Work Party at Capitol Park – 3/10/19

It was another chilly, but beautiful day to be outside. We accomplished our primary goal of raising the new VHF antenna. There is still a bit of work to be done to cap it off, but it was the last big project to complete here. Big thanks to Randy and Doug for spending time devising a simple and safe way to hoist and mount the antenna and also thanks to Mark, Carl, Bod, Casey, Alan, Todd, and Barry for all the help.

Antenna Construction
Interior Work
Hoisting the antenna | Final mounting position

Work Party at Capitol Park – 3/3/19

Thank you to Casey, Randy, Carl, Mark, Michael, and Alan for their work this past Sunday at Capitol Park.  We made further preparations for the PSRG relocation, continued to improve the HamWAN installation and did further site cleanup.

  • Got the new mounts and pipe for the PSRG/ACS 24GHz Link in place at Cap Park. 24GHz link is partly operational, good path/signal, needs for IP config to put in service.
  • New 70cm antenna on top for high speed Packet on 430MHz.
  • Baldi Backbone BBQ Dish was relocated temporarily to mount above S2 which is there for a dual band vhf/uhf antenna we haven’t yet installed.
  • Removed a defunct 70 MHz beam which blocked wall access
  • Removed 3 more TV aerials and their supporting superstructure (an eyesore, hindrance to wall access, and a potential safety hazard).

Photos courtesy of Michael Kostis and Randy Neals.
Our next work party on March 10th will focus on getting the PSRG VHF antenna mounted.  There are a couple more coax/heliax runs to make and 2 dishes to put up, but the major exterior work is starting to come to a close.  There is some more interior work which is also ongoing to improve the power systems.
Regards,  -Doug-, KD7DK

Before and after

Meeting notes

Because of Viadocalypse (viaduct-apocalyse), this month’s meeting took place at N. Seattle College.

We reviewed several things including:

  • the progress being made to make the new radio room ready, including the antenna work that had been done and the need to get the HF loop installed.
  • the 5th Saturday drill and some lessons learned from other departments
  • the Hwy 99 tunnel test (more detail in the previous article)
  • PSRG’s trial of DMR, currently on TX 440.775 / RX 445.775, Color code: 2 – Doug also mentioned that there will be some opportunities to learn more about DMR at the Comm Academy.
  • Monday’s multi-repeater net which will include; simplex UHF, DMR, MT63-2k, and a repeater.
  • a few updates that were made to the ICS-217 for incorrect labeling of some digital channels
  • new ACS badges! Rapid tag is now in effect which should provide us with faster check-in/out and better and easier reporting

One additional thing that came up was, if you were at the December 8th meeting at Discovery Park and you received an ACS “Go Drive”, you will need to update the ICS-217s on there as the offsets are incorrect. Delete the ones on the USB and replace them with ones in the Google Drive – link here

After the break, we heard from Lauren Paolini of AT&T about FirstNet. She reviewed how it came to be and explained the different tiers of users and the way AT&T can prioritize FirstNet users, not just over the new Band 14, but across all its bands. Generally speaking the Primary users, with the highest level of access will be Law enforcement, EMS, a Fire, or as Laura put it “Guns, needles, and hoses.” The next tier, “Extended Primary”, would consist of healthcare, utilities, transportation, etc

AT&T claims to have 78+% coverage across the country (2.74 million sq/miles) but also has 72 deployables to extend coverage or service an area that has lost it. Washington has 9 dedicated to the state, with 7 of those being stationed in North Bend.

They are also working on an “Enhance push-to-talk” that would be a radio-like bridge to existing LMR radios over their data network.

Many newer phones are capable of utilizing Band 14, so if you are interested, you can sign up for FirstNet through AT&T. Apparently, the service rates are quite competitive.

Finally, Scott Currie gave us a talk about APRS, what it can do and he’s utilized it at RAMROD. He demonstrated the software they use (APRSISCE/32) to keep track of the various moving vehicles required to support the ride.

If you weren’t able to join us this time, we hope to see you next time!