North Alabama Repeater Association Annual Newsletter for 2006    

                     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 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. .  

Dues can be mailed to:        NARA, P.O. Box 18941, Huntsville AL 35804.

 

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 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 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 on 443.500

            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 - AICN

            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.

 

Still performing:  NARA’s 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 Mathis Mountain 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.

 

2006 NARA officers and contributors

President:  Ralph Hogan: W4XE –           rhogan@hiwaay.net  881-0606

Vice President: John Zeiler – K4AN –      k4an@arrl.net 828-9302

Treasurer: Todd Freestone: KD4ALP –    tkfree@bellsouth.net

Secretary: vacant, John Zeiler acting                                       

Technical Advisor:  Bill KC0ONR

Webmaster: Corry Smith K4DOH -          clsmith@unclaimedmysteries.net

HARC Liaison: Don Tunstil – W4NO –   dontunstill@comcast.net

                                                   NARA REPEATERS

 

53.210

- 1.0 MHz

100.0 Hz

145.330

- 600 KHz

Carrier Squelch

146.940

- 600 KHz

100.0 Hz / 107.2 Hz

147.180

- 600 KHz

100.0 Hz

224.940

- 1.0 MHz

100.0 Hz

443.500

+ 5.0 MHz

110.9 Hz

443.800

+ 5.0 MHz

110.9 Hz

 

Contact NARA at:   NARA, P.O. Box 18941, Huntsville AL 35804       www.qsl.net/nara