Why does SMRA have a Mission Statement?

Several years ago, the South Mountain Radio Amateurs Executive Board decided we needed a mission statement.  The club was growing in numbers, There were several nets, projects teams and meetings happening several times weekly, and interest in the club and hobby was growing.

As discussion began, questions were asked, “Why are we a club”;  “Why do we exist”; “Where do we want to be (as a club) 10 or more years from now?”  The answers came quickly after the questions were asked.  For the love of the hobby, the “magic” of radio and the fellowship  we enjoy when playing radio with other hams.

Please read the following “Mission Statement”, and consider what you can do to promote the hobby or volunteer for one of the many committees or become an Elmer to a new inexperienced amateur.

This is your club, this is our club and together we will make this club even better!

SMRA Mission Statement

  • To be a resource for advancing operational and technical skills, competency, and amateur radio licensing
  • To mentor new members and enhance fellowship among radio amateurs
  • To provide amateur radio communications resources and emergency communication services for the community
  • To honor The Amateur’s Code
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New Hams Questions and Answers Session on 3 Mar 2016

SMRA (South Mountain Radio Amateurs) is pleased to announce an evening session devoted entirely to the interest and needs of new amateur radio operators in getting on the air.

We will convene at 1830 on Thursday 3 Mar 16 in the large Conference Room of the Cumberland County EOC just across from the Prison which is to the east of Carlisle. We plan to end at 2030.

There is a fee, but not in money. Each “ ticket”, of which we have 40 (really seats) will cost 1 or 2 short questions which we will use to focus our coverage on the points of interest among the attenders.

The attenders should be licensed hams or working on getting a license.

We also want to have the maximum in dialogue among the presenters and the attenders as learning is the sole objective. To the question, “why do we do this”, the answer is simply “for the love of the hobby”!!!

To facilitate learning, we want to see plenty of pens and note taking among all who attend.

Please send your name, call letters if held, and questions which will be acknowledged. The acknowledgement EMAIL will be your ticket. Please send no later than 17 Feb 16 to w3HMS@aol.com.

Please pass this EMAIL far and wide among your ham colleagues and clubs for there are no geographic limits, only 40 seats.  The 1st forty responders with questions get the tickets; all others will be so advised.

The presenters will be Don Evans, KB3VAX, Club President; Bob Raker, W0BR, and John Jaminet, W3HMS.

From the Presenters, 73, John, W3HMS, 22 Jan 16

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Thanks to everyone who participated in SMRA’s “Snow Net”

Thanks to all who participated in SMRA’s Snow Net!  We had nearly 30 unique call signs who called in during the three nets we had.  I was surprised with the variety of rigs used by the amateurs and ECHO link call-ins too.  Also a special thanks to W3SMF for his work in running an efficient and organized net.  Keep up the great work everybody, and remember, “the hardest part of planning for an emergency is explaining why you didn’t.”

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SMRA “snow” net 9 PM tonight – 145.43 repeater

Good evening everybody,

SMRA will be having a “snow net” tonight at 9 PM.  (Saturday, January 23rd)

I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity, to call in.  The protocol will be similar as with the others, however please note the what NCS is looking for.

  • Call sign and type of rig (HT, base, EHCO link) and antenna
  • Present location (for example, I live 2 ¾ miles west northwest of Carlisle, PA)
  • Inches of snow and outdoor temperature
  • If you are an emergency worker (EMS, ECOM, road crew, law enforcement, etc.) please provide a short report of what you are seeing or doing
  • If you have something important to report, please do so.  Remember, this is practice for an emergency net.  Certain information may be crucial for another department or agency.

I was pleased to hear that some of you were using battery power, ECHO link and your HT’s.  Remember, this is training in working with an emergency net and things will not always go smooth.  Equipment needs to be tested and used!  There will be difficulty hearing call signs, static and interference, doubling of signals and times when your signal isn’t heard.  This is normal, and that is why we train, to overcome these deficiencies.  Learn to be patient.

When your turn comes, remember to speak slowly and clearly, limit humor and get to the point.  If possible, limit back ground sound, as it tends to distract from what is being said.  Keep your finger on the transmit button, to ensure break free transmitting.  If possible, stay close to your phone and computer so you can be kept up to date with incoming information.  There may be someone who is trying to call in, but can’t and their only means of contact is texting or e-mail through you.

Most of all, enjoy the moment, and thank you for participating.

Please check the SMRA website for updates. At N3TWT.ORG

Don Evans – KB3VAX

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Emergency Management radio information

The Eastern Area office of Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is monitoring 3.9875 LSB.

Skywarn is on the Harrisburg repeater at 145.110,  pl code of 131.8.

Information from this morning’s net is as follows:

We had 22 participants, of whom 11 were on HTs,  two were using the SMRA EchoLink node, and ten were using other rigs.

There will be another net at 9 p.m. local time on the 145.43 SMRA repeater.

As an editorial side comment, events like this give us the opportunity to get into the public service side of ham radio. By collecting data from all over the repeater coverage area, we can give county, state, and federal emergency management agencies information they need to provide services such as snowplowing; police, fire, and medical services; and whether nonessential services should be shut down for the duration of the event.

Finally, ham radio is a way to call for help if you should need it. Cell service and power may fail, but a battery-operated HT or mobile rig is always available should you need it.

Stay safe and enjoy the time off!

-Robin, KC3CEK

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SMRA “snow net” Saturday at 9 AM – 145.43 repeater

Thanks to all who participated in our Friday evening snow net; including NCS we had 20 who checked in.

Our next “snow net” will be Saturday morning at 9 AM.  As part of the SMRA’s Mission statement, “To provide amateur radio communications resources and emergency communication services for the community,”  we view this as an excellent training exercise.  As we work and participate as a group of amateurs in an organized and efficient way, we become able to recognize call signs and voices of other amateurs.  Furthermore, practice gives us an opportunity to:

  • Check the operation of your equipment. Do you have the offset & tone set properly?  Do you have WIRES or “roger beep” inadvertently turned on?  Are you operating in narrow rather than wide FM mode?
  • Check the operation of your power sources. If you have spare batteries, alternate each week.
  • Check your operation on low power. During an emergency, you want to conserve your batteries by operating with as low power as practical.
  • If operating HT, check your operation from different locations – like the spot you would go during a tornado warning.
  • Check the operation of your antennas – again, alternate each week if have multiple antennas.
  • Checking into the net allows us to evaluate the performance of the repeater.

I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to call in.  I know of many amateurs who listen only to the nets.  This net provides you a great opportunity to “get heard”.  We will be asking all participants to check in with their;

  • Call sign and first name
  • type of rig (HT, base, EHCO link)
  • Present location (for example, I live 2 ¾ miles west northwest of Carlisle, PA)
  • Inches of snow
  • Outdoor temperature

See you on the net!

Don Evans – KB3VAX

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Tutorials on basic electronics

Here is some rudimentary tutorials on many basic electronic components, including; transistors, integrated circuits, led’s, resistors,  inductors, capacitors, ohms law and more. I think you will find these short YouTube videos interesting, informative and entertaining.

I want to thank Tom Miller KB3CVO, who referenced this information on our SMRA Facebook page.

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Checking into the Monday Night Net is good practice, because

Monday Night Net as a way to practice operating during a net and – for NCS

by Bob Raker W0BR

Checking into the Monday Night Net is a good way to practice operating during a net and – for NCS – how to handle a net. One particular aspect, voice recognition.

There are lots of other good reasons for checking into regular nets – here is a list I came up with:

  • Check the operation of your equipment.  Do you have the offset & tone set properly?  Do you have WIRES or “roger beep” inadvertently turned on?  Are you operating in narrow rather than wide FM mode?  If you have more than one radio, alternate radios each week.
  • Check the operation of your power sources.  If you have spare batteries, alternate each week.  Some batteries seem fine on receive, but will not hold up when subjected to the higher power required for transmit.  Also, if you operate while charging your battery, it may sound fine during receive, but will be all hum on transmit due to the increased ripple from the charger.
  • Check your operation on low power.  During an emergency, you want to conserve your batteries by operating with as low power as practical.
  • If operating HT, check your operation from different locations – like the spot you would go during a tornado warning.
  • Check the operation of your antennas – again, alternate each week if have multiple antennas.
  • If you have the capability of doing cross band repeat, check its operation on a regular basis.
  • Checking into the net allows us to evaluate the performance of the repeater.  A few years ago, the receiver developed a spur that blocked out weak stations that previously were able to get into the repeater.  Also, it is good to know how far out stations receive the repeater.  I am close enough to the repeater that if its output dropped by 10dB, it would still be full scale on my radios – I would never be able to tell if there is a problem.

It goes without saying we would benefit from knowing these kinds of things ahead of time, rather than trying to deal with them during an emergency situation.

See you on the net!

Bob, W0BR

 

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Merry Christmas to all, and to all Good DX!!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all Good DX!!

Hams Night Before Christmas

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ARE YOU HAVING DIFFICULTY PROGRAMMING YOUR BAOFENG??

Perhaps your problem is the cable;

although we don’t recommend that you rush out and purchase this specific cable, here is some information that may help determine if your programming cable is the culprit 

First; Is The Cable Genuine?

  • Does it have two LEDs on the bottom side of the cable?
  • Is it ‘dimpled’ in the center?
  • Does it fully insert into the radio?

If you answered “NO” to any of these questions you may have a counterfeit programming cable.

It is common to find these cables priced very low on eBay, Amazon, and other distributor sites. These are cheaper USB programming cables that use cloned chip-sets from old Prolific cables – by using stolen intellectual property from an old Prolific chip-set they try to keep their costs low, but those are not the only corners cut.

BaoFeng USB Cable Recommendation

BaoFeng USB Cable

FTDI BAOFENG PROGRAMMING CABLE

Buy from Baofeng Tech on Amazon.com$20.46

AVOID COUNTERFEIT CABLES; OUR FTDI CABLE IS PLUG N’ PLAYBaoFeng Tech provides USB cables that plug into your computer (Windows, OSX, Linux) and will work with your system’s default drivers. There is no need to use any CD as the drivers automatically download through your operating system.

Once you have your USB cable all that is needed is to download the free programming software, available right on our site:

DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMMING SOFTWARE

If your computer did not automatically update to the latest FTDI driver – you can do so by visiting this link right here:

DOWNLOAD THE LATEST FTDI DRIVERS FOR YOUR BAOFENG RADIO PROGRAMMING CABLE

U.S. BASED BAOFENG TECH,  RECOMMENDS  NOT TO USE A COUNTERFEIT CABLE ON YOUR BAOFENG RADIO

***However, there are other options***

Why not build your own programming cable?

One of our members has repaired his programming cable with this simple repair, although this may not be something you think you are capable of, it may be worth consideration.  After all, you are an amateur.  Check this link below and give it some thought……….

build your own programming cable

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