Operating notes for Sunday, July 27 2014:
Keane KD8AOZ organized a class to show good use of 2m radios at All Hands Active on Sunday. Larry KD8MZM and I were there.
First up was programming the Baofeng UV-5R with Chirp. We noticed that the version of Chirp you get when you download the package from apt-get is very old (0.1) so we pulled down a new fresh copy from source from the distribution site, chirp.danplanet.com.
I showed folks how to use the Repeaterbook interface in Chirp to program a bunch of channels quickly, which was much less tedious than hand-coding them into the Baofeng or typing them into tables in Chirp directly. It does mean that Repeaterbook needs to be kept accurate and up to date.
Once we had three working radios we went to the top of the Liberty Square structure to see what we could see. Here I was able to try out a better antenna than the stock one on my radio, and also to get some altitude to help try to reach more distant stations. As it turns out, the top of that structure has a metal covering over the railing structure, which Keane pointed out would be useful to improve reception. I held the rig parallel t the antenna and keyed up the WD8IEL repeater run by the Chelsea Amateur Radio Club, which is about 15 miles away. It came through loud and clear - a much improved result over the normal reception!
All in all a good outing. I am planning to get a better antenna!