North Alabama Repeater Association Flyer: 2012


NARA: Who are we?

NARA stands for North Alabama Repeater Association. We are a separate but sister entity to the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club with a long-standing heritage of providing top-notch VHF and UHF repeater facilities to support the Huntsville area. This support includes club functions, public service events, ARES and Red Cross activities as well as everyday communications enjoyment. We draw our support from faithful dues paying members just like you. Dues are just $16 per year per family and can be prorated quarterly to a nice even $4 per quarter. You will receive an expanded version of this newsletter with additional information as well as a members only command sheet showing you how to use dozens of repeater features such as the auto patch, remote base, IRLP node, and more. To find out more, see the NARA web site at or e-mail Ron Shaffer:  Dues can be mailed to:
NARA, P.O. Box 18941, Huntsville AL 35804.


A Word from the 2012 NARA President, Ron Shaffer: W4VM

            After several years of curtailing my radio activities out of deference to the needs of my family, I am back in the saddle as your NARA president for 2012.  We owe a LOT of thanks to past president Ralph Hogan, W4XE who carried the torch so well for several years.  Ralph remains on as the 2012 Technical Advisor and will no doubt keep us straight on the hardware issues.  My goals for this year are simple:  Keep our great set of repeaters working, fix any issues (including some on-going ones) and improve what we have at a pace that does not overly burden our volunteer staff.   I will mention both hardware projects and a little about user capabilities in the context of each repeater below.  Finally, I have some great ideas for the full newsletter which follow this flyer for paid members only.  Don’t miss it!  It’s just one way of saying thanks again for supporting NARA.


NARA’s Flagship Machine: The 146.94 N4HSV Repeater

The repeater is located at Channel 31 TV studio on top of Monte Sano. We are very grateful for the continued support of Channel 31 in hosting this machine.  It has one of the largest coverage pattern footprints in Huntsville.  We have an automatic battery backup and the site already has emergency generator backup, so we will be doubly backed up in case of an emergency!  The repeater supports a frequency agile UHF link radio which is used primarily to link to the 147.18 repeater for special events such as the marathon. This allows the hams supporting the event to utilize the coverage footprint of both machines simultaneously.  The system has a GE Voter system which is capable of automatically selecting the best signal between the main receiver and remote receivers however the current system utilizes only the main receiver on Monte Sano.  Other receivers are in planning stages.  As this is being written, the N4HSV controller has just come from the W4XE bench to the W4VM bench as part of a maintenance re-work. Most users will not even notice when it is re-deployed soon but this is just an example how much work takes place behind the scenes.  Check out the ’94 machine for Club announcements.  It supports auto patch and lots of handy user functions. See the full newsletter for more details!  The ’94 machine requires a100 Hz PL tone.


Nets on ‘94

The ARES local group holds training net each Thursday evening at 7:30 PM on the 146.94 machine.
This is to support storm-spotting activities in the area. Everyone is welcome to check in.


The 147.18 WD4CPF Repeater with IRLP

From the north end of Brindlee mountain south of Huntsville, this machine not only provides great coverage of south Huntsville and Redstone Arsenal but offers wide coverage access to the W4VM IRLP Node for world wide QSOs using your 2M HT or mobile rig! To find out more, see the expanded edition of the NARA news. The system also supports automatic emergency battery power. As mentioned above this system can be linked to 146.94 for special events.  There has been an interference problem from the tower lighting system for some time however we expect to resolve this issue very soon; hopefully by the time you read this!  A hardy thanks to Huntsville Radio Service who has hosted this repeater for many years and worked with us on any problems such as the one just mentioned.  See Ron for the ILRP Access code details.


The NARA Remote Base System on the W4HSV 443.500 Repeater

Ever heard all those DTMF touch tones that ultimately result in a voice from Nashville or Birmingham of Muscle Shoals or Chattanooga? You can be a part of it with NARA’s multi-band remote base system on the 443.500 repeater atop Monte Sano. Included are 10 meter, 2 meter, 220 MHz, and 440 MHz remote units. A 6 meter unit is on the works.  The 443.500 machine requires a110.9 Hz PL tone.  Many thanks to WA4BPS & N4QPE for their continued support of this repeater.  The coverage of this machine often rivals that of the 146.94 machine !     …. (More on Reverse Side)


The Road less traveled: 50 and 220 MHz from NARA

Sometimes the road less traveled provides greater opportunities for ham radio enjoyment: The propagation on 6 meters can get very interesting at times! Try the W4XE/NARA 53.21 6 Meter repeater with a 100 Hz tone. It is in operation from atop Monte Sano. It is a single site system using 6 meter home brew duplexers and a GE 6 meter repeater. It supports a remote UHF link for tying to other local repeaters. The 220 MHz band has been called the “private band” but the propagation can be better than 2 meters at times. As of this writing, the repeater is on the bench of technical committee member Brian Wingfield, KO4FV.  We are eager to see what sort of performance awaits us when it is re-deployed!  NARA’s 224.94 repeater requires a 100 Hz tone.


Systems With Less Traffic: NARA’s 145.33 and 443.800

The 145.33 repeater has long supported ATV activities and will be upgraded with new equipment in the near future. The system is currently carrier access. However, be prepared for the possibility of a 100 Hz tone in the future if needed.  443.800 is in southeast Huntsville on Mathis Mountain and offers a quiet system for users in the south end of town.  This system requires a 110.0 PL tone.


D-STAR: The NEW Digital voice VHF/UHF communications mode

Alabama continues to be a hot-bed of activity with D-STAR: Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio.  Currently there are at least 10 full time linked 2 meter repeaters across the state of Alabama.  Others are linked in during severe weather and for net activities.  Currently there are four operational D-star privately owned systems in Huntsville.  Some members of NARA are key contributors in implementing this new digital voice technology.


Other (Non-NARA) Huntsville Repeater Systems Operated by Members of the NARA Staff

W4VM:  147.10 + (103.5 PL), 443.250 / 443.475 & 446.200 IRLP (Also 145.36 W4WBC D-STAR and 147.30 NADXC)

W4XE:   145.23 + (186.2 PL), 53.21 (100.0 PL) 6 Meter , 443.625 / 444.300 & 444.375 EchoLink

W4VM & KK4FCY: 443.150 W4DYN System

W4VM & N4CZ: 443.425 KI4SBC Portable D-STAR System


Command Sheet Updates:

As the array of controllers change & new features come on line, we try to make them consistent between machines and easy to remember. We try to minimize changes but be sure to join NARA this year to stay current on command codes and repeater features which do change.  As a NARA member, you’ll receive the expanded (full) newsletter & new command sheet via e-mail or snail mail soon, hopefully in early July.


2012 NARA Officers and Contributors

Kudos to all who graciously volunteer:  Chase for taking on the VP position as a relatively new ham, Stan and Doug for another year (they do SO MUCH behind the scenes), Ralph for his many years as both President and Technical Advisor, Cliff for returning with his web expertise and the many Technical Contributors too numerous to list (3 of the most noteworthy are however listed below)

President: Ron Shaffer: W4VM – 337-5549

Vice President: Chase Renegar – KK4FCY

Treasurer: Stan Sims : N4PMF –

Secretary: Doug Mathes N4CZ -

Technical Advisor: Ralph Hogan W4XE -

Web Master: Cliff Goehagan N4WB

Technical Contributor: Mark Bond W4FMX

Technical Contributor: Brian Wingfield KO4FV

Technical Contributor: Gary Dion N4TXI

NARA Repeaters



PL Tone

146.94 Mhz

- 600 Khz

100 Hz

147.18 Mhz

+ 600 Khz

100 Hz

145.33 Mhz

- 600 Khz

Carrier Squelch

224.94 Mhz

- 1 Mhz

100 Hz

443.500 Mhz

+ 5 Mhz

110.9 Hz

443.800 Mhz

+ 5 Mhz

110.9 Hz


Contact NARA at: NARA, P.O. Box 18941, Huntsville AL 35804