Happy snowy March to all my fellow Technical Specialists!
As I’m sure will be a big surprise to most, I continued my DMR exploits this past month. First and foremost, my DMR repeater (441.025+, Color Code 1) was moved at it’s new home on the east side of Indianapolis. The antenna is a 9dBi gain at 250′ and on an analog watt meter, I was pushing 25W into the feed line. ERP was calculated at 130W. I’m rather excited to see this machine at a higher profile and have been getting some good coverage reports from HT users around Marion and the donut counties.
Along with the DMR stuff comes my adventures into c-Bridge administration. I’ve had to troubleshoot a few issues that ultimately were not c-Bridge related, but given that I’m still a young Jedi in the c-Bridge ways, that is where I started looking first. It’s always nice when you can trace the problem to an external source and learn some new troubleshooting skills at the same time.
For those that are friends with me on Facebook, I posted a picture of a pile of Pick-Up-Sticks (who remembers that game?) and how it related to c-Bridge administration. Every single change spawns multiple additional changes. This past weekend, I was introducing Ed (K3HTK) to c-Bridge administration and the one example I gave him of adding a new talkgroup to the c-Bridge required ~30 programming changes to other super-groups just to accommodate the new TG. That did not include the changes required just to get the new TG on the c-Bridge. I have to say, it’s been fun, and I feel like I’m learning something new all the time, which is great!
I migrated the c-Bridge from a large server at my QTH to a hosted cloud-based server. While the machine was quite resilient in terms of failure, I still had only a single internet connection. Given the fact that more than just my repeater would be on it, I decided to go the hosted route. I found a great deal for $10/month and they can spin up virtual servers in 55 seconds. Pretty cool. The migration process when quite well and was easier than expected.
Contacts were established with other c-Bridge partners including the NC-PRN network and MIT’s network. While NC-PRN does not have any TG’s to share outside of their network, they have a great technical pool, so having someone to bounce ideas off of is always welcome.
I participated in a DMR Newbies Night at the IPSC building on E. 21st street on the 19th. Due to poor weather we only had about five people not counting the host and the two presenters. The evening sort of turned into a Meet the c-Bridge, which was a bit of a surprise to me, but I was happy to share my experiences as well as give folks a look at the mysterious inter-workings.
My membership was accepted into the North American DMR Council, which is a fledgling organization to foster communication and cooperation among the various DMR entities. To say that there are politics in DMR is an understatement and unfortunately somewhat of a sad situation. I’m just glad that most of it is hidden from the end users, at least at this point.
The Brownsburg Hamfest was held on February 14th. I went out and made my rounds and did my part to support the Hamfest. I enjoy them all, even the smaller ones for nothing else than an opportunity to get out and meet people. Of course, the opportunity always exists to uncover a diamond in the rough on the tables. Although this trip netted no such treasures for me.
I received quite a bit of communication from my website this past month. Folks asking about radios that I’d worked with and taken time to write up reviews on. I also received question looking for clarification on the various digital modes available to amateurs and how compatible they were. Unfortunately, very few offer any interoperability, but it was nice to be able to help out a fellow Ham. Another request was from a new DMR repeater owner who had not had luck contacting others for help. I was able to give him some guidance and help him understand his options. Lastly, I received a comment from someone who has been visiting my website and is now interested in getting his license. I made some book recommendations to him and made sure that he understood that I’m available for any questions he might have and who knows, perhaps he’ll end up at one of my VE sessions!
A few emails were exchanged between other DMR authorities and I with Don West, who is the Communications Director at IDHS. Basically they were looking to understand how DMR could function in a an emergency type setting. We provided basic information and answered a few questions. Not sure where that will lead, but hey, you never know.
My broadcastify feed that was originally setup for the Tuesday night DMR nets has been a hit. A couple of times I’ve forgotten to switch it back over to North America after the net, and people have noticed. I received a couple of emails from folks in the NE US who do not have a local DMR presence and enjoy listening to the feed.
Lastly I’ve functioned as primary net control for the Tuesday Night DMR net a few times over the month of February. It was nice to see the numbers of people checking into the net grow each week. Keeping people engaged in the net and keeping a round-table going has been an interesting learning experience.
Well, I think that’s it for February. Looking forward to a break in the weather and perhaps the appearance of some spring-type weather. While I enjoy the snow, at this point whatever else we get will be short-lived so might as well be done with it.
73 until next month!