Introduction to the DFMA
The Durham FM Association (DFMA) is an amateur radio club centered in Durham with members from all over the Triangle Area. It was founded in 1971 and is particularly noted for its repeaters, located on TV Hill in northern Durham, at a site near the intersection of I85 and I40 near Hillsborough and on the VA Hospital in Durham. However, members are involved in all aspects of amateur radio including HF (also called short-wave radio by the public) communications around the world and emergency communications.
Every spring, the DFMA runs DurHamFest. This annual swapfest and social get-together has a long tradition and is held at the Durham Public Schools Staff Development Center, just north of I85 in Durham on Hillandale Road. Hamfests have a long history in amateur radio and provide amateur radio operators (or hams) a chance to stock up on electronic supplies and equipment and to meet fellow hams from the region.
Amateur radio has long been providing emergency communications in disasters and other emergencies. The skills to be effective in such emergencies come from preparation and practice. Each ham takes personal responsibility for equipment that he/she can use in emergencies. Practice includes participation in Nets (effectively on-the-air meetings), providing communications or back-up communications for public service events, and participating in simulated emergency events. The DFMA maintains a Mobile Communications Unit (MCU) which is designed to support free-standing emergency communications.
Field Day is a nationwide amateur radio exercise held on the fourth full weekend in June. As often as not, organizations set up communications gear in a field and for a 24 hour period try to make radio contact with other stations across the country. This year the DFMA is again joining the Orange County Radio Amateurs (OCRA) for a joint Field Day operation.
Meetings The DFMA meets on the first Tuesday of the Month at 6:00pm for dinner (optional) and 7:00pm for the meeting and an interesting program. The meeting is held in a private room of Bullock's BBQ in Durham and its extensive menu should meet all tastes. (Since Bullock's is closed two weeks in July, alternate arrangements are made that month.)
Membership Dues for membership in the DFMA are $12 per year. Initial dues are prorated for the number of months remaining in the year. Additional family members living at the same address can join for $6 per year. A monthly newsletter is emailed to all active members. Newly licensed hams are invited to sign up for a FREE membership that expires with the first anniversary of their licensing.
DFMA Repeaters Currently the club operates the following repeaters. Here we show the location, the frequency, the offset direction (+ or -), and the PL tone if required: Hillsborough - 147.225+ PL:82.5; 224.260- ; 443.1375+ DMR. TV Hill -145.450- PL:82.5; 444.100+ PL:82.5. VA Hospital - 444.450+ PL:100.0. Some of the repeaters support modes that use the Internet and digital encoding for part of the path. These include IRLP, EchoLink and the DMR repeater.
Web Site The DFMA maintains a web site at DFMA.org There you can access the calendar with meeting information (including access to maps). Current information about the program and other events are available there. You can also use this site to print out a membership form if you wish to join.
rev. March 2017