222 MHz Repeater Coming Soon!

At the November business meeting, Rick, W1RJC offered to donate a brand new 222 MHz repeater to SEMARA if the club was willing to purchase duplexers and related accessories to complete the project.  After some discussion, the membership voted unanimously to allocate funds and get the repeater on the air.  The NESMC construction permit for 224.800 MHz, PL 67.0 has been transferred to SEMARA from SCMARG.  Rick anticipates that we could possibly have the repeater on the air by the end of 2010.

The repeater is a Hi Pro R1 by Maggiore Electronic Lab.  It was originally going to be placed on the air in Dartmouth along side SCMARG’s 927.6500 repeater.  The 222 MHz side of our existing Comet CX-333 on the top of the tower will now be used.  The existing SCom 7330 controller that is used for our 900 MHz repeater will also be used to control the 222 MHz repeater.  Through DTMF, members will be able to cross-link the 222 MHz repeater with our 900 MHz repeater (and NEAR-900 network) on demand.

2011 SEMARA Elections – December 2nd

Nominations for 2011 Officers, Board of Directors, and Trustee are now official.  A nominating committee was not established in advance, so nominations were accepted during the November business meeting and then closed.

SEMARA Election Day is Thursday, December 2, 2010.  Voting will begin after the 7:00pm business meeting.  Here are your current nominees:

President:
Louis D. Mester, W1CH
Marcel L. Dumont, W1MLD

Vice-President:
Robert B. Kelley, K1KVV

Secretary:
Richard J. Cabral, W1RJC

Treasurer:
Michael J. McDonald, KB1NB

Board of Directors (3):
Bradford E. Paiva, W1BEP
David G. Dean, K1JGV
Eric J. Pierce, N1WCO
John B. Walsh, WA1LSH
Joseph E. Krisnosky, Jr., N1IXC

Trustee:
Joseph E. Krisnosky, Jr., N1IXC
Charles A. Days, WA1JFD

Update 11/05/2010:  John, WA1LSH was nominated for Trustee, but he already holds that position through 2013.  Joe, N1IXC is now running unopposed.

Update 11/21/2010:  Charlie, WA1JFD added as running for Trustee, per an email by Marcel, W1MLD.

Zero Beat – November 2010

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

Inside This Issue:

  1. PowerPole Tech Talk
  2. It seems to me …
    POINT TO PONDER
    HAMMIN’ AROUND
  3. Club Notes
    New Members:
    Fredrick S. Bacon II, WA1MRH
    Antone “Tony” Souza, NN1D
    Next SEMARA VE Session
    Club Numbers
    Local Nets
    Local Repeater Directory
    Sudoku
  4. Official Meeting Minutes: October 7, 2010
  5. SEMARA News
    Sunday Morning Pre-Ragchew & Sunrise Bakery Coffee Hour
    ARES Net Reminder
  6. More SEMARA News
    Emergency Communications Primer
    Word to the Wise
  7. Extra Class Exam Questions
  8. Some Contests
    Answer: Hammin’ Around
    Answer:Sudoku
    VE Sessions
    Coming Fleas & Fests
    Club Activities

Zero Beat – October 2010

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

Inside This Issue:

  1. Fun in the Forest
  2. It seems to me …
    POINT TO PONDER
    HAMMIN’ AROUND
  3. Club Notes
    New Member: Bill Guay, KA1JNB
    Next SEMARA VE Session
    Club Numbers
    Local Nets
    Local Repeater Directory
    Sudoku
  4. Official Meeting Minutes: September 2, 2010
  5. SEMARA News
    Tech Talk, Anderson PowerPoles
    Towers
    New W1AEC Letters
    Buildings & Grounds Update
  6. More SEMARA News
    100th Anniversary Special Event: W1AA/RNR & W1AA/W
  7. General Class Exam Questions
  8. Some Contests
    Answer: Hammin’ Around
    Answer:Sudoku
    VE Sessions
    Coming Fleas & Fests
    Club Activities

Tech Talk: Anderson Powerpoles – October 21st

Eric, N1WCO reports:

Hey All,

I am going to take responsibility and step up to the reins to put on a Tech Talk on Thursday October 21, 2010.  Yours truly will be doing a tech talk on the proper installation and use of Anderson Powerpoles.

This will be my first tech talk presentation, so I need to ask if anyone can assist and help me out.  I will try to get there early in the afternoon around 4:00pm.  I look forward to see many there at the clubhouse.

73,

Eric Pierce, N1WCO

Lightning Strike Causes Damage at SEMARA

It was discovered that on Wednesday, September 8th at approximately 10:30am, lightning struck SEMARA’s property causing damage to several equipment both at the SEMARA clubhouse and at the repeater site.  Until further notice, the SEMARA 900 MHz repeater is off the air and the club’s internet and phone service are also down.  Because there is no internet, the 2m repeater IRLP node, APRS station and scanner feed are also not functional.

Dave, W1DJG and I have been very busy with work commitments this week and have been unable to check things until this evening.  A check of the repeater site found that the 900 MHz repeater and controller were both powered up, but unresponsive.  There appears to be possible lightning damage and the repeater may be in need of repair.

Additionally, there are burn marks on the CAT-5 Ethernet punch block that exits the repeater site and runs underground to the clubhouse.  The lightning arrester which is supposed to protect against surges, is partially cracked and the copper pins on the punch block are burned.  This could indicate possible lightning damage at the clubhouse itself, including but not limited to the Comcast internet gateway modem.  I was unable to gain access to the clubhouse for further investigation, as it also appears the keycard system is also dead.

The SEMARA Repeater committee will post an update to this initial damage assessment in the upcoming days.

Thanks,

Richard J. Cabral, W1RJC
SEMARA Repeater Committee

New 147.000 Repeater Antenna

As you may have heard, the 147.000 repeater had been experiencing sporadic crackling noises on weaker signals over the past year.  It was determined that the cause of this problem was not in the repeater itself, but in the antenna system.  This finding is of no surprise, due to the fact that we had this same issue almost 5 years ago.

The repeater antenna is a commercial grade Super Stationmaster that is built to withhold the toughest conditions and comes with a price tag of over $1,000.  SEMARA originally installed this antenna model in 1999 when the current 180 foot tower was built.  Unfortunately, that antenna had to be replaced in 2006 due to the same recent crackling problem.  Faced with the fact that we must replace the antenna once again, it appears that our average life span with this antenna is only about 5 years (it is advertised to be 15-20).

The repeater committee received a recommendation from Tony, NN1D to purchase a consumer grade Tram 1481 (a Diamond X-500 equivalent).  This low cost $100 antenna has been in use on Tony’s 146.805 repeater for a few years now with positive results.  SEMARA recently purchased this same antenna and on the morning of Tuesday, July 20, 2010, NETCOM arrived at the tower site make the antenna swap (the receive antenna for the Dartmouth Police Department‘s new 450 MHz P25 digital system was also installed).

The end result?  A very clean sounding repeater with improved coverage!  Repeater committee member Dave, W1DJG is now able to hold the repeater (without help from tropo) until the end of MA Route 24 in Canton at the I-93 split during his commute to Boston.  The current plan is to keep this antenna in place until any future issues arise.  Even if we had to replace this antenna once per year after a harsh New England winter, it is still half of the overall cost of replacing a $1,000 antenna every five years.

Cable Modem Replaced

Around 12:15pm during yesterday’s severe thunderstorm that passed through the South Coast, the internet at the SEMARA clubhouse along with the repeaters’ IRLP nodes, APRS and the scanner feed all went offline.  It was determined today that the cable modem at SEMARA’s clubhouse suffered a power surge and went dead.  The Comcast SMC Business IP Gateway was replaced today by a Comcast technician around 2:00pm.  Special thanks to Marcel, W1MLD for going down to meet the technician at the clubhouse before I was able to join in.