Meeting Minutes - May 2015
|AD7IW: Bailey, Tim||K6JMQ: Quinzio, John||K7HCS: Mayfield, Bill||KB7BVR: Peterson, Kermit|
|KB7BVS: Good, Philip||KC7JHX: Bracht, David||KE7FST: Sorensen, David||KE7HKY: Mayfield, Janet|
|KE7TQV: Lakomski, Peter||KF7JPJ: Renn, Bob||KG70GQ: Beckham, Christian||KG7GKK: Beckham, Bill|
|KG7GKL: Crogh, Anna||KG7GKN: Huston, Mike||KG7GKO: Kallies, Dan||KG7GKP: Kerby, Jeff|
|KG7GKQ: Mangum, Larry||KG7GKS: Wagner, Richard||KG7MFC: Didisse, Karin||KG7MGZ: Platt, Richard|
|N7HQT: Shinn, Jeff||N7IBC: Stokes, Larry||W7CIA: Montagne, Ray||W7HXU: Crogh, Lenard|
|W7LCC: McQuade, David|
Membership Report. [Bob Renn - KF7JPJ]
Treasurer's Report. [Bob Renn - KF7JPJ]
A motion was made and passed unanimously to approve the Treasurer's Report.
McCall St. Lukes Hospital Report [Richard Wagner - KG7GKS]
An article and photo appeared in the Star paper, crediting the Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club with the donation of an antenna and feed-line to support emergency communications over amateur radio. Present for the photo op were (left to right) Richard Wagner [KG7GKS], Larry Stokes [N7IBC], David Sorensen [KE7FST], (bottom) Bob Renn [KF7JPJ].
There is no update on the status of the proposed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with St. Luke's McCall.
Repeater Report [Ray Montagne - W7CIA]
Brundage Mt Repeater
The new Yaesu DR-1X Fusion repeater was received on April 10.
Larry Stokes (N7IBC) made preliminary contact with Larry Smith (W7ZRQ), the southern Idaho frequency coordinator, and inquired if CIARC might be able to obtain a VHF 2-meter frequency coordination. Initial indications are that a coordination should be possible on the low end of the 2-meter band, and will probably reuse a frequency that is currently used only in eastern Idaho.
Based on this positive indication, and an evaluation of repeater frequency allocations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, we've determined a frequency that should not be subject to interference issues. The Wacom WP-641 duplexers, which were donated by Larry Stokes (N7IBC) have been retuned to the low end of the 2m band, as has the spare 2-port isolator already in possession of CIARC. Tunable isolators can only be moved ±4 MHz from their design frequency. Our spare isolator was designed for 151.4375 MHz, and the existing No Business 2m repeater frequency of 147.02 is within reach of the tuning. The low end of the VHF 2m band is at the extreme limits of the tuning, and the device is exhibiting higher insertion loss (i.e. 1.2 dB) than the device specification (i.e. 0.8 dB) at this low frequency. Depending on tuning capability, it may be advantageous to swap the 2-port isolator with the unit installed at No Business Mt.
The Wacom WP-641 duplexer is exhibiting an insertion loss of 2.1 dB, which is higher than the 1.5 dB device specification. With all other sources of the excessive insertion loss being excluded, this appears to be due to the duplexer cable harness cable lengths. Lacking a chart of cable lengths for each cable relative to a band of frequencies, addressing this would be experimental, and probably not worth the effort.
A move to VHF will require obtaining a VHF repeater antenna. The requirements include:
A gain figure of 3 dBd or 6 dBd.
A D.C. grounded design for lightning protection.
Small physical profile.
Robust mechanical design that is able to withstand combined ice and wind loading.
A 2-bay folded dipole best fits these requirements, and provides a directional radiation pattern that could be used to reduce radiation out of the primary service area (i.e. away from Treasure Valley). Such directivity may be useful in obtaining a frequency coordination. These are pricey compared to the less structurally sound antennas bought off the shelf for personal use in less extreme environments found at the mountain top repeater site (approximately $600 new).
Web rumors indicated that Telewave offers a 30% discount to Amateur Radio clubs. A query was sent via email to Telewave to confirm this and Telewave indicates that they do indeed provide a 30% Amateur Radio club discount. To take advantage of this discount, an account must be setup directly with Telewave and the call sign of the club must be included when placing the order. There was some discussion on approving the purchase of an antenna, but the technical committee recommended holding off on making a purchase until a 2-meter frequency coordination has been granted. If necessary, the repeater can be installed on 2-meter/VHF with a temporary.
To be completed is the cabling to interface to the NHRC-4 repeater controller. A 15-pin connector, required to interface the external repeater controller, was ordered and has arrived. This work is expected to be completed by the end of May.
A page has been posted on the CIARC web site to document equipment performance and work in progress. This page is only accessible when logged in as a member, and appears as a Brundage Mountain repeater in the 2-meter section under the Repeater menu.
Although Rob McFadden of Brundage Mt provided a favorable indication to placing the repeater in the attic of the Ski Patrol Hut, the majority of these efforts are contingent upon completion of the Brundage Mt MOU. There is no room to install VHF duplexers in the existing cabinet, or outside of the existing cabinet within the hut itself.
No Business 2m Repeater
The 2-meter transmitter appears to have failed over the weekend ending on 19 April. The 2-meter receiver appears to be functional as signals from that receiver are distributed through the link backbone to other repeaters on the network. Possible causes include failure of the Kenwood TK-705D transmit radio, the power amplifier or the repeater controller. Fault isolation will require on-site inspection, and will be delayed until site access is available (i.e. the road must be clear of snow). Current inventory includes two spare TK-705D radios and addressing this failure requires installing the appropriate cabling to the radio and adjusting the transmitter output level. The other possible failure modes could incur additional delay if equipment needs to be procured as no spares are on hand. Any reports as to whether a signal (even weak) can be heard at the bottom of No Business Mt would be greatly appreciated.
As soon as the snow clears from the road, and site access is available, a maintenance trip is planned, and will include the following tasks:
Re-tune the 2-port isolator, and assess whether the isolator should be swapped with the isolator currently assigned for VHF use on Brundage Mt. The isolator that is most capable of tuning to the lower frequency should be assigned to Brundage Mt.
Verify that the duplexer is in alignment and meeting the best performance specifications possible (i.e. minimal insertion loss and maximum rejection).
Identify the failed component, and replace the failed component if possible. It may be that the failed component may not have an available replacement. If this is the case, we will attempt to provide as much function as possible while a replacement is procured.
Install a DCS23 Digital Coded Squelch Decoder to the Kenwood TK-941 uplink receiver and interface the decoder to the repeater controller. This is to eliminate the bounced keying behavior exhibited over the link backbone, which prevents other Idaho repeaters that have remote base capabilities from connecting to any of the satellite repeaters using the remote base.
Visual inspect the antennas to assess any damage.
NEWS FLASH: CIARC has received a very generous offer of a donation of a Kenwood TKR-750 repeater by Brad Forker [KC7JLU]. Members may have occasionally heard Brad operating on the repeater when in the McCall area, using the Internet Repeater Linking Protocol (IRLP) to maintain communications with stations out of the area. Brad is based in the Seattle area. The TKR-750 is a commercial grade repeater, and would replace the Kenwood TK-705D transceivers currently in use on the 2-meter No Business Mountain repeater. Stay tuned for more news.
A motion was made to allow for purchase of a 2-meter receiver pre-amp from Down East Microwave, at a cost of $45 (plush tax and shipping). This motion was passed unanimously.
Brundage Mt. MOU Report [Bill Beckham - KG7GKK]
Amateur Exam Study Session and Test Session [Ray Montagne - W7CIA]
A study and exam session will be held at Legion Hall on Saturday, May 16th. This is a change in venue from the previously announced locations. Registration is lower than past sessions. Anyone knowing individuals wishing to participate are asked to have them sign up immediately on the CIARC web site.
Public Service Event - McCall Trail Running Classic [Ray Montagne - W7CIA]
This is a reminder that the McCall Trail Running Classic is coming up on July 18th. We need radio operators to support this event. There are course changes from the previous years, and this presents some challenges in staffing new aid stations, along with the elimination of one aid station location from previous events. The communications plan is expected to be updated prior to the June CIARC meeting. Please mark this date off on your calendars.
More details on this event can be found on the McCall Trail Running Classic web site.
A sign-up sheet was circulated at the both the May & June meetings to solicit volunteers. The following members have indicated their availability to help out with this event:
Future Meeting Plans [Ray Montagne - W7CIA]
We're attempting to put together some presentations, to follow the business section of the meeting, for future meetings. The desire is to introduce areas of the hobby, that is the hobbies within the hobby. If you are interested in making a presentation at a club meeting, or if you have a topic that you would like to have presented, please let us know.
Upcoming topics that are planned include:
Digital Communications with the FLDIGI (free software)
Digital Communications with the JT65-HF (free software)
Valley County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Floor Items [Richard Wagner - KG7GKS]
When the agenda was published, an incorrect time was advertised for the CIARC NET. The CIARC NET is always held on the Wednesday immediately preceding the Thursday meeting (scheduled for the first Thursday of the month), and is held at 8:00 PM local time. Until restoration of operation of the 2-meter repeater on No Business Mountain, the NET will be held on the 70cm UHF repeater, located on Brundage Mountain, operating on 442.500 MHz (+offset, 100.0 Hz CTCSS).
There was some discussion on whether the Event Committee will be retained. No motions were made and the status remains unchanged.
The sign has not been installed on highway 95. Richard will be calling the highway department to inquire about installation of the sign.
The next highway cleanup has been scheduled for June 13th. Volunteers should meet at the highway maintenance shed (where gravel is stored) at 8:00 AM.
Yaesu DR-1X Fusion T-Shirts
Bob Renn [KF7JPJ] will check on the status of delivery of T-Shirts that were to have been delivered with the Yaesu DR-1X Fusion repeater.