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Stormy Weather

A couple days ago we posted about potentially shutting down the repeaters if the storms got too bad. Well as you probably noticed, there were no storms at all.  The same holds true anytime there are storms.  It is really nice when you own the tower because you have access to the repeaters at any time.  When you rent space or loan space on someone else’s tower, you are at the mercy of a third party to get permission to go up on the tower.  In our case, it is as simple as disconnecting a few cables and enjoying the storm.

In times that we do turn off the repeater, you can still get some pretty good storm coverage from WX5OUN on the WX5OKC repeater on 145.41 MHz.  It is usually a controlled net so it is not recommended to just go over there and start talking when you hear the CW letter “W” (dit dah day) on their courtesy tone. Another good source that I’ve found is the W5NOR, 147.06 MHz or the K5EOK repeater 147.315 MHz.

There are infinite weather sources in the area so there is no need to leave our repeater on the air when lightning is close by.  Usually, we either get on simplex, 147.48 MHz or we’ll browse around and listen to other repeaters during severe weather.  We hope you all stay safe and for those other storm enthusiasts like me, enjoy them all you can.

Paul, K5GLH

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Repeater During Storms

NWS

With potential severe weather this afternoon in the area, we may decide to disconnect the repeaters in the event of a lot of lightning.  The repeaters and their respective IRLP/Echolink nodes are very expensive equipment and it only makes sense to take whatever precautions we can.  It is very possible that we get no storms at all, and there is a possibility that we will. We just want you to know that if you try to key them up this afternoon and get no response, then you’ll know that we took them offline on purpose until the weather passes.

Thank you!

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Node 4122 on 443.3 MHz

If you have tried using the IRLP or Echolink nodes on the 443.3 repeater you may have noticed the audio would drop after connecting. We’ve discovered that it was just a simple push to talk (PTT) wirecoming lose from the terminal. We will have that fixed today so it shouldn’t be a problem. We’re sorry for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused.

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146.7 MHz Issues

A couple days ago, K5GLH and W5QO were talking on the 146.7 MHz repeater when they noticed the signal coming back from the repeater was intermittently weak and was preceded by static.  Later, K5GLH received an email from a user saying they experienced the same thing while connected to an IRLP node.  At first we thought it was a fluke but now it is clear there is a cold solder joint or possibly a pot that has some connectivity issues on the power amplifier.

We have not had a chance to check it out yet but we just wanted to let everyone know that we are aware of the problem.  We do have backup repeaters to use when we get a few minutes to swap them out.  Keep in mind, the backup repeaters have different courtesy tones set on them so you’ll know when the backup is being used. You can still use the repeater but just be aware that if the other person doesn’t come back to you or you stop hearing courtesy tones, that you are experiencing this issue.

We have family here so we are not able to get to it immediately. We appreciate your patience and we’ll get to it as soon as we have some time.

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APRS Objects

This week we added Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) object scripts to both of our IRLP nodes.  This adds an object to the map showing IRLP-4122 and IRLP-3013 at the tower site on the map. The negative side to this is that both objects are on top of each other.  We have set them to beacon at different times so that each one will be dominant at different times.  The 146.7 MHz repeater, IRLP-3013 is set to beacon once every 10 minutes while the 443.3 MHz, IRLP 4122 is set to beacon every 15 minutes.  Since they both show up on top of each other on the map, you really can’t read the text.

To alleviate the two nodes being stacked on top of each other we moved node 3013 one slightly to the North so that they show up beside each other vertically instead of stacked on top of each other.We noticed there were some stations up in Canada that were doing it this way. Now when you look at them on aprs.fi, you will see the two nodes on the map with IRLP-3013 slightly North of IRLP-4122, even though both of them are on the same tower.

When you click on them, they show the repeater frequency, offset, PL tone and our web site.  Hopefully this will help those traveling through to be able to locate our IRLP nodes.  We couldn’t show the Echolink nodes simply because there was not enough space to show them. Our web sites reflect them so people should still be able to find them.  If you have any questions, please let us know.

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Repeater Etiquette

This evening the subject came up on the 443.3 repeater about quick keying and what is acceptable when connected to a link system. There are a couple points on this that are interesting to take note of.
 
1. Any time you are on a repeater, any repeater, it is a good idea to wait a few seconds after one person unkeys before you key up yourself. This is because there may be others that need to disconnect their node from the link system and since it is a one way communication, only one person can key up at a time on the node. If you need to disconnect, you have to wait until someone unkeys.
 
2. Once you key up on the repeater when it is connected to an IRLP or Echolink node, wait a couple seconds after keying before talking. This is because the Internet link has a slight delay and many other repeaters have their own inherent delays that prevent your first couple of words from making it through the link. If you key up and start talking immediately, the people on the other end will miss the first couple of words. You can tell if either of our nodes are connected by keying up and giving your call sign and then entering * 10, that is star ten. The node will read back “link clear” if it is not connected. Otherwise it will play back the node number that it is connected to.
 
3. Lastly, as with any repeater, it is only common courtesy to give your call sign before entering DTMF tones. Also, besides courtesy, there is a real reason for doing this. You may dial into the node and once connected, a QSO may already be going on the other end. Assuming the other parties continue their QSO more than ten minutes, you may not have time to give your call sign in accordance with FCC rules without keying over the other parties. The FCC does not require giving call sign at the beginning but we request that people do in this case. We hope everyone understands. It is only for these reasons that we ask this.
 
Thank you!
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Echolink Added to 443.3 MHz

Good afternoon and Happy New Year!

Today we added Echolink or better named EchoIRLP to the node on 443.3 MHz.  Previously we had no need to put Echolink on this node because used it as a full time WIN System repeater.  While you can still connect to the WIN System at any time, we no longer leave it connected 24 hours a day.  This is because there are not enough control operators to monitor it 24 hours a day.

If you are looking on the Windows Echolink software, you will see the 443.3 MHz repeater listed as W5DEL-L.  They will not let you have more than one repeater with the -R suffix so we used the -L which would normally be a simplex node.  Despite the -L suffix, it is a full duplex repeater.  The new node ECHOLINK node number for this repeater is 794636 if you are trying to dial in remotely.  If you have the operating manual, the instructions are the same on dialing an Echolink node on the 443.3 MHz repeater as it is the 146.7 MHz repeater. We have also changed the location in Echolink to show Oklahoma City instead of Del City. This was done so that people not living in the area would know where the nodes are located. Most people are unaware that Del City is a suburb of Oklahoma City.

We are working on a 2017 manual to give out to our users. Once complete, we will email a pdf version to each person as long as those on our roster have current email addresses.

To summarize the node numbers, the 146.7 MHz repeater is both IRLP node 3013 and Echolink node 164667.  The 443.3 MHz repeater is both IRLP node 4122 and Echolink node 794636.

Thank you,

Del City Amateur Radio Society, W5DEL