RSOC Ops Room

AARC RSOC Operations room during a busy pre-COVID day. Can you believe how clean the conference table is?

What’s an operations room?

Definition: operation noun (WORK): an act or process of working, doing something, being in action, or having an effect.

We are operating radios. The Operations Room is the heart and soul of the Anchorage Amateur Radio Club. It is the reason we put our blood, sweat, tears and broke open our wallets to be able to have this incredible facility. This is why a large part of our labor is plowing and shoveling snow in the winter and mowing over 3 acres of grass in the summer.

What can we do from the Operations Room?

  • Multiple High Frequency (HF) transceivers for regional and world-wide communication
  • Multiple Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radios for basically line of sight communications. With repeaters on the Anchorage hillside and atop mountains, we can talk to the MatSu valley and the Kenai Peninsula.
  • Emergency Communications (EMCOMM) within minutes of an attention grabbing earthquake amateur radio can get the news from all over the state like on Jan 23, 2018
  • Run the South Central Simplex Net every Wednesday at 7 PM local, starting on 146.520 MHz FM
  • Education and Operating: Would you like to learn how to use a HF radio with legal limit power? We can do that. On the other side, would you like to try QRP operation, transmitted RF output power of Watts or less. How about Morse Code? Digital modes: RTTY, FT8, LoRa
  • We can also use our satellite ground station to talk to stations in the lower 48, the north Pacific ocean, and north eastern Asia.  Sometimes we can even squeek in a link to Europe, and on a very good day have a shot at the International Space Station.
  • We have a dedicated VHF transceiver for the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) as well as an APRS HF gateway station.
  • We have dedicated receivers for aircraft Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) aircraft tracking along with Automatic Identification System (AIS) which tracks marine vessels.
  • We host a Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) hotspot
  • Learn about the Raspberry Pi. It is a small computer (think pack of gum to deck of playing cards) that has many uses. We have Raspberry Pis that power our mesh network’s VOIP PBX, our HF APRS gateway, our DMR repeater, and our mesh network’s MeshChat chat/file server. With a Raspberry Pi, a Software Defined Radio, and a cheap antenna you can receive NOAA weather satellite images directly.
  •  We have several modems capable of multiple types of digital communications protocols, including PACTOR. PACTOR is one of many radio modulation modes used by amateur radio operators, marine radio stations, military or government users such as the US Department of Homeland Security, and radio stations in isolated areas to send and receive digital information via radio. Should we lose the internet in Anchorage, we can use a system called Winlink to send email via VHF to regional line-of-site stations, or via HF radio to stations in Lower 48, or for that matter, anywhere on the planet.
  • We have a dedicated Mesh network that covers the Anchorage bowl with nodes throughout the Anchorage area. We even have a node out in Yetna connected via a 49-mile link to our Site Summit node.  We can run many services on this network, including Voice over IP (VOIP) phones and a Raspberry Pi PBX, chat and file servers, Winlink system interconnectivity, APRS I-gate connectivity, and more. Most of the nodes are on UPS systems with backup emergency generators.
  • Our Interoperability Area contains radios to support other radio services such as Citizen Band (CB), Marine VHF, commercial, the Alaska Land Mobile Mobile Radio system (ALMR),  the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), VHF aviation, and the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS). This is where we participate in the SHARES program.
  • Direction Finding: On October 10, 2018 we went back to the origins of the property, and found a transmitter that was interfering with the Grubstake VHF repeater (147.33/93).
  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio
  • Miscellaneous radio tests, antenna sweeps, repairs, because everything happens in the Ops Room
  • Meetings. Do you remember meetings? We used to have a bunch of people sitting around a big table at the same time? We hope to resume that tradition.


North-West Corner HF Station
North Position

Ops Room Power

North-East corner HF Station
West-South-West Interop Position
South-West Corner
South – Satellite Position
North-West corner High Frequency Station

Interoperability Area

Interoperability definition: Interoperability refers to the basic ability of different  systems to readily connect and exchange information with one another without restriction.

Public Safety: addresses the ability of law enforcement, fire fighting, EMS, and general public health and safety first responders to effectively communicate between different agencies during wide-scale emergencies.

The Interoperability Area contains radios that do not use the amateur radio frequencies. We have radios that access: Citizen Band (CB), Marine VHF, commercial and other government frequencies. This is where we participate in the SHARES program.

Interoperability Console
Interoperability Corner

From the October 2017 Newsletter:

FCC Site – Exceptional Signal to Noise

I finally caught up with Pat Wilke, KL7JA a few days ago. Pat hung out with me in the tent for a good portion of the night during Field Day this year at the FCC site. I was working 40 and 80 meters using the club’s SteppIR Vertical. We’ve had great success on 40 and 80 meters consistently during Field Day when operating from the FCC site and Kincaid Park. It’s pretty remarkable how low the noise floor is there as compared to the rest of the Anchorage bowl. I couldn’t help but ask Pat to snap a couple of photos:

40 Meters
80 Meters

These should speak for themselves! Notice the S-ZERO noise floor on 40 meters and all the signals up and down the band! Makes a DXer/contester’s mouth water! Not too shabby on 80 meters either, considering we’re using a vertical. You can see the signals on the band even though there is about S-3 noise.

Just wanted to share some fun memories, and looking forward to a permanent residence at that fine location! Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Kent, KL5T

RSOC Home RSOC Ops Building