Help Me Get to Dayton, 2017!

This is a video I shot about my GoFundMe campaign that I setup for my trip to the Dayton Hamvention 2017.  I’m setting up a table/booth to advertise my Ham Radio 2.0 Video Podcast series.  This will be a first for me, and it will be good publicity to advertise my show, which broke 5000 subscribers at the beginning of March, 2017.  Any help viewers can provide will be appreciated.

GoFundMe for Dayton 2017

Yaesu Fusion with WIRESx from Lake Brownwood

My first use of Yaesu Fusion with WIRESx from Lake Brownwood in August of 2016.

Every year my wife’s family meets at Lake Brownwood, in Brownwood, TX, for a family reunion. The location where we stay isn’t always the same, but we have been in the same place for the last 3 or 4 years.

Naturally, I bring some radio gear with me. Sometimes I will bring my portable HF go-kit, but this time I only brought my HTs. I have a radio bag that FusionI recently put together, that carries 4 different HTs.  I call it my “digital bag” because it has a DMR, DSTAR and Yaesu Fusion HT.  Along for the ride is also my Wouxun KG-UV8E Triband radio so that I can listen to the 220MHz band.

Of course there are no DMR repeaters in that part of the State….yet.  (I’m working on it).  So I checked Repeaterbook for some YSF and DSTAR repeaters.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a YSF repeater in Early, TX – and even more surprised when I could hit it from my FT1DR HT, standing inside of my lake cabin, and able to connect via WIRESx to the repeater and change rooms.

Thanks to Rick, WD9ARW, for putting up the Early repeater and allowing us to use it.  I connected to the repeater from my FT1DR radio and found it was in the CENTEX room.  I changed rooms over to the CQ-TX-JOHNSON room, where the Johnson County repeater usually stays, and I spoke with Cevan, K5ORN, for about 20 minutes or so.  WD9ARW joined us also and told us he was happy that someone was using the repeater.

This was a fun QSO.  One of the things that I think DMR lacks is the ability to connect 1 repeater to another specific repeater, without keying up an entire talkgroup.  YSF has this ability through WIRESx, so it was good to be able to use it and see how it worked.

220MHz Repeaters in the Dallas Ft Worth Area

I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time now, but my blogging time has suffered lately due to otherTM741a2 projects.  I often get asked about a list of 220MHz repeaters in the DFW area, and I consulted repeaterbook yesterday, but several of those listings were also wrong.  So I wanted to take some time to write an extensive list of all the 220MHz Repeaters in the Dallas Ft Worth Area.

220MHz is up and coming around here – I know it isn’t like that everywhere.  I often get weird looks at some Hamfests which are out of this area, and asked “why 220?  No one uses that!”.  Well, we do here.  And other areas do also.  I was surprised and impressed to see 2 separate 220MHz and 2 separate 900MHz machines on the air in the Corpus Christie area last October when I was in town for the South Texas Hamfest.  One machine for each band was in Corpus, and one for each band was in Aransas Pass – all 4 were workable from my hotel in Aransas Pass.

If you don’t have 220MHz repeaters in your area, perhaps it is time to start looking at deploying some.  The noise floor is quite low, frequency pairs are easy to get, and radio gear is getting more and more common.

If you are in the DFW Area and interested in the 220MHz band, here is a list of repeaters that you will want. All of these repeaters I have tested myself (August 2016) and verified are up and running. If I have missed something, please email me and I will add it to the list.

Number City Frequency CTCSS Offset Details
1 Argyle 224.860 110.9 -1.6MHz WB5NDJ
2 Arlington 224.800 110.9 -1.6MHz K5SLD Arlington ARC
3 Dallas 224.880 110.9 -1.6MHz W5FC Dallas ARC
4 Dallas 224.700 127.3 -1.6MHz N4MSE
5 Dallas 224.600 156.7 -1.6MHz K5TIT
6 Denton 224.920 110.9 -1.6MHz Denton County ARC
7 Ft Worth 224.940 110.9 -1.6MHz K5FTW
8 Ft Worth 224.780 110.9 -1.6MHz N5UN
9 Ft Worth 224.420 110.9 -1.6MHz Cowtown ARC
10 Ft Worth Area 224.680 103.5 -1.6MHz Unknown
11 Granbury 224.340 88.5 -1.6MHz Excellent coverage into Tarrant County
12 Irving 224.400 110.9 -1.6MHz Irving ARC
13 Mansfield 224.460 none -1.6MHz Mansfield/Johnson ARC
14 Rosston 224.200 110.9 -1.6MHz 1700-foot tower
15 The Colony 224.000 110.9 -1.6MHz Lake Area ARC

Ham Radio 2.0

Ham Radio 2.0 is a Vlog series presenting new radio unboxings and tests, Hamfest forums, review videos and an all-around interest of “what is new in Amateur Radio?” If your club or group sponsors an event for Amateur Radio, such as a Hamfest, Tailgate event, DXpedition, Radio-in-the-ark, etc – please contact us.

www.LiveFromTheHamshack.tv

 

H2.0_12inch

Books Inspired By Amateur Radio

This is going to be an especially nerdy post, because not only is it about Amateur Radio, but it involves Amateur
Radio as the subject in a series of adventure novels. Books Inspired By Amateur Radio.  Who can beat that?

What first turned me onto this subject was an article in the April 2016 Edition of QST for the book titled Contact Sport: A Story of Champions, Airwaves, and a One-Day Race around the World.  I bought this book for my Amazon Kindle app, and I have it in my “soon to read” list.  It looked like an interesting read, for sure, but it got me to wondering about what other books might be out there for our hobby.

I have several blogs online, this one being the most active, but I also write a book review blog over at Reading Rookie, and I have lots of books on my Amazon Wish List.  A few years back, I discovered some fictional stories which were written by Ham Radio operators, where the story involved using radios in emergency situations.  One such book is called Night Signals by Cynthia Wall.  Upon reading some reviews of this book, I discovered another author named Walker A. Tompkins, who has written a few books back in the 50s and 60s which involved Amateur Radio.  Those include:

There might be a few others by this author, I am still digging.  I ordered a couple of them yesterday, they don’t seem to be in production anymore, but they are available used.  They are also short reads, all less than 200 pages.  I’m looking forward to reading a couple, then writing a review for them.

Night Signals by Cynthia Wall was purchased yesterday also.  I’ve had it in my Wish List for some time, and I decided it was time to go ahead with the purchase.  I some go in phases with reading – I’ll pick it up for a while and plow through several books, then put it down again.  My longest run was about 2 years;  the first year I read about 25 books and the 2nd I read over 30 books, which means it was more than 1 every 2 weeks.  I’d like to do that again.

ARRL W100AW

I don’t only enjoy novels, but also history.  In looking up some historical or documentary reads about Amateur Radio, I found the following:

I am sure the list goes on, but for now, that is all I have saved or purchased.  More updates will come later after I do some reading.

TYT MD380/390 DMR Codeplug Instructions

MD380/390 DMR Codeplug Instructions

I’ve spent some time putting together this codeplug that I would like to share with everyone.  Follow the DMR2instructions below to use it.  The plug will get updated periodically, so check back often for new repeaters and info to be added.  I datestamp all of my plugs with the date on the very back, so if you get one today (the date this article is being written) it should show “20160414” on the end of the name.  This means that the last update to that plug was 04/14/2016.  I find this format easier to sort chronologically in a windows environment.  I’ve also added ALL Regional, Statewide and Brandmeister Area talkgroups to this codeplug so that expansion later will be easier.

Follow the instructions below to use this plug.  The current version contains ALL repeaters in Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.  Updates will be made as more repeaters are added, and I plan to add more States also.  Next on the list is Arkansas, then perhaps Kansas, and so on.  I also have the repeaters for the Dayton Hamvention of 2016 loaded into this plug; plus some random repeaters in Albuquerque, California and Seattle.

CDM-550Ha

Instructions:
Feel free to make any changes you’d like to this codeplug for your own use.  My basic concept in writing this codeplug was to put everything in alphabetical order.  I’ve named the Zones for their State, then city, and arranged them in the correct order.  Example: “TX.Dallas” “TX.Southlake” “OK.Tulsa1” and so on.  Since each zone is limited to 16 channels, I generally separate each zone by repeater.  My basic reason for this doing is because this codeplug is for an HT, and usually an HT won’t reach out to multiple repeaters, due to distance.  I also add all 4 accepted Simplex frequencies to each Zone, when space is available.  For a listing of those Simplex frequency settings, follow this link.
***NOTE:  If you have a new radio, proceed to the instructions below.  If you have a current codeplug in your radio, I highly suggest READING your current codeplug into your computer and saving  that codeplug before making any changes.  That way, if you load this new plug and you don’t like it, or it doesn’t work for whatever reason – you can reload your original codeplug and not lose anything.
  1. Download and install the TYT MD390 programming software.  This software will work for the MD380 or MD390 radios.  Download the codeplug from this link (take notice of the date stamp, as stated above).  Also download the latest version of the N0GSG Contact Manager software (version 1.23 is used in this example)
  2. After the software is installed, open the codeplug and click on the “General Setting” option from the left-hand menu.  In this menu, enter your Radio Name and Radio ID.  Your Radio ID was supplied by DMR-MARC and is 7-digits long.  If you don’t have a Radio ID yet, follow this link.  For Radio Name, I usually enter my callsign, but you can call it whatever you’d like.
  3. At the bottom-right of the same window, find the Intro Screen section and fill out the “Intro Screen Line 1” and “Intro Screen Line 2” fields.  These can be anything you want, and it will be the message you see when you power on the radio.  If you don’t want to change this, then just skip this step
  4. Save the codeplug somewhere on your computer where you can find it later.  I suggest changing the name to something new.
  5. Open the N0GSG Contact Manager software that you downloaded earlier.  Once opened, click on File->Open Codeplug and go find the new codeplug that you just saved and named.
  6. Once the codeplug is open inside of the N0GSG Contact Manager, you should see only Group Contacts inside of the Contacts tab at the bottom.  These will be your talkgroups and are already set to each channel in the radio.
  7. This is the step that will differ for each person.  Click on the “Import Contacts from the DMR-MARC Database” button on the right side.  Once the new window opens, search the database by your State name.  Highlight all contacts from the search results and click the “Add Selected Records” button.  All other fields should remain at their default setting.  Repeater this step for other States you might want to add, but be aware that this radio will only hold 1000 contacts.
  8. Click “Done Searching” when you are finished adding all the contacts you’d like.
  9. Click File->Save As from the top menu and save the codeplug.  I will usually save it under another name, to just be safe.  But you can choose to save it as whatever you’d like.
  10. Close the N0GSG Contact Manager Software
  11. Open the MD390 software again
  12. Open the codeplug that you just saved from the N0GSG software
  13. Connect your radio to the USB cable and write the new codeplug into your radio.  After the radio reboots, you should have everything that this codeplug has to offer.
Comment and Suggestions are welcome.

Categories: DMR