Ted’s essays

letter to radio friends

Yeah, I’m kind-of busy like a one-armed-paper-hanger, but not THAT busy that I don’t intermittently attempt to get the code plug built into my (our) TYT VHF/UHFradios.  My latest attempt at using technology to pull an existing one out of another brand, make, model radio has not yet born fruit.  My repeated requests for a current list of repeaters, frequencies and PLs have also produced nothing… other than a curt “All Wrong” response to the old list I do have and submitted ‘for corrections’.

The pair of Bitterroot repeater gods is in the middle of taking several repeaters down and installing new or reconfigured hardware. THAT changes the programming and their list. SO they don’t want to bother with a list now when there will be one or several changes still not on their list.  SIGH.  Two steps backward.  Last Saturday I helped Jeff load the Conner repeaters into his pickup. Next Saturday we are scheduled to put them back online.

Jeff is still hoping, planning to put a new pair of VHF/UHF repeaters up at Ravi and Jenn’s high spot. Jeff really is hyper-busy, but I do think he is likely to pull it off this year. He seems to place high value on it.  As it relates to our repeater list and code plug, it is one he will probably have on the list when he finally delivers that to me.

There is a new UHF repeater adjacent to the 146.720 BARC repeater on Downing Mountain (aka Grubsteak). None of us have it programmed in yet. It’s so new only Jeff has it, but we will. Where the VHF (146.720) repeater struggles vainly to hear incoming 2-meter signals in the neighborhood of five 25,000 Watt commercial stations in the VHF band, the new UHF (420-440 MHz) repeater next to it is working in a radio-wave quiet zone.  That means great potential for reach around the Bitterroot…. The big deal is that Jeff is excited about this project and it will be booming very soon.

THEN I suspect I will get my updated, correct, current list of all repeaters and access tones. THEN I have resolved to quit trying to get computers and software to save me a little effort. I’m building the code plug we need from paper printouts. 

Okay, there is A CHANCE the repeater gods will be just as amenable to programming one of my radios as printing out … but I will no longer bet on that or wait for it.  I really just need the current list. One way or the other, and I will want to change whatever they put into their code plug anyway.

Autumnal Equinox next Monday … winter rapidly approaches and I’m not as ready as I want to be.  

Worse, the crazy gremlin that flits in and out of my head offered to run a class through Darby Adult Ed. If 5 or more people sign up I have another project on my list, and it has a ridgid schedule. I won’t mind if nobody signs up … or if we have the class, I suppose. There is a purpose for it.

I drew a series of slides to explain the repeater situation on Downing Mountain at the Grubsteak site. Paul Hvidson produced an excellent white paper attached to this. It is very technical, but completely compatible with my ‘graphic novel’ version of the same data.  See my version here: https://www.teddunlap.net/grubsteak/ probably before you read the white paper is a good idea.

I designed a 2-meter directional Yagi antenna with the intention of focusing our little 5-watt HT signal in specific directions (like towards a repeater).  I’m thinking I’ll offer a workshop when I finally put building the thing on my agenda.  I may also make up a sketch of a UHF version so I (we) can have one of each.  See my drawing here: https://www.teddunlap.net/2-meter-directional-antenna-for-ten-bucks/

P.S. Gene: I do remember your offer of continued help and will call on you if I still am struggling when I finally have the up-to-date data to work with. Dozer (my unloved radio programming Windoze confuser) is due for another update session at the library.

Paul’s White Paper .pdf:

repeater analysis