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Jan 06 2017

NF9K ARRL Technical Specialist Report – December 2016

Received an email comment via my website looking for assistance in programming a 33cm Motorola MTX9250.  After a primer on topics such as personalities, CPS modifications for ham band use, he was off to the races with his shiny new HT!
Finished building and testing a Raspberry Pi based EchoIRLP node for Steve Jones (W9SMJ).  I’m still waiting to meet up with him to deliver the final product, but he will be pleased.  I know he’s looking to get his node connected up to Randy Fisher’s node that I built a couple of months ago.
Worked with Randy (K9MMQ) up in Ft. Wayne on a port-forwarding sitiuation through his Ubiquiti Edge Router.  I will say, having been a firewall guy for 20+ years, they way the lay out their ACLs is very misleading.  But we were able to get things figured out and connect him up to various nodes and reflectors as a test.  As Hanibal Smith would say, “I love it when a plan comes together!”
Traded out internet devices at my primary DMR site in Indianapolis.  The Verizon box that was over there keep loosing connetivity.  I’ve back on a USB device and a CradlePoint router, which proved to be rock solid.  I’d taken the Verizon box over because it had the ability for two analog lines to be added and I was considering dorking around with a digital auto patch.  Also replaced the cooked Astron PS on the amplified.  I found a contiuous duty switcher on Amazon rated at 50A, so we’ll see how it works out.  So far, so good.
Worked with an IL ham an his openSPOT.  He was very interested in connecting in with our network and joining our weekly nets.  In order to facilitate his request, I needed to follow up on some open connectivity items between Crossroads and BrandMeister.  Luckily those guys remembered our discussions from ~6 months ago and we discovered most of it was partially build.  So a little tweaking and we were able to provide the connectivity requested.
Another website comment from a mother of a new ham with a brand new TYT MD380.  They were having issues getting it programmed.  I guided her through the process and also suggested she join our FB group where she was able to get multiple people on board to help her.
Attended the Grant County ARC Christmas Party where I was presented with a lifetime membership for my technical contributions to their organization.  Very unexpected, but very honored to have been given something like that.
Bought a Tera 7400 DMR HT.  This is the unit that you see Powerworx advertising.  So far, I’m pretty impressed.  It’s a Chinese radio, of course, however, it’s quite solid.  I like the black screen with the white letters and much like the hacked MD-380 firmware, you’re able to download the global DMR contact database and store it on the radio instead of having to enter it into CPS or mess around with kludgy import processes.  Of the cheaper DMR radios I own (Connect Systems, TYT, Zastone, etc.) the Tera 7400 is my favorite.  I believe it retails new with programming cable for around $275, so closer to the CS750 in cost, but in all things, you get what you pay for.
Helped the guys up in Homer, AK with some codeplug changes on their MD-380’s.  Things are progressing well up there.  Excitement is growing and they are learning!  I sort of wish I was a little closer to the action, but I am considering a trip up there at some point.

Received a website comment from a ham asking for assistance in upgrading the firmware on his DV Mega.  He was unclear about the modification required on the board and where to apply it.  I was able to provide him a link with the information he required and he was good to go.

Received an email from a Bulgaria Ham asking to collaborate with the XLX DSTAR Reflector I have up and running.  He’s wanting to experiment with the inter-connectivity.  Sometimes it amazes me at the request I get for help and more so where they come from….  But they find me somehow and I think that is pretty cool!
Repaired a small issue with the IRC website wherein the logo disappeared.  Very odd, the only thing I can think is that a URL got munged during one of the automatic updates.  Luckily the fix wasn’t too involved and it was back pretty quickly.  The rest of the site was fully functional, just no logo.
Helped one of the Homer, AK guys with his openSPOT and an understanding of what was connected and what was not.  He quickly picked up on things and was up and running in no time.
Began tinkering with the Arcom RC-210 web interface software.  I built a Pi based upon Rasbian/Jessie and have it connected up to my controller and ready for the software installation.  Unfortunately there are no docs available currently, so you pretty much have to pull it down from GitHub and wing it.  I’d hoped to get to this while I was on vacation, but I didn’t get any further than setting the node up.  Perhaps I’ll have more to share next month.
With the only networked DMR repeater in AK connected to our c-Bridge we are currently the hub for the Alaska Statewide (#3102) talkgroup.  The AK guys are open to sharing it with whomever and have requested to get it linked up to Brandmeister so that they can get on with their hotspots.  I’ve completed the work on our side and am waiting for the BM guys to do their thing.  We’re close, but at last test, it’s not working.  Hopefully that will be resolved soon.
Started talking to some other hams about a P25 network throughout IN.  I already own two Quantars (one on 33cm the other one 70cm) and just purchased an AstroTac 3000 Comparator to function as the central hub.  As you will recall from previous reports, I had successfully linked my 70cm Quantar to a similar setup down in KY.  It sounds as if we might be looking to duplicate what they are doing down there for IN.  This could get real fun, real fast.  I’m looking forward to the collaboration and the learning as we bring the various pieces into play.
That’s it for December!  Whew!  See you next month!