900 MHz Repeater Update

On Saturday, September 19, 2009, SEMARA’s new 927.8375 repeater was placed on the air.  The repeater is a Motorola MSF-5000 with its antenna on top of the 180 foot tower along with the 147.000 repeater.  The plan was to add IRLP to the repeater in order to link it to a growing eastern Massachusetts repeater network known as New England Amateur Radio 900 (NEAR-900).  As of Saturday, June 12th, we are now one step away from linking the repeater to the network.

At 2:00pm, Rick, W1RJC met up with Jeff, N1ZZN and Ho, KC1HO at SEMARA.  The crew started at the clubhouse with Jeff programming a few Motorola 900 MHz mobile radios (including one that is to be mounted on the wall).  Rick reconfigured the underground CAT-5 cable that runs between the clubhouse and repeater site to carry two ethernet connections.  This will be necessary so that the 2 meter and 900 MHz repeater’s IRLP can be on two different Comcast IP addresses.

About an hour later, the crew headed out back to the repeater site.  In order to link the repeater to NEAR-900, an external repeater controller is required.  A repeater controller is the brain of a repeater which tells it when to transmit and routes the audio, courtesy tones and IDs accordingly.  The repeater’s receive and transmit audio along with logic control for the receiver carrier operated squelch (COS), receiver PL decode and transmitter push to talk (PTT) needs to be wired to the controller.

After a few hours work and a trip to Rick’s house to pick up some parts, a DB-9 port was added to the repeater.  Our brand new repeater controller, the Arcom RC-210, was then connected via a shielded patch cable to this port.  After adjusting the squelch and audio levels in the controller, the installation was a success!  The crew then headed to Texas Roadhouse in Dartmouth for some well deserved food.

Following dinner, Jeff and Rick headed back to SEMARA.  The Kenwood TS-570 HF/6m radio was fired up to check out this weekend’s VHF QSO Party.  There was a fairly decent 6 meter E-skip opening which allowed Jeff to log at least five contacts in the SEMARA logbook.  Most of the stations were from 4 land including Florida and Kentucky.

The final piece of work in linking the 900 MHz repeater into NEAR-900 will occur in the upcoming week by Rick.  A patch cable will need to be modified to allow the new IRLP computer to be connected to the repeater controller.  The computer must also be tested to make sure that it can acquire a separate IP address from the cable modem (a router will be added later).  Audio levels for the node need to be adjusted via the repeater controller as well.  A second update will be posted here when the link is complete and up and running.  Stay tuned! 🙂

SEMARA Computer Access

For SEMARA Members:

The Technical Committee has decided that we will use call signs and a password (password cannot be your call sign) to gain access to the SEMARA computers.  If you would like access, please send an email with your username and password to technical [at] semara [dot] org.

This access will be for computer and internet use only.  You will be responsible for any content that passes through the SEMARA network.  There will be zero tolerance for anyone abusing the SEMARA PC Code of Conduct, posted next to the computer.  This access will not allow you to install programs.  If you need a program installed, you will need to get in contact with a Technical Committee member.

Thank you for your cooperation.

ARRL Field Day – June 26th – 27th

ARRL Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday. Field Day 2010 will be held June 26-27, 2010. The objective is to work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions.

SEMARA will be participating in this year’s Field Day. Ben, N1WBV is coordinating the event and is open to suggestions. He writes:

Current plans are for us to be active Sunday as a 2A station running off the club’s batteries and a generator I will bring. I plan on being at the club around 6AM. I know last year we petered out around noon, but lets try to run later this year!

If more folks would like to bring equipment and operate: PLEASE DO! Just let me know before hand so we can ensure a spot for you to operate and we can ensure that we are kosher with our transmitter count.

Currently, we have needs for tarp or something else for shade (or shelter if mother nature decides to pull a fast one on us) on the operating positions.

I have heard that in years previous, we have had a cookout. I think this is a great idea. Does anyone want to volunteer to cook?

Since this is only my 2nd time running a field day (admittedly, this is the 1st time I actually have attempted to plan one) and I know that W1AEC have done this many times before, suggestions are most welcome.

Zero Beat – June 2010

Zero Beat for June 2010 is now online, compliments of editor Bob, K1KVV.

In this edition:

  • First SEMARA Scholar
  • Painting Trim
  • May Meeting Minutes
  • It Seems To Me… (Editor’s Corner)
  • Hammin’ Around (Tech Question)
  • Handicap Bathroom Progress
  • Work Party Photos
  • Club Notes
  • And More!

Welcome to the New Website!

We soft launched this new website on the morning of Tuesday, May 4th. Please bare with us as most links have little to no content at this time. The Zero Beat and Photo Gallery sections are our first priority. Currently, the story (blog) section on the main page is functional with an archive back to 2006.

If you are a SEMARA member, please create a new account to the left right now using your call sign as a user name. This will allow you to post comments and access future member only content, such as management of your “discussion” mailing list subscription. We appreciate your patience during this transition.

Norm Benoit, WA1KDT, SK

It is with great regret that we announce the passing of SEMARA member Norman L. Benoit, WA1KDT, aged 75, of Fairhaven, MA. Norm passed away on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 and was a member of SEMARA since 1998.

He was the Godfather of Patricia Days, wife of Charlie, WA1JFD. We send our sympathy to his family for their loss. May he rest in peace.