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D-STAR Repeater progress

Discussion in 'Worldwidedx.com Amateur Radio Club' started by Moleculo, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Here's an update on where I am on getting a club repeater up that will be linked to the internet:


    • I've spoken to the local coordination body and received some instructions on how to proceed. It is very difficult to find available frequency pairs in Southern California on 2m or 440.
    • Received permission from the coordinator of the LA Independent Radio Club to add a repeater to their DSTAR system. the LA IRC is a local DSTAR club with several linked repeaters. They also have an internet gateway up, so this allows us to piggy back on their gateway. Because they already have a 440mhz pair coordinated in SoCal for DSTAR, we can use their 440 pair to fill in the valley where I live which does not have good DSTAR coverage.
    • I've been searching for, and made progress on acquiring some inexpensive radios to use as a repeater. I purchased a Motorola based repeater that uses GM300 45 watt radios that is housed in a cabinet with power supply and a Motorola RICK (repeater interface). We don't need the Motorla RICK as that will be replaced with the DSTAR interface. Unfortunately, the seller accidentally shipped me VHF radios instead of UHF radios, so I'm waiting for the correct radios to arrive to exchange.
    • I purchased an inexpensive UHF antenna from ebay: eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices


    I will need to get the radios programmed with the correct frequency pair or purchase a cable and locate the software to do it myself. I also still need to purchase the DSTAR board and install the software. I need to figure out what to do for coax, as well.


    I'll keep everyone posted as I make progress.


     
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  2. NorthStar

    NorthStar Administrator

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    What DStar board are you gonna use?
     
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  3. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    #3
  4. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    I've received the correct radios and actually successfully programmed them, which was no small feat. I had to get a serial RIB cable, locate the software, and then find a PC with DOS and a real serial port! Last night I also replaced the fan in the repeater case as the existing one's bearings were shot and noisy. The MoenComm Star*Board is on it's way with the firmware already applied.

    Here is the remaining to-do list:

    • Finalize the frequency pair
    • Order duplexer / cavity filter
    • Install the software on Windows XP notebook
    • Make interface cables between radios and Star*Board
    • Verify D-Star gateway operating properly
    • Fabricate some type of mast stand-off for the antenna
    • Install Antenna
    • Purchase remote shut-off power strip
    I might already have enough coax; I'll have to look in my coax bin to be sure.
     
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  5. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh yeah, I forgot to say "Thanks" to AcidRod for finding an old laptop with a serial port!
     
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  6. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    Do you have an estimated cost for all of the materials when finished?
     
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  7. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is the list so far:


    • Repeater: $250
    • Programming cable: $15
    • Antenna: $60
    • Star*Board: $137
    • New fan: $20
     
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  8. FatHam

    FatHam Administrator Staff Member

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    Any word on the antenna? I'm hoping to be D-Staring by this time next week. Do you have an adapter to at least get your HT on the antenna?
     
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  9. NorthStar

    NorthStar Administrator

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    I have a DVAP on order!
     
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  10. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Update: Got the Star*Board in this weekend, so now I need to make the interface cables. I think I'm narrowing in on a frequency pair...
     
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  11. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, some good news and bad news.

    The good news is that I got the cables made, software installed and Star*Board up and running. I was able to transmit on my ID-31a HT through the repeater and hear the output D-STAR transmission on another radio. Unfortunately I couldn't get the ID-31a to decode anything the repeater was sending, though. Apparently this is a common issue with this new HT because it is set up to be much more stringent about the deviation it expects to see from another D-STAR station. Most people report that this issue is solved by just adjusting the deviation POT on the Star*Board.

    Now for the bad news: I went to power on the motorola radios tonight to fine tune the deviation settings and neither radio would power on. The power supply tests fine, so it's so it's something internal to the radio. I have a few suspicions about what the problem is, but at this point I'm dead in the water. Unfortunately, it looks like I may be looking for new radios again :(
     
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  12. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    How could BOTH radios pop at the same time?
    Over-voltage?
    Not likely . . . sure it isn't a common connector?
     
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  13. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Both radios had the accessory cable plugged in the back. You use certain pins from each radio on the DB9 connection for the Star*Board (TX, RX, SQL, PTT, GND). I had the other wires not used on the accessory cables cut off, dangling until I had everything tested at which point I was going to clean them up. I had reviewed the 16 pin accessory pin functions on some documentation and didn't see anything that screamed "VOLTAGE PRESENT". Unfortunately, it appears that there was voltage somewhere, so when the pigtail rested against the repeater chassis, it must have shorted something out on each radio. I took a look at obvious diodes around the power connection, but I haven't found anything yet. :(
     
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  14. FatHam

    FatHam Administrator Staff Member

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    Hmmm... Don't you have an Icom 2M repeater floating around somewhere? Just sayin'...
     
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  15. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator Staff Member

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    Needs to be a UHF repeater,
     
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: club, d-star

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