Comm center to do list posted

See this link, or the Comm Center menu for the current to do list! Please help!

March 2015 Minutes

March 11th GNARC Meeting

Meeting called to order at 7:34.

Attendance: 27 people.

New Business:

Do you have a spare rotor or spare coax to lend the Westport ham club? They’re trying to get a station set up and would dearly appreciate it! Contact Tim (W1GIG) if you do. The club might lend one to them, so check with Tim first before deciding to lend yours.

Correction: Dues are due at the 31st of March, not the 1st as previously stated in last month’s minutes! Reminders are going to be sent out by K1FC.

For now, there is no PL on the input of the 475 machine. If you happen to hear traffic that doesn’t seem to be intentionally directed at our repeater, please let Curt know. Dan will help Curt figure out who the interfering stations are, and once it’s been resolved, the PL will be turned back on.


Con-Jam and Tree Festival are both May 16th. If people are interested in volunteering at either event, you should email Sam or Charles. Information on both will be sent to your inboxes soon. See the Tree Festival online sign up sheet!

We’ve been invited to Wilton Library’s Education Day (maker fest)! N1JFF has volunteered to run the booth. We are looking for people to give quick talks on anything ham radio related, basics, soldering, etc. The event is May 30th, 11 – 3 PM. We could set up an HF station or show how to make an HF go box!

Ham Fests:

Southington, CT – Ham Fest on Sunday morning, March 15th.

Paul, WB2JVB gave a presentation on DMR, Digital Mobile Radio.

Paul’s DMR presentation is now posted on Youtube, courtesy of SARA – check it out!

DMR repeater usage tips

Many of us are new to DMR, and it takes some getting used to. Here are a few tips that may help you during your DMR QSO’s.

When announcing your presence:

Because many DMR users are either scanning or using receive groups, you should always say what talkgroup you are on. Otherwise even though they heard you, they will not know how to call you back. If you are announcing on a very wide area, give your city and state. Examples:

  • “This is WB2JVB listening Southern New England”
  • “This is WB2JVB, Wilton, Connecticut listening on North America”

When calling a station, also indicate what talkgroup you are on:

  • “N1PLH, N1PLH this is WB2JVB on Statewide”
  • “N1ZD, N1ZD this is WB2JVB on Norwalk Local”

The beep you here is NOT A COURTESY TONE!

When the party you are talking with unkeys the microphone, you will normally hear a beep. This is NOT a courtesy tone, indicating you are good to go! It is the channel free indicator. In commercial services this is useful, as it is normally a dispatcher and a mobile talking, and they can call right back with no waiting. On ham radio we MUST LEAVE A GAP so others can break in. Since it takes a few seconds for a breaking party to key up and get a good tone, it is critical that you leave gaps. Count “One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand”. That give you a rough idea how long to wait.

Move off a busy talkgroup if it is just two people talking

As DMR grows, the talkgroups will get more traffic. If you are just yakking with another local ham, consider moving to either “local” or one of the “tac” channels if using the CT ARES repeaters. Of course “local” only works if you are on the same repeater. It is important to remember that even on Southern New England, you are keying up repeaters in potentially 4 states!

Do not rag-chew like you are on the HF bands

There have been a few guys, who are more used to HF,  that are getting close to repeater time outs! Remember that VHF/UHF stuff is a more quick back and forth style of QSO. We have to do this to let others break in. This applies to analog repeaters as well.

Please ID as you would on analog

Even though the displays of many radios will show the calling station, assuming you have programmed it in, there is no exception to the ID rules. Please ID at least once when making the initial contact and of course every 10 minutes as always. This helps others listening, who might be driving and can’t look at the radio, to know who is talking. And always ID at the end of the QSO. It is no different than HF or analog. Same rules!

Volunteers Needed – Tree Festival

Please consider signing up for this event. This will be our third year. Basically we assist with parking, using our radios to communicate. This is a large event. Everything is free and you get to partake of the activities at the event and get some free food too!

Click the link to sign up. You do not have to create an account, just click the checkbox and submit. Enter your details. Thats it!

Skywarn Training Classes

Many have asked about Skywarn training. The following classes are scheduled. Some of these say there is no registration required, but I would encourage you to track down someone to confirm date and time. See for your local office. In Norwalk, our local office is

Listed below are the Basic Spotter Training Sessions that have been scheduled so far for the spring of 2015. Nothing has been scheduled yet for the southern counties covered by NWS New York, (Upton). When they are they will be announced.

Litchfield County Monday  April 13th 6:30PM Warren Fire Dept 2nd floor 11 Sackett Hill Road Cornwall Bridge Pre-registration required but the registration link has not been set up yet at the NWS Albany webpage

Tolland County Thursday May 7th 7:00 PM Andover Firehouse  11 School Road Andover Pre-registration required contact

Windham County Tuesday May 12th 7:00PM Ashford Town Hall Room 104 lower level  5 Town Hall Road Ashford  No Registration required

Hartford County Monday June 8th 7:00 PM Granby Senior Center 15 North Granby Road Granby (Behind Town Hall)  No registration  required

February 2015 Minutes

Meeting called to order at 7:33.

22 members in attendance.

Motion to accept last month’s minutes passed, Sam (NV1P) first, Dee (N1ZD) second.

Old Business:

Winter Field Day went really well. We made 120 contacts, lots of people showed up. The food was great and the equipment worked well.

Service Event Announcement:

ConJamm 2015 is an event that’s being put together by Douglas, WA1SFH, that is going to help expose between 2,000 and 3,000 young scouts to amateur radio. There will be 6 activity booths for groups of Boy Scouts to visit and learn different things about radio direction finding, APRS, radiograms, and more. Hugo, AA1XV, is running the booth to get Scouts to send and receive their names in morse code. A few keys and practice oscillators are needed. We need lots of volunteers! Even if you can’t make it we still need loaner equipment. Go get your one service event a year out of the way. This event will be located in Orange at High Plains Community Center on May 16th.

On the same day is the tree festival, where we provide logistical support at Cranbury Park. This tree festival is organized by the Norwalk Tree Alliance, and is a family-oriented day of entertainment and education, dedicated to advancing the place which trees occupy in the vitality of the ecology. More than 40 exhibitors come from CT and southern NY for this free event. Food is included. If you can’t make it to Orange for ConnJamm this is another way to give back to the community.

Contact Sam as soon as possible to sign up for one or the other.

Committee reports:

Curt – Technical Committee
We need to get a few things straightened out and put together in the radio room, such as redoing the entire patch panel and working on VHF/UHF side. We’re not ready to do check-outs yet but will be open this Saturday from 9-12, come get on the air and have some coffee and doughnuts.

DMR is going quite well, coverage is excellent, lots of new people using our DMR repeater.

Jim, KC1FB – Expense report

Doing very well on finances. More than half the members in attendance have already renewed membership. Please send yours in if you haven’t yet. The deadline is March 1st.


Steve K1RF gives SDR presentation. If you’d like to read it or follow the links he mentioned, it will be posted on the GNARC website.

Meeting adjourned at 9:32.

Good turnout for first Saturday open house

Over a dozen members turned out to operate, talk radio and generally have a good time! Dan made a lot of CW contacts on 15m, several people brought their DMR radios to talk about programming, a new member needed some help with his Yaesu 7900,  and a couple of dead HF radios were brought in for others to help fix.

Coffee and bagels were on hand as well. A great radio morning.