QRZ

Meet your new Chief Technical Officer

Mike Kionka at the RMRL Christmas dinner
Mike Kionka at the 2017 Christmas dinner

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!”

The Swapfest 02/18/2018

Aurora Repeater Association

The Swapfest is an annual event co-sponsored by the Aurora Repeater Association, The Cherry Creek Young Amateur Radio Club, and Rocky Mountain Ham Radio.

Location: Adams County Fairgrounds, 9755 Henderson Road, Brighton, CO

Date: Sunday, February 18, 2018

Time: Doors open to the public at 9:00am.  Event ends at 1:00pm.

Admission: $5.00.

Talk-in frequency: 147.15 (+) 100Hz PL

VE Testing at 10:00a.m.  See their PDF flyer for more information.

Winter 2018 Hamfest – 01/20/2018

Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club

The Winter Hamfest is an annual event sponsored by the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club.

Location: The Ranch, Larimer County Fairgrounds, Thomas McKee 4H Building. Loveland, CO. To reach The Ranch, exit I-25 at Crossroads Blvd., Exit 259. Travel East 1 mile to Fairgrounds Avenue (County Road 5) and go North to the entrance.

Date: Saturday, January 20, 2018

Time: Doors open to the public at 8:00am.  Event ends at 1:00pm.

Admission: $6.00.

Talk-in frequency: 448.025 (-) 100Hz PL

VE Testing at 9:30a.m.  See their PDF flyer for more information.

RMRL Holiday Dinner 12/6/2017 Update

2017 Christmas Party report:

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.

Santa Joe makes sure the present table is ready for guests
Santa Joe makes sure the presents have been delivered!
2017 Christmas party guests
RMRL Christmas Party 2017
2017 Christmas party
Members enjoy the 2017 Christmas Party
the gift table is a RMRL tradition at the Christmas meeting
The gift table – a fun RMRL tradition!

Original Post:

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.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

BrandMeister Explained

Bill Rinker, W6OAV
Bill Rinker, W6OAV

By Bill Rinker, W6OAV

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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

BRANDMEISTER QUESTIONS

  1. Where can I find a list of talk groups?

Good sources are:

http://www.dmr-utah.net/talkgroups.php
https://dmrx.net/files/US_BM_User_Guide.pdf

  1. How can I monitor BrandMeister talk groups?

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.

Figure 1. Displaying all 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).

you can scan and listen to talk groups on the brandmeister website
Figure 2. Scanning and listening to Talk Groups 3100 and 3108.

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.

  1. 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.

 

REFERENCES

Amateur Guide to DMR – http://www.dmr-utah.net/media/Amateur_Radio_Guide_to_DMR.pdf

What is BrandMeister? – https://wiki.brandmeister.network/index.php/What_is_BrandMeister

BrandMeister User’s Guide – https://dmrx.net/files/US_BM_User_Guide.pdf

BrandMeister getting Started Guide – http://papasys.com/dmr/BrandMeisterGettingStartedGuide.pdf

 

The RMRL goes digital!

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!

449.750
Color Code 1
Talkgroup 310894
Timeslot 2
See below for further details.

Rocky Mountain Radio League's digital repeater
Rocky Mountain Radio League’s Motorola SLR5700 digital repeater. Join us on the 449.750!

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.

RMRL digital repeater
Mike dives into the repeater cabinet to get things connected.
Mike programmed and installed the repeater. Thank you, Mike!

If you want to start out with a sample codeplug, try the RMHAM site, and proceed as follows:

  1. In your codeplug, create a contact and RX group for talk group 310894
  2. Create a new channel in your codeplug for accessing to the 310894 talk group via RMRL’s DMR repeater.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

The basics of BrandMeister explained.  Here is the BrandMeister dashboard, and here is the BrandMeister Hoseline.

MD-380 tweak.

Just for fun: Morse Code text message tone

Morse Code ring tone
Download a new ringtone

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.

I’ll leave you to Google how to load the files to your smartphones.  I used this Morse Code Translator site to create the file.

Do you have anything to share?  A smartphone program that relates to ham radio perhaps?  E-mail me at .

5 in 1 weather sensor atop Squaw Mountain

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.”

5 in 1 weather sensor on Squaw Mountain
5 in 1 sensor atop the House of Radios on Squaw Mountain. Tracks wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity and precipitation.

 

Squaw Mountain weather station.
The Rocky Mountain Radio League’s weather sensor on Squaw Mountain.

Thanks go to Kevin, KD0VHD, and Willem, AC0KQ, for their contributions to the Rocky Mountain Radio League. The sensor was installed August 10, 2017.

RMRL 2017-2018 Holiday Schedule

There will be no Rocky Mountain Radio League Nets on the following days:

 

2017

Monday, December 25th, Christmas Day

 

2018

Monday, January 1st, New Years Day

Monday, May 28th, Memorial Day

Monday, September 3rd, Labor Day

Monday, December 24th, Christmas Eve

Monday, December 31st, New Year’s Eve

Change in frequency – Pet Net and YL Family Net

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.

Come and join in the fun!