Thursday, June 22, 2023

ARRL Field Day 2023: Past Hudson Division Site Participation


Back in 2020, we saw the full effect of what COVID did to ARRL Field Day site participation. The total number of participants shrank, but the number of actual "on air" participants increased greatly.

Everyone who organizes an ARRL Field Day operation and who submits logs back to the ARRL collects an attendance sheet and is how site participation is measured. Participants can be those who operate over the air or just come to help with setting up the event or socializing.  

In 2023, those who participated from home the past few years hopefully rejoin us out in the field in the true spirit of what makes field day a real field day.

A few years ago Hudson Valley Digital Network (HVDN) decided to take the publicly available ARRL Field Day data and continue running some analytics about the event, just like we do with global Digital Voice Repeaters.  If interested in past related articles, please use the our search function in upper right of page.

For 2023, the COVID impacts should be not great and site participation should rebound in a big way. 

Weather conditions in some parts of the United States may impact site participation this year, but most who organize ARRL Field Day sites know how to plan around the weather to pull off a great 24 hour preparedness event. Are you ready?

This will also be the first year that HVDN officially participates in ARRL Field Day using our N2HVD callsign. More details on where and what we are doing along with the UNDR Group is listed on its blog page along with details on the search and rescue inspired radio direction finding challenge.

Local ARRL Field Day Participation

Here in what is known as the ARRL Hudson Division and overall site participation has seen an increase in site participation compared to the event wide average.  This is a great trend to see considering that overall attendance across the event has declined over the past 13 years.

Here is a view comparing average site attendance by each of the three sections within Hudson Division. 

Based on the data below, the Northern New Jersey Section with few exceptions has had the smallest average site participation whereas the Eastern New York Section has continued to show higher turnout from those looking to participate in ARRL Field Day.   

Within New York City/Long Island has shown some issues and could be due to people moving out of the area, such as a number of Hudson Valley Digital Network (HVDN) members who decided to move north for better access to public spaces or lower cost of living.

Accept This Challenge Now!

It does not matter if you stay at home and operate as a 1D or 1E station,  plan to join a few friends as part of a small B or C class operation  or be part of a club operation within A class or at an emergency operations center as F class, the point is get out there and enjoy ARRL Field Day this year and keep our local division growing. 

The part two of this article will cover how did Hudson Division do this year in terms of site participation after the event. There may also be a part three later this year when we have full event details to compare against national averages.

Here is the official ARRL Field Day Station Locator map with public sites listed. Based on Hudson Division Sections, a listing of Class A participants is below as of the time of this article a few days before the 2023 event for those organizing "A" class field day sites. The full dataset used to create the above charts is available here.

New York City & Long Island

  1. K2GSG - Garden School Amateur Radio Club
  2. NW2C - NorthEast Wireless Radio Club
  3. KC2RC - Kings County Radio Club
  4. K2VN - Nassau Amateur Radio Club
  5. W2VL - Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club
  6. W2GSB - Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club
  7. W2LRC - Larkfield Amateur Radio Club
  8. W2DQ - Suffolk County Radio Club
  9. W2RC - Radio Central Amateur Radio Club & Order of Boiled Owls
  10. W2AMC - Peconic Amateur Radio Club
  11. K2EC - Bonac Amateur Radio Club

Eastern New York

  1. N2SF - Westchester Emergency Communications Association
  2. W2NYW - Peekskill Cortlandt Amateur Radio Association
  3. K2PUT - Putnam Emergency Amateur Radio League
  4. W2HO - Orange County Amateur Radio Club
  5. K2QS - The QSY Society
  6. N2HVD - HVDN & UNDR Group - Taconic - Hereford MUA
  7. N2LL - Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club - Ferncliff Forest
  8. K2OMD - Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club  - Norrie Park (Not listed on map)
  9. W2EGB - East Greenbush Amateur Radio Association
  10. K2CT/NY2U - Albany Amateur Radio Association & Troy Amateur Radio Association
  11. W2IR/K2AE - Broughton Memorial Field Day Group
  12. K2DLL - Saratoga County Amateur Radio Association
  13. W2F - Eastern Fulmont/Mohawk Valley
  14. WA2ZWM - Schoharie County Amateur Radio Association
  15. W2WCR - Warren County Radio Club

Northern New Jersey

  1. W2NPT - Fairlawn Amateur Radio Club
  2. N2FLO - Franklin Lakes Office of Emergency Management
  3. W2EF - West Essex Amateur Radio Club
  4. W2YD - Morris Radio Club/Hanover Township Office of Emergency Management
  5. WS2R - Splitrock Amateur Radio Association
  6. W2LV - Sussex County Amateur Radio Club
  7. N2XJ - New Providence Amateur Radio Club
  8. K2ZV - Carteret Volunteers Amateur Radio Club
  9. NJ2SP - South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club
  10. W2CRA - Cherryville Repeater Association 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Global Digital Repeater Round Up: Our 1st Post COVID Analysis?

Each May and October going back to 2016, HVDN has analyzed data for digital amateur radio repeater deployments. 

Today being the 1st of June and now officially in the "End of COVID" era according to United States Center for Disease Control, lets have a look at the latest data to kick off summer time in many parts of the world. Lets celebrate with some pie of all digital flavors!

Yaesu Fusion - Still the 2nd most popular (by volume) digital repeater with an impressive 9.97% growth over the reporting period.  New radios like the FTM-300 and FTM-500 by the single manufacturer of Fusion equipment help drive reasons for more fusion repeaters around the world, with a total of 6 current production radios on the market. The least expensive Fusion capable radio is the FT-70 handheld for around $180 USD. 

Icom D-Star - The good news is that Kenwood has the TH-D75 handheld radio ready to go to market later this year and will support D-Stat much like its earlier relative, the TH-D74. However, Icom is still the only main supplier of D-Star handheld, mobile or base radios.  While the new Icom ID-50 handheld will also support D-Star, there are eight current or near production radios that support this digital mode and none of them cost under $200 USD.  Icom D-Star has remained flat for repeater deployments at 1.79% growth but its worth noting like all digital modes, the internet or a repeater is not needed for digital mode communications. 

DMR - How do we explain 12.46% period growth for DMR?  More radios offered by more vendors and full tier 2 compliant handheld radios sold for as low as $30 USD such as the COTRE series of radios found on Amazon.  While you do not need a repeater to use DMR or even the internet, the multi vendor ecosystem certainly is working for the adoption of DMR as the leading (by volume) driver of digital amateur repeaters.

P25 - Still a commercial standard and no inexpensive new radio equipment available, but digital repeater deployments are growing at 15.67% over the reporting period which shows promise.  As commercial users retire phase one P25 equipment, expect to see more digital repeaters be put on the air globally. If the license for the P25 was as loosely enforced like DMR, we could expect to see P25 really grow fast over the next few years unless the new open standard M17 finally gets into production grade equipment.

NXDN - Another commercial standard generally deployed for non-critical users, there continues to be some decent growth by CAGR and not by volume of this digital mode offered by companies like Icom, Kenwood and others.  There are still no very low cost radios available using NXDN, so expect this mode to just be a novelty in use across some pockets of amateur radio enthusiasts. 

Get a slice of : What did you say about M17?

The good news is that now shows a total of five total digital repeaters using this open source mode. Currently there are the following:

  • N1KGN - Located at Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut (United States)
  • WX5RC - Located at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma (United States)
  • KC1AWV - Located in NHL Bruin's territory in Rockingham, New Hampshire (United States)
Its worth noting that two of these three repeaters are listed as multi-mode  and are not M17 full time. The only one likely as a dedicated M17 repeater is Steve KC1AWV's since he is part of the official M17 development team.

There are two international repeaters with the secret one in Poland in Nowy Dwor Mazoweicki operated by the inventor of M17, the infamous Woj SP5WWP and the multimode capable VK3RCQ repeater located in Junortoun Australia.

By October,  HVDN hopes to see a few more M17 repeaters on the air, but there are still no off the shelf M17 capable radios available for purchase which will continue to hold things back for M17.  

However, there are some exciting things happening in the M17 community which will be more clear in the next few months to come.  So, for now keep an eye on M17 but it will take a long time for this one to reach mainstream which is ok given there are no "current" commercial companies making available equipment to use M17. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Signals in Space: How, Where & What


The 47th Annual Trenton Computer Festival took place on March 18th 2023. I was invited back to give a presentation this year alongside some amazing fellow presenters focused on related topics.

The presentation on "Signals in Space:  How, Where & What" were highly animated and included some authentic recordings from some various man-made signals of significance over the past 60+ years.

For the basic static slides, you can download a copy HERE though if you missed it live.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Mumla: Brandmeister The Ever Living


The intent of this article is to provide insight to a limited mobile device to Brandmeister Network experience helpful for those looking for another field capable communications option.  And, if you are a child of the 1980's you will easily understand the villainous image above!

Using the "Mumla" Android or iOS application, you can easily link a few talk groups via Brandmeister for access on your mobile phone from anywhere for limited DMR access. 

Thunder Thunder Thunder Brandmeister?

To get started with Mumla, the Brandmeister team has created an official Wiki to get started as found here: 

Snarf!  Some helpful tips

The directions above are pretty easy to follow, but there are a few things that "might" make you get confused such as:

  • Your DMR ID - You MUST use the newer 31xxxxx format ID. Older 11xxxxx will not work.

  • Your hotspot - Make sure you enter in your SSID as part of your hotspot, but I have realized your hotspot does NOT need to be on the network for this to still work.

  • Where does it work?   This will work anywhere you have mobile device coverage
Connecting The All Seeing Eye!

Now that you have set everything up and you connect, you should see something like this on your mobile device. You can then click into the limited list of bridged talk groups and communicate globally.

Be aware that certain ranges of talk groups will not be permitted to be added after opening a ticket with Brandmeister and even then, you will have to have a server configured to hopefully allow you to get added to Mumla.

After some testing, this works rather well as an alternative communication method using my Android and iOS devices.

This will NOT replace anything for me, but its nice to have this set up "just incase" I need it. Plus, it works well with a Bluetooth headset and audio is rather good.

One last note, if you want to see what happens after hitting the PTT button on Mumla while watching your Pi-Star dashboard, make sure you add the talk group to your hotspot so you can see your traffic.

One idea this gives me is getting more SOTA or POTA people in the Hudson Valley on the TriState NY-NJ-PA talk group while doing activations if they have mobile service if something other than a local repeater is needed for spotting and you do not want to use a hotspot while at the park or in the woods.

Now, how about this as our next ham mobile inspiration!