The Internet Report Form has been a boon for the New England Weather Net during times when we have incredibly poor band conditions. But it’s not for everyone. There is an alternative that keeps a little closer to Ham Radio but it still uses the Internet. It is D-STAR, a digital mode that uses 2 Meters or 440 cms mostly.
You don’t need to buy a D-STAR radio to take advantage of D-STAR, you can use a DV Dongle, a small device that connects to your PC or Apple computer and allows you to access any D-STAR reflector, repeater and, therefore, any D-STAR user in on Earth, now even in Space! See: http://www.dvdongle.com/DV_Dongle/Home.html. Prices vary between $200 and $300, far less expensive than an ICOM or Kenwood enabled base or handheld radio. You don’t need to be close to a D-STAR repeater; all you need is an Internet connection.
As Net Manager, I monitor 3.905 and my D-STAR repeater (KB1ZEG module C at 145.210 KHz with a -600 Hz offset. The D-STAR repeater is linked to a Reflector 050C. I can hear stations on Cape Cod, the greater Boston area, all of New England, and even Florida or beyond. W1JGR and K1CB check in with me frequently when they can’t get through to Net Control on 3.905 but I can.
This is how my dual band Icom 9100 is set up every morning. Click on a button and I can switch back and forth between bands, transmit on the top one and listen to both at the same time.
D-STAR sounds ominous but it is really pretty simple. If anyone wants to look into a DV-DONGLE, feel free to contact me and I’d be glad to help. I’m sure that K1CB and Q1JGR would also be glad to help.
When we get a new station checking in with us I go to QRZ.com and get some info about them. One of the things I do is click on “show map” to see if their QTH is close to anywhere that I would recognize. I did that a week or two ago and noticed another tab at the bottom of the map, “Explore on HamGrid Maps” and it showed their QTH and the boundaries of their Madenhead Grid square and all the hams in their immediate neighborhood. When I clicked on adjacent areas another grid square showed up and displayed all the ham stations in that grid. So I tried it on my own call sign and started clicking like mad until I had covered all of southeastern Massachusetts. Here’s what I ended up with:
That’s a frustrating situation for both the Net Control and the station trying to check in! We have a good solution to that with the addition of the “Report Online” option that’s available on our website. Fill in the data and click on the “submit” tab. The Net Control will receive your data almost immediately.
Now we have found a more pleasing, for the station and the Net Control, solution. A group in Pennsylvania has put access to a Software Defined Radio on the Internet. That radio serves as a reflector, it will receive your signal and then retransmit it from their Qth. Their location is at a good position to receive stations that are too close to the Net Control for good reception in poor band conditions. If you tune into 3.905KHz you will hear Net Control. When there is a lull, call on 3.905 and give your roster number and call sign. You will hear your transmission a second or two into your transmission and then you will hear Net Control doing the readback. Neat!!!!
A much wetter, colder and snowier than normal January herein the northern part of Acushnet. It was the wettest January ( 7.23″ ) in 20years. January 1998 saw 8.32″ of precipitation.
Most memorable though is the bitter 7 day cold start of January which featured 3 mornings of below zero temperatures, a potent offshore low dropping the barometer to 28.75″ here, and producing a rain to heavy wet 6″ of snow with wind and flash freeze. It was the most below zero days in January since 2005 had a total of 5.
A short mild spell followed with a 3.20″ rain and wind event toward mid month. Then not too bad with seasonable temperatures and bare ground until a months ending fluff factor snow left behind a surprising 8.5″ on the ground.
January 2018 Acushnet, Mass. 41deg,44min N 70deg,55min W
Ave High 37.1 deg.; Ave Low 19.4 deg.; Jan Mean 28.3 deg. is 1.7 deg. below normal
High Temp 60 deg. on Jan. 13th.; Low Temp -05 deg. below on Jan. 7th.; Days 0 or below 3
Total Precip. 7.23″ is 2.91″ above normal; Max 24hr. Precip. 3.20″ on Jan. 12-13th.
Snowfall 16.0″ is 5.3″ above normal;Max 24hr. Snowfall 8.5″ on Jan. 30th.
Total 2018 Precip. 7.23″ is 2.91″ above normal; Season Snowfall (dec,jan) 21.9″
T- Storm Days 1; High Wind Gust 44 mph on Jan. 5th.; Heating Degree Days 1147; Cooling Degree Days 0
High Barometer 30.68″ on Jan. 15th.; Low Barometer 28.75″ on Jan. 4