Verna 145.430 MHz Repeater back on the air
February 18, 2017 – The VHF repeater at Verna is on the air again but at reduced power without the failed PA. The PA will be returned to the manufacturer for repairs. Thanks to Paul Toth – NB9X for making the trip to the Verna repeater site to remove the PA reconfigure the repeater output for continuing use.
All Of Your Contribution Goes Directly to Work
Fox News ran a story recently about how charitable giving is not getting to the charities to which people are donating. The cost of call centers, contractors, salaries, etc. are taking a BIG BITE out of the apple with sometimes little of the contribution going to the intended use.
ALL of your contributions received by the West Central Florida Group, Inc. are used to operate the NI4CE Repeater System and APRS Network. The Board of Directors are 100% volunteers. Your contributions get the most “bang for the buck”.
NI4CE Gets Amazon.com’s SMILE Program
The West Central Florida Group is pleased to announce it is now participating in Amazon.com’s “AmazonSmile” program.
Here is how it works. Before making your next purchase from amazon.com, open your Internet browser and go to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/65-1061382 or click on the banner below. Using the hyperlink or banner below, you won’t have to search for West Central Florida Group, Inc. as your AmazonSmile charity among almost one million other charities.
Login with your usual Amazon Username and Password. Then, every time you make a purchase from amazom.com, Amazon will donate one half of one percent of your purchase to keep the NI4CE Repeater System on the air. That’s fifty cents for every one hundred dollars you spend. Five dollars for every one thousand dollars you spend.
Tell your friends and neighbors about the Amazon Smiles program, too. The more who participate and select the WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA GROUP, INC. as their Amazon Smile charity, the more the NI4CE Repeater System can do for you.
NI4CE Operating Code
The NI4CE Repeater System provides all licensed West Central Florida Amateur Radio operators with a “regional” communications resource to advance Amateur Radio commitment to public service and encourage fellowship among all operators.
The NI4CE System serves all or parts of fourteen counties. It is a shared communications resource for the over twenty thousand Amateur Radio licensees who live here and the hundreds of visitors who join us annually. When using the NI4CE System, the West Central Florida Group, Inc. asks you to:
• Keep your transmissions as brief and to the point as possible. Please keep the Total Run Time for each QSO to ten minutes or less. Remember, there are many other operators waiting to use the repeaters.
• Please leave pauses between transmissions, particularly when there is weather in the region that may be severe.
• Please observe FCC Part 97 Rules at all times, particularly the provisions of 97.113.
• Transmit power in Florida is limited to 50 watts in Florida.
• Please turn off special features including WIRES and other “sounders” that may delay your communications. Kerchunking is frowned on.
• Observe the “Golden Rule”. Common sense, courtesy and respect is contagious!
If you have a NXDN Digital Radio, Talkgroup 65000 can be used to connect to the NXDN Worldwide Network.
Here is the information the National Weather Service is most interested in knowing during any SKYWarn ACTIVATION ON on the NI4CE Repeater System:
- Winds of 35 MPH or higher
- Rainfall of two inches or more in an hour
- Hail of any size
- Weather caused damage
- Street closures
During Tropical Weather Events, Barometric Pressure data is also helpful.
Keep reports SHORT AND CONCISE. During bad weather, repeater time is valuable. Think about what you are going to say before you say it. Avoid unnecessary comments and verbiage.
It is requested that you NOT report non-severe weather, such as “It’s cloudy with light rain” or “the rain is letting up here”. The National Weather Service has radar and knows where it’s not raining. Reports such as this tie up valuable repeater time.
When reporting severe weather activity, please provide your Amateur Radio Callsign, your National Weather Service SKYWARN ID (if you have one), the location of your report and an approximate time of the severe weather event (if other than NOW).
Please turn off any “Roger Beeps”, “WIRES” signaling or the use of DTMF tones as they will interfere with your report.
The Real Cost Of A Repeater System
Here is a cold, hard fact. Amateur Radio and Ham Radio Repeaters are not FREE!
Consider the following:
- Tower or building top space for the average Amateur Radio repeater is worth approximately $1,500.00 per month. The cost of tower space on tall Broadcast towers is even more.
- Commercial-grade Repeaters, RF Amplifiers, DC Power Supplies, Duplexers, Antennas and transmission line are expensive. How much? A new repeater can cost $2,000 or more. Commercial-grade RF Amplifiers can run $1,400.00 or more. A set of duplexers can cost as much as $3,000.00. A commercial-grade antenna built to withstand winds of 130 MPH can cost as much as $2,500.00. 7/8” hard line cable can cost up to $9.00 per foot plus connectors (up to $100.00 each) plus installation.
- Even though many Amateur Radio repeaters lie dormant for extended periods of time, they must be built for a one hundred percent duty cycle to withstand the impact of extended operating time when they are in use.
- An Amateur Radio presence on a “commercial” or broadcast tower requires multi-million dollar Liability Insurance coverage that can cost the repeater owner $2,500.00 per year or more. This is a direct, out of pocket expense.
- A tower crew to install an antenna and transmission line on a three hundred foot commercial tower can easily cost $4,000.00.
The West Central Florida Group, Inc. operates the NI4CE Repeater System to enable the Amateur Radio community to be connected and pro-active when severe weather threatens, Health and Welfare messages need to be passed or whenever the West Central Florida community needs our support. Our IRS 501(c)(3) charitable status enables our corporate partners including Cox Media Group Inc., iHeart Media, Vertical Bridge and others, to donate tower space and the use of ground facilities to house the repeater equipment. That provides significant financial relief. All other capital and operating expenses require cold, hard cash. Operating an Amateur Radio repeater, much less a five site, eight repeater system is not FREE!
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