Over the past few weekends, Society members assembled antennas and raised a 50 foot tower for fellow Society member Guy Sever, K9ZB. Society members Bob Westwater, N9BK; Brian Evers, KC9UGG; Ron Bush, KC9RMV; Bill Price KC9ZMT; Pat Wagner, WA9AAV; Gregg Steele, K9CDB and John Walker, K9SVL all pitched in at various times and got the project completed. As you can see in the pictures below, the variety of antennas pretty much covers the entire number of frequency bands available to amateur radio operators. This was what you would call a very heavy lifting project, there was no walking-up this structure. You can also see that we made very good use of Bob Westwater’s pickup truck. This certainly turned out to be a team project and some very good ideas and suggestions along the way from those working on the project got this mission accomplished. This was a very good exercise in teamwork for sure.
Click on this link to see video of tower raising. Link takes you to N9BK’s, Bob Westwater, website where the video resides.
As of October 6, 2015 the BRVARS call sign will be W9NTP. At the request of Sandra Miller,KC9SME, the Society made application for Don Miller’s, W9NTP(SK) call sign.
Over the years, Don did many things for the good of the Society and it is quite fitting that the Society would pick up Don’s call sign. The call sign will be used for all Society events including Field Day and the ID’s for all of the repeaters.
The W9JUQ call sign has been vacated and should be available at some time in the future for anyone wanting to pick it up for their personal call sign.
John Walker, Secretary/Repeater Trustee
Due to continuing interference on the 2 meter(145.48MHz) Shelbyville repeater, we will be adding an 88.5 Hz tone on both the input and output sides of the repeater. The tone will be implemented around the first week of September. This should give you enough time to figure out how to program a PL tone on your radio. Hopefully, this will let us reduce the current maximum level of squelch on the receiver, make the repeater more handi-talkie friendly, eliminate the interference and stop the repeater from timing out during long periods of interference.
The 88.5 Hz tone will be added to the output side as well so that users may block any unwanted digital “noise” that they hear when Fusion digital users are occupying the repeater. This repeater has a fairly large footprint for the height above ground of the antenna and we are beginning to pick up more users from out of County. Some of those users are Fusion digital users. We think eliminating the “noise” for analog only users is probably a good thing.
I know this is probably an inconvenience for some to have to program a PL tone into their radios, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to get the manual out and go through the exercise anyway. You might discover some things about your radio you didn’t know before. I don’t have any good answers for folks with radios that can’t handle a PL tone, but I don’t think we have any other choice but to apply the tone to the repeater. We have to keep the repeater running as best we can when it is needed the most.
John Walker, K9SVL
Our Section Leader has made a call for 2016 Bicentennial Special Event Station ideas. BRVARS did a special event station earlier this year in conjunction with the Grover Museum, W9S, celebrating the display of vintage radio equipment that was on display at the Museum. Perhaps we could come up with something for the State’s Bicentennial year that is somehow historically associated with Shelby County or Shelbyville(maybe, even St. Paul). If you have any ideas for a special event station please pass them on to either me, John Walker, K9SVL or to one of the persons listed below. Please give this some thought. We had a lot of fun with the W9S special event station. Below is an excerpt from this months Indiana Section Newsletter concerning the subject.
“During the ARRL 100th Anniversary Celebration last year, one of the most popular activities was the portable W1AW station moving from state to state. That reactivated many hams that hadn’t operated HF in years and brought them back to the hobby. As I’ve traveled to club meetings around the state, I’ve heard several hams comment how they wish we could do something like that again. Indiana has that opportunity next year.
2016 marks the 200th Anniversary of Indiana Statehood. The ARRL Indiana Section proposes to host a year of historical special event stations to celebrate our bicentennial. We are looking for amateur radio clubs that have some notable event or significant place in Indiana history that they would like to highlight. Think about Indiana firsts or places that everyone identifies with Indiana. At this point, we need responses from clubs with a good idea for a special event, a suitable location, and who are willing to commit to operate the special event. Clubs wishing to participate should contact either:
- Section Affiliated Club Coordinator Jimmy Merry KC9RPX
- Section Public Information Officer Joe March KJ9M
We’ll use initial response to this project to gauge interest. Please discuss this opportunity in club membership and Board meetings. Let us hear if you want to celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial on the air.
BRVARS members Larry Hill, Brian Evers and John Walker installed 5 antennas and coax cable atop the 50 foot tower at the home of Tom Achors in Fairland. It was a day long project of assembling antennas, coax and connectors along with a rotator installation completed with the help of a bucket truck. Lots of hard work on a very, very nice day weather wise. The days efforts were capped off with an extremely nice monetary donation to BRVARS by Tom Achors. I think we all had a lot of fun assembling, installing and then seeing each antenna work just fine afterwards.
We are still experiencing interference on the 145.48MHz repeater. The interference comes and goes but seems to be the worst during band openings. We have been slowly raising the squelch level on the repeater’s receive frequency hoping that we can eliminate most of the interference without sacrificing the excellent coverage we enjoy with this new piece of equipment. Some of you have been enjoying making the repeater with your handi-talkies and we are trying not to up the squelch so far that we eliminate that coverage. We always have the option of putting PL tones on the repeater but I know that some of you still have radios that don’t handle PL tones. PL tones will be our last resort.
The interference has been persistent enough such that it times out the repeater after 3 minutes. Then the repeater is not usable until it automatically resets. This sort of interference can deny us use of the repeater during an emergency situation like the Skywarn Severe Weather net. We would not want this sort of thing to happen when we need the repeater the most.
We will continue to work with the repeater and see if we can wean out the interference by using increased squelch levels. If that does not work, then we well be forced to use PL tones in order to try and maintain repeater use during emergency situations. If we introduce a PL tone, we will use one of the recommended Indiana Repeater Council PL tones for this area of Indiana. The two recommended tones for this area are 88.5 and 151.4 Hz. When we have to invoke this option we will get the word out to you.
John Walker, K9SVL
Friday afternoon the new Yaesu Fusion repeater was put on the air and is available for use on the 145.48 MHz frequency that was used by the analog FM repeater. The Yaesu Fusion repeater will work both Fusion digital and analog FM modes. The repeater controller auto senses the mode of the signal transmitted to the repeater and adjusts accordingly. Analog FM radios will still be able to use this new repeater since it works both modes. There are no PL tones on this repeater as well, since we still have users with equipment that are not PL tone capable. It is nice to report that we have received several compliments on the apparent increased improvement in coverage by the repeater. We hope that this new equipment will better serve the local amateur radio community and be of better service when needed during events requiring emergency communications. This is an open repeater and is available to all licensed amateur radio operators.
The Indiana Repeater Council(IRC) has approved the frequency assignment for the D Star UHF repeater. The assigned frequency pair is 442.1875/447.1875 MHz. As soon as we receive the duplexers for this repeater we will put it into service.
We also have a home for this repeater. The Mark Concrete Products Incorporated, 1126 S Miller Ave, Shelbyville, IN 46176, will be allowing us to house the repeater equipment in what used to be the old Hardin Oil Company office building. The 125 foot high tower already has a nice UHF band, 8 bay, folded-dipole array antenna mounted on top of the tower. The antenna is fed with very high quality, low-loss, hard line coax. The site was last used by ATT until about a year ago when they ceased using a UHF repeater on the site for their communications. We checked out the coax and antenna and everything looks good for use with the D Star repeater. We are very fortunate as an amateur radio club to be able to accept the hospitality of the Mark Concrete Products company in hosting our repeater at their site.
You have the opportunity to pay your dues in advance at the current rate of $10/year for a period not to exceed 5 years. This could save you $50 over the next 5 years. This offer expires at the January Dinner meeting in 2016. If you don’t take advantage of the offer before the expiration date, dues will be $20 per person per year for a single membership for years 2016 and beyond. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
The new Yaesu Fusion repeater has arrived. We will endeavor to get it up and running on the 145.48MHz repeater frequency as soon as possible. The controller needs to be programmed with the data specific to our repeater frequency and mode of operation, but other than that, it is pretty much plug and play. The present antenna, duplexer and coax should work just fine. Likewise, the power supply and battery backup should work as well.
This repeater will still continue to work with your analog FM radios without any trouble. It will also automatically detect Yaesu Fusion digital radios and switch to digital mode when those radios are keying up the repeater.