Robert “Mac” McConnell, WØROO, would always sign off from “Lake Jarbalo”. There is a Jarbalo, Kansas; a postage stamp size town near the bottoms of the frequently flooded Stranger Creek. When the creek is high, it literally looks like a lake in some places. Mac had a friendly voice, a great mentor, and a fun-loving radio operator.
In his honor, we are carrying on the Jarbalo Amateur Radio Association (JARA) and keeping the UHF Repeater operating that long bore his callsign.
As of July 2015, the repeater is operating atop Saint John Hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas. Specifics can be read on Repeater Book. Here is a synopsis:
Dave (KØAVN) noticed that we didn’t have an official JARA logo and has offered one for our consideration. Originated on October 24th, Dave provided the “L” logo so our first chance to look at it and get everyone’s thumbs up on the October 27th UHF Net.
The logo would be used on the web site and any official JARA correspondence. Granted, we don’t produce much correspondence, so the most likely re-appearance will be on the annual meeting documents.
As of January 30, 2019, the repeater has been connected by external node to the Kansas City Room. If you use the repeater in either digital voice mode (DN or VW), you will actually be talking through 5 repeaters and 3 nodes in the Kansas City metro area.
Additionally, you can use Wires-X in the same digital voice modes. By using Wires-X, you can control how the repeater is connected within the Yaesu server. You can select any node or room you want to be connected to. All we ask is that you connect the repeater back to the Kansas City room (DTMF 28952) when you are done.
The repeater remains in Automatic Mode Select. When using analog FM, the repeater functions only for local use, as usual. Only the digital voice goes through the node.
Join us Sunday evenings at 7 pm local for all the latest updates.
Starting Thursday, July 12th, and every Thursday evening through July and August, we will be conducting an informal digital net so you can test your Fusion equipment. We’ll start the net immediately after the ARES net (approx 8:00 pm) and start in FM mode.
The idea of the net is to use the digital mode and explore all it can do for us. We’ll start slow and only proceed when all net participants are ready. NCS will be Rick NJØP unless others would like to try their hand at it.
Out Sunday nets continue as normal in FM and include the ARRL Audio News, when available.
As required by our bylaws, we conducted an annual meeting of the Jarbalo Amateur Radio Association (JARA) at 6:00 pm Central time, Saturday, June 23, 2018 in the gazebo in Veterans Administration Park, Leavenworth, Kansas.
In a very short meeting over bbq sandwiches, we elected officers, approved the trustee’s report, and concluded the meeting before the bbq was cold. Evelyn McConnell joined us for the festivities and provided the photos of Mac we now have on our site.
NEWS UPDATE! As of June 2nd, the WØROO repeater has a new configuration. There is a separate receive antenna which is filtered (half of the duplexer) and mounted on the St. John Hospital tower. The TX and RX finally do not share any coax. We had one late check in from Lawrence! That is our best distance so far. Please check out the W0ØROO Repeater on 444.800+ (151.4 Hz tone or Fusion). Note!!! When I reset the repeater, the squelch tail was set to Ø. If you kerchunk the repeater, you will likely not hear anything until the repeater IDs. Please give your callsign and location anyway. Thanks to Neal Long who assisted with the new antenna field test and installation at the hospital. 73 de Rick, NJØP
As of this afternoon, Sunday, April 8, 2018, the new Yaesu Fusion DR-2X is on the the air. It was a 1:1 swap with the old analog iCom repeater. The new repeater is set at the maximum 50 watts compared to the old at 35 watts.
The mode is AMS which stands for Automatic Mode Select. If you transmit on 444.900 using FM and a 151.4 Hz tone, the repeater will retransmit your signals on 444.800 using FM and a 151.4 Hz tone. If you use one of the Yaesu Fusion digital modes, your signal will be retransmitted in that same mode.
The net on Sunday evening following the install resulted in mixed reviews. In many places where previously there had been no issues, signals were now bad or non-existent. Some stations could not check in from places where the old repeater seemed to have full coverage.
We’ll continue to run the repeater as-is until the next maintenance window which will be after this coming weekend. If you are unable to use the repeater when in the Lansing – Leavenworth – Fort Leavenworth footprint, please drop us a line by filling out the Comment card.
After what seemed like an eternity, the DR-2X Repeater is finally here. Yaesu apparently lost the paperwork and it required some reminding. But, alas, the new repeater is here and the old one goes back this week. Meanwhile, “Old Faithful”, our Icom UHF Repeater continues to be rock solid.
JARA members, and they know who they are :-), will assemble the afternoon of April 8th to swap out the Icom with the new Yaesu repeater and begin the testing. We will operate the Fusion (C4FM) repeater in Automatic Mode Select (AMS) for the next several months. AMS means that whatever mode you use to access the repeater (analog, digital narrow (data or voice), or wide digital voice), that’s that the repeater will output.
If you do not have a Fusion-capable radio, your analog UHF equipment will work exactly the same with this repeater as it did before. We’ll continue to hold Sunday evening analog nets at 7:00 pm, but will begin using digital at 7:15 pm so we can start getting familiar with how the repeater operates in digital modes.
The new repeater comes with a LAN connection which will allow us to connect into other repeater “rooms” such as the rooms to which the Olathe and Overland Park repeaters are connected. We will also have a remote command channel which will allow us to make room changes or other configuration changes on the fly without having to be physically at the site.
This is a very exciting time for JARA. I hope you will be as pleased with the progress as we are.
May 14, 2017 – Last last week, the Fusion repeater suffered a glitch and whenever someone starts using one of the digital modes, the repeater gets hung in transmit mode and cannot be remotely controlled or used for communications. The repeater is currently OFF. Sometime this week, the analog repeater will be swapped in for the Fusion repeater. Hopefully, a software update will solve the problem.
January 2016. After a thorough site inspection, we are re-engineering the site to accommodate 2 antennas with both vertical and horizontal dispersion and use hardline instead of 9913 coax to isolate transmit from receive and still be good RF neighbors to the other UHF operations at the hospital. Mounting hardware and a new UHF antenna are still being procured. When obtained, and when the winter weather breaks, we’ll make the modifications and hopefully have the Fusion system on the air early this spring (2016). This will be the only Fusion system serving the Leavenworth-Lansing-Fort Leavenworth area.
December 2015. As of Christmas Day 2015, JARA now has the callsign W0ROO, a club station call in memoriam of Mac and with the permission of Evelyn McConnell. We are proud to have Mac’s callsign back on the repeater. Thanks for KB0SCK-Lindsey and WA0SRS-Steve for their support with the repeater maintenance and update.