|Monthly Newsletter Dedicated to the Advancement of Amateur Radio September, 1998|
THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER
Our August meeting was our annual picnic on Saturday, August 8 in the Park below the dam at Tuttle Lake. We had a lot of good food and conversation plus a couple of games of "Hillside" croquet. It was good to see both old and new members and friends there.
Thanks to everyone who helped locate the source of our interference north east of the dam at Lake Tuttle. Terry, KC6YOU, suggested it would be a TV antenna amplifier gone crazy days before it was located. We'll discuss this more at the September meeting along with the possibility of adding PL Tones to the repeater.
The September meeting will be about the Internet and digital video on computers. The speaker, Brad Guenther, is a computer engineer and system administration at KSU. He'll also tell about recent experience with computer security and give us his opinion about the future of the Internet.
We'll also be looking for volunteers for a nominating committee to find candidates for the November Election. That's the second Friday, September 11, 1998 at 7:30 P.M. in room 152 Rathbone Hall on the KSU-Manhattan campus. Don't forget the informal "Eating Meeting" at the Sirloin Stockade in East Manhattan that evening at 5:30 P.M.
Some time back I mentioned that Gary Johnson would like some hams to help with a Tesla Coil Convention near Manhattan on October 3. THAT MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELED!
The October meeting will be especially entertaining. Many of us have already heard Dwight Nesmith give humorous talks about technology and the people involved: past and present. Dwight is a retired KSU professor and will also tell us about his unique artwork made from SEEDS. You can often find him demonstrating this unique process at the Holiday Inn in Manhattan and Silver Dollar City in Missouri. His work is on display and for sale at both of these places. This program should appeal to everyone. Second Friday, October 9, same time, same place.
The next XYL dinner (for women hams and non-hams) is October 22. Let me know is you have a suggestion about where to go or some other XYL activities.
The November meeting will be our annual meeting and election of officers. Members who have paid for 1999 are eligible to vote. Our new year starts in October so be thinking about paying your dues to Nadine or to Box 163 in Manhattan. There will be a program (to be announced) after the short meeting and election. November 13, 1998, same time, same place.
The last meeting of the year has traditionally been a Christmas party with good food and a fun gift exchange. We'll have more information about the later but it will be on Saturday evening, December 12 instead of our normal Friday meeting time.
Norm Dillman, NØJCC
"Tones": YES or NO.
We've been talking about adding "tones" to the repeater for some time but have always voted to delay the decision in the past. Most of you know about "tones" but for those who don't I like to review what they are, how they work and why many repeaters use them. Then, I'll list what I see as the pros and cons for installing them on our machine.
"Tones" are technically know as the CONTINUOUS TONE-CODED SQUELCH SYSTEM, CTCSS or PRIVATE LINE, PL, which is the Motorola trademark for this system. The basic idea is to stop rf noise and other unwanted signals from causing the repeater to transmit. The repeater is fitted with a circuit that will not turn ON the transmitter unless the incoming signal has an appropriate subaudible tone plus enough signal level to be detected. Since we don't have "tones" our repeater it also transmits when it detects any noise or a distant ham signal when we have ducting. We've had a lot of both in the past few months. These problems would not have occurred if we had CTCSS.
Now for the rest of the story. In order for CTCSS to work every one of our transceivers must have a little circuit that can be programmed to generate the correct subaudible tone. Newer transceivers come with this feature built-in but the "tones" are missing from most older radios (like three of mine). Several years ago I added "tones" to our sons Kenwood HT in California and I think it cost about $45, so it's not worth modifying most oldies.
The CTCSS on many repeaters can be turned OFF and ON with publicly-known DTMF tones so everyone can still use the repeater with a little inconvenience. We had to do this when we lived in Colorado. Everyone in this area with a 440 MHz radio is already using the 88.5 Hz tone that has always been on the PAWS and KSUARC 70-cm repeaters.
ADVANTAGES: (1) It stops unwanted repeater transmission of interference and distance stations. (2) We can lower the squelch or even turn if off so the repeater range will be extended. (3) DX-ing repeaters during tropospheric ducting will be better because when we add the correct tone so we won't bring up two or three repeaters at the same time. Also, people can hit our repeater by looking up our tone in the repeater directory. Actually, all the repeaters in this area will have the same 88.5 Hz tone. (4) We may be required to add CTCSS in the near future and phasing it in slowly will be easier for most of us.
DISADVANTAGES: (1) It costs money to add it to the repeater (but not much). (2) It will be a hassle to make the modification and publicize the change. The circuit doesn't install itself and the controller has to be reprogrammed. (3) It will be inconvenient for people like me using old equipment. (4) People traveling through the area can't use our repeater unless the know the tone or go on reverse and ask someone on "simplex". We could add the message "88.5 Hertz PL tone" to ID's, etc. (5) It adds complexity to programming your equipment.
I propose that we buy the equipment and install it but only use it when we have a problem for the first year or so. If local hams can turn it ON with DTMF tones when there is a problem then we can leave it OFF most of the time. That will give us time to publicize the tone in repeater guides also and some of us time to figure out what to do with our old radios.
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
Phyllis, NØMJB, says that she, Norm, NØJCC, and John, NØTOK visited the owner of the offending TV amp and he has pulled the plug.
Lenore wrote to tell me that as there wasn't a regular August meeting there are no minutes to publish this month. She did say that PL tones and naming the "Newsletter" were briefly discussed.
Grace Ann and I just came back from a "campfest" in Colorado. These Colorado hams know how to have a good time with a hamfest! They start the campout on Friday afternoon and the vendor's/tailgaters set up in one area and everyone else in another area. Everyone brings their favorite rigs/antennas and set up like field day.
I saw people working HF ssb, cw, and satellites. There were also people doing the same with 6 meters and higher. The antenna ingenuity was amazing.
Saturday evening we had a covered dish supper, there were some really good cooks also.
Lots of ham goodies were bought, traded, and sold as well.
73 de Chuck, AAØRI
|September 12||CMRA Hamfest||Columbia, MO|
|October 3||Kansas State Convention||Wichita|
|October 3||Warrensburg Hamfest||Warrensburg, MO|
|November 1||Tivka Tracers ARC Hamfest||Des Moines, IA|