CCARC NEWS 13-03
CCARC NEWS 13-03
THE PERIODIC NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL COAST AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
ISSUE No 13-03 20th. January 2013
In this Issue:
- Our FM repeaters are wide band.
- 444.250MHz still “radio-active” Monday & Tuesday nights.
- Looking for an AXE?
- Combined 70cm HT and ruggedised Android smart phone.
- Broke & fixed.
1. Our FM Repeaters are wide band.
There has been discussion on the clubs repeaters and via email of late about “quiet” stations on VK2RAG. Investigations have shown that there is nothing at all wrong in the repeater area and in the majority of cases, the person calling has got his handheld transceiver set to operate narrow band. As the commercial standard is more and more to use narrow band spacing of channels, the default setting in the Chinese HTs (which are primarily built for the commercial market) is Narrow Band. When programming channels into your HT please ensure you select Wide Band for transmit and receive (it’s normally only one setting that affects both receive and transmit). This should alleviate most reports of low audio from your signal through the repeater.
Geoff VK2ZC has pointed out that not all of the Chinese handhelds are able to provide the same deviation when in wide mode and cannot be made to do so. So there will be cases where there will be some differences in level even though all systems are set to wide band however the difference between these settings are small compared to the difference between using wide and narrow band.
Some people speak louder than others and some speak too far away from the microphone – so we will never get a constant audio level but remember the repeater can only relay what it gets so please make sure your HT, mobile or base station is set to wide bandwidth and speak at a reasonable level and at a reasonable distance from the microphone.
2. 444.250MHz still “radio-active” Monday & Tuesday nights.
For those who have forgotten or never got around to trying, this is a reminder that Victor VK2BTV is still sending the educational ATV video broadcasts via our VK2RTG repeater each Monday & Tuesday evening at 19:00 local time and would appreciate reception reports.
Victor tells me he has a change of antenna planned for the set-up at Kariong as a test which he hopes will improve reception in Woy Woy peninsula and other areas.
Of late, extra work on the video material supplied by the Twit network (Bob Heil’s HamNation program) has been needed to remove audio from the advertising sections that have been added into the program. Thanks to Victor for doing this extra work. Our other material from Tom KB4HQA’s HQARadio programs and our own lecture recording thankfully do not have adverts in them.
3. Looking for an AXE?
Actually that should be “AX” not “AXE“. A reminder that all Australian Radio Amateurs are allowed to change the prefix in their call sign from VK to AX next Saturday, 26th. January to celebrate Australia Day. So for example I am allowed to change my VK2JI call sign to AX2JI. This change is allowed each year on Australia Day, Anzac Day and World Telecommunications Day. If HF conditions improve expect more responses to your CQ calls under the AX call rather than your normal VK call.
4. Combined 70cm HT and ruggedised Android smart phone.
This report from Engadget of a pair of ruggedised (IP 67 compliant) Android 4 Smart Phones with a twist. These phones are unlocked, quad band, have dual SIM sockets cover WCDMA and GSM modes and frequencies (i.e. Next G compatible as well as normal GSM) and also have a 400-470MHz FM transceiver with CTCSS built-in. There is also a simpler “feature phone” with 400-470MHz capability for those who prefer not to use a smart phone.
The top of the range “X5” is available from a couple of Chinese shops for under US$400 – here’s the one with the most information that I can find: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Runbo-X5-phone-IP67-Dustproof-Waterproof-Rugged-Smartphone-4-3-mtk6577-1GB-RAM-/181054540104?pt=Cell_Phones&hash=item2a27b10948
Some more research of the 70cm handy talkie specifications is needed to make sure it will be compatible with our repeater systems (offsets etc.) but it’s an interesting unit for those who like active sports and want to take Amateur Radio with them for the areas where cell phones don’t work! This unit might make a good (very portable) IRLP RF to Internet access point if someone can create a simple audio interface and port the IRLP software to Android, or what about use in a very,very small satellite?
Thanks to “Endgadget at CES” for this story.
4. Broke and fixed.
- The receive module in the VK2RAG 439.950MHz APCO25 repeater died sometime during Friday night or Saturday morning. It is hoped to be able to repair or replace the unit mid week.
- The VK2RAG 438.075 IRLP node was moved from its previous home of 12 years at Dave VK2JDH’s QTH to Geoff VK2ZC’s place last Friday. The clearer path means the signal into the repeater is now rock solid rather than the sometimes variable signal previously. The repeater can now be remote monitored using NMS software that can send alerts via SMS should problems occur.
Anyone reading this on the website who is not yet a member of the CCARC, please consider joining by emailing ccarc @ ccarc.org.au for full details. We currently have no joining fee and the annual membership fee is A$30.00.
For what’s coming up in the next few months at the CCARC, please check the club calendar, accessible from the header on any page on the website.