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!
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.
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.
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!
Dunnigan, thank you for stepping up and supporting the club in yet another way!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
4/22/2016: IRLP Node 335(0) has been moved back to the 145.34. (Thanks to Mike, KI0GO, and his snowmobiles.) All is back to normal in RMRL world.
4/12/2016: Due to a technical problem, the IRLP Node 335(0) has been temporarily moved over to the 145.430 repeater. The road to the 145.34 repeater is impassable until further snow melt, so no firm date can be set at this time as to when it will be moved back to the 145.34.
Operationally everything is the same, it is just a different frequency.