Repeater News and Items of Interest

February 28, 2005 by Ron Patterson, W6FM

I have migrated the IRLP node over to a new server. It is a dual Pentium Pro with 512 megs of ram. I have also added EchoIRLP to the node. This will allow users of the W6FM repeater system to make and receive calls on the Echolink system. For more information on Echolink go to

I am doing this on a trial basis. I want to be sure that Echolink will be compatible with the day to day operation of the repeater. If it is determined to be necessary, Echolink connections may be restricted to only link or repeater stations. I will re-evaluate Echolink after the trial period and decide if it will become a permanent part of the system. Please feel free to email me with your feedback on the Echolink operation.

January 15, 2005 by Ron Patterson, W6FM

I would like to thank, Rich WB6GVO, for his confidence in me to carry on the maintenance and operation of the Tassajara system. I will do my best to carry on the fine tradition begun by Ernie W6KAP, and continued by Rich, of providing an open repeater system for use by you, the amateurs in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. I would also like to recognize and thank Rich for his efforts in building and maintaining what I consider to be one of the best repeater systems on the central coast.

I will soon be moving the IRLP node to my QTH and will be hosting it on my broadband internet connection. The node will continue to use the node number of 5570. Other than an outage of short duration during the move, you should not notice any change in the operation of the system.

With support from all of you, I look forward to a bright future for the Tassajara repeater system.

January 7, 2005 by Rich Helzer, WB6GVO


New repeater owner/trustee selected

There will be some changes in the WB6GVO system in the coming months. In November I retired and will be selling my home and leaving the area sometime in the next few months.

The 444.525 radio system is a legacy handed down to us by it's original owner, Ernie Kapphahn, formerly WB6HJW, now W6KAP. Without Ernie the system would not exist. When Ernie and his XYL Carole left the area they handed off the system to me because of their desire to continue to serve the hams in our area and because of their confidence that I would be up to the job of keeping it going.

I have spoken with Ron Patterson, W6FM, about the future of the system and he has agreed to take over as the new owner/trustee. Ron is a professional radio technician, and is a very qualified and dedicated person. I am proud to have him take over the reins from me. I know I will be leaving the system in good hands. I hope all of you will continue to support Ron so that he can keep the system in good health and even make some improvements to it.

I feel like the addition of the IRLP to our system is, in a small way, my little legacy to leave with all of you. It is my hope that it will remain in service as long as it is a viable system.

I talked with Ron about this web page, and Ron has said that he will take over maintaining it as well. That's good news because you can all continue to come here to get the latest information about the system right from the head man.

September 9, 2004 by Rich Helzer, WB6GVO

This link to an article called Voice Communications -- ITU Phonetics, Why? by D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ, is a good explanation of the correct phonetic alphabet for voice radio communications and why. Every ham should learn this alphabet and become fluent with it. Although the use of phonetics is rarely necessary, or even appropriate on FM repeater operations because the signal quality and intelligibility is usually very good, sometimes a call sign or other communication may have a series of sound-alike letters in it that would necessitate the use of phonetics. On the other hand, use of phonetics is very common when operating on HF. The standardized phonetic alphabet is a good tool to master so that you can use it correctly when needed.

Using the standardized phonetic alphabet vocabulary greatly reduces confusion and increases intelligibility. In short, the standardized alphabet was developed using the words they chose because they are easily understood, easily pronounced, and there are no two words in the phonetic alphabet that sound alike.

The spelling and pronunciation given in the above referenced article is that officially prescribed by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and the ITU (International Telecommunications Union). Nevertheless, they state that the pronunciation of the words in the alphabet as well as numbers may vary according to the language habits of the speakers. For example; I would prefer Oscar be pronounced OSS-CAR, not OSS-KAH. I think Victor should be VIK-TOR, not VIK-TAH. Those pronunciations might sound okay if you were in New Hampshah. And last, I think Decimal should be DES-SIM-MAL, not DAY-SEE-MAL. You get the idea, but what do I know, I'm just a California hick.