Merry Christmas 2018 from the top of Vail Mountain!

From Thanksgiving to Christmas – the Snow and Skiing conditions in and around the Mightly .61 is improving each day!The Mighty - 61



Mighty – .61 on Vail Mountain – ThanksGiving 2018

Sounding Better than it has in Decades…The Mighty – .61 on Vail Mountain in Colorado is taking FULL ADVANTAGE of the Analog Repeater Linking capabilities of Allstar.  Giving Thanks (this ThanksGiving 2018) to Doug Crompton WA3DSP and his SW Development team – whose Raspberry Pi 3 – SW is now powering 61’s connection to the UHF Link Radio – connecting the rest of the Ski Country ARC Analog Repeater system.    .61  [ 146.61 (-)   PL 107.2 ]   (Below – .61 Tallest Vertical – UHF Link Yagi Antenna can be seen – directly below pointed West from Vail Mountain).  K3NI is about to experience what WA3DSP’s RPi 3 software – really can do!

DMR Aficionados can listen (and transmit) into the SCARC Analog Repeater System – by using the BrandMeister TalkGroup 31085.  Your DMR Audio uses our DMR<—>Allstar Gateway Function – so you’ll be heard on Vail Mountain, Aspen, Beaver Creek and SunLight Ski Resorts – all over the Western Slope of Colorado.  Key up (with or without your Skis on) and enjoy a new Colorado Ski Country QSO!

73s  N0ECT – Happy ThanksGiving to all!


N0THY – Decoding Satellite Weather Images

by  N0THY

N0THYLooking for a Winter Ham Radio project?  Check with N0THY for tips on decoding NOAA Satellite Weather images by building your own Satellite Weather Image Receiver.  (scroll down to see Bryan’s images)


Here are the weather satellite pics (screenshots) taken of some of the hurricanes this summer with N0THY’s LEO (low earth orbiting) satellite receiver setup.

 Hurricane Florence 2018-09-14 Hurricane Florence 2018-09-14 1Hurricane Michael 10-10-18Hurricane Willa 2018-10-22 Hurricane Willa 2018-10-23 Hurrricane Willa 2018-10-23

Beat – your Analog FM Addiction!

Wondering where?  Answer: Right here in Colorado.

A very helpful group of young HAMs – ready to help you beat any Analog FM addiction you may be suffering from – in your pursuit of the HAM Radio hobby.

How too’s…Videos, Equipment Lists, piece parts are here to help get you going with DIGITAL Amateur Radio.  DMR, C4FM (Yaesu’s System Fusion), NXDN, P25, DSTAR are all supported and used by this group of (mostly – Front Range Hams) exploring what the new frontier of Digital Radio has to offer.

Just imagine a world where poor HF Band Conditions – are never an issue again!

Check ‘em out!   – or just click on the graphic below!

73s  – N0ECT


ARRL Field Day 2018

ARRL-Field-Day-JUN2018It’s time to stop doing what you were doing and get ready for the ARRL Field Day – (Saturday – Sunday) June 23rd and 24th 2018.

This annual event is centered on putting HF QSO’s (short 10 second HF radio contacts) into a computer log file for a 24 hour period.  Day and Night.

Operators are encouraged to run the Radio’s off of Emergency Power Generators – to simulate Amateur Radio Operators – Operating during Emergency Environmental situations…(Hurricanes, Tornados, generic power/cell phone) outages and the like.  To learn more about the history of Field Day (Click Here).

To learn where you can join in (you don’t have to be a licensed Amateur Radio Operator) to join the weekend activity.  It’s an easy drive to the Field Day site for folks living in Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Rifle.  (Click Here)  Yeah, that’s Mt. Sopris in the (back right)

The New Frontier – Digital Amateur Radio

by N0ECT

Today’s Digital Amateur Radio (DAR) – has almost nothing to do with HF

Arguably, DAR is the fastest growing segment of Amateur Radio Hobby today.

ALThe big Commercial Radio companies were first to enter that Digital Radio market – however Amateurs have been quick to catch up – and are now providing Digital Radio “cross-connections” between different proprietary Digital Radio systems and they’re running those online today.

Are you Ready to explore genuine Digital Radio for Amateurs?

Step 1 – Turn OFF your HF Rig

What you’ll need…is some new Radio vocabulary to hang with the younger Hams that are pushing the limits of what Digital Amateur Radio can do today.  Did you know that Amazon’s “Echo/Alexia” product is being integrated with DAR today?  Young Hams with well developed SW and Programming Skills are leading and testing those new innovations right now.  Who would have thought?

Step 2 –  Think of the Internet as your worldwide Repeater System.  The “band conditions” on this Repeater System are always open 7x24x365.  “BrandMeister” servers are something you’ll likely be using for day to day World Wide DAR communication.  The growth in BrandMeister DMR connections has been exponential over the last year.  The focus in this DAR community is testing, exploring, engineering and building new Radio Repeater/Hotspots and interconnections.  Adding endless, brief QSO’s in a log file is not what DAR is all about.

Step 3 – You don’t have to “break the bank” with your choice of a new Digital Radio – some models are under $100.00/Amazon.  You also might need a “HotSpot” you can build or buy for about $100.00  DMR (Digital Radios)BM are by far the most affordable compared to DSTAR (Icom’s Digital Radio) and C4FM (Yaesu’s System Fusion) Digital Radios – so we’ll stay focused on DMR for now.  “PileUps” don’t exist in the world of DMR.  If you click on the graphic to the right you can listen to the Digital Radio World of BrandMeister – just by using your computer, no need for a DMR Radio – just to listen – to perfectly clear Digital Radio Audio.

DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) is an “open” spec developed in Europe.  (side note) Motorola adopted it, added their own proprietary digital extensions – and market their Motorola Commercial Digital Radios as part of their “MotoTrbo” product line.

DMR for Amateur Radio can be used with or without a (example: Mountain Top) DMR Repeater.  There is no requirement to be connected to the Internet to have DMR Radio working for you.   DMR/Simplex (example: 146.520Mhz) works just fine.

Q.)  If I’m the only Ham in my geography with a DMR Radio – how do I use it to communicate with other Hams?

Answer:  You can use a DMR HotSpot that you can buy as a Kit or build one yourself for about $100.00.  Photo below shows a DMR Hotspot with a standard USB Battery PowerPak and a Radioddity GD-77  VHF/UHF DMR (Tier II) Radio.  Yes, the DMR HotSpot below uses a WiFi connection to the Internet to reach the BrandMeister Servers.  Below is using the WiFi my iPhone can provide for complete Portable/DMR operation anywhere in the world.DMR-Portable-4FEB2018

DMR Hand-held (HT) Radios (Tier II) can be had on Amazon for well under $100.00  They provide traditional analog FM (VHF & UHF) capabilities (just like your Baofeng) in addition to DMR.  Other Models of DMR HT’s include (TYT/MD380 and 390 – AnyTone AT-D86UV – Retevis RT82).  Interestingly, these new DMR HT’s are (SDR – SW Defined Radios) that can be easily upgraded by loading new (Firmware/Software) into the HT.  Bug fixes and in particular new DMR features are being released all the time.  Be aware that you won’t find much information on the ARRL web site – about this – the younger Hams are using Facebook, dedicated Facebook Groups and Vendor Web sites and Blogs to share their new information, capabilities and upgrades. (Click Here)

More on the HotSpot…As shown above the HostSpot uses a Raspberry Pi “ZERO” computer and a small “daughter card” that plugs on top of the Raspberry Pi “ZERO”.  The daughter card is the low power UHF Transceiver that the Radioddity uses to reach the DMR/BrandMeister Servers on the Internet – if you want to operate on the DMR World Wide community.

Setting up the HotSpot:  The MicroSD card that the Pi Zero uses as its hard drive…is powered by FREE software known as “Pi Star”.  The Pi Star SW (developed in the UK) is controlled by an easy to use “Web Browser Interface” that is simple to use for setup from a PC or Mac.  More information on DAR soon.  73s – N0ECTPS

Rocky Mountain Ham & Ski Country ARC

by Rocky Mountain Ham – and KD0MA, K0JEG & N0ECT

3 New RMHAM Linked Sites – Installed in one day, including the updated Colorado Connection.

A crack team of 15 RMHAM team members pulled off another 3 site day interconnecting the RMHAM (front-range) network to Leadville and Vail. This push gets DMR into these areas that have not been covered with DMR until now. We (RMHAM) now cover I-70 nearly contiguously from Genoa through Avon. We installed two, new (digital) microwave hops from our Fairplay site to our Leadville and then over to Vail (Dowd Junction) with three dedicated teams. By noon on September 30, 2017, the DMR and Analog FM system were in place and ready to carry digitized voice traffic – simultaneously over the new Digital Mountain Top Microwave Network.

Colorado Connection – Vail – Dowd Junction Repeater – FM Analog  147.345 (+) PL 88.5

DMR – Vail Dowd Junction Repeater – 445.07500 (-) Color Code 7, Time Slot 1 – connects you to RMHAM Front Range Talk Group 700

DMR – Vail Dowd Junction Repeater – 445.07500 (-) Color Code 7 Time Slot 2 – connects you to RMHAM Front Range Talk Group 720

We also added new digital linking for the Colorado Connection and upgraded both the Leadville and Vail (CC) repeaters to new digital hardware! The Colorado Connection still supports FM/Analog Radios, however the new Mountain Top Microwave Linking System – digitizes that FM Analog Voice traffic into TCP/IP – VoIP packets.  This new Digital Microwave Mountain Top Linking ELIMINATES the old Analog FM Link Radio System problems that has plagued SCARC Repeater Backbone for months!

Folks from Ski Country ARC from the Vail area assisted the Vail RMHAM team in completing this task. Fairplay team of K0JSC, N2MED, K0GUR got the microwave in and peaked. Leadville team of W0VG, AC0KQ, AE5IT, N0DEV, K0IBM, K7AIH. Vail team was K2AD, WA1JHK, KI0KN, N7CTM with prework by W0KU. Ski Country folks that helped out KD0MA, K0JEG and N0ECT. They installed microwave, power, routers, and all assorted cabling along with doing lots of antenna rework to handle the new configuration.IMG_2436

ARRL Field Day 2017 – K0RV Style!

The QSO + Fun Factor exceeded last Years effort – if you ask N0ECT!  Some of our favorite Field Day Photos and captions from this (June 24-25) weekend’s 24 Hours of Operating HF using Emergency Power only.

ARRL-FIELD-DAY-2017-Chase-BrentIron Chicken Chef N0AFO…demonstrates to Debbie N0LDB the Art of Grilling Chicken – with his Eyes Closed!So-Easy-I-Can-Grill-Chicken-With-My-Eyes-ClosedK0RV’s most Experienced Drone Pilot – Eric K0JEG.  Armed with his 4K HD Drone Camera and GPS Drone Technology – Eric’s Drone located the MOST COMFORTABLE chair at Field Day and K0JEG and took full advantage after an exhausting day of QSO’s and Flying High!Drone-Master-K0JEG-Best-Seat-In-the-HouseK0RV’s t-Shirt Design Team Phil N0KE and Ms. Betty KD0YDH are busy working on next years Field Day 2018 t-Shirt.ARRL-FIELD-DAY-2017-N0KE-KD0YDHN0ECT is still insisting he found one of these Signs…On N0AFO’s Beer Cooler that Saturday Afternoon!Free-StuffBob KI0G Cutter ran the (GOTA – Get On The Air) Station this year.  Being a former Judge – KI0G must be use to handing out cruel and unusual punishment!  How So?Well…Bob ran the GOTA Station at QRP (5 Watts) – Yikes!  Bob is still trying to explain how to beat an HF Pile Up on Field Day using only 5 Watts…leveraging what looked like Kite String for an Antenna!  At QRP – N0ECT rechristened KI0G’s GOTA Station as the “Waiting for Godot” QSO Station!   Extreme QSO Patience paid off…Occasionally, the GOTA Station confirmed a few 40 meter QRP QSO’s!  Their GOTA Station Blew the Horn targeting their skeptics…for every completed QSO!Always-Running-On-Low-Lower-KI0G-QRP-ManWell if you don’t know what “Frequency Feast” looks like – you do NOW!Field-Day-Feist-K0RV-25JUN2017