New 224.800 Repeater On The Air

2015-07-16After an 8 month absence, the SEMARA Repeater Committee has restored 220 MHz service via our brand new BridgeCom Systems ComLink™ BCR-220 repeater!  The new repeater went live at 9:05 PM on Thursday, July 16, 2015.  Like our 2-meter and 900 MHz repeaters, this repeater resides at our 180-foot tower site and its antenna (temporarily a Comet CX-333 shared with our 2m APRS station) is also atop the tower.  Full technical specifications can be found on our repeaters section.

This new unit replaces our old Hi-Pro repeater and uses our existing Bird Technologies/TX RX Systems duplexer that was purchased new by SEMARA in November 2010.  Maggiore Electronic Labs which manufactured our old repeater went out of business in the Summer of 2012.  Due to a frequency drift problem, it had been off the air since October 2014.  At the July 2015 SEMARA business meeting, a motion passed to purchase the new repeater and to sell the old one.  There may be an interested local buyer, however if they decide to pass on it, we will place the old unit for auction on eBay.

The new 224.800 MHz repeater runs 30 watts output power as apposed to old one which was 20 watts.  The temporary measure of the repeater’s outgoing CTCSS (PL tone) being different to stop desense (the transmitter feeding back into the receiver) is no longer necessary.  There is a small amount of desense that still exists due to the sub-par antenna arrangement, however it appears to be mild in our initial tests.  The new repeater is running 67.0 Hz for both transmit and receive.  If you had set your radio up for a split tone, you will need to reprogram your radio for 67.0 Hz on both encode and decode.  For the time being, the new repeater is running on its internal controller, which provides a basic CW ID and a short tail without a courtesy tone.

Future plans on the “to-do list” include interfacing the repeater to our brand new S-COM 7330 controller.  This is the same 3-port full-duplex controller we currently use on our 2-meter and 900 MHz repeaters.  A completed PiRLP node (IRLP and EchoLink node 4215/W1AEC-L) and UHF Motorola GM300 link radio are ready to be interfaced to this new controller as well.  When that happens, we plan to have this 220 MHz repeater full-time linked into the Quahog Repeater Network (QRN) via the link radio to the North Providence hub.

The repeater committee also recommends that the club approve the purchase of a dedicated 220 MHz repeater antenna to be added to the top of our tower.  This would be the Sinclair Technologies model SD214 four bay offset dipole.  The offset pattern should be east/west to add slightly more gain over the South Coast and less south to the ocean.  We should request for it to be black anodized with a lightning spike.  This commercial antenna will greatly improve the coverage and will resolve the desense issue that remains.  The existing Comet tri-band antenna that is temporarily being used should also remain.  It will continue to be used for our 2-meter APRS station and future UHF link radio, plus serve as a auxiliary antenna system for our 2-meter and 220 MHz repeaters should our primaries fail.

On Tuesdays, we plan to setup an automatic scheduler setpoint to separate the repeater from QRN and participate in “220 Tuesdays”.  Via IRLP, it will link to the New England Reflector 912 Channel 4 (reflector 9124, the NEAR-220 channel) for the day, where it will be linked with other participating 220 repeaters including the MMRA‘s five 220 repeaters that link through their “HUB2″.  220 Tuesdays is a similar promotion as “900 Thursdays”, which you can also participate on via SEMARA’s 900 repeater.  Both 220 Tuesdays and 900 Thursdays are New England-wide promotions to gain awareness and generate activity on the 220 MHz and 900 MHz bands respectively.

Be sure to keep current with future SEMARA Repeater Committee updates by subscribing to SEMARA.org’s RSS feed, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter!

Thank you,

Richard J. Cabral, W1RJC
SEMARA Repeater Committee

13 Colonies Special Event – June 30th to July 5th

2015-06-20The 13 Colonies Special Event Station K2H will operate from Tuesday, June 30, 9:00 AM Eastern (1300 UTC) until Sunday Night, July 5th, 24:00 (Midnight) Eastern (0400 UTC July 6th).

Plus two sister stations: WM3PEN and GB13COL.

WM3PEN will operate from Philadelphia, PA, where independence was declared. The 13 Colonies certificate adds a Liberty Bell for a contact.  WM3PEN will be on D-STAR each evening from 7-11 PM Eastern Time.

GB13COL will operate from Durham, England and will offer SSB, CW & Digital modes for the event. A Uniion Jack will be added for a contact.

K2H/W1AEC would like to operate both the first and last hours of the event period. We will be operation using a spreadsheet so their will be only one Massachusetts K2H station on the air at the same time using the same band, mode, and hour slot. That’s the easy way to be maximally present.

Any SE Mass station interested in joining K2H/W1AEC, just contact radioevents [at] semara [dot] org.

~Bob K1KVV
Radio Events

ARRL Kids Day – Sunday, June 21

2015-06-20Kids Day is Sunday, June 21!  Sponsored by the ARRL and The Boring (Oregon) Amateur Radio Club, Kids Day is a fantastic way to introduce young people to the magic of Amateur Radio by getting them on the air!  Kids Day shares the same date as Father’s Day.

Details

Date: Sunday, June 21, 1800-2359 UTC. Operate as much or as little as you like.

Suggested exchange: Call “CQ Kids Day.” Exchange name, age, location, and favorite color. It’s okay to work the same station again, if an operator has changed.

Suggested frequencies: 28.350 to 28.400 MHz; 24.960 to 24.980 MHz; 21.360 to 21.400 MHz; 18.140 to 18.145 MHz; 14.270 to 14.300 MHz; 7.270 to 7.290 MHz, and 3.740 to 3.940 MHz, as well 2 meter repeaters (with the permission of the repeater’s sponsor).

Control operators: Observe third-party rules when making contacts with stations outside the US.

More Information

Participating with your child or grandchild would be a fabulous way to celebrate the special bond between generations. But no matter if you’re a mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, family friend, or neighbor, Kids Day is a great opportunity to open the doors of your station and let the youngsters take the “Big Chair.” Let them find stations they hear or work on a map, color in a map of states worked, or help them to build something.

To attract attention call “CQ Kids Day.” The suggested exchange is name, age, location, and favorite color. There is no limit on operating time, and stations may work each other more than once if the operator has changed. Repeater contacts (with permission of the repeater’s sponsor) are okay too, and satellite contacts may provide a real thrill.

All participants are encouraged to post stories and photos to the Kids Day Soapbox page and are eligible to receive a colorful certificate. You can download the free certificate, customized with the youngsters’ names, after filling out the Kids Day Survey found on the same page as the certificate generator. Alternatively, you can send a 9 × 12 SASE to Kids Day Certificate Request, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

~Bob K1KVV
Radio Events

WX4NHC Conducts Annual Station Test on May 30

2015-05-25WX4NHC, at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, conducts its annual station test on May 30, 2015, 1400 until 2200 UTC (10:00am – 6:00pm EDT).  This tests the station equipment, antennas, and computers in preparation for the 2015 hurricane season, June 1 through November 30.

The event provides practice for ham radio operators and National Weather Service (NWS) staff to become familiar with the kinds of Amateur Radio communications available during times of severe weather.

WX4NHC will make brief contacts on various bands and modes, exchanging signal reports and basic weather information, such as “sunny” or “rain,” with any and all stations.  WX4NHC will try to stay on the Hurricane Watch Net frequency of 14.325 MHz and announce when they QSY.  Locate WX4NHC by using a spotting network, such as DX Summit.

WX4NHC also will be on the VoIP Hurricane Net (VoIP-WX) from 2100 until 2200 UTC and on IRLP node 9219 and EchoLink WX-TALK Conference node 7203.

QSL cards are available via WD4R with an SASE.  Do not send cards directly to the National Hurricane Center.

~Bob K1KVV
Radio Events

Volunteers Needed: Tour de Cure – June 7th

2015-05-08_2Jim Creamer, ARES Emergency Coordinator for Rhode Island, has put out the call for area hams to help support this charity fund raising bicycle ride on June 7th.  I have volunteered for the past 3 years and found that the ham support to this event very valuable.  Meeting other area hams and cyclists always made it a fun day.  All hams and cyclists are treated to a fine buffet lunch.

If you have June 7th free and would like to join in this year please read Jim’s call out below and make contact.  If someone from our area volunteers but prefers not to drive down to the event alone, please give me a call and we can consider riding down together.

TNX & 73

John WA1ESO
401-624-4576

Hello Hams,

As you know the Tour de Cure is one month away.  I am working on putting the finishing touches on the assignments for the Tour de Cure on June 7th.  I am still in need of a few more hams for SAG duty, Navigators and Rest Stops so I can spread out the work.  I am also in need of more information from those that volunteered for SAG duty so I can fine tune those assignment.  I have attached some general guidelines from the ADA for the SAGs.

This is a great opportunity to showcase the skills of the ham community, hone your emergency communication skills and provide much needed support for a worthy cause, research and education for diabetes.  Around 30 million Americans have diabetes and that number increases about 2 million a year.  Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.

If you have not registered as a volunteer on the Tour de Cure web site, please do so.  Not only does this help the ADA and myself for planning purposes, it also makes sure you get your Tour de Cure T-Shirt.  Use the link below.  Please select “Ham” for volunteer opportunities.

Click Here

From the SAG volunteers, I need to know:
• Do you have a bike rack or other way to carry bicycles? (may have access to some loaner racks)
• Do you have a trailer hitch for a bike rack?
• Do you have a navigator or will you need one?
• Do you have APRS capabilities? (we may have the ability to pull from APRS-FI; this is available for most Android smartphones via APRS Droid and may be available for other platforms)

Jim Creamer
Westerly Amateur Ratio Team
ARES Emergency Coordinator
2 David Ave.
Westerly, RI 02891
P: 401-596-2720
C: 401-864-4510

Rochester (NY) Hamfest – June 6th

2015-05-08Come one, come all!  The Rochester Hamfest sponsored by the Rochester Amateur Radio Association (RaRa) is Saturday, June 6, 2015, 7:00 AM rain or shine at Barnard Fireman’s Field, 360 Maiden Lane, Rochester, New York.  Admission is only $8.00 per person and $10.00 per vehicle to tailgate.  Youths under 16 are admitted free with a paying adult.

The Rochester Hamfest is one of the biggest in upstate New York.  Everything you want in a Hamfest is here.  Good food, lots of fun and a 16 acre flea market!  A free VE session will be offered along with hourly door prizes and a 50/50 raffle.

More information can be found at http://www.rochesterhamfest.com.