North Alabama Repeater Association Annual Newsletter
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 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 memberships 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 www.qsl.net/nara or call Ralph Hogan W4XE at 881-0606. .
can be mailed to:NARA,
P.O. Box 18941, HuntsvilleAL35804.
NARA’s Flagship Machine:146.94 N4HSV Repeater
The repeater is relocated
back to its original home at Channel 31 on top of Monte-sano Mtn with a new
antenna and 7/8” feed line. Its operation is now back on par with times past. We have completed work on upgrading the power
supply to automatic battery backup which will be installed soon. The controller
was updated with a relay board to allow a frequency agile uhf remote base link
radio and controllable PL encoding. The site already has emergency generator
backup, so we will be doubly backed up!We’ve vacillated on which remote receiver voter package to use. We had
previously selected the Doug Hall board but it wasn’t easy to integrate with
our system. A good deal on an original GE Voter Receiver came along, so we are
switching over to using the GE Voter Rack which we already have. A crystal has
been ordered for the receiver and should be in soon. A voter system will allow
us to fill in the coverage holes. A remote receiver for this purpose is already
located in southeast Huntsville. For now just program
another memory channel in your radio for 107.2 Hz PL to take advantage of this
feature. Another one is on the bench in the works to fill in coverage of
highway 72 East.We’ve used our UHF link
radio to tie into 147.18 for special events such as bike-a-thons. This allowed
the hams supporting the event to utilize the coverage footprint of both
machines simultaneously. Check out the ’94 machine for Club announcements. It
supports auto patch and lots of handy user functions.See the expanded edition for more
details!The ’94 machine requires a 100 Hz PL tone. The south HSV remote
receiver requires a 107.2 Hz PL tone.
Nets on ‘94
The ARES local group holds
training net each Thursday evening at 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 it’s 210 ft perch high
on 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 supports
automatic emergency battery power. As mentioned above this system can be linked
to 146.94 for special events. We’ve reworked the antenna system. No more
CRACKLE! See Ron W4VM@Comcast.net for NEW
ILRP Access code details.
Talking to the next town down the road:The NARA remote base system
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. This repeater was entirely
rebuilt in the spring of 2004 and antenna work at the site will soon bring
several of the exciting bands back to life in this system.Included are 10 meter, 2 meter, 220 MHz, 440
MHz and 1.2 Gig bands.With the
10-meter band remote restored, it will be more then just the next town down the
road – it becomes worldwide!
Talking around the state: The statewide Alabama-Intercity Linked Network -
The 145.23 (186.2 Hz PL) repeater is Huntsville’s local node into the full time AICN state wide
linked RF system. Just punch in a 186.2 PL tone, key down & talk around the
state. Birmingham, Tuscaloosa,
Montgomery and Mobile are linked full time with more cities in the works. A new tri-port repeater controller is ready to
install along with another UHF link radio. This will allow linking up into the
MTEARS Tennessee UHF emergency link system. Thus 145.23 could act as a link hub
between Alabama and Tennessee. Talk from Nashville to Mobile.
DSTAR: The NEW
Digital voice VHF/UHF communications mode
Alabama is a hot-bed of activity
with the goal of a state wide DSTAR internet linked emergency communications
system to supplement the existing AICN system. Currently there are two
operational digital D-star privately owned systems in Huntsville. Some members of NARA are at the fore-front of
implementing this new digital voice technology. NARA is very interested in this
new technology and is looking at how we can contribute so that more hams in the
community can take advantage of this new mode of communication.
The Road less traveled:6 meter, 220
MHz from NARA
Sometimes the road less
traveled provides greater opportunities for ham radio enjoyment:The propagation on 6 meters can get real
interesting at times!Try the W4XE/NARA 53.21 6 Meter repeater with
a 100 Hz tone. It will soon be back on the air soon bigger and better than ever.
We have completed working on some new 6 meter duplexers and a new GE 6 mtr
repeater to allow a single site repeater. It is ready to install on the mountain when
time permits. The 220 MHz band has been
called the “private band” but the propagation can be better then 2 meters at
times. It has been totally reworked and is working fantastic! Find out on NARA’s 224.94 repeater with a
100 Hz tone.
145.33 and 443.800
The 145.33 repeater has long
supported ATV activities and will be upgraded with new equipment to continue to
offer an alternative to busy machines.Gary
Dion N4TXI is spearheading this effort. 443.800 is in southeast Huntsville on MathisMountain and offers a quiet system
for users in the south end of town.
Command sheets updates:
As the array of controller’s
change & new features come on line, we try to make them consistent between
machines and easy to remember. Be sure to join NARA this year to stay current
on changing command codes for repeater features.As a NARA member, you’ll receive the
expanded newsletter & new command sheet via e-mail or snail mail.We also send out periodic updates via e-mail
during the year.