (Ignore the certificate error notice)

Please contact Steve w3ahl@att.net for further information

Hog Day:

Hillsborough Hog Day may be postponed or cancelled due to Florence.  Please check the website for up-to-date information.

Boy Scouts Jamboree:

Jamboree-on-the-Air, or JOTA, is the largest Scouting event in the world. It is held annually the third full weekend in October. JOTA uses amateur radio to link Scouts and hams around the world, around the nation, and in your own community. This jamboree requires no travel, other than to a nearby amateur radio operators ham shack. Many times you can find the hams will come to you by setting up a station at your Scout camporee, at the park down the block, or perhaps at a ham shack already set up at your council’s camp.

Martin (KA5JUJ) shared how one creates a cantenna, a tin can waveguide for WiFi.

Baofeng handheld radios are popular in the amateur radio community as inexpensive, entry level HTs.  Future OCRA membership programs including learning more about repeater operations, programming a Baofeng, and overcoming “mic fright.”

OCRA Membership Meeting, August 13, 2018

Introductions:

Treasurer Report:  Dan (KR4UB)

Club balance was reported.

Dan created a new attendance sheet.  He also went through old club records to capture the date members joined.  There are many current members who helped establish the club in the early 1990s, when the club was called the Orange County Wireless Pioneers.  Steve Jackson (KZ1X) was the spark plug for establishing the club.  The first meeting was in the community room of OWASA.  Anyone with club records, please let Dan know. Dan will scan and add the content to the site, which will help preserve club records.

Dan has a repeater still occupying space in his basement.  The current repeater market in Durham and Alamance is rather saturated.  However, as Chatham County is growing, so is the need for communication towers.  Nick (KA1HPM) mentioned that the county is planning to install several new towers for 2020.   There may be opportunities to relocate the repeater to a tower in Chatham County for amateur radio and CERT usage.

Field Day results:

While radio propagation was sketchy, we were able to accumulate 2000 more points this year over last.  Every station, minus 80 meters, was able to increase their score, with digital exceeding last year by over 1000 points.   This year’s numbers will change slightly as Dave (W4SAR) thoroughly combs the combined log to eliminate duplicate contacts, fix broken exchanges, and eliminate broken exchanges that cannot be made good:

For more detailed information on Field Day, we encourage you to read the July 2018 DFMA newsletter. https://www.dfma.org/TheLink/2018/Link1807web.pdf

Show and Tell

Steve (KZ1X) was cleaning out an old radio box and brought in a Micron SWR field strength meter, which may have been purchased as the old Radio Shack in University Mall.  The Micron measures the amount of signal transmitted by your antenna system, and a signal pattern can be plotted by taking readings around your antenna.  The meter covers 3 to 30 MHz and can handle up to 1KW.

He also brought alligator clips with magnifier glass used for splicing wire and adding connectors.

Dave (KW4XL) brought in several 3D printed products, including a raspberry pi hotspot case and working crescent wrench.

The next membership meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 10.  Hope to see you there!

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