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, was a fun-loving radio operator, and great mentor.
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:
Now that the VHF side of the repeater (145.33/- 151.4 Hz) is up and operating, the first net of the year will take place starting at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2021 on our repeater. For nearly fourty years, the NØKOA repeater, located at the David Funeral Chapel in Leavenworth, hosted the Annual Buffalo Chip Net (BCN), the first net of the year. Davis Moulden, WBØYNE, SK, was the originator of the net and conservator of the 145.33 repeater which was a Leavenworth mainstay. Over time, the health of the repeater declined in proportion to its keeper. Recently, the repeater remnants have been transferred to the Jarbalo Amateur Radio Assn (JARA) and now co-located with our VHF repeater. We hope to once again have the huge turn-out we once enjoyed for the annual BCN. Please help us get the word out.
Note: JARA members are asked to avoid use of the UHF repeater during the BCN. The repeaters share a single transmitter and the UHF repeater is priority due to its interconnection to WIRES-X.
Dave-K0AVN, Gary-W0MNA, Vic-KE0SYO, Randy-KF0AWW, and Rick-NJ0P met on Saturday morning, December 5th to move the 145.33 FM repeater from David Funeral Chapel to Saint John Hospital (SJH). That repeater is now on the air at SJH with the following parameters: Frequencies: 145.33/144.73 Tone: 151.4 Hz Power: 25 Watts Antenna: 5-element loop antenna, tower-mounted Priority: Shared/secondary transmitter with UHF Rptr Mode: FM or C4FM DN or VW in. FM-only out.
We still have testing and enhancements yet to do, but for now the 40-year old 145.33 repeater has been given a new lease on life. We have a 1 sec squelch tail on the VHF side so you can check signal strength.
The UHF repeater received a new transmitter antenna. Gone is the old dual-bander home station antenna. New is the Hustler G6 one-piece heavy-duty single-band UHF repeater antenna. Early indications are that the transmit signal is the best yet.
October 10. 2020. Your JARA President and Trustee, along with PKARC President and one supervisory parent made the trek skyward and added the new Workman UVS-200 U/VHF antenna to the top of the St. John tower. This added 15′ of height and put the receive antenna in the clear. We are looking for your signal reports in comparison to your repeater experience prior to Saturday, October 10th.
We are very grateful for Dave-KØAVN who “took it to the top”. The picture shows Dave installing the dual band antenna at the top of the 30′ tower. Also shown is the hospital’s commercial UHF repeater antenna. Out antenna is receive-only and the signal is run through a filter. So far, both systems are operating without mutual interference.
The previous receive antenna was mid-tower. The new antenna is higher up and “in the clear”. Preliminary results experienced on the Sunday evening, October 11th JARA weekly Fusion net indicated that the repeater has a much greater sensitivity on receive. Spots where 25 watts were previously needed now requires only 5 watts for perfect copy. Many stations can now operate with just 0.5W from a hand-held. The picture on the right shows the old receiver antenna to the left of the microwave dish. We are now using it as a control link. Dave reported an outstanding view from the top and it seems our antenna is as high as anything atop the VA Hospital on the east side of Highway 7. The other members of the crew were Dave’s father, Art, Gary-WØMNA, and Rick-NJØP.
Key variable: Set the B-Band for 144.390 MHz simplex. That’s pretty much the national APRS frequency.
Set-up stuff to know when in SETUP -> APRS:
5 APRS Modem: On
16 DIGI Path Select: Wide1-1, Wide 2-1
23 Callsign (APRS): -7 HT, -8 land mobile, -9 mobile applications
26 My position Set: GPS
Unless changes have been made to your radio, the default settings for items not mentioned above should be adequate for operation. There are customizing options you may want to consider for your convenience and comfort:
3 APRS Filter: Customize the APRS messages you want to appear on screen
6 APRS Mute: Turns off the braaaaaap sound so APRS operates quietly
28 My symbol: Sets how you will appear on teh APRS.fi map. /> car, /R recreational vehicle, YY Yaesu radio
29 Position Comment: Additional information about your status when your position is sent
30 Smartbeaconing: Set this to use the frequency efficiently but not missing any turns.
The WØROO repeater is now connected to a newly established JARA room (DTMF 46775). You can no longer connect directly to the repeater. The Repeater is connected by default to the JARA Room so it will not accept any other connections.
If connecting via Wires-X via 444.800+ DN, you will notice the repeater (a.k.a LEAVNWORTH) is already connected to the JARA room. Everyone who connects to the repeater can activate Wires-X but check on-the-air before taking the repeater out of the JARA room. You can connect anywhere you like, but as a courtesy, please put the repeater back into the JARA room when finished. If you forget, the repeater will automatically return to the JARA room after 30 minutes.
If connecting via Wires-X over the Internet, you will be connected to the JARA room and, unless the repeater has been connected elsewhere, you’ll be able to talk with everyone else connected to the JARA room including anyone listening over-the-air. If someone over-the-air moves the repeater to another room, you will still be connected to the JARA room and anyone else still connected to the JARA room.
Want to use Wires-X but can’t remember how? Check out our Wires-X Instruction page for quickie instructions. We will continue to add helpful notes as we continue to experiment and play with Fusion. If you run across helpful hints that may make our Fusion lives easier, please feel free to send them to us via our Contact page.
Starting with the Sunday Evening UHF Net on Sunday, June 7, 2020, we will be in C4FM (Fusion) mode. The repeater will remain in Automatic Mode Select (AMS), meaning that the repeater will transmit in the sme mode it received. If you have traffic and need to use the net, you may transmit in FM and Net Control wll respond in FM and pick up your traffic.
For digital-capable stations, please use DN voice mode when checking in. This allows your radio to transmit your meta data, such as callsign and location.
The purpose of going to C4FM is two-fold: + To experiment with and become proficient with C4FM capabilities + To reduce the 4 Leavenworth FM nets to 3 each week
The JARA repeater is connected to the Kansas City Room via Wires-X node. You are welcome and encouraged to engage Wires-X mode on our repeater and connect to other parts of the world. After 20 minutes of local inactivity, the repeater will automatically revert back to the Kansas City Room.
To engage Wires-X, your radio must be in either DN or VW voice mode. Identify yourself and say that you are “connecting to the Leavenworth Repeater via Wires-X”. This will alert any local operators that you are about to take the repeater for a spin. It will also alert the other 9 or so repeaters in the room that you are about to take the Leavenworth repeater temporarily out of the network.
After your announcement, press and hold the DX button on your radio until you get a beep. In a short time, you’ll get the Wires-X connection screen. If you’ve never used Wires-X, navigate to Search All. At that point, you’ll get a listing of all available nodes, rooms and users available. Select one and you are connected to that entity. To abandon that connection, go back to search and select another.
Try all the features of Wires-X, including voicemail, picture transfer, and messaging. Then, join us on our weekly JARA net at 7 PM Central on 444.800+ (151.4) and tell us about your experience.
Note: Other Kansas City Room repeater operators prefer that you not use Wires-X to change any settings on their repeaters. So, please make sure you’re on the Leavenworth repeater before using Wires-X features. 73 de Rick, NJØP
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.