News

Be Storm Ready

This is the time of year for all West Central Floridians to prepare for the upcoming Hurricane Season. Forecasters are predicting an ABOVE AVERAGE season in 2016 with up to eighteen (18) storms in the Atlantic Basin.

Once again, the NI4CE Repeater System will be on the air during Tropical Weather events with the latest storm information and to assist with any recovery efforts that are needed. But to do this, we need your help.

We rely on your generosity to keep NI4CE on the air, rain or shine. Our Storm Contingency Fund is critically low and needs replenishment. Click on one of the buttons below to send your tax-exempt contribution   Your support will help us keep the NI4CE System on the air and assist with any repairs needed due to storm activity.  Just click on one of the buttons below to make your tax-deductible contribution via PayPal. The West Central Florida Group, Inc. also accepts checks and money orders which can be mailed to:

West Central Florida Group, Inc.
11931 92nd Way North
Largo, FL 33773-4321

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NI4CE Supports Tour de Cure

Congratulations to the American Diabetes Association and all the bike riders who participated in the annual Tour de Cure Bike Event on Sunday, April 10th.  The West Central Florida Group, Inc. was happy to lend our support of the 145.430 Repeater at Verna for Event Communications and Safety.  Several of the Ham operators who participated in the event also used the NI4CE-10 Digipeater for APRS tracking of SAG vehicles.

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2016 Hurricane Season

The NI4CE Repeater System is ramping up for the upcoming 2016 Hurricane Season.  NI4CE will support the National Weather Service with any SKYWARN Tropical Weather activations as it has since 2001.  Remember, hurricanes and tropical storms can spawn tornados, damaging straight line winds and severe flooding.

Preliminary forecasts are calling for ABOVE AVERAGE hurricane and tropical weather activity with fourteen (14) named Atlantic storms, eight (8) Hurricanes and four (4) Category 3 or higher Major Hurricanes.

Make sure you have a three day supply of food and water on hand, a ample supply of all prescription medications, First Aid Supplies and mosquito repellant.  Make sure you have plenty of batteries on hand and a means of charging your cell phones and Ham Radio transceivers.  For assistance preparing an Evacuation Plan should one be needed, go to http://www.floridadisaster.org

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The Real Cost Of A Repeater System

Here is a cold, hard fact.  Amateur Radio and Ham Radio Repeaters are not FREE!

Consider the following:

  • Tower or building top space for the average Amateur Radio repeater is worth approximately $1,500.00 per month.  The cost of tower space on tall Broadcast towers is even more.
  • Commercial-grade Repeaters, RF Amplifiers, DC Power Supplies, Duplexers, Antennas and transmission line are expensive.  How much?  A new repeater can cost $2,000 or more.  Commercial-grade RF Amplifiers can run $1,400.00 or more.  A set of duplexers can cost as much as $3,000.00.  A commercial-grade antenna built to withstand winds of 130 MPH can cost as much as $2,500.00.  7/8” hard line cable can cost up to $9.00 per foot plus connectors (up to $100.00 each) plus installation.
  • Even though many Amateur Radio repeaters lie dormant for extended periods of time, they must be built for a one hundred percent duty cycle to withstand the impact of extended operating time when they are in use.
  • An Amateur Radio presence on a “commercial” or broadcast tower requires multi-million dollar Liability Insurance coverage that can cost the repeater owner $2,500.00 per year or more.  This is a direct, out of pocket expense.
  • A tower crew to install an antenna and transmission line on a three hundred foot commercial tower can easily cost $4,000.00.

The West Central Florida Group, Inc. operates the NI4CE Repeater System to enable the Amateur Radio community to be connected and pro-active when severe weather threatens, Health and Welfare messages need to be passed or whenever the West Central Florida community needs our support.  Our IRS 501(c)(3) charitable status enables our corporate partners including Cox Media Group Inc., iHeart Media, Vertical Bridge and others,  to donate tower space and the use of ground facilities to house the repeater equipment.  That provides significant financial relief.  All other capital and operating expenses require cold, hard cash.  Operating an Amateur Radio repeater, much less a five site, eight repeater system is not FREE!

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