Maintenance Hawequa 20170221

The morning started early and ended late. The wind on site provided an extra challenge, gusting at near gale speeds.  Paul (ZS1V) started at 05:30 and met Jan (ZS1VDV) to load equipment in Stellenbosch at 05:50 before arriving on site at 06:20.

Battery was tested (12.6V).
Eskom power was down on the site, so no further debugging could be done.
Back in Stellenbosch 08:00

Left Stellenbosch 18:10.
On site 18:45.
Labelled all plugs.
Reprogrammed controller. (Flash memory in controller was corrupted after too many reboots.)


Tested everything and left site 19:45.
Back home 20:45.

Digital Repeater Build Day

On Sunday 19 February 2017 a digital repeater build day was held in Stellenbosch at the home of Jan (ZS1VDV).  The result was that there are now three homebrew (MMDVM based) repeaters running in the Western Cape.

Digital repeater coverage as of 20 February 2017

In June 2016 the build process first started. Jan (ZS1VDV) and Paul (ZS1V) reached out to Ronald (ZS6RVC) and Johan (ZS6JPL) for some help and lessons. Johan provided ZS1VDV with a single PCB for an SP8NTH v6 shield. Orders were placed for Raspberry Pi’s, Arduino Due, SP8NTH v6.1 PCBs, components and Nextion screens.  ZS1VDV started to collect duplexers and radios.

SP8NTH v6.1 1st production

10 complete SP8NTH v 6.1 PCB were assembled of which 7 were shipped up country.

In September 2016 the first proof of concept repeater was built by ZS1VDV. The next step was to design and produce a case that can be used on a highsite. This was completed early November 2016.

Stainless steel case

In January 2017 the finer setup and software configuration were completed.

The next step was to build more repeaters.

A repeater that was built

ZS1MTF, ZS1BSD and ZS1VDV participated in the build day. It started the morning at 09:00 with a quick recap of what digital repeaters are, what they are made of and how they work. Then two repeaters were built and configured.  They are on temporary wooden boards to keep costs down.

Currently there are three UHF repeaters running in the Western Cape that are DMR and DSTAR capable. The WCRWG is in process of moving a VHF DSTAR repeater and a UHF MMDVM repeater to a high site. This will improve the current coverage area.

Hermanus maintenance 20170212

David (ZS1DDK), Jan (ZS1VDV) went to do some maintenance on the Hermanus repeater.

With the last installation of the repeater it was found that the repeater rf sensitivity was not what was expected and needed to be corrected.

The weather was on and off with rain, the same as installation day, which did not make it fun.

Rain, not fun.

Started 06:30 in Bellville.
Pickup and pack equipment in Stellenbosch 07:15

Equipment packed

Left Strand around 08:00
Arrived on site 09:15.
Debug repeater sensitivity. In the process to realign the front-end, it was found that one of the 4 notch filters tuning pots need to be replaced as it was damaged.
The spare repeater was installed, audio aligned and link controller reconfigured for new repeater.
Did some testing with Sam (ZS1OR). The spare repeater is better, but still some areas need to be looked at.
Left site around 11:30.
Extended the power supply power lead with 2m.
Got some “quick” lunch on the way back.
Unpacked at Stellenbosch 14:30.
Back in Bellville 15:00.