Digital Voice Modes Training – March 10

Our March 10th monthly meeting will feature a special Digital Voice Modes training session presented by John Lewis, AI3I. This is great timing considering the recent addition of C4FM digital voice capabilities to our 443.900 MHz repeater.

John Lewis, our local ARRL Technical Specialist, will give a talk on Digital Voice modes for amateur radio. His talk will highlight some of the technical underpinnings that make up DMR, D-STAR, C4FM (Fusion), and to some extent P25 and NXDN.

The March meeting, along with John’s talk, will take place as a Zoom video teleconference.

As with all our meetings, this talk is open to the public. BCARPSG members will receive an e-mail invite with all the details. Non-members can request the Zoom video teleconference login details by contacting


Date:  Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Time:  7:30 PM (John to present at 8:00 PM)
Location:  Virtual. The meeting will take place on Zoom

Please see our February blog post, 443.900 Repeater Upgrade…, for an overview of digital voice capabilities on our 443.900 MHz repeater.

Simplex Drill – January 16

The BCARPSG will be running a VHF simplex drill to test VHF radio-to-radio communications. The drill will take place on Saturday, January 16th at 2:00 PM. All amateur radio stations are welcome to participate in this drill.

BCARPSG Simplex Drill Details

Date/Time:    Saturday, January 16th, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Frequency:    147.57 MHz (simplex)
Frequency:    147.300+ MHz (repeater), PL 131.8


  1. Net Control W3TXG will activate the net and take check-ins on 147.57 MHz starting at 2:00 PM.


  2. If you cannot reach W3TXG then please attempt to relay through a station that has contact with W3TXG.


  3. KA3RNF will monitor the Alameda Park repeater (147.300+/PL 131.8) to assist with any stations that cannot make contact on 147.57

    Please attempt to make contacts on simplex and use relay stations if needed. It will be good practice using relays. If that fails then please check-in with KA3RNF on the repeater frequency and await further instructions.

  4. W3TXG is located in the South-West corner of Butler County so there is a chance you will not be able to make contact without a relay station. As a result, net control may be passed to a centrally located station after the net is underway.

Please keep a log of your contacts and at the conclusion of the drill please forward results to chucklewis at

License Exams – January 24

We are holding an Amateur Radio License Exam session on Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 4:00 PM. Testing for all license classes.

Walk-Ins are Welcome!

Location is the Trinity Presbyterian Church, 107 Staley Ave, Butler, PA 16001.


  • Please plan on arriving at least 15 minutes prior to testing. 
  • Please bring two #2 pencils, scratch  paper, and a check for $15 made out to ARRL.
  • Please bring two forms of ID, and a copy of your current license (if you are upgrading) or your FCC Registration Number (FRN) if this will be your first license.
    • New applicants should create an account at the FCC’s Registration Page prior to attending the exam session. You will be issued your new FRN as part of the account creation process. Bring this number with you to the exam. 
  • Please see the ARRL’s What to Bring to an Exam page for a complete list.

  • Please wear a face covering to the exam in accordance with CDC Guidelines for protecting yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19.

Please use our Contact Us page for any questions regarding this exam session.

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.

SKYWARN Recognition Day – December 5

SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) celebrates the long relationship between the amateur radio community and the National Weather Service SKYWARN program. A Special Event to commemorate SRD will take place on December 5th from 00:00 UTC to 23:59 UTC .

The purpose of the SRD Special Event is to recognize amateur radio operators for the vital public service they perform during times of severe weather and to strengthen the bond between amateur radio operators and their local National Weather Service office. This event is co-sponsored by the ARRL and the National Weather Service

Special Event Information

Objective: To exchange QSO information with as many National Weather Service Stations as possible on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meter bands plus the 70 centimeter band. Contacts via repeaters are permitted.

Dates/Times: December 5th from 00:00 UTC to 23:59 UTC (7:00 PM EST December 4 to 6:59 PM EST December 5)

Exchange: Call sign, signal report, QTH, and a one or two word description of the weather occurring at your site (“sunny”, “partly cloudy”, “windy”, etc.).

Modes: NWS stations will work various modes including SSB, FM, AM, RTTY, CW, and PSK31. While working digital modes, special event stations will append “NWS” to their call sign (e.g., N0A/NWS). NWS offices may also participate via Social Media platforms throughout the 24 hour period.

Registration: CLICK HERE to register for this event and receive your SRD Number

More Information can be found at the ARRL SRD Special Event page.

KDKA Centennial Special Event – November

BCARPSG will join other Pittsburgh area radio amateurs to commemorate the 100th anniversary of experimental amateur radio station 8ZZ. That amateur station eventually became KDKA Radio.

On November 2, 1920 experimental amateur radio station 8ZZ broadcast the Harding-Cox presidential election returns. To celebrate this milestone, amateur radio operators throughout the area will take to the airwaves during the entire month of November to commemorate this historic event using amateur radio call signs K3K, K3D, K3A, and W8XK, the latter being the call sign of KDKA’s shortwave sister station in the 1930’s.


Visit the KDKA Centennial Web Site at

Winter SKYWARN Training – October 27

The National Weather Service Pittsburgh Office will be hosting a SKYWARN Fall & Winter Weather Virtual Training Session on Tuesday, October 27th at 6:00 PM EDT.

This training is open to anyone with an interest in public service.

The training session will be virtual, using the Zoom video conferencing software. You must register prior to the event in order to receive an invite with the conference access codes. Please use the link below to register.

SkyWarn Training for Fall and Winter Weather Presented by the NWS Pittsburgh

Date/Time:  Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 6:00PM

Registration:      CLICK HERE to REGISTER

Topics covered will include snow measurement, snow forecasting, ice forecasting, lake effect snow, climatology of snow in the area, and many more!

Skywarn is a program of the National Weather Service (NWS). Its mission is to collect reports of localized severe weather in the United States.

Tornado Storm Tree Branch Rainstorm  - Barroa_Artworks / Pixabay

Storm Spotter Training – October 26

The National Weather Service State College Office will be hosting a SKYWARN Basic Storm Spotter Virtual Training Session on Monday, October 26th at 6:00 PM EDT.

This training is open to anyone with an interest in public service.

The training session will be virtual, using the GoToWebinar video conferencing software. For additional information and to register for this event please click the registration link below.

SKYWARN Storm Spotter Training Presented by the NWS State College

Date/Time: Monday, October 26th at 6:00 PM (2 hours)

Registration:     CLICK HERE to REGISTER


  • Classes are free and open to the public.
  • Attendees under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
  • Classes typically last about 90 minutes.
  • Be sure to download GoToWebinar on your computer prior to the meeting.
  • Test your device for compatibility by clicking here.
  • Bring a pen/pencil to the class to take notes.


Fall S.E.T. Drill – October 3

The Fall Simulated Emergency Test (SET) exercise will be Saturday, October 3rd.  BCARPSG, along with clubs and amateurs across Western Pennsylvania, will be participating in this test of communications and emergency preparedness.  

Date & Time:  Saturday, October 3rd.  9:30 AM to 12:30 PM EDT.

Incident Radio Communications Plan:  CLICK Here to Download the Keystone Horizon 2020 SET ICS Plan

Documents & Forms

  1. ICS-213 Form
  2. ARRL Radiogram
  3.  ARRL ARES-001 Activity Form
10/2/2020 UPDATE
Please Note, all ACS Field Assignments will be SIMULATED.  However, when accepting an assignment please simulate travel time, set-up and traffic, ad-lib as best you can but keep it realistic.  I.O.W., this is not our first rodeo, most operators can imagine just what shelter requirements would be, act accordingly.  If and when real world incidents materialize, the skills and expertise of our membership can accommodate any and all taskings the EOC Director requires of us.      


General Training Scenario
(KA3KST/WA3GDS Staffing the 911EOC)  – 147.300 Primary Repeater / 443.9 Repeater Alternate. Tone 131.8 Hz
 Read the following statement at the beginning of the Net @1030 and 1130
QST, QST, QST, this is (CALL SIGN, ALPHA / NUMERICAL) Net Control for the Butler County Region 13 Auxiliary Communications Service.
Seasonal severe weather (high winds and heavy rains) across Butler County have caused numerous power outages and road closures due to downed trees and utility lines.  Flooding across low lying areas have forced many to seek emergency shelter.  Even though Butler County does not have a local Red Cross Chapter, surrounding County Chapters have stepped in providing mutual aid support in setting up shelters at some of our local schools.  Butler, Grove City and New Castle medical facilities are reporting numerous injuries from severe weather related incidents.  All ACS amateur radio operators are requested to check into the Net stating your callsign and availability for an ACS assignment.  I will now accept check-ins, please call CALLSIGN).     
Acknowledge check-ins as required, after which please read again…
Possible Net Control Activities:
  • Assignment of ACS Operator(s) to Shelters – Within Butler County, the Butler Area Senior High(New Castle Rd.), Moniteau(RT38, just beyond West Sunbury) and or Seneca Valley Schools (RT68 Zelienople) have been utilized in the past as shelters.  Butler and Moniteau, no problem with Comm Links, Seneca Valley, not so much.  You should be aware Butler County no longer has a local Red Cross Chapter, any and all shelter activities would be provided through mutual aid agreements with counties surrounding Butler, most likely Allegheny, Beaver or Venango.
  • Assignment of ACS Field Team Operators to local Fire Departments to assist as needed i.e., monitoring stream and creek levels for flooding, downed electrical lines or communication shortfalls (Cellphone overloads).  However, within Butler County the Fire Police and CB Rangers are usually called upon for major traffic control activities

Guidelines for EOC:

  1. If possible, establish communication contacts with surrounding counties either simplex or repeater
  2. If possible, as time and traffic permits, establish digital communication with one or more shelter operators
  3. If possible, as time and traffic permits, send a Radiogram via HF 3.983MHz and receive a Radiogram via HF 3.973MHz to and from K3MJW
  4. Terminate the Net promptly at 1230  and thank all participants
  5. Forward all check-in / activity info to TBT for reporting

Guidelines for participants: 

  1. Accept assignments as they will all be virtual, participate, ad-lib but keep it realistic and most importantly, by all means have fun!!

  Misc. Notes:

  1. N3WH has volunteered to be Net Control for the Sky Warn Net on 147.360 MHz
  2. KB3TBT although engaged with a prior commitment, will attempt to handle all DMR Activity requirements