On Sunday a team of four consisting of David ZS1DDK, Mike
ZS1TAF, Markus ZS1MTB and Rassie ZS1YT left home at 7h00 to meet at the site
gate at 8h00. The purpose of the visit was to replace the 3 cable stays on the
tower with new Stainless Steel cables, clamps and turn buckles.
A 6m dipole was also fitted to the tower for future linking
of a 6m simplex radio onto the repeater system.
Although quite a strong wind was experienced, the
temperature on top of the mountain was a very cool 18o C. Work started immediately with Mike and Markus
climbing the tower and David and Rassie fixing the cable stays on the bottom
anchor points. The team returned home by about 12h30.
The 6m Webb-antenna and Stainless Steel cable was donated by
The antenna clamps, cable ties and other hardware was
donated by Mike ZS1TAF
Travelling to the site by ZS1TAF, ZS1MTB and ZS1YT was also
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.
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.
Here’s the latest report which, owing to a lapse in memory by yours truly, still doesn’t contain details of the George or Dana Bay repeaters. We’ll have all that for you next week 🙂 WCRWG_Status_Report_20160426