Wednesday, September 06, 2017

What part of "Whole Community" are you?


You saw the Tweet that said "Hattiesburg church hosts tornado recovery town hall meeting"

The tornado that struck that community last January is still producing recovery. If a #teamJesus group is hosting a meeting, there's other word to be done. Were the Baptist folks in town with their chain saw crew? Did the Masons have a shelter open? Did the Salvation Army feed folks and offer comfort? Did the #hamradio folks provide Skywarn and communications effort?

The effort continues well past the initial event.

How are you involved in the "Whole Community" where you are?





Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Do you use Ten Meters? #ARRL #hamradio #RSGB

Where is 10 meters open now?

Ten Meters is one of my favorite bands. Even when it's not "open", it's frequently open. With the sunspots on the rise, so should the activity on the band increase.

Have you found http://ten-ten.org/daily_nets.html yet? Nets listed there will help determine if the band is open. If you look at http://www.qsl.net/steelcity/nets/whichnet.html, one will see a search box that lets you know which nets are in operation.

http://www.dxwatch.com/dxsd1.php?f=92 or http://hamspots.net/10/ will also give you DX Cluster spots, just for 10 meters.

At http://www.vhfdx.info/spots/warnings.php, one can get email alerts when six meters is open. If SIX is open, it's almost a given that TEN is open.

http://www.dxmaps.com/spots/map.php?Lan=E&Frec=28&ML=M&Map=W2L&DXC=N&HF=N&GL=N also offers a map of openings AND the ability to post spots all in one place.

http://propnet.org/catch3.php?band=HY&last=24&call=&center=NAgives a map and paths band openings over a 24-hour time period. The site lists the stations and who heard who over PSK.

Another propagation tool is http://www.dxinfocentre.com/tropo.htmlwhere one will find forecast for six- and ten-meters.

There's a number of 10 meter software defined radios that one can use to see where's the band is open. Two are dedicated to the "Beacon Band".

http://userpages.troycable.net/~wj5o/bcn.htm is a list of beacons on Ten. Tune here to see where the band is open, even when it's not.

Ten Meters is one of my favorite bands. Thankfully, there's plenty of tools to take some of the Magic out of the Band.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Who is on FM Simplex? #ARRL #hamradio

Are you using FM Simplex?  What frequency or frequencies do you monitor and your location?

Locally, I use 147.51, 146.52, and 446.000 in the scanner.  Traveling, I use 146.52 mostly but occasionally monitor the APRS alert (144.39 with 100 PL tone).


http://kd0tls.blogspot.in/2015/03/exploring-fm-simplex.html?m=1

73

Lloyd, KC5FM

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where is 10 meters open now? #ARRL #hamradio @tentennet


Ten Meters is one of my favorite bands. Even when it's not "open", it's frequently open. With the sunspots on the rise, so should the activity on the band increase.

Have you found the Daily Nets yet? Nets listed there will help determine if the band is open. There's  a search box that lets you know which nets are in operation at a particular time.

DX Cluster spots, just for 10 meters, are available to use as a guide for band conditions.

DXMaps offers a map of openings AND the ability to post spots all in one place.

Also, there's a map and paths band openings over a 24-hour time period. The site lists the stations and who heard who over PSK.

Another propagation tool gives up a forecast for six- and ten-meter openings.

There's a number of 10 meter software defined radios that one can use to see where's the band is open. Two are dedicated to the "Beacon Band".

Also, a list of beacons on Ten is available. Tune here to see where the band is open, even when "it's not".

Ten Meters is one of my favorite bands. Thankfully, there's plenty of tools to take some of the Magic out of the Band.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

#RedCross Ready in #Hurricane Season @RedCrossOK


Did you miss preparing for the first of Hurricane Season in Oklahoma?

1.  "We are too far inland to deal with hurricanes."  In other words, it won't happen here.

2.  "We will never be in a hurricane."  In other words, it won't happen to me.

Both are common reasons for "Okies" to pass over Hurricane Season.

However, can we remember some facts?

1.   Hurricane Katrina hammered the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coasts.  Both left damages that, even today, are not repaired.

The outcome of Katrina was a flood of evacuees into Oklahoma and every other State.  The American Red Cross operated a shelter at Camp Gruber for days following that fateful event. 


Please don't say tropical weather does not happen here.  Five tornadoes resulted when the storm came ashore south of Altus along the Red River.

2.  Never is a long time and folks have a way of going on vacation.  The only way you can assure yourself that a Hurricane won't harm you is to stay home.

Even then, as one can see, you can't get too far away from the Gulf to be impacted.

Please become #RedCrossReady during Hurricane season.  Those preparations will help during Winter Storm Season, Football Season, Tornado Season, and the other months of the year.

Please consider being a  volunteer with the American Red Cross .




Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Skywarn folks know the answer

The Storm Prediction Center has a tornado watch in your area.  Your local weather service office has broadcast a tornado warning.

The radar went down 15 minutes ago.

What does one do?

With only a very few exceptions, the radar on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone is provided by your tax dollars.

Skywarn folks know the answer

In Oklahoma, Skywarn offers training to everyone so everyone know what's fake and what's not as well as how to report to whom the observation.

There are tools like MPING to  help.see who is reporting what.

In Oklahoma, the Mesonet has a network of Stations giving wind speed and direction.  For the public safety folks, there's a plugin that displays lightning using the Nationwide Lightning Network. 

Skywarn folks know the answer.

So, the storm has passed.  Your weather radio went off while it was in the area.  The radar will come back in six hours.  In the mean time, what did you do?  What were you supposed to do?

Skywarn folks know the answer.  Find your local emergency manager and ask him or her how to be involved in Skywarn.  Your life may depend on your being aware, especially when technology fails.




Tour that Lugert Dam August 8 #AltusOK

“The Dam Tour!”

Who: Southwest Young Professionals (SYP) – all welcome, ages 21-45, residing in southwest Oklahoma, (civilians and military alike), with an interest to learn and network with like-minded young professionals!
What: Lugert-Altus Irrigation District Tour – Enjoy a unique, behind the scenes, all access tour provided by Tom Buchanan, Lugert-Altus Irrigation District General Manager.
Where: Meet at 6:00 pm Quartz Mountain Lodge Entrance – turning at the big sign off Hwy 44, and park just across the railroad tracks off the side of the road. Carpooling encouraged from Altus Chamber of Commerce, leaving at 5:30 pm.
7:30 pm – Dinner buffet, $14.95 including non-alcoholic beverage(s), cocktails, and socializing at Quartz Mountain Lodge.
When: Tuesday, August 8th 

Share This Invitation With  A Young Professional


Southwest Young Professionals (SYP) offer networking, professional development, and volunteer opportunities to ambitious young adults
from 21-45 years of age.  The group gathers for scheduled events that showcase local businesses and inspires these professionals to share their talents and engage with the community.  
Constructed in the early 1940’s, Lugert-Altus Irrigation District irrigates about 46,000 acres in Jackson Co., with a smaller percentage of acres in Greer County. These acres are owned by 330 different land owners and 99% of the water is devoted to cotton, which waters enough plants to produce 160,000-200,000 bales of cotton annually. On average, each acre of irrigated land produces 3-4 bales, and each bale is valued at $375-$400/bale. Additional dividends are gained from seed and ginning, including Cotton Growers Gin – which was the Nov. 15, 2016, SYP tour. Gross value is $450/bale and therefore an approximate $60 million economic impact to southwest OK!
Lugert Dam consists of over 30 miles of main canal and 300 miles of smaller ditches. A Bureau of Reclamation project, the Altus Irrigation District is the farthest east in the U.S. with an irrigation component. The Irrigation District has the oldest and largest water right in Oklahoma, with 85,000 acre feet of water being pulled from the dam.
Lugert-Altus Irrigation District, the 330 land owners, are responsible for maintenance of canals and dikes, an embankment to prevent flooding. Lugert was constructed for the following purposes, 1) municipal supply for city of Altus, 2) flood control, and 3) irrigation supplies. Therefore, there are no benefits naming wildlife and tourism, which is unique compared to other Oklahoma lakes/dams. Because there is no dedication to this usage, the district doesn’t receive any state or federal money in storage and maintenance, and hence, there aren’t any recreational fees for boaters and/or swimmers. There are a host of ongoing maintenance costs associated with the dam to aid with flooding and further irrigation, to the tune of millions of dollars!
Interested to learn more about how this single body of water continues to economically impact southwest Oklahoma in a big way? Yes! Join us for firsthand look that is sure to not disappoint! RSVP/questions to Jennifer Howard at JenLHoward1@gmail.com, or 605-210-0191. Please note dinner and/or tour for an accurate count. Bring a friend, and we hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Christian hamradio nets


It seems to me that Jesus would have been an amateur radio operator, though, realistically, He would not need a radio, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, or Google+ technology to reach the hearts and minds of men.

However, I'm a Christian ham ... a member of the Christian Amateur Radio Fellowship and have participated in the Bible Fellowship Net.

Here's some others who mix their hobby with the Faith.






A number of RemoteHams stations are dedicated to Christian Networks.  Can't reach your favorite net because of propagation?  Check the remotes.

Here's help for your APRS effort

What’s the Automatic Packet Reporting System?


APRS is a computer-assisted (digital) mode of amateur radio communication.

Accuracy is one advantage of this digital mode.

Without the correct software (which is easy and, in most cases free, to get) the information is unintelligible to the casual listener.

What is an APRS net?


The OKAPRS net occurs from 1300 to 1400 CT on the second Saturday afternoon of every month.  The purpose of the net is to test APRS stations and operating practices.  In the most basic form, amateurs check-in to the net by sending a brief APRS message to the net controller.  More seasoned operators are welcome to join the OKAPRS group on ANSRVR and exchange items of interest to area hams.




Participants with TNCs or Soundcard-based TNC emulation software (UZ7HO and the like) can use their PCs and radios.  Others can check in with PCs / tablets with Internet access.  There are also APRS apps for popular smartphones.



A particular advantage of APRS compared to other digital modes is that communications are usually backed up in the APRS-IS system of servers.  Websites such as findu.com and aprs.fi can help you easily mine those records to assemble a log of a particular net.

How can I participate?

We’d love to have you join us any way you can.

STEP 0: Get familiar with the system by exploring the web links for findu.com and aprs.fi

STEP 1: For your first check-in, use the web tools mentioned above!

STEP 2: Next time, consider checking in from your iPhone or portable device.  You’ll need an Internet connection of course.

STEP 3: After a few months, you’ve caught the bug.  Try APRSIS32 software on a PC with Internet.
STEP 4: You’ve added a rig interface and a VHF radio to APRSIS32.  You’re truly “on the air”.

APRS stations that include a radio are the most resilient and useful in a time of emergency.



This guide is a living document.  Let me know if you have questions, comments or concerns…

kd5njr@gmail.com

Who is the Net Controller?

The Net Controller is typically KD5NJR.  He’d mostly likely be operating from his desktop portable APRS station (not handheld) with the callsign KD5NJR-6.  He’d use other rigs for backup and monitoring purposes; so don’t be alarmed to see a -7 or -8 out there too.  To double check, look for an APRS bulletin referring to the net coming from the NCO station.  Or look for a pre-net message.  That’ll probably be sent from the NCO.  See what station it is coming from.  You can also look for an APRS object referring to the net control operator.  He might identify himself !  See more about objects and messages later on.

Part 1 :

Instructions for the Net Control Station

For ease of operations, the NCO probably wants to use a minimum of a laptop computer setup with Internet connectivity to the APRS network.  A radio connection is strongly encouraged.


For best results, the NCO should be able to easily hit an APRS digipeater on low power to make your battery last the duration of the net.  

I’d also suggest having a TX/RX digipeater (ex: AE5ME) within a couple hops of your QTH.
Having Internet connectivity at your QTH will allow you to see the APRS activity via the IGATES on your web browser (aprs.fi or similar) as a backup.  In particular, you’ll see the users with just APRS software.  This is a good thing if your nearby IGATE is not set to transmit and is configured “RF in to Internet “only.

Ask your IGATE’s trustee to upgrade from UIVIEW to APRSIS32 and enable “INET->RF”
Since the “audience” may be using a small screen like on a HT or flip phone, (see photos later on) you’ll want to keep transmissions short.  The focus of the net (with the exception of the portion on the ANSRVR chat group) should be around brief equipment tests.  They’ll check in.  You’ll acknowledge them.  Call for more checkins.  Repeat.  Close the net.

Pre-Net activities

Bulletins


Bulletins are recurring reminders.  

Think “Net SAT @ 1300”

Objects


Objects are things like repeaters, Field Day sites, Bike Race water stops, etc.


The OKAPRS NCO could be an object.  Make it so!

Messages




QST Net Begins Shortly

Send a few messages similar to the above to QST or ALL or CQ.
I’m not sure what best practice here is.  QST and ALL seem to work on my FT-1 Radio.
I’d send messages sparingly.


Net activities

Net Preamble

something easy: “Reply to check into OKAPRS net.”

Joining the ‘chat group’ on ANSRVR

send a message(s) to ANSRVR:

J OKAPRS

CQ OKAPRS QST de kd5njr, taking checkins for net.
CQ OKAPRS QST de kd5njr, taking checkins for net.
CQ OKAPRS QST de kd5njr, closing net.  73.
U OKAPRS
Also add to the log folks that chat in the ANSRVR group.

Running the net

Several times during the hour solicit check-ins using messages. Add them to your log.

kd5njr taking checkins for net.

kf5tvg tnx for checkin.  Ur in log.
Short and sweet!  Take notes so you can form a log.

Closing the Net

Send a message closing the net.

kd5njr, closing net.  73.

Do the same over on the OKAPRS group.

Part 2 :

Instructions for participating in the net…

A brief explanation of APRS:




I have been using RF with a path of wide1-1, wide2-2 so that I can hit an igate.

To rely LESS on the IGATES, I have not been checking ‘BEST’ but instead choosing RF when possible.

(show screen shot)


May I suggest you communicate to others that you’re a computer using the -10 SSID ?

For smartphones, Bob WB4APR seems to suggest -5.

For my ’72 I’m using -7 and -9 for my FT-1.
Scott’s “net control” setup:
(seen at the TRO meeting , November 2016) : http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=kd5njr-6
He was at the Broken Arrow Christmas Parade.

Via the Web

the two most popular web sites for viewing the APRS-IS database are www.aprs.fi and www.findu.com .

( Aprs.fi is newer and perhaps a little more pretty.)

Findu.com certainly gets the job done.  It’s got a little simpler layout.
--Eventually I’ll have links and photos for both websites.
Findu.com is unique in its facility to SEND APRS messages.
Note: Your message’s recipient, if using ONLY a radio for his APRS setup, will have to be in range of a 2-WAY (bi-directional or TX/RX IGATE for best results) Otherwise, you maybe not receive back ACK of your messages.



Viewing Objects


Let’s say we think Scott is the net controller.

What interesting is going on around him ?

Is he sending any bulletins or objects ?

Since Scott is at the parade, he isn’t sending a NET TODAY bulletin.
The APRS NET bulletin is coming from Jeff.  It matches the LAT/LON of his AE5ME-10 station.


Viewing Bulletins

TBD



Reading Messages
Edit this hyperlink below  to reflect the callsign and SSID of the net controller.



Cut ‘n paste into your favorite web browser and you should see the recent activity to/from that particular station.

You’ll need to periodically ‘refresh’ your browser.
You’re “receiving the net “ !!!



Sending Messages

Edit this hyperlink to reflect the callsign and SSID of the net controller.
http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/entermsg.cgi?fromcall=KC5SHE-6 &tocall=KD5NJR-6
Cut ‘n paste into your favorite web browser and you should see the recent activity to/from that particular station.

Check-in into the net!

Write them back (check in) with something like this:



NOTE: similar functionality is available on APRS.fi  See later on in this document.


You can try it out, but it’s pretty disorganized.  

Sorted by time.

And not really by topic.

Via a Smartphone App

I’ve found that www.aprs.fi works pretty well on the iPad.

But there is an APRS.fi app as well.  The app doesn’t really help you send messages or view them, but it can turn your phone into an APRS tracker.

Apple iPhone users may investigate iBCNU or another program in the App Store.

But that screen is awfully small to be tapping stuff on the map and otherwise navigating around.





Viewing Objects

TBD
Viewing Bulletins
TBD
Reading Messages
TBD
Sending Messages
TBD
ANSRVR
TBD

Via an APRS-enabled HT

While not the low-cost option, this method uses a lower overall number of “parts” and uses the Internet to lesser extent than other methods.  After all, it’s amateur radio.



Kenwood TH-D72

(maybe you can get a steal of a deal on a used TH-D7 you can sure send messages with that one too)

Yaesu FT-1 series

(watch for sales)



Viewing Objects

[F]+[0] is your friend.

Viewing Bulletins
TBD
Reading Messages


You can see that brevity is important.



Sending Messages

I need some more practice on the FT1.  I think I keep looking for the hyphen when entering the callsign / SSID.



ANSRVR

If you don’t mind the initial set up of subscribing to the group and typing the extra CQ OKAPRS (or finding an old message to edit that already has it ) ANSRVR is a more graceful way communicate in bulk.  It’s preferable to QST or ALL as those methods will activate a lot of radios depending on your path.


Participation via APRSIS32

This is probably the best way to fly.

APRSIS32 is still under development / support and has an active user community.

APRSIS32 can be configured to use the Internet and/or a radio setup.
(Some consideration should be paid to how you set the RF vs. IP tickboxes on the message composition screen.)
For initial setup help, refer to G4ILO’s YouTube video.
When it comes to setting your path, see this : http://www.aprs.org/APRS-docs/APRS.TXT



When possible, I try to use APRSIS32 to participate in the net.

(My backup plan is the use the TH-D72 to send messages because I’m pretty fast in those menus.)

Viewing Bulletins

I didn’t take a picture, but see link below.

I’d think the VIEW option would be appropriate.




Sending Messages

TBD


Use the white TX box underneath the gray receive box.

Remember to experiment with the BEST or RF tickbox.

Don’t forget to press SEND.



ANSRVR


You’ll want to be talking to ANSRVR
  1. Address your messages to ANSRVR
  2. Join the group.  In the first message make the body J OKAPRS
  3. Send a message to the group.  CQ OKAPRS test test test
  4. Each additional message much start with CQ OKAPRS or ANSRVR doesn’t know how to route.
  5. Unjoin when the net concludes with U OKAPRS



Participation via SMSGTE gateway

one can even use APRS with a simple “burner phone.”

But to configure the system, you must make some initial tests over RF.



Viewing Bulletins

TBD – I don’t think that feature is implemented in SMSGTE

Reading Messages



ANSRVR

It could be unwieldy to use SMSGTE this way.

You’d get a flood of messages potentially.



Thanks to Scott Haley, KD5NJR for this information.

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