SBARC Telecom Group Meets for First Time

The new, and improved SBARC Telecom Group met Saturday June 4th for the first time. The Telecom Group is led by Bill W1UUQ and Levi K6LCM (co-chairs) and composed of members of the repeater and microwave crew that has maintained our infrastructure for years, and several members of the digital operations and mesh network group. Many members of the digital group have skills that will enable more people to share the load in maintaining and improving SBARC’s already amazing infrastructure. The SBARC digital group will be able to assume more responsibility for day-to-day repeater operations and programming, packet radio and APRS, weather stations, and other things that have overburdoned the telecom group for years. In the very near future, we will have some very powerful new repeater features available to the club, and this collaboration will ensure that the talents and skills available to the club are most efficiently utilized. Note: Missing from the picture is Brian K6BPM because he was taking it! Post expires at 6:53am on Friday August 5th, 2016 but will still be available in the archives.

General Club Meeting – March 18, 2016

We had a packed meeting this month in more ways than one! It was very well attended with a 59% increase in members in attendance compared with our recent averages. On top of that we had three presenters too! It started off with Jon Kent of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Aero Squadron. Jon explained what the Aero Squadron does and related some great stories. Jon has been a volunteer for decades and has flown many missions in support of local law enforcement, county government, and emergency services. He is truly a dedicated to public service, and is an inspiration to all of us. Gear, gear and more gear! The tables were packed with radio equipment that immediately drew interest from our members. Bill Talanian W1UUQ showed off some of his one-of-a-kind creations that help him support a wide variety of services including air observer support, repeater maintenance, and emergency services support. Also displayed on the main table was a repeater, controller, amplifiers and other gear slated soon for SBARC service. Out third speaker, Matt Lechliter, W6KGB, explained what it all was. Matt treated us to an extremely informative hour explaining how he hand builds our repeater systems for us. Although we seldom hear him on the air, he is nevertheless hard at work repairing our existing equipment and building new things for our future. Matt typically takes Motorola and GE commercial repeaters had hand fabricates new parts and electronics to turn them into top quality amateur radio repeater systems. Calling his creations “home-brew” does not do them justice. They are every bit as professionally constructed – if not more so – that the finest factory made ones. SBARC is extremely lucky to have people like Bill and Matt on our team. There is nothing “amateur” in what they do. Post expires at 1:50am on Wednesday April 20th, 2016 but will still be available in the archives.

March 18, 2016 General Meeting Program

Come to our March 18 Club meeting and hear about the forward upgrade plans for the hilltop repeater sites for the Mesa site and about our 220 MHz Repeater Site at Santa Ynez Peak. Matt Lechliter, W6KGB, will brief everyone about these upgrade plans. These upgrades are now underway and should be available for the users by mid-year. How many of you have had the pleasure of meeting Jon Kent of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Aero Squadron? Jon holds the rank of Captain in that fine organization. Want to know why the Sheriff would want to get into a smaller aircraft and fly it over residential areas? Why would he fly it over forested areas?  Maybe Jon can fill us in. At our meeting, Jon will be ably assisted by our own Bill Talanian, W1UUQ. If you have no plans for dinner before the meeting, you might like to join Matt, Jon, Bill and us at Cody’s in the Turnpike Shopping Center at 5:30 PM. We hold our Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club meetings at the Goleta Union School District, 401 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta, right across the street from the Goleta Library. Doors open at 7:00 PM and the meeting starts at 7:30 PM. Feel free to bring a guest! Join or renew your membership in SBARC while you’re there. Submitted by Darryl, KF6DI Post expires at 11:40pm on Friday March 18th, 2016 but will still be available in the archives.

Keeping the Rover Ready for Use

                  This Saturday was pizza day at the shack, but the rover got a little attention too. The backup batteries were getting old and would not hold much of a charge so they were replaced by Tom N6YX, Bob KB6CTX and Ken KA6KEN. By the way, Bob is our “Rovermaster” and Makes sure everything is kept in good repair. The Rover is fully equipped to handle emergency communications any time it might be needed. It carries an onboard repeater, antenna mast, an HF radio, VHF and UHF radios, and plenty of gear to rig up whatever might be needed. Come on down for pizza on the second Saturday of the month and take a tour of the Rover. It’s impressive capabilities rival anyone’s home shack. And it’s totally mobile and self sufficient.  

Digital Voice Modes Explained

Below is a link to a YouTube video from Ham Radio Now dated March 3, 2015. This video features an interview with the inventor of FreeDV, a digital voice mode we often discuss and operate on the ATV Digital Modes Net.  The video runs about 70 minutes, but if you are at all interested in digital voice, it is extremely interesting. They discuss the current “state of the art”, new hardware products, and research into new VHF/UHF modes. The last 20 minutes or so are particularly interesting as they discuss a new implementation of TDMA in ham radio VHF/UHF communications that has the potential for completely redefining how repeaters work.

Bill Talanian’s Presentation at the February 2015 General Meeting

If you missed the February 2015 General Meeting, you really missed out on a good presentation. Bill Talanian W1UUQ gave us a great presentation on the various repeaters we use in the Santa Barbara area. Most of us probably have no idea how sophisticated how Club communications backbones are, but in an hourlong presentation that went by way too fast, Bill gave us plenty of detail illustrated with pictures about the unbelievably sophisticated infrastructure we all take for granted when we press the transmit button on our radios. Starting with  the main repeater site on the Mesa, Bill took us on a guided tour through it’s humble beginnings with a couple of leaky shacks and equipment covered with blue tarps, to the sophisticated communications center it is today. His tour continued give us a behind the scenes look at La Cumbre Peak,  Santa Ynez Peak, Broadcast Peak, UCSB, and Santa Cruz Island. Most of us think our repeaters are only for 2m, 220 and 440 voice communications. Not so fast. Bill showed us many of the other things he and a handful of volunteers maintain on a constant basis. These include weather stations, APRS digipeaters, AIS reporting for maritime purposes, aviation, and many other things. One of the more interesting aspects of the presentation was how Bill and others have bartered and wheeled-and-dealed over the years to get the club access to literally hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of top quality equipment, towers, and whatever else it has required to make us a first class club. He is a master at horse trading and scavenging and fruits of his many years of work are largely unknown. If you missed this meeting, you missed one of the best presentations we have had. The amazing number of resources available to the club made possible through Bills hard work truly deserve our appreciation. You can listen to audio recording of the the meeting below. The presentation is 1 hour 37 minutes and you will need to stay on this page to ensure you do not interrupt playback.