04/2/2024 – Monthly Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday evening April 4, 2024 at 7 PM. We will be meeting via Zoom, due to the storm predicted.


03/10/2024 – Merrimack Valley Digital Network (MVDN) Status Update

In the last few days the Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association added 4 routers to the Merrimack Valley Digital Network in southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. 

Two routers in Westford, MA (W1TE site) are aligned towards Haverhill, MA and Goffstown, NH.

Two routers in Haverhill, MA are aligned towards Westford, MA and Chester, NH.

This configuration provides redundant capability for supporting DMR repeaters and other amateur radio uses between NH and MA.

These interstate connections satisfy an important goal of our ARDC grant.

A number of dedicated hams and others directly supported this effort – Andy N1MYY, Chris W1TE, Jen KD2BEC, Bryan KX1B, Matt N1ZYY, Frank W1FEL (electrician), tower climbers Duane and Tom, and Tim Coco of radio station WHAV.

Many thanks to all who contributed to these successful installations.

– Jay K1EHZ


12/11/2023 – Merrimack Valley Digital Network (MVDN) Expansion

A new router aimed towards Haverhill, MA was installed on the Walnut Hill tower on Saturday. Weather was great and the install went as planned. Many thanks to Wally O’Donnell N1GLT for making the climb, and to Ted Gamlin K1OX for use of this tower. Bill Barber NE1B, Jen Herting KD2BEC, and Jay Taft K1EHZ were also instrumental in making it a successful morning.


10/07/2023 – Club dues for 2024 are now due! You may pay online or mail in a check. Thanks!


09/25/2023 – ARRL New England Division News

Check out the nice article on the ARRL New England Division website regarding our efforts to expand the 5 GHz Mesh Network in New Hampshire.

Mesh Networking in New England Continues to Expand – ARRL New England Division


09/11/2023 Mesh Network Expansion Update – by Bill – NE1B

On Saturday, 9/9/23, we had a weather window to install the next phase of interconnecting our DMR sites.  The MESH network partnership with the Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Assn. provides for an alternate, RF networking of our sites.  Not only is this an independence from internet service providers, but based on our initial installation of these microwave dishes in May 2016, we have had 100% uptime!  Can you get that from cable TV or cellular companies? 

The installation on Saturday was at the Chester DMR repeater site.  Thanks to Wally, N1GLT, for the tower work, K1OX, K1EHZ, KD2BEC and NE1B on the ground team!   Last October we connected the Crotched Mtn DMR repeater by the MESH network.  More site work is planned before winter!



12/12/2022 – NEDECN’s DMR Network, Bill NE1B, and Rick K1RJZ Help to Rescue Lost Hiker!

I want to stress the importance of monitoring your DMR repeater channels.  Tonight I was monitoring the NH Statewide channel when I got an unusual request for help.  The ham asked me to call his wife.  Seemed he was out hiking with his dog and with the oncoming snow and darkness, discovered his cellphone battery had gone dead.  He could not text or get pinged.  He did have a Retevis 3S walkie which worked well into the Gunstock Mtn DMR repeater.  I made the call to his wife and she was glad to hear that I was in contact with him.  Unfortunately, he did not know exactly where he was and believed he would have to walk through brush for an hour or more to get to a road.

His wife called in the local PD who began a search along with their FD.  Ham radio was the only communication from about 4:30 to 6:30 PM.   I believe the PD got a ping trace from his earlier location around 3:30 PM.  Anyway, I called up Rick, K1RJZ, who was closer to the search area and he was familiar with the area snow mobile trails and roads.  He then directly interfaced with the PD and the ham on NH Statewide talk group.

Interestingly when the PD and FD began their search pattern, they activated their sirens from different roads to see if he heard any of them.  He did not!  Our 2 meter DMR communication continued until he walked out to a road and could advise where he was.  The search and checkout ended successfully at 6:30 PM and I got calls of thanks from both his wife and himself.

Some lessons learned tonight:

  • Radio batteries last longer on DMR radios than on analog mode.
  • Even his wife had trouble on her cell phone coverage at home
  • Monitor your local State DMR channel for helping others nearby
  • You may want to program 146.52 FM next to your State channel for signal strength DFing if and when out of repeater range.  Some hams still monitor 52!
  • But stay on the primary channel until you know more hams are nearby to DF
  • Hike with DMR.  Our network sites cover many areas of New England that do not have any cell service
  • Hike with a flashlight

I was glad to hear this had a happy ending!

73,

Bill, NE1B


12/3/2022 – Check out the nice ARRL New England Division news article on MVARA!