North AL Repeater Association News

MAY 2000 BEWARE OF DATED INFO ! THIS IS FOR ARCHIVE ONLY !

2000 NARA Officers:

President: Ron Shaffer KS4LU, shaffer@hiWAAY.net , 881-8105

Vice President: John Zeiler WD5GOZ wd5goz@aol.com , 828-9302

Treasurer: Todd Freestone, KD4ALP, toddf@hiWAAY.net , 721-7558

Secretary: Don Tunstil, W4NO, dtunstil@advicom.net , 759-0307 cell

Technical Advisor: Ralph Hogan, WB4TUR, rhogan@hiwaay.net , 881-0606

 

NARA Web Page: To be updated soon !

www.QSL.net/NARA e-mail to the NARA in general can be sent to NARA@QSL.net

 

Planned Meetings / Programs:

(At the Red Cross Building on Washington St in Huntsville)

Friday July 14th, 2000 at 7:30 PM - NARA mid year update

Friday January 12th 2001 at 7:00 PM - NARA 2001 Kickoff - Election of Officers.

 

2000 NARA Repeater Command Sheets:

The updated í00 NARA command sheet has been e-mailed to you together with this newsletter if you are a current (dues paid) NARA member. New members and members without e-mail addresses hard copy versions in the mail later. Changes have been minor. If you acquired this newsletter from a Hamfest, or other hard copy hand out form and are interested in membership, contact one of the officers above. You can obtain a command sheet after payment of prorated dues. We will try to update the repeater lists and remote base example sheet to have at the July meeting.

 

NARA Membership and Dues:

NARA membership is open to all amateur radio operators. Dues are $16 per year per family and are prorated to $4 per quarter beyond the midpoint of each quarter. They can be mailed to: NARA: P.O. Box 18941 Huntsville Al, 35804-8941. NARA is glad to accept donations of any amount to improve itís capabilities. While it is our policy to hold treasury funds in reserve for emergency repairs, there are times when special projects stretch our budget beyond what is needed to do the job correctly and designated contributions have really helped us out.

 

NARA continues itís presence at Channel 31 !

Thanks to some great representation by John Hain N4AZY and Cactus Gay, we are able to remain on site with the 146.94 and 224.94 machines through the sale of channel 31 to Grapevine Communications. We will be marking feedlines and submitting further documentation to John to ensure that our antenna systems stay in place during an extensive tower cleaning this summer.

 

From The President:

As I reflect on the past few years and the up-coming year I am convinced that this year will mark a turning point for NARA. I have seen many of the projects come to fruition that I felt were needed when I first became president 3 years ago. In addition, we have been able to add quite a bit of capability to our repeater facilities. I could not have done this without the help of a long list of dedicated hams working along side. While there are still several on-going improvement projects, we are largely entering a maintenance phase. Maintenance is crucial and constant but it offers opportunity for changes in face. As I shared at the January meeting, I will very likely not run for NARA president in 2001. I have a lot going on in my life (I just started a new job among other things !) and I must constantly juggle my priorities. Since NARA cannot have as much of my time as it once did, I feel it is time to strongly encourage some new faces in NARA leadership. I still enjoy the repeater work and I donít plan on going far. I will probably stay on as another officer if elected and I may still consider being president in the future. I appreciate all of the support but itís time for someone else to take the reigns for a while. If you have an interest in repeater operation, I strongly encourage you to step forward and help out. We will gladly convey our knowledge to you and I think you will find it fun and rewarding ! I welcome John Zeiler: WD5GOZ on staff this year as vice president. John brings lots of experience and a willing spirit to the table. Could John be our president for 2001 ? Ė stay tuned !

We will try to provide e-mail updates when possible but this has fallen off the bottom of my priority lists in the past. If you are savvy with handling distributions to a large list of e-mail recipients, I would like to hear from you. I do write a column for the Vox every month and I have always felt it should go out on e-mail to all NARA members.

Our secretary, Don: W4NO had a house fire this spring in which he lost nearly everything. All of our hard copy NARA records and checks survived but we had to rebuild our database. Thanks to KD4FGL for his help in this. If you fell through the cracks in this process, please be patient and shoot us an e-mail or give us a call.

We are trying to limit the NARA news to 4 pages this year for mailing purposes so articles will be short and concise. Both Ralph and I have written. 73 Ron: KS4LU

 

146.94 News: N4HSV, Monte Sano Ė By Ron

The Ď94 Machine continues to be our flagship repeater in both performance and usage. As mentioned above, we are very grateful for our continued presence at Channel 31. We performed an upgrade on our CAT-1000 controller and DVR that solved several operational problems and made the overall í94 machine even more rock solid & dependable. At the same time, we had the controller and DVR mounted in a custom enclosure for both RFI and protection from the elements. We are in the process of bringing the first of up to three possible remote receivers on line this year. We have most of the equipment on hand to construct the first site which will provide improved coverage along highway 72 east of Huntsville from a location near the Madison / Jackson County line. We have a fully operational and tested back-up repeater for í94 in the event it is needed. The 2000/2001 repeater directory listed í94 back under the old call sign: K4IQU and listed the patch as closed. These are database transmission errors which we will correct by next year. The patch is indeed open and the call is N4HSV.

 

147.18 News: WD4CPF, Brindlee Mountain: - By Ron

The Ď18 Machine has continued to perform well from itís lofty perch 210 feet above Brindlee Mtn. We still have long term plans to find the antenna system anomalies which seem to come and go. We would still like to implement a battery back-up system as well. There is also an opportunity for someone who enjoys controller programming to keep the DVR mailbox system going. Contact Ron if you are interested. We have a fully operational and tested back-up repeater for í18 in the event it is needed. Note that the DVR on í18 is used to provide detailed Hamfest announcements while the hamfest talk in is in progress on í94 during the Huntsville hamfest which is always the 3rd weekend in August.

 

443.500 News: W4HSV, Monte Sano: - By Ron

The 443.500 machine continues to provide a lot of enjoyment for NARA hams with itís sophisticated 6 band remote base. All that complexity doesnít come without a price however. Constant maintenance is needed. As I write this for example, we just got 3 bands back on line yesterday after a 2 week down time. In addition, the patch has been down due to a phone company error. All that will be fixed by the time you read this (it already got fixed before I got this out!) and you can once again enjoy the best audio quality phone patch in town as well as lots of remote base activity. We chose to drop area calling from this line in a cost saving move since that capability is provided on both í18 and í94. Donít be afraid to use the remote base and enjoy it. If you need assistance, donít hesitate to call on me.

 

145.33 News : W4ATV Ė By Ron

The 145.33 Machine continues to serve a light load of users from itís Monte Sano location hosted by WA4BPS. We are still operating with the old 145.33 RF/ Control drawer which uses a G.E. Master Pro Receiver and a 30 Watt transmitter. We also have a 40 Watt G.E. Master II RF drawer tuned and crystalled to 145.33 as a back-up. We have an exciting plan to make a significant improvement in this system. This plan involves a cooperative effort and a pooling of resources between NARA and our technical advisor Ralph Hogan: WB4TUR. Ralph has a 110 Watt G.E. Master II Base Station Radio which is on par with our Ď94 RF section and a duplexer system which may have even better specs than we have on Ď94. While we donít have quite the antenna system to put us on par with Ď94, we still believe that another "super repeater" could be created with this arrangement for us all to enjoy. A model for this type of cooperative Ham spirit currently exists with NADXC/KS4LU 147.10 repeater here in Huntsville. The key is to draft a short memorandum of understanding (MOU) which we will have at the July NARA meeting. I am personally very excited with this arrangement and we are proceeding with the technical details. The NARA will remain the "grandaddy" of the coordinated frequency pair and ATV voice coordination will continue on this machine. Flash update: I just read the newly released 2000/2001 Repeater directory and noticed that 145.33 was inadvertently omitted from the listings. This is just a data base transmission error and no cause for concern. It is being resolved with our frequency coordinator and should be correct in next years listing.

 

224.94 News: N4HSV, Monte Sano: - By Ralph

The 224.94 Machine's exciter was recently replaced with a new synthesized hamtronics version. The 10+ year old simple control package was also replaced by an up-to-date NHRC-2. The NHRC-2 allows real voice Identifications and DTMF remote control capabilities. The new controller has drastically improved the audio quality! Several of our members have older 220 radios without PL tone capabilities. In order for them to share in the fun, I built an interface which allows us to remotely enable or disable the PL tone requirement. Since reinstallation after our last NARA meeting, the repeater has been running with PL not required, carrier squelch access only. We have experienced no interference noise problems, so it looks like we can leave it this way. So dust off your ole' 220 radio and join in the fun. When I get time, I'll probably install a simple autopatch interface I have laying around the shack.

73's de WB4TUR

 

53.21 out - 52.21 in News: WB4TUR, - By Ralph

The 6 meter project is not on the air yet, but we have gathered almost all of the essential equipment needed. Only one 6 meter antenna remains to be purchased. I was very lucky and recently located a GE Master II commercial 6 meter base station. With the donation of a heavy duty heatsink (Thanks Steve!!), the transmitter will be able to run 110W continuous duty. This is the same model of equipment as our 146.94 machine which has provided us years of stellar performance. The transmitter will be located on Green Mountain. The GE Master II receiver will be located on Monte Sano and linked over 220 MHz to the transmitter site. We just received in the crystals necessary for the six meter radios, so these will be tuned and operational shortly. One half of the 220 Mhz link is already in place and working. With the spring time wx here, we will be able to get some tower climbing done to place the six meter antennas. And finally for the controller, I have an NHRC-4 slated for service. Thanks for all the support!

73's de WB4TUR

 

443.800 News: Mathis Mountain: - By Ron

The roving repeater has come to rest on the north slope of Mathis mountain in south Huntsville. The vision all along was to provide a 440 machine with better coverage for south Huntsville and this location seems to fill that bill nicely. If you visit the south Wal-Mart super center, look right in front of you when you exit the store: You are looking at Mathis mountain. This perch gives us great coverage along South Parkway and Baily Cove road which are traditional holes for Monte Sano based machines. Future improvements might include better duplexers, a better antenna and a link to 443.500. I encourage the 440 users of south Huntsville to check this machine out.

 

Non NARA Repeaters of NARA officers: KS4LU / WB4TUR:

The NARA president (Ron) and the NARA Technical Advisor (Ralph) have strong interests in repeater experimentation. We have fathered 4 machines to date between us. One example of these efforts is our plan to get the Huntsville 145.23 Al Inter City Link site back on line. Harley: KB4CRG has tossed the baton to us and we hope to have it on the air by the time you read this or soon after. For more info, see the web sites at www.qsl.net/ks4lu and www.qsl.net/wb4tur . They will be updated sometime this summer as well. One final note, If you would like to leave on the air voice mail to me, you can do so on my 443.475 machine. Simply punch 11* and follow the prompts. (11 to list & 11n to read where n is the nth message) It uses the exact same scheme as the ACC DVR mailbox on 147.18 but it is permanently set up for me. This machine uses a 103.5 PL Tone.

 

KS4LU / WB4TUR are your Alabama Repeater Council representatives:

I was elected as one of 3 directors for the northern region this year and Ralph is now the ARC webmaster. See it at http://jschool.troyst.edu/~arc/ We have established a good working relationship with the new Alabama frequency coordinator Jack Lambert: K4YVV. If we can help, just let us know.