Welcome to W6GGF 2.0 And Guest…

Over this past weekend, N6DZK and K6GMG made the trek to the W6GGF VHF site and performed a complete system upgrade, and also installed a GMRS repeater for local community CERT operations.

The change to the VHF repeater has been in play for some time. The existing system, as close as I can tell is over 20 years old. The PL discrimination had essentially failed, allowing the repeater to suffer from interference being repeated through the system by any signals strong enough to break squelch. The Maggiore Electronic Labs (Which ceased to exist as a company some time before 2012), Hi Pro repeater has been very noisy over the past few months.

The existing controller, the RLC DSP-404, also had its own issues. It was a discontinued system, no longer supported, with buggy software that contributed to the introduction of some programming errors that were annoying at the minimum. There were also no longer any members of the club that had knowledge of the original programming. This meant that we could not make programming changes, or properly support linking the UHF and VHF sites together, among other things.

So out with the old, and in with the new!

An Arcom RC-210 is the new controller, matched with a brand new, commercial grade, Kenwood NXR-710 VHF repeater/radio. The existing duplexer cans were working just fine and incorporated into the the new system. The RC-210 controller is very much still in production, with a very active user base and support community, as well as a responsive manufacturer just a phone call away with a great reputation in our hobby. In addition, several other repeaters in the area use the same controller so we can reach out for questions or support from others locally if needed.

Future expansion includes the addition of IRLP and Echolink, and we will have a stand-alone Allstar node that will become the VOIP connection from the VHF site to the UHF site.

The site also has a newer 150Ah lithium iron phosphate backup battery which will provide approximately just under 2 days of operation in the event of local power failure. We may add a small solar panel in the future to stretch that capacity even further.

That is all just for the amateur radio side of things. We have also now added a GMRS repeater. GMRS has grown in popularity over the past few years. And in that time, some really nice radio gear has come into the market. Wouxun for example has released some very nice, high quality, super-het design radios with all the quality and features you would expect from higher end and amateur radios. This new systems is specifically to support South County CERT programs. If you are part of Gilroy or Morgan Hill CERT look for announcements in the near future about this great new resource.

I hope you all enjoy the quality of the new repeater. The audio quality is a marked improvement and users that have tried the new system report increased sensitivity. Another thing you may notice is the new courtesy tone so it will be easier to diffentiate our repeater from others when you are listening as many of the same voice prompts now. More improvements to come!

Cheers,

N6DZK

Field Day 2021!

We’re back! GVARC and SBCARA will be at Christmas Hill Park this Saturday starting at 8 AM. We will be running fairly profile. We will be setting up near the barn this year. Things will be relatively relaxed. No ginormous towers. Most, if not all of us, will be using Wolf River Coils verticals. We are expecting to run 5A I think as of right now. Everyone on battery, solar, or generator.

Feel free to swing by and say hi. Due to Covid safety, ad hoc access to radios will be limited, and at the discretion of the station hosts. But we would love for you to swing by in person, and have a chat as it has been a long year apart.

Please bring a mask, especially if you are not vaccinated. And it is anticipated to be a warm day. Be sure you have adequate sun protection and hydration.

GVARC has moved to groups.io

GVARC took the opportunity to move club communications and calendaring to groups.io. We have actually been there pretty much for the duration of the Covid lock downs. Emails were sent inviting the known roster emails on at least 2 or more occasions. Email is sent from groups.io each month with the Zoom links for the monthly meeting.

If you have still not joined the group, you can go to groups.io, create an account, and then search for the W6GGF group and ask to join. Or you can also find me on the repeater, or use your old copy of the roster to send me an email so we can send another invite.

Hope to see you at the next monthly Zoom!

W6GGF UHF Update

N6DZK and W6BWJ paid a vist to W6GGF UHF at Crystal Peak this past Saturday. After a quick stop at the Summit Store for some tasty sandwiches from the deli, we made it to the site. The weather was really nice for this time of season. The winds were relatively calm. Looking towards Morgan Hill it was quite hazy though, so pictures are not that great.

The objectives of the trip where to: 1) Ascertain the issues with the signal strength – whether it was the radio itself or the power amp. And 2) Install the IRLP/Echolink node.

Right about smack in the middle in the distance you can see El Toro.

On item 1 we quickly realized we did not have a PL-259 to N adapter. So plan B was put in motion which consisted of literally calling for help. Luckily we received a reply from a ham in Holister which was a good test for our purposes. We connected and disconnected the power amp and asked for a signal comparison. The power amp did not seem to be make the signal any better, and in fact made it worse. Connecting the radio directly to the antenna and by-passing the amp seemed to be a marked improvement. So the power amp has been disconnected and will be sent for testing and repair.

On item 2, W6GGF UHF now has an IRLP and Echolink node! We are now IRLP node 7528. Echolink will follow shortly. There are additional steps we have to take because we are using the club call sign. Soon we will be able to connect far and wide as well as allow echolink connections. This should be completed soon. Overall it was a successful trip and we look forward to getting the repaired amp back in place as soon as possible which will return W6GGF UHF back to full output power.

2019 Field Day!!

Field Day 2019 is quickly approaching. June 22-23 at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, where we have been for FD for past several years. We plan to operate for the 1 day, Saturday, with 4 stations, plus GOTA (Get On The Air). We are still in the planning phase and there will be a meeting the evening of May 9th at the home of W6BWJ. Please contact him directly for details.

WB6ZVW is now W6GGF UHF.

WB6ZVW has been transferred to the club call sign and is now W6GGF UHF! The announcements on the repeater have been updated and most of our online information will be updated over the coming week. Merry Christmas!

2018 GVARC Field Day

It is that time of year again! Operators from MHARS, GVARC, and SBCARA will once again invade Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, CA and operate (probably) 4A on the weekend of June 23-24. Stop by and check out what a larger amateur radio operation looks like. We will have multiple towers, dipoles, hexbeams, and yagi antennas as we operate 15, 20, and 40 meters on SSB, CW, and digital modes.

2017 ARRL Field Day

GVARC will once again be at Christmas Hill Park, in Gilroy, for the 2017 ARRL Field Day. Enter the park from Miller Ave and go all the way to the back of the park. Relay for Life will also be in the park this weekend.

We will be operating 4A with GOTA. There will be multiple towers, radios, power systems, go boxes, and other ham related things to see and do. We will also be operating a GOTA (Get On The Air) station for those that would like to try their hand at amateur radio for the first time.

Please visit our sister site AfterTheNet.Net for sign-ups if you would like to operate for a shift. Of come by and offer support. This is also the official monthly breakfast and meeting for the club. So come on by!

Were you ready?

Photo: Scott Hinrichs

The past 30 days has been pretty gnarly. With saturated ground, flooded intersections, closed roads, mud slides, power outages, etc. – How did you prepare? Many folks in the Hollister area were forced to abandon their homes. Falling trees knocked out power all over the county and beyond. The SBCARA teams were busy with multiple activations and rescues. So. Where you ready?

Field Day!

2016 Field Day LogoJoin GVARC on Saturday, June 25th, at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy for the annual ARRL Field Day (not really a contest) Contest. We will be running 4A with a GOTA station this year. We have added 2 mobile towers to our operations. 1 50 ft trailer-ed tower, and a second trailer-ed tower that can go to 100′! We will be using N3FJP logging software, and operating on batteries. Stop by and say hi!

Set-up begins at around 8 AM
On The Air begins at 11 AM
Break Down will begin around 8-9 PM.