BRATS Monthly Meetings

BRATS Monthly business meetings are the second Monday of each month at 7:00 pm. by Zoom Select “Join Meeting” then enter: Meeting ID 350 725 6358 . Password: 374406. Join our reflector to be notified of meetings and announcements.

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Major Milestone In BRATS ATV Repeater Revival

This month (March 2024), John K0ZAK led a work party of Ed KC3YFZ, Fred K3TAZ, Ian N3CVA, John KA3ZTC, and Stephan KC3ILL to our ATV repeater site. Mission: To implement the fiber-optics solution to the problem of connecting the BRATS ATV receivers to the ATV transmitter. The ATV repeater is single-site on the physical plant floor of a building in northeast Baltimore. Passing of high-definition digital signals is a much more demanding task than the earlier analog ATV repeater using coaxial cable for passing analog signals. Plenty of learning along the way, beginning with what low loss method to use for the signals? The use of HDMI technology over the fiber-optics lines solves the problem.

A big thank you to the team for their efforts as we near completion of the remote testing of the various ATV repeater equipment in the project. The "off the shelf" Raspberry Pi-based controller, designed and supported by the British Amateur Television Club (BATC), is used by numerous ATV repeaters world-wide. Content selection by the BATC controller drives HDMI switchers (via Infrared) to do seamless content switching. All-in-all, very versatile, allowing enhancements and additional repeater features eventually. On Go-Live, all operations will be in the 70cm. band. Photo credits: Ed KC3YFZ, Fred K3TAZ, Neil W3ZQI. -- Neil W3ZQI

BRATS ATV repeater Receive cabinet.
This is the BRATS ATV repeater Receive (RX) cabinet, located some 600 feet away from the corresponding Transmit (TX) rack in the same building. A SuperStationMaster antenna, for receiving is on the other side of the wall. Photo KC3YFZ
Use of broomstick to spool out fiber cable from roll.
Use of broomstick to reliably pair up fiber cable and 2-conductor cable for the long trip through the building. Ed KC3YFZ. Photo K3TAZ
Cables of the ATV repeater system
No small amount of cables required by the BRATS ATV repeater system. New fiber (black jacket) and 2-conductor cable (white jacket). Photo KC3YFZ
long hall at ATV repeater site
That is one LONG hallway at the ATV repeater site. John KA3ZTC and John K0ZAK. Photo K3TAZ
Ian N3CVA, Fred K3TAZ, John K0ZAK, and Stephan KC3ILL working at one of the few lower placed cable runs.
Ian N3CVA, Fred K3TAZ, John K0ZAK, and Stephan KC3ILL working at one of the few lower placed cable runs. Photo KC3YFZ
Stephan KC3ILL, John KA3ZTC, John K0ZAK, and Ian N3CVA.
Stephan KC3ILL, John KA3ZTC, John K0ZAK, and Ian N3CVA. Notice how a stick is required to thread the new cables between obstructions. Photo KC3YFZ
Stephan KC3ILL, John KA3ZTC, John K0ZAK, Ian N3CVA, and Fred K3TAZ working.
Stephan KC3ILL, John KA3ZTC, John K0ZAK, Ian N3CVA, and Fred K3TAZ working. Photo KC3YFZ
John KA3ZTC on ladder.
John KA3ZTC on ladder, high up. Photo K3TAZ
Tall ladder in use while stringing cable at ATV repeater.
A tall ladder climb; very high ceilings. John K0ZAK, Stephan KC3ILL. Photo K3TAZ
Ed KC3YFZ on the roof
Ed KC3YFZ on the roof; now you know why repeaters do so well! Clear surroundings makes a major difference in radiation patterns. Photo KC3YFZ
Transmitter section of the BRATS ATV repeater system; packaged
Transmitter section of the BRATS ATV repeater system; packaged and ready for insertion into equipment cabinet at repeater site. Photo W3ZQI.
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Fair winds, Walt

Although not a ham, Walt Mathers exemplified the ideals we strive for in public service and fascination with technology, how things work, and making old things work again. Walt was our initial contact with the NS Savannah and helped us host one of the larger Jamborees on the Air, personally providing tours to over a hundred Scouts and a similar number of family members each year.

The note below is from Erhard Koehler, the ship's administrator for the NS Savannah and a strong supporter of scouting, STEM programs, and by extension amateur radio:

By now the word has been spreading about the death yesterday of our good friend Walt Mathers.  Walt was admitted to hospital on January 3, and later diagnosed with leukemia.  His initial prognosis was not good, but Walt faced his illness with a deep and abiding faith.  He said he would win no matter the outcome, and he kept that faith right up to the end.

We will have time to share many stories and reminiscences in the days and weeks to come, and frankly, for those of us who knew him well, for the rest of our lives.

On Monday, the ship's flags will fly at half-staff, and as is our tradition, we will gather at noon to remember Walt and toll 8 Bells.  Details of Walt's service will be provided when they become available.

As many of you know, Walt's exuberance got the better of him during the reactor lift and a couple of the evolutions later in the week.  For those who don't know, I had the opportunity to conduct a special GET-I refresher for Walt and Valerie in mid-February.  Walt was at home, looking and sounding well - like his normal self really.  He was really looking forward to coming back to the ship, and he was able to do so a couple of times later in the month.  I'm very pleased that we had that evening together, and that his last visits to Savannah were pleasant ones.  Bob Adams and I visited Walt on Thursday afternoon, and I had the opportunity to say goodbye, to thank Walt for all he's done, and to tell him what a privilege it is to know him.

My thoughts today keep coming back to Tennyson.  Walt was a Navy man long before he was "Workin' on the Rail Road", and despite his many eclectic passions, in the end I think it was always the sea that called to him.  Fair Winds Walt.

Crossing the Bar, Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be a moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

Twilight and the evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crost the bar.

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Tom Farrell W3RCJ (Silent Key)

With deep sadness we report the passing of long-time friend and ATV enthusiast Tom W3RCJ.


Mr. Thomas E. Farrell, transitioned from this life on March 5, 2023. Mr. Farrell was born on August 2, 1927.
A viewing for Mr. Farrell, will be held on Friday, March 24, 2023, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Vaughn Greene Funeral Services, 8728 Liberty Road, Randallstown, MD 21133.
On Saturday, March 25, 2023, a homegoing celebration for Mr. Thomas E. Farrell, will be held at Vaughn Greene Randallstown Chapel, where the family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. with services to follow.
Immediately following services, the Interment will be held at the Druid Ridge Cemetery. Published by Vaughn Greene Funeral Services - Randallstown on Mar. 9, 2023.

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2023 Nominations and Holiday Parts Monday, Dec 12, 7:00 PM at the Greene Turtle Owings Mills

The 2022 holiday party will be at 7 pm at the Greene Turtle in Owings Mills, MD. Come celebrate the end of the year with your fellow hams!

The nominees for 2023 are:

President - N3GXH
VP - vacant
Secretary - K2GZL
Treasurer - KB3SKN

Chairman - K0ryx
Board 1 (formerly K9FXY) - N3CVA
Board 2 (formerly K5KNK) - KB3PLX

Board up in 2023

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BRATS Meeting, circa 1976

How many folks do you recognize? Some are Silent Keys while many have a lot less hair than in the hip 1970s. Thank you to Rick WA3USG.

BRATS Meeting 1976
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Chuck Nemec K3PVZ, Silent Key

With deep sadness we announce the recent passing of fellow Baltimore area radio amateur Chuck Nemec K3VPZ. He died from congestive heart failure. Chuck was a CW guy and loved working DX. First licensed in 1962, he accomplished much over his years in the hobby. He will be missed.

Haight Funeral Home & Chapel P.A.

  • Address
    6416 Sykesville Road
    P.O. Box 195
    Sykesville, MD 21784
  • Telephone
    (410) 795-1400

Link to Chuck Nemec's funeral arrangements, on the Haight Funeral Home web site:

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Joseph Cotton W3TTT, SK 07/31/2021

With deep sadness we announce the passing of fellow radio amateur Joe Cotton W3TTT on July 31, 2021. An avid project builder, amateur radio enthusiast and mentor, he leaves behind many friends. We thank him for service to our club and the amateur radio community at large.

Joseph Cotton Obituary – Pikesville, MD | Sol Levinson & Bros.

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Leon Neufeld N3LN — Silent Key

Leon Neufeld N3LN, of Baltimore, MD, passed away on Friday, April 23rd, 2021 at the age of 75. A long time, early BRATS member and connoisseur of area hamfests. He was active in HF, ATV, and 2-meters FM and was known far and wide as a great ambassador of amateur radio. Helpful to all; he will be missed. Details at Sol Levinson.

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Bob Martin KC3FI – Silent Key

Bob Martin KC3FI Silent Key

With deep sadness, we report the passing of long time avid ATV enthusiast Bob Martin KC3FI, last evening August 22, 2020. Comfortable with both HF and ATV, Bob was a frequent attendee of the nets of a number of area amateur radio clubs.

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