It was the fall of 1996 when James Adkins (KBØNHX) and Jeff Morrissey (KBØWVT) attended a local club meeting. As new hams, they were excited about their new hobby and interested in getting involved with the local club. During the meeting, it was announced by the club president that everyone needed to watch out for a bunch of "renegade new hams" in Nixa. Of course, no one knew that there was a couple of those "renegade hams" from Nixa present and those "renegade hams" did not know they were renegade either. They were just excited about ham radio.
It was shortly after that meeting that Jeff, James, Matthew Patterson (KBØWYY) and Chris Cochran (KBØWZC) first started joking about starting a club of their own, and calling N.A.R.C., for Nixa Amateur Radio Club! After all, most of the kids at school thought James and Matthew were narc's (undercover narcotics agents) with their fancy radio gadgets. It was at least 3 years before the club that started as a joke became a reality.
In the summer of 2001, James Adkins and Chris Cochran decided it was time to start a club in Nixa, but, what was a club without a repeater? So, on August 23, 2001, Chris Cochran purchased a Motorola 6' by 19" rack mount cabinet for the proposed 2-meter repeater. Soon afterwards on September 4, 2001, James received final coordination for construction of a 2-meter repeater, the frequency would 145.270 MHz under the callsign KBØNHX. On September 22, 2001, Chris Cochran purchased a Ranger SRL-H 12 watt VHF Repeater in hopes of using it for the 2-meter repeater. However, due to the necessary boards needed to do this, it would later become the backup repeater for the Nixa Police and Fire Departments. About the same time, Chris also purchased the Motorola Micor power supply, amplifier, and unified chassis for the 145.270 repeater. Though the unified chassis would eventually become the heart of the 145.270 repeater, the amplifier and power supply sent to Chris were UHF! And, oh what a time Chris had getting the parts because of 9/11/2001! The UHF amp and power supply would later be sold to Pat Conway (WA6JGM) with the funds being used to buy the proper VHF amplifier and power supply.
On November 5, 2001, James Adkins formulated a letter to Travis Cossey, City of Nixa Planner, requesting permission to place a repeater antenna for a 2-meter repeater atop the water tower at MO 14 and Gregg Rd. Shortly thereafter, James met Jeremy Tannehill (future KCØUJZ) of Alltel, on November 15, 2001 at the proposed site. The meeting went well and Alltel offered to allow us to mount to their pod mount and place the repeater in their building. On December 3, 2001, the Nixa Amateur Radio Club became official when they received their club license with the call KCØLUN, from the FCC. With license in hand, James went before the board of aldermen to plead the case to allow an amateur radio antenna to be mounted on the water tower. However, due to a conflict beteen the City of Nixa and the Family of Christ Lutheran Church regarding the right-of-way path leading to the water tower, the City of Nixa refused our request to put the equipment at the Alltel site. The city aldermen advised to wait about a year and try again after everything had settled down.
Not wanting to wait an entire year without doing something, on April 15, 2002, James approached Nixa Police Chief Bruce Belin about support for the project. Chief Belin typed up a letter of support for the project. As the club President, Chris Cochran deemed it important that the club became a legal entity to help protect club officers from liability. Therefore, he searched for and found a local attorney that would draft up our Articles of Incorporation for non-profit status pro bono. On April 19, 2002, the club's TESSCO Technologies account was opened to foster cheaper prices for the completion of the 145.270 repeater. Then, on April 24, 2002, James Adkins hand delivered the paperwork to the Secretary of State Office in Springfield and the Nixa Amateur Radio Club became Missouri Nonprofit Incorporation. Subsequently, James Adkins mailed out the IRS From 1023 in an attempt for the club to become a 501(c)(3) organization.
With the legal paperwork in the works, the club again focused on getting a repeater on the air. On May 20, 2002, Jeremy Tannehill sent a letter authorizing us to install the antenna on the water tower and to place the equipment in their building. To pay for the Ranger SRL-H repeater to be put into operation and complete the 145.270 repeater project, James Adkins wrote up a grant request to the ARRL foundation. The request was denied. Not wanting to sit idle, at the urging of Bill Chambers (NØMBW), James Adkins, Kevin Hunter (KAØI), and Chris Cochran went together and purchased 340 ft of Andrew LDF6-50 Heliax from Jimmy Ford of Sprint on July 30, 2002. Thanks to Kevin Hunter, we were able to get the coax to Springfield for the cost of supper and fellowship at the new Springfield north-side Applebee's. On August 23, 2002, Chris Cochran decided to have the Ranger SRL-H 12 watt VHF repeater repaired and paid for the repair of the repeater so that it could be used as the backup Fire Department and Police Department repeater. Chris also had tone boards installed in the repeater to meet the City's repeater requirements.
After several months of back and forth discussion with the IRS, we were granted 501(c)(4) status on September 16, 2002. Though this was not the desired outcome, but it was the best the club could do since they had spent all their funds for the year in IRS and Missouri fees to become incorporated. The club did not have the funds to hire a lawyer to do the paperwork.
In October 2002, James began conversing with Kevin Custer from Repeater Builder about converting an old Micor Station purchased by Chris Cochran and on November 7, 2002, the Crystals were ordered for the Micor from International Crystal Manufacturing (ICM). On November 21, 2002, the club began selling Krispy Kreme discount cards and over the next two months, 56 cards were sold. $275 was raised toward the 145.270 repeater project.
On December 4, James Adkins along with Pat Conway attended the Nixa Board of Aldermen meeting. During the meeting, we received conditional approval to make installation on the water tank under 3 conditions. First, we would have to get a letter of approval from the Family of Christ Lutheran Church to allow us to cross their parking lot to get to the repeater site; second, a structural analysis or a letter of exemption would be required stating the antenna would not be too heavy for the water tower or Alltel's Pod mount; third, we would have to provide de-construction and re-construction insurance for the water tower should the antenna tear it down.
On January 16, 2003, we received permission form David Ballou, Chairman of the Family of Christ Lutheran Church, to install and service the repeater behind their church. Then, on January 23, 2003, we received a letter of exemption from Frank Kehoe of Fulton Contracting stating our DB-224 antenna was incidental in nature and would not cause damage to the Pod mount nor the City of Nixa's water tower and that no structural analysis would be needed. On February 23, 2003, Jeremy Tannehill gave James Adkins the information for PDQ Tower Services Inc so insurance information could be obtained. Shortly thereafter on March 10, 2003, with the help of newly hired Fire Chief Jimmy Sebree, we received final permission to install the antenna on the water tank pending club insurance.
On March 19, 2003, James Adkins purchased a CAT-200B repeater controller and loaned it to the club for use on the 145.270 repeater. On March 27, 2003, the club began selling Pizza Hut discount cards and raised $168 toward the 145.270 repeater project. In a fundraising blitz, on March 27, 2005, the club also held a fundraiser at Pizza Hut by handing out coupons. This fundraiser raised $133 toward the 145.270 repeater project. Even though funding had been raised to get the repeater modified, we still lacked much of the necessary funding. At the suggestion of Jennifer Donaldson, wife of club member Craig Donaldson (KCØHFH) the club invoked a "start up" fund where each member gave an additional $50.00 on top of their membership dues. When that money was collected, the Micor was sent off to Repeater Builder for modification from a public safety VHF station to a ham radio VHF repeater.
On April 30, 2003, we received the Motorola Micor repeater and CAT-200B controller back from Repeater Builder ready to go on the air. The repeater went on the air temporarily at James Adkins house with split antennas. On May 1, 2003, RG-214 coax was shipped to Repeater Builder so custom made cables could be fabricated for use with the duplexers. However, on May 9, 2003, the Micor switching supply surged to about 50 volts and damaged the station control card and the PA. In early June 2003, surge repairs were made to the control card and the Micor was returned to operation without the PA. Before the PA was returned, however, a summer storm struck a tree nearby the site and the static discharge destroyed the final transistors on the exciter board. Another lesson was learned as we found out that the exciter board is not as resistant to static discharge as the PA is. So off to Repeater Builder with the whole thing!
With hopes of one day having the 145.270 repeater connected to EchoLink, Chris Cochran purchased a RIGblaster NoMIC on June 16, 2003.
Finally, on June 19, 2003, the lease agreement with the city was signed, deeding the 145.270 repeater over to the City of Nixa with the Nixa Amateur Radio Club maintaining the repeater and the City of Nixa providing the necessary insurance to allow installation. At last, we could install the repeater on the water tower, but without the money to buy the antenna, antenna mount, and to pay the installers, we could not do it. So, on August 11, 2003, the club began selling Entertainment coupon books and raised another $50 for the 145.270 repeater project. Determined to push on, James Adkins met Mike Sewell of Alltel on September 3, 2003 and formalized the lease agreement with Alltel.
Since the last repair from the surge and lightening strike, the repeater operated intermittently. In early November, James Adkins and Chris Cochran purchased a table at the SMARC Hamfest at the Oasis. The club gave away a Yaesu VX-2R radio and showcased plans for the 145.270 repeater. Though the hamfest only raised about $25.00, it got the club name out for the first time and club membership started to flourish. With Repeater Builder insisting there was no problem with the repeater, James decided in November 2003 to take up an offer from Tom McKleroy (W9XO) and Monte Chaney (KAØKHV), of KY3, to look at the Micor for us. Monte had worked on Micors for many years. After about a week of troubleshooting during spare time, Monte and Tom discovered that the ground wire that made the exciter transmit had been inadvertently disconnected. Once it was replaced, the repeater worked flawlessly. Trying to get the repeater on the air, James decided on November 25, 2003 to purchase the DB-224 antenna from WBØW and the mount for the antenna from Fulton Contracting Corporation.
Activity was slow and fundraising ideas were few and far between. Then, on March 21, 2004, James received a call from PDQ Tower Services saying they would be in the area and would like to put up the repeater antenna. If we did not do it then, it would probably would have to be postponed until December 2004 at the earliest. So, on March 22, 2004, James Adkins loaned the club money to purchase the polyphaser lightening protection equipment for the 145.270 repeater. The club paid this back later in the year. To get the repeater on the air, James and his wife, Kim Adkins (KCØGKP), took out a home equity loan to pay for the repeater installation. Kim's only stipulation was that the club repay it someday. So, on March 25, 2004, James received the sketch from PDQ Tower Services for the install and relayed them to Richard Hill of the City of Nixa Water Department for approval of the installation. On April 12, 2004, the 145.270 repeater antenna was installed at the water tower site in Nixa and placed into operation.
In an effort to finally finish the Ranger SRL-H repeater for fire department operation, the ARRL foundation was again called upon on April 27, 2004 in the form of a grant request written by James Adkins. Now it was time to hurry up and wait. Since the repeater was still using duplexers on loan from Pat Conway, James used the same home equity loan to purchase the DB-4060-WOC-B duplexers at 1/3 of the retail price from Marty Hansen of Andrew and they arrived on June 21, 2004. This would become the beginning of a great relationship between the club and Andrew Corporation.
On the first weekend of June, Jon Fitzpatrick (NBØX) held a one-day cram-fest for those wanting to get their license. At the end of the day, everyone passed his or her test. And, as the plan continued to play out, everyone got their license before Field Day 2004 and they were able to participate. On June 26 and 27, 2004, the club participated in its first Field Day exercise at the new Nixa Community Center Park. Though we had only 1484 points, we had a great time and introduced a lot of new hams to this great hobby.
On July 21, 2004, the ARRL foundation again refused our request for a grant to complete the Ranger SRL-H project. With the fire department back-up repeater still on hold, the club began looking for a project that could enhance public safety communications. So, on September 8, 2004, we received a letter from Steve Runnels, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Springfield supporting our efforts for our second NARC project in 2004. That project was the EchoLink node in Joplin that would allow the NARC 2-meter repeater to be connected to the 147.210 Joplin Sky Warn repeater so weather spotters could communicate directly with the National Weather Service in Springfield. With the help of Stan Elmore (KBØUUB) the long process began to get the permission and necessary equipment to put the node on the air in Joplin.
In January 2005, a "Repeater and Fundraising Committee", consisting of Dave Beckler (WAØSAP), Terry Zembsch (KCØSQE), and Dean Gaines (KCØSQD) was formed and began dreaming of putting a 6-meter repeater on the air, one that would provide stable communications for all of Southwest Missouri.
In February 2005, the club decided to start a weekly net, that was to be held every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and it would be called the "N.A.R.C. Net". The net was begun in hopes of not only fostering the spread of information to its members on a weekly basis and to also attract prospective hams to the club by spreading all the exciting news about the 6-meter repeater.
On February 16, 2005, James Adkins, at the request of Don Kocian (future KCØVNS), of Springfield City Utilities, petitioned Joye Mc Elwee (NØOCP), Greene County Emergency Manager, for his support to begin the journey to have the 6-meter repeater installed on Springfield C.U.'s 600 foot tower in Republic Missouri. After the long fundraising campaign just to get the 145.270 repeater on the air, James and the committee were determined to put this on the air at minimum expense of the club members while putting the best possible machine on the air. So, James started e-mailing companies asking for corporate equipment donations while Dave Beckler started calling companies that did not publish e-mail contacts.
On February 24, 2005, Polyphaser became the first to donate when they agreed to give an IS-50NX-CO lightening protector and a PLDO-120US20A AC protector for the 6-meter project, a $260.00 donation! A couple days later, James received word from the Andrew Corporation that they would donate 500 feet of LDF6-50 1-1/4" Heliax and a DB-212-C-6 antenna to our project, an equipment donation of nearly $10,000! Now, we were on the road.
Seeing a void in the ham community, the club decided to start doing monthly VE testing. In March 2005, the club began doing a monthly VE testing session before club meetings. This program became a huge success and brought many new hams into the ham community.
On March 1, 2005, the club received construction coordination for the 53.270 output/51.570 input wide-coverage 6-meter repeater and on March 15, 2005, Joye Mc Elwee wrote a great letter of support to the Greene County Commissioner, Dave Coonrod, requesting our proposal not only be heard in front of the TRS (Trunked Radio System) Management Board but also be supported by the Greene County Commission.
On March 18, 2005, another big hurdle was overcome on the 6-meter project when TX RX Systems, Inc. approved a donation of the 6-meter duplexers and bandpass cavities for the 6-meter repeater, about a $5,300 equipment donation! On March 18, 2005 Andrew's donation of the DB-212-C-6 antenna and matching transformer arrived and on March 24, 2005, Andrew's last donation arrived, a 500 ft roll of LDF6-50 1-1/4" heliax.
On March 24, 2005, in an effort to get the meat of the repeater, James, Jim, Sierra and Kolton Adkins traveled to Jefferson City and picked up a Motorola Micor low-band MSHP radio and 3 GE Rangr Low-band radios for the club. These were donated by Christian County EMA and plans were to modify the Micor as a backup to the 6-meter repeater and to use the Rangr radios for possible MEPN node in the future or remote receivers for the 53.270 repeater.
Feeling a hot hand, on March 28, 2005, James Adkins asked Peet Brothers for a donation of the UT-100 weather station with unimount sensor array upgrade to be donated to the club. The unit, normally costing $550.00, was donated to the club.
On April 15th, James Adkins met with the TRS Management Board and the 6-meter repeater project was first discussed in an open forum. At the end of the meeting, the board had given preliminary approval for the project and turned it over to the TRS Technical Committee for further evaluation.
On April 24, 2005, James Adkins and Dean Gaines, took a road trip to Webb City to install the Joplin EchoLink node. The antenna was mounted on the roof and the computer installed. It would still be awhile, however, before it would be operational.
On May 5, 2005, James Adkins and Chris Cochran attended the TRS Technical Committee Meeting. At the meeting, the Technical Committee made a motion to allow us on the tower at no charge and sent the final decision back to the TRS management board for final approval before changes could be made to the organizations bylaws. After all, the bylaws said that no free or reduced tower space was permitted, so the club had to overcome that and change the bylaws before installation could take place.
On May 10, 2005, the Nixa Amateur Radio Club, Inc., received club liability insurance through our membership with the ARRL and was poised to borrow the Department of Public Safety Command Bus for Field Day operations.
Wanting to get the 145.270 repeater back up to full power, on May 25, 2005, Dave Beckler loaned the club $205 to purchase a used Micor TLD-1693AV PA from Repeater Builder. Near the end of May 2005, James Adkins, Jim Adkins, Chris Cochran and Dean Gaines went to the 145.270 repeater site and installed the Peet Brothers UT-100 weather station and unimount sensor upgrade and interfaced it with the CAT-200 controller so that accurate, real-time weather conditions in Nixa could be accessed by the National Weather Service.
On June 10, the club provided communications for the Christian County Relay for Life event at Nixa. And, at the event, Rod Kittleman (KØADI) showcased the Nixa Amateur Radio Club banners, including the "Hamster" as it would become known as.
In an effort to be more involved in the community, the club joined the Nixa Area Chamber of Commerce on June 14, 2005 and held a ribbon cutting at the repeater site. Joye Mc Elwee, Greene County EMA director, Phil Amtower, Christian County EMA director and Jimmy Sebree, Nixa Fire Chief, were all on hand and spoke good words about the club.
The 145.270 repeater amp problems persisted with the new amp; so, on June 16, the Micor TLD-1693AV was sent back to Repeater Builder. They claimed it had no problems and shipped it back. The problem still existed, though, as the amplifier continued to motorboat.
On June 17, 2005, the TRS management board made final approval to change the regulations and passed it on to the Greene County Commission, the City of Springfield, and Springfield CU to approve the necessary changes.
On June 24, the club provided communications for the Republic Relay for Life. That same day James Adkins, Terry Zembsch, and Terry's son Derek traveled to Jefferson City and picked up the DPS command bus to be used at Field Day the next day. Dean Gaines arranged for the location at US 160 and MO 14 in the Fountain Plaza parking lot. Dean also got donations from Price Cutter, Wal-Mart and Daylight Doughnuts to provide food for all the operators. The DPS command bus's 70' pneumatic mast was used as well as a 30' Rohn 25 tower and Jeremy Tannehill, KCØUJZ, set up the 100' crank-up tower trailer courtesy of Alltel. In addition, Fred Bell (NØLU), brought out his RV for use at field day as well for the CW operations. Thanks to Rod Kittleman, KY3 came by and did a film shoot of the event and John Rayfield (WØPM), provided a great interview. We also received recognition in the Springfield News-Leader the week before Field Day. In 2005, the club did much better, scoring 2756 points, almost doubling our 2004 totals.
In late June, Bill McNamee (KBØWHN) came up with a gem when he literally dug a UHF repeater out of the dumpster at work. The GE DRC-200 25w repeater powered up, but the VCO drifted. In addition, putting this repeater onto 440 would not be easy. Then, in July, Bill McNamee came up with a Motorola GR-1225 25w UHF repeater that would not power up. So, James and Doug tore into it and found that a power cable inside the unit had become partially unplugged. After Doug re-seated the connector, James took the repeater up to Rayfield Communications where Michael Rains (KØRFI) programmed the repeater to our recently coordinated frequency, 444.275. The repeater was put on the air temporarily for testing at James' house in late August and would remain there until January 2006.
Also in August, Dave Beckler and Fred Bell started the CW training nets. The GE repeater was sent off for repair to Relm / BK Radio on August 27, 2005.
On August 29,2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. With several club members gung-ho on helping pass emergency and welfare traffic, Jeff Morrissey, Jeff Kerr (future KCØVGC), Randy Jordan (KCØUKB), and Daniel Hirsch of McKesson re-formatted the website and moved it to a server with more bandwidth so that we could gather information efficiently and format it to NTS style so messages could be passed faster. Rod Kittleman contacted all media outlets for a press release to try to put the word out there in a positive light about ham radio. On the days that followed, the club, with the help of Christian County ARES, took information in via its website, formatted it into NTS style, and forwarded all routine traffic via e-mail. Emergency messages were passed by radio and several lives saved. Rod Kittleman arranged the media attention and KY3, KOLR 10 and KSPR33 came and did video shoots for their newscasts. In fact, on August 31, Dave Beckler had the pleasure of passing a message from President George Bush to the Mayor of New Orleans while KOLR10 was there filming! KY3 went by Joe Hargis' (WSØE) house and did a story about ham radio and emergency communications as well. Both did an excellent job for the TV interview and really made amateur radio shine. Sarah Overstreet of the Springfield News-Leader did a great story about the local hams helping during this event and the Nixa News-Enterprise also did three stories in consecutive weeks about the club and amateur radio.
On September 6, Carolyn Deke, James' babysitter, and a member of the Queen City Fraternal Order of Eagle Ladies Auxiliary advise she was petitioning the organization to make a donation the club to get the 6-meter repeater on the air. Within a few days, the club had received a donation of $1,200.00. On September 27, 2005, when the ARRL Foundation announced they had given us a $1,000 grant to support the installation of the 53.270 repeater. It was just the boost the club needed to get started on the 6-meter project and start concentrating our efforts on fundraising. In addition, Rod Kittleman also debuted the new Nixa Amateur Radio Club bumper sticker with the "Hamster". These were well received and many people have them displayed on their vehicles and in their shacks. Then, in October, the club purchased two tables at the SMARC hamfest and gave away a Yaesu VX-170 to Michael Roofener (K5MIK). Also, the ARRL representative, Dale Bagley (KØKY), was thanked for the grant received from the ARRL foundation and the club had laminated copies of all the positive press in the newspapers and even included a video put together by Jeff Morrissey with all the TV interviews the club had done in 2005. Doug Schumpert (KØDPS) had donated the radio to help get the 440 project off the ground. The radio raised almost $280.00 thanks to the help of Patty Dixon and her assistant at Allstate Insurance. They manned the table for almost 4 hours in attempt to knock out hours of community service they were required to complete so they could apply for a grant for the club. It was also at the SMARC hamfest that the club debuted the Nixa Amateur Radio Club T-shirts, designed and produced by Rod Kittleman. The shirts were a hit! After the hamfest, Harold Lazear (KD5CVA) started the "Tech Net" on Saturdays. However, a late fall storm took down Harold's antennas and the net was abandoned for a short time until Harold could get his antennas back on the air.
The GE UHF repeater was returned in late September. At that time, we had two working repeaters. So, the club decided to sell the GE repeater to Jack Kuhn (NØEWS) so he could put it on the air as a GMRS repeater for the area. After receiving a couple donations, Chris Cochran began searching the Internet for items needed for the 6-meter repeater. And, on October 9, 2005, he landed an Astron RM-60M power supply. Two days later, on October 11, he purchased the second Astron RM-60M--he bought both for the price of one and they were in excellent condition. Then, on October 12, 2005, he found and purchased two Motorola CDM-750 low-band radios for use on the project. The repeater was finally starting to take shape!
On October 12, the TLD-1693AV amp was again sent back to Repeater Builder to be fixed or replaced due to motorboating.
Finally, after much planning, on October 17, 2005, the "Inaugural Communications Classic" was held at Millwood Golf & Racquet Club. Chris Cochran along with Mike Park, Dean Gaines, Jeff Kerr, and Jim Adkins had been working during the late summer and early fall to coordinate a golf tournament which had 4 teams with 20 players. It was considered a success and raised about $250 for the club.
On October 20, 2005, Doug Schumpert received the installation quote from PDQ Tower Services for the 6-meter repeater on the Republic tower. The cost--$5,591.05--and a $1500 structural analysis was also required from Vertical Structures. With our supplier of CDM-750 radios indicating his supply was dwindling and Joye Mc Elwee requesting we have backups on hand, Chris and James decided to go ahead and purchase 8 more CDM-750 radios--2 spares for the 6-meter site, 5 for remote receivers, and one as a spare for the remote receivers.
On November 5, 2005, James Adkins turned in a grant request to pay for the installation of the 6-meter repeater to the Nixa Community Foundation. Then, on November 17, 2005, Jeremy Tannehill met James Adkins, at the 145.270 repeater site and hooked up the battery backup. The battery powered the repeater until the power supply hum could be fixed.
On December 15, 2005, the club received final coordination for our regular coverage 444.275 repeater. Throughout the month of December, Justin Harris (KCØVJJ) and James worked closely together to get the club tax-exempt status changed to 501(c)(3). The club voted on December 18, 2005, to adopt the necessary changes to the constitution so that status could be obtained.
The repeater was installed at James Adkins residence for testing, only up 38' in the air. On December 31, 2005, James Adkins e-mailed Ron at Computer Automation Technology. After all was said and done, CAT donated the RME-100 rack mount enclosure and the ED-1000W windows software, a value of $170, if we purchased the CAT-1000B controller. The purchase was made and the 6-meter repeater finally had a controller!.
Even though Chris Cochran found out on January 7, 2006, that the club did not receive any monies from our grant request to the Nixa Community Foundation, that did not put a damper on the prospect of getting the 6-meter repeater on the air. On January 9, 2006, James Adkins contacted Andrew to see if they would help us out one last time with the a couple big items needed for the 6-meter repeater. On January 11th, they agreed to donate one DB-408-A UHF antenna, a DB-5012 side mount, and 450 ft of LDF5-50 7/8" Heliax for the UHF remote control antenna, almost a $3,200 donation! Also, on January 11, the CDM-750 radios came back from Motorola in working condition and ready to be programmed for the 6-meter repeater.
On January 12, 2006, James went to the 145.270 repeater site to try to fix the hum. After talking with Kevin Custer via telephone, it was determined the problem was probably in the low current, regulated power section of the power supply.
Then, on January 15, 2006, the 444.275 repeater was moved to the residence of Rich Vogt (KB9YZE). The antenna was now up 70' above ground level and awaiting the construction of the 220' Alltel tower on the east side of Nixa later in 2006, the repeater's proposed final location.
Two weeks later, the 53.270 repeater was turned on and put on the air for the first time. However, the repeater had a pesky interference source that took almost 3 weeks to track down. It was the 19" Symphonic TV in the Adkins' family room that caused the repeater transmit audio to get back into the receiver ONLY when the TV was turned on! What a deal! At least it was determined that the repeater did not have any problems.
In early February, the DB-408A, DB-5012 and 450' of LDF5-50 coax arrived from Andrew. With that large hurdle out of the way, the main monies needed were for installation and structural analysis. A cool $7,500 needed to be raised to get the 53.270 repeater on the air in Republic. Not an easy task. In the interim, a few minor projects were attacked in January.
Finally, after 4 months of waiting, Repeater Builder's replacement TLD-1693 amplifier arrived for the 145.270 repeater. The amp was still only at 75w output, though, on battery power. So, David Williams (KE7ABH) along with Dean Gaines and James Adkins traversed to the site to find an interference problem and try to up the power. While Dean keyed the repeater and David listened outside, James started moving wires around and the interference got better. Turns out, the T-connector at the output of the duplexer was touching the metal rail of the cabinet creating a ground loop. Now, we had a clean signal again. But, still low output. Changing the 9.6v to 10.2v on the low current side upped power output of the amplifier to 100w. Then, the 12.1v high-current DC line to the amplifier was upped to the 14.2v level, well within specs for the Micor PA. This change yielded 128w output from the amp, with 84w out of the duplexers. After doing some brainstorming, James and David started comparing lengths of interconnect cables between the duplexers. Noticing they were about 2" short for each one, for a total of 4" too short, they changed out the cables for the proper length and gained 11w out of the duplexers for a total of 95w out of the duplexers. The repeater had never sounded so good!
Shortly after the January club meeting, James Adkins received an e-mail from Jefferson City that the Midland radios were sent over to surplus property. James contacted the Nixa Fire Department and advised them. James, Jim Adkins (KCØIYI) and Kevin Hunter, went to surplus property and picked up 38 Midland 70-0520CWB and 15 70-3400B radios for the fire department. The fire department then sold them to the club so that they could be put on the ham band and dispersed to local hams and emergency management offices for use on 6-meters and 2-meters. After about 30 hours of programming and tuning, the radios were ready to go. Then, on February 23, 2006, James Adkins and David Williams went to Jefferson City and purchased 35 more 70-0520CWB low-band radios for 6-meters and 25 more 70-3400B VHF-Hi band radios for the Nixa Fire Department. These were also sold to the club to help get radios in the hands of emergency responding hams and personnel.
Through the sale of these radios, the club almost had enough funding to put the 53.270 repeater on the air. Enough was raised, however, and the structural analysis was ordered from Vertical Structures.
In the meantime, David Williams, KE7ABH, came up with a fundraising idea. Local businesses would be asked to donate to the cause. Club members hit the street asking for donations with a two reasons to work hard. Not only would this be the final run to get the rest of the funds needed for the 53.270, but the winner would also win a Yaesu FT-8900 radio! Al Gallo, W0ERE, won the contest and gave the radio back to the club to be used as another fundraiser! Whoever bid the highest would win the radio. Chris Cochran, KB0WZC, bid the highest and won the radio.
Now, all the funding was in place to install the 6-meter machine. Between the time of the install and the end of the fundraising, the club's secretary & repeater trustee, James Adkins, KB0NHX, accepted a new job as the Technical Field Engineer for the Highway Patrol. This would require him to move to Lee's Summit, MO. This did not stop the club from moving forward, though.
So, in June 2006, the 53.270 was finally installed on the City Utilities tower in Republic. With all the fundraising efforts, the club was drained, both emotionally and physically. Raising the nearly $10,000 we raised in such a short time was very difficult.
Field day 2006 was very low key as funding was very low. We had field day in the normal location, but no DPS command bus and very little participation. The club lost several good members and our Vice-President during the process. Some thought the club was on the brink of falling apart, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The rest of 2006 was slow for the Nixa ARC, and virtually no progress was made on any projects as the club "rested" from their efforts in the spring.
With the club's Vice-President slot being open for several months, Chris Cochran, KB0WZC, club President, decided the time was right to fill the position. He chose James Adkins, KB0NHX, who had moved away earlier in the year. Though he now lived in Lee's Summit, James vowed to be the leader the club needed.
In December 2006, Chris Cochran appointed a new "Technical Committee" to handle all the club's technical projects. He named Jeremy Tannehill, KC0UJZ; John Copelin, KC0QNM; Jim Cox, KC0YOT; and James Adkins, KB0NHX to that committee. There was a huge push to get the 444.275 repeater on the air. The committee went to work fast with a work session at the 53.270 site and a lunch "meeting." It was there that John Copelin mentioned he had already been making contacts and was trying to work out a deal with Cox Hospital to allow us to install the 444.275 atop the hospital. Jeremy Tannehill, KC0UJZ, advised he had a site there already for Alltel, and would make contacts too. James Adkins, KB0NHX, realized we needed an antenna for the project and contacted his contacts at Andrew and they donated an Andrew DB-408 UHF antenna for the repeater. The AC Polyphaser that was not needed at the 6-meter site was used and a coax Polyphaser was purchased
On a cold snowy day in March 2007, Jeremy Tannehill, John Copelin, James Adkins, Chris Cochran and Randy Jordan met for breakfast at Steak N Shake and prepared for the install of the 444.275 repeater. By the end of the day, the repeater was on the air and operational, and no one suffered from frostbite!
In June 2007, the club held it's annual Field Day event at the Fountain Plaza shopping center in Nixa. The club honored the community's public servents on Saturday. We had patrol vehicles from the Nixa PD, Missouri Highway Patrol and the Christian County Sheriff's office on hand for the event, along with a Nixa Fire Truck, Cox Ambulance and the DEA Tactical SWAT vehicle. Christian County EMA also brought out their mobile command center to compliment the DPS mobile command post. Later in the day, the Convoy of Hope showed up and we operated CW out of their vehicle the duration of Field Day, thanks to Dave Beckler, WA0SAP.
With many new members, the club leadership began questioning the direction of the club and in July 2007, a club memberhsip survey was sent out, looking for new ideas.
At the end of July and early August, members of the club teamed up with the Southwest Missouri Amateur Radio Club (W0EBE)to operate a station and "show off" amateur radio at the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield.
In September 2007, one of those ideas was carried out and a club picnic was held at the KY3 tower site in Fordland, MO, with lots of good food & fellowship. A tour of the facility and the generator and a short climb up the tower rounded out the event in which was a huge success. Club leadership began attacking the survey with vengence and club members were employed to help carry out the events.
Also in September 2007, James was able to obtain the UHF dupelxers needed for the 6-meter site to allow the DB-408 at 400' to be used simultaneously for the remote control link and receiving traffic from the remote receivers for the 6-meter repeater.
In October 2007, James Adkins and Chris Cochran began working on funding for one of the club members requests -- linking capability. The project would include upgrades to the club's EchoLink node on the 145.270 repeater, adding an IRLP node at the Cox South site, and linking all the repeaters together through the 444.275 repeater, which would be upgraded to become a "linking" repeater. A grant request was written up by James and Chris and submitted to the Nixa Community Foundation for funding for this project. In addition, several club members and non-club members donated money for this project to get it started.
The EchoLink node was upgraded first, with CDM series radios used at both ends. The iLinkboards AMI-2 was purchased and installed, too, so that COR could be used instead of VOX. The EchoLink node had never sounded so good, and now it came in on the link port, allowing users to access the repeater before the hang time dropped out.
Also in October 2007, Jeff Kerr, KC0VGC, teamed up with members of the Southwest Missouri Amateur Radio Club to host an "all ham" picnic, called the "Greater Ozarks Ham Picnic" at the park by the Nature Center. The picnic went over very well and both sides vowed to host such an event again.
Work also began on two other repeaters, a 220 MHz repeater and a 900 MHz repeater. The Motorola Micor for the project was donated to the club by John Rayfield, W0PM, and thanks to generous cash donations from members and non-members alike who wished to see a 220 repeater in Springfield again. Realizing the club needed a controller for the repeater, James Adkins, KB0NHX, contacted Arcom and they donated the RC-210 controller in kit form and we purchased the software and 19" rack mount enclosure from them. James also contacted Polyphaser, and they donated the coax Polyphaser needed for the 224.280 repeater. Once the controller was assembled, the club shipped it and the repeater off to Repeater Builder for conversion to the 220 ham band. In the meantime, Jeremy Tannehill, KC0UJZ, began negotiations with Cox Hospital to allow us to put the 220 repeater antenna and IRLP yagi on top of the hospital. While those progressed, James Adkins contacted Andrew and they donated the DB-573-EE 3 dBd gain 220 MHz repeater antenna for the project along with 3 dB-436 UHF yagi's for the upcoming repeater linking project. The repeater was now ready to go on the air!
In December 2007, Chris received word that the club would indeed receive funding from the Nixa Community Foundation for $1500 for our linking project. He advanced the club funds for the project and began procuring the Polyphasers and CDM radios needed for the project. In December, the CAT RLS-1000B was installed at the 145.270 site, along with the UHF repeater linking radio & antenna. The 145.270 was now able to link to the 444.275 repeater. This was great news and was celebrated at the annual Christmas meeting, held at the residence of Jeff Kerr, KC0VGC, in 2007.
The Club HF station, a long time project, seemed to be going nowhere with the Technical Committee. So, in March, Dean Gaines, KC0SQD, voiced his concerns and was named along with Bill McNamee, KB0WHN, as co-chairs of the HF Committee to get the station on the air. The Technical Committee members were Fred Bell, N0LU; Dave Beckler, WA0SAP; Jeff Kerr, KC0VGC; and Rich Vogt, KB9YZE. Dave eventually had to back out due to being too busy with the W0S special event station and the selling of his house. Throughout the spring of 2008, members of the committee met several times and came up with a plan for the station. Michael Rains, K0RFI, volunteered to help the committee run the coax at the Nixa Fire Department General HQ for the station. Chris Cochran, KB0WZC, applied for a $5000 grant from Hamburger Helper for the station, which was denied any funding. Chris also applied for a $5000 grant from the McKesson Foundation, which has a target funding date in late 2008 if approved. When funding comes in, we can begin purchasing the radio and equipment for the station.
Also in March 2008, members of the Technical Committee met at the 145.270 site to finish setting the link radio audio levels and wrap up the setup there. The following day, James Adkins, KB0NHX and Jeremy Tannehill, KC0UJZ, met at a cell site northeast of Nixa and hooked up the MSF-5000 repeater, it's frequency 927.5375, input 902.5375 and PL is 162.2 Hz. This is the first 900 MHz repeater in SW Missouri! It was also equipped with an Arcomm RC-210 controller and a UHF linking radio. The UHF repeater linking radio was installed shortly thereafter allowing the repeater to link to the 444.275. The repeater utilizes an abandoned cell phone panel antenna until it is moved to its final home, to be determined. When it gets there, Andrew has donated a DB809KE-SY for the system, a 9 dBd 900 MHz omni-directional repeater antenna.
Committee members then met at the 53.270 site to install the UHF linking radio and Yagi and RLS-1000B. While there, the DB Spectra multi-coupler / pre-amp to be used with the 6-meter remote receivers, which James obtained via the donation route from DB Spectra in January 2007, was also installed. With all the repeaters ready to link to the 444.275 repeater, work was scheduled at Cox Hospital. This time, the weather was much nicer! The long awaited 224.280 repeater was installed, input 222.680 with PL of 162.2 Hz and the IRLP link radio & yagi were also installed in preparation of the IRLP node to be hosted by Jeff Kerr, KC0VGC. The 444.275 repeater was upgraded and the Arcom RC-210 installed to control it, the 224.280 and the IRLP link radio. The repeater now could work as a linking repeater. The 444.275 was programmed to turn itself into a linking repeater and link the 224.280 and IRLP nodes together for the Bible Belt Christian Fellowship Net on Tuesdays and for the NARC net on Thursdays. The 927.5375 and 53.270 repeaters were also programmed were also programmed to link to the 444.275 automatically for those nets. The NCS would simply type in a code on the 145.270 and all repeaters would be linked together! Without the support of our local Nixa businesses and the Nixa Community Foundation, this project could not have been completed.
In April 2008, the Technical Committee began looking toward starting phase II of the 6-meter repeater project -- installing remote receivers. With all the CDM-750's for the 6-meter receivers already on hand, and all the DB-212C-2 bays on hand, and 2 of the 5 needed UHF yagis, and all the heliax needed, James polled club officers and did an inventory of club equipment at all sites so we could determine what would be needed to make this project happen. Through grant requests applied for and received from McKesson Corporation by Chris Cochran, KB0WZC; Jeff Kerr, KC0VGC; Jeff Morrissey, KB0WVT and Randy Jordan, KC0UKB, funding was received for this project. Motorola RICKS were purchased for the project along with several of the needed UHF radios for the remote recevier transmitters & receivers back at the 6-meter site.
In May 2008, James again contacted Andrew and they donated the remaining 3 UHF yagis needed for the project, along with 200' of 7/8" heliax, a DB-5001 side mount and DB-222 for a frequency agile remote base, and all the connectors, hoist grips, and ground kits needed for the project. We were well on the way. An RVS-8 voter was also aquired for 1/3 of the price in kit form, and James Adkins contacted LDG and they donated the rack mount enclosure and 19" rack panel for the voter. The main thing left to obtain was lightening arrestors. James once again contacted Polyphaser, and they agreed to donate all the Polyphasers needed for the project, almost $1500 in equipment! Chris Cochran was also able to purchase the IRLP board and interface cable for the CDM-1250 to be used with the IRLP node at Jeff Kerr's house. Jeff is currently in the process of building the computer for this application.
In May 2008, Jim Adkins, KC0IYI; Joe Hargis, WS0E; and Rich Vogt, KB9YZE all showed off their works for the first annual Sucker Days special event station, call KC0LUN. The event lasted from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and was a great showcase for amateur radio. James French, KC0TQD, was able to provide pop and water for the event and a great time was had by all. The event was even written up in the local newspaper and quoted by the chairman of the Sucker Days committee as "an event to see". Lots of interest in ham radio was drummed up at the event and has brought about several new hams to the ham radio community and to the club.
June 2008 was all about Field Day. Our goal, as usual, was to do better than the year before. Armed with the State of Missouri DPS command bus and two scissor lifts for antenna supports, the event was on. Mother Nature tried to play havoc with us, but it was good training. As the rains poured down, the public, and even some hams, expected we would cancel the event. It was not to be, though. We endured the rains and got set up just in time to begin operating at noon. Enduring the rain was well worth the efforts as the weather for the next 24 hours was fabulous and, our scores showed it, too! We scored higher than ever. Our 731 QSO's and 3,210 points were good enough for third in the state among 3A behind the Hannibal ARC and Howell County ARC and in the top third in the nation in our class at 102 of 302 participants.
June rolled into July and we had our first lightening-related repeater casualty. The Motorola GR1225 444.275 and Motorola Micor 224.280 machines were okay, but the Arcom RC210 controller was toast. A 64-pin surface mount IC (the only surface mount component on the board) was destroyed. Off for repair the controller went. The 444.275 utilized its internal controller until the Arcom could be returned and re-installed. The lightening strike at the Hospital did a lot of damage to other radio equipment on the roof, too. Come to find out, when they re-did the roof earlier in the spring, the ground field was compromised. Jeremy Tannehill is working with the hospital to get the grounding fixed. Also in July, complaints of audio being too loud on the 927.5375 were confirmed. They were re-adjusted to proper levels.
Bob Du Brul (WBØRJR) donated two complete Motorola MSR2000 repeaters to the club to use as a backup or replacement for the 145.270 Micor if needed. The club purchased a service manual and test set for the repeater with hopes of obtaining crystals in the near future. The Arcom RC210 was received back and re-installed and all appeared to be in good working order at Cox South.
August 2008 the Technical Committee continued in its quest to get all the firmware on the Motorola CDM series radios updated to v5.07.02. By the end of the month, all updates were made, though, and all audio deviation levels were matched on the radios, further helping the audio quality of the linked repeater system.
The HF Committee had hit a stumbling block at this point . . . financing and a tower permit. James Adkins and Chris Cochran began planning for a couple of grant opportunities to fund the station. The first grant, written to the McKesson Foundation, was written to purchase a Ten Tec Omni VII and accessories. The second grant would be written to purchase antennas, mounts and other items for the station. With coax in hand, that part was ready to go. James Adkins contacted Polyphaser and they donated the necessary Polyphasers to protect the station.
With the club officers blessing, a "parts kit" was purchased and stocked with common CDM accessory plugs and pins, connectors, and components. Toolboxes and all components cost the club less than $100, and will save us money in the future. In addition, the infamous "hum" on the EchoLink node was finally determined to be the PL tone. We changed the PL tone to a lower frequency, and the hum went away.
September 2008 began our annual fall fun! We held our September meeting at the KY3 tower site in Fordland, MO, where the new KSPR 33 digital transmitter was showcased. With nearly 40 people in attendance, we had a great time! September was also the month that Jeff Kerr got the IRLP node, #3995, up and operational on a permanent basis. The node, linked full time to the 224.280 repeater, has the capability to be linked to any of the Nixa ARC repeaters via the 444.275 linking repeater.
The Technical Committee went to the 145.270 site to investigate reports of tinny audio with the intention of getting levels set right once and for all. The high-pass filter on the Com-Spec TS-64DS was bypassed, which is a known cause of tinny audio, and the critics were silenced. We also had complaints that port to port audio was not right, while repeater to RLS-1000B audio was good and vice versa. With some investigation, an adjustment was found for port to port audio that is not documented in the RLS-1000B manual. Proper adjustments were made and the 145.270 site's audio was stabilized. With this discovery in hand, we went to the 53.270 site to make the same adjustments. The RLS-1000B was adjusted just like the 145.270 RLS-1000B and the link system audio was finally coming around. While at the 53.270 site, Warren Reynolds, KD0ELT, moved the UHF linking repeater yagi up to the mandatory 50' mark from about 15' up the tower.
September also marked the first Nixa ARC newsletter, called "Open Mic." This newsletter had been requested for years, but never developed. The newsletter is authored by James Adkins, KB0NHX, with input from various members of the club. The newsletter is distributed via e-mail, posted on the Nixahams website, and published in the files section of the Yahoo! group.
In October, the club submitted a grant request to the Nixa Community Foundation to purchase antennas, masts, and other accessories for the club's proposed HF station. With that grant, and the McKesson grant pending, we continued to be in a holding pattern for starting the HF station.
Members from the club participated with other area hams and attended the 2nd annual "Greater Ozarks Ham Picnic". In addition, members showcased amateur radio at the Republic PTO fall harvest festival at the Republic Middle School. The Thursday NARC Net was run live and on location by Jeff Kerr, KC0VGC. The event went well, but improvements will be made for next year's event.
James Adkins, KB0NHX, and Fred Bell, N0LU, were both nominated for election at the November meeting. This would be one race that would not include "dirty politics". All aside, the Technical Committee was back at it again at the end of the month when they moved the 927.5375 repeater from a 180' tower in Nixa to a 400' tower in Republic. The repeater now covers 45 to 50 mile radius from Republic. After the move, the group was off to Cox Hospital for the complete overhaul of the 444.275 and 224.280 repeaters. The Motorola GR1225 repeater was replaced with a pair of Motorola CDM750 UHF radios and the Motorola Micor 224.280 was replaced with a pair of specially modified CDM1550LS+ radios. James Adkins, KB0NHX, had obtained a donation of two Duracomm RMSL 5012 40a power supplies for the upgrades at the hospital and those were put into service. With the radios deviation levels set, proper controller audio was then sought to complete the months of experimenting and tweaking of the linked repeater network. Flat audio was trashed and pre-emphasized / de-emphasized audio was used. The results were amazing! With all audio levels now set, the linking system was at a point where you couldn't really tell what repeater a person was calling in on.
In November 2008, we held our annual "Thanksgiving meeting" at the Pizza Hut in Nixa, where the club's meetings first began some 6 years ago. James Adkins, KB0NHX, was re-elected as Vice-President after Fred Bell, N0LU, regretfully dropped out of the race for family health reasons. During November, James Adkins, KB0NHX, asked for and received a donation of a Sinclair 4-cavity bandpass filter for the 224.280 repeater from Lee Ward, K0LW. In addition, TX RX was contacted and a new 28-66-02A duplexer was donated for the 444.275 repeater upgrade project so that we could increase the power output with an external amplifier. Jeff Kerr, KC0VGC, also announced that he had worked out a deal with a local wireless Internet provider to provide us with wireless Internet at the Cox Hospital site and at the 145.270 sites. We will also have access to Internet at the 53.270 site via a short ethernet patch cable directly into the provider's backbone! Chris Cochran, KB0WZC, installed the new iLinkboards ULI on the EchoLink node that was donated by John Kreymer, N5LKM. The EchoLink audio levels were brought up dramatically over the AMI-2, but still had a muffled sound to it. The EchoLink PC has video and sound card issues, so we will continue to look into an upgraded PC for the EchoLink node in the coming months.
December 2008 saw the end of a great year come to a close. We celebrated Christmas at Dave Beckler, N0SAP, and his wife Gay's house in Nixa. Dave showcased his HF station and allowed everyone to "enjoy" a real HF station. For those that partaked, I suspect their dipoles will never satisfy them again! Dave's famous Gumbo and Ham were the main dishes, with lots of deserts.
Chris Cochran, KB0WZC, announced that we had been given the $1500 grant from the Nixa Community Foundation to purchase antennas, supports and other items for the station. However, he also announced that we were not granted any funds from the McKesson Foundation to purchase radios for the station.
The Technical Committee traversed to Cox South again but this time to remove the IRLP link radio and install the 900 MHz Motorola Canopy Internet radio. They also moved the IRLP computer to the site and installed a UPS to power the PC, router, and Internet Radio until the massive hospital generator takes over the power load. Again, audio was improved on the IRLP link to the point that you cannot tell whether a station is local or not. The new TX RX duplexers were installed on the 444.275, which became 442.275. With the frequency change, the interference that had been haunting us was resolved! So far, stations as far away as Bois D' Arc have been able to access the repeater with only 1/2 a watt! What a change for the better. In 2009, the club plans to focus more on HF radio, and get the HF station up and running in time for Winter Field Day 2010.
It was the fall of 1996 when James Adkins (KBØNHX) and Jeff Morrissey (KBØWVT) attended a local club meeting. As new hams, they were excited about their new hobby and interested in getting involved with the local club. During the meeting, it was announced by the club president that everyone needed to watch out for a bunch of "renegade new hams" in Nixa. Of course, no one knew that there was a couple of those "renegade hams" from Nixa present and those "renegade hams" did not know they were renegade either. They were just excited about ham radio.