Digital Amateur Radio Comes to Pacific Area - The Missourian: Local News

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Digital Amateur Radio Comes to Pacific Area

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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 11:30 am

City Administrator Harold Selby is not exaggerating when he says Pacific will soon be known around the world by the call sign of its digital amateur radio repeater.

Aldermen approved the purchase of the repeater, which will be installed on a tower at upper Blackburn Park.

The city took the first step in setting up the repeater Feb. 13 with the formation of the Pacific Meramec Valley Amateur Radio Club (PMVARC), which is necessary to acquire radio frequencies.

Hams from Pacific, Washington, St. Clair, Labadie, Eureka, Robertsville, Villa Ridge and Webster Groves were accepted as the charter members of the PMVARC.

Digital amateur radio, minus the verbal dits and dahs of Morse code, allows hams to connect to the airwaves with a computer and talk with licensed hams who also have the special equipment.

Digital repeaters provide crisp, clear audio, minus the white noise that seasoned hams learn to ignore.

Only licensed hams, using a digital radio, can use the system and they have to purchase a small DV Dongle to have access to a digital repeater that carries radio waves to other digital repeaters.

“But the ideal thing about the new digital radios is that they can use both digital and analog repeaters,” said Bob Masson, who worked with Selby to set up the repeater and was elected president of the new club.

Pacific has applied for frequency allocation in the 2-meter and 440 bands. The club will apply to join the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and will apply through ARRL for a club repeater call sign.

“We will be able to notify all radio signals that is the Pacific repeater call sign,” Selby said.

During the organizational meeting, club members toured the police dispatch center and emergency operations center on the lower level of the government center.

Pacific will open its digital repeater on a 24-hour basis for amateurs around the world. Any licensed amateur radio operator, using digital radios will be able to use the repeater.

The Pacific club is part of the city’s emergency management strategy. In the event of a disaster, club members will work in the city EOC, located in the police department, to help with communications.

“If we want amateur radio to move ahead into the future, we must begin to use these frequencies more effectively,” the ICOM radio equipment spokesman said.

Digital modes are becoming popular because of better performance in noise environments.

Selby, licensed ham KAØWXX, has spearheaded the purchase and installation of the repeater and will serve as vice president of the new club.

Masson, KBØJDY, was elected president. Other officers are Sue Sehrt, KDØSLW, treasurer, and Pauline Masson, WØPIK, secretary. Keith Wilson, KØZH, Tom Usher, KDØQKK, and Henry Hahn, WBØZYQ, were elected directors.

Bob Masson will serve as trustee to monitor operation of the repeater.

Selby said operation of the repeater makes Pacific part of the Interstate 44 corridor of radio repeaters and connects the city to digital repeaters worldwide.

/local_news

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