Amateur Radio Emergency Services Association (ARES)

 Sumter County, Florida


VHF/UHF Handheld Radio (HT)

1. Transmission and reception outside is OK with the rubber duckie; but traffic can be improved with a longer antenna.  The 147.030 repeater is north of The Villages (Summerfield) and the 146.925 repeater is south of The Villages but in the center of the county (Sumterville).

2. Transmission inside the house and in the car is very limited.  For the vehicle, a mag-mount antenna on the roof works fine with coax and an adaptor to the antenna connector on the radio.  The insulation and masonry in the walls of the house do a similar thing to radio traffic inside the vehicle.  You can put and antenna outside, in the attic with coax and adaptor or you can use something temporarily setting up the directional Elk antenna with coax/adaptor.   Any of these choices should hit the repeaters within the county.

VHF/UHF Mobile Radio

1. The traditional setup in the vehicle works fine in Central Florida

2. In the home, there is the same problem as above and the solutions are the same as above.  Since Sumter and Lake Counties are long (North-to-South) repeater transmissions at 5 watts are fine; however simplex transmissions can be a problem.  Either the middle or high power (50 watt) are required and for simplex nets the tactic of relays sometimes has to be employed. 

3. The Villages is a deed-restricted community.  As such, it currently does not allow radio antennas but does allow TV antennas and flag poles.  There have been several bills in Congress to allow the homeowner the same consideration for radio antennas as TV antennas, but none have successfully passed.  

4. South of SR466A, a specific model of the smoke alarms may be activated during a radio transmission.  Not all the alarms will be activated.  Identify the alarms that have activated, and call the manufacturer.  He is aware of the problem and will mail replacement alarms.

HF Radio

1. Some hams focus on low power or CW operations within The Villages. 

2. South of SR466A, a specific type of Eaton breaker (green tag BR Combination AFCI) was installed in many of the homes (5-10), this breaker trips for 17-meter transmissions as well as certain brands of hand and floor vacuums, treadmills, and other appliances.  It is a known manufacturing problem, does not meet FCC requirements, and should not have been even sold.  The electrical contractors are aware and they maintain a stock of the replacement breaker.  One has to have tripped breakers in order to call.  Check with your neighbors as theirs may trip also when you transmit.  There are also some rumors pointing to hams as being at fault instead of the manufacturer.

3. Antennas are the challenge in The Villages.  Some use 22-guage wire and string between trees, others do not have trees and install flag poles with the wire inside and radials in the ground, still others have a fence row to hang from, the attic may be utilized if there is sufficient space, aluminum pool cover structure, and different shapes may be used such as round or a polygon.

4. Central Florida is the lightning capitol of the world with the most active period to be during the summer months.  As such, one must incorporate proper grounding techniques for antennas, internet leads, phone leads, and power to keep as your equipment safe.  Disconnecting lines from your power supply, radio, transmitter, and computer may be consideration when not in use or during thunderstorms.    

5. Some add a wall opening near their equipment for grounding line and antenna coax lines.  


 Last Update:  09/12/2016    Copyright Sumter County ARES. All Rights Reserved.