delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 36 NUMBER 3

Technical Coordinator

Jeff Kopcak, K8jtk Technical Coordinator Since the last couple months have been feature articles, this month will be odds-n-ends. Maker Spaces & Faires I got positive comments on last month’s article about Makerspaces and Maker Faires.  I hope it gave clubs and groups ideas to get younger makers into our hobby.  Not only did the January edition of QST have the article on Maker Faires but it was the focus of ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher - NY2RF’s note in April.  I’m happy to say these types of things are on the radar of the League and they’re focusing efforts on this new generation of Ham Radio operators.  According to Tom, the ARRL plans to be at the three national maker events this year. AllStar I learned the creator of AllStar Link, Jim Dixon - WB6NIL, passed away at the end of last year.  Jim is the creator of “app_rpt” which allowed the open source PBX system, Asterisk, to function as a repeater controller.  In doing so, created one of the most impressive and versatile solutions for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) in ham radio.  Having played around with AllStar on my own node, nodes can be linked together directly through the public Internet, private network, point-to-point network, or really any combination of methods.  Hubs are systems with greater bandwidth allowing for multiple simultaneous connections – like “reflectors” on IRLP or “conferences” on Echolink.  One of my buddies who spoke with Jim commented that he was the smartest, nicest guy you’d meet and [he] would be doing well if he retained even half of what they talked about.  Jim will be missed but the AllStar project will live on.  AllStar Link: https://allstarlink.org/, Raspberry Pi & BeagleBone image: https://hamvoip.org/ Fldigi & Flmsg W1HKJ and the contributors to the Fldigi project have been busy (http://www.w1hkj.com/).  A new major release of Fldigi was made available at the end of March.  This brings both Fldigi & Flmsg up to version 4.0.1.  Technical Specialist Bob – K8MD messaged me about the update.  My response: ‘crap, I just updated the screen shots from the previous changes the weekend before’ (3.22.x).  I was hoping there were no new changes.  Of course there were!  Now my newly updated instructions are dated again!  Those instructions were getting stale because of significant program option changes since I made them available about two years ago.  They are on my site (up to Fldigi v3.23.21 and Flmsg 4.0.1) at http://www.k8jtk.org/2015/04/16/getting-started-with-fldigi- including-flmsg-and-flwrap/.  Written for the LEARA Digital Net, they do focus on NBEMS operation. Check them out and do some practice nets.  From experience, it’s best if ALL participating stations are using the same program versions.  There are fewer issues with forms because newer forms are included in later Flmsg versions that were not in earlier ones and everyone can be on the same page when going through settings. Over that same weekend, I wrote up tutorials and hacks you can do with Flmsg.  We’ve all been there.  You missed receiving part of an Flmsg message because of being off frequency (radio or waterfall), in the wrong mode, or not paying attention.  The issue is quickly corrected and most of the message is still received.  However, Fldigi doesn’t know what to do with the form because some of the headers are missing.  When headers are missed, Fldigi can’t open the form because the message won’t checksum.  The checksum is used to verify the entire message was received.  I wrote up a tutorial how to recover a partially missed message: http://www.k8jtk.org/2017/03/25/recovering-a-partially-received- flmsg-message/. The last is more of an Flmsg hack.  When an Flmsg form is received, NBEMS standard is to have the ‘open in browser’ option enabled.  As expected, this will open the received form in the default browser.  Many don’t realize that any web programming code (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) sent as part of the form will be interpreted by the browser.  This means you can send clickable links, link to an image, redirect to websites, and change background colors.  Just about anything that can be done on a webpage can be sent as part of an Flmsg form and rendered when opened in the browser.  Find out how at http://www.k8jtk.org/2017/03/25/flmsg-forms-rendered-as-web- pages/.  Standard squid disclaimer for both: this is for fun and not NBEMS compliant. OpenSpot If you have an OpenSpot hotspot, there was a major firmware update for the device in February and subsequent update in March to bring the current version to 108.  The changelog has – in the neighborhood of – 80 (yes, eighty) fixes and enhancements.  Previously, I wasn’t using this device to run the Ham Nation D-STAR After Show net.  However, since they added a nice web interface with call log and export feature, it’s now my device for running the net.  If you’re looking for a ham radio digital mode hotspot, check out the SharkRF OpenSpot: https://www.sharkrf.com/products/openspot/ One of the SharkRF connector options is their own IP Connector Protocol Server (https://github.com/sharkrf/srf-ip-conn-srv).  The Connector Server is used to create a network of OpenSpot devices and it can be implemented in other hardware/software as it is open source.  Like AllStar, it can accept public internet connections, run on a private network, or mesh network.  I haven’t tried but it may even compile and run on a Raspberry Pi. The Connector Server repeats any digital transmission sent to it.  All modes can even be simultaneously connected.  D-STAR connected clients will only hear D-STAR transmissions because there is no transcoding of D-STAR data streams.  DMR and Fusion streams can be transcoded.  DMR streams are transmitted to modems set to DMR and converted by the OpenSpot to Fusion for Fusion modems.  Similarly, a Fusion stream is transmitted to modems sent to Fusion and converted to DMR for DMR modems. I’ve setup a Connector Server that is open and there to mess around with.  In the OpenSpot configuration:  * In Connectors: under Edit Connector, select “SharkRF IP Connector Client.”  * Click “Switch to selected.”  * Once changed, enter your TX/RX frequencies.  * Server address: srf-ip-conn-srv.k8jtk.org  * Port number is in ‘Advanced mode’ but is the default, 65100.  * ID, use your CCS7 DMR ID.  * No password.  * Enter your Callsign.  * Click “Save.”  * In the Modem options, select the desired mode. The dashboard is: http://srf-ip-conn-srv.k8jtk.org/.  The server will remain online if it continues to see use.  Otherwise, it could disappear at any time without use :) Ham Nation 300 (#HamNation300) Last but certainly not least, yours truly has been on the planning committee for the Ham Nation 300th special event.  Ham Nation is an audio and video podcast recorded live and available at https://twit.tv/shows/ham-nation.   The program records at 9:00 p.m. eastern time every Wednesday evening.  Following each episode are the “after show nets” which are round tables discussing the show or ham radio.  These nets include: 20m, 40m, D-STAR, DMR, and Echolink. After each 100 episodes, a special event is planned to commemorate another 100 episodes.  In the past, these have been geared around HF.  The show is not only for the General/Extra class licensees and not everyone has the ability or desire to operate HF.  This year’s festivities have something for everyone including the chance to make digital contacts for the special event and a summer long challenge. Ham Nation 300th special event runs the week following Dayton, May 24-31, 2017.  Full details can be found on any of the 1x1 special event callsigns on QRZ or at https://www.hamnationdstar.net/2017/04/05/ham-nation-300- special-event/.  Please join in and help make this event successful.  Follow it on social media: https://twitter.com/hashtag/hamnation300 and https://www.facebook.com/HNonTwit.
Jim Yoder, W8ERW/5 w8erw@arrl.net

ARES Training Update

We are now at last feeling the warmer weather of spring and I am enjoying that a bunch.  As many of you may know, I left Ohio for Texas late in 2015.  Hopefully I will be back here in the great state of Ohio in time to take in the Dayton Hamvention in Xenia this year.  I have been looking at real estate here in Fremont for the last month or so and as soon as I find the place I want, I will finish moving and with any luck, start putting my station and equipment back together.  Texas, at least in the HOA area I have been in, is just is not conducive to any HF activity.  The noise floor is awful and those HOA restrictions make it nearly impossible to erect a decent antenna for HF work.  I am also anxious to return to my roots and the many relationships that I left behind in Ohio.  Ohio and the Ohio Section make a wonderful combination to return to and all of you make that possible. I am also pleased to report your ARES training efforts are showing outstanding results and the numbers have continued to grow daily.  We are now are over 700 members who have reported their NIMS courses and others to the database.  Over 500 of those have completed all of the required courses.  The total number of classes reported is now over 4,700.  These are outstanding results and as I continue daily the logging of your training, I am amazed by the dedication and effort this represents.  Keep up the good work.  You are making Ohio look like the biggest and the best ARRL Section. Upkeep of the ARES Training Database is a frequent activity.  Not only are the daily addition of members and training, but call sign changes and license upgrades are also being entered as I receive them.  Each entry is verified with QRZ and I record an email address if one is available as well.  As you may imagine, although your call is unique, names not always are.  QRZ helps insure I get the right information.  It does help a great deal when name, county and call are included when you send your training documents. There are approximately 20 of you who have completed 3 out of the 4 required NIMS courses and close to 30 who have reported 2 of the 4 courses.  Now I will admit to being among these almost done it folks and I will finish up mine as soon as I get settled back in Ohio.  So, let’s all get busy and get all 4 required NIMS courses completed and entered into the database.  We have been fortunate for a long time now and have not had a widespread and devastating weather event.  Other things are possible also and when something does happen, we must be prepared to respond.  NIMS training will be required and it will give you the knowledge to provide communications support in the most effective manner.  NIMS provides the structure and organization that insure everyone knows what to do and how.  Past experiences show how important this becomes when the disaster overwhelms us. Again, I want to say Thank you for your effort.  Training and being prepared is a lot of work and is never finished.  The dedication of Ohio Amateurs through ARES is a significant part of what we as Hams can and often do to support our communities.  I am fortunate to be able to see all of this grow and it is a real pleasure to be able to do so.  Thanks to each of you. As always, your questions and concerns are welcome.  Drop me an email at any time, w8erw@arrl.net.

Training Coordinator

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