Dialing out to Echolink

To dial out to an Echolink node on my NORMAD EchoIRLP node, you need to preface the Echolink node number with an “#” on a DTMF pad or the letter “S” if using a command line.

Example: when connecting to the Sierra Foothills Amateur Radio Club (W6EK) repeater’s Echolink connection for their Coffee Break Net:

Dial “#4128” on the HTs DTMF pad or …

Type “decode S4128” to connect via command line.

Notes From The Shack

Friday, November 27th

Had a good day in shack. Was able to get a good portion of it cleaned up. Filled up a trash bag and a big box of “stuff” I just do not need.

Fired up the HF rig and ran it through it’s paces. Had a Phone QSO with a station down in Costa Rica and worked a few stations around the US on PSK-31. Enough to let me know the rig is still working. Listened to my favorite bunch of old timers who meet weekday mornings (8AM) around 7.140 MHz. I’ve never joined in, but used to listen to them all the time from my mobile when my work hours were a bit different. Nowadays I don’t get the opportunity to hear them.

For the last few weeks I have been trying to square away my VHF/UHF setup. My embedded EchoIRLP node has consistently suffered from pulsing. I have tweaked about every software setting and radio setting possible but was unable to fix the issue. It looks like the pulsing generally correlates with my APRS signal. I use a Kenwood TM-D710A in the shack. A computer with UI-View32 is driving the left half of the TM-D710A, sending and receiving APRS data. The right side I usually dedicate to the EchoIRLP node which is normally set to a simplex UHF frequency. I started to notice that everytime UI-View32 sends out my position or weather report, my EchoIRLP node would pulse. I honestly think the rig is the issue.

What I like best about the TM-D710A is that I can use my one antenna that I have mounted off my chimney. The TM-D710A allows me to use both the APRS and EchoIRLP at the same time. But I think that pulsing issue will keep me off IRLP reflectors or Echolink conferences unless I disable UI-View32 and the TM-D710A’s TNC while I am using the reflector/conference.

I upgraded my version of fldigi. I made sure my log and settings were backed up and the upgrade went without significant issue. I was able to setup the WX macro function, which I have been meaning to do. The macro pulls the latest WX from Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and allows me to slide that into a PSK-31 QSO via macro. I wish it could pull the data right from my WX station. Not sure how to do that.

I setup my D-Star DV Access Point Dongle – hadn’t done that in a while. I am consistently unimpressed with the audio quality that I get listening to the D-Star reflector on my ICOM IC-92AD. The audio is very metallic and tinny.

APRS has taken up a bit of my time lately. I enjoy playing around with my Yaesu VX-8GR. I am amazed at the different ways you can send a message from the APRS system to an email address. I have improved my ability to work the VX-8GR to input text for a message.

I figured out how to get my UI-View32/TM-D-710A setup to only digipeat APRS packets from either my callsign or the XYLs. That comes in handy when I have the HT. One thing I have not been able to figure out is how to get my UI-View32/TM-D710A setup to digipeat packets destined for my HT’s SSID. For example, if I send a message from my HT, it is digipeated out through my UI-View32/TM-D710A setup and picked up by a nearby real digipeater. But when the “Ack” packet comes back, my HT won’t hear it and I am not sure how to get my UI-View32/TM-D710A to recognize that packet and digipeat it.

Did I mention the humidity sensor on the Davis Vantage Pro2 is not working properly?

I checked into a net tonight! We have an awesome daily email called Larry’s List that contains all kinds of interesting information about the amateur radio goings on in the greater Kansas City area. From swap and shop, to license testing, and opportunities to volunteer in support of public events to various club activities and nets…. Larry’s List is one stop shopping for anything you would want to know about what is happening. The list mentioned a net conducted from a repeater setup on top of the VA hospital in Kansas City (KC0VA). I decided to check in and was privileged to partake in a very interesting discussion about how to handle an emergency if it occurred during a net. I also learned about the Q-signal “QRRR”… which I had never heard or read of before.

New Years’ Nets

From: Dave Gingrich
To: irlp at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2010 6:42 PM
Subject: [irlp] Happy New Year announce

Well, it’s that time again. The annual IRLP New Years Eve QSO party is set for (you guessed it) New Years Eve! Beginning at 1030 UTC Friday December 31 (30 minutes before midnight in New Zealand) through 1030 UTC Saturday January 1 (30 minutes after midnight in Hawaii). All on Reflector 9200. No net control stations, just stop in and enjoy party as the New year celebration wends its way around the planet! Welcome 2011!

Dave K9DC

I am in the process of getting an EchoIRLP node up and running back here in Kansas. Previously I have been using EchoLink to talk with the XYL. I’d use the iPad app from my QTH in Korea and connect to my wife’s EchoLink node here in Kansas – usually while she is mobile around the local area. Here van has a Kenwood TM-D710A and is interfaced to GPS for APRS, so it is easy for me to see when she is out and about. I’ve now brought online my EchoIRLP node in Korea and thought it would make communications a bit more stable if I had an identical node back here in Kansas.

The node here in Kansas is:
IRLP node: 3553
EchoLink node: 518994

It looks like the EchoLink side is experiencing some difficulties right now, but the IRLP side is good to go.

In addition to the IRLP New Years fun, the hams here in Leavenworth run a New Year’s Eve check-in net called something like the Buffalo Chip Net. I have been able to participate the past two years and am looking forward to checking in this year as well. It is fun (and a little surprising) to hear the number of local hams check-in.

Field Day

My Field Day adventure started on Tuesday, 23 June. I finished the final touched to the eARSIB and then through every possible item I thought I might need (minus a 25 pin to 9 pin cable for a Kantronics KPC-3+ which I will talk about later) in a total of 3 footlockers. I packed up the truck, loaded up the dog and was on the road by 10:30am. There was good APRS coverage on my route along I-80 up until western Nebraska where I encountered an almost 200 mile gap. Once I hit Cheyenne, I was back in APRS coverage. My stop for the first night was Laramie, Wyoming, which I made before sunset.

The next day I pushed on west. While in western Wyoming I was able to check into the 40M Sparkle Net (7262 kHz) and talk with Dave, KE0DL, back in Leavenworth, Kansas. I also noticed on my GPS that one of the APRS stations was moving along I-80 the same direction that I was going. I gave a short call on the 2M National Simplex frequency and got a reply. We had both started the drive in Wyoming but parted ways in Salt Lake; he headed south on I-15 to Vegas, I kept west on I-80. I enjoyed the drive through eastern Utah. Park City, Utah is a place I had spent a lot of time skiing about twenty years ago. I’d been there often in the winter, but this was the first time seeing it during the summer.

Traffic was heavy through Salt Lake City and I did my best to make my way around the city as quickly as possible. West of the Great Salt Lake, I had an interesting HF QSO with a gentleman in Southern California who was using an Elecraft K3 with an the diminutive MT-1 antenna. My initial plan was to spend the night in Winnemucca, Nevada but upon arriving discovered they had me on the second floor in a non-pet room. Instead of hauling my footlockers up a flight of stairs I decided to push on to Fernley, Nevada (just east of Reno) where I found a great hotel with a first floor room I could practically back my truck up into. The dog liked it too.

Thursday morning I worked my way up the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas, listening to a few 40M nets. I reached the Sonora Pass around noon and enjoyed the view. The dog a I hiked up to a nearby plateau and took in the view.

After traveling down the western side of the mountains I was able to raise my dad, KD6EUG, on a repeater near his cabin in Mi-Wuk Village. California Hwy 108 wound its way down from Sonora Pass. The drive was spectacular along the scenic route and traffic was sparse. I rolled down the windows and opened the sun roof to take in gorgeous day. Reaching the cabin in Mi-Wuk, both the dog and I got to strech our legs and rest up. Thursday night we assembled the gear that would become a permanent station at the cabin: an IC-706MKIIG, LDG Z-11 Pro, RIGblaster PnP, IC-208H, all powered by an Icom PS-125. In addition to the radio gear, the station would also integrate a Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station, beaconing the weather data view APRS.

To simplify the APRS setup in the cabin, I decided to use a special add-on piece of equipment from Davis specifically designed to be used for APRS – the WeatherLink APRS streaming data logger. The data logger, once configured, streams weather data directly to a TNC, eliminating the need for a computer (or UI-View32). With this setup, it was not necessary to leave a computer running to keep the weather station pushing data to the TNC and VHF radio. The weather data is formated by the data logger to be ready for transmission into APRS. The station also has a laptop which I installed the WeatherLink software that would allow me to configure the APRS data logger. Configuring the data logger was pretty straight forward. Setting the parameters in the TNC to grab the data loggers APRS weather info proved a bit more challenging. The challenge was further compounded by my forgetting to pack the 25 pin to 9 pin cable that connects the laptop to the Kantronics KPC-3+ TNC.

The real work started Friday. The first task was completing the installation of a Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station on the cabin roof. That was done without much trouble.

The next step would be to get the weather data out via APRS using the IC-208H paired with the Kantronics KPC-3+ TNC and the Davis APRS streaming data logger. With the lack of a good cable to use between the laptop and TNC as well as not knowing exactly what parameters were need in the TNC we decided that task would have to wait until after Field Day.

Now it was time to string some antennas. The first was a 132′ dipole which ran N/S. I’d packed my CVS19 Pneumatic Antenna Launcher (aka tennis ball launcher) which helped us position the antenna up about 40′.

Next we strung a G5RV going E/W. This is the same G5RV I bought from a fellow ham when I lived back in Virginia. He had never used it and I had used the antenna only once while running a special event station at Fort Monroe.

It quickly became apparent that we could not both operate using both antennas due to their proximity to each other and surrounding powerlines prevented us from placing the antennas end to end in order to minimize interference. The solution: my dad’s Force 12 Sigma 5. The problem: the antenna was back in San Jose. So Friday night consisted of my dad traveling back to the Bay Area to retrieve the vertical antenna while I continued to configure the laptop (N3FJP Field Day networked logging software, Digipan for PSK-31, and the Davis Weatherlink program) in addition to setting up my operating position on the back deck of the cabin.

My operating position setup consisted of a 10’x10′ pop-up shelter (with mosquito net) and a large table with comfortable folding chair. Inside the shelter I placed a large table with the eARSIB and my station’s laptop.

I verified that the laptops at either operating position (the one inside the cabin and mine outside on the deck) could communicate via WiFi using the N3FJP software: it worked like a charm. The software allows two (or more) operating positions to share one log. Each operator gets to see the combined log and is notified of potential dupes.

Saturday morning my dad arrived back from the Bay Area and we setup the Sigma 5.

My operating position on the deck had the antenna connections for both the G5RV and the Sigma 5, my dad’s position had the 132′ ladderline-fed dipole. Interference between the two positions was sometimes a problem. I could use the Sigma 5 vertical on 20M, 15M, and 10M as long as my dad stayed on 80M or 40M (as long as I wasn’t on 15M). While this slowed down operations a bit, it gave us time to take plenty of breaks. My dad started Field Day by working PSK-31 on 20M. I worked phone contacts on 15M and 10M. Later my dad switched to phone, which he really started to enjoy.

10M and 15M were really incredible. I was able to work all the way to the East Coast and up and down the West Coast. For dinner, I BBQ’d some brauts. By midnight we were both exhausted and decided to get some rest.

I enjoyed using my eARSIB. This is the first time I used a foot pedal for my PTT – paired with a Heil headset. That worked great, allowing me to use both hands on the keyboard. I had been unable to configure the West Mountain RIGtalk to work on my laptop – not sure why. But it wasn’t too hard to just flip the band in the logging software. I had not used my Logikey CMOS4 Keyer in some time. I paired it with my Vibroplex paddle and the two worked well together. I enjoyed a few QRS CW QSOs – thank you for those who took the time to slow down for me. I had picked up a marine battery to use with my PWRgate and that worked well.

Sunday I got up after four hours of sleep and started working 80M using the G5RV.

The G5RV worked nicely and I contacted stations from Western Canada down to Southern California and Arizona. I moved up to 40M and expierenced similar results – but was also able to work a station in Japan. My dad was up soon and started to work on 80M and 40M with the 132′ dipole while I switched to the vertical and worked stations on 20M. By about 11:30am we were both pretty much spent. Overall we made about 250 contacts, mostly phone but also a few PSK-31 and CW…. and we had a great time!

KD6EUG Brags About The Number of QSOs He Made

We slept well Sunday night and Monday morning had me back working on the Kantronics KPC-3+/Davis weather station. The biggest problem I was having was figuring out what value to use for the GPSHEAD parameter. Without the correct value, the KPC-3+ was not grabbing the weather data. GPSHEAD would pull in the data a place it in LT (a buffer). LPT setup the APRS path. BLT setup the amount of time in between the TNC initiating a beacon transmission containing weather data.

After a few calls to the Davis headquarters, I was able to figure out that “@” was the magic value for GPSHEAD. Now the weather station is up and operational.

It was then back on the road, up and over the Sonora Pass. I was able to talk to my dad, operating from the Mi-Wuk cabin station, on 80M from the top of the pass. I spent the night in Carson City, Nevada and the next day headed east on I-80. I had made the decision to take I-70 back to Kansas in order to try something different as well as seeing a part of Colorado I had never seen before. It was a long haul to Grand Junction, Colorado – I arrived around midnight. After a few hours of sleep, I was on the road again heading east through some of the most beautiful scenery of the trip. Aspen and Veil were beautiful cities – I hope I get a chance to go back there someday. But while the drive was scenic, the going was slowed and progress was not nearly as quick as I had experienced before while moving through Wyoming and Nebraska.

I finally emerged from the Rockies and headed into Denver, stopping at the Ham Radio Outlet located there. Terry, KC0VFO, and I talked about our Field Day experiences – he operated mobile. His call sign looked familiar and sure enough, I had worked Terry on 15M during Field Day.

Moving east through Denver I was back on the open road, moving rapidly along I-70. I heard a call coming over the 2M National Simplex frequency. It was a gentleman operating from the Mt. Evans Observatory – we had an enjoyable QSO and he went on to work others. The Canada Day contest was also underway and I started to hand out contacts from the mobile. I had planned to make it all the way back to Leavenworth, Kansas but realized I was too tired and needed to spend the night somewhere. I crossed the Colorado/Kansas border and arrived in Goodland, Kansas were I found a hotel room and promptly fell fast asleep.

My final day on the road was pretty easy driving. When you think about Kansas, it is usually what you see in western Kansas along I-70. Flat terrain, lots of farms, not much else. For some reason, the speed limit max in Kansas drops to 70mph (Nebraska, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado all have a max of 75mph). I listened to some of the morning HF nets on 80M and 40M, then made contact with K2L, a special events station in Charleston, South Carolina. I was also able to check into the Sparkle Net on 40M and then later worked two stations on 17M, both located in and around the western border area between North and South Carolina. Soon I was back home, arriving before 3pm.

The Last Frontier – QSO with Alaska!

I turned the rig on during lunch yesterday for a quick spin around 20M and ran into the Alaska-Pacific Emergency Preparedness [http://www.alaskapacificnet.org/] Net run by Will, AL7AC, from Sterling, AK. I heard the traffic net taking Alaska station check-ins… passing their callsigns, locations, and a brief weather report. I was excited because I was hearing Alaska! I’d never actually heard them before, so this was a first. And I wasn’t just hearing one station, I was hearing almost all of them… at least a good dozen. Then the NCS asked for guest check-ins. I grabbed the mic and figured I’d toss in my callsign, not expecting a reply. But Bill came right back to me with a nice signal report! So I thanked him, checked into the net, gave my QTH, and “no traffic”… 1st QSO with Alaska complete!

The quest for Worked All States (WAS) is almost complete… one state to go: Wyoming.


A description of the 40M WAS CW net and some operator recommendations…..

We have checkins of all skill levels and CW abilities, and everyone is always happy to have new stations join in with us. (We think) we are a friendly bunch, and strive to make every effort to help both the newbies and the regulars have fun.

When answering a station that has called you, it’s a general procedure to ID both callsigns first. Then, acknowledge receipt of his report to you with something like “tnx for the 579 579” or “QSL the 579 579″. (It helps NCS if you send the RST twice so he knows what report you think you got). Then, send a report back to the station who called you. Again, it helps to send his RST a couple of times, too. If he’s real weak to you, then maybe send it three of four times. That will save time in the long run if copy is tuff. We don’t normally chit chat much during the net, but pleasantries ( 73 or tnx for the call, etc) are certainly OK. When NCS is satisfied both stations have callsigns correct and reports rec’d on both sides, he will CFM (confirm) the contact as a good one and it becomes official. NCS then moves on to the next station on the list.

There is something on the club web page called ” CW Nets 101″, and maybe that will answer in more detail the questions about net protocol that you raised. Plus, listen to a few of the others, and you’ll pick it up right away. No one gets “huffy” here, so even if anyone does make a boo boo or two, nobody gets excited. There’s a list of CW net “Q” signals on the web page, too.

After your contact with W4BUR, I was trying to get you to repeat the report he sent you. He had sent you a 579, but at first you told me 599 but then changed it to 589. Conditions between you and I were pretty good, so I was fairly certain of the report you said you got. Joe did get the 579 you sent him. As NCS, I can only confirm the contact when I’m sure both stations got their reports correct. Then, all were disappointed when you couldn’t be raised after that contact. I was hoping I hadn’t offended you if you didn’t understand why I had to come back and ask you again. Anyhow, it’s just another net past with many more ahead !! Conditions have really worsened over the last few months, but I’m hoping for improvements soon.

We would really like to have you join us on a regular basis. We have many nets on other bands and modes, too. If you’re going to become a regular, I would suggest sending SASE’s to the free buros. Or, many use the postal plan WM9H provides. The Century Club buros are really fast and efficient, and your cards come fast. Again, info on the web page.

So, let me know if I can help you with anything. I’ll recognize your call next time. OH…The reason I had to keep asking for your callsign is that two other stations kept sending on top of you when you came back everytime I asked for your call. But, we got thru that, too.

Thanks again for checking in, and I hope you will be back.

73, Tom AA1NZ

K9YA Code Practice Net – SLOW

Wednesday May 17, 2006
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
This event repeats on the third Wednesday of every month.
Event Location: 7.137 MHz (plus or minus QRM)
Street: http://www.k9ya.org
Listen for CQ Slow Net—send your callsign. We QRS to the speed of the slowest
op. We’re here to have fun and practice code.

UTC: Currently 24ØØ Z

FREQUENCY: 7.137 MHz +/- QRM

What has KD7PJQ been up to…..

I haven’t been posting as often as I’d like – my Alienware laptop is down for the count and won’t be operational anytime soon.

…. so…. what has been going here?

In the early part of February I activated the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse at Fort Monroe – had a lot of fun, it was my first experience operating HF outside of the house. Learned a lot and will probably do another activation soon.

I made it up to FrostFest in Richmond, VA last Sunday. It’s the premier hamfest in Virginia. Lots of hams, lots of stuff. Overall – a good time was had. I also took a chance and attended the VE test session there and passed the Extra exam. Now I’m thinking about getting a vanity callsign.

I’ve been enjoying participating in an informal morning net on one of the local 2M repeaters… lots of good folks and I’m able to learn a lot by all the chat.

Hope to get the laptop situation fixed soon and get back to regular posting.

CW advice

From: Barton, Jim
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2005 2:54 PM
Subject: CW QSO’s

If I offered any advice at all, it’d be to just jump in and get on the air. I’m usually on or around the FISTS frequencies on 20m & 40m (14058 & 7058) most evenings CST, (although this pre-Christmas week will be kinda busy). If you hear me banging away on a CQ, or finishing a QSO, give me a buzz and tell me to slow down. We can move up or down to clear the calling freq, and have some fun.

The CCN net is a cool way to break in too; I’m new to that, but do enjoy it when I can.

Getting interested in earning CW certificates from CCN or FISTS or anyone else can be a great motivator to get involved and work on your code speed. About every national club or organization has its ways of recognizing members for doing what they enjoy.

Again, jump on in, ask for a QRS if necessary and have a ball … I’m looking forward to working you both.

Vy 73,

Checked into the HARENET66

This is a fun net! Here’s a short description from their website:

“What the Hell is a HARE66? The Hampton Area Radio Entertainment (HARE)Net started years ago with QSO’s on the 147.165 repeater and we never left; just moved to 50.266! Now we are branching out on several other frequencies.”

These guys are a riot!