5th Saturday Special 4/30/22

On Saturday, April 30, 2022 the Central PA Simplex Net will hold a special “5th Saturday Net.” This one will be different from any of our previous weeks, we’ll use multiple frequencies. Our intent is to explore alternate frequencies for future Simplex nets and give particpants an opportunity to tune the VFO for a more active experience.

Each of the three net control zones will take check-ins simultaneously during all rounds by using a seperate frequency. Net participants are asked to check-in to a single net control zone on each round. By completing 3 rounds, all participants will have had an oppurtunity to check in with each zone. Central control will monitor the normal net frequency of 146.580 MHz. After each round, Central control will contract each zone control to confirm check-ins. West will be operating on 147.520 MHz, East will be on 146.415 MHz, and South will be on 144.430 MHZ.

The Simplex Net will start at the normal time of 8:30 pm EDT. After the net start announcment, each zone will run a 10 minute block of checkins. At the end of the ten minutes, Central control will reach out to each zone to take a log roll call. After all three zones have relayed the list for that block the next 10 minute block will start.

Please, all stations are asked to only check in with one zone per 10 minute block. Overall check-ins will be up significantly, but the participant count should stay about the same or hopefully slightly higher.

ZoneFrequencyUse
Central146.580 MHzNet Control
East146.415 MHzCheck-ins
South144.430 MHzCheck-ins
West147.520 MHzCheck-ins
Frequency Plan for 4/30/22 Central PA Simplex Net

NET Script Shortened

This week is our 59th Simplex Net, and you’ll notice that the net will wrap up faster after the third round of check-ins. Our old script included a lot of “back and forth” between zone controls as they released stations and terminated control operations. Our updated script is condensed so that net controls will release stations and terminate control in a single transmission.

Check out the updated script that is maintained through Google Docs.

As always, if you have any feedback, contact us, or QSY to the W3RRR repeater after the Simplex Net for our post-net wrap up.

Transmit strength and signal reports added to simplex net format

We’re making some changes to the Simplex Net starting tonight. To give all net participants more information about propagation and reception we’re making the following changes to our operating procedures:

Two simple changes

  1. During your check-in, please tell us your transmit strength in watts. So your full report should sound similar to: “This is K3MJN. My name is Mike and I’m transmitting from Lititz with 25 watts. My answer to the question of the week is ________.”
  2. Net control will give you a signal strength report when they acknowledge your check-in. The report will be in the Readability-Strength (5-9) format.

What do we hope to gain by making these changes?

We expect to train better operators and have them build better stations!

From anecdotal evidence, it seems that most hams operate on the Simplex Net with their radio set to maximum power, whatever that might be. Good amateur operating procedure dictates that we all use the minimum power needed to get our transmission to the intended recipient. Just because you have a radio capable of 50 watts doesn’t mean you need to transmit at that power all the time.

If you’re new to the hobby, just changed your equipment, or are operating from a new location that might be justified. In any of those cases, you don’t have enough practical experience to know how your station is performing. By sharing transmit strength and signal reports, we’ll all start to gain knowledge and experience together. After you’ve got a few weeks of signal reports back when your operating at “full power Scotty” you’ll be ready to start backing the power down and compare the results.

After a month or two of varying your power each week you’ll have a good idea of how many watts it takes to get your message across the neighborhood, across town, or to the far side of the county. We’ll all learn from practical experience how VHF performance is most influenced by antenna height, line of sight, and good station design. If you’re not “getting out” the way that you desire, you might even decide to make some changes to your station to improve performance. Maybe that means raising your omni antenna another 10-15 feet. Perhaps switching to a different antenna type: dipole, beam, or yagi?

Or you might learn that your transmissions are just fine but your reception isn’t as good as you’d expect–when you find the guy down the street sounds weak even though he’s blasting out 100 watts. It could be time to reposition your antenna, check your feedline, or buy that new higher end rig you’ve been looking at for months.

More info about Readability and Strength reports

Readability and Strength are the first two components of the R-S-T system of signal reporting. Since our simplex net is FM voice we don’t worry about the third component (tone) which applies only to CW. Here’s what the values mean for readability and strength:

Readability

1–Unreadable
2–Barely readable, occasional words distinguishable.
3–Readable with considerable difficulty.
4–Readable with practically no difficulty.
5–Perfectly readable.

Signal Strength

1–Faint signals, barely perceptible.
2–Very weak signals.
3–Weak signals.
4–Fair signals.
5–Fairly good signals.
6–Good signals.
7–Moderately strong signals.
8–Strong signals.
9–Extremely strong signals.

There’s also a fairly good article on Wikipedia about the R-S-T System.

Log Book Session 61

Session 61 – 6/19/2021 @ 20:30 EST

Open the log for Simplex Net session 61 using this link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=890480210&single=true

View a historical graph of our check-in numbers here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=1133711533&single=true

Log Book Session 60

Session 60 – 6/12/2021 @ 20:30 EST

Open the log for Simplex Net session 60 using this link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=890480210&single=true

View a historical graph of our check-in numbers here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=1133711533&single=true

Log Book Session 59

Session 59 – 6/05/2021 @ 20:30 EST

Open the log for Simplex Net session 59 using this link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=890480210&single=true

View a historical graph of our check-in numbers here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=1133711533&single=true

Log Book Session 58

Session 58 – 5/29/2021 @ 20:30 EST

Open the log for Simplex Net session 58 using this link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=890480210&single=true

View a historical graph of our check-in numbers here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=1133711533&single=true

Low-power Net Tonight

Tonight (5/29/2021) the Simplex Net will be low-power. Turn your transceiver output power to 10W or less. This should be a very exciting net, simulating an area-wide power disruption. We’re assuming repeaters have lost backup power and radio operators are running low-power to conserve battery life. We need you to listen closely for net controls and calling stations. Please be ready to relay check-ins if net control can’t hear some stations.

BACKGROUND
This year, we’re running special events in the months that have a fifth Saturday. So for this 5th Sunday, we’re encouraging everyone to lower their transmit power to ten watts or less. You may operate from your home or find a hill-top field location for the best low-power experience. Note, the only restriction tonight is on power output. You’re encouraged to use a base or mobile transceiver with the best antenna available to you.

Net controls for the low-power Simplex Net are:
Central: K3MJN – Mike @ SPARC Site, Rapho Township
East:      KC3KMT – Ralph @ New Holland
South:    KC3OOK – Bill @ Oxford
West:     N3GE – Roger @ Elizabethtown

Log Book Session 57

Session 57 – 5/22/2021 @ 20:30 EST

Open the log for Simplex Net session 57 using this link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=890480210&single=true

View a historical graph of our check-in numbers here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vS99CX-8PYJMIeHFnUSgp_uBbZzDzM1_aHf8bs5oXg0nTUQHbH2c6zfjPHSXsS3xti8nNwbHxx7OMTO/pubhtml?gid=1133711533&single=true