Tech Amateur Radio Association (TARA) is a university amateur radio club at the New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology located in Socorro, New Mexico. TARA is currently being led by a familiar face, Skyler Fennell KDØWHB of Denver), who is a freshman studying electrical engineering.
One of TARA’s current projects is the construction and operation of a UHF repeater to rally their members on the air, to provide teaching opportunities using their test gear, and to attract other New Mexico Tech students to amateur radio.
On behalf of Rocky Mountain Ham Radio, a few members (Alan N5BGC, Dave KB5YIW, Ed KA8JMW, Brian N5ZGT) attended TARA’s monthly meeting to present a Yaesu VXR-5000 UHF repeater and duplexer that RMHAM has donated towards TARA’s repeater project. We look forward to these young hams to do great things with the system (they had it unpacked and on their air in a temporary configuration before the meeting ended!).
Ed, in his capacity as New Mexico Section Manager, also presented TARA’s membership with an ARRL Handbook and General Class study manual. Jim Lommen KC7QY, president of Socorro Amateur Radio Association was also on hand for the repeater presentation.
The ambition these young hams are showing, under Skyler’s leadership, is as impressive as it is rare within amateur radio, and it’s a treat to have them emerging within New Mexico’s amateur radio community.
For more information about TARA, visit http://infohost.nmt.edu/~tara
It is with deep sadness that we must announce that another key has gone silent. Our very own George Bartling WA9TCD died suddenly this week leaving many of us in shock and wondering why. Those of us that had the pleasure of knowing George, know that he gave of himself selflessly. Need him to cover the EOC, no problem, need him to teach a class, no problem, need him to solder a connector he was there every time.
George was an active member of Rocky Mountain Ham Radio for many years. In addition to RMHAM, George was also very active in Arapahoe County ARES, O.M.E.G.A. Responders, as a teacher, and Volunteer Examiner where he is responsible for bringing many new hams to the ranks. George’s upbeat and positive attitude made him enjoyable to be around and helped make learning fun and interesting. George is survived by his wife and two sons. An informal memorial service is scheduled for 2PM Saturday, January 11, Beck Recreation Center, 800 Telluride Street, Aurora, CO. Rest in peace my friend.
Rocky Mountain Ham Radio continues to investigate alarming problems with recently released low-cost DMR Tier II radios. This article focuses on the Baofeng DM-5R Plus and Baofeng DM-5R with Tier II firmware update. A later article will examine the Radioddity DM-55 / Tytera MD-398.
Performance of three DMR Tier II radios compared. From left to right: Tytera MD-380, Baofeng DM-5R, Motorola XPR 6550. The Baofeng has the Tier II update applied, making it equivalent to a DM-5R Plus.
Our tests find that the Baofeng DM-5R is unfit for DMR use and degrades the repeater network. We will continue to forbid the use of it on our systems.
Here are our findings.
Read more →
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During 2016 we have noted some new and good DMR radios, and unfortunately we have also seen some radios which cause concern. The radios in question are the Baofeng DM-5R, TYT MD-398 and the Radioddity GD-55.
At this time Rocky Mountain Ham Radio is requesting that amateur operators refrain from using the Baofeng DM-5R, TYT MD-398, the Radioddity GD-55 radios on the RMHAM or DMR-MARC Repeater Systems. This request also includes clones of the above radios such as Pofung, Retevis, Chierda, VITAI, Juentai, SAMCOM, Zastone, HYDX, etc.
Early tests show serious problems with these radios which will jam other users and severely degrade the repeater system. Further tests are planned and we will keep our members and users informed of the results on the www.rmham.org web site. This request does NOT pertain to the new firmware release of the TYT MD-380 and MD-390 and the use of these radios remains acceptable. We do strongly recommend updating to the most recent firmware for these units. In addition you can find a list of radios known to properly interoperate with our system here DMR Radios, as well as sample code plug to program your radios Code Plug Samples.
In a nutshell here is what is being observed with these radios. When these radios transmit on Time Slot 1, Rocky Mountain Wide on most of the RMHam repeaters, they will actually transmit for a significant amount of time within Time Slot 2, which on the RMHam system are usually North, South or Denver. The net result? These radios are, in effect, jamming Time Slot 2 or at the very least causing harmful interference to any potential user in Time Slot 2. The user of the Baofeng DM-5R, TYT MD-398, Radioddity GD-55 radios or their clones will be able to use Time Slot 1 and will have no idea they are producing harmful interference to other users.
If you already own one of these radios all is not lost. You do have some options. These radios appear to function normally in FM Analog and DMR Simplex modes. If you purchased your radio from Radioddity or their Amazon affiliate they are honoring the 30-day 100% satisfaction guarantee. The manufacturers and importers are not currently considering this a product flaw. The radios and upgraded firmware are advertised as Time Slot 1 only. They are not currently addressing the jamming issue. For the details concerning the protocols and more technical details See Technical Information
Mike Lozano K0NGA Class Instructor
Saturday November 19 found almost 30 students attending the second of the this terms courses on amateur radio topics. This month was DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) which gave an in depth look at this modes technology. The course covered everything from the basics of of the, including the theory of operation of the TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) which allows two separate conversations on one repeater along with the two DMR networks available in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain Ham Radio network and the DMR-MARC Network. This comprehensive 3 hour course reviewed best operating practices, a introduction to some of the DMR capable radios available and the techniques used in programming the radios. You can obtain the course slide material in Adobe pdf format at the Course syllabus link under the RMHAM University Tab above. There are still courses available on a range of topics that will be held monthly, December through April, on the 3rd Saturday from 8 AM – 11 AM. Registration is $10 and features a pizza lunch at the conclusion of the course. Advanced registration is required to insure we have pizza for all! Check out the courses offered and feel free to register at the RMHAM University Tab above.
Boulder Amateur Radio Club’s annual hamfest at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont was a great event and lots of deals were found. Rocky Mountain Ham Radio cleared out a few estates worth of equipment and a few pieces of equipment. We all had a good time and had a few first-timers show up to help out with sales.
We all went to our after-hamfest tradition to the Rib House in Longmont and had a wonderful meal and a chance to chat with lots of friends and catch up.
We’re going to start our fall curriculum this month for Rocky Mountain Ham University. See the menu above for more information.
The next hamfest event we will be attending is the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club hamfest at the Ranch in January.
Rocky Mountain Ham Radio was happy to deploy our Communications Trailer September 10th in support of the Civil Air Patrol’s Colorado Wing as they conducted a communications exercise. The first phase of the exercise consisted of originated messages from the RMHam Trailer being relayed from Fort Collins to Grand Junction using aircraft flying in assigned sectors between the two airports, while amateur radio sent other messages using an IRLP link between ARES (R3 D2) and Mesa County RACES. The second portion consisted of having operators on the ground relay messages using a CAP airborne repeater (strapped in the back seat) of a CAP aircraft. During this period a second aircraft flew in from Cheyenne with a second airborne repeater and relieved the first aircraft “on Station”. During both phases, the CAP operators used their portable HF equipment to establish communications on CAP frequencies to Idaho and other locations. Eric Schwarm N6RFI, who was the exercise lead thanked us “We have always had to relied on our own vehicles or borrowed locations as bases for our exercises, we really appreciated Rocky Mountain Ham Radio allowing us the use of their trailer for this exercise “. Participating for RM Ham where David KØPWO (who missed the photo op!), Chris KDØZYF and Wayne NØPOH.