WHAT'S HAPPENING? - WX4RCA WEBLOG by K1KC

Friday July 21, 2017

     Each members share of the web site cost is due at the next meeting. As you all know, it is minimal, so bring a few extra bucks to the meeting next month.

     For the second time the Yellow River Digital Group held a meeting about digital amateur methods. This time the subject was Yaesu System Fusion and WiRES-X. Thanks to everyone who helped make this meeting a success. Check the Yahoo group "Yellow River Digital Group' for more info.   

  

Saturday July 15, 2017

     Thursday night the monthly meeting was held at the usual place with the usual attendees talking about the usual things. You should have been there. 

     Interest in digital operating remains strong with no sign of letting up. I guess that's a good thing! The Yellow River Digital Group will hold its next meeting on July 21st at 7PM. Interested parties should go to the Yahoo group: Yellow River Digital Group for more information. This month's presentation will feature Yaesu System Fusion and their WiRES-X program. 

     Georgia ARES recommends FLDigi, Winlink/RMS Express and D-Star as the digital platforms for use by Georgia ARES members. The local nets here substitute D-Rats in place of D-Star. Although D-Rats can be accessed by D-Star, it is a very different platform. In fact, Winlink can also be accessed by Internet as can D-Rats. However, access by means of RF is preferred if at all possible. But, getting the message through via whatever means is the goal. 

     I recently heard a ham mention that he did not have an external sound card device. Such a device is not necessary...you can use the internal sound card, and yes, an external device is quite handy. What if you do not have the external device and you do not have the cables to connect to your radio either? Then you can hold the radio's microphone up to the computer's speaker when the tones are transmitting. That works too. I've 'seen' it done. 

     So, what do you do if you don't have a 400' tower as in the picture above? Get one!

  

Tuesday July 11, 2017

     Da Moose brought in 14 check-ins on the voice net last night. Impressive! D-Rats was able to haul in 10 and WInlink another 5. Don't forget about our local friends who are runningnets on other nights or at other times. The Walton County Repeater Group has their net at 8PM on Monday nights...one hour before ours starts. Plus, there is the Newton County net on Thursday nights and the digital practice net on Wednesday nights at 9PM. 

     The weather forecast seems to be for continued rain whenever and wherever it will fall. The grass is pretty happy. In fact, it looks like a jungle out here. I need to sharpen my machete! Oh well, I guess that's better than arid conditions and burned grass. The few days in the current forecast without rain are predicted to be scorchers...one day up to 100°. Weeee!

     Friday and Saturday I went to a hamfest and bought nothing. Sacrilege! Yes, I know it's not right but I couldn't find anything I needed. Plus, it was a good idea for me to save my money. I'm sure that money will find a home soon enough. Now, will I get another chance before the Lawrenceville hamfest?

  

Tuesday July 4, 2017

     Happy Birthday America! Today we celebrate the birth of our nation by waving flags, exploding fireworks and overeating. What could be more American? Let us celebrate 241 years of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

     This evening's net brought in 4 D-Rats callers, 4 Winlink callers and 10 vox callers. Thanks Moose for another net. Net activity is good! There are nets all the time all over the area. Most nets are voice-only but many of them have included other methods of communication, which is awesome! Don't forget the Wednesday night digital practice net on 146.925. It begins in MT63-2000L with a center frequency of 1500Hz.

     Just this evening I upgraded the WiRES-X software on the shack WiRES-X machine and it is working great. I don't know what is wrong. Let's hope it stays messed up like this. Now I have the pleasure of updating the WiRES-X machine that serves the 146.61 repeater. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it messes up as good as the shack machine did.

     There are a lot of neat things that could be done with WiRES-X......if everybody had compatible radios....and there's the rub. Every manufacturer wants to win the amateur digital war and no one will. We are left speaking different digital languages and they all sound quite different. What's the solution? If there is a solution, it will be provided by hams themselves, not by the major equipment sellers.

     To some extent, the future has been shown. Enterprising hams have designed and produced equipment for mass distribution that allows digital language #1 to speak to digital language #3, and so on. There are virtual conference rooms where the DMR guys can talk to the C4FM guys and the analog guys (gals too) can talk to the D-Star folks. But, it's somewhat hit or miss right now.

     What I mean is this: In the past, all I had to know was what repeater or what frequency you were on if I wanted to talk to you. Now I have to know what (digital) language you speak and where in the digital world it is spoken at. Most of this relies on the Internet, which is good and bad at the same time. We are not in control of the Internet and if it is not available, much of the digital revolution will go ker-flop!

     We can be in control of RF devices and those can be digital too. No, I can't do many of the things the Internet can do for me, simply with my digital RF device, but I can do a lot. If we are to survive and be relevant in the digital age, we should adopt our past practices to the new technology. Wuzzat? Amateurs long ago learned not to rely solely on the mains and to have backups to the backups. We can do that with our digital devices.

     What have I done? I started by building a 24/7 emergency power supply for my repeaters. Of course, they have lightning protection too. I put everything critical I could on that emergency power supply. That included my Internet modem, router, VoIP adapter, a printer and so forth. The Linux server for Allstarlink and the computer that runs WiRES-X in the repeater room are all on EP. So are the fans to cool the equipment...everything I could think of. Okay, you can get carried away, but I want reliability. It's when things so bad that you need reliability, not when things are going well. 

     Now I am working on a more powerful, more robust system to power the shack. It's taking me a long time, true, but progress is being made. But you can start anywhere. Maybe you already have some sort of backup for your radio. Maybe you have a plan to drag the car battery in the house from out in the car. Good! You have a plan!

     What about some of the other things I mentioned? Can you power your modem/router, a computer, powered telephones (they all seem to require power now), a printer and some lights? Awesome! Let your imagination be your guide. And if you never need to use it, then be thankful it never came to that.

     Twice the power failed here in the last several months, which is pretty unusual. It did not stay off long, and I'm grateful. Both times I just happened to be in the repeater room when the lights went out, but the radios went right on humming along. I was proud! I was prepared. 

  

Thursday June 22, 2017

     Tonight brought the monthly meeting of Rockdale ARES. Dicussion focused mostly on digital modes and equipment. K1KC announced the name of the digital learning group. It is Yellow River Digital Group and can be found on Yahoo Groups.

  

  

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