Updated January 21, 2017

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Through the generosity of Dave Lane, N5GDL, Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, Andy Parcel, KE5KOF and others, the Metrocrest Amateur Radio Society has a new DMR repeater on the air. Hams gathered on Saturday to install the antenna and equipment at Baylor Scott & White hospital in Carrollton. The machine went on the air about 6:00PM.

Daring duo Ron Reeves, NN5R, and Russell Fish, W5SGV, climbed the tower to install an offset arm and colinear antenna. Tom Yenny, K5LOL, Liz Brown, K5EMB, Mike Brown, W5MDB, and Ryan Short braved the chilly breeze to cheer on the courageous climbers.

Trustee Dave Lane was the driving force behind the project. Dave noted, “I wanted to put up a DMR repeater so that we would have handheld coverage anywhere in the Carrollton area.”

Dave said there were quite a few challenges. Coordinating a pair of frequencies, getting set up on the Lone Star DMR Network, and securing hospital approval were just the beginning. Next came finding affordable equipment, and coordinating with the hospital’s radio vendor to ensure we caused no interference to them. And the wind was not helpful.

The equipment list includes: Motorola XPR-8400 repeater with circulator and low-pass filter on the transmit side; Celwave 6-cavity pass/notch duplexer; a Cradlepoint cellular router with AT&T hotspot with external antenna for a 4G internet connection; and a fiberglass colinear antenna with gain of 11.9db. The internet connection is temporary pending a permanent connection to be provided by the hospital.

In addition to those already mentioned, Dave thanked David Gilpin, K5GIL, for obtaining the Heliax® pigtail donated by Al Sutherland, KG5MSD, and Wayne Pecena, N1WP, at LonestarNet, Mark Stennett, NA6M at the Texas VHF-FM Society, and Allan Batteiger, WB5QNG, for his advice.

The new machine is on 440.450 MHz + 5MHz, color code 1. You can download a spreadsheet showing the talkgroups associated with the repeater by clicking the link here.

For more information and a sample codeplug for the Tytera (TYT) MD-380 portable, visit the REPEATERS page.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

MARS and Carrollton-Farmers Branch-Addison ARES/RACES hams gathered in downtown Carrollton for the 7th annual Festival at the Switchyard to demonstrate and promote amateur radio. As before, our booth attracted a lot of attention.


We had three stations up and running. Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, worked a Winlink station while Mike Brown, W5MDB, showed “texting without the internet” with PSK. Bob Linker, W5SQA, had his bug working CW. All was made possible with rigs and antennas on loan from Steve, Mike, Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, and David Gilpin, K5GIL. Jim Colwell, KG5GIF, and Rick Murphy, KG5HOA, were on hand to help set up and welcome the crowd.

MARS President David Gilpin said we had an excellent turnout.
“The booth looked the best ever and was very well organized. We even had one person who dropped by, tested at our next meeting, passed and joined the club.”

Again this year, the big hit with the younger crowd was the “Kid Code Key.” Aspiring hams translated their names into Morse code and sent them using the not-so-high-tech sight and sound modulator. Liz Brown, K5EMB, Arnold Krusemark, K0YVI, Tom Yenny, K5LOL, James McCormick, KG5KBP, Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, and Stephanie Rosenfeld explained the process to potential hams. Liz estimates 100 people tried their fists for the first time.

Sean McFarland, K5SMM, Emergency Management Intern for the City of Carrollton, signed people up for Carrollton Alert. David Lewis, AC5DL, stayed late to help tear down.

We are looking forward to making the booth even better for 2017. Many thanks go to all who made this event possible.

The Party Returns

8 December 2016

A crowd of happy hungry hams returned to Carrollton’s Indian Creek Golf Club for the annual MARS Christmas Party. Over 70 folks turned out to dig into the excellent food and try for our usual slate of fine door prizes.

President David Gilpin, K5GIL, welcomed the guests. He and Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, paid homage to Bud Abbott and Lou Costello with a sketch by Tom King. The premise is Lou calling Bud to buy a computer. You can read the whole thing by going here:  Costello-calls-to-buy-a-computer

After dinner, prize-coordinators Marty, K5VQM, and Darrell, KG5E, Crimmins handed out the beautifully-wrapped items. The grand raffle prize, an Icom IC-7100, went to Susan Earnst, KE5ZXY. Congratulations to all the winners!

Thanks go to Pebba Yenny, Ron Reeves, NN5R, and Lucie Leblanc, KG5GUC, for helping Liz Brown, K5EMB, and Tom Yenny, K5LOL, at the check-in table.

All enjoyed returning to our favorite venue and look forward to next year’s event. You’ll find snapshots from the party in the gallery below.


Merry Christmas!

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