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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.

Ron Reeves, NN5R, appraises the situation before ascending the tower.

The tower high atop the beautiful Baylor Scott & White hospital in Carrollton.

This can't be too hard.

Ron sees that help is on the way.

Volunteer Ryan Short standing by.

Russell Fish, W5SGV, joins Ron at the top.

Russell and Ron wrestle with the offset arm.

Just about ready.

Easy does it.

And the aerial is planted.

Plumbing on the rear of the duplexer.

Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, Dave Lane, N5GDL, Ron Reeves, NN5R, and Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, proudly pose with the new machine.

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.

Setting up on Broadway

Antennas have priority.

Jim, KG5GIF, and David, K5GIL, tackle the Crank IR provided by Andy, KE5KOF.

Suddenly, the Crank IR looks more like fishing tackle.

How hard can this be?

Steve, KD5YPB, seems to have the solution.

This may not be the solution.

The mast is up and HF dipoles are ready.

Line loss?

Steve, KD5YPB, gives a shout to any who may be listening.

Jim, KG5GIF, is ready to help.

Bob, W5SQA, gets his bug ready for CW.

Just a few more adjustments and Bob, W5SQA, is ready.

Arnold, K0YVI, Sean, K5SMM, and Liz, K5EMB, have the “Kid Code Key” ready for customers.

This is Andy, KE5KOF, keeping us safe.

PSK using our club call, KB5A.

Steve’s 857D mounted as Go-Kit.

David, K5GIL, working the Turkey Leg.

Arnold, K0YVI, and a future ham.

Arnold, K0YVI, with another code-master.

Not all using the “Kid Code Key” are kids.

Signals and more signals.

This technique may not work for contests, but it’s okay in the Switchyard.

This is probably a celebrity trying her fist. She’s very happy.

Spelling your name can sometimes be a challenge.

This is how it’s done.

Steve, KD5YPB, and David, K5GIL, re-tune the Crank IR while Andy, KE5KOF, offers advice.

At left is Russell Weidner, with Andy, KE5KOF, and Kevin, N5KRG. Russell offered his business to hams and Citizens on Patrol as a break room.

Another pair of older “kids.”

The sun is going down, but activity is swift. Liz, K5EMB, and James, KG5KBP, work the table.

We can’t imagine what’s going through his mind.

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!

Liz K5EMB and Jim KG5GIF greet guests at the door.

Tom K5LOL and Liz K5EMB hand tally the raffle tickets.

Pebba Yenny, Ron NN5R, check in Steph Rosenfeld, and David KG5NLA.

Bob W5TFY and Judy KB5IMY hoping Tom sells them the winning ticket.

Lucie KG5GUC, stickering raffle tickets.

President Dave K5GIL welcomes the crowd.

The gang’s all here.

Laura KG5QHW and Tom K5MET.

Dale KC5MAY and Elvina Hiatt.

Deborah W5DAL

Marisa K5OWW, Mike AF5CL, Granger AF5BG

Cyrus Swain

Collin Swain

Judy KB5IMY and Bob W5TFY

Beth KF5LBE and Ann WB5NAX

David NB5V

Ken W5RPS and Mary Wendel

Mary Finley, Dale KB5NFT and Seth AF5YN

Debra Batteiger and Allan WB5QNG

Bob N0HL and Connie Norris

Candace Savard and Joe KG5NHZ

David KG5NLA, Steph Rosenfeld and Rich WB4RHR

Louisa Weigler and Arnold K0YVI

Nell Reeves

Judy Holliday and Russell W5SGV

Andy KE5KOF and Jeff Parcel

Randy W5WZY and Melanie W5WZZ

Seth AF5YN and Annie KG5OUV

David K5GIL and Kevin N5KRG pay homage to Abbott and Costello.

Prizes! Prizes!



Collin Swain

Kelly Swain


Dave AC5DL

Jeff Parcel

Dave K5GIL


Randy W5WZY

The Big Raffle Prize goes to Susan KE5ZXY. Congratulations!

Darrell KG5E, Marvin KD5ZFY and Marty K5VQM wish “A Merry Christmas to All!”

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