Mission

Featured

The “North Central Texas Connection (NCTC), is a continuing work in progress. Without you, the donors, our technical staff and the various repeater owners and trustees, this system could never exist.

Most of the system is interconnected either by (420 Mhz.) full duplex links or NXU’s (Internet Extension Units “DMR, Wires-X, Allstar, and EchoLink”).

Our primary objective is to provide a backup system for the National Weather Service and their weather spotters during times of inclement weather. Please Read: “System Protocol”.

The secondary purpose is to provide for you the Amateur Radio Operator a way to communicate in the Dallas/ Ft.Worth metro area and the surrounding cities providing for technical talk and typical idle time chat.

Numerous long hours, weekends, donations of equipment and funding have allowed us to create this project. We hope you enjoy the system as much as we have enjoyed taking old equipment and giving it a new purpose. We look forward to hearing from you, and hope you enjoy this valuable resource.

System Status

Our friends on the ETECS system in the Tyler / Smith County area will be connected to NCTC today due to the severe weather threat today.

The NCTC is available for recreational use until the NWS Fort Worth Radio Desk needs to have the system. At that point please curtail all recreational traffic and yield to the NWS.

Thanks for your cooperation and participation if/when Fort Worth needs essential ground truth reports from your area.

Nathan N5REL

Arlington

Tomorrow at 3:30 pm KB5WB will be reinstalling the CAT800 controller at Arlington. There will be a interruption of service from East Bound to West bound during 3:00-4:00 pm. Allstar users will be disconnected and should connect back to KB5EDB Arlington node 47611. If the interference is gone, 443.850, Wires-x, and Plano will be back on line too.

Fort Worth

Fort Worth is now connected to the system. It is a long RF putt and has two repeater tails. Leave plenty of time between key ups, if using Fort Worth. It will stay connected as long as no issues arise. That leaves Plano, Wires X, and DMR not connected. Plano and DMR work as stand alone.

System Status

There are system repairs underway. Arlington is down. East bound is connected via Allstar through Paris’ link radio. West bound is connected via Allstar through N5KOU Echolink. East and West bound are tied via Allstar. Fort Worth and Plano are not connected to the system, but are in standalone. Fort Worth should be linked via RF to Allstar later this weekend. It is not the best performance and there are extra repeater tails. This is temporary, so use the system for needed communications only.

DMR/TGIF Audio Offset

Hotspot Offset Calibration

People using DMR/TGIF please take a few minutes and setup your hotspot-offset-calibration. On the analog side of the system, many of you are unintelligible. Below is K9NPX procedure on doing this with Pi-Star. For OpenSpots and other products, there are similar processes.

onĀ February 05, 2019Most of the boards I’ve been getting lately have required adjusting the offset to function properly on DMR. Many boards are shipped with a sticker on the bottom with the required offset. These are usually pretty close. There is however a way to get this more exact and specific to your radio.

MMDVMcal

Luckily there is a utility built in to Pi Star that enables you to tune your offset. All it requires is pen and paper, a calculator and a little time.
Step one is to gain ssh access to your Pi. The easiest way to do this is go to “Configuration” then click “Expert” then “SSH Access” and log in with pi-star and your password.
Next set your radio to VFO Digital mode at 433.000mHz TS1 TG9
Then go back to SSH and type “sudo pistar-mmdvmcal” this will start the calibration program. Type “m” this sets a 1031 Hz test tone. Next press the “space bar” to start transmitting. You should hear the test tone on your radio at this point. Next press the “f” key repeatedly until the radio goes silent. After that press the “F” key multiple times until the tone comes back. Write down the frequency at which the tone comes back. Now you have to go the opposite way. Press “F” until the tone stops followed by “f” and write down the frequency where the tone comes back again. Next subtract the lower frequency from the higher frequency of the two you just wrote down. Divide that number by 2 and add the result to the lower frequency. Now the difference you get from 433mHz is your offset.  To sum up

  • sudo pistar-mmdvmcal
  • m
  • space bar
  • f (repeatedly until you lose the tone)
  • F (repeatedly until the tone comes back)
  • F (repeatedly until you lose the tone)
  • f (repeatedly until the tone comes back)
  • subtract lower frequency from higher frequency
  • divide that number by 2
  • add the result to lower frequency
  • find difference between result and 433mHz

Once you have your offset you have to set it in Pi Star.

You’ll need to go to your pi-star dashboard, then “Configure” and “Expert” Now click on “MMDVMHost” Scroll down to “Modem” and enter your offset in RXOffset and TXOffset. Don’t forget to click “Apply Changes”

Still having trouble talking to your hotspot?

The above method will usually get you close enough but if it doesn’t there is a method to tune your hotspot for a minimal BER.
First, set your radio to 433.000mHz Talk Group 1 and Color Code 1.
Next, use the same command in SSH to start mmdvmcal “sudo pistar-mmdvmcal” then press “b” to start the BER tuning program. While pressing the PTT on your radio press the “f” key or “F” key to adjust the frequency until you get the smallest BER you can achieve. However far off you are from the starting frequency of 433mHz is what your RXOffset should be set to.
Tip: These are the instructions for DMR. When you start the mmdvmcal program it displays a list of codes for other tests and other modes you can test.

By K9NPX

Emory Allstar

As of 02/16/2019 the Emory repeater system has been removed from NCTC Allstar Network by Emory. Instead of being direct into Arlington is now running on a 3 link RF hop. Noticeable audio degradation has occurred, but is normal for the three hops.

Brandmeister Disconnected From NCTC

Per the request of the Brandmeister (BM) National Coordinator, the BM DMR link to NCTC has been disconnected. They do not want any cross linking to TGIF DMR. I kept TGIF Network over Brandmeister because of the openness of TGIF, friendly nature of the system, and there willingness to give us our own Talkgroup 189. I will keep the Brandmeister node disconnect, but running for Backup

For information on how to connect goto: https://tgifnetwork.createaforum.com/index.php

David KG5RDF