Repeater Status Report 20190416

Good evening.

After an uncomfortably extended period without any personal computer (my Toshiba laptop gave up the ghost), and not being permitted to use work resources for private purposes (people were fired for this recently), I am finally back online after purchasing my old Mecer mini-tower from the company that was leasing them to my employer. It’s a nice enough machine, similar in spec to the laptop that it replaces (Core i5, 4GB RAM, 250GB HDD) and performs quite nicely now that it has my laptop’s SSD inside.

I’m sure there have been several updates that I’ve not been able to catch up on so the attached report will be no surprise to anyone. Regular updates will commence from next week, as and when  I receive them.

I offer my sincere apologies for the lack of reports since mid-February. All seems to be back on track now.

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.