Monthly Newsletter Dedicated to the Advancement of Amateur Radio September, 1999

Phyllis Dillman, NØMJB


Kermit Fairbanks, KBØEEF has undergone quadruple bypass surgery today, September 3, 1999 and is presently at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka. We all wish Kermit a speedy recovery.

Thanks to Chuck, AAØRI for talking to us about RFI regulations at our August meeting. It looks like most hams don't have to worry about filling out the forms. Thanks, that's good news.

Our next meeting will be our annual picnic on Sunday, September 12 at 4 P.M. Bring your own meat or main dish and something else to share. The club will have coffee and hot water available. We'll be at the park below the Tuttle Creek Dam north of Manhattan at shelter #2.

The RED CROSS has moved to a new location at 2601 Anderson on the west side of Manhattan. Our October meeting will be there. We have a big radio room under separate key and a nice meeting room that's much bigger than the old one. We need to start planning for antennas and other station details.

The October meeting will be a program about Sunrayce 99 or a video on the history of radar. If you are interested in serving as a club officer or on the nominating committee, see one of the present officers. The elections will be at the November meeting along with an auction of some instruments, computers and ham gear.

XYL dinner Sept. 23th. It will be at Java, 1219 Moro, at 7:00 P.M.

Norm Dillman, NØJCC

Emergency Power for the MAARS Repeater.

A lot has happened with the planning for the emergency power backup since the last newsletter. There is still significant disagreement about what we should do so I'll try to give the facts as I know them and we can vote at the picnic about how to proceed. Four ideas have been proposed by club members:

  1. a permanent motor/generator set with automatic startup.
  2. Battery backup with portable generator available for long power outages.
  3. Battery backup with photovoltaic assist.
  4. Battery backup with no assist except for major, major emergency.

This first thing everyone needs to realize is that a "12 volt" supply is all we need to operate the repeater and the controller. The repeater has an internal AC power supply that runs both boxes and keeps an external battery charged. The battery automatically switches ON to power the system when the power goes off. The power requirement (for battery operation) is 4 Watts on receive and 33 Watts on transmit. This corresponds to 0.34 Amp and 2.75 Amps. (This is one reason why I don't favor a 3000 to 5000 Watt motor generator and I don't want to be responsible for one that would operate all the equipment there).

The key to determine how much energy we need is to estimate how much time we'll be transmitting during an emergency. For normal repeater operation I estimate that we transmit less than 10% of the time. The Colorado Repeater Association actually monitors their hourly usage per week and they have found that the hours of use is significantly less during real emergencies. People are trained to keep transmissions short. To be very conservative, I suggest we use 30% for our average use over several days of emergency. It's certainly less than that during storm watches and during the flood of '93. That figures out to an average of 1 Amp average or 24 amp-hours per day.

We have some free, slightly-used electric vehicle, valve-regulated, mat, Delphi (#19010704) lead acid batteries. These have been professionally tested and are at their full capacity which is greater than 60 amp hours at low current loads. If we use three in parallel (they're matched so we can do that) we should get a little over a week of operation. I have not checked the price of large deep-cycle, replacement batteries for comparison. It's almost impossible to get these mat-type, sealed batteries to outgas but if they are overcharged at high currents they can give off small amounts of hydrogen so we will vent them through the hole where our ground goes outside. These batteries never need to have water added but should be turned upside-down once a year. (It's recommended that they stand on one end or the other).

Our home is on the same power system as the repeater and our longest outage in the past nine years has been about 3 days. A week would be a major emergency.

My concerns with a permanent motor/generator set are

  1. it's 100 times more power than we need,
  2. fuel storage is a safety, liability issue,
  3. switching into the grid is a safety, liability issue,
  4. installation will be expensive and not easy and
  5. to have reasonable reliability we'd need to do frequent preventative maintenance.

A more popular proposal is to use a photovoltaic array (solar cells) to extend the battery life. The cost for a nice system (module and controller) that would extend the battery life forever during the summer and give us 3 to 5 more days during a cloudy winter month is about $500 plus the cost of mounting. In my opinion this would be reliable, low maintenance and a fun, educational project for the club. But it's hard to justify economically since it is VERY unlikely that we would ever really need it at our present location. I think I can arrange for the loan of a good module for a year or two we elect to try this.

Irregardless of the plan we use, we should have a have battery back up. The three batteries have been installed so we have a one week backup supply already. We do not need any permission from the radio station to do this. We also have circuits designed and John, NØTOK, has some of the controller already programmed for the following features:

  1. The repeater would immediately and automatically operate with a different courtesy tone after each transmission AND announce "emergency power" after each ID when the AC power is OFF. When the power returns, the repeater will automatically return to normal operation.
  2. We could turn the AC power ON and OFF remotely for periodic testing.
  3. The battery status would be announced with proper codes to indicate the state of charge by measuring the voltage range of the batteries; ex. "battery warning" would be less than about 11 volts, "battery low" would be from 11 v to 11.5 v , "battery OK" would be from 11.5 v to 13 v, "battery charged" could be above 13 volts.

With these features we could periodically test the system without ever going up the hill. The parts for this custom-built system will cost just a few dollars and will be provided free of charge by Tim and Norm. Anyone interested in learning how it works can help build it.

The estimated repeater operating time on battery is based on the battery capacity. Typically, DC electronic equipment will operate at reduced voltages similar to the battery minimum voltage. We do not know at what voltage the repeater quits working. It's not in the manual. If it's greater than the "dead battery" voltage the operating time will be reduced. We can determine this experimentally sometime soon.

I hope this information will allow everyone to make a more informed decision. and let you know what is going on.

Lenore Layman, NØTSN

Manhattan Area Amateur Radio Society
August 13, 1999

Chuck Carter, AAØRI was our speaker for the evening on a discussion of radio safety frequencies.

Starting in October the new meeting location for our club will be 2601 Anderson Avenue, Manhattan - the upper part of the building as you enter the street level floor turn left and go down the hall. Dan Weir stated that there would be no problem with our antennas, the room consists of one window, and a lockable door.

Our club will need to renew the KSDB lease as our ten year lease is over. Normally our club has been paying $12.00 a year. A motion was made and discussed and all were in favor of paying up to $50.00 a year possibly $36.00.

Emergency preparedness - Myron approached the club with a concern regarding midnight on December 31st, he would like to have 20 hams think about helping emergency preparedness "just in case", a strobe light will be provide for the top of your car. If you think you might be interested, contact Myron WØPBV.

A 3 KW diesel generator with an automatic start has been offered to the club at no cost - it will be used help run KSDB or to be used at the Red Cross Building. This generator was originally purchased for the new com-van only it does not fit. The club would have to run the generator at every club meeting, if for some reason we might be unable to get this generator the club might consider purchasing a 5KW generator - more at the picnic or the October meeting.

One of the members of the solar car club works for a company that makes batteries and he was able to get us a battery. The battery is an electric vehicle battery that puts out 11 watts it would be able to run the repeater for at least 3 days we could add a few circuits so the repeater can announce when it is going down. The life span of the battery is 2-3 years and has the same characteristics as a gel cell. A motion was made and all were in favor to buy a smart charger for the battery and spend up to $50.00.

Chuck discussed the new forms. Form 610 has been replace by the 605 ULS (Universal license system) it requires your social security number or tax payer number, also vanity call changes can be made, on the form when it tells you to sign your name you just need to type in your name.

Picnic - Lenore will see if we can change the picnic from Saturday, September 11 to Sunday, September 12 if that date is unavailable we will change to picnic to Sunday, September 19th - or if these dates are not available then we will change the location of the shelter. Any changes to the reservation will cost $10.00. Listen to the Tuesday night net for the new date of the clubs picnic. Bring your own meat and a pot luck dish to share, starts at 4:00 p.m. Included in this newsletter is a map of Tuttle Creek State Lake shelter #2 the location of our picnic - this will be the same location as our past picnics.

A mini auction may be held at the October meeting.

Dues need to be paid in October in order to vote at the next election.

September 11 - hamfest in Columbia, MO

There is a test session in Salina on the second Monday of the month at the Salina police station, you do not need to register first.

There is no regular scheduled meeting in September, see you on October 8th at our new location.

For a map of the Tuttle Outlet Park (site of the picnic), click here. 

Chuck Carter, AAØRI

There will be a short business meeting at the club picnic to discuss the repeater power backup plans. Also we will discuss purchasing antennas for the club station. We don't have any radios at the station but if a power supply and antennas were already installed we could be open for business is a matter of minutes.

Bev, NØRKO, sent me the following URLs and information for those interested: and

There will be a Morse code class in Lawrence, KS starting September 13th. The class will run for 8 Mondays and will be concluded with an exam session. Classes are free. For more information contact Bob Drake, NØTFU, (785) 842-5961 or e-mail, or Jim Canaday, N6YR, (785) 841-1903, or e-mail The classes are sponsored by the Douglas County ARC and will be held at the basement of the Lawrence Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th at 7:00 P.M.

Thanks for submitting this information Bev, I hadn't seen anything of it.

September 12,1999
4:00 P.M.
annual picnic at shelter house #2
below the dam at Tuttle Creek

Nadine Stueve, KØUHF
August, 1999

Cash on Hand, 8/01/9920.00
Checking account balance, 8/01/9982.47
Savings account balance, 8/01/99 2,023.00
Total on Hand, 8/01/99 $ 2,125.47
   no receipts0.00
Total Receipts    0.00
Total Money Available $ 2,125.47
   Newsletter - printing5.97
   Newsletter - postage33.00
Total Expenditures    58.96
Cash on Hand, 8/31/9920.00 
Checking account balance, 8/31/9923.51 
Savings account balance, 8/31/992,023.00 
Total on Hand, 8/31/99 $ 2,066.51


If you would like to become a member of the American Radio Relay League and receive the monthly issue of QST, your treasurer has a form you may use to apply. The club keeps $5 of each new member's dues and $2 of each renewing member, so even if you are renewing, do so through the club. The main thing to remember is that if you join through the club, your check must be made out to MAARS. When the form is sent in, the treasurer writes a new check deducting the amount which the club is permitted to keep. They will not reimburse the club. If you are renewing, bring your notice for renewal along to the meeting or send it to the Treasurer at the MAARS address.

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