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. We even added a VHF repeater to our capabilities. Specifics can be read on Repeater Book. Here is a synopsis:
JARA is a no-dues, all-volunteer effort to provide a great Ham Radio experience to radio amateurs in and around Leavenworth. Although we need two names on the paperwork, we owe much to a great core group who serve JARA.
Draft minutes often 2021 Annual Meeting are available to members upon request.
After a long-term Spectrum outage and then Microsoft pushing an update which kicked Wires-X off the node, problems have been resolved and the node was back on the air on Monday, June 28.
The pi-star node is a Wires-X to PiStar air gap which requires two Internet connections. Since the network at NJØP was already supporting a household and Wires-X, the pi-star node was placed in a location on Fort Leavenworth with very low usage on a 200 MBPS downlink.
Basically, any signals heard in our Wires-X JARA Room are relayed to the PiStar JARA Room and visa versa. Until we figure out how to do all that without a UHF simplex jump from one room to the other, we’re using this lash-up which is susceptible to interruption.
Wires-X Node – – – > UHF air gap < – – – PiStar Node
JARA is proud to display our current configuration. We now have two Yaesu Fusion DR-2X repeaters. The UHF (444.800 + T00R00) and VHF (145.33 – 151.4/T00R00) repeaters are now independent and no longer share a single transmitter. This is especially handy on Sunday evenings when we have back-to-back nets that often overlap. Plus, we no longer have to plead to stay off one repeater as we operate a net on the other. Our current configuration is clean, professional looking, and works well. There’s plenty of upgrades on the horizon, but for now, this is the best we’ve had it. Many thanks to Saint John Hospital for allowing us to use their facility as our repeater site. Also, thanks to JARA members who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point. In five years, we went from one dead analog UHF repeater to what we have now.
Kudos to Vic-KEØSYO and Randy-KØAWW who participated in getting everything installed in the rack.
We’ve been addressing Yaesu Fusion C4FM topics every Sunday evening since June 7, 2020. Seems we’ve covered everything, so a survey of net participants was sent out and results reviewed on our January 31st net. Results of the Survey
The predominate topics to be addressed on future nets are:
Wires-X (any aspect)
Simplex Operations using Fusion
Creative Memory Usage
Data Port Use
Back-Ups and Programming Software
The most popular radio is the FTM-400 series closely followed by the FTM-100DR. Between the 9 respondents, there were 32 Fusion-capable radios. That’s 3.5 radios per person.
Rick-NJØP remains a popular net control station for the Sunday UHF Fusion net. The net is fast-moving but that must be part of the popularity. We run an on-time railroad.
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.