Comm-Center Report as of June 5th, 2008

Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2008 02:19:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jay Nugent 
To: ARROW-Red Cross 
Subject: [ARROW-RedCross] Comm-Center status report as of Thursday June 5th

   We continue to make progress in the Red Cross Comm-Center.  Since the
last report a number of things have been done:
   o The PC on the right-hand (HF) desk is running Win-XP and is
     attached to the Ethernet and has Internet access
   o The PC on the left-hand (Packet) desk is running Kubuntu and is
     attached to the Ethernet and has Internet access
   o We have been issued email accounts:  radio1 and
   o Added a loaner Kenwood AT-180 Antenna Tuner (wb8tkl) for the HF rig
   o Installed the MFJ "Can-tenna" dummy load on the DUM position of the
   o Removed the loaner Midland 2-meter rig & 9612 TNC and now use the
     QMN node's 2-meter rig & KPC-3 TNC for the  Packet station
   o Placed two pads of RADIOGRAM forms in the Comm-Center
   o Added additional hand tools to the tool box (THANKS to K8GEO!!)
   o Placed various Grid Square, HF & VHF/UHF Band Plans, ITU & CQ DX
     zone maps, and Frequency Allocation charts, on the walls
   o Installed a multi-shelf unit on the back of the right-hand desk (HF desk)
   o Tested the existing 1000 VA UPS's and found all four 18ah batteries
     were not taking a charge and would need replacing (at $50 each)
   o Created a website to collect Comm-Center information such as:
       -- Document the ARROW/RedCross working relationship
       -- Station Manager contact information
       -- Links to pictures of previous work parties (archiving our
       -- Link to a "Wish-List" of items we would like to acquire
          (many items have been "claimed" to be provided later)
       -- (eventualy) link to the SOU between the Red Cross and the
       -- The URL is:
   o Added two new Assistant Station Managers, W8FSA and KD8GWX.
     The lineup is as follows:
       -- ARROW/RedCross Liasion & Station Manager:  Jay Nugent WB8TKL
       -- 1st Ass't Station Manager & WC8RC Station Trustee:  Jeff Zupan W8SGZ
       -- 2nd Assistant Station Manager:  Clark Wierda  N8CBW
       -- 3rd Assistant Station Manager:  Mark Goodwin  W8FSA
       -- 4th Assistant Station Manager:  Michelle Roderick  KD8GWX
          (Michelle's primary duties are to the Red Cross, secondarily to
           provide building and Comm-Center access)
       -- *ALL* Station Managers have proximity card access to the
          building and know the Comm-Center lockbox combination
   o Created an AOL AIM account "w8pgw" account for Instant Messager
     (it could be handy)
   o Placed one of two log books in the Comm-Center (one for WC8RC and
     one for W8PGW)
   o Tested the Motorola 47.42 MHz base station power output:
       -- Using a 2-30MHz 250watt slug == 80 watts forward / 0 reflected
       -- Using a 100-250MHz 100watt slug == 60 watts forward / 1 ref
       -- Sorry, didn't have the "correct" slug for this band but I
          think we can safely say this base station delivers
          approximately 70 watts toward the antenna (and replacing it
          with the 110 watt Motorola mobile would not gain us more
          than a couple db and would not be worth the effort)
   o Re-adjusted the Astron RM-35M 12-volt power supply for 13.2 volts
     (was set for 13.7 and the meter was mis-calibrated and HAD read 14.5)
   o Placed new ring lugs on all 12-volt power leads (no more bare wires
     twisted together)
   o Placed the 12-volt lead-acid deep-cycle battery (donated by N8SBE -
     THANKS!) in a plastic battery box and attached it to the Astron
     power supply
       -- It will now properly float at 13.2 volts (no bubbling or
          off-gassing) and will provide instant and automatic battery
          backup should the AC mains fail.
       -- But there is *NO* low-voltage dropout at this time, so *LONG*
          outages without the generator will cause the battery to
          discharge (Packet 2m rig & TNC are on 7x24)
       -- The Astron supply is not affected by having the 12v battery
          directly across its output and starts up fine when AC mains are
          powered on
       -- BONUS!  The voltmeter on the Astron indicates the battery
          voltage when the Astron is turned off

 Things that still need to be done (not all-inclusive):
   o Still need LED Hi-Intensity lamps (qty 2) that can be attached to the
     12-volt supply (light when the AC mains are down)
   o Still looking to replace the right-hand desk with one that doesn't
     have "knee-knocker" file drawers underneath
   o Still looking for a replacement 2-meter rig (w/PL) so N8AMX's rig
     can be returned to him
       -- Would like to have *TWO* dual-band rigs (eventually)
   o Install UPS's - Have purchased two 300va UPS's. One tests good,
     while the other appears to have a bad battery that won't take a
   o Properly fuse the 12-volt deep-cycle battery
   o Install a proper grounding lug (1/2" cable) on the antenna patch
   o Acquire and install an Ethernet hub or switch (so the JNOS and 3rd
     PC can be connected - as well as any laptops that may be used)
   o Install "Outpost" on the WinXP PC & configure to talk to the JNOS box
   o Acquire 2 mouse pads
   o Configure Linux PC to use the "radio2" email address
   o Replace too-short RS-232 cable (from JNOS to TNC) with a longer DB-9
     to DB-9 cable (20-feet)
   o Properly display the 47.42 MHz station license
   o Properly display the WC8RC station license
   o Properly display the W8PGW station license
   o Post Red-Cross org chart and contact information
   o Post ARROW "Station Manager" org chart and contact information
   o Fix (re-hang) the 75-meter dipole
   o Replace temporary 4-element 2m beam (on Packet) with an omni at a
     higher location on the tower

  Other projects we are working on:
   o Sign the SOU (publicity event for both organizations)
   o Develop the Station Manager job/duties description document for the
     ARROW (if the Board-of-Directors feel this is still needed)
   o Develop Communications training class for RedCross and Amateur
     Radio staff
       -- This will cover how and when to use the 47.42 radios, when
          to use business band radios, and when and how to use the Hams
       -- Targeting completion this month (June) so that Michelle's
          DAT Team members can be our first victims...errr...students
       -- Familiarize the Hams how to conduct Shelter communications and
          what the Shelter Managers will expect/need of them
   o Discussing/Developing a possible "Simulated Emergency Test"
     involving one or more Shelters
       -- This would test Red Cross staffs skills as well as test the
          Hams ability to provide communications and work with the Red Cross
       -- The Communications training course would be a pre-requeset
       -- Perhaps do this on Saturday October 4th in conjunction with
          the ARRL national Simulated Emergency Test "S.E.T." ???
       -- If done on S.E.T. weekend, several other Red Cross chapters
          would be staffed and Comms tests could be performed
       -- The State EOC (SEOC) will be staffed on that day as well
   o Need to install HT chargers in the FAST and DAT vehicles
   o Need to install the remote control unit (Red telephone) in Corey's
     office for the 47.42 base station
   o Planning the installation of 5 additional coax runs in the 2nd
     conduit between the Comm-Center and the base of the tower
   o Planning the installation of the Tri-Band HF beam and rotor atop
     the tower
   o Planning the installation of an additional 2m/440 "stick" and
     perhaps a scanner antenna (discone)
   o Tune and install a 6-meter ground-plane at Corey's house for 47.42MHz
   o Re-hang the 75-meter dipole (to the lightpost)

   Stuff to pick up at the Monroe Hamfest (Sunday June 15th):
   o Qty 4, 2-inch SO-239 bulkhead (thru) fittings (for antenna patch
   o Qty 2, 12volt 7ah sealed lead-acid batteries for the 300va UPS's
   o Female lighter plug with 12-gauge cords (one or more)

   Did I miss anything??????

         --- Jay Nugent   WB8TKL
             o ARROW/RedCross Liasion & Station Manager
             o Washtenaw AEC - NTS Liasion & Packet Operations
             o Chair, ARRL Michigan Section "Digital Radio Group" (DRG)
             o Michigan AMPRnet IP Address Coordinator