Should you consider a digital radio?

From the mid-1930’s until World War II, amateur radio’s #1 mode of voice operation was AM. 

After the war, single-side band voice mode became popular for a number of reasons including 3 kc of bandwidth versus 6 kc of bandwidth in an AM signal and, because of the narrower bandwidth, more power could be “concentrated” on the narrower SSB conversation meaning a longer range to the signal. 

It’s apparent that the same thing that happened to AM radios is happening now to not only SSB, but also VHF & UHF analog FM radios.  Digital modes are quickly taking over from the analog SSB & FM modes.

SSB is in competition with numerous digital modes on the 160M to 10M HF + VHF, UHF and more bands.   Fortunately, we have devices like the Tigertronics SignaLink™ USB Digital Communications Interface that will help us use digital modes on HF and, to a certain extent, VHF & UHF.  The SignaLink™ will give your radios these modes:

  • RTTY
  • SSTV
  • CW
  • PSK31
  • WSPR
  • WINMOR
  • Winlink
  • FLDIGI
  • MT-63
  • AMTOR
    and more.

The SignaLink™ as yet will not give your fairly-soon-to-be-antique analog FM radio access to proprietary digital modes such as C4FM (Yaesu only), D-Star (Icom, Kenwood and FlexRadio Systems only), DMR (available from several vendors), etc.

Digital modes are coming on quickly so don’t forget about a digitally enabled radio when you make your next radio purchase.

When choosing a new radio, please remember that DSTAR is mode of choice in Burke County and all of the rest of Georgia.

Your analog radios will continue to work as we move into 2020, but analog radios are not able to communicate with digital radios.  BARC plans to move more and more toward digital modes.

BARC has four (4) Yaesu C4FM/analog repeaters, but when our 444.1 and our 145.23 receive a D-STAR signal, they automatically switch to D-STAR.  D-STAR is the king of digital modes in Georgia, especially Georgia ARES®, which is why two of our four repeaters are D-STAR capable.

from John MacDonald, K4BR

BARC’s Most Current News


Are you missing what’s important?
Read BARC’S most current news!

*************************************
Please Click here for information  you need to know to participate in the 2019 ARRL Field Day! Please be sure to register if you plan to attend Field Day with our good friends from the Amateur Radio Club of Augusta – thanks. Register for Field Day:  https://w4dv.club/field-day-registration/  John

Field Day Location: Blythe City Hall – 294 Church Street, Blythe, GA 30805

Activity Times: Setup – 9:00 until 11:30 Saturday

Lunch: Served at 11:30 until 13:00 PM (for setup volunteers)

Operate: 14:00 Saturday until 12:00 Sunday

Packing up: 12:00 until 14:00 Sunday

Field Day Category: 4A (4 radios working at the same time)

Operations: SSB and Digital on 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m, and 10m.

*******************************************

Echolink Will Return Soon

To BARC’s 146.64 Repeater

“EchoLink allows all licensed amateur radio stations to connect to one another over the Internet.  If you are in range of an FM repeater that features Echolink, you can use DTMF commands from your radio to access other stations and repeaters from all around the world who are logged into the EchoLink network.” [de Echolink.org]  Also, stations for all over the world will be able to access our 146.64 repeater all day, everyday and make a contact with those of us on the repeater who care to chat with them.
You may even install it on your smart phone.

Get a head start on Echolink . . .  Click here to get started with Echolink.

*******************************************

State-wide Hospital Emergency Operations Drill
This Sunday
and Every First Sunday

Hospital Net Reminder

Sunday, July 7 , 2019 will be the date of the next Georgia State-wide Hospital Nets.  The purpose of the nets is to determine the operational capability of each of the hospitals.  Checking in from home or another remote site doesn’t help meet the requirements of the new CMS rules that are now in effect.

*******************************************

Burke Medical Center
Hospital Operations Team News

100% check-in for the 1st six months of 2019!  The report:

 

*******************************************
No July Meeting;
Next meeting announced

There will be no July meeting due to the 4th of July holiday, so Burke Amateur Radio Club members, guests & visitors are invited to join us for supper on Thursday, August 8 at 5:45 PM at Camino Real Mexican Restaurant – 118 E 6th St, Waynesboro, Georgia.

Our BARC club meeting will follow at 7:00 PM at Waynesboro City Hall, 628 Myrick St, Waynesboro, GA. 

Burke Medical Center’s ARO’s:
Please bring a copy of your ham radio license for our document repository in the radio room.

Amateur Radio More Relevant Today Than Ever

International Amateur Radio Union President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, says Amateur Radio is “probably more relevant today than it was 25 years ago.”

“We’re so dependent now on all kinds of systems of communications — everyone has a cell phone, everyone is used to using the Internet — but they’re not used to what happens when those systems go down,” Ellam said. “Amateur Radio is there” and “there are also advancements in technology that we rely on.”

Ellam pointed out that hams can use computer-based digital techniques to pass message traffic at very low power levels and under poor propagation conditions.  “Amateur Radio has kept pace by developing new ways to communicate,” he said.

“Amateur operators are on the ground. If they’re not close to the site of a disaster, they might even be in it.  They’re there.  They’re ready to go.  For the first 24 to 48 hours you have people on the ground, ready to assist.  They own their own equipment.  They don’t rely on commercial networks.  If cellular service goes down, we can assist by using HF, VHF or UHF communications on a peer-to-peer basis.”

“Don’t forget the Amateur Radio services.  They’re a great asset to [a community, state or nation] in times of crisis.”

Always use Anderson Powerpoles

Connecting your radio, etc. to 13.8V DC

The standardized power connector for all ARES® is the Anderson Powerpole.  Most importantly, if we all use Powerpole connectors, we’ll be able to share equipment and batteries at home and in the field.

The Powerpole connector is the standard DC power connector for amateur radio for all types of radios and peripheral equipment.  Because it’s more reliable mechanically and electrically than other power connectors, Anderson Powerpoles are the official connector of the ARRL, ARES® and BARC.

The usual Powerpole connectors for amateur radio are 15A, 30A and 45A with 30A being the most popular size.

Amateur radio has adopted this style for putting Powerpole connectors together:

  • Red positive and black negative
  • When you look at them from the contact side as shown below, black is left, red is on the right and  the metal tongues are on top.

Our new mixed mode DSTAR repeaters.

There are two D-STAR repeaters in Waynesboro! 
Waynesboro’s VHF DSTAR repeater: 145.23 MHz (-600 KHz transmit offset)
Coverage:  100% of the City of Waynesboro including Burke Medical Center & Burke Co. EMA
Repeater brand/model: Yaesu DR-1X repeater
Tx/Rx modes: DSTAR and/or FM depending on the signal received (mixed mode)
Antenna: 4-bay folded dipole approximately 400 ft.(above sea level)
Heliax/hardline: Commscope 1/2″ Heliax
Waynesboro’s UHF DSTAR repeater: 444.100 MHz (+5.000 MHz transmit offset)
Coverage:  approximately 80% of the CSRA
Repeater brand/models: Yaesu DR-1X repeater
Tx/Rx modes: DSTAR and/or FM depending on the signal received (mixed mode)
Antennas: 4-bay folded dipole approximately 470 ft.(above sea level)
Heliax/hardline: Commscope 7/8″ Heliax
 
For the present time, we are leaving the D-STAR part of the repeater connected to reflector 030B, the GA ARES® reflector.  Feel free to change to whatever reflector you like, but please change the reflector back to 030 B when you’re finished using the repeater.
 
How it works:
A small, fairly inexpensive device called a UDRC-II that is available from Northwest Digital Radio at http://nwdigitalradio.com is what makes the repeater work as an analog FM, C4FM Fusion or D-STAR repeater.  The UDRC-II’s 40-pin connector plugs directly into the pins on a $35 Raspberry Pi 3.

For $89, the UDRC-II  comes with a cable that is ready made for the DR-1X Yaesu repeater and the UDRC-II.  As soon as you plug it into the repeater and turn it on, the UDRC-II and Raspberry Pi “light up,” take over the controller duties from the DR-1X’s built-in controller, and set the mode of the Yaesu repeater to “AUTO.” 

When an analog FM signal comes in, it lets the repeater’s internal controller take over and the repeater operates just as it always has receiving and re-transmitting a standard FM signal. 

When a D-STAR signal comes into the repeater, the UDRC-II’s controller takes over and shifts the mode of the repeater from “AUTO” to “FIX” as shown on the repeater’s front panel.  You hear no audio through the repeater’s speaker and the repeater’s microphone doesn’t work.  About 2 or 3 seconds after a D-STAR transmission ends, the repeater shifts back to “AUTO” mode.  It’s actually pretty cool to watch repeater and its lights work!

Everything is working perfectly on this new system and local stations are able to connect to all D-STAR reflectors including world-wide reflectors.  A list of all reflectors are available by following this link.

FM stations cannot communicate with D-STAR stations, but the two modes (plus Fusion) coexist very nicely on this one repeater as long as a D-STAR op doesn’t try to communicate at the same time as an FM op. 

By the way, when a D-STAR conversation is going on on the 444.1 repeater, analog FM users hear nothing – and vice versa.  The only indication of a conversation in a different mode from your mode is that the signal strength meter on your transceiver will show transmit power from the repeater.  So, a person with an analog FM transceiver tuned to 444.1 wouldn’t even know that an entire 10 or 15 minute D-STAR conversation had happened on 444.1 unless he had looked down at his transceiver’s signal strength meter!

 

Quorum changed from 33-1/3% to 15%

Motion to change by-laws made/seconded/approved at the November 1 Club Meeting for a final vote at the December, 2018 Christmas Dinner/meeting.


History:  It has always been a problem voting on club business due to the “33-1/2% quorum by-law” in our By-laws.  For example, we could not elect officers for the 2018-19 fiscal year at the October meeting due to not having a 33-1/3% quorum of the membership total.  Other amateur radio clubs in the area have a 15% “qourum rule.”

At the November 1 club meeting, a motion was made by John MacDonald-K4BR that the BARC “33-1/3% quorum rule” be changed to a “15% quorum rule.”  The motion was seconded by full club member Diane  Magin,KN4ADD, and passed unanimously by all club members of record for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The proposed amendment to the By-laws was announced on the front page of the club’s website at http://burkearc.com from November 2, 2018 to December 14, 2018…

December 13 meeting – With more than a 33-1/3% quorum present at the December 13, 2018 club meeting, a final vote on the motion to change the quorum at general meetings from 33-1/3% to 15% of the total membership was given final approval at the December 13 club meeting by unanimous vote of all voting-eligible members present.  The second sentence of  Article V. of the by-laws is therefore changed from “At meetings, a minimum of at least one-third (33-1/3%) of all members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business” to At meetings, a minimum of at least 15% of all members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

For sale or wanted!

  • Free to all current club members
  • These listings are for each member’s personal equipment only
  • Please type your listing exactly like you’d like for it to appear
  • Contact the seller, not John.
  • Send your listing to
  • Please notify John when your listing sells

No listings at the current time…  Please check back.  Thanks!

Georgia Section Nets List

(September 1, 2016)  Here is a list of HF nets that you may check-in to.

[box style=”blue” icon=”microphone”]Georgia ARES Statewide SSB Net  –  3975 KHz  –  2200 UTC  –  Sunday[/box] [box style=”orange” icon=”keyboard-o”]Georgia ARES Statewide Digital Net (PSK63)  –  3583 KHz  –  2100 UTC  –  Sunday[/box] [box style=”blue” icon=”microphone”]Georgia Single Sideband Net  –  3975 KHz  – 6 PM EST  –  Daily[/box] [box style=”blue” icon=”microphone”]Georgia Traffic and Emergency Net (G-TEN)  –  3982.5 KHz  –  7:15 PM EST  –  Daily[/box] [box style=”blue” icon=”microphone”]Georgia Traffic Net  –  3987.5 KHz  –  1 PM EST  – M-Sa[/box] [box style=”blue” icon=”microphone”]Georgia Cracker Net  –  3995 KHz  –  7 AM EST on M-Sa and 8 AM EST on Sun[/box] [box style=”green” icon=”pencil-square”]Georgia State Net (CW) – 3549 KHz – 7 PM EST and 10 PM EST – Daily[/box] [box style=”green” icon=”pencil-square”]Georgia Training Net (CW)  –  3549 KHz  –  9 PM EST  –  Daily[/box]