Zero Beat – February 2011

Zero Beat for February 2011 is now online, compliments of editor Bob, K1KVV.

Inside This Issue:

  1. D-STAR Tech Talk

  2. It seems to me …
    POINT TO PONDER
    HAMMIN’ AROUND

  3. Club Notes
    Next SEMARA VE Session
    Club Numbers
    Local Nets
    Local Repeater Directory
    Sudoku

  4. Official Meeting Minutes: January 6, 2011

  5. SEMARA News
    W1AW 2011 Winter Operating Schedule
    2011 Boston Marathon

  6. More SEMARA News
    Board of Directors Minutes, January 15, 2011

  7. Extra Class Exam Questions

  8. Some Contests
    Answer:Sudoku
    VE Sessions
    (Coming Fleas & Fests – Nothing for January)
    Answer: Hammin’ Around
    Club Activities

Repeater Committee Updates

Here’s an update on the progress of several projects in the works by the SEMARA Repeater Committee during the month of January.

224.800 Repeater & APRS Station

We received our brand new TX RX duplexer a few weeks ago (pictured above).  They are tuned and ready to be installed.  I also have donated to SEMARA a 7 foot tall 19″ rack cabinet (pictured to the right).  This rack unit formerly housed the now defunct 443.800 repeater system.  I recently transported the rack from storage at my home to the repeater site, where it was then assembled and touched up with black paint.

After the purchase of the duplexer, the remaining money allocated to this project has been used to purchase a rack mountable SEC dual power supply and a Communications Specialists TS-64 CTCSS board.  The power supply will be used to power the repeater and APRS station, while the CTCSS board will provide PL encode/decode for the repeater.  Further work on this project will continue in the next few months as we now shift our priority to working on our existing 2m and 900 MHz repeaters and the underground cabling.

Underground Wiring Prep Work

When a lightning strike in September caused damage to SEMARA equipment, a wooden board on the repeater site wall that is used to interface Ethernet and phone lines was burned.  Everything was removed from this board and it was recently given a fresh coat of gray paint (pictured to the left).  When I went back to the site a few days later, the burn marks were still showing, so I applied a second coat of paint.

Finally, I spent a good two or three hours at the SEMARA clubhouse cleaning up a wiring mess in the electrical closet (cleaned up closet pictured to the right).  A ton of unused wiring, old wiring to the long gone Quonset hut and outdated circuits have been removed.

The area to the left of the “12 Volt Distribution” box was a repeater interface box.  It contained relays for now unused alarms to the 2m meter repeater.  I have taken it home and re-worked it to now be the housing for the underground cable interface to the repeater site.  Inside will now be a CAT-5/6 breakout board with PolyPhasers (lightning protection) for two network sub-nets (IRLP for repeaters, APRS and scanner feed) and the club phone line (2m autopatch).

Thanks,

Richard J. Cabral, W1RJC
SEMARA Repeater Committee

New Meeting Minutes Archive

We now have the official minutes of past SEMARA business meetings and Board of Directors meetings available in PDF (Portable Document Format)!  Almost every business meeting from 1998 to present, plus BOD meetings from last year through present are now available online.  Check it out for yourself by heading to our new SEMARA Meeting Minutes page.

New Zero Beat Archive

Thanks to Tim, N1TI, we now have a huge addition to our Zero Beat newsletter archive!  Almost every issue from 1993 to present, plus various scattered issues from 1965 to 1990 are now available online.

If you happen to have old issues of Zero Beat hidden in a closet or drawer somewhere, please dig them out.  We’re looking for additional issues to fill the holes in our archive; primarily pre-1993.  Please contact the web committee if you can help us out – web [at] semara [dot] org.

Zero Beat – January 2011

Zero Beat for January 2011 is now online, compliments of editor Bob, K1KVV.

Inside This Issue:

  1. 2011 Election Results

  2. It seems to me …
    POINT TO PONDER
    HAMMIN’ AROUND

  3. Club Notes
    Next SEMARA VE Session
    Club Numbers
    Local Nets
    Local Repeater Directory
    Sudoku

  4. Official Meeting Minutes: December 2, 2010

  5. SEMARA News
    222 MHz Repeater
    Repeater Committee Updates

  6. More SEMARA News
    222 MHz Info & Buyer’s Guide

  7. Extra Class Exam Questions
     

  8. Some Contests
    Answer:Sudoku
    VE Sessions
    (Coming Fleas & Fests – Nothing for January)
    Answer: Hammin’ Around
    Club Activities

Making SEMARA Better

I hope you will take a few moments to think about how and why you are a member of SEMARA.

There are lots of things we could be thinking about to make SEMARA a better amateur radio club. No, I’m going to tell you what to do – in fact let me turn that around and gather your ideas. Let me put it to you.

1. What was it that got you interested in becoming an amateur radio operator in the first place?
2. What is/was the reason SEMARA was formed, what is its mission? Let’s hear from all the old-timers out there!
3. What do we need to do to get you out to a Tech Talk? The last one was attended by a small crowd.
4. What can you do to attract, and keep interested, new hams?
5. What activities, and modes, do we need to get involved in to help keep us and the hobby alive and well into the indefinite future?
6. What kinds of workshops and training courses do you want us to organize and arrange to offer.
7. Are you interested in getting your own station in order?
8. How are your antennas and feed lines?
9. Are you interested in becoming an “Elmer” to a new ham?

What direction do you want SEMARA to take? What are we leaving out?

Let me hear from you!
~Bob-K1KVV [editor, ZERO BEAT]

Repeater Committee Updates

Now that Christmas is behind us, I wanted to pass along an update on a few repeater projects that are pending.

First, an update on the new 222 MHz repeater.  Shown here is a Sales Order Acknowledgment for the repeater duplexers.  They were ordered at the beginning of December and are estimated to ship on January 10, 2011.  If they are shipped on time, the repeater could be on the air sometime in January.

Other pending projects include restoring services that were interrupted by a lightning strike a few months back.  We have the necessary parts to restore the internet service at the site and it should be the first thing completed in the upcoming few weeks.  Ho, KC1HO and Jeff, N1ZZN will be helping me to restore the 900 MHz repeater to full power by replacing a bad Motorola controller board once their schedule is open.  Finally, we will be testing the 2m repeater power amplifier, as it appears it is putting out only 60 watts instead of the full 100 watts.  This may be sent out for repair if deemed necessary.

Regarding SEMARA’s APRS station, Rick, N1RCW has an updated computer and Chris, W1EAV has a commercial radio for SEMARA that will be installed shortly after we get the internet back up.  Here is more information from Rick, N1RCW:

I have completed the setup for the SEMARA APRS digipeater/computer and when ready, I can bring this over and set this up. I have the system running here at my QTH burning in and you may get questions asked if it is back on the air, but it is not at the site and it’s still under construction/testing. The computer is a IBM desktop 1.6 GHz processor, Windows XP and 384 MB of RAM. There is one additional COM port available for any other type of system if needed. The radio will be supplied from Chris, W1EAV tuned to 144.390 TX+RX CSQ. The TNC is an AEA PK-88 in KISS mode, running the UI-View32 Windows APRS Client for Digipeater and iGate.

Finally, we are still planning to add a UHF remote base to the 2m repeater which was approved at a SEMARA business meeting several months ago.  I have a UHF Motorola GM-300 which I am donating to SEMARA to install on the 2m repeater.  The remote base once installed, will allow us to link directly to the MMRA repeater network of Greater Boston for the monthly ARES net and on demand for emergencies.  This will complete the work needed to make 147.000 the official RACES and ARES machine for our area (the monthly RACES net has already been moved to our repeater).  Once most of the other projects listed here are completed, we will focus on adding this new link.

I would like to thank everyone for their patience, as we do this work voluntarily as time allows.  I would also like to thank everyone for their help, including but not limited to KC1HO, N1RCW, N1ZZN and W1EAV.  Rest assured, these projects will soon come to completion.  We will post another update as further progress is made.

Thanks,

Richard J. Cabral, W1RJC
SEMARA Repeater Committee