August 30, 2004

Backup controller online -- updating underway


Since today was an unusually 'slow ducky day', I decided to move forward the planned updating of the RC210 controller and swap the backup controller into the system for a day or two.

Until further notice the remote bases will not be functional. I expect to have the main controller back on site late on Tuesday, but perhaps it could be Wednesday.

Off to grab the gear and bring it to the workbench!


August 29, 2004

Scheduled Updating Mid Week

Eff Wye Eye....

Sometime near mid-week the main repeater controller and the 2m remote base will be removed for some hardware and software updating. The repeater should be on the backup controller for about a day, perhaps two. While on the backup controller both 6m and 440 rptrs will be operational, but none of the remote bases nor ancillary functions will work, the voting systems will remain in operation.

The work will include some modifications to the DTMF decoders to reduce falsing, audio switcher mods to improve audio level consistency when remote links are turned on/off, a mod to prevent the phantom powering of the six meter rptr during times of power outage, and hopefully a successful fix for the VFO mode for the 2m synthesized remote base.

There will be another post on here when the switch to the backup controller is made (though it should be easily distinguishable on the air by the 'sound' of the repeaters).


August 27, 2004

Power Outage - Friday 8/27


With a mass of thunderstorms passing through the area early this morning it was bound to cause problems. The A/C mains power at the repeater site is off at the moment and the 440 side of the repeater is functioning on battery backup.

Sadly, it appears that there was a phantom power backfeed path from the controller into the six meter Mitrek causing it to partially power up the Mitrek and continuously trigger false COS's from six meters. On the air this manifested itself as a continuous parade of six meter courtesy tones, holding the repeater in transmit.

The quick fix at the time was to pull the interface plug from the six meter Mitrek in order to return the 440 repeater to normal service. I'll break the phantom power path sometime in the next couple of weeks as I need to perform some other minor modifications on the repeater (DTMF decode issues, 2m VFO mode issues, etc).

This was the first time since the battery backup has been installed that we actually had a chance to make use of it (other than to cover up momentary burps in power).

Depending on the time of day that Consumers Power restores power to the site will determine how fast I can get up there to restore six meter operation. Worst case scenario would be that it wouldn't be restored until late this evening.

Otherwise, it appears the repeater survived this rash of storms unharmed. whew.

73 KF8KK

Remote base inactivity timer inoperative


Apparently the inactivity timer that turns off the remote base (either 2mtr or 220) after a half hour of inactivity has ceased to perform it's function. I suspect this may be related to the recent software update in the RC210 controller. Perhaps I can coax it to work again, or perhaps the latest update of software is broken. More info to follow as the story evolves...

73 KF8KK

August 24, 2004

RC210 controller updated to 4.28

For those who might be interested in such things (and for my own records-- as this is the running log of repeater technical issues) the Arcom RC210 was updated to the 4.28 firmware today.

The data/clock for the 'Doug Hall RBI' frequency agile remote base mode still is not being transmitted by the RC210, but the data does get transmitted when in the Icom CI-V mode as it should.


New 220 link access code

Sadly, last week when I updated the controller and the 'Cheat Sheet' I mistakenly programmed '22256' as the ON code for the link to the WB8DEL Stutsmanville repeater. The code should have been '22456' as that is in keeping with the codes for the other various links (the WB8DEL repeater is on 224.56MHz).

I've added a code to turn on the 220 link that responds to '22456'. The older codes, both the '22256' and '222#' will remain functional for another couple of months but will eventually be dropped.

John KF8KK

224.56 link operational

The desense to the main 449.725 receiver from the 222.96 transmitter has been traced back to some internal mixing product leaking out of the units case. The problem was frequency dependent and it turned out that the 224.56/222.96 repeater pair just isn't too nice near a 449.725 receiver. Since the 220 transceiver was originally sitting directly atop the 449.725 receiver, I was able to almost completely (though not totally) eliminate the desense by placing the 220 transceiver in a different position in the rack. More work will ensue, but effectively the 220 link is fully operational (the desense present now is almost undetectable).

John KF8KK

August 22, 2004

Remote voting receivers installed

The 449.725 and 52.42 receivers located at the W8TVC repeater site in Long Lake Township (3/4 mile south of Moomers and co-located with the 145.27 repeater) have finally been installed and made operational.

There may still be some tweaking to optimize their performance, but they appear to be doing what remote voting receivers do--- fill in holes in the receive coverage of the repeater.

Comments relating to whether they are voting for the best signal in an unbiased manner are welcome, as it is possible for the voting system to vote for the worse receiver when the adjustments are not quite optimized.

Should you find that the 449.725 voting system is voting improperly, you can force reception from the main repeater receiver by using a 151.4 hz PL tone rather than the normal 114.8 hz tone. The main receiver at the Glen-Arbor/Empire site has a second PL deccoder for the 151.4 hz frequency, which the receiver at the W8TVC location does not have such a decoder (just 114.8 hz).

The bi-directional link to the 145.27 repeater is not installed yet and due to be operational within the next few weeks.

The synthesized 2m remote base is functional in 'memory mode' only. VFO mode will be somewhat delayed as software problems need to be overcome. The current selection of channels in memory is changeable should different frequencies be desired, please let kf8kk know your thoughts on the frequencies in memory.

Sadly, there appears to be some interference to the main 449.725 receiver when the 220 link to the WB8DEL repeater in Stutsmanville is enabled. This interference manifests itself as desense on 449.725 and will cause the 220 link transmitter to pulsate when a signal is received on 449.725 unless the 449.725 signal is quite strong. With the addition of the remote voting receiver, this interference may not always be problematic (but that depends on your location). This appears to have started recently and may be related to the move in frequency of the WB8DEL repeater. Troubleshooting and repairs will happen soon. In the interim, please use the 220 link only when either within range of the receiver at the W8TVC site, or via six meters.

Finally, this blog has been created in order to notify interested repeater users of updates and changes to the repeater system. It will also be used to let people know of planned maintenance and other events that might effect the use of the repeater. For those with the capability, an RSS feed will be available shortly.

73 John kf8kk