The holiday season is upon us!

Hi, everyone!

KEØLMY here.

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas and Hanukkah (and so many other holidays) quickly approaching, we would like to remind everyone to be careful.

The weather will inevitably turn colder and ice and snow will cause many emergencies. We plan to begin posting weather warnings soon and hope they help you to stay safe in your travels.

Yaesu System Fusion 201: Wires-X, Nodes and Rooms

I’ve had several responses to my previous email on Fusion with requests to explain rooms and nodes.  So I’ll give it a try here.

First of all you don’t need to know anything about nodes and rooms to use Wires-X.  It works in the background and can be totally transparent to you.  The repeater you are using may or may not be connected to a room.  The only way you can find out is by pressing the Wires-X button on your radio.  No one will yell at you for pressing the Wires-X button.  All data communication is muted so there are no annoying data bursts to hear and you won’t break anything.  When you press the Wires-X button several things happen.

Your radio sends a handshake request to the repeater.

If the repeater is not connected to a node your Wires-X request will time out and your radio will return to normal operation.  You will then know that the repeater is not connected to a node and does not have internet access.  Therefore it is not connected to a room.

If the repeater is connected to a node the node will respond and send a datastream back to your radio via the repeater.  Your radio will then parse this datastream and display information on your radio.  The information you see will depend on the type of radio you have.  Radios such as the FTM-400 and FT-991 have large color screens and can display a lot of information while an FT-100, FT-1D and FT-2D have small screens that can only display a little information.  But what you will see on all of them is the name of the room the repeater is connected to and how many nodes are connected to that room.

At this point there are several things you can do.  Having satisfied your curiosity you can simply take your radio out of Wires-X mode and return to normal use.  Or you can change from the existing room to another room.  For example if you find the node is connected to the America Link room you can disconnect from it and then connect to the Worldwide Wires room.  If you don’t know what room to connect to you can request a list of rooms from the node.  This list will display on your radio and you can select one to connect to.

I can’t list the instructions necessary to perform these operations because they are different for each radio.  Now that you know what is happening you can read your manual and see what steps are required to do what you want to do.

You may have noticed that I used repeater and node interchangeably.  That’s not exactly correct.  The repeater is nothing more than an intermediary.  It facilitates the communication between your radio and the node station.

A node station is a station that a ham has set up to allow the conversations on the repeater to be fed into the internet.  The node station consists of a radio programmed to the repeater frequency, a personal computer connected to the internet that is running Wires-X software and an interface box that connects the radio to the computer.

When the ham constructed his node station he registered his interface box with Yaesu.  Yaesu then gave him two numbers.  One number is a node number the other is a room number.  Forget about the node number.

The room number is like your street address.  If I want to see you I can drive to your address and talk to you.  If I want to talk to you I connect my node to your room number and I can talk to you there.  If several different nodes want to talk to you they can all connect to your room number and then you can all talk to each other.  So as you can see a room is just a collection of nodes.

One thing to keep in mind is that every node is issued a room number.  So if you build a node station you automatically have a room.  Don’t let that confuse you.  Most people don’t use their own room for anything.  They prefer to connect to rooms where other people congregate.  You can find a list of all active rooms on the internet.  Go to https://www.yaesu.com/jp/en/wires-x/id/active_room.php to see a list of all the rooms.  The DTMF ID column contains the room number.  If you click on the Act column it will sort by the number of nodes connected to a room.  The Act column will show how many nodes are connected to each room.

My room number is 28952 but my alias is Kansas-City.  Hence we refer to our linked repeaters as the Kansas City room.

If I have the node stations for the 146.910 Overland Park repeater and the 442.600 Shawnee repeater and the 147.300 Warsaw Missouri repeater connect to my room we can all now talk to each other.  These repeaters are now linked together simply by connecting them to my room.  The linking is done via the internet because remember each node is connected to the internet.

The Wires-X software by Yaesu runs on the node computer and is what allows you to change rooms and do a bunch of other stuff we have not talked about yet.  There are a lot of other things that can be done using Wires-X but what I’ve talked about here is about 99 percent of what people do.

Don’t be afraid to press your Wires-X button.  Nothing bad will happen.  But keep in mind that when you press it your radio only sends ONE datastream request to the repeater.  If you don’t have a good signal into the repeater the node may not be able to decode your request.  If that is the case just press it again and see if it connects.  If you know that there is supposed to be a node station on that repeater and you can’t connect after several tries it’s possible that the node station may be down.

We’ve struggled at times to keep our node stations on the air.  Between power failures and internet interruptions and hard drive failures it has been a challenge.  But we’ve learned a lot and with new firmware and new hardware from Yaesu it is getting more reliable every day.

I’ve mentioned that you can change rooms via Wires-X commands on your radio.  However, we are using the Kansas City room to continuously link the local repeaters.  Everyone using these repeaters expects them to be linked all the time.  So please don’t change from the Kansas City room to another room.  If you do, the software is programmed to disconnect from whatever room you connect to after 5 minutes and reconnect to the Kansas City room.  So even if you are talking to someone in another room, after 5 minutes you will be cut off and returned to the Kansas City room.  I promise no one will yell at you but you may get a visit from the Wouff-Hong.

Hopefully this will help you understand nodes and rooms.  There is no magic involved just a lot of hard work in the background to make this available for you to use.

“Van” VanDaveer, K0HCV
haroldv8655@sbcglobal.net

Yaesu System Fusion 101

Van, KØHCV did a great introduction to Fusion digital radio for Larry’s List. The 147.300 repeater in Warsaw is a Fusion repeater, is in digital mode full time, and is linked to several repeaters in the Kansas City area. In case you don’t subscribe to Larry’s List via email, I’ve included Van’s message:

Larry;

I will offer the following per your request for additional information on Yaesu Fusion.

First of all let me remind everyone that Yaesu System Fusion Digital is different from DMR.  All Fusion capable radios are just normal ham radios with a couple of extra features.

A Fusion capable radio functions just like any other ham radio you have used.  The only difference is that it offers one additional mode.  That mode is digital.

A normal analog radio offers just the one mode, analog.  With fusion you can select either analog (FM) or digital (DN) or (VW).  When you select digital you can select from two different flavors.  One mode is Data Narrow (DN) and the other mode is Voice Wide (VW).  This selection is made with the mode selection option on your radio.  You will see either FM, DN or VW displayed on the screen of your radio.  If you see a solid bar either above or immediately to the left of the FM, DN or VW that means you are in Automatic Mode Select or AMS.  I will explain that later.

When you select the DN mode you are transmitting in C4FM digital mode but your voice only takes up half of the transmitted bandwidth.  The other half contains data.  This data contains your GPS coordinates.  Using the DN mode any receiving station can see your call sign displayed on their radio along with the distance and direction to your station.

When you select the VW mode you are still transmitting in C4FM but with a much higher fidelity audio signal.  This is because your voice takes up the entire transmitted bandwidth.  Your call sign is still transmitted however the GPS data is no longer transmitted.  The receiving station will still see your call sign but will not know the direction to your station or how far away you are.  However your voice will have higher fidelity and sound much more like a broadcast studio.

When you select the FM mode you will be transmitting in analog and it will be just like any other analog radio you have used.  While there may be a PL tone used with your analog signal no data is transmitted.  One very important point here regarding analog vs. digital.  While you may or may not use a PL tone on an analog repeater, THERE ARE NO PL TONES USED WITH DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS!  If the repeater is in AMS mode there may be a PL tone associated with the analog side but THERE ARE NO PL TONES USED WITH DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS!  If you see a repeater listed somewhere that says it is a Fusion repeater but shows a PL tone, it is either operating in AMS mode or the information is incorrect.

Now to Automatic Mode Select or AMS.  AMS was designed by Yaesu to allow their radios to use the new C4FM mode but still allow you to operate in the analog mode on analog repeaters.  The idea behind AMS is that your radio will automatically select the proper mode depending on the mode of the signal you are receiving.  If your radio is in AMS mode and someone calls you in analog, your radio automatically switches to analog and you can carry on your conversation in analog.  If they call you in either DN or VW mode your radio will switch to the proper mode and you can carry on your conversation in digital.  Very simple very easy.  No operator intervention or code plugs required.

The Yaesu DR-1X Fusion repeater can be configured one of four ways.  They can be set up as strictly analog.  That is analog in / analog out.  They can be set up as strictly digital.  That is digital in / digital out.  And they can be configured mixed mode.  This way they can accept either digital in or analog in and force analog out or mixed mode where whatever mode comes in is the mode that goes out.

When Yaesu started selling their two thousand dollar repeaters for five hundred dollars a lot of clubs and individuals bought them to replace their aging repeaters.  These folks set their repeater up to be fixed analog in and fixed analog out.  Some clubs, experimenting with C4FM digital, set their repeaters up to be either analog or digital in but fixed analog out.  The real daring clubs set their repeaters up to be anything in anything out (AMS mode).  Very few set their repeaters up as fixed digital in and fixed digital out.  Doing this had the potential to alienate club members which is why most of the digital only repeaters are individually owned or have been assigned new repeater frequencies.

Yaesu realized that allowing the repeater to be set to fixed analog in and fixed analog out was not going to sell many new Fusion radios.  So they have made it a little more difficult to do that with the new DR-2X repeater.  I won’t discuss that any further here.

Now we will get to the Fusion repeaters in the Kansas City metro area.  I cannot speak for all of them because it is in a constant state of flux.  Some clubs are debating whether or not to buy a new DR-2X while those who have purchased them are discussing just how they want to configure it.

I can tell you about the repeaters I am affiliated with.  These are as follows:

146.910- fixed digital Overland Park
442.600+ fixed digital Shawnee
444.400+ fixed digital Olathe
147.300+ fixed digital Warsaw MO
(443.275+ fixed digital) The Plaza KCMO

These machines are digital only.  The Overland Park, Shawnee, Olathe and Warsaw MO repeaters are all linked together full time.  The Plaza repeater has been linked with these in the past and will be again in the near future.

The activity on these machines varies just as it does on other repeaters.  More activity during drive time and a little less during the day.  However, we have hams from all over the world that connect to our linked repeaters from time to time.  It has been very interesting conversing with these hams and adds to the excitement of the digital capabilities.  It’s kind of exciting to see a DX call sign and a distance of four or five thousand miles on your radios display.

There are several other Fusion repeaters in the metro area that will link to ours from time to time but the ones listed above are linked full time.

The Overland Park, Shawnee and Olathe repeaters are currently DR-1X’s but within the next two weeks will be replaced with the new DR-2X.  The DR-2X repeater offers several new features for Fusion users.

One final note.  The Johnson County Radio Amateur Club holds a weekly net on the 442.600 Shawnee repeater at 8 PM every Wednesday.  If you can reach the Shawnee machine check in on the 442.600 repeater.  If you can’t, check in on any of the other repeaters.  Since they are linked you will be heard throughout the entire network.

One final final note.  If you have a Fusion radio PLEASE make sure the firmware in your radio is current.  Your instruction manual will tell you how to check the firmware level.  You can go to Yaesu dot com to see what the current firmware level is for all of their Fusion radios and download the new firmware and instructions there.

One very important point to remember with linked digital systems.  Do not tail end the previous transmission.  Wait a second or two before you key up and begin to transmit.  These repeaters are linked via the internet and there is a certain amount of latency encountered during operation.  This applies to both Fusion and DMR.

I know this has been a long email but hopefully it covers most of the questions new Fusion owners may have.

“Van” VanDaveer, KØHCV
haroldv8655@sbcglobal.net

More than 440,000 Missourians now registered for annual ‘ShakeOut’ earthquake drill Oct. 19

Watch “When the Earth Shakes” on YouTube

Oct. 19 is the Great Central U. S. “ShakeOut” earthquake drill. More than 440,000 Missourians have registered to participate. In all, almost 2.5 million people are registered in the 14 central U.S. states that could be impacted by a New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake.

At exactly 10:19 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, participants will:

  • DROP to your hands and knees
  • COVER their heads and necks with their hands and arms under a table or desk if possible
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

Experts say “Drop, Cover, Hold On” is the best way to protect oneself from falling debris, which is the most likely cause of injury during an earthquake in developed nations with modern building standards.

There’s still time to sign up at www.shakeout.org/centralus. Once registered, participants receive details on the drill, as well as information on earthquake preparedness and safety. Individuals, families, businesses, schools and other organizations can register, and can participate on another day if Oct. 19 is not convenient.

In 1811 and 1812, the New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, produced some of the largest earthquakes ever in the continental U.S. A major earthquake in this area could result in damage in much of southern and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis area. Geologists say there’s a 7 to 10 percent chance of another major earthquake occurring in a fifty-year time period.

To learn more about earthquakes in Missouri and how to prepare, visit www.sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness.

The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut

New Amateurs in Benton County!

The Benton County ARES group just completed a two day training class in Warsaw. Rick Wade KDØCNC coordinated the event, Steve Pierce WA5ICX and Rick Harkins WØYGH were the instructors, and Bob Davisson KA4BOB and Mike Schley KBØLW assisted with testing. Sincere thanks to the Hamclass.org group for the use of their training materials.

We’re proud to announce that we have seven new Technician Class licensees:

Donnie Morehead   KE0FNG
Mitchell Ransdell   KE0FNH
Linda Viebrock   KE0FNI
Barry Pabst   KE0FNJ
Ruth Sell   KE0FNK
Nathan Burton   KE0FNL
Tamara Lawler   KE0FNM

Congratulations to all!

April ARES meeting to be held at Orschelin’s parking lot

The April 11th, 2015 meeting of Benton County ARES will he held in the parking lot of Orscheln’s in Warsaw at 9am.  Rick (KDØCNC) will be setting up the communications trailer.

This will be an excellent chance to become more familiar with the equipment in the trailer.  We also hope to attract some interest from the public.

Here’s the map link to the location: Orscheln Farm and Home

Linked repeaters

Now that Echolink is up and stable on both of the Warsaw repeaters, we have the ability to link them together.

During the Benton County ARES net on Sunday nights and the St. Clair County ARES net on Monday night, I will have the 146.925 and 147.300 repeaters linked together.  You can check in on either machine.

I’d be happy to hear from anyone using the feature.  Let me know how it’s working!

Rick W0YGH