Welcome to the Del City Radio Club (DCRC). We hope your membership is a rewarding one and you’ll tell your friends to join as well. Our Federal Communications Commission (FCC) call sign is W5DEL and refers to the Del City Radio Club. Our organization embraces new technologies and welcomes changes. Of course we embrace HF and the traditional modes of amateur radio as well.
Our club started as an experiment in 2002 with no specific purpose other than a fascination that Paul McCord Jr, (K5GLH) had with computers and ham radio. He became an amateur radio operator in 1983, the same year as he obtained his first computer. Due to a family illness, Paul’s wife Sunday (KE5APB) had to spend a lot of time at the hospital to care for a loved one.
K5GLH was left home alone so he spent a lot of time playing around with radios and computers. He had previously, while stationed in Alaska in 1996, experimented with a program called Internet Phone from Vocaltec, using VoIP on repeaters with computers. In the early 2000’s a new voice over IP (VoIP) system called ILink came out specifically for ham radio. It was a system that ran on Windows using the command line. It interfaced a Windows based PC to a radio or repeater using any number of interfaces, either commercial or homemade. The servers had a listing where all nodes would show up like a phone book. Once the connection was made, the communication was between the two nodes and not through the server.
While popular, I-Link was more of a DOS type program and was not that user friendly. It didn’t take long for the creator of Echolink to build a better Windows user interface using the I-Link servers. Since it was much easier for the average user to set up, people began to flock to Echolink and use it instead of I-Link. The creator of I-Link was very resistant to this in the beginning and started blocking access to their servers from anyone not using the I-Link software, essentially making Echolink unusable. Soon, the Echolink developer began using their own servers. K5GLH set up his own simplex Echolink node at this time on 145.67. It was during this time in 2002 that K5GLH began reading about other VoIP systems including Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP). In July 2002, K5GLH ordered the first IRLP board that became node 8440. It signed on the air on September 4th, 2002 on 145.67, simplex. Since this was the only IRLP node within a 100+ miles, he set up the now defunct web site, http://www.delcityarc.com.
At the ten-minute mark, a CW ID script was played, along with a voice announcement directing people to the web address so that local hams could read about IRLP and learn how to use it. When brainstorming on what the web domain should be, K5GLH thought that since there was no Del City Amateur Radio Club (DCARC), it would be a perfect domain to order. Our original club call sign was KE5ABP and we immediately requested a vanity call of W5DEL. The idea of choosing W5DEL was Ron Williamson, KX5RW. He was the former holder of that club name and the 444.000 MHz repeater.
Due to the success of the first node, W5QO ordered another node board in October 2002. The second node, became 3867 and was on 147.48 simplex, signing on the air November 18, 2002. We began getting requests for information via the web site from people showing interest. W5QO then converted a GE MASTR EXEC II into a two-meter repeater, applied for and was awarded a non-protected frequency pair on 145.25 MHz. The repeater signed on the air in January 2003 and IRLP node 3867 was connected to this repeater. Later that year, on July 7, 2003, another repeater was put on the air after being approved for a UHF repeater pair on 443.3 MHz. IRLP node 8440 was connected to this repeater.
On January 21, 2004, we were assigned an FCC club license with the call sign of KE5ABP. On February 13, 2004, we were approved for a vanity call sign W5DEL. Prior to requesting a club license, both repeaters carried the call sign W5QO to reflect Paul McCord Sr, our Trustee. In 2005, at the expiration of our old domain, we changed it to ther also now defunct web site, http://www.w5del.com. On August 3, 2006 we changed our web site to the also defunct http://www.delcityarc.org, actually desiring our original domain but the .com was not available without having to purchase it from a company. We waited too long to renew our old domain so we lost access to it. Prior to 2010, the 443.3 MHz repeater and antenna were housed on a tower at K5GLH residence. When he sold his house, he took the tower down on 6 February 2010, and the antenna was installed on the West side of the same tower as the 146.7 MHz repeater. It went from 70 feet down to 35 feet, severely reducing the coverage. It was also discovered the antenna had storm damage.
On October 16, 2016, a project was completed raising the 146.7 MHz repeater to 112 feet on a brand-new Rohn 55G tower, a brand new DB-224 antenna with brand new 7/8-inch hard line. This same project raised the 443.3 MHz repeater to 95 feet and on a brand-new DB-420 antenna with brand new 7/8-inch hard line. On December 8, 2011, we were approved for a coordinated frequency pair of 146.700 MHz to replace the interference laden 145.25 MHz. This approval was contingent upon an agreement with local repeater 146.67 MHz that interference would not be an issue. Our approval could have been revoked within a certain amount of time had our repeater caused interference with existing repeater 146.67 MHz.
This was a protected frequency pair where the old 145.25 frequency was not. The term protected refers to having exclusive protection to that pair within a certain distance. Of course, no one has exclusive rights to any frequency in Amateur Radio, but the FCC gives greater latitude in an interference case to the station that is coordinated. For a period, the IRLP nodes were affected by extreme temperatures because they were stored in an uncontrolled climate environment. Extreme heat would cause the IRLP computers to fail or seize up.
On August 9, 2012, we changed our FCC license from Del City Amateur Radio Club (DCARC) to Del City Amateur Radio Society (DCARS). On December 31, 2012 we changed our web site to the defunct http://delcityars.com. Due to the registration and hosting being too expensive, on July 9, 2013 we moved this domain to WordPress.com site to use as a blog format. The downside to this is that we could not upload files to the domain but rather could only use it as a blog. In April 2015, W5QO installed new, smaller Raspberry Pi IRLP nodes to replace the desktop computer variety, allowing them to be stored in a climate controlled environment.
We chose to get new node numbers instead of maintaining the old ones. The old IRLP node 8440 became 4122. The old 3867 became 3013. We allowed the old node numbers to expire and be returned for other people to use. There was no real reason for doing this other than to have a fresh new start. These new Raspberry Pi nodes allowed them to be stored in a climate controlled environment so that we didn’t have to turn them off all the time. The old nodes were desktop computers that were subjected to extreme heat and cold, rendering them useless.
In September 2017, our trustee received a letter from our Internet Service Provider (ISP) informing us that our second external IP would no longer be available after October unless we subscribed to a commercial account. Commercial accounts are significantly more expensive that residential accounts. The main reason this was an issue was because IRLP and Echolink both have specific ports that are needed to communicate over a network. These ports are not changeable so when connecting a node into a computer network, it requires specific ports to be forwarded in the router to the computer hosting the nodes. The problem is that we had two IRLP and two Echolink nodes. You cannot forward the same port to separate computers on the same network. You must have an external IP address for each node so that ports can be forwarded to each computer separately.
This put us in a dilemma where we were going to have to drop one IRLP node and one Echolink node completely. After doing some research, we discovered that Allstar Link system would allow you to use more than one node on one computer AND you could assign any port you chose. What a life saver that was. In October 2017, we converted IRLP node 4122 to Allstar Link node 28941 (443.300 MHz). About two weeks later, we converted IRLP node 3013 to Allstar Link node 46810 (146.700 MHz). On June 7, 2018, the 443.300 MHz repeater was converted to System Fusion and the WIRES-X node 33521 was put on the air, due to the generosity of Michael McCord, WX5DEL. He spend the money from his own pocket and purchased the Yaesu DR-2X repeater. This is a dual mode repeater for both analog FM and digital. We decided to put IRLP back on the 146.700 MHz and kept the Allstar Link nodes running but were not connected to any repeaters and remain that way to this day. The Allstar Link nodes have been live streaming on Broadcastify for several years and continue to be to this day.
On March 2, 2021, the 146.700 MHz repeater was also converted to System Fusion but without WIRES-X as W5QO spend his own money to purchase another Yaesu DR-2X repeater. It is the intention to reconnect both IRLP and Allstar Link back to this repeater. On February 13, 2021, we changed the club name once again to Del City Radio Club as an attempt to be more inclusive of other radio services, both licensed and unlicensed and to include voice over IP services such as Zello, TeamSpeak to our communications tools. Those are not radio services but are communication services that we use. At this time, the new https://delcityradioclub.com site was registered and is now the official web site of the Del City Radio Club
We celebrated our 20th birthday on 4 September 2022. Feel free to visit some of our links. If you have any relevant links or information to add then please let us know.