Tidewater Wireless W4VB News  

November 2009

Website:  http://www.w4vb.org

Welcome to all of the new hams, and many thanks to all users of the W4VB repeater systems!  As the holiday season approaches, visitors from out of town can be expected to be looking for an active repeater to make contacts and obtain local information.  Please try to be on the W4VB repeaters as much as possible, and assist any visitors or calls for assistance.          

W4VB On the Air

Tidewater Wireless W4VB operates the following systems:

145.330 Repeater in Norfolk (-600 kHz input, CTCSS 131.8, autopatch capable)

147.375 Repeater in Norfolk (+600 kHz input, CTCSS 131.8, autopatch capable)

224.400 Repeater in Norfolk (-1.6 MHz input, CTCSS 131.8, autopatch capable)

442.950 Repeater in Norfolk (+5 MHz input, CTCSS 131.8, autopatch capable)

444.475 Repeater in Norfolk (+5 MHz input, CTCSS 127.3, autopatch capable)

145.170 Repeater (operated as WA4ZUA)(-600 kHz input, CTCSS 131.8)


The 145.33, 442.95, and 224.400 repeaters are normally all linked together.

The 147.375 and 444.475 repeaters are often linked with each other.

The 224.400 repeater has been experiencing some problems with its transmitter module, but will hopefully be resolved soon.

            The W4VB EchoLink node is normally linked to the 145.33/442.95/224.400 system.  Look for W4VB-R or W4VB-L.  EchoLink connections are made with hams on the Internet running the EchoLink software as well as from hams on their radios communicating through another repeater or simplex system connected to the EchoLink on the W4VB repeater.  Amateurs from around the world may connect to us through this node and call out through the repeater.  All amateurs on the repeater are invited to communicate with stations connected via EchoLink. Users of the W4VB repeater system desiring the ability to connect to a specific EchoLink station “on demand” from over the air may contact W4NMH in order to make arrangements for a special code.  Additional EchoLink information is available at http://www.echolink.org.

Thanks to KN4IJ for retuning the duplexers on the 147.375 repeater.

If you desire an autodial slot for the 145.33/442.95/224.400/147.375/444.475 repeaters please contact K4DA with your request.  Repeater supporters receive an unlimited number of autodials. 

Tidewater Wireless repeaters normally require the CTCSS tone indicated above for access.  W4VB repeaters transmit the same tone for the benefit of users with the ability to limit interference through the use of the Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) on their radio receiver.


          The following nets are conducted on the W4VB repeaters:

Monday-Wednesday 7:30 pm on 145.33/442.95/224.400: Radio Amateur Society of Norfolk (RASON) Information Net - Everyone is welcome and encouraged to check in. 

Thursday 7:30 pm on 145.33/442.95/224.400: Norfolk Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Net- Everyone is welcome and encouraged to check in. 

As Needed:  Norfolk Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Tactical, Operations, and Administrative Nets – Any/All of the W4VB repeaters may be used as determined by the Emergency Coordinator (EC) or Assistant Emergency Coordinator (AEC).

Repeater Operating Modes

Tidewater Wireless repeaters have several different operating modes, often identifiable by a different courtesy tone.  The most easily recognized are the Normal Mode (M1), Rush Hour Mode (M2), and Net Mode (M5).

            Here are some of the characteristics of the different modes:

Normal Mode (M1):  Used on all of our repeaters when other modes are not scheduled or activated.  Has a 3-tone burst for the courtesy tone.  Rotates between several different IDs.  Tail Messages may be activated by a control operator when desired.

Rush Hour Mode (M2):  This mode is set on weekdays 5:30 am-9:00 am and 3:30 pm-6:30 pm.  It uses a distinctive courtesy tone and has a Tail Message announcing the time.  Other Tail Messages may or may not be activated by a control operator.  This mode is designed to remind users of the potential for an influx of mobile stations on the repeater while traveling the area roads and highways.

Net Mode (M5):  This mode is used 7:20 pm-8:15 pm on the 145.33/442.95/224.400 repeater system to facilitate the RASON Net Monday-Wednesday and the Norfolk ARES Net on Thursday.  A single-tone burst is used for the courtesy tone, however, a different tone is used depending on whether the user is transmitting on 2 meters, 220, or 440.  Once you recognize the three sounds you will be able to tell which repeater the person is using during the net.  A single tone courtesy tone on any of the Tidewater Wireless repeaters may indicate a net in progress.  Control operators have the capability of activating the Net Mode whenever needed.  All Tail Messages are normally off while in Net Mode and most IDs will be in CW.

Email Listserver

            The W4VB email listserver provides a method for updated news and information to be exchanged between all members of the list.  Email can only be sent to the list by members of the list.  To be added to the list, or to make a change to your email address used by the listserver, please contact K4DA.

Norfolk ARES

            The Norfolk Amateur Radio Emergency Service (Norfolk ARES) uses Tidewater Wireless repeaters to support its mission.  The Norfolk ARES website is available at http://www.norfolk-ares.org and they also have a listserver for members.

          The Norfolk ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC) is Rich Davis (W4NMH).

            For additional information regarding Norfolk ARES, or to schedule training, please contact the Emergency Coordinator, Rich W4NMH.

 User Codes

      Tidewater Wireless repeaters have many functions available to serve its users.  Please be sure to ID prior to activating any of these functions.  Codes should not be given over the air or given to others by any means other than off-air through a W4VB control operator.  Providing assistance to visitors to the area is encouraged, however, the authorized user must dial the codes for the visitor.  If you do not have the codes or have questions please contact K4DA.

 Member Profiles

      During the course of each week many different voices are heard over the W4VB systems.  This section provides an introduction or update from some.

From: Harley Huntemann – W7HJ

I have a new (2800W) generator at the Appomattox QTH now.  Tower hole is dug.  It's about 75 yards from the house, completely out in the woods ! 

Hope to pour the concrete this coming 3-day weekend, weather permitting, of course.

Will be putting up a 40' Universal Aluminum tower that folds down at the base, so I'll NEVER have to climb it.  It's just like the one I had when I was in college out in Bremerton and that one really worked swell.  Even with the tribander and rotator on the top section, two people can hoist the whole thing into the sky, no sweat.  The tower only weighs 78 lbs and the beam, rotator and mast add about 30 lbs.  Assuming the two people start to raise the tower from the 20 foot level, about half the tower weight is already against the hinged base, and only a fraction of the weight of the antenna, mast and rotator are what the two people have to actually lift up, and the more vertical the tower gets, the more the weight shifts to the tower base.  Once it's vertical, two long bolts are put into the hinges to hold the tower in place whilst all else is tightened for the vertical position.  No guy wires needed due to the HUGE chunk of concrete and rocks in the base.  The hole is 3' x 3' wide x 4' deep.  It's rated to handle in excess of 80MPH winds, so that tower isn't going anywhere! 

I'll take pix of the progress and send to you so you can "sense the triumph" of W7HJ finally getting a tower and beam up into the sky !!!

I probably won't be operating remotely from out there anytime soon.  No Internet, except for Satellite, and that costs at least $100/month.  Maybe someday, but not right away, hi.

My flagpole here at the beach QTH finally bit the dust, literally.  Over the years, the RF caused some heavy arcing amongst the joints of the pole (every 5 feet), even though I was using stainless steel clamps at each intersection, they still arced!  Eventually, the aluminum melted in rings around the joints and the structural integrity became a factor...so I took it all down.

I replaced the flagpole with a DX Engineering 65' aluminum vertical that I normally keep nested at 23' with Ol' Glory proudly flying at the top (during the day).  After dark, I can use the tilt-over base to lower the pole, then extend it all the way out to 65' to run a full quarter wave on 80M, and get this, I can also run it on 160M by attaching a 65' piece of wire to the top and running the wire off to the wisteria to form an inverted L configuration, or a full quarter wave on 160M.  It's going to be FUN this winter!

Even with the pole nested at 23', using the antenna tuner I can put out enough of a signal to work just about anyone I can hear....I worked the guys in Luxembourg the other night on 40M and then worked them on 80M, all with the 23' vertical with the tuner.  The 23' height was chosen because it's a full quarter wave on 30M, which lately has been my favorite DX band, and I can tune the ATU to 40M or 80M and switch to bypass and have the 30M antenna there for me.  Its SWR is about 1.2:1, so I can't complain.

I have not been very active on VHF/UHF lately, but hope to get something back into the car in a couple of weeks.  I had a lot of trouble with RF burning out my fuel pump module so I still have to isolate that problem before I can run more than a couple of watts.  With all the repeaters we have, I probably won't need more than 5 or 10 watts, though.

From: Dave Hamm – WA4WX

WA4WX (Dave Hamm) is alive and well…listening more than I will let on to, transmitting occasionally when I hear a net in progress. 

I am currently working with the Advanced Capabilities Group at Northrop Grumman Ship Building in Newport News, working on some spooky stuff.  Nothing further on work.  “Nuff “ said.

 At night, I’m working on a second Degree, A Bachelors in Business Administration…still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.   Master’s Degree to follow immediately afterwards.

 I’ve not given up hope for locating  WA4ZUA in Downtown Hampton, but time has me squeezed tight.  Wife is retired from 35 years in Govt . Service.  Good for her!

 All of my radios are alive and well, including mobile and marine mobile.

Some Websites of Interest to W4VB Repeater Users

Tidewater Wireless:  http://www.w4vb.org

Norfolk Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES):  http://www.norfolk-ares.org

Radio Amateur Society of Norfolk (RASON):  http://www.rasonva.com

EchoLink:  http://www.echolink.org