Q Where is this repeater located?
A To this common question, there is no easy answer. When we hear people ask this question we know that they really don’t know exactly what they are asking, since the CARBA system consists of a number of “Remote Bases” connected together with radio links. We can’t tell just by listening what input someone is using. Actually, that is one of our goals… to make our linking system so transparent to audio that everyone sounds the same regardless of where they are.
Q What is a “Remote Base”
A A “Remote Base” is a term we use to define the radios of our system that operate using the FCC designation of “auxiliary” operation. We are required to control on frequencies above 222 MHz and to ensure that each operator is a “control operator.”
Q Why is the system “closed?”
A Actually, a better term might be that we are a private, dues paying organization. There are 3 general reasons for this. First, in our type of operation, the FCC requires that all control operators have the permission of the licensee to operate. Thus, we need to know who is controlling the system at all times. Secondly, given the complexity of our systems, we must have operators that both understand what the system will do and are fully trained in its operation. Third, the construction and upkeep of the system is expensive. We ask all members to support their system through their regular dues payments that go soley to maintain and upgrade the radio system.
Q OK, so how do I become a member?
A We welcome new members to our club. To become a new member you must be nominated by the recommendation of an existing member of our club. We accept new members slowly as we want to get to know them first, but one of the characteristics we look for in a new member is a sincere interest in our club’s goals.
Q Why the recommendation?
A What we look for in our membership is long term commitment and enthusiasm about our system and a willingness to learn more of the technology of advanced linked radio systems. We want someone who will be committed to working with and on the system and supporting it on a long term basis. Most of our members have been with us for more than 10 years and the majority of them are still active. We look for members who are interested in building, using and maintaining complex linked radio systems and working with others to accomplish this end.
Q What kind of person joins CARBA?
A Most CARBA members enjoy technology and exhibit interest in building, maintaining and operating complex linked repeaters and remote base stations. Many of our members have a background in either amateur radio or commercial radio or they have a sincere desire to learn more about this aspect of radio operation. Our members build, maintain and support our system.
Q How do I find members?
A Just listen. If you are at all active in Amateur Radio in Southern Arizona, you will hear many of our members working with the other radio clubs and organizations in the area.
You can also hear and talk to them on many of the open repeaters in the area. Take a look at the coordinaton listings if you need to find a repeater.
We also currently meet for lunch most Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. at Furrs near the corner of Oracle and Wetmore Rd. in Tucson. Everyone is welcome to join us for lunch.
Q I live in California, can I join your group?
A The Cactus Intertie is composed of different radio clubs with a common purpose and commitment to building the network. Each geographical area has it’s own club. Check out the links on our home page to find a club in your area. If you live in an area not currently covered by the system, call or write the club closest to you for more information.
Q What are some of CARBA’s goals?
A CARBA is at the forefront of linking sites using microwaves in the Amateur Radio Service. Our goal is to have all our sites linked with microwaves in the near future. Doing this provides a number of advantages: Quiet, noise and interference free links; multiple channel capability and flexibility; utilization of currently underused frequencies; freeing heavily congested frequencies for others and helping to protect our ham bands by our presence, providing more reliable links for emergency use;and the fun of learning about less popular radio bands and modes. We also hope to grow to the point of providing portable coverage for our membership and emergency services anywhere in southeastern Arizona.
Q Do you help in emergencies?
A Emergency service is one of the purposes of Amateur Radio and one of ours as well. We have helped with communication during the flooding in the 1980’s and more recently by carrying emergency traffic to and from California during their recent earthquake disasters. Our system is always available to RACES, the Red Cross and Search and Rescue. Our goal is to provide a system that will be working and available in case of any disaster as well as to provide trained and prepared control operators to configure and operate the system.
Q How come we don’t see you working parades and shows like the other ham clubs?
A We are a single purpose club devoted to building our radio system and other amateur radio infrastructure. Many of our members belong to other clubs for many different reasons. We do not want to compete with other clubs, rather we try to complement them.