Technical Chairperson

The formation of our new VE group is going strong. But we are lacking enough Extra class volunteers to be able to offer General and Extra upgrade exams. Please, if you are an Extra and can spare one Tuesday night every other month to help your club administer exams, get in touch with me by clicking This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I'll forward you the application for our new VEC, just fill it out and send it back with a copy of your license,  to me via mail, at a meeting or scan and send it via email.

At this time, we are only seeking Extra class volunteers.

When the Extra class pool changes later this year, we will be forming an Extra class educational campaign to help all you Generals upgrade!

We hope to announce a new FREE VE testing session schedule soon!

Chances are the mobile radio you are currently using is made in China, it’s just not designed, developed, tested and marketed by a Chinese company. That’s about to change.

Chinese Amateur Radio brands such as Wouxun (however you wish to pronounce it), Baofeng, and TYT have quickly become known brands in the ham community due to the relatively low prices and features of their handheld HT radios and accessories. A good percentage of our club members own and use a radio such as the Wouxun KG-UVD1P, KG-UV6D, or the Baofeng UV-3R. While cost certainly is an influence (you don’t cry as much if you destroy a $50-$100 radio), these HT’s actually have some innovative features not found in the leading Japanese brands. The Wouxun KG-UV series for example, is available in a 2m/1.25cm (144/220) configuration and features a voice synthesizer that reads menus, frequency, and settings aloud to the user in English or Chinese (while some find this vastly annoying, it is invaluable to many visually impaired hams, and those wanting to learn a little Chinese), the Baofeng UV-3R (and UV-3RmkII) features a single chip DSP design and insanely inexpensive batteries.

Will similar innovations be found in their mobile counterparts? As my paws have yet to touch one of these mobiles it’s hard to tell. What follows is several weeks of research in my spare time scrounging various websites aided with Google translate. I gathered specs, pictures, and estimated prices and availability wherever possible. As such while reading the next several pages, please remember things change, some of these radios may never see the light of day, and prices are my best guess. Additionally, remember this website is for a radio club, we do NOT sell radios and will be unable to help you find one! The usual disclaimers apply, this is not an endorsement of any brand or product, use your own judgment if you decide to purchase one, some features or the radios themselves may not even be legal for use in the amateur radio service.

A few days ago work was being performed on a GE Master II repeater to replace the Motorola MSF-5000, that replaced a Harris radiophone system B,  which replaced Harris radiophone system A. Just when things were looking good for the GE system, serious problems developed and the repeater became unusable.

If your counting, that is 4 2m analog repeater systems in the last two years!

The amount of time spent by the technical committee repairing, replacing, and maintaining these systems has been considerable to say the least. The fix/break/fix/replace cycle has to end. The club needs a working analog 2m repeater, and the technical committee has spent more time fixing radio then playing radio!

The KCRA board agrees, we have had enough, time to purchase a brand new repeater system (The last two systems were donated to us) and get back on the air! This new repeater will utilize our Arcom RC-210 controller and finally get the Echolink/IRLP node that our members helped build last year up and running.

The club has enough money available to afford a medium grade new commercial system, but just barely. Without a doubt, this will place a serious strain on club finances, and leaves nothing left over should we find the need to replace the coax (something we should do), the antenna, refurbish the duplexer, or some other object.

If you can find it in your heart, and can afford to donate, please use the applet found below. Donations as little as $10 will be accepted via PayPal using your PayPal balance or credit card, your donation will be reflected in the applet. You may also use the comment fields to pledge an amount to be given in cash or check at the next club meeting. Those whom donate $100 or more will be known as "Platinum" donors and will have their Name, Call and donation amount reflected here, in a future article, and on a small plaque to be placed at the repeater site. Every penny raised will be used to provide the best repeater system we can afford.

Regardless of the amount raised, the club will be purchasing a new repeater system.

Platinum Donors:

Mike Patino, N2BMU $200.00

Gary Lindtner, KB2BSL $200.00

John Daniszewski, KC2UHA $150.00

Don La Sala, W2DON $100.00

Jonathan Hawkes, K2TCW $100.00

Robert M Winston, W2THU $100.00

Felicia Mattera, KB2NYF $40.00

 

The KCRA board recently purchased over $2,000.00 worth of new equipment. This brand new equipment includes an Icom IC-FR5000 2m repeater, a 50 amp switching power supply, power pole power distribution units, power pole connectors, hardline UHF connector, various internal cabling, programming cable, and various fittings. All of this new equipment is in our possession and most of it is already installed at the repeater site. This was the best choice in a new repeater that the club could afford, it's extremely flexible and is also IDAS digital capable. The club has no plans on turning our 2m repeater into a digital mode machine (that is what our UHF D-Star machine is for), but if the membership has an interest, we are able to run it dual mode so it can handle both analog and IDAS digital simultaneously. It even has a 2 year warranty from Icom! Much work remains on our antenna and transmission line before it can be safely placed into service, as soon as a team can be assembled, and weekend access to the site is arranged, work will commence and it will be placed on the air!

So far, members have donated nearly $900 towards the repeater fund and we thank each and every one of them! As stated, our expenses so far are a bit over $2,000.00 and could go higher if we decide the coax, antenna, some other item needs to be replaced or refurbished, or if it's determined a pre-selector or pre-amp is required. If you can spare at least $10 please click here to donate it to the club, those who donate a significant amount will be known as "Platinum" donors and will have their name and call placed on a plaque at the repeater site!

Several openings are available for members to join the KCRA technical team as a volunteer. The technical team works under the direction of the technical chairperson and will help with maintenance of the KCRA's and other repeater/radio systems, and assist  members and the community whenever possible.  If you are interested, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Experience is not required, but skills in antenna installation, coax connector installation, wire running, CLI Linux (Centos), radio maintenance, general electronics, networking, soldering, and test equipment is preferred. You must be physically capable of climbing towers, long open air ladders, lifting antennas, carrying moderately heavy objects, have no fear of heights, and be available occasionally on Saturdays and Sundays. This is a great opportunity to help the club/community and learn about repeaters and their support infrastructure.

So far this year, our technical team has spent 105 man hours working on the clubs repeater resources. We've swapped antennas, changed coax, installed equipment, built cables, made adjustments (and mistakes), and programmed. Here are the results of our work:

KC2RA 146.430 MHz

Repeater: The new Icom repeater is now Fully Operational

Controller: The new Arcom RC-210 controller purchased last year is now Fully Operational

Echolink/IRLP: The new node built by members last year is now connected directly to the repeater and operational. It's able to handle incoming connections. The system will currently support up to 8 Echolink or 1 IRLP connections.

Please join us on the air this Monday night at 9:00 PM for a special session of the KCRA club net to help test the system.

 

WG2MSK 445.475 MHz D-Star

Our D-Star repeater is functioning normally with the following exceptions:

User linking/routing via DTMF or UR code is currently disabled while we await a software update.

User registration/database access is currently disabled while we await a software update.

ircDDB is currently disabled while we await a software update.

The repeater is programmed to be connected to reflector 20A except on Sunday evening when it connects to reflector 1C. If you would like to schedule it for other reflectors while we await the software update, please let me know.

You may be unaware of the vast quantity of Amateur Radio related videos there are out on the net. Over the next few months, we will explore some of the better offerings.

 

Gary Pearce, KN4AQ a video editor since the 70's and a ham since the 60's, has been publishing Ham Radio related videos for quite a number of years. In the past ARVN videos were only available by purchasing a low cost DVD. Recently, Gary decided to embrace video streaming and stopped producing new DVD's. The videos are still professionally produced and edited, and are even recorded in HD. Recent videos include an interview with WB2JKJ, AMSAT Going To Mars?, and Grounding For Lightning Protection. ARVN videos are now free to watch, but not free to make, if you see value in what is being done, click the pig to leave the suggested $10 yearly donation.

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