|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on April 23, 2018 at 4:40 AM||comments (0)|
The 146.67 repeater located at the Groton Town Police Department has recently been reprogrammed to use the internal controller instead of the CAT 1000 controller. The squelch tail is 5 seconds and the courtesy beep occurs when the squelch tail drops. This was done in an effort to eliminate interference that was thought to have been caused by our CAT 1000 controller. The Commercial Radio Vendor, Tactical Communications, believes that our controller was causing interference on the North Stonington EMS channel. We will have to wait and see if this cleared up the problem. There still appears to be a gremlin in the system. I have heard a control signal type noise occasionally when the repeater is opened with PL. Speaking of PL the repeater is only running in decode mode and not in full CTCSS mode. Therefore if you had programmed your radios in full CTCSS mode you will need to reprogram them into just CT mode so that you can hear the repeater.
The 146.97 repeater has been temporarily moved to Vauxhall St Ext on top of the Water Tower in Waterford. This is a Motorola repeater and duplexers on loan from K1IKE to test this location for a permanent move to get away from the interference at the Fargo Road site. So far it seems to be much better. There is a crackling noise when it is in the duplex mode possibly due to a short in the antenna. The Polyphaser had been shorted out, possibly due to a lightning strike. A new replacement antenna is being looked into. Unfortunately, this may set the club back a substantial amount. A new commercial grade antenna is around $700 to $1,000.00 dollars and will have to be installed by a professional company which will probably cost another $500.00. If any club member has any connections to Antenna Installers that could help please let us know.
The 53.71 repeater has been off the air for some time and the club has voted to not repair or replace it due to a lack of use. We will be focusing on maintaining the clubs two-meter repeaters instead. The Duplexers for the six-meter repeater have been removed to show to a prospective buyer. Hopefully whatever we get for them will help offset the purchase of a new two-meter repeater antenna.
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on May 31, 2016 at 8:20 PM||comments (0)|
Today Joe, K1IKE, and I went to the Fargo Road site and installed the netbooter in the rack. This will allow us to turn on and off individual power outlets over the internet. Allowing us to be able to turn on and off individual repeaters when needed.
We also flashed the Yaesu DR1X 146.97 repeater with the latest version of the firmware and DSP software. This added several features to the repeater. Such as the ability to adjust for hysteris in the squelch and hang time. I set the hysteris to high which should keep weak stations into the repeater better. I also increased the hang time from 0 ms to 1000 ms.
Unfortunately the interference is still with us. We will have to see if we can work with the contractor on moving their antenna further away from ours.
We then went to the Vauxhall St ext site to check on the 223.96 and 53.71 repeaters. In checking the tri-band CX-333 antenna we discovered a short 21 feet away. The Polyphaser lighting protector is 21 feet away and has probably been blown out by a lighting stike. We decided to shut down the 223.96 repeater and the 144.39 APRS node to prevent any further damage. The SWR was over 13:1. We will have to schedule a day to return and change the lighting protector and hard-line jumper. We will probably need to replace the antenna also.
The 53.71 repeater antenna tested fine with an swr of 1:3 to 1. We did notice however that when the 53.71 repeater was transmitting there was some mixing of the signals with the water departments telemetry radio resulting in their receiver picking up the NWS radio on 162.55 mhz. Very strange.
It was a very productive day. I would like to thank Joe, K1IKE, for all his time and assistance. We will hopefully be able to correct the problems in the coming weeks.
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on November 22, 2015 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
The 146.67 repeater is still down due to it possibly bleeding over into the Groton Fire Alarm Dispatch channel. The problem appears to be that the entenna is co loacted on the same tower as the 151.925 antenna. They also use the same PL of 156.7 on there channel and it appears that when our repeater is being used the signal bleeds over into there reciever. We are actively working with them to correct the problem. This may require us to change our PL to reduce the possibilty of opening their receiver. We also have acquired a Isoloator to put inline with the antenna to hopefully reduce the chance of interefering.
The cause of the interference on the 146.97 repeater appears to be coming from the 5GHz flat panel antenna co-located at the site about two feet away from our repeater antenna. I have posted pictures in the photo album of the antennas. We are working with the contractor to find a resolution to the problem. I think the only solution is better sepearation. The problem drastically reduces the reciever sensitivity for weak signals. Hopefully we can solve this soon.
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on July 3, 2015 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
Here is an update to let you know what is happening with the 146.97 repeater. It appears that we have located the source of our interference which is being caused by a commercial video link for the Town of Waterford. There is a Motorola wifi type microwave video link between two sites located at the Fargo Road site. When the system was powered off the interference went away. I notified the Town of Waterford authorities of our findings and asked if they could have this checked. I told them that we would be more than happy to assist in resolving this interference issue. I had noticed it before we changed repeaters and we thought that this may be the cause. We now know that this is definitely the cause.
We also may have a problem with our 30 year old Station Master antenna. It appears that we are hearing crackling noises on the input even if the received station has a solid signal into the repeater. This may be a sign of a bad antenna. There are three dissimilar metals at the base of the antenna that may corrode. The antenna has taken a beating on top of the tower over the years. This may cause loose or broken solder joints inside the radome of the antenna. We had a problem with desense on the repeater causing the repeater to lock up when it transmitted PL. I took the PL off the transmit side so now the repeater will not lock up. It had just enough reflected power along with transmitting the PL to cause the receiver to stay open and keep the repeater on. If you reprogrammed your radios in full PL enc/dec you should reprogram them to just encode tone not ctcss for now.
Joe, K1IKE, and I will be conducting a few further tests at the site. I suggest that we consider replacing this antenna if we would like to get the full performance of our repeater back. We are currently researching several options for a commercial grade replacement antenna. We will have to present this to the club for a vote. Considering our primary reason for being a club is to provide reliable repeater coverage I would suggest that we replace the antenna with the best possible option that we can afford.
It would be nice to have this project wrapped up during the next month before we start Hurricane season. If we have to call a special meeting for a vote maybe we can have it at the site so everyone can see the equipment in person. We also need to remove the old equipment and bring it to the L&M Hospital site for storage. I am currently working on getting us access to the Hospital site again. I will keep you informed.
Update July 15, 2015.
K1IKE,Joe, and I went to the site on Wednesday 7/15/15 and conducted further testing on the hardline and antenna. Joe has test equipment that can sweep the hardline and antenna and look for shorts or problems. After conducting further tests it appears that the hardline and antenna tested out fine. It appears that all the problems are still being caused by the wifi type video link setup that the town is using as a repaeter site to send video from one site to another. When the link was shut down the interfrence disappeared. When we turned it back on the interfrence on the input comes right back. The repeater and dupluxers also tested fine. Therefore, I contacted the Town of Watererford and asked that they please contact the contractor who installed this system so that we can work with them and resolve this issue. I hope to have a resolution in the coming weeks.
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on June 30, 2015 at 3:15 PM||comments (0)|
Just a reminder that there will be No Meeting on July 2nd 2015 due to the closeness of the 4th of July Holiday weekend..
See you all in August!
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on June 2, 2015 at 8:15 PM||comments (0)|
Scrams will be participating with the Tri City Amateur Radio Club in Museum Ships Weekend June 6-7 2015 from the USS Nautilus Submarine Museum in Groton CT.
We will be operating in the upper parking lot during the regular Museum hours of 0900 to 1700 hrs. Please stop by and see Amatuer Radio in action this weekend. If you can not stop in please listen for us on the bands using the callsign of the Nautilus, N1S. We will be operating HF from the CT ARES Region 4 MCU trailer along with other stations.
Here is a link to the Museum website. http://www.ussnautilus.org/events/index.shtml
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on May 30, 2015 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
The Waterford DMR Repeater has been installed in the new building and programmed for use on Friday May 29, 2015. This new repeater was purchased on a Grant from the DEMHS awarded to Region 4 ARES along with new duplexers. It is programmed to 448.975 + with a color code of 1. This is the old UHF analog frequency which we allowed the W1SP club to use for the last 9 months on the CT ARES DMR network. That repeater was located in Ledyard CT and has been reprogrammed to a frequency of 449.275 - with a color code of 1. The new DMR repeater is running 27 watts out of the duplexer with 0 watts reflected. Wayne, N1CLV has provided a Mifi hotspot and network adapater so the repeater could be connected to the network until we can get a permanent DSL line at the site.
I would like to thank all those who made this possible Joe K1IKE, Wayne N1CLV, Pat N1OTW, Rob KC1BNS, Curt N1TYU for all their time and efforts to make this possible. We still have to relocate the 146.97 repeater in the new building and make the antenna connection to the Water Tower which I hope we will complete in the next two weeks.
Enjoy the new repeaters.
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on May 25, 2015 at 9:20 AM||comments (0)|
On Friday May 22, 2015 Joe, K1IKE, and I went to the Fargo Road Site and temporarily installed the New Yaesu System Fusion Repeater on 146.97 - offset with a PL of 156.7 enc/dec.
The repeater is currently running in the Auto/Fixed mode. What this means is that it will receive either Digital or Analog signals and then convert them to Analog FM out to the transmitter. Eventually when others have System Fusion radios I can switch it to Auto/Auto. This will then determine the input mode and re-transmit the same mode through the transmitter. That will mean two stations transmitting in C4FM will be able to have a fully digital conversation. If two stations use analog FM they will be able to have a conversation in analog FM. If a station has a Yaseu System Fusion radio set tothe AMS (Automatic Mode Switching) it will automatically select the correct mode to transmit in based on the mode it is recceiving. This just scratches the tip of the System Fusion capabilities. It is the best of both worlds allowing both users of Digital and Analog to share the same repeater and communicate. It will also pass digital data on the digital transmission, such as callsign, location, distance, and other data. It can be used in the full digital data mode to transmit high speed data also.
The repeater is currently using the built in controller which handles the basic funtions and ID. You will not hear a courtsey beep and the squelch tail is is pretty short. It will ID in CW as W1NLC every ten minutes when in use. The Time Out Timer is set to 3 minutes. The repeater is currently running 20 watts out which is its 100 % duty cycle setting.
The repeater was placed in the Water Tower and connected to the duplexers and antenna. We still need to run hardline from the Water Tower to the radio shelter building before we can move the repeater into the building. Joe and I have gathered the parts needed to make this happen. We just need the time to make the connections and run the the cable. Once this is done we can move our equipment into the clean climate controlled building and out of the dusty old water tower.
We will also be installing the new 448.975 DMR repeater in the new rack that Joe has provided for this project. We have already put the rack in the new building and have the new Sinclair UHF Duplexers in the rack.
I have put some pictures in the Photo Gallery section of the website.
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on March 25, 2015 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
I recentley purchased the Yaesu FT 1DR HD radio for the price of $289.00. This is an amazing little radio. It is a Dual Band VHF/UHF radio with a general coverage reciever built in for AM and FM. It also has a built in GPS reciever and TNC for APRS. The radio now comes with the 1800 mah battery for extended operation. It also operates C4FM digital mode to be used with other Yaesu System Fusion radios and repeaters.
The Club has ordered a DR1X repeater from Yaesu and it should arrive in April or May 2015. I am hoping that this new repeater will perfom well and the added benifit is that it can be used in both Analog and Digital modes. The radio was pretty easy to program from the front keypad. I had it up and running in minutes. I also used the free ADMS 6 programming software with the included programming cable to program all the repeaters in our area.
Yaesu is running an aggressive campaign to promote their System Fusion equipment so hopefully their system catches on. The discounts for the DR1X Repeater and the FT 1DR HD are making them very affordable right now. Even if the System Fusion C4FM does not catch on the FT 1DR HD is a great little dualband radio for the current price!
It would be great to see another Amateur Radio manufacturer like Kenwood, Alinco, Wouxon, come out with the same format. That would probably begin the process of standardizing the Digital Amateur Radio market.
The nice thing about this radio vs the commercial P25 market is that it is designed for hams by Yaesu and has many features that you would not find in a commercial grade P25 or DMR radio. One is it is easy to program from the keypad. It has a heavily menu driven system to operate, but it was not to hard to figure out without reading the manual. It also includes a built in GPS and TNC which you wont find on most commercial radios near this price range. The fit and finish of the radio is very solid as with all radios from Yaesu.
So if your in the market for a new HT consider this one!
|Posted by Harrison W1HAF on March 4, 2015 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
******* WEATHER CANCELLATION *******
The meeting schedueled for Thursday March 5, 2015 at 1930 hrs has been cancelled due to the Weather Forecast of Snow and Ice!
Please be Safe and Stay Warm !