At our December meeting, Mike Kionka, KI0GO, was named the Chief Technical Officer, a new position in the Rocky Mountain Radio League club.
Mike’s interest in radio communications was piqued as a teen when he started out playing with scanners and CB radio.
He went on to get his ham license in 1995 with the call sign KB0UCA. Mike then upgraded to Advanced around 1997 and got the call sign KI0GO. Although he upgraded to Extra around 1999 (after they eliminated the 20 wpm Morse code requirement), he kept the KI0GO callsign.
Mike graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2001 with a degree in electrical engineering. When he’s not helping out the RMRL, Mike works as a professional electronics engineer on radio and microwave communications systems.
In the summer he keeps busy with motorcycle road racing (http://mra-racing.org) on his Kawasaki Ninja 250. In the winter, he enjoys snowmobiling.
Mike has done a phenomenal job for the club, going to great lengths to get to and repair our repeaters and in bringing up our new DMR equipment. The next time you hear him on the air, be sure to join us in saying, “Thank you, Mike!”
This article is for BrandMeister users who are somewhat familiar with the DMR protocol. This article does not go into explaining the DMR protocol. That information is provided in the links listed at the end of this article.
BRANDMEISTER VERSES DMR MARC
Before beginning, definitions must be made:
Time Slots – There are two digital time slots on a DMR repeater which provide two independent voice channels.
Talk groups – Independent “voice channels” available in each time slot.
Code Plug – A radio’s configuration file.
What are the differences between C-Bridge and BrandMeister?
The major difference between C-Bridge and BrandMeister is that BrandMeister allows a local user to key up and route any desired talk group whereas the C-Bridge network only allows a local user to key up and route talk groups as defined by the C-Bridge sysop.
Both Networks have static talk groups and dynamic talk groups. Definitions:
Static Talk group – A talk group which is always active meaning that DMR network traffic is always sent to the repeater on a designated time slot without any user intervention. Static talk groups are configured in the network and cannot be modified by the local user. A local user can only key up static talk groups that are configured on the repeater.
Dynamic Talk group – A talk group which only sends DMR network traffic to the repeater when a local user keys up that talk group. The talk group network traffic will be sent to the repeater for a period of 15 minutes after the most recent key up by the local user. A BrandMeister local user can key up any of the many available talk groups. The local user’s code plug programming controls talk group access.
In some cases, there are different equivalent talk groups between the two networks. For example, most C-Bridges use TG 1 as their worldwide talk group whereas the BrandMeister worldwide talk group is 91. However, some talk groups are shared and cross-connected.
Why don’t I hear as much talk group traffic on a BrandMeister repeater as I do on a C-Bridge repeater?
As described above, unlike a C-Bridge repeater which carries “always on” traffic, a BrandMeister time slot will not carry talk group traffic until a local user keys up a talk group.
Using a computer, iPad, or smart phone, access the BrandMeister Dashboard at https://hose.brandmeister.network/scan/. See Figure 1. Click the Scanner button at the top to display all the active talk groups.
To scan and listen to a particular talk group, or scan and listen to a set of talk groups, enter the talk group number(s) in the talk group list and click “Apply”. Figure 2 illustrates scanning and listening to talk groups 3100 (USA) and 3108 (Colorado).
If you hear a conversation that is of interest, key up that talk group (if it is in your code plug) and join the group! Note the Dashboard VU meter and spectrum display. These are great for checking your transmitter audio.
Another benefit of the scanner is that one can listen to various talk groups and decide which interesting ones to add to the code plug.
Why is my Channel Busy LED on but when scanning I don’t hear any talk group traffic?
A local user may have keyed up one of the many talk groups that aren’t in your radio’s code plug.
BRANDMEISTER TALK GROUP KEY UP PROCEDURE
Due to the nature of dynamic talk groups specific procedures must be used when keying up a talk group. If done improperly several different issues can occur:
A local user keying up a talk group can isolate another local user from a talk group he was using.
A local user can key up a talk group and disrupt an existing conversation on that talk group.
A local user can key up multiple talk groups on the same time slot which can possibly create talk group chaos.
Key Up Procedure
Before keying up a talk group, monitor the Channel Busy LED for at least a minute. If the LED doesn’t light then both time slots are idle. Key up your desired talk group. Then listen for at least a minute before transmitting to determine if the talk group is busy. The reason for listening is because if a remote talk group user is transmitting when you keyed up the talk group, you will not hear his audio nor will the Channel Busy LED light. You will hear audio, and the Channel Busy LED will light, when the next remote user begins transmitting.
If the Channel Busy LED is on, or flashes on and off, then one or both of the time slots are busy. To determine if your desired time slot is idle or busy, wait until the Channel Busy LED is on and then key up your talk group. If a busy tone results, then your desired time slot is busy. Do not key up again until the Channel Busy LED has been off for a minute indicating that the time slot is now idle. The Channel Busy LED will turn off and then back on between long conversation “overs”.
If keying up while the Channel Busy LED is on results in a “connect confirmation tone”, then your time slot is idle and your talk group has been activated. As mentioned above, listen before transmitting.
Announcing RMRL’s very first DMR repeater! It’s now on the air from Guy Hill on RMRL’s 449.750 repeater frequency. This Motorola SLR5700 is on the Brandmeister network. Try it out!
Color Code 1
See below for further details.
If you have a TYT digital radio, we are looking for someone who can be our “go to” person to help other club members program their radios.
If you have a Motorola digital radio, contact Becky at . Include your name, call sign, and telephone number. We will put you in touch with someone who has the Motorola programming software (and knows how to use it) and will meet you at HRO to program your radio.
Thanks to everyone who worked to bring it online, including Mike, KI0GO, Glenn WN0EHE, and Dunnigan K1DUN.
If you want to start out with a sample codeplug, try the RMHAM site, and proceed as follows:
In your codeplug, create a contact and RX group for talk group 310894
Create a new channel in your codeplug for accessing to the 310894 talk group via RMRL’s DMR repeater.
Set the new channel parameters to 449.750 on RX, 444.750 on TX, time slot = 2, color code = 1, and RX group is the one you created that includes the 310894 contact.
Set other channel parameters as desired.
Follow steps 1-4 for any other talkgroup(s) you’d like to access through RMRL’s DMR repeater but use time slot 1 instead of 2.
At the 2016 annual meeting, our new President, Dunnigan, made a commitment to the club to have a DMR repeater on the air by the end of the year. That commitment was fulfilled in November when the club’s new Motorola SLR5700 Digital Mobile Radio repeater made its debut from Guy Hill on the club’s existing 449.750 frequency pair. For more detailed information, check out our QRZ page “The RMRL Goes Digital!”. We invite all RMRL members with DMR radios to come check it out!
Mike Kionka, KI0GO, was named the Chief Technical Officer for the club, and recognized for his extraordinary efforts and skill in keeping the RMRL repeaters in good repair and on the air. Even when the trip needs to be completed by snowmobile in several feet of snow.
As a matter of fact, all the contributors to the RMRL were recognized. We especially appreciate and acknowledge our Membership Chairman, Mike Weaver, our Monday night net controller, Bruce Minerly, our backup net controller, Steve Cosentino, our crack technical staff and contributors Mike Kionka, Tim Banks, Ed Boyer, Glenn Cascino, and Ed Weston. We also want to say thank you to our Boy Scout Representative, Roy Crosthwaite.
The annual RMRL holiday dinner will be held Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The location is the Golden Corral buffet restaurant, 3677 S. Santa Fe Drive in Sheridan (west side of Santa Fe immediately south of Hampden).
When you arrive at the restaurant, pay for your party individually and tell the cashier you are with the RMRL group. The cost is $12.49 + tax adults, $11.49 + tax seniors (60+) for all-you-can-eat buffet. Drinks are extra, $2.59 + tax.
From Becky, KD0AOE. I rely on text messages for important communications and wanted a unique tone that would be sure to grab my attention. I ended up making my own ringtone for text messages. It says simply “New Message” in Morse code.
You are welcome to download it for your phone, in either the iPhone .m4r ringtone format or a .wav file that can be used on your Android phone. Right click on the link and select “Save link as …” to save it to your computer.
These photos show the mounting location of the final enhancement to our existing RMRL weather station located atop Squaw Mountain, home of two of our very popular club repeaters.
The new 5 in 1 sensor will now provide us with the ability to track wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity and precipitation amounts at an elevation of 11,460′. In addition, we also have three temperature/humidity sensors located in our repeater rack room. All sensors can be viewed in “real time” throughout our website under the heading “Squaw Mountain Weather.”
Thanks go to Kevin, KD0VHD, and Willem, AC0KQ, for their contributions to the Rocky Mountain Radio League. The sensor was installed August 10, 2017.
Please note that effective immediately, the Pet Net and the YL Family Net are moving to the 145.340. The Pet Net is on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and the YL Family Net is on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (All times are Mountain.)
Why the change? The 145.340 has IRLP and we will be connecting up with the Friends Ham Radio Network, IRLP 9618, Echolink 29618 and AllStar node 27408.
The Pet Net is everything pets. Cats, dogs, snakes, or goats, we don’t care. If you have a pet, had a pet, are thinking of getting a pet, have a friend who has a pet, and just want to share all the goofy and wonderful things that pets bring to our lives, then join us.
The YL Family Net is like a pot luck for your friends and family. Not just for YLs, it’s for everyone: men and children welcome. Third party check-ins are welcomed and encouraged. A relaxed atmosphere in which to discuss such topics as How do you spend your spare time? Categories: 15 minutes or less, a couple hours or less, or all afternoon and/or evening. Also share things like a favorite life hack or how you like to save or spend money. If you had unlimited time and money, where would you vacation? A variety of topics discussed in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The Rocky Mountain Radio League is very fortunate to count Kevin Scofield, KD0VHD, as a member and generous contributor. An award-winning photographer, Kevin had already granted permission to use his amazing panoramic photograph of Denver looking east. It is the first photo that you see when you enter the site. He recently granted permission to use another one of his photos in our header, it’s the third rotating image, a sunburst at Squaw Mountain. The constraints of the header dimensions required some distortion, so please enjoy this view of that image in it’s original dimensions.
We’ve added the copyright notice to protect Kevin’s work, but you should contact him directly to purchase a copy without the copyright notice.
For three months beginning June 11th and running through September 5th, the RMRL is holding a membership drive – with prizes awarded to the members who refer the most new members to the Rocky Mountain Radio League.
The rules are simple:
Eligibility. All winners must be members in good standing (dues current.)
Members of the Board of Directors are not eligible for any prizes. (K1DUN, KD0AOE, WT0C, and WN0EHE.)
All others currently holding positions with the RMRL, such as the technical staff, ARE eligible.
Renewals do not count, the person must be a new member. A renewal is defined as someone whose membership has not expired or whose membership will expire during the period of this Summer Membership Drive. In order to count as a new member, the membership had to have expired on or before 5/31/2017.
To be counted as a “new member,” the person (individual, family, or youth) has to both fill out the membership form AND pay their dues.
The new member must name you as the referrer in their application. The online form asks “Did someone refer you to the RMRL? Let us know who we can thank!” with a place for the Callsign and name of the referrer. The PDF form has a box that reads “Referred by:” also with a place for the Callsign and name of the referrer.
Prize tiebreaker: The member who has checked into the Monday night RMRL net the most during the period of the membership drive will be awarded the prize in the case of a tie.
All members who refer 5 or more people will be awarded one (1) free one-year membership. They can use it for themselves or designate a person of their choosing. Since they, or the person they designate, already has a current membership, the free membership will be applied to the following year. For every 5 members, a free one-year membership will be awarded. Bring in 10 members, receive two (2) free one-year memberships and so on.
The members who refer a minimum of 6 or more members will be eligible to win a free radio! A brand new, in-the-box, TYT MD-380. That is a DMR digital radio, 400-480UHF; an extremely popular choice for those wanting to explore the world of digital ham radio. The member who has the most referrals after meeting the minimum wins, the tiebreaker is how many times the referrer checked into the RMRL Monday night net during the period of the Summer Membership Drive.
Everyone is a winner! Not everyone will win a prize, but we’re all winners when our club gains new members. It makes the RMRL stronger and that’s good for all of us! Be a part of a club that is constantly evaluating new technologies, keeping their existing repeaters in good repair and working order, and welcomes every licensed ham. Be a part of one of the friendliest clubs on the Front Range!