Technician Class – Winter 2019

Classes meet 4 Monday nights, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Feb 25-March 18, 2019, at the Columbia Area Career Center. Registration is through the Career Center on line site or in person at the Center just north of Rockbridge High School. The course fee is $49.

This course focuses on the basic knowledge needed to pass the 35 question FCC Technician license exam. This license is the gateway to a fun lifetime hobby.

Passing the exam brings you your individual radio call sign and license from the FCC. The exam is offered  during the last class session, which is an additional $15 the night of the exam.

Simulated Emergency Test (SET) – 2018

Boone County ARES (BCARES) in conjunction with Boone County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) held the Simulated Emergency Test (SET) on November 3, 2018. A number of our CMRA members participated in this event.

Seventeen operators participated in the exercise–thirteen Rovers, two Monitor Relay stations, and two at the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) as Net control operators.

OEM identified eighteen points across the 685 square mile county for the communication exercise. OEM placed surveyor’s flags and data packages at each drop point the day before the exercise.

Radio operators, after a roll-call check-in net, were assigned Tactical call signs and deployed to their assigned drop points. Instructions in each data package directed the radio operators to create and deliver test messages that had been created by OEM as a simulated natural disaster event.

Click here to view the full report. (Right click to save.)

CMRA Takes Ham Radio to the Homeschool Fair

 

 

 

Gary Vaught, W9TIG, invited CMRA to attend the local homeschool cooperative fair on August 23 at the Columbia American Legion Post facility. Attending for CMRA were Myron Kern, W0ZH; Roy Parker, AA0B; and John Beatty, NO0I.

The fair is held each year at this time as homeschool parents and students begin the school year. Its purpose is to invite individuals and organizations that may be of interest to homeschool participants, such as STEM, Sports, and Educational providers. Our goal was to provide information about ham radio as an enrichment subject for homeschooled students.

A table was setup with introductory hand-out material about Amateur Radio, license requirements, HF, QRP and VHF equipment, and CMRA info. Dee BERGSTRAND, KC0DEO, provided sample adventure books on our table to read about Amateur Radio and encourage and inspire the hobby.

Roy provided a portable long wire antenna, which was connected to the club’s HF radio and setup by Myron for live copy over the air. Roy also brought his QRP radio and his $100 HF transceiver. Kids were attracted to the CW paddle and amplifier and enjoyed trying it out.

We also demoed a UHF simplex contact with John’s HTs.

We collected a list of parents that would like further information and will contact them to see how we can help them. The upcoming fall Tech class was mentioned frequently, and hopefully there will be some kids and parents attending.

DMR Repeater

CMRA has a DMR repeater at 444.425. The analog repeater formerly on this frequency is off the air as the DMR repeater has taken its place. Our initial coverage tests with a portable went very well, and we expect coverage to be as good as or even better than the previous analog coverage.

This repeater is a cooperative project between the Backyard Repeater Group (BYRG) and CMRA.

Our K0SI DMR repeater is now connected to the Brandmeister Network on the Internet. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Time Slot #2 is for the BYRG and KC Skywarn talk groups only. Please do not attempt to bring up any other talk groups on Time Slot #2. This is part of our agreement with BYRG so it is important we honor this request.

  • 31201 – BYRG
  • 31205 – KC Skywarn

Time Slot #1 normally has the following Talk Groups statically connected. (this means they are always available)

  • 31290 – MO ARES
  • 31296 – Central Missouri
  • 32197 – SW MO Skywarn

Time Slot #1 is also available if you want to bring up another talk group. Just program your radio appropriately and key it up. These dynamic talk groups will stay active for 10 minutes after you unkey. (each time you re-key, the talk group time is reset)

Most of the DMR radios available have the ability to digitally monitor all talk groups, so please be sure you transmit on the correct time slot and talk group. Using this digital monitor mode, it is easy to be able to hear all the ongoing conversations, but if you do not have the proper talk groups programmed in, they won’t hear you when you respond.

Here are the guidelines from BYRG to operate the BYRG repeaters.

  1. Remember there are 2 time slots, and while you may be using one talk group, others may be trying another.
  2. If you get a “boink” tone while trying to talk, then the time slot is occupied – you will have to wait your turn.
  3. the ONLY permitted talk groups on Time Slot 2 are 31201 BYRG and 31205 KC Skywarn – ALL others on Time Slot 1.
  4. DO NOT just bring up a talk group to listen. If you key up a talk group it has to be with the intention to have a conversation. If you do not hear a conversation worth joining, or cannot raise a conversation by identifying, then let the timer expire and reset the time slot.
  5. WAIT WAIT WAIT and WAIT again. DO NOT TAILEND. This is NOT a CW DX pileup ( we know – we have been in them). Leave time for all the devices to fall into place. If this is not happening, then it breaks.
  6. Let’s play nicely with each other…and this will grow and develop as much as we can….

For programming, you can find the appropriate code plugs on the BYRG website (http://byrg.net) when you click the Codeplug ALA Carte Menu at the top of their homepage.

Remember to register for your DMR ID if you don’t have one already. If you don’t know whether you have an ID, you can check the database at www.radioid.net to see if your callsign is already registered. If you don’t have an ID yet, you can register there. Please remember, you must have your own ID number and program it into your radio before you can use the DMR repeater.

For programming an Anytone portable radio, we recommend using the latest software and firmware available on the BridgeComSystems website (https://www.bridgecomsystems.com/pages/support). They have the firmware and CPS software all rolled into one zip file for you. Scroll to the bottom, and download the latest there.

Please read your radio and save your current code plug, then upgrade your firmware as soon as possible. Updating the firmware will wipe your code plug so be sure and save it first! Using the latest firmware will ensure you are using the latest features on the Anytone.

Also, we highly recommend using the N0GSG contact manager software to build your code plug from the a la carte code plugs on the BYRG website. You can find the N0GSG Contact Manager here: (http://n0gsg.com/contact-manager/).

You’ll find plenty of help documents available on the BYRG website to help you, so just look around there when you get stuck.

We’ll be glad to help you get started and answer your questions, but please try to find the answers yourself if you can. Otherwise, when you have questions you can’t find an answer to, please ask. We probably don’t have all the answers but we can help you find them 🙂

Resources

Specifications You’ll need

  • Rx 444.425
  • Tx 449.425
  • Color code 3

Special Thanks

We would like to express a special Thank You to iZones LLC for donating the internet connection used for our DMR repeater!

iZones, LLC
1301 Vandiver Dr., Suite K
Columbia, MO 65202
573-4iZones (573/449-6637)
www.izones.net

Simulated Emergency Test (SET) – 2017

This year (2017) BCARES, in conjunction with the Boone County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), held the Simulated Emergency Test (SET) on October 28 from 10:00 -12:00. NCS was operated from the new Boone County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) inside the Joint Communications Center (911-dispatch).

This was our first full exercise of our facility at the ECC, and it went very well, although not without one issue that was easily resolved.

A number of our CMRA members participated in this event.

Click here to view the full report. (Right click to save.)

2017 BCARES Repeater Run – Summary Results

On February 4, 2017 BCARES conducted the first annual Repeater Run for Boone County. This exercise consisted of checking in by roll call across a number of regional repeaters to evaluate our capabilities and insure proper programming of radios.

We included 9 VHF repeaters and 3 UHF repeaters which potentially could provide emergency communications in times of our need in Boone County.

Click here for further explanation of the event and to see the results.