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First test is promising!
I drove the full century course late this morning. The good news is it looks like we’ll be able to use our repeater system for most of it. Williamstown covers well in downtown Montpelier, East Montpelier and VT-14 out towards Woodbury. Past there, coverage is shaky, but Cabot picks it up nicely through Hardwick and up rt 15 and 16 into the area just before Glover. That’s when coverage gets fairly spotty, but picks up again strongly in Barton, sort of near the solar field/Leroux Brothers Transmission. Coverage is strong through Irasburg, Albany and Craftsbury, and there are even some places here where the Williamstown machine picks back up! (I even had a P25 digital QSO with Chris (K1MHZ) on Williamstown with minimal packet loss.) While stationary in Irasburg (Bob’s Quick Stop, to be specific), I had no trouble reaching Cabot.
By the time I got to Morrisville/Elmore area, Williamstown was full-quieting once again, and those on the repeater had no trouble copying me at all.
In some of the weak spots, I had to use high power to reach the machines – which in my case is 110 watts. We may want to consider the use of cross-band repeaters. This will be important for mobile stations – if they drive through spotty areas while transmitting, the net control station in Montpelier may not catch the full message.
I have yet to drive the other courses, but this first test was pretty promising. I just thought I’d give a synopsis of my findings today.
Thanks to WS3RVO, KA1HQR, K1MHZ, KC1EKV and WA2LRE for their help during my adventure today!
I plan on driving the full century course tomorrow morning (4/4) if anyone wants to monitor the repeater. Ideally, we’ll have full coverage between Lincoln Peak, Cabot and Williamstown. I will also be monitoring 10 meter SSB mobile on 28.4 MHz.
Good to know we have another possible HF station, Max!
Dillon, as I’ve discussed, I’m not sure how far north Cabot reaches, but I’m a little more concerned about how far west it shoots. If the weather’s nice (missed my mark there) I’ll go for a drive and map the coverage.
Yeah, as ambitious as it is, I think we can have just as much fun as a fixed station. We’ll keep the idea on the back burner, but I think for now we’ll go full steam ahead with VTC as our location.
The request to book the room in Morey Hall was sent the second week of December, but I still haven’t heard back from them. It’s a bit slow with limited staff during the holidays – But I’ve been checking in every week since.
As for operating details, what does everyone think about 2 HF stations and possibly a VHF (6/2 meter) station if there is interest?
I’ve finished my “fox box” – an automatic foxhunt transmitter system inside an old ammunition container. This can take the place of a person as the fox if we decide to go that route. Two possible models the event can take, as I see it, are:
1) Automatic transmitter/fox box on simplex frequency, hidden by a club member or 3rd party
2) Volunteer operator with handheld radio that transmits at their discretion through the club repeater (direction-finding done on the input frequency)
I’d like to know if anyone has an idea for how to do scoring. I’m thinking we should give everyone who participates a chance to find it and do 1st/2nd/3rd place recognition/award after the fact – you write your name/callsign on the box (sort of like a geocache) and then leave the area ASAP so as not to tip off other participants that you may have found the fox.
A fox hunt is essentially a game of “find the hidden transmitter”. People use direction-finding techniques to locate the ‘fox’. We have many people in the club with a wealth of experience and knowledge on DF-ing, so I’m sure we could put an info session together if you’re up for it.
All items were sold at NEARfest XXV last weekend. Thank you to all supporting CVARC!
I currently only have equipment to work FM satellites at the moment, but it can still be a lot of fun. One of the coolest sat ops I ever did was while camping on Cape Cod last summer. SO-50 was my metric for success at the time, since it was the only bird I’d ever successfully worked. I brought along a 70cm Yagi (cushcraft a440s), a dual band whip antenna for an HT and two separate handhelds. Using the UHF beam for recieve and the tilted whip method for transmit on VHF, I was able to successfully work two stations – it definitely impressed my two non-ham friends, which is (to me) one of the coolest parts of amateur radio. You get to show off the capability of such simple setups and methods of operating.