BCARPSG

Jumper Cables Matter

One problem that cropped up after our 443.9 Repeater Upgrade was a decrease in receiver sensitivity. Stations that could once hit the repeater suddenly could not. Transmit power was reduced which we expected to cause some issues, but in fact it was receiver performance that was the problem.

We think this had to do with the use of a RG316 jumper and too many barrell couplers on the receive side, combined with operating in a high RF noise environment. 

Both Rx and Tx jumpers were replaced today, and couplers reduced to one per jumper. Initial reports are of much improved receiver performance. 

See our Repeaters Page for a list of all VHF/UHF repeaters we manage in the county.

basket, easter eggs, easter

Winfield Township Egg-Stravaganza – March 27

CALLING ALL GOOD EGGS :  Amateur Radio volunteers are needed for parking and traffic control at the Winfield Township Community Egg – Stravaganza on March 27th.

Amateur Radio volunteers are needed for this community event.  If you would like to help with this event please contact Club President Julian Savage.

DateSunday, March 27th
Report
Time
9:00 AM
Duration2 hours (estimated)
Required
Equipment
Dual-Band VHF/UHF HT
(don't forget a spare battery)
LocationWinfield Community Park
194 Brose Road
Cabot, PA

Members of the public can find more information on this event by visiting the event’s Facebook Page (CLICK Here).

443.900 Repeater Upgrade – February 20

We will be upgrading hardware at our 443.900 MHz Butler County EOC site on February 20th, 2021.  A two hour maintenance window will start at 11:00 AM and conclude at 1:00 PM. The 443.900 repeater will be intermittently off-the-air during the maintenance window.

The upgrade will involve replacing the existing Icom IC-RP3010 FM repeater (right) with a Yaesu DR-1X System Fusion repeater (above).

After the upgrade 443.900 will support both analog FM and digital voice C4FM modes.

Information on C4FM and System Fusion can be found here: What is System Fusion

Icom IC-RP3010 FM UHF Repeater

What This Means for Current Repeater Users

Repeater operations will continue as normal for most users. The repeater will auto-detect what mode you are transmitting and shift between analog voice and digital voice accordingly.

It is important to note that the repeater can only operate in one mode at a time. It will not covert analog transmissions to digital (a process known as transcoding) or vice versa.

  • Analog operators should set both the PL Tone and Tone Squelch on their radios to 131.8 Hz. While only an uplink tone (PL Tone) is needed to access the repeater, a downlink tone (Tone Squelch) can be used to filter undesirable audio from any digital transmissions.

    Or put another way…

  • Un-decoded digital voice traffic sounds similar to the “modem” sounds you’ve become used to hearing during our Wednesday Night Digital Training Nets. If this sound is annoying or disruptive you can use your radio’s CTCSS tone squelch option to mitigate.

  • Analog operators can interrupt a digital QSO at anytime by keying the repeater. The repeater’s auto-mode detection will drop the digital transmission and reset all stations (digital and analog) to analog FM.

What This Means for C4FM Capable Stations

If you have a radio that supports C4FM digital voice then place your radio in Automatic Mode Select (AMS) mode and set the C4FM mode to either DN (digital normal) or VW (voice wide). As long as  you have enabled AMS then your radio will follow the repeater through digital/analog transitions.

This is a Test and Only a Test

We’re upgrading the repeater at the Butler County EOC as part of a trial to evaluate how digital voice modes fit into the long term communications needs of our club. There are some technical and performance obstacles to overcome with this particular hardware deployment.  If performance falls short of expectations we will revert to the RP3010 analog repeater.

In other words… we’ll see how it goes. 

Amateur Radio Newsline – Tuesdays

We are now carrying the Amateur Radio Newsline on our Alameda Park repeater (147.300+). The weekly report will be transmitted at 2:00AM and 8:00PM on Tuesdays. We hope you enjoy this public service from our club.

IMPORTANT: If you have emergency traffic to pass during this broadcast send DTMF code *999. This code sequence will cancel the transmission until the following week.

christmas tree, ornaments, christmas

Christmas Party – December 9

It’s time for our annual Christmas Party!!! As with everything in 2020 it is going to be a little different but we will adapt. We are amateur radio operators.

Date/Time:  Wednesday, December 9th // 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Location:  Cyber Space

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases here in Butler County we decided to have our first virtual Christmas Party. This will be just like our recent meetings and will allow us to talk and see each other. It’s not the same as getting together in person but it’s the next best thing.

Some fun activities we have planned:

  • BCARPSG Year in Review
  • 2020 Photo/Video Montage
  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest

Cozy up to the computer with your favorite holiday snack and drink. It will be fun!   

Hope to see you there.

Alameda Park Allstar Link Update

On Saturday (9/19/2020) we deployed an Allstar Link node (no. 43418) to our Alameda Park repeater site (147.300 MHz). This gives us the ability to form a linked repeater system with our Winfield Township repeater (145.290 MHz) and to also connect to the Pennsylvania Wide Area Network Repeater System (WANRS). Alameda Park is currently in stand-alone mode and only occasionally connected to Winfield and the WAN-RS. The repeater is currently undergoing testing and adjustments but is OPEN for all general amateur use.

147.300 Allstar Linking Schedule

Our Alameda Park repeater will connect the the the Wide Area Network Repeater System for the following weekly nets.
DayWAN Link TimesNet (Start Time - Name)
Sunday20:55 to 22:55 21:00 - Wide Area Network Repeater System Emergency Service Net
Hosted by Cambria Radio Club ARES/ACS by AB3AA, W3TKR, KB3UIW, or N3SSD using W3WAN
Thursday20:25 to 22:2520:30 - MADXRA Net
Hosted by the Mid Atlantic DX and Repeater Association

Please note that our Winfield Township 145.290 Repeater is linked FULL-TIME to the WAN-RS.

For more information on how we participate in the AllStar Link network and the Wide Area Network Repeater System please visit our AllStar Link Repeater page.

Digital Training Net – Wednesdays

Please join us for our weekly Digital Training Net at 8:00 PM on Wednesdays (except the second Wednesday of the month). The purpose of the net is to learn about digital modes and practice using those modes for emergency response and public service events. All amateurs are welcome regardless of experience with digital communications.  Come to lean and have fun. CLICK Here for details…