The Voice Of 76
And The Santa Clara Valley
Santa Clara Valley Repeater Society
P.O. Box 2085
Sunnyvale, CA., 94087-2085
Meeting Place: San Jose Red Cross
Cross Streets: North First Street and Plumeria- In No. San Jose
When: Third Friday of Each Month
To All Members:
As you know, we've not had a newsletter for several months. Our President, Vice President, Editor and Secretary had to resign due to personal committments. There are several other non-elected positions that were also vacated. All these positions should be filled. For our June elections, please volunteer for one of these positions, NO experience necessary, just ambition. You will be helped by other members and board members.
As for the Editor, all you need is a computer with a word processor,although a "desktop publishing" program would be nice but is NOT necessary and a desire to get something printed on paper so that the members will be informed as to what's going on with the club. As the editor, it's your chance to put in your "two cents worth" on what's happening and what should happen, with regards to the club and it's activities. A simple note, like this one would be acceptable as it keeps members informed. If "we" assume someone will get out a newsletter, as you know, it never happens.
Club Repeater Projects:
There are several club repeater projects that are in need of technical support, some large and some small. If you can read schematics, solder and perform general electronic assembly, PLEASE contact one of the Board members or leave a brief message on the club answering machine, with your name and phone number and someone will contact you. If you have higher technical or engineering design or "machine shop" skills that would benefit the club and repeater maintenance, please indicate that. We always need voluntary help. For those of you who are not afraid of heights, the club also needs tower climbers to help, on occasion, to check the repeater antennas on the tower and the coax that feeds them. We have the belts and accessories for you. We just need "fearless" souls.
Our 2M transmitter is mal-functioning. Bill, WA2IBM, Jim, KB6TPWand myself, John, KA6LWC, have made several trips to the hill in my Jeep, trying to resolve the problem. We finally removed our 2M transmitter and installed a "loaner" transceiver, a Motorola Radius, as a temporary fix. Jim, KB6TPW, has loaned us his personal Motorola Radius transceiver until HE fixes our Motorola amplifier. Jim is our "life saver" and Motorola "expert". As with all service calls, you touch something and it works. We'd bang, shake and cycle it on and off but couldn't make it fail while at the hill site. A couple of days after we leave the site, the 2M trasmitter would fail again. I think Mr. Murphy (or his "alien soul") must visit our site.
For those of you who have no idea as to what's involved in getting to the site, it takes about 1.5hr to get from the bottom of the hill to the hill-top site. It's not like a drive on a freeway as the roads are NOT paved most of the way. A truck or similar vehicle is recommended, although some cars have been known to "carefully" navigate the road. It's one of those "picnic" adventures for the day.
Some of you might have noticed that there has been some intermod on our 2M signals. 440Mhz is not affected. It turns out that it is caused by a digital paging system when the 2M and 220Mhz systems are linked. When 220Mhz is turned off, the intermod goes away. One thing unique about the intermod is that it occurs ALWAYS on SUNDAYS. If the link is turned off for Sundays and back on Monday to Saturday, things are quiet and the 2M to 220Mhz link is useable. I've noted that the digital paging system has a HIGH SPEED CW identifier. It's supposed to be a mixture of numbers and letters. CW is NOT one of my better abilities in Ham Radio so I'm usually not "prepared" for the CW id'er. If you hear it and can decode the i/d'er or can record the intermod, in hopes of capturing the CW identifier, it sure would help. Just leave your message on the club answering machine with your findings and if you were able to record the I/Der. ALL attempts should be recorded on the club answering machine because we might be able to get all the numbers and letters and contact the owner of the digital paging system for help in resolving the problem.
Dues are due at the March meeting. If you don't pay your dues and require auto-patch privileges, you won't get the new codes that will be distributed in April. YES, the codes will be changed this year as there have been several un-authorized users on 2M/220 and 440Mhz. Apparently some members think it's OK to "share" the codes. Sharing codes just violates the "security" on our system. It isn't fair to those members that try to guard the codes from outside members. Poor signals into the system will also allow non-members, with a "good ear", to "decode" our access codes if the system is not muted by the first tone.
Here is a list of renewal fees:
Regular with patch: $30.00
Regular without patch: $24.00
Senior/family member with patch: $18:00
Senior/family member without patch: $12.00
MEMBERSHIP AND SPEAKERS:
Many of you have commented that there have been no speakers for our meetings. Well, when we've had speakers only six to ten people show up. These are usually the "regulars" that show up for each meeting. With this kind of attendance, there is little enthusiasm for getting speakers, some of whom have had very interesting presentations. If you are working on a ham radio project such as an antenna, tuner or a kit, bring it to the club meetings and for a "show and tell". At our most recent meeting, Russ, N7DW(ex KJ6BS ) showed his QRP rig he's been using. Lots of questions arose from those in attendance. Club meetings are also where you get your questions answered.
MOTORCYCLE RADIO HELP:
One of our newest members, Bill Champ, KE6VMD, (408-294-0680) needs some help with mounting Ham radios and antennas on his motorcycle. If you use a Ham Radio with your motorcycle, give Bill a call.
If you are interested in what's happening with MIR and the Space shuttle, you can listen to the NASA communications link being re-broadcast on 145.585Mhz. NOTE: This is NOT a frequency you can use as a communication frequency. It's only for listening. There are LOTS of periods of silence with a solid carrier, so don't get discouraged if you don't hear anything.
When you change your mailing address, you MUST inform the FCC using a new Form 610. You should also notify any Ham organizations to which you belong.
Just because you are able to "key up" the repeater, ours or anyone elses system, is NO guarantee that your signal is of high quality. Most repeater systems have good "ears" and can capture weak signals as well as strong signals.
When you are using your H/T, consider the "polarity" of your "rubber duck" antenna. The repeater antenna is VERTICALLY polarized and so should your H/T antenna be
vertical when communicating. Holding your radio at a 45degree angle or lower, cross-polarizes the signals and reduces your chances of making a good contact with the machine. Our H/T's are NOT cell phones.
Many of you are trying to access the auto-patch with "rubber duck" antennas on your radios. Well, these antennas are really poor loads for the radios and radiate poorly. Unless you are in a "line of sight" with the repeater, you don't have a very good chance of hitting the machine with a "clean signal". It is a "clean signal" that the TelCo system needs to decode it's tones. Our system just passes the tones through the system, noise and all, as they are received. As they say in the computer business, "GIGO" (Garbage In, Garbage Out).
When mobile, use an EXTERNAL antenna of any kind. These are LONGER and matched better than the "rubber duck" so they will radiate a MUCH better signal. You wouldn't attempt to put a tin can over your H/T antenna and transmit but that's what a car really is. OK, those of you Corvette owners and others with plastic bodied cars are the exception but you have a "lack of ground plane" problem for your antenna so you can't use "mag-mount" antennas like the rest of us. At home, you might be lucky and be able to hit the machine with a "communications quality" signal that might have some "white noise(hiss)" on it. It's still understandable but the "white noise" makes things a little annoying. While at home, you might consider a "300ohm Twin Lead J" antenna. They will work as DUAL-BANDERS on 2M and 440Mhz and are cheap to make. At least it's LONGER than the "rubber duck" antenna on your H/T so it will radiate a better signal. There are "longer" commercial antennas for H/T's so they could be a worthwhile investment when you are at home. As with all antennas, "longer is better".
Well members, I've put in my "two cents worth" as you could if you were the editor. You see what our problems are with the club so please volunteer to fill some of the afore-mentioned elected and non-elected positions. It's NOT a "clique" of people that are keeping us going but a few dedicated members. Just ask "what can I do to help" and I'm sure you will be given a choice. Just ask!
de John, KA6LWC, TREASURER [again for 97!]
A non-member and casual user of the WB6OQS system, Ted Moran, KB6UDA, sent us a $10.00 donation to be used to help get our 2M & 220Mhz link re-established. With the latest digital paging system problem, it looks like the link will be turned off Saturday night and back on Monday morning. Thanks Ted. It's a first that I know of, whereby a non-member sent in an "appreciation contribution".