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.

How to sound like a pro when operating on a repeater

 

repeater guidelines
How to sound like a pro when operating on a repeater

This guide was written in an effort to help Elmer newly-licensed hams (and those who may or may not have a CB background) on common conventions used when operating on repeaters. None of us are perfect and even long-time hams slip up now and then, but we hope that this guide will help you sound like a pro when operating on repeaters.

The guide provides positive guidelines, and lays out common nomenclature used by convention on repeaters. There are no hard and fast rules. Your ham license won’t be revoked, no one is going to laugh and point, but you are more likely to get a positive response when you sound like you know the lingo and use it appropriately.

See the companion document: Participating in a Net.

The YL Family Net comes to the RMRL! Update!

Denver Area YL Net
YL Family Net
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
145.340

Note: The YL Family Net is moving from Saturday mornings to Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m., effective immediately.  End your work-week with a nice, relaxing family activity. Gather the family around and join in – third party check-ins are welcomed and encouraged.

It’s been a while since a YL Net was heard on Denver area repeaters, so we were pleased when member Trish, K9FOG, approached us about reconstituting the Net. With a twist.

Trish feels that a net encouraging the “Young Ladies” (YLs) of the hobby to actively participate in the repeater community is important. “A lot of women are licensed, but you don’t hear many of them on the repeaters. I would like a net that will encourage women of all ages to participate in the hobby.”

As a busy mom who works outside the home full-time, Trish felt strongly enough about getting other women on the air that she was willing to head up the effort.

YL with a twist

Trish’s vision of a net went beyond the YL segment of the community to encompass the entire family: children, teens, and yes, men as well. She wants to make it a place of meaningful discussion with and for the entire family.

“More than just a YL Net, I’d like to see this as a family-oriented net.  A place where our ladies can join in and share with each other as well as the whole amateur radio family. And yes, men are welcome!”

Trish is busy planning topics for discussion, with a few light subjects thrown in. Expect to hear about everything from how not to get taken advantage of when you take your vehicle in for servicing or repairs to activities that you can do with your kids/grand kids for some meaningful together time.  She revealed several other topics to us but you will have to tune in to find out what they are.

A YL role model

Trish is a great example to her teen daughter, Cheyenne, KD0EXI, and son Austin, KD0GPE, on two counts.  First, if you really want something, work to make it happen and; second, she is helping to create a welcoming and relaxed net that her daughter and son can participate in along with their peers and families.  We expect that the YL Family Net will be a very popular place to gather.

Come and meet the YL who is making it all happen and join us every Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. on the 145.340, beginning on May 6th.

Repeater repair on the 145.220

repeater repair on the 220
Mike, KI0GO, accesses a board on the repeater.

Thank you to a couple of members who reported something amiss on our 145.220 repeater.

Our President, Dunnigan, K1DUN, and star technical guy Mike, KI0GO, made the trip to the site this past week to effect the repairs.  It turned out to be a controller issue.  Thank you to Glenn, WN0EHE, for being available by telephone for a troubleshooting consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

repeater repair behind the equipment
Mike has to really dig in to make the repair.
repeater repair consultation
Consulting Glenn, WN0EHE, by phone. Thanks, Glenn!

Please report any repeater problems

Please report any repeater problems immediately.

It is easier than ever to report a problem with a RMRL repeater. The new REPEATER PROBLEM REPORT form can be found on the three repeater pages as well as the Contact Us page. If you look on the main Repeater Page (Menu item RMRL Repeaters) and find the status of a repeater is ‘Up’ but you encountered a problem, then please fill out a Repeater Problem Report immediately.

We appreciate your help!

Here, for your convenience, is our new Repeater Problem Report form.  (Note: we are asking for your name and e-mail address in case we need to contact you for clarification.)

Your Name (required)

Your E-mail (required)

Select Repeater (required)

Please describe the problem

Winter Repeater Repair on the IRLP and Echo Link nodes

Winter repeater repairs start with a truck and snowmobiles.

It takes more than an arctic cold front and over a foot of unplowed snow to sideline the dedicated hams of the Rocky Mountain Radio League. The IRLP and Echo Link nodes on the .340 repeater malfunctioned, requiring a visit to the repeater site to repair.

Mike Kionka, KI0GO, provided the truck, snowmobiles, and skilled driving talent to negotiate the dangerous roads to the repeater site. He was accompanied by Dunnigan, K1DUN, (acting President). Of course the repairs had to be tested and Tim Banks, KE4GUQ, stayed by his radio to help complete the task.

Although they make a great team, we hope they won’t have to make the trip again this winter. Be sure to thank them the next time you hear them on the air!

 

Now that’s dedication!
Mike, KI0GO, makes the necessary repairs.

This repeater is flown by the Edge of Space Sciences balloon launch group

EOSS view from 94,000 ft.
Hanging around at just over 94,000 ft.

You have all heard this portion of the Monday night nets:

“We have a balloon repeater with a receive frequency of 445.975 MHz and a transmit frequency of 147.555 MHz. This repeater is flown periodically by the Edge of Space Sciences balloon launch group.”

But maybe you’ve never gone on to look up just what the Edge of Space Sciences balloon launch group is or does.  From their web site:

What is EOSS

Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) is a Denver, Colorado based non-profit organization that promotes science and education by exploring frontiers in amateur radio and high altitude balloons.

Since its first flight in 1990, EOSS has grown its volunteer membership’s numbers and skills over the course of more than 200 launches, ascents into the stratosphere and payload recoveries. Today, it is widely recognized as one of the premier organizations in its field.

EOSS was incorporated in the State of Colorado in 1991 and is recognized by both Colorado and the U.S. Government as a 501(c)(3), tax exempt, scientific and educational organization.

EOSS fligh 218
Falling back to earth.

What We Do

Our members utilize amateur radio and balloons to advance scientific study of the upper atmosphere. We regularly work with educators, offering valuable opportunities to enhance their students’ studies of science, mathematics and technology through real, hands-on experience.

EOSS has conducted as many as thirteen balloon projects in a year, sending radio-equipped payloads deep into the stratosphere over eastern Colorado. Our typical apogee of 95,000 feet is above 99% of the Earth’s atmospheric mass, where the sky is black and the highest clouds remain far below. VHF and UHF radio signals transmitted from this height are received as far as 400 miles away!

Sometimes called the “Edge of Space”, this largely unexplored territory offers a wealth of opportunities for scientific observation and has even served as a reasonable approximation to outer space for testing prototype spacecraft. Gas balloons are the most practical means to get there, since rockets can visit it only briefly, and it is unattainable by ground-based aircraft. Because of the low cost of balloon flight expendables and recovery of payloads, one local high school teacher characterized EOSS as the “Poor Man’s Space Program”.

Individuals have many opportunities to exchange ideas with their fellow members. A monthly meeting is conducted the second Tuesday of each month.

On each remaining Tuesday, a radio meeting on-the-air, or net, is conducted at 8 P.M. During this “net” weekly updates on EOSS projects and news bulletins concerning amateur radio balloon projects around the country are discussed.

Please go to eoss.org for more information.  See the current schedule in the text box marked “EOSS Upcoming Flights.

They have flown many interesting missions over the years, with payloads from a variety of sources, from university students down to elementary school students.  Check the EOSS YouTube channel for mission videos.  RMRL member Skylar, KD0WHB, was involved in a mission when he was attending the Denver School of the Arts.  You can see several videos from mission EOSS-218 on YouTube, but this short one captures some amazing images as it reached just over 94,000 ft. before bursting and heading back to earth.

449.450 Has a New Trustee

Our 449.450 repeater has a new trustee.  Richard, WB5YOE, has been the trustee of this repeater for many years.  He is leaving the area to pursue employment opportunities elsewhere.  Dunnigan, K1DUN, has agreed to assume the trusteeship.

We’re very sorry to see Richard go.  He is a long-time RMRL member and has always been available to assist the club with whatever needs doing.  In addition to his trusteeship, he has served on the technical committee, organized club picnics, assisted with hamfests, climbed towers, and many other things too numerous to list.  Thanks Richard for all your help over the years – we wish you the best in your new endeavors!

WB5YOE cooks at a 1991 picnic
Richard, WB5YOE, cooks at a 1991 RMRL picnic.

Dunnigan, thank you for stepping up and supporting the club in yet another way!

Devil’s Head Repeater (449.125 MHz) Removed from Service

On June 11, 2016 a group of RMRL volunteers removed our 449.125 MHz repeater from its location at the Devil’s Head fire lookout in Douglas County. It was a coda to the 16-year operation of the “site west of Sedalia” for the RMRL club.

The Devil's Head repeater installation team - 2000.

The installation team at the bottom of the steps up to the tower.

Former RMRL member Warren, N0FVG approached the Forest Service in 1999 with a proposal to place a club repeater at Devils Head. Warren and Joe, WT0C worked with Forest Service personnel and secured a permit in August 2000. A team of RMRL volunteers installed the repeater in September 2000. The equipment was carried 1.4 miles up the trail and the last 143 steps to the tower on a gurney. Ed, KA0ZAS was in charge of the repeater installation.

The devil is in the details: 143 steep stairs tops the easy hike up the mountain.
The devil is in the details: 143 steep stairs tops the easy hike up the mountain. Total round-trip is 2.8 miles; bottom to top is a 940 ft. rise in elevation.

In its early years, the 449.125 MHz repeater was used by the Front Range Electronic Direction Finders (FREDF) group for training and coordinating aircraft ELT signal searches. Perhaps the repeater’s finest hours came in 2002 when it was utilized extensively for health and welfare traffic during the Hayman forest fire. The repeater’s excellent coverage of the fire area to the west and the populated Front Range to the east made it ideal for this purpose. More recently the repeater has supported general club communications.

Amazing view from the top of Devil's Head.
The view from the top of Devil’s Head is stunning. A view of the tower from the north after the repeater was installed. The repeater’s antenna is at the far right. Devil’s Head Lookout is the last of the seven original Front Range Lookout towers still in continuous use.

On June 11, 2016 the repeater was removed. This was done because the U. S. Forest Service declined to renew the club’s permit. Brian Banks, District Ranger of the South Platte Ranger District, indicated amateur radio is not consistent with the fire lookout’s use and detracts from the public’s enjoyment. He also expressed concern about interference. Mr. Banks denied our permit renewal application despite the fact there have been no aesthetic or interference complaints involving our repeater in the almost 16 years it was at Devils Head.

The removal team from left to right: Graham (K1DUN’s son); Dunnigan, K1DUN; Ed, N0MHU and daughter Beth; Glenn, WN0EHE; Skyler, KD0WHB; Anna, W0ANT; Joe, WT0C; Mike, KI0GO. Not pictured: Mimi, N0KRB who took the photo.

As of this writing, the RMRL is looking for a new home for the 449.125 repeater site. If you know of a location that may be suitable, please inform any of the officers.

Many thanks to the volunteers who disassembled the repeater and antenna and transported them down. A shout-out also to the Columbine LDS church youth group who gave us much-needed assistance in carrying out that heavy cabinet!

Squaw Mountain repair 2016-June

Last week (first week of June, 2016), the Squaw Mountain site was left without power following a lightning storm. This took both RMRL repeaters (146.940 and 449.450) off the air, including for the June 6th weekly net. The backup generator failed to start automatically. When commercial power returned two days later, the replacement power company transformer put out 160 VAC instead of the normal 120 VAC and damaged several pieces of equipment at the site. Fortunately, RMRL’s well-designed system prevented the increase in power from taking out any critical or expensive components.

Glenn (WN0EHE) and Dunnigan (K1DUN) made a trip to the site on Sunday, June 12th. It was discovered that a single MOV in the power line filter had blown, thereby interrupting the AC current overload and protecting the rest of the system. We replaced some transient protectors and were back on the air. The 146.940 and 449.450 machines are, once again, fully operational.

Squaw Mountain repeater hit by lightning June 2016
Glenn (WNØEHE) troubleshooting the system on June 12th (2016)
Squaw Mountain lightening strike - replacing a filter
This little AC power line filter had to be replaced.