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Van Buren NA0D-R3 is ON THE AIR as is VARA-FM/Packet

Well, aside from some needed antenna work, 444.400 is on the air as of yesterday. It's a compromise antenna situation but seems to cover Van Buren and the freeway for awhile at least. I literally have a dB420 mounted 10 feet off the ground. Due to the site prominence, it gets out a little bit but since I'd had my coordination pending for almost a month, I wanted to get it finally on the air. Some tower friends are eventually coming and hopefully they'll help me get this thing up 100-200' for some nice coverage. It's showing up now on the APRS map, and is full-time linked into my ArkLink hub. What is ArkLink? I dunno sounded fun and maybe it will turn into something. All 3 of my hammy repeaters are linked full-time now.

As an aside, I got VARA-FM going at the site also. It is on 145.770 like NA0D-10 and is working pretty well. Funny thing, that antenna is a homemade copper J-pole antenna fed with LMR-400 and only up about 20', site prominence helping. Also waiting for a better antenna and permanent home but I say better antenna lightly; build one of these copper J-poles as they work amazingly! This one I built I did years ago with 1/2" copper water pipe. After some adjustment to the feed point on the j-pole, I managed a 1.1 SWR and some actually seriously good reception. If I do another one of these some day, I'll probably try and use SCH40 3/4" copper pipe for some additional strength. For a home antenna, these work very well. However, I'll use a commercial antenna for a commercial site.

I will update pictures and stuff once things are done. I did get some drone shots at the site yesterday, maybe I'll edit a small video and share later. 73!

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