ARKLATEX Regional Communications Network
The ARKLATEX Regional Communications Network is a cooperative endeavor being undertaken by several Amateur Radio Clubs in NW Louisiana, SW Arkansas and NE Texas. The concept is to build a Regional Amateur Radio Communications Network that covers the entire ArkLaTex region and is always connectedand readily available to respond to regional weather threats or emergencies when needed.
The plan is to link DMR repeaters in strategic locations in NW Louisiana, SW Arkansas and NE Texas via internet. Each digital repeater has two slots on each repeater on the same frequency. Two conversations can be held at the same time on the same repeater. The conversation on slot one is never heard on slot two due to multiplexing of the digital signal. Slot two will be for your local communications just like any local repeater we are all accustomed to. Slot two is local and not linked to the network. Slot one however will be linked 100% of the time to the Brandmiester ARKLATEX talk group. Having each network repeater slot one locked on the ARKLATEX talk group, and connected by internet, will effectively create a very large coverage virtual “regional repeater” for emergency use.
In times of severe weather or regional emergency, slot one will be monitored by local hams on their local repeater using the Arklatex talk group 31229 on DMR and a reflector server that will be built for D-star and fusion interface for relay of regional emergency information or assistance. In times of non-emergency, slot one on your local repeater will be a link to the “regional repeater” for regional communication among all hams. A ham with a hand held radio anywhere in NW Louisiana can talk to a ham with a hand held radio anywhere in NE Texas or SW Arkansas. Or anywhere else in the region, as long as the handheld radio can reach a local networked repeater.
Hams can always access any other digital talk group in existence by connecting to it on their repeater’s non-ARKLATEX slot. Such talk groups include statewide, US-wide or worldwide. But the ARKLATEX network talk group will always be up and connected to the network and available for emergencies or wide area regional traffic with no notice. The ArkLaTex is the region that we are most interested in and currently there is no means of reliable wide area communications over the entire region by a large number of hams on short notice. This network will fix that problem.
The Springhill Amateur Radio Club, Inc. has installed a Motorola DMR repeater at 500 feet that covers the entire rural area between Shreveport, Texarkana and Eldorado. It is tied to the internet via fiber optic line. We are working with other ArkLaTex radio clubs to add their digital repeaters to the ARKLATEX network (talk group 31229). If you have a UHF digital repeater and access to internet at the repeater site, we are very interested in talking with you about joining the network and reaching our goal of a regional network.
This is a cooperative endeavor between ArkLaTex region clubs. Each club will own their repeater. Each club will be in full control of their repeater and their internet access. The only thing we ask is that if you are a part of the ARKLATEX network, you make the ARKLATEX talk group static on one slot of your repeater so that we can rely on your repeater in times of emergency. We do not want to worry with someone having to connect their repeater to the network in times of emergency. It needs to be there, connected and ready.
This network should notbe thought of as a DMR onlynetwork. We are in the process of adding internet link capabilities to our server so that D-Star, Fusion, Echo Link, etc. can all participate in the Network. It is first and foremost a communications network and not so much dependent on the platform of digital communications you choose.
If you are interested in being part of the ARKLATEX Regional Radio Network, please contact David Smith, K5ST, at firstname.lastname@example.org, Robert Smith, KJ5SO, at email@example.com, or Mike Hughes, N9GI at firstname.lastname@example.org.