Watt's New


The Watt's New articles serve to keep you abreast of what has been going on around the C.A.R.L.A. Network. Feel free to browse our archive of past Watt's New articles as well.

On this page:

  • CARLA 32 OTA
  • CARLA 22 On the Air
  • Shasta region coverage re-established
  • CARLA 25, 20 OOS & Shasta Hub isolated
  • Oregon is Back!
  • Link traffic from North to South at 30/31 OK
  • EchoLink/IRLP Node Down
  • Frank Miller, WA6BTH(SK)
  • Solar panels replaced @ CARLA 6/36
  • CARLA 21 (RENO) Antenna replaced
  • Recent CARLA updates and items of interest
  • Pocket Guide PDF has been updated
  • Interactive Map is impaired
    CARLA 32 OTA
    Last updated on October 13, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    Our San Mateo coast (not so) Rapid Response Field Team was finally able to get CARLA 32's PA back
    on the air... 4 mos after the initial failure and just in time for Winter. They had to borrow a
    neighbor's commercial utility truck that could take all the brush encroaching on the narrow road
    to the top. A BIG thanks goes out to both of them! GTW!


    CARLA 22 On the Air
    Last updated on August 31, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    Update-

    The main power supply and the battery charger were both replaced at 22's site. The batteries don't
    appear to be taking a charge so they have been taken offline. But System 22 is back online once again.

    Original post:
    CARLA 22 is off the air with no connectivity via link or locally. We suspect the battery charger
    failed and batteries disconnected from a Low Voltage state. The site had been running on battery
    power for several months due to the power supply dying. No ETR as of yet; we've been a bit busy
    trying to get Redding area coverage re-established.


    Shasta region coverage re-established
    Last updated on August 5, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    Despite the recent hits we took at CARLA 20 & 25 during the Carr Fire, there is some good news
    to report. We are pleased to announce that CARLA 20 (Burney) has been re-built, back on the air
    with coverage for the greater Redding/Burney area and is linked back into the rest of network.
    A brand new repeater was installed along with a new controller, complete overhaul of the power
    plant/distro and installation of an Allstar Node and cellular backhaul link to the Primary Mt.
    Vaca hub. This is turn has re-routed and re-established connectivity to the Shasta hub at CARLA
    13's site and CARLA 28.

    Several people were involved with the procurement, programming, preparation, building, last
    minute rush, travelling, installation, testing and troubleshooting of the same to pull
    everything together and get things in place to make all this happen in less than a week!

    A special thanks goes out to Chris Novara, AB7BS (from the Oregon Connection) who scrambled for
    several days to help get all the Allstar and Raspberry Pi Node equipment built with some custom
    enhancements, programmed, tested and overnighted to us in time for our Saturday installation
    target date, which turned out to be a grueling 20 hour day!

    CARLA 25 (Redding) is still OOS from fire damage and there is no update as far as an ETR is
    concerned. We expect that it will be off the air for a while and access to the site is
    restricted since the Carr fire is still very active and on the move.

    We still have some adjustments to make remotely and the IP link via the cell network may not be
    what we would consider three 9's (99.9% reliability) but it's better than the alternative.

    This was a TEAM effort to make this happen and is very much appreciated!



    CARLA 25, 20 OOS & Shasta Hub isolated
    Last updated on July 30, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    The Carr fire in the Redding area breached the Mountain Top where CARLA 25 is located and it's
    off the air. Damage assessments have not been made yet but we're preparing for the worst case
    scenario. This was a key site in that it is not only a repeater site for the area but also a
    North/South relay site to the Shasta region hub located at CARLA 13.

    Additionally, after making a trip to the area and repairing CARLA 20 this Sunday, it failed to
    come back up while doing a battery fail-over revert test. It was a complete wasted trip and the
    third one in the last several months.

    To add insult to injury the Shasta Hub is now isolated from the rest of the network. The only
    system that is still -linked- into the rest of the network that will have some coverage in the
    area is CARLA 36. CARLA 13 & 28 are still operational but isolated from the network.

    We are going to try and install a Allstar cellular ip based link solution at CARLA 20's site
    and see if we can't get it and the Shasta hub linked back into the rest of the system while
    CARLA 25's site remains off the air.


    Oregon is Back!
    Last updated on June 16, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    Carla is once again connected to the Oregon Connection's network of repeaters. This is a full time connection
    allowing communications throughout Oregon, particularly along the I-5 corridor. To see Oregon's coverage, go to:

    https://www.oregonconnection.net


    Link traffic from North to South at 30/31 OK
    Last updated on June 15, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    There is an intermittent problem with the SOUTHBOUND LINK traffic getting to CARLA 30/31 from the
    North. Northbound Link traffic is working the entire length reverse path however. This is an
    intermittent problem that we are trying to isolate. NO ETR as of yet.

    UPDATE- The issue has been fixed. It was discovered that the RX link radio's cable had been pulled out.
    Speculation is that a large rodent may have visited the nice warm radio and knocked the cable loose.
    The cable has been secured and the link to 30/31 is now working.



    EchoLink/IRLP Node Down
    Last updated on May 3, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    The EchoIRLP Node for Carla has been taken offline to facilitate bringing the Nevada Hub back online.
    This is a temporary fix until we can repair the underlying issue with the link to/from the Nevada side of the system.


    Frank Miller, WA6BTH(SK)
    Last updated on January 27, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    It’s with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of another friend and early supporter of
    CARLA. Frank Miller, WA6BTH(SK) passed away in his sleep just recently. Frank was one of the
    original founders and driving forces behind the Gorilla Radio System in the San Francisco Bay
    Area from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Due to the generosity and kindness of Frank and a few other
    supporters, CARLA is proud to have several of those systems/frequencies in our network.

    Periodically, you may hear an “Ahhhhhhh” on the system. That was a common greeting over the air
    from the original GRS crew and others that still perpetuates today. If Frank could find an old
    Micor compa-station, a few cans, dented piece of coax and a rebuilt antenna, he’d have himself
    a repeater on the air! He was famous for having a lot of energy and some Gorilla looking
    installations over the years but that never stopped him from having fun with radio, cars and
    other hobbies. Before he retired to Somerset CA, he had been the Chief Comm Technician at San
    Mateo County communications division.

    Here’s a BIG AHHHHHH to you ChiefTech, you will be missed Frank.



    Solar panels replaced @ CARLA 6/36
    Last updated on July 15, 2017 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    This afternoon a crew was able to replace a couple of solar PV panels that were smashed from winter
    storms at CARLA 6/36's site. A storm tore a microwave dish ice shield off the tower and onto the
    panels and some antennas. Both CARLA 6 and 36 have been going off line for days at a time from a
    lack of enough panels to keep the power plant fully charged. At some point we hope to add some more
    to the array but for now were hoping it will be enough to get us through the rest of summer/fall. A
    BIG thanks goes out to the team that headed up there for the initial recon trip a couple of months
    ago and today for the actual replacement.


    CARLA 21 (RENO) Antenna replaced
    Last updated on July 15, 2017 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    This morning a crew from the greater Reno area made it to the site and swapped out the damaged
    antenna with a new replacement. This has been a while in the making trying to procure an antenna,
    transporting it to a couple of locations for deployment, trying to access the site while roads were
    still full of snow and finally making it today for removal of the damaged one and installation of
    the new one.

    A BIG thanks goes out to all the individuals that had a part in making this happen and getting
    CARLA 21 back on the air in full operation. The antenna should have a different pattern now
    favoring the I-80 corridor.

    The CARLA Team.


    Recent CARLA updates and items of interest
    Last updated on June 1, 2017 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    There’s been a lot going on so far this year, a lot of which has been in the background and
    without much fanfare. We also suffered a lot of damage at multiple sites from the heavy 2016-
    2017 winter storms. At a number of high level sites the snow turned to ice and the winds whipped
    up to 100+++ mph gusts which in turn made a recipe for disaster. That equated to falling ice and
    broken tower hardware/components which in turn meant broken antennas as well as lots of
    commercial power outages and other disabled equipment. We had people making multiple trips going
    to sites to try and make repairs in the dead of winter and there are still some sites that are
    in need of visits. We figured it would be a bad winter but we weren’t expecting to make up for a
    few years of light winters all at once.

    So far, we are aware of a broken repeater antenna (suspended sideways) at CARLA 21’s site and a
    broken solar array, antennas and wind generator at CARLA 6’s site which is causing it to limp
    along. CARLA 8’s repeater PA is still out of service and it as well as CARLA 9’s batteries would
    not engage during the winter outages. Those are just some of the lingering issues we’ll try and
    address this summer along with a number of smaller ones and the ones that were already addressed
    were numerous as well. We can only do so much with the limited resources and funds we have so
    some repairs and upgrades will have to wait.

    We made a lot of progress recently on the southern end of the network and this serves as the
    Official Announcement of two additional sites:

    CARLA 30 (Bakersfield/Cuyama)
                         and
    CARLA 31 (Los Angeles/Southland)

    These two systems were known to some that tried using them the past couple of years during numerous
    testing phases and repairs but remained a work in progress and we wanted to wait before pulling
    the trigger on announcing them until we had their operation(s) a bit more stabilized. A very
    select few people have committed hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to making these two
    systems a reality and getting them to work on the network. That included not only the procuring,
    designing and building of the systems (and modifications to connecting systems) but also, just
    two months ago, a complete and unexpected de-commissioning of CARLA 31 and then rebuilding it
    brand new and moving to an alternate building/location on the same mountain top in Southern
    California. An extraordinary amount of time, energy, hours, driving, testing, repairs, upgrades,
    patience, negotiations and money was expended to make all this happen. A BIG THANK YOU goes out
    to those select individuals who made it happen. They know who they are and we are very
    appreciative of their hard work, dedication and generosity.

    That being said, there is still more work to be done at CARLA 31’s site with the pending
    completion of the new tower. We should be able to move antennas onto it sometime this summer. We
    are currently on a temporary structure with less than ideal circumstances but we felt the moment
    had come to call it good enough for prime time and integrate them both into the mix. This also
    means CARLA’s coverage has increased to include border to border to border coverage. When you
    consider the footprint of the Oregon Connection’s network, between the two systems there is
    coverage from the southern portion of Washington State through a large portion of Oregon and
    California (Northern and Southern) to the Mexican border as well as a large portion of North-
    Western Nevada. We still have some more expansion and improvement projects on the books that may
    see the light of day sometime this year if things go well.

    As you can probably imagine, it takes a lot of personal time and funds to keep a network of this
    size up and running not to mention expanding, upgrading and constant repairs. That is why we’ve
    also established a GoFundMe campaign as yet another avenue to
    make it easier for some people to send a donation if they feel compelled to help out. We don’t have membership dues,
    fundraiser events, auctions or other sources of income. 95% of the operating and capitol funding comes from
    just a select number of people and few generous site sponsors but it’s still nowhere near enough
    to sustain this level of service. Please consider supporting CARLA so we can continue to make it
    a reliable means of communications, When All Else Fails. We started with a nominal goal for the year
    but trust us, it doesn’t stop there.

    Speaking of the CARLA website, we hope to get the interactive map back up and running this year.
    It’s been stuck in a non-operative state for an extended period and in the meantime the network
    has grown so we need to get it back up and working. It was a highlight for many people when they
    went to use it in the past.

    If you haven’t checked out the Usage Guidelines or PL and Courtesy Tones pages of the website
    yet, please familiarize yourself with them. There has been an influx of new operators over the
    years, as well as regulars, that have never looked at that material and could stand to have a
    better experience and understanding of certain repeater/network operations once they do.

    Lastly, we’re still on track for doing a complete overhaul and building of a new hub for our
    primary Mt. Vaca location which we hope to have completed this summer. A lot of prep work has
    gone into it including antenna/tower work, equipment procurement, etc... Once we have all
    parties available to continue the design and build process we’ll push forward with it.
    Unfortunately, there have been numerous diversions to deal with which has slowed progress. Our
    goal has been to have dual hubs on the same mountain top but in different buildings/sites for
    redundancy and have the ability to cut over remotely if needed. That plan may be in jeopardy now
    due to imminent changes with the site we’re currently in. Worse case, we’ll have a new hub but
    only one. This is still a work in progress.

    This was a brief summary of just some items that may be of interest to a few of you. There’s a
    lot more that’s gone on which we won’t bore you with but please realize it is a near full time
    job keeping CARLA up and running not only for your usage but especially so for when it’s really
    needed.

    Thanks.

    The CARLA Team


    Pocket Guide PDF has been updated
    Last updated on May 21, 2017 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    The Travel/Pocket Guide pdf has been updated recently with the latest changes and updates. This is
    as of: 5-21-2017. It should match the website's home page line up as well.


    Interactive Map is impaired
    Last updated on January 24, 2016 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink

    Due to some changes by Google and their Map site, the CARLA Interactive Map is not functioning as it should. We are working to resolve the problem but it has been a very slow process. sorry for any inconvenience.