Meeting Minutes - September 2013
Bob Renn (KF7JPJ) reported 16 members in good standing.
The Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club welcomes new member Dan Kallese. Dan was previously active in the hobby and is looking forward to re-testing, getting active with the repeater and with CW ops.
The number of members in good standing was revised up from 16 to 17.
Ray Montagne (W7CIA) submitted a receipt for $80 for the previously approved expenditure for the 70cm repeater receiver pre-amplifier (Down East Microwave) [$75 cost plust $5 shipping].
A motion was made, seconded and passed to approve reimbursement to Lenard Crogh (W7HXU), for the expense of $150, for the purchase of club patches.
Bob Renn (KF7JPJ) reported the financials as follows:
Current balance: $1549.16
Outstanding expenditures: $80.00 [70cm Repeater Receiver Pre-amp]
Outstanding expenditures: $150.00 [Purchase of Club Patches]
Projected new balance: $1319.16
A membership patch is issued to each member upon joining the Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club. With the purchase of new patches, and with Tim Bailey (AD7IW) presenting extra patches from the previous purchase of patches, the club now has a sufficient number of patches to allow members to purchase extra patches for a fee of $7.00 per patch.
No Business Mt. 2m Repeater
A short-duration power outage at the No Business Mt. 2m repeater site resulted in the 2m repeater receiver radio returning to the default setting with the CTCSS decoder enabled. This means that there is no need travel to the No Business Mt. repeater site to restore the setting in the radio.
Brundage Mt. 70cm Repeater
On Wednesday, August 28th, Lenard Crogh (W7HXU), Peter Lakomski (KE7TQV), Ray Montagne (W7CIA) and Bob Renn (KF7JPJ) traveled to the Brundage Mt. 70cm repeater site to perform maintenance prior to this weekend's IMTUF-100 race event. Planned maintenance included:
Bob had a bracing fixture fabricated to provide additional support for the lower section of the 70cm antenna. The bracing fixture was installed and should keep the base of the antenna mast stationary. The antenna is now better suited for surviving the combination of snow, ice and wind loading.
Install a Down East Microwave 70cm pre-amplifier between the duplexer and the 70cm repeater receiver. The 70cm repeater receiver should be significantly more sensitive. A SINAD measurement was not taken as the 70cm repeater is modular and taking a SINAD measurement would have required removal of the modular repeater and opening the chassis.
Install a 33cm gain antenna to boost the signal level received from the 33cm link hub that is located at the No Business Mt. 2m repeater site.
Install a new lightning arrestor.
Activate linking between the Brundage Mt. 70cm repeater and the No Business Mt. 2m repeater.
The link between the No Business 2m repeater and the Brundage Mt 70cm repeater was not activated. There is a great deal of harmonic content coming out of the 70cm repeater transmitter. The 1st harmonic, on 885 MHz, falls within the design operation range of the 33cm link receiver and is overloading the front-end of the 33cm link receiver. The result is that the 33cm link receiver will inject squelch noise into the 70cm transmitter audio path whenever the 70cm transmitter is active while the 33cm transmitter at No Business Mt is inactive.
This issue is exacerbated by having a shared feed-line, with diplexer, such that radiation of the 2nd harmonic from the 70cm repeater transmitter is directly coupled back to the 33cm link receiver. In order to activate the link, additional isolation between the 70cm repeater transmitter and the 33cm link receiver must be achieved. The best solution would be to install a 2m receiver (i.e. a Kenwood TK-705D or equivalent low cost 2m radio) at the Brundage Mt. 70cm repeater in lieu of using the 33cm receiver. The 33cm transmitter would be used to communicate to the 2m repeater located at No Business Mt. This installation would avoid installation of a separate feed-line for the link antenna. The downside is that the 2m squelch tail will be heard on the 70cm repeater, in addition to the the 70cm repeater squelch tail (methods to mitigate this would require installing a CTCSS or DCS tone encoder at the No Business Mt 2m repeater transmitter).
Larry Stokes (N7IBC) reported on the 36 hour 100-mile extreme running race that was held on August 30-31. The majority of communications were conducted on the 70cm repeater, which performed quite well with the new 17dB gain pre-amplifier installed on the repeater receiver. The communications were handled on both the 2m and 70cm repeaters by Valley Wide REACT. Larry was also equipped for NVIS operation on both 60m and 40m for this event.
Volunteer Examiner (VE) Testing
There was some discussion on VE certification and the need to provide amateur radio examination testing. The discussion included some comparisons between W5YI and ARRL VECs. The ARRL requires that VE testing sessions be published with them for 6 weeks prior to the testing date. This may not be optimal in that it may require delaying 2 months in order to conduct a test when prospective licensees are ready to test. The ARRL will accept VE certification from another VEC to ARRL members wishing to obtain ARRL VEC certification as a VE. W5YI certification requires an on-line application. There may be advantages in going with W5YI.
CIARC members who hold a Volunteer Examiner certification are requested to update their membership information using the on-line Membership Application form to indicate their VE certification. When doing so, please list the VEC that issued the certification in the Notes & Comments section of the form (i.e. W5YI, ARRL, etc.). If VE certifications are held under multiple VECs, please list all VECs.
Look for more on this topic in future meetings as we explore how to implement and staff testing.