Archive for the ‘echolink’ Category
I’m sure that you have heard of NPOTA, National Parks On The Air, and SOTA, Summits On The Air, and probably even POTA, Parks On The Air, The US program for the World Wide Flora and Fauna, but have you heard of the latest event that starts on Sunday, Dec 11, 2017?
Starting at 0000 UTC time on December 11, 2017 the new year long event celebrating multiple anniversaries for the NASA program will start. It is called NOTA or NASA On The Air.
With several NASA clubs doing several special event stations of the coming year, they decided to make a year long event where you, as the end user, can contact the stations to earn points through the year. You can even gets points during other events like Winter Field Day, the ARRL Field Day and others.
Losten to my latest podcast episode where I talk with Rob Suggs about it:
If you are anything like me you have used those little repeater directories and strained your eyes in the process. I use to hate trying to find a repeater to use while I was on a trip. Most of the time, while I was on a trip, the town that I was in didn’t have any repeaters in it, but the next town over did. Maybe it was two towns over, or the third of fourth town that I look at in the directory. Either way, it was a pain in the…well you know.
Bob had the same thinking that I did all those years ago, but he acted on it. He went and digitized all the repeater data that was available and made it into an Android app. It is now available to IPhone, Android and on the web for just a small fee.
RFinder is the official repeater directory of Canada, the United Kingdom as well as 13 other countries. This year the ARRL partnered with RFinder to print the 2017 ARRL repeater directory. This years directory has 10,000 more listings and is the first time that the ARRL has crowd sourced the repeater information. The data that RFinder uses comes from many different places including Repeater societies, club websites and directly from repeater owners.
For more information about RFinder, hear it from Bob himself in the latest episode of the Everything Ham Radio Podcast at http://www.everythinghamradio.com/podcast/75
It is hard to believe that June is almost over and Independence day will be here in less that ten days! It is time for that long weekend off, where families and friends get together to have a bar-b-que and “party” together. While celebrating the day is good, celebrating the week is even better, and that is exactly what we talk about in this interview.
This special event started back in 2009 and has grown every year since. Operators from each of the original 13 colonies will be on the air from Jul 1 through Jul 7 at different times. You can be part of this special event by making contact with any or all of the 13 colony stations or the two bonus stations.
Well the node is up and seems to be running reasonably well. The software is reporting distortion on the input but I think that is more to do with the close rf during testing. There are now some isolating transformers and a resistor in series to knock back a bit of signal and it seems to be ok when I connect through the web interface. Perhaps some other measures might help. Its still running on vox but until I can work out how to do the ptt easily I’ll stick with that.
I’ll leave it on for a while and see what I get back from the locals. Here’s a reminder of the details
Callsign – MB7IAH-L
Node number – 243350
Freq – 144.9625 Mhz
CTCSS – 103.5Hz
Power – 1.6w (hold onto your rf hats!)
Antenna – 1/2 wave dipole
All powered by a Raspberry Pi, Svxlink and a Baofeng UV-5R.
There’s been a bit of positive progress on the node at g7kse headquarters.
Mucking about with Echolink software proved a time consuming affair. This and that connected but not playing with each other and some absolutely horrendous noises coming out of all sort places and some shocking audio means that there is a good chance that isolation is needed. So a couple of transformers have been ordered.
Once the software is sorted on windows and I have all the hardware playing nicely I’ll move onto the RPi. I have a lot less experience with linux and image that hours will be consumed (lost) compiling and fulfilling dependencies and other joyous things that you get just installing stuff on linux. The benefits way outweigh the drawbacks. A headless and simple set up is key to a lightweight setup.
Once the odds and sods have arrived I hope to get something up and running reasonably quickly. Daniel, M6ENL and I had a quick go with it last night and it worked well enough for us it was nowhere near robust enough to be let out in the wild.
Onwards and upwards…….
p.s. The GPS on the U3 died as well so there’s that to fix too. Bugger.
Today I received a very nice email from Ofcom. It was my NoV for my echolink node.
Whilst I won’t be able to get it up and running this weekend because we have guests I hope to have everything up, running and ready for use early next week.
There is a restriction of 1.6w TX output using the 1/2w dipole (vertically polarised) but I’m keen to get the thing up and running. Eventually It’ll all be on the RPi but for now it might be quicker to install onto one of the old netbooks and to use that as a way of optimising audio and tx settings before going headless. There are a few restrictions on its use but they are perfectly sensible and being able to be unattended is a real bonus.
Exciting times. Here’s hoping it’ll get used by more than just me.
Over here in G (or M or 2) land echolink nodes need to have permissions from the grown ups. So I’ve sought permission from Ofcom, with the help of the RSGB. I applied for an MB7 node, which means it is can be unattended. In order to do this I needed a minimum of 4 people who are key holders so the node can be shut down quickly. Sounds reasonable? Sounds a bit British to me. Belt and braces and some more belts just for luck.
The node will hopefully be on 2m and I have been told that if it gets granted then I could expect around 2w ERP. I don’t want to sound selfish but I have only heard 2m simplex used in this area for the local net and once in a blue moon Dent gets activated by a SOTA or WOTA chap(ess). VHF in general is scarcely used and its a shame. UKAC evenings and the normally quiet repeaters with their occasional skeds excepting mean that both 2m and 70cms are dead.
What can be done about it?
Making it appealing to use, perhaps? A bit of activity always helps.
Internet link may give some users an opportunity not only with existing amateurs but could make it appealing to those on the periphery of the hobby. Makers for example.
Anyway, let the waiting begin and we’ll see where we get to with Ofcom