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By QRZ.COM

K8SN

N8WKM

N8JPR

WX8GRR

West Michigan Obscene Technology, Now with D-Star WD8EMD

AB8MS

N8KQQ

N8EOD

Nobody has more fun!

WMPORN BLOG


From time to time I change the first paragraph on the website to reveal some details about projects that we are up to. Sometimes people find what I write amusing, so I have decided to start copying that information here for those who wish to somewhat follow the flow of how some projects go. Just like everyone else we have our problems too. Sometimes how we resolve those problems is amazing, sometimes it is just blind luck, and sometimes it is downright funny. So, below you will find paragraphs that have been removed from the main webpage and have been archived here to aide you in your sadistic pleasures.

NEW UPDATES 02/21/11

The time has come for me to post information about Hamvention 2014 and the presence of many WMPORN friends and family.

Once again we will be located at booths FW2530 - FW2534. You will note that the numbers for the spots are clearly marked on at least half a dozen different locations in the fleamarket, and you will need to count from there to figure it out. Of course this year there will be a major change as I no longer have the little red wagon (AKA my Mercury Villager Van) as I found it necessary to replace it with a white one. The little red wagon was actually three different vehicles, two of them being identical models.

We welcome everyone to stop by the booth. Many of the group will be in and out, but we always have plenty of chairs and something to drink. Due to circumstances beyond our control however you will need to make other arrangements for use of the restrooms. If you have something to sell, feel free to bring it along. The only thing we ask is that you donate a portion of the proceeds to help defray our costs.

We also plan to have a repeater available for use during the open hours of the flea market. The repeater output is on 927.9875 with the input on 902.9875 using a CTCS of 131.8. We also sometimes use the output of the repeater on simplex for some local communication. We also sometimes use 442.175 (the output of the K8SN repeater in the Grand Rapids area) as simplex with a tone of 103.5 to accomodate communicaiton among ourselves while enganed in the Hamvention experience.

Please notice that if I am able I will be posting updates to the website with some pictures to the Dayton 2014 blog.

In the event that we have snow, a "we're at the motel" NET may be established on either the repeater or one of the simplex frequencies listed abov, by the LAZES coordinator. Please see your hotel clerk for "check in" information.

With that said, we must once again issue this disclaimer. WMPORN is not responsible for injuries caused by ROFLing, loss of vocal ability due to excessive talking (rare at ham radio events due to refined practice except for those Morse code guys), lack of sleep, sore muscles, hunger, or offended olfactory senses or irritation caused by uncooperative people. WMPORN is also not responsible for frostbite, sunburn, or chafing due to wet clothing (whatever may apply).

As always, we come to the more serious part where we hope that everyone has as much fun as we will have. Stay safe and of course stop by to see us.


You can read a little bit about a WMPORN Dayton trip by clicking here.

Things are well underway for Dayton Hamvention 2012, and as usual the gang from WMPORN will be there. You will notice that I have added a link over to the left hand side for Dayton 2012 where I have started the blog for this years event.

Once again we are making ready all of the things that we need to create our little space in the fleamarket for Hamvention 2012. Were making a list, checking it twice... oh wait, wrong holiday. We are making our lists though, trying to make sure that we have everything that we want to bring along. Every year it never fails, something gets left behind, or something isn't the way we expected, yet we still manage to get on with having a good time.

Most of the group will be leaving sometime during the day on Thursday May 17, and traveling to Hara Arena where we will have a preliminary setup party to get things in order for Friday when the opening bell rings. Yes, I said opening bell. Wall street knows nothing when a bunch of old hams get together to start doing their trading.

Now, where was I, oh yes, members of the group will be leaving at various times on Thursday and arriving in Dayton. Many of us will meet up at the our flea market site to start preparing the WMPORN Marketing Facility for use. Just how much we do depends on what the weather is doing (as well as how hungry tired and cranky I am as well). The remainder of the preparations will happen Friday morning during a time that is normally reserved for deep REM sleep (don't know what that is? Wikipedia does, ask them).

Once again we will be located at booths FW2530 - FW2534. You will note that the numbers for the spots are clearly marked on at least half a dozen different locations in the fleamarket, and you will need to count from there to figure it out. Another possible way is to spot the little red wagon (AKA my red minivan) and the WMPORN banner (unless once again removed by an over zealous scurity guard who should know better). Please note that I was told there would be a new banner this year, but I do not know the status on that particular item at this time.

For those of you wishing to join us, please feel free. We usually have extra chairs and something to drink. If you need to sell an item you may do so, all we ask is that you donate for the table space. WMPORN is not supported by outside donations, and all costs are obsorbed by those who participate. We are quite generous, however a small donation does help defray the costs of bringing more fun to one place than to which any ham has a right.

Finally an update on our website! Now that spring is here ... what's that you say .. crap, it's snowing again..
Anyway, having to replace all of my computers that had the software that I have used to manage this and other sites for years within the last two months, little has been done about updating anything on the website since I have to do it the hard way. Not that I am incapable of doing that, I'm just lazy and like the other way better. I have new software that will work with Windows 7 I just have to get it installed and working the way I want it to work.

A few things have been happening over the winter months that are proving to be exiting. Driven by some form of craziness, Work has continued to work on the linking projects. A new repeater has been installed to the North and hopefully we will have some information about it on here soon. That repeater has been linked back to 442.175 (The K8SN repeater) to the South and as the bugs get worked out allows use of features on both repeaters from either repeater.

Also now running and continuing to get the bugs worked out is yet another linking project that is doing the unthinkable. From early on some of us talked about the possibilities of being able to link the DStar system with the analog repeaters. This is not as easy as it sounds since unlike conventional analog repeaters there is no place on the repeater to extract audio. Well, ok, there is, but the audio you would hear is the GMSK audio signal and all you would hear is something like the sound of rushing water. That is because the repeater does not recover the encoded audio and repeat it, it simply passes the digital bits along from RX to TX. That means we have to have a place to send the audio that it can be converted to and from digital/analog in order to cross those borders. Mike has continued to stay in touch with those people and work on making that happen. At this time he is showing much success, so don't be surprised if you hear the K8SN repeater (including IRLP) audio playing out the speaker of your UHF DStar radio.

In other news, the N8JPR repeater has been outfitted with an auto patch. Why would anyone do that now days? It's simple, not everyone carries a cell phone, and considering the recent performance of Sprint in the Grand Rapids and Western Michigan markets, it may also be for those who carry cellular telephones but just can't get a channel to place a call out.

Finally, in new news is something sounding more like spring weather. The orders have been placed and verified for the WMPORN Hamvention Playland. Yes, once again the WMPORN group will be attending Hamvention 2011 and taking over the real estate known as booths 2530 - 2534. We do not have a confirmation if Larry will be providing entertainment for us this year, but as always we make it a point to be sure that "nobody has more fun than us".

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1.2GHz Radiation Report

We are happy to report that WX8GRR D-Star repeater has a new addition. Finally, after allot of time waiting and delays the Triplexer arrived on Wednesday May 12th. "Why is that so significant" you ask? Well let me tell you. In the year 2010 (remember when that year sounded so futuristic?) May 12th is the day before many of us pack up and leave for Dayton. Being one of the group, naturally I had everything packed up and ready on Tuesday allowing me many hours to install the new triplexer (!NOT!). Oh no, as usual on Wednesday evening I cut out of work early and got started packing the van with everything I could cram into it. Finally loaded at about 2:30am I desperately worked my way toward my bed so that I would not start the weekend off badly. With all of that, I had to wave goodbye to my chances to pick up the triplexer until I got back from Hamvention.

Finally on Tuesday I picked up the triplexer and spent the rest of the week trying to catch up on work at my job. Finally things worked out for me to go to the tower site on Sunday afternoon where I discovered that the cables I had for connecting the triplexer were all about 30 inches too short. Well, with some creative bumblefutzing and a stroke of luck I was able to connect all the ports.

In case you are wondering what a Triplexer is, it is the creative genius of someone at TX/RX that is part duplexer part combiner/multicoupler and allows both the 1296 Voice and Data modules on the D-Star repeater to use a single antenna, and at 490 feet up the tower with 1.825" hardline topped off by a $800 Hustler 9db gain antenna that means a huge savings over using separate antennas.

For our friends who have 1296 D-Star capabilities, here is the information that you will need to program your radio with.

  • DV RX 1272.5000 (your radio transmits here)
  • DV TX 1284.5000 (your radio receives here)
  • DD    1298.5000 (Data TX & RX)


  • The module for Voice is A with module B being UHF and module C being VHF. If your counting a little bit slow the simple entry for your voice radio is 1284.5000 - (12MHz offset) "WX8GRR A"

    Since none of us here locally have really worked with setting up the DD mode (digital data) we don't have all the answers about setup. This is the part where how you set your terminals up in your registration becomes even more critical. There is some information out there that is available about the DD mode, but we will be learning more in the near future and will of course post that information here. I suspect about the third time we change it on this website it will be correct.

    Now, about that radiation report. John N8EOD had his ID-1 installed already and went out to his car a few minutes after I called him and said he was able to bring the repeater up, and that it was full scale sitting in his driveway at about 19 air miles. Mike also had his ID-1 installed in his vehicle and tested from as far South as Martin with no problems. At this point I am going to quit writing, and quit working on the repeater because I seriously need to get to installing my ID-1 in my van. More radiation reporting to come in the next installment of "This is your repeater on P.O.R.N".

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    W8DFG Silent Key (February 25, 1948 - April 13, 2011)

    This update is one of sadness, Dennis Gaboury, W8DFG became a silent key on Wednesday April 13, 20011. Dennis will be remembered for years to come for his service to the amateur radio community, both in his local community and club as well as for his participation in the Michigan Amateur Repeater Council (MARC) as a past officer and current President.

    The news I have at this time is somewhat slim, however it seems that he fell victim to an uncontrollable infection that spread from an abscessed tooth.

    Visitation will be on Sunday, April 17, 2011 from 12:30 pm to 8:00 pm.
    Will & Schwarzkoff Funeral Home
    233 Northbound Gratiot
    Mt. Clemens, MI (586)468-4509
    http://www.willandschwarzkoff.com

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    A Sad Day For Ham Radio

    Ray Abraczinskas (Abe, W8HVG) funeral arrangements have been posted.

    I haven't been updating this site all that much lately thanks to a number of factors. Unfortunately today (November 9, 2010) I am updating to bring the sad news of the passing of one of Michigan's pioneering forces in repeaters. Following a long term of illness Ray Abraczinskas (Abe) W8HVG passed away. At this time I have no other details, but he certainly will be missed by many. If your looking for something to do, read his short biography on QRZ.com.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    HAMVENTION HO!

    Wind 'em up and move 'em out! It's that time of year again when many West Michigan hams (and others too) head for Dayton Ohio, to attend Hamvention. For those who are not aware, Hamvention is the largest radio and electronics show in the US geared toward amateur radio.

    As we have done for the last several years, we will have the portable repeater in the fleamarket on 927.9875 131.8Hz CTCSS with a -25MHz offset. If you don't have equipment to use that band stop in to say hi to us anyway.

    If time permits I will update the Dayton 2010 page as I am able.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    1.2GHz almost ready

    Hamvention time is approaching rapidly and most of the plans are laid out and organized (if you believe that come and see me at hamvention, I have a bridge to sell you) for another year. This year we will be expanding just a bit to accomodate our growing crowd. This year WMPORN will occupy spaces 2530 2531 2532 2533 and 2534. Yes, that's right, we are going for 5 spaces this year.

    Our plan is to have a new talking point this year by having the 1.2GHz D-Star modules active and on the air. This has been a long time coming and thousands of dollars in the works. Very few groups in Michigan are using 1.2GHz right now, and we know why. It's expensive to do it correctly. For those who have and ID-1 and want to get their radio programed in anticipation here is the frequencies that the triplexer is being tuned for.

  • DV RX 1272.5000 (your radio transmits here)
  • DV TX 1284.5000 (your radio receives here)
  • DD    1298.5000 (Data TX & RX)


  • The module for Voice is A with module B being UHF and module C being VHF. If your counting a little bit slow the simple entry for your voice radio is 1284.5000 - (12MHz offset) "WX8GRR A"

    Since none of us here locally have really worked with setting up the DD mode (digital data) we don't have all the answers about setup. This is the part where how you set your terminals up in your registration becomes even more critical. There is some information out there that is available about the DD mode, but we will be learning more in the near future and will of course post that information here. I suspect about the third time we change it on this website it will be correct.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    442.175 Looses Smoke!

    Just in time for the start of the spring thunderstorm season, the 442.175 repeater became the first victim of the season. After spending a better part of the morning relaying Space Shuttle audio, the repeater fell silent. Emergency technicians were sent to the site as soon as possible where they found the exciter cold and unresponsive.

    After being transported to a proper repair facility it was determined that the exciter had lost it's smoke due to a leak in single 2N3904. A replacement transistor was found and installed and the radio was then recharged with smoke in the early evening hours on Tuesday.

    As a reminder to all hams, this is the time of year when we once again must be aware of the dangers of thunderstorms and the lightning strikes that frequently cause structural failure of electronic components, allowing the smoke to leak from devices. Replacing the components and smoke can be costly, so it is always a good idea to protect your smoke!

    Please keep in mind that after April 31 2010 you will not be able to resmoke your radios in most public places in Michigan thanks to the new anti-smoking laws. It is now more important than ever to keep that smoke inside the radios to avoid these inconveniances.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    HAMVENTION is coming

    January's frigid and cold temperatures tend to keep us all inside where it is warm where our thoughts turn to better days ahead and hopes of a pleasant ham vacation in May to Dayton, OH to attend the Dayton Hamvention. In my 18 Years of attending Hamvention, I have experienced most all types of weather from Rain to wind to snow and I have returned home with a bad sunburn as well, but I have never failed to have fun.

    Well, it's time to start thinking Hamvention again. I need to know who is planning to go. Ok, I really don't need a list of all of the people who plan to attend, but I do need to know who plans to go down as a part of the West Michigan Privately Owned Repeater Network group so that I can appropriate the proper amount of resources such as the coveted flea-market vendor pass. Of course these tickets come with a price, you get to help pay for the flea-market spaces.

    Bottom line planning is this. Before the end of February I will place the order. They will charge my account at this time. Once I get the tickets they will be distributed on a first pay first served basis. Sorry no advanced sales.

    Offer void where prohibated by law. This offer may not apply to family members of WMPORN employees. Bribes will be tolerated and most likely accepted. Lodging and transportation not included. Children under the age of 12 must accompany an adult. Long haired Freaky People need not apply. All disclaimers not listed here shall apply as needed. This is the "fine print", and it's good that it is "fine" because otherwise it's too darn small to read. If you have read this far you really need a winter break. Not responsible for overspending, credit card overload, divorces, illness or any other negative result as a result of attending this event.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    442.175 In Recovery!

    The K8SN 442.175 Repeater has returned to the air. After showing no signs of life for more than a year the repeater has returned to the air.

    Currently the repeater is still being reworked and not all of the pieces have come together yet, however the machine is useable and on the air. The repeater still makes use of many of the same parts, however a drastic reconfiguration was needed to fit into one rack cabinet. Currently the reciever is showing signs of excellent coverage and is connected to the antenna that should remain as the main RX antenna. The transmitter however is operating from only 60' above ground level.

    We are still in need of a combiner port to get the repeater transmitter running on the main TX antenna that is intended. Donations are being accepted by contacting any of the WMPORN repeater owners. An estimated coverage are map can be found here.

    224.760 Returns to the Air!

    Yes, after being silenced nearly a year ago as an indirect victim of the Aeromed helicopter crash the K8SN 224.760 repeater is back on the air. Having been one of the oldest 220MHz repeaters in the area, we vowed to bring it back. That day has come, and we are all celebrating it's return to the air. The selected site still offers us excellent downtown coverage, with reasonable wide area coverage as well, much like it's former home.

    Special thanks to Rob Gage N8WKN who climbed the tower and hung the new antenna and others who helped with this task. Though all of the work was not done in one day, I will only say "stairs were involved" and we owe another special note of thanks to some of friends from the Kalamazoo area for their assistance.

    The 442.175 repeater is up next and is nearing completion. Some rearrangements are needed to fit the repeater to the new site that has been selected. Preliminary calculations indicated that we should easily attain a 10% to 12% increase in coverage. Naturally we will be happy when this project is complete. At this time donations are being accepted to offset the costs of the modifications and retrofitting with new filtering that will be needed.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    More PORN Happenings in West Michigan

    These last few weeks have been very busy for many of us. Several exciting and new things are on the horizon as time and funding will allow.

    The 1.2GHz antenna for DStar is now located at 490' on the tower and is connected to 1 5/8" Andrews feedline. We are still waiting for the Triplexer to place the full 3 band multi-mode DStar stack into full operation. The new power supply is on hand and is awaiting installation as is a new external power amplifier for the VHF module. This amplifier has been tested and will put out 70 watts from 5 watts in quite easily. This should reduce the effects of the RX outperfoming the TX on the VHF module. Hopefully we can start increasing the operation of UHF next.

    The K8SN repeater has been in the "mod" shop for a few months since we had to remove it from it's former home when the tower was taken down, and has been moved to it's new home. We are still missing one important piece of hardware at that site, and hope to have it soon. This will put the 442.175 repeater back on the air with increased coverage. We suspect coverage to the North and East to remain about the same with increased coverage to the South and West.

    The 224.760 repeater that lost it's home as well has been relocated to it's new home. The anticipated coverage is somewhat similar to what it was prior to this move. Currently no additional changes to this repeater are planed. This repeater is only a couple of hours worth of work away from returning to the air.

    Also Mike W. And I have spent alot of time to bring a very unique feature to the WMPORN repeaters, and we are very close. After much head scratching and late nights, we have determined that the networking equipment that is being used for the DStar repeater may have a problem within the firmware that was causing the problem that we were experiencing. I have secured all new networking equipment to replace the current Cisco 2620 router and 2912 XL switch. Other equipment at the site is also changing and we are reasonably sure that after all the equipment is changed we will have a brand new and very unique feature to announce that will help promote and bring additional activity to Grand Rapids repeaters.

    Stay tuned to this channel for more information on 1.2GHz frequencies and the current status of the PORN Repeaters.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    N8JPR Repeater Returns To Service

    The N8JPR Repeater on 223.920 has returned to the air. After being damaged recently during a West Michigan thunderstorm, the repeater power amplifier was repaired and returned to service. While repairs were being made, we also upgraded the power supply and added PL tone to the transmitter.

    The output PL is the same as the input at 94.8 hertz as is commonly used in West Michigan. This tone can be controlled right from the Arcom controller and can be turned on and off at will. This allows the tone to be turned off or on at certain times so for example if the tome were turned off after 10pm one could leave their radio on all night without hearing any activity, but if a weather alert came on, the tone would be turned on and the weather alert would come through.

    Hopefully there was no other damage that we have not repaired, but of course we will need to know if you have found performance losses since the repair.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    The Future on 1.2GHz

    Dayton Hamvention 2009 is now but a memory as summer moves on here in West Michigan. As always we had a good time, sold our junk, bought other peoples junk and came home tired, but with new ideas for the future.

    Though it is not a new idea, I purchased and ID1 DStar radio while in Dayton. For nearly two years our 1.2GHz equipment has remained idle sitting in the rack with the UHF and VHF repeaters that were put on the air when the system first went up. I also talked with the representative from Hustler about their antenna's, and it seemed that finally I had found an antenna that would work for 1.2GHz and would also meet the requirements for the tower site. Shortly after Hamvention I made some phone calls and oredered that antenna.

    The new antenna has arrived. This is a big step toward getting the 1.2GHz stuff on the air. Now we have to wait until someone is going to climb the tower so that we can share costs and get the antenna mounted on the tower. The feedline is already in place and runs to 490' on the 525' tower. This will allow us to start using the Digital Data module immediately when this antenna is in place. Funding has been appropriated and we expect to order the triplexer from TX-RX soon. The triplexer will allow us to operate both Digital Data and Digital Voice over the same antenna. Honestly, the cost of the triplexer is higher than the cost for the antenna, but not having a second run of 1.625" coax up the tower is a huge cost savings.

    Currently the DStar repeater gateway is running some experimental software. This software has some incompatabilites with the software that was used for repeater and reflector linking. The new software however allows us the ability to connect to experimental reflectors where we are now able to cross link with not only other DStar repeaters, but also those running IRLP and Allstar.

    We are also looking toward finishing the modifications to the 442.175 repeater and returning it to the air. We still need a few more pieces for everything to work and are looking forward to the day when we place it back on the air.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    WMPORN Makes Pop-Comm

    This month WMPORN gets a mention in Popular Communications Magazine. The article, found on page 20 of the November 2008 issue is about D-STAR and what it is all about.

    How did WMPORN make it into Pop-Comm? Well, it all started when Jason Togyer, KB3CNM took notice of our novel ideas to make our booth stand out at the Dayton Hamvention. The approach that we took caught many looks during the event, but one of those lookers was Jason, who had been issued a directive to do a story about D-Star. There were lots of things at Dayton about D-Star, but those were the vendors booths, and we were not selling D-Star, just promoting it in a way that people would stop by our booth to talk to us about it. Jason, was one of those people and when he came up to talk I was at the booth.

    Jason asked a few quesitons and then asked if he could contact me later in the summer as he worked on this article. Of course I replied "sure" and we exchanged contact information. Some time later Jason called me on the phone and asked a whole lot more questions and it seems he was armed with alot more knowledge than he was at Dayton. To shortcut to the end and try to keep this piece shorter than Jason's article I will just say "the rest is history" and you can find the first mention of WMPORN in a national magazine (that we know about) in the November 2008 issue of Popular Communications.

    PORN IN DAYTON

    WMPORN has once again gone to Dayton to Hamvention 2009. Everyone had more fun than should be alowed and all returned back to West Michigan with treasures of all sorts. Some pictures and comentary can be viewed by looking at the Dayton 2009 web page.

    2 WMPORN Repeaters Off the Air

    It finally happened. On Sunday November 2 2008 a group of 6 people met at Spectrum Health to remove all of the WMPORN repeaters belonging to Sam K8SN. Both the 442.175 and 224.760 repeaters have lost their home of more than 15 years.

    The 224.760 repeater was moved into the "new" radio room right after the building was constructed. That repeater along with another local club repeater had been located in the hospitals former radio room. The club repeater was moved to a different location, but the 224.760 repeater was moved into the new radio room followed shortly by the K8SN 442.175 repeater. Several years ago the 224.760 repeater was purchased by Sam and became the K8SN 220 MHz repeater.

    The reason that the repeaters had to be removed is due to the helicopter crash that took place several months ago. In that crash the pilot managed to clip a webcamera belonging to TV13 (WZZM) with the tail-rotor of the bird, leading to a fiery crash that caused the necessity of an evacuation of the hospital. During this evacuation Hospital Communication Volunteers (HOSCOM) used the 442.175 repeater as a primary means of their communication. The news of this event can be found on this news blast"

    Once again, the hospital is constructing a new radio room, and has offered to us a place to put the repeaters. Unfortunately that location is far too short to be able to use the repeater for many of the important things that it has been used for over the last 15 years including Skywarn, The Riverbank Run and Hoscomm as well as other various events. The repeaters location in proximity to downtown Grand Rapids along with it's excellent HT coverage is what made that repeater so useful for such events. The new location that was offered will not allow the type of coverage that we need to deal with those situations. While we would like to go there temporarily the hospitals offer did not include things like paying for new feedline, and the money to get the repeaters operating there and then pay for it all again when a better location is available is just not in the budget.

    Rest assured that we have a backup plan available to get the 442.175 repeater back on the air at another location, but this would still not give us the coverage that we truly need. We are currently seeking other possibilities at this time and will welcome any offers that will allow us to return this repeater to the air and once again provide the services that it has provided for many years.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    NEW WMPORN HANGOUT

    This special announcement is brought to you by the Food and Drink provisionment committee of WMPORN.

    Opening in the WMPORN Grand Rapids District on April 27th 2009 will be a new eatery that finds high favor among many of the WMPORN members, though there are a few holdouts who refuse to admit they love the place. Begining Monday April 27th at 6:00 am EDT, Sonics (located just South of 54th Street on Clyde Park Ave.) will be available for WMPORN social gatherings. We encourage all of our memebers to join in and welcome our new hosts to West Michigan.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    DAYTON PLANS ANNOUNCED

    I finally received confirmation that we have fleamarket spaces at Dayton. WMPORN will be setting up in spaces 2531, 2532 and 2533 where once again we plan to have a limited amount of our famous WMPORN hats available for sale. New this year we have made plans to bring along the WMPORN stripers. The strippers are sharp and cheap and should provide many hours of amusement and entertainment in the fleamarket this year. Don't forget to bring your singles along.

    We are of course still working on the plan to bring the K8SN repeater back on the air bigger and better than ever, and are waiting for construction to be finished at the new tower site.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    VHF RX Lives

    The VHF module module has been returned to the air as of 17:00 07/29/08. ICOM reports that the VCO voltage on the RX module was operating at near the limits and this was the reason the module would stop working.

    Of course my immediate and still unanswered question, is why did it suddenly change. Well, we are all aware by now that the AC went out at the Moline site, but the temperature there never got outside of the claimed specifications for the repeater. This leads me to believe that inspector 109 was not doing a very good job on the day that our VHF module was built. Hopefully we will not have any additional problems with it. If you think that for some reason the module is not hearing you, keep in mind that sometimes it is caused by something trying to come through from one of the gateways or other users, especially with the new connections that just started from the Japanese. Be patient with them. They are working somewhat in the blind, and a few of them do not understand that we are trying to hold a conversation on the repeater. Unlike the US gateways, for them to hear you, you must use what we call gateway push.

    Gateway pushing is done by placing the callsign of the foreign repeater with the module behind a slash "/". You can NOT one touch the Japenese stations, and you can not callsign route them. You can only do a push to their gateway using something like "/JP1YIQA" in the yourcall field. This is the only way that you can talk to them. If you hear them coming through from one of the reflectors do not try to talk back to them as they will never hear you. If you hear them through a reflector they are "pushing" their transmission to a gateway that is connected to the reflector.

    The Japanese are still trying to learn about all the things that we have going over hear in the US and so far only a few countries have been able to join in with us completely, like Canada, Australia, Italy and Germany. Part of the problem is that the Japanese have their own trust server and their own entire network setup just like we do here in the US. Trying to join these two networks together is a nightmare to say the least, but finally the Japanses people who are producing DSTAR are seeing why a whole lot of networking professionals have been complaining about the way some things are being done. Just like anything else, this technology is still new and will take some time to become the every day normal.

    For now the UHF module is working normally. I will at times link it to the reflector. For those of you that have UHF capability now is a good time to use that band. For those of you that only have 2m capability we are sorry for the inconveniance, we will have it operational as soon as possible.

    DSTAR Forum at IRA Hamfest

    The IRA Hamfest is now over, along with the DStar forum that WMPORN members presented. We had several comments as to the content being helpful, and we hope everyone who attended has a better understanding of DStar. Our only regret is that we did not have more time scheduled as there was much excitement about subject.

    The hamfest was a good time and we are happy to announce that John Imeson, N8IJ won the 91AD portable radio that WMPORN provided as a prize for the hamfest. If you are reading this and are a part of a hamfest in the Michigan area and are interested in having a DSTar presentation please contact John, Sam, Mike or Dan about the details.

    I do have some pictures from the forums and hamfest of WMPORN people, but I need to do a little work on them and get them ready for the website. The link will appear when I get them on the website.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    G2 is up and running with all the bells and whistles possible at this time. If you hear a voice saying "user connected" this means that someone has connected to the repeater using a DVDongle, say hello and chat for awhile. In order to talk to DVDongle users or users on other repeaters you must be registered on the DStar system. If you are not registered on another gateway you will need to register. The link to the registration page can be found at the Gateway II announcement page or by clicking on the G2 Registration link in the menu on the left side of this page.

    After some adjustments to the transmitter combiner, the UHF module that is now on 442.550 can be heard once again. The UHF deck is now on a coordinated frequency and this should be it's home permanantly.

    WE MOVED!!
    Ok, well the website didn't move, but we have moved the UHF module to a new frequency of 442.550+ (input on 447.550). This has many advantages for us. First off this is a full coordination, and is not a provisional DStar coordination, meaning that it meets all the current criteria so that as long as we are operational on this frequency we are within reason protected. Another advantage is that we will be able to improve the RX capabilities of the repeater as this is much closer to one of Sam's remote RX frequencies and we will be able to share the same multicoupler port through our recently installed bandpass filter.

    At this time I have to make a plea to everyone. Please, please, please take a look at the DStar Quickstart guide in green letters in the left hand column. It seems that many people are making some mistakes probably brought on by old habits. When entering your callsign into the MyCall on your radio this is not a place for vanity personalizations! This is to be your callsign and only your callsign. No slashes, no numbers, no dits no dahs, only your callsign. Many people have assumed that they had to put an SSID on their callsign just like packet, not true. There is a method of doing that, but it is a letter and one letter only and it belongs in the eighth position of the MyCall no matter how long or short your callsign may be. Save the other personalizations for the message text, that is where they belong. MyCall is not for tactical callsigns, when you do this, technically you are falsely identifying your transmitter. To preserve our habit of doing so, we generally identify via voice just as we always have, but the legal ID for D-Star is the MyCall. We're all still learning here, but this is one pitfall that we can avoid.

    If you see someone's call come accross incorrectly I would encourage you to help them to understand this. Be nice, (especially if you are using the WMPORN repeater) because some of us old codgers are harder to train than others. It is important to remember that we are connected to a very large network and things that seem small can get out of hand rapidly.

    You may also want to take a look at The DStar Users website where you can see alot of information about DStar users all over the world. The list there can be sorted by using the small buttons at the top of the list. By clicking the button to the right of "Reporting Node" you will find that WX8GRR comes right to the top of the list, and the button to the left of that will sort in alphabetical order and put us at the very bottom of the list. Of course that will only be true as long as nobody with a call starting in X, Y, or Z puts a DStar repeater on to the network.

    We have started working toward getting the Gateway 2 software and have already purchased the computer hardware to build up the new gateway without taking the current one down until we are ready to change it out. Right now there is no time estimate as to when this will happen as there are alot of pieces that have to fall in place that are in other peoples hands before the new network is fully functional. I will update this website with more information as it becomes available.

    We are also looking forward to at least one if not two more D-Star repeaters to be put on the air this summer, along with the completion of the WMPORN repeater that has now been dubbed the Porn-Star repeater, by activating both the 1.2GHz Digital voice and Digital Data modules.

    My latest toy arrived earlier this week. I have obtained one of the first DVDongles produced. The DVDongle is a codec module that attaches to a computer through the USB port and with Robin Cutshaw's (AA4RC) software allows me to create audio files that can be sent out through the D-Star repeater. It also allows me to connect from an Internet connected computer to a D-Star repeater and use a headset connected to the sound card to talk on the repeater. This is a great breakthrough and works better than any echo-link connection I have ever tried. Currently the DVDongle is only available from Ham Radio Outlet (specifically the Atlanta, GA store).

    Things have been going fairly well and Icom just announced the availability of G2 (gateway 2) software. This software is much improved over the previous version that was designed more around the rules for amateurs in Japan than it was for hams in the US. The new software will offer a much easier way to add users to the network and most importantly it will allow mistakes to be cleared much easier. The G2 software will also allow linking of repeaters so that multiple repeaters can be connected together similar to the way that IRLP works, I suspect things will be much "cleaner" than IRLP. We do intend to install the G2 software and be one of the first kids on the block running the new software.

    At last the gateway is up and running. The final connection to the trust server was made on Friday night. Oddly enough I was talking to the Icom DStar support guy tying up the last few details when my phone battery went dead on me. By the time I got out to my car to find some power for the phone, the Icom guy was on the repeater talking to Sam. For more information about talking to users on other bands or on other DStar repeaters please see the information below about callsign and routing information. There are several links to information about programming your radio for use with the gateway. Please take note that to use the gateway feature you will need to be registered and that information can also be found on the using the link in the callsign and routing information section below.

    One more thing to take note of is that the UHF portion of the repeater will soon be changing frequencies (depending once again on things like our ability to reach the tower site). A new frequency coordination was applied for and is in it's final stages. At this time we anticipate the new frequency will be 442.550/447.550. This will move us away from the passband edge of the DCI filter improving performace. We are also considering a small amplifier for UHF to offset the losses that we see through the transmit combiner.

    Some new pictures of the repeater along with some additional information have been posted, just click on N8EOD above to see it all.

    Michigan weather or not, we keep on plugging along. I made all possible attempts to talk to the DStar controller remotely to tell it to use the new gateway, but it just wouldn't work. So, today I drove to the tower site... or at least to the end of the driveway where I grabbed my laptop out of my car and started walking the 1/4 mile uphill to the repeater site. Winded and sweating like a pig in 20 degree temperatures I pulled out my laptop, stabbed a network cable into the repeater controller and couldn't remember the password. Fortunately we have internet access at the repeater site and I was able to retrive information about the default password that we thankfully had not changed. Two minutes later I was walking out, and though it might make my story sound more stressfull walking out was not uphill.

    A call or two later in the day and a little bit of testing, and (wait for it... wait for it...) Our DStar gateway is NOW CERTIFIED!!. Friday January 4th I (n8wkm) made the first contact through the gateway with wd5erd in Dallas Texas. This of course was the test server, but it worked flawlessly the first time. For those who are not familiar with the DStar gateway system, this is another first for WMPORN. Thanks to the software design everyone has been using old Fedora Core Linux distributions for their gateways, but we wanted something modern, so slowly but surely I managed to work with the software and make everything work on Slackware 12, the latest distro from Slackware. The most remarkable thing is that the test worked on the first try. Now we are just waiting for an invitation from the K5TIT group that operates the primary ICOM Trust server and we will be operating in style.

    Once again it's WMPORN vs Michigan Weather... things are moving along nicely with the gateway, but as usual we have hit another snag. The issues that many expected because I chose to use Slackware as the distribution of Linux to create the gateway. Other than a few small battles, there were no real problems getting the software into the machine and getting it to run. All of the add-ons are in place and are all ready to go, now we just have one more small problem. When we set the repeater up originally it did not have a gateway to work with, so we inadverantly did not check the box in the programming software labled "use gateway". While that may seem like a small problem, it means that somehow I have to get my laptop back up to the WMPORN tower site to make that change. Until then we are on hold once again. The weather guy is claiming warmer weather ahead, but that might just mean more ice on the driveway, I guess we will wait it out and see. In the meantime we are showing up on the DStar users webpage and once I get the controller setup changed we can get our certification.

    Well, we had a small break in the weather and it allowed us access to the repeater site so that we could make some of our continuing improvements to the D-Star repeater. We were able to install the new DCI filter that allowed us to place the receiver antenna for UHF on to the top stick on the tower. The DCI filter was needed because the existing multicoupler was designed in two segments from 450Mhz to 460Mhz and from 460Mhz to 470Mhz pretty much making our needs in the 444Mhz range impossible to use. The antenna however is a wideband antenna and will work for us. By using a T on the feedline with tuned feedlines to the existing multicoupler and the other to the amateur radio stuff we created our own multicouple port with a passband of 440Mhz to 449Mhz. This allows us to expand our receive needs by providing a power divider and pre-amp. Currently there are only two things on our side, the D-Star UHF repeater and Sam's South remote receive for the K8SN repeater. With limited time and resources available late that night the D-Star system does not have a pre-amp installed at this time but the coverage has greatly improved. I drove to Holland last night from home, and coverage was fairly good. I think we can improve it though, but that is what we always do, improve things.

    Our next tough project will be to get the 8 pole DCI filter that was purchased to the hill and get that set into place. This filter is part of our redesign on the Multicoupler that is going to allow us to use the wideband UHF antenna near the top of the tower for the D-Star UHF receiver. The design work is finished and all we need to do is to get the filter up the hill and get it mounted. Of course we think that once that is done, all will be great, but you can wait right here for the news to see if that is the case or if we have to jump through hoops once again in order to get things the way we want them.

    This news just in!! The replacement router is in place and operating. Bruce Sommer N8ODV got home a bit earlier than anticipated for the Christmas Holidays. He is an Over The Road (OTR) Truck Driver and got home a bit early for Christmas. What significance is this to WMPORN you ask? Well, Bruce is a good friend and happens to drive around in a Jeep Grand Cherokee when he is not driving the Frieghtliner, and he also is a night owl much like myself. If you have been reading along here you would already see the writing on the wall, or in the snow.. or whatever. Bruce packed me, a router, some tools and wires into his Jeep and drove it up that nasty hill and deposited me within 20 feet of the tower. The Cisco 4000 router that I grabbed to replace the failed 2600 is now in place. Dealing with the D-Star stuff is a first class pain though. For those that don't know me, I am a network and network services administrator. I find the poor practices that are currently used by the D-Star gateway network to be a real pain in the keister. I have to keep reminding myself that the software that is currently being use is in fact made by the Japanese Amateur Radio Relay League (JARRL) and was set up to follow the laws in Japan governing both ham radio and the use of the internet. That said, I continue to plug away.

    The filters that we needed to complete the UHF system and get it operating at full potential has arrived. Now the concern is being able to get up the driveway to the tower site. This particular site is very trecherous during the winter months, and we hover like NASA over the Space Shuttle waiting for our window to launch. The night that I took the new rack and D-Star gateway computer up to the site I lost the engine in my van, partially due to that hill, partially due to the fact the van was old and tired. Unfortunately other things did not go well that night either. The Cisco router that I was intending to use for our network malfunctioned leaving us with just one functional port, unfortunately routers do not work well with only one port. Needless to say that with the weather we have been having the Grand Rapids area I have not yet been able (or willing) to try to go back up that hill. When the owner leaves his Jeep Grand Cherokee at the bottom of the hill and walks up, I don't figure I have a prayer of getting up that hill and going past his house with my car.





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