VE3KCR Update

VE3KCR (147.120+ 100hzPL) now spans over 16,000 square kilometers – that’s about 4 MILLION acres! How much does YOUR repeater cover? Hmm?? Yes, I’m bragging but hey, it’s my prerogative. There are some areas that experience a little hetrodyning but for a non-GPS locked system, it’s not as bad as you’d think. What we’ve done is have the TX sites service “major” population centers with some of the not so populated areas in the hetrodyne areas. And, we added a non standard offset re-broadcaster in Chatham so there’s no hetrodyning anymore if one uses that repeater. So far, so good.

So, 146.680- noPL works as always – excellent. 145.190- noPL is also working excellent as is th UHF machine 444.325+ (250.3hzPL for IRLP). In fact, all of these repeaters have been “reset” so there’s a minimum of  ID’ing, and status reports in morse code. YAY!

Enjoy!

 

CB vs HAM

I used to be a die hard CB/Freeband guy. Never had even a BIT of interest in HAM  radio. But after actually becoming a HAM my interest in that ‘band’ is much diminished. A good modifiable CB radio is upwards of CAN $200 – sometimes less but often more. And it’s still really a CB radio. A good base antenna is often CAN $100-300 – and it really only does a single band. This is sort of a ‘minimum’ setup too (excluding a mobile setup I suppose).

Compare this to HAM equipment. A used HF transceiver can be had for CAN $300-400 dollars. These will cover from 160 to 10 meters generally in all modes – AM/SSB/FM/CW – and are usually 100 watts. With this equipment, if 10/11 meters isn’t working due to conditions, 20, 40 or 80 will probably get some long distance communication. Compare this to 10/11 meters where it’s either all or nothing.

A HAM antenna for these bands consists of a homebrew G5RV (mine is actually a Jr.) that costs about $50 and works ALL those bands quite successfully.

And, using VHF/UHF and repeater networks that have IRLP/EchoLink attatched to them, you can generally make high quality WORLD WIDE contacts regardless of atmospheric conditions – using a $50 walkie talkie! It’s pretty amazing that I can talk over 100km from my mobile (without using a VoIP link) at any time using repeaters with absolutely stunning FM quality. And it’s all legal.

And even though there are some excellent techies involved in CB, those techies would be much better served by HAM radio. The stuff you can do – legally – is absolutely amazing. You can connect your computer to your radio and do all sorts of digital modes. From sending quick text messages (chatting keyboard to keyboard) to sending and receiving  hi-res photos around the world and slow/fast scan TV. Working various satellites is another “hi tech” endeavour enjoyed by many HAMs.

So guys (and gals!) consider making the leap to HAM! You will never go back to that single, limited part of the radio spectrum – unless 10/11 is open!

 

VE3KCR

Yesterday, the electronics package was installed at the North Chatham Site. This repeater is a full TX/RX unit tied into the simulcast system. A quick range test (a drive to Sarnia) reveals solid mobile coverage up to Sarnia. We were very pleased at the excellent signal at 35km away. However, this test made it abundantly clear that another cavity filter is required for the RX part – but we sort of knew that. It does tend to de-sense itself and luckily, our RX site situated around 38km away was taking up the slack for receive duty. It is an excellent RX site. However, H/T coverage is now possible in Wallaceburg.

So, after some tweaking (cavity filter, setting TX levels on the other sites, etc) it will work most excellent 🙂

 

CKARC Strikes Again!

Yesterday, May 10 / 2014, a group of hams from the Chatham-Kent Amateur Radio Club installed yet another repeater in the Chatham-Kent area. This site is called the North Chatham Site and should give coverage where no coverage has been before! Upon completion, it is expected to give excellent results into nearly Sarnia to the north, Florence to the east, New Baltimore, MI to the west and possibly the south shore of Lake St. Clair to the south. Combined with the other two (three?) sites, our goal of blanketing south-western Ontario with a single repeater frequency pair will be *that* much closer.

Hats off to those who participated: VE3KNI, VE3OEN, VA3TWT, VE3LFD, VE3RHV, VE3MUN and VE3UGG. Outstanding job by all. I don’t think we will have as many pictures as the East Chatham Site but believe me when I say it was another extremely professional job! All antennas in place and feed line run. All that’s left is the electronics and some additional “inside” work. Hopefully this can be accomplished by the end of next week (or earlier) and we will have a “full service” repeater linked to the simulcast system. Pretty amazing.

NOTE: Due to the fact that hams need to build and design towers, cases, brackets (and a myriad of other things) they (over the whole) do exceptional work not only in electronics but also in machining, carpentry, design and construction of nearly anything. Most hams are very knowledgable in many areas and highly ingenious (and cheap). And, in most any group of hams, you will be able to come up with virtually any sort of odds and ends of parts and materials. Just keep that in mind if there ever is a SHTF scenario!

 

Big News at CKARC!

Yesterday, a group of hams from the Chatham-Kent Amateur Radio Club installed a new transmit site in the eastern edge of the county. I have never been part of this process and, although it was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun! Our “climber/installer” did an AWESOME JOB it 100 feet in the air. Yours truly could never have done what he did so hats off to this individual. My ‘elmer’ Bill also did an excellent job installing the radios and assorted electronics at the bottom. Another ham and myself were busy fetching tools and hoisting them to the installer. Man, that 4-bay VHF antenna is HEAVY!

http://www.ckarc.ca/images/EastSite/rptr_east.shtml

This project has certainly expanded the range of our repeater system. Where before you could barely hear the repeater it is now full scale and crystal clear! One or two more sites and we will once again have the premier repeater system in south western Ontario… yay!

 


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