Twice a year the ARRL offers an event designed to promote Amateur Radio to our youth.
Kids Day is designed to give on-the-air experience to young people and hopefully foster interest in getting a license of their own. It is also intended to give older hams a chance to share their station and love for Amateur Radio with their children, grandchildren, local boy- or girl-scout troop, or other youth group.
We will be connecting our IRLP node on the 145.340 repeater to the IRLP Friends Ham Radio Network that day so that kids in the Denver metro area (and beyond, see the coverage map) can talk to kids in other parts of the United States, and potentially the world. The event starts at noon, local time, and runs until 6:00pm. If there is no traffic, the connection times out, so be active and get on the air!
The topic for the Preparedness Net on 1/20/2018 was about apps that you use as part of your preparedness strategy. The RMRL expressed interest in publishing the list that we compiled, so here it is. Most apps are available for both platforms: iPhone and Android. Most are free unless otherwise noted.
Quite a number of people mentioned their favorite weather app, and among those mentioned were:
Weather Underground (local to your neighborhood, free on both platforms.)
MyRadar Weather Radar (free and paid versions, both platforms.)
Dark Sky – Hyperlocal Weather (Android) $2.99.
Dark Sky Weather (iOS) $3.99.
AccuWeather (free and paid versions, both platforms.)
NOAA Weather Radar & Alerts (Android, although iOS offers several NOAA Weather Radar apps.)
Google Maps – free on both platforms.
US Topo Maps Pro (Android $11.99) ATLOGIS Geoinformatics also offers US Topo Maps free on the Android platform. (They do not appear to offer any iOS apps, although there are plenty of topographical map apps to select from on the iOS platform.)
Offline Maps & Navigation (although this is the specific name of a free Android app, there are plenty of offerings in this category: Google Maps and others have offline options.)
My GPS Coordinates – free on both platforms.
Google Sky Map (Android only, free, however, both platforms have a plethora of star gazing apps available, ranging in price from free on up to aviation-class maps that cost over $100.)
QRZ Callsign Search is available for the iOS Platform (free.)
RepeaterBook (a free Repeater Directory) is available on both platforms.
Ham Radio Dipole Calculator by Haydn Brook, Free on Android. There are antenna calculators for the iOS platform ranging from $.99 to $2.99.
Ham Clock – both platforms have a free app called Ham Clock, although they are from different developers, they both provide local and UTC time, a handy tool for all hams. Free on Android, $.99 on iOS.
Scanner Radio (logo is orange circle with HT scanner, available on the Android platform, offering a free and paid version.)
Broadcastify (free and paid versions on both platforms.)
Scanner 911 (free app on Android platform, although there are a plethora of scanning apps, both free and paid, available on both platforms.)
Red Cross – The American Red Cross offers a multitude of apps, ranging from Blood Donor to Earthquake, Hurricane, Flood, and Tornado preparation apps for both platforms, all free.
WebMD – WebMD offers a variety of apps for both platforms including general health information and specialization apps.
Wild Edibles* – Android $4.99, iOS $5.99.
SAS Survival Guide. Lite version free, iOS and Android full version $5.99.
Zello – walkie talkie app available free for both platforms
*Other apps of this type are free.
The Preparedness Net is hosted by Steve Cosentino every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. local time on the Colorado Connection repeater system, a unique statewide two meter linked FM radio system with additional coverage into adjacent states. The Colorado Connection, consisting of 15-repeaters, is a 501(c)3, relying on donations and volunteers to keep the system operational.
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.