Jackson County ARES/RACES

The primary purpose of Jackson County ARES/RACES (JCAR) is to provide severe weather spotting and emergency communication assistance to the Jackson County EMA and the National Weather Service, as well as providing emergency communications to all local authorities if needed during any emergency in the area.

 

JCAR holds regularly scheduled monthly meetings on the second Saturday of each month at Western Sizzlin’ in Scottsboro. Meetings begin at 10:00am with those interested in having breakfast may arrive around 9:30am. All JCAR Members, local HAMs, and anyone interested in amateur radio are encouraged to attend. For more information on meetings please see here.

The Jackson County ARES Net is held each Thursday evening at 7:30pm on the 146.90 repeater. For more information please see our Repeater and Net information here.

2016 Simulated Emergency Test Report

Attached are the official SET reports that have been sent to the state and the ARRL for our 2016 SET Exercise. We had seven individuals participate in a fun event that also helps us train when disaster does strike and we rely on skills in handling traffic and communicating with local public service agencies. We hope to involve more agencies and local amateurs in 2017.

If you are interested in becoming active with ARES in Jackson County please see our ARES information here.

 

Form A SET 2016

Form B SET 2016

JCAR 2016 SET Info to Agencies

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DeKalb HAMCRAM and Test Session

DeKalb County Amateur Radio Club will be hosting their HAMCRAM and Testing Session March 11, 2017. This is a day of instruction followed by testing sessions. Their HAMCRAM is an excellent opportunity for anyone wanting to get in to Amateur Radio since there will be hands-on training through the entire Technician Question Pool. Testing for license upgrades to General and Extra are also given at the exam session.

When:  8:00am March 11, 2017

Where: Grace Presbyterian Church, 5760 North Gault Avenue, Fort Payne AL (Map / Directions)

Cost: No charge for class / $10 Test Fee

Please contact Carlton Floyd (W4CTK) at 256-630-4639 for information and to register.

 

 

Improvements to the 146.90 Repeater

The 146.90 repeater has been plagued with problems for quite some time. Recently thanks to a grant the club received we were able to replace several key components and alleviate almost all of the old problems that have been around for years.

The original Kenwood TKR-750 VHF repeater was found to be damaged and was only able to output around 20 watts on high instead of the 50 watts it should be capable of. This problem combined with a duplexer that was physically damaged, possibly by lightning, we were only seeing a mere 8-12 watts out of the duplexer. Inside one of the cavities the adjustment rod had become unattached from the tuning rod. We attempted to repair this but later found that the beryllium material inside the tuning shaft had also been damaged as well.

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The repeater has since been replaced with a Yaesu DR1-X that is operating in both analog FM and C4FM digital modes. The duplexer was replaced with a brand new Telewave 4 cavity model since the old duplexer could not be repaired or tuned. The feed line and antenna were also checked. After the upgrade the repeater’s coverage expanded greatly and is now covering the majority of Jackson County and being used and heard in two other states and at least 9 other counties. Below are the before and after simulations of the repeater’s coverage. The current simulation is very much on par with real-world tests and reports.

Before Upgrades (pre-2016)
Before Upgrades (pre-2016)
After Upgrades (2016)
After Upgrades (2016)
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After Upgrades Satellite View (2016)

Shortly after completing the new hardware replacement JCAR has installed internet at the site to facilitate the return of Echolink, IRLP, and other internet linking capabilities. Along with the internet Jackson County now has an APRS Digipeater and iGate once again running under the JCAR callsign K4SCO. Currently work is underway to add an Arcom RC210 controller to the repeater which will allow the addition of the internet and VoIP services along with RF linking to other sites and a remote base radio.

APRS Digipeater/iGate running through an FT-2900
APRS Digipeater/iGate running through an FT-2900

 

147.36 Power Supply Damage

I finally had a chance to open up the 147.36 repeater’s power supply that failed a couple of weeks ago and didn’t have to look far for the reason of the failure. The cause is still undetermined but the damage is easy to spot. The power supply was still functioning and could support the repeater however when the link radio and UHF amp were brought up it couldn’t handle it. ~K4NHA

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