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CARLA 32 & 33 issues
Last updated on March 15, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink
After a power outage a couple of nights ago that affected the San Mateo coastal area, CARLA 32
reverted to commercial power from battery back up but with a serious hum/buzz that is affecting
the links into and out of the site (to/from the VACA Hub & CARLA 33) and degrading the local
repeater operation. Until the road to the site is able to dry out we will not be able to safely
visit it by 4WD. We'll try and post more info once we have it.
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.
CARLA 2's Main link is back Online.
Last updated on January 23, 2018 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink
The Main link at CARLA 2 has been turned off due to excessive noise. We suspect an antenna issue
but until we can schedule a trip we have shut if off.
Update- The link has been repaired and Carla 2 is now back in normal operation.
System 20 is Offline.
Last updated on November 18, 2017 by The C.A.R.L.A. Team | Permalink
The main transmitter at System 20 has a rather loud hum mixed with normal traffic audio.
We are currently looking into the cause. No ETA on repairs yet.
The main transmitter at System 20 developed a rather loud hum mixed with normal traffic audio.
A subsequent visit revealed this to be a workbench repair so the main transmitter has been brought
to the Carla Lab for R&R. No ETA on when it will be back online.
Alternate repeaters you may be able to work to access the Carla system in that area:
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)
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
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.