“Splash” over Prospect Lake, Colorado Springs, CO
For the past several years, the Garden of the Gods Amateur Radio Club’s (GGARC) repeater hosted over 20 local and out of state hams in their use of the repeater for hot air ballooning communications. Two to four balloons, their pilots and crews migrate from Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, New Mexico to Colorado Springs to participate in the annual Colorado Springs Labor Day Balloon Festival. The festival hosts over 60 balloons coming in from all over our country.
Pilots and crews use the GGARCs repeater to communicate with each other in “The Chase”. Navigating a myriad of streets in the Colorado Springs and surround area can prove to be difficult for out-of-towners in their quest to safely recover their pilots, passengers and hot air balloons. Three years ago, the “Splash” balloon drifted towards downtown and was unable to find a safe location to land amid the trees and power lines. Running low on fuel, the pilot was able to communicate with the chase crew on the repeater in order to secure and safely land atop the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Our local club members and area hams enjoy hearing other hams and their adventures every Labor Day balloon festival. The Splash pilot (KC5IPK) took GGARC member Ron Goldsberry’s (WB0BLO) granddaughter Courtney on a balloon ride a couple years ago. It’s really comforting to know the GGARCs repeater was there to aid in their communication needs. We hope our club is able to provide this invaluable service to our ham radio ballooning friends for years to come.
Gerry Dunn (NM0Q)
During last week’s net neither Mike KE0BIQ nor I were able to check into the weekly Hammin Sams net via EchoLink. We could hear what was going on, but could not get the node to respond to our requests to transmit. Well after some investigation, I found and fixed a couple of issues. But all of you using the Smart Phone app should check your settings after installing the recent update to the app. In mine it meant changing the source from SPEAKER to HANDSET/HEADSET and increasing the ‘mic’ gain. While this helps, it’s not a fix as the audio via the internet is still much lower and more distorted than it used to be.
So while I continue to investigate why the levels changed; I’ve left the node online. Note I linked the node to both test reflectors and using my HT that audio path did not change so the low/distorted audio is only heard on the repeater when using a smartphone.
KØHSC Hammin’ Sams RV net Thursday June 11th
GGARC repeater: 447.350, Offset – minus 5MHz. PL 151.4
Ever find yourself confused, even momentarily, about the frequencies your radio uses to work a particular repeater? Come on now, admit it, I have on occasion. So let’s review how repeater frequency pairs are specified and correlate them to your radio. This material relies heavily on the section headed Frequencies on the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio_repeater.
Download Repeater Pairs as PDF
Let’s get a clear picture in our minds of what is happening. The basic relationship to fix in our minds with regard to repeater pairs is:
- (+) offset means the Repeater Receives on a frequency Above the one it Transmits on, think +RRAT as a mnemonic
- (-) offset means the repeater receives on a frequency below the one it transmits on
- Operator’s radio displays the frequency its receiver is tuned to
- Offset amount — disregard the negative sign if there is one. Engineers refer to this as the absolute value or magnitude of the quantity between those vertical bars. The offset amount is the separation between the RECEIVE and the TRANSMIT frequencies.
- Offset direction accounts for the sign, positive as pictured in the diagram here, negative if reversed
From The ARRL Repeater Directory 2013 & 2014
For those of you who haven’t yet won your ARRL Repeater Directory at a PPRAA meeting, I thought I’d extract a few of the most essential nuggets of information here. Even if you have your directory, I hope you find this useful as a convenient reminder.
Download Repeater_BasicOps_Nbr001 as PDF