Alamo-James Analog Link Update

The analog FM link between the Alamo Peak and James Ridge repeaters has been tentatively restored. Full testing of the system has not been accomplished, so fully functioning operations have not been verified; however, the comm paths I could test from Alamo Peak were checked this afternoon. The following results were observed:

1) Transmissions into the 147.220MHz repeater were re-transmitted on the 440MHz link w/ the proper PL tone.

2) Transmissions into the 147.340MHz repeater were re-transmitted on the 440MHz link w/ the proper PL tone.

3) Transmissions directly into the 440MHz link machine at Alamo are repeated on the 147.220MHz repeater.

I was unable to test an end-to-end transmission from Alamo-James or the reverse on 2m due to reception/transmission limits at the site from HT/mobile transmitters, so if anyone is able to verify the link is working, please send me an email detailing the experience. Also, I was unable to test the Weed repeater as part of the link, so any feedback on the whole linked system would also be appreciated.

I left the Alamo Peak 2m machine configured as an AMS repeater, so C4FM users should still be able to utilize Alamo; however, a functioning digital link from Alamo to James will be a bit more of a technical challenge…one which I continue to pursue.

Once I verify that the link is working again, I will replace the Kenwoods at James Ridge with the other two Yaesu machines, which will bring stand-alone C4FM capability to James in addition to Alamo Peak.

Once Alamo and James repeaters are swapped out, the plan is to install a 2.4GHz microwave link from James to Weed and upgrade the Weed repeater to a C4FM machine. With that configuration, we should have a working C4FM link between those two repeaters, as well as traditional analog linking.

In parallel, I am working to install an HRI-200 WIRES-X interface at Alamo Peak and downlink to a low-level internet connection. This will bring the Alamo Peak machine a capability to internet link to other YSF nodes/rooms around the globe. In conjunction, I will also establish an SMRC “room” which works in a very similar manner to a packet BBS – it provides a central place for C4FM users to connect to view news/message traffic, pictures, and voice memos which can be uploaded from any user to be viewed by all in the “room”.

Thanks to all for your patience as we work to put the system back together. It’s been quite a journey, but we’re slowly making progress.

Alamo Peak Repeater Online

The Alamo Peak 2-meter repeater has been returned to service as of this afternoon. The link to the rest of the SMRC system is still being configured, so the machine operates as a “stand-alone” unit until the remainder of the configuration is complete.

The old Kenwood TKR-750 machine has been replaced with one of the new Yaesu DR2X repeaters, bringing C4FM digital voice as well as traditional analog FM voice to the mountain. As such, a few things have changed with respect to accessing the Alamo Peak repeater:

1) The repeater retains analog FM repeat capability; however the PL tone on the machine has been changed to 151.4 Hz. If you have a radio with a programmed channel to access Alamo Peak, please re-program your radio to accommodate the new PL tone. In addition, the repeater now has a PL tone of 151.4 MHz on the repeater output, allowing users to implement a tone-coded squelch setting on their radios.

2) The repeater now has C4FM digital capability. To access the C4FM service, the normal repeater frequency pair is used, but with a DCS code of 051. The repeater is currently set to AMS mode on the input, so the machine should match repeat either type of incoming signal.

We are working on restoring the link to the rest of the SMRC repeater system; however, due to some technical limitations, the fix for the link is still several weeks away.

Users noting any problems with the new Alamo Peak repeater are requested to contact one of the club officers, or a member of the repeater maintenance committee.

2018 ARRL Field Day

Come join the club as we participate in the 2018 ARRL Field Day operating exercise.  Field Day was established by the ARRL as an operating activity designed to encourage amateur radio operators to refine their skills and portable stations to be ready in the event of an emergency where operating from an improvised station is required.

This year, the club will be participating from the old Cloudcroft baseball field located north of downtown Cloudcroft:


View Larger Map

To locate the operating site, from Hwy 82 in Cloudcroft, turn north on Mescalero Avenue (just west of Cloudcroft High School) and proceed all the way up the hill.  At the top of the hill, the old baseball field and the operating site will be on your left.

Station setup will begin around 8:00am on Saturday, June 23.  Operating activities start at 12:00pm and continue until 12:00pm on Sunday, June 24.  There is plenty of room for overnight camping, and radio activities go on all night, so feel free to camp out and make a weekend of it!

The club will operate multiple radios for Field Day this year, utilizing HF SSB, digital modes, and CW.  Extra class control operators will be present, so you can operate the entire spectrum of available amateur frequencies & modes.  Amateur radio license testing will be conducted both Saturday & Sunday.  Contact Michael Reinecke, KG5DAC, for times and details.

If you’ve been thinking about getting into amateur radio, are looking for a different and fun weekend activity, or need to upgrade your current amateur radio license, come out and join us for a great weekend of radio operating!

Saturday Night Net Status

Due to the lightning strike at Alamo Peak, the club’s regular Saturday evening net at 7pm will be suspended until the system is brought back online.  Check back regularly on this website for up-to-date information on the Alamo Peak system repair.

Alamo Peak Status

The Alamo Peak repeater is currently offline due to a lightning strike on the mountain this week.  Bill & Mickey visited the site this morning and investigated the problem.  The solution will require replacing both radios at the site.

I am currently building a repeater pair using the new Yaesu DR2X machines which will replace the Alamo Peak radios.  I will also build a pair to replace the James Ridge radios.  This will finally bring C4FM to the Alamo & James machines.  The analog FM link to Weed will remain operative, but ultimately the Weed machine will also be replaced with a C4FM repeater bringing the whole system up to 21st century standards.

Until the Alamo system is rebuilt and the new equipment installed, that machine will be down.  The James & Weed machines remain operative.  Expect the Alamo machine to be  down for at least two weeks before we can get back up to the site and swap out the hardware.  In the meantime, the 145.230 MHz machine on Benson Ridge, the 145.350 MHz Mega-Link machine on Long Ridge, and the 147.000 C4FM machine in High Rolls are viable substitutes for the Alamo Peak system.

2018 Cactus To Cloud Update #3

Final preparations are being made for the race this coming Saturday.  As of this post, I have 4 volunteers to occupy aid stations:

AID 1/6
7:30am – 1:30pm – Craig, KG5VIN
1:30PM – 7:00PM – LARRY, WW6USA
AID 2/5
8:15AM – 1:00PM – BOB, KF5VLJ
1:00PM – 5:30PM – Bob, KF5VLJ
AID 3/4
8:45AM – 12:30PM – Mickey, KG5DAC
12:30PM – 3:00PM – Rich, KB2MEZ
NET CONTROL
7AM – 1PM – RICHARD, KG5EKP
1PM – 7PM – RICHARD, KG5EKP

 

I am still planning on sweeping at the least the loop after Aid 3/4 due to the potentially exhausting conditions and lack of aid support along that portion of the trail.

The Pre-Event Net will still take place Friday evening at 7PM on the linked repeater system.  All volunteers are strongly encouraged to make that net.  I will issue comms guidance for event support by Wednesday evening to allow newcomers to review the planned procedures so they can bring questions to the Friday evening net.

Thank you, in advance, to all the volunteers who are making this event possible.

2018 Cactus To Cloud Update #2

As previously reported the 2018 Cactus To Cloud race has been altered and is now the 2018 Cloudcroft Ultra 53k / 10 miler.  The race will begin at 7am and conclude no later than 7pm.  The new race course starts at Zenith Park in Cloudcroft and ends there as well.

AID STATIONS

There will be three aid stations, which each runner will pass through two times…once on the way out and once on the way back.  The aid station locations are as follows:

Aid 1/6:  Rim Trail Entrance #2 near MM1 on Sunspot Highway

View Larger Map
Aid 2/5: FS Road 636 (right off Sunspot Highway just past the old Snow Play Area)

View Larger Map
Aid 3/4:  Rim Trail intersection with Alamo Peak Road

View Larger Map
AID STATION TIMES

Due to the relatively quick nature of the course through Aid Station 3, I’m suggesting the following times on station:

AID 1/6:  On station by 7:30am.  Expect first runners by 7:45am.  Cutoff time into Aid 6 on the return trip is 6:00pm.

AID 2/5:  On station by 8:15am.  Expect first runners by 8:30am.  Cutoff time into Aid 5 on the return trip is 4:30pm.

AID 3/4:  On station by 8:45am.  Expect first runners by 9:00am.  Cutoff time into Aid 3 on the outbound trip is 11:00am.  Cutoff time back into Aid 4 on the return trip is 2:00pm.

All of the Aid Stations are accessible by vehicle, however, Aid 2/5 is on a fairly small twin-track road with no room to turn around, so you may have to park your vehicle and walk in about 1/4 mile to get to the station itself.  (This is the station Bob Good usually mans every year).

AID STATION/NET CONTROL MANNING

Due to the potentially long times at the aid stations, I’m suggesting we break up the manning periods into two blocks:

AID 1/6:  First block – 7:30am to 1:30pm.  Second block – 1:30pm to 7:00pm.
AID 2/5:  First block – 8:15am to 1pm.  Second block – 1pm to 5:30pm.
AID 3/4:  First block – 8:45am to 12:30pm.  Second block – 12:30pm to 3:00PM.
NET CONTROL:  FIRST BLOCK – 7AM TO 1PM.  SECOND BLOCK – 1PM TO 7PM.

 

If you are interested in manning an aid station, please email me at my callsign at gmail.com and let me know which block(s) you are interested in staffing.  If you want to staff both blocks at an aid station, that is fine…just let me know.

I’m still looking for Net Control manning in Zenith Park.  It’s an easy job, there’s great food, and lots of great folks to hang around with.  I’m planning on running most of the course, particularly the loop from Aid 3 back to Aid 4, as that is a very difficult trail and will be run in the hot part of the day with no shade and steep terrain.  (Sounds fun…feel free to join me!)

I’ll publish a race bible as soon as I get one, so we have more complete information about the Aid Stations, but the above info should get us started.  Pick your participation, and please send me an email ASAP so I can identify if we have any coverage gaps.  All timeslots at all aid stations are currently open, so feel free to pick the time/location which best fits your schedule.  When you email me, please also email me your preferred T-shirt size so I can get the order back to Cindy ASAP.  Request you email me no later than right after the net this Saturday night.

Thanks to everyone in advance for supporting this great event and flexing with the last minute changes.  Let’s get ready for a race!

 

Alamo Peak Site Visit

Several club members recently visited the Alamo Peak repeater site to investigate rebuilding the equipment shed that is currently housing the repeater:

Alamo Peak Equipment Shed

The shed has been weathering it’s mountaintop location for several decades now and is need of replacement.  The club is investigating several options as a suitable replacement, and budgeting calculations are well underway for the new project.

Surveying the equipment shed

In addition to the new equipment shed, the club is planning on reworking the antenna setup on the tower at the Alamo Peak site:

Alamo Peak Antenna

A wind storm two winters ago torqued the standoff antenna mount for the repeater antenna, causing the whole assembly to be tilted approximately 10 degrees to the east.  Several different options are being considered for the job, and a gin pole will be sourced for climbers to implement the fix.

Once the equipment shed is brought up to standards, the Club will be able to install the new Yaesu DR-2X repeater purchased for the site last fall.  Stay tuned for progress on the site improvements as we work to improve our amateur radio service to the Sacramento Mountains and Tularosa Basin.

ICOM ID-51A For Sale

Rick Lubke, N7SGT, is liquidating some ICOM D-STAR inventory:

N7SGT ICOM ID-51A Package
Like new ICOM ID51A plus2 (Black) ($329.00) for sale with the following extras:
IC-BC-202 02 Rapid Charger ($59.95)
IC-LC-174 Leather Case ($39.95)
IC-SJ-1 Silicon Jacket ($39.95)
IC-HM-186LS Hand Mic ($52.95)
Programming Cable ($25.00)
Internet Labs 2m DVAP ($239.00)
Total Value retail from HRO:  $780.80
Asking: $500.00
If interested, you can contact Rick directly at: n7sgt@q.com

2018 Cactus To Cloud Update #1

For those planning on supporting the 2018 Cactus To Cloud race, logistical issues with the race organization have prevented the traditional C2C race run on May 12:

https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=51838

Instead, Matt & Cindy are working to organize a new race route for a 53k race which starts and finishes in Cloudcroft.  I’m waiting for the updated race course so I can work with Cindy to figure out what support they’ll need on the new race routing, but I expect they’ll need communications support as only a small part of the course will be in the vicinity of the village itself.

Bottom line:  keep May 12th clear on your calendar and if you were planning on supporting the C2C, plan on supporting the new race route.  More words to follow…