April 27, 2016 Update: Lincoln 147.195+ is back on the air after replacement of the power supply.
April 25, 2016 Update: There is a moderate threat of severe weather over the entire K-Link coverage area. Here is an update of repeater status:
Topeka 146.805 (PL 162.2) has been put back on the air. This repeater links to K-Link via IRLP and also has an RF link to Alma to bring it back into the system. Topeka still has antenna/feedline issues causing desense, so this repeater is degraded from normal. We currently have no ETA on when we can get a tower crew up to fix the problem. (This probably costs a couple thousand dollars.)
Repeater issues we are aware of:
Topeka 146.805 – Back on the air, but antenna/feedline problem is causing desense. Use high power on this repeater!
Alma 444.525 – Repeater transmitter has low output, range is somewhat reduced.
This afternoon the K-Link system saw some weather activity and our net controllers relayed some reports to the Weather Service. Unfortunately, we also had a few problems which need addressed.
If you are using a Yaesu handheld or mobile, be familiar with how to turn off the WiRES feature when net control advises you that your radio is mis-configured. The instructions for disabling WiRES on your radio are here. There is NO REASON to have this feature enabled, ever. Please keep it turned off. This feature causes the receiving stations to miss the first 3 or 4 seconds of every transmission.
When there is an active net running, do not call in reports of anything that is less than severe criteria. If you don’t know what qualifies as severe criteria, please take additional training to become familiar with these limits. If net control asks you what conditions you are seeing, it is fine to report whatever is going on, but please don’t call in with “it’s starting to rain” or “pea size hail falling now”.
If you are going to report that storm sirens are sounding, please give your location so your information can be useful in case Emergency Management gets reports that sirens weren’t working. Also, if you know you are near a siren that should be going off, but isn’t, please report that as well. We can relay that information after the event to make sure the equipment is repaired.
Thank you to everyone that participated in Skywarn today. Be safe out there!
Today we excited to announce our new CafePress store for K-Link apparel and gear. If you would like to support the K-Link Repeater Network -and- get cool stuff, this is the place! A percentage of sales goes to support K-Link.
The Wichita Skywarn group is trying a new method of activating Skywarn spotters and net controllers within their warning area. If you are a trained storm spotter within the Wichita CWA, please follow @SkywarnICT on Twitter, and turn on notifications for that contact on your phone/device.
To turn on notifications, go to the SkywarnICT twitter page, tap on the gear icon and tap ‘Turn on notifications’ from the options.
In recent years there has been no organized Skywarn program or activation/notification method for those of us within the Topeka CWA. We are hoping to change that. To that end, we have created a twitter account to facilitate easy spotter activation. Please follow @SkywarnTOP and turn on notifications on your device. We will be using both SkywarnICT and SkywarnTOP to call spotters into action on the K-Link Repeater Network.
We’re looking for a couple of volunteers to help provide communications for the Heartland 50 Mile Run. The event begins at 6:00 on April 30, 2016 and ends at 21:00 that evening, and takes place in and near Cassoday, KS. There will be three manned aid stations plus net control at the start/finish line in Cassoday. If we get a few additional people to commit then we can work in shifts. The cutoff time on the halfway checkpoint is 7 hours, so that aid station (Teterville) will be closing at 13:00.
We will be using the Matfield Green 147.045 repeater primarily, in some areas you’ll also be able to access El Dorado 443.100. A good 2 meter mobile radio is a requirement but we recommend a dual band radio if possible. A handheld radio is also useful but may have trouble hitting the repeater from the Battle Creek station.
This is a remote area with no facilities other than the portable toilets provided by the aid stations. You need enough food and water and supplies for the duration of your stay.
I was finally able to make a trip to retrieve the Topeka repeater today. In the next couple of weeks I hope to be able to make repairs. The power supply in the VHF MSF5000 stations output 14 and 28 VDC because different stages of the radio need different voltages, and that’s why we can’t easily “get by” with a cheap off-the-shelf unit. This being the only VHF MSF station we have, and no spares, this will have to be repaired or completely replaced. I’ve had (much appreciated) offers of donated power supplies, but they won’t work in this situation. Being two hours away from home, what helps the most is fuel money 😉
While I was in the area I noticed the power output was low on Alma. W0KHP and I made a site visit and measured 5 watts out. That PA will have to be replaced, and I’ll try to get that done on the same day I re-install Topeka.
After resetting the power supply, the Lincoln repeater is back in service.
The squelch has been acting up (this is the one remaining repeater with no PL requirement) and was locking the whole network up, so I shut it down. I should be able to look at this repeater later in the week.
A new page has been added to the website to assist with radio programming. This is a work in progress and will feature memory channel files for various popular radios as time permits. Currently the work is being focused on the Yaesu System Fusion-capable radios.
Today the new Yaesu repeaters owned by the Central Kansas ARC were put into service by Eric Boyle (NØYET) and Justin Reed (NV8Q).
The 147.03 repeater remains an analog-only repeater and will soon require 118.8 tone access. It also encodes a 118.8 tone.
The 443.900 repeater is running in AMS mode. FM access now requires a 118.8 tone and the repeater also transmits the 118.8 tone. Since there is digital traffic on this repeater, all users will want to program encode AND decode (TSQ) into their radios to avoid hearing the digital noise when the repeater is being used in digital mode. This shouldn’t be an issue since all radios made in the past 20 years come equipped with CTCSS encode and decode. We also replaced the old coax with new LDF4 heliax on this repeater, and we plan to replace the coax on 147.03 in the near future.
This repeater is the 15th System Fusion digital repeater in Kansas. The full list of System Fusion digital repeaters can be found here.
As we head into another season of storms and severe weather, please remember a few basic points:
Skywarn Net Controllers:
Please take a moment to log into your NWS Chat account and make sure you remember (or have reset) your password, and that your computer/client is working. Also remember to test the radio gear that you’ll be using, and check that GRLevel 3 and any place files you use are working properly.
Skywarn Trained Spotters and Experienced Chasers:
Please take a moment to check your mobile and portable radio gear for proper operation. Make sure you have added recent repeaters and programmed any other updates into your radio so you don’t have surprises in the field. We hope to hear from you in the field and our net controllers will be glad to take your reports. Please remember to remain calm and speak clearly.
Severe weather is a good time to monitor the air and stay informed through multiple sources. We encourage you to use the information you hear for you own personal safety. Please do not get on the air with non-severe weather reports such as “it’s raining hard here”, and do not pester net control or other spotters by asking what is going on out there. The proper flow of information is FROM the spotters TO net control. Asking “what is going on out there” or “where is that storm” is going to clog the airwaves. Please don’t.