Rutland - 447.775- Status update - September, 2012
Repeater now fully functional for local use. New Arcom RC-210 controller in operation. Link Radio ( Yaesu FT-7900 ) in operation and link port #2 is "normally on" to connect this repeater to the 147.000 Crystal Mountain repeater. This gives easy accesss from anywhere in town into the 147.000 Crystal system, including the SIRG network and to the Big White Mountain 146.86 repeater.
Peachland - 447.225- Status update - September, 2012
This repeater operates as a HUB repeater intended to link the 147.120 Campbell Mtn. repeater in Penticton, to the 146.62 repeater in Kelowna. It can be accessed directly if required, if you are in a location which gives you a good signal into it. Tone required is 88.5 It also transmits a tone of 88.5 for your convenience. For most users, the local repeaters in Penticton and Kelowna will be the preferred method to access the system. On the Kelowna end, you should hear a "double" courtesy beep to let you know that the link is conected.
November 27, 2012
Hello Techies, After coffee this morning John Semenec and I made a trip to Dilworth to take a look at the 146.680 Repeater. We found that the main power supply was dead and that the repeater was operating on the battery backup. We also found that the repeater transmitter was not putting out any power ( as measured with my Bird Thruline Wattmeter) . I took the power supply and repeater home so that I could examine both on my workbench.
The power supply suffered a failure that vapourized the fuse link inside the fuse leaving a nice metal coating on the inside of the glass. After careful examination I noticed one of the large switching transistors had a lead that was almost blown off. The power suuply is going to be in need of repair or replacement.
The repeater was powered up on my workbench and indeed the transmitter was not producing any power. I took a look at the power amplifier and it looked fine with no signs of distress. Electrically the power amplifier seemed to be behaving as it should?....The problem turned out to be two tiny ceramic chip capacitors in parallel that had a poor solder connection to the circuit board. If I pushed on the two chip capacitor with a cotton swab I got power out of the power amplifier and if I released the pressure on the cotton swab I got no power. I re-soldered both chip capacitors and the power amplifier seems to be fully operational again....
In the late afternoon John Semenec and I returned to Dilworth and re-installed the 146.680 Repeater. The repeater is now running off the battery charger and battery ( the power supply's backup).
If you have any question or concerns please let me know......Thanks.
Chris Walter (VE7EQN)
March 25, 2012
Over the past 2 days ( Friday and Saturday ) 5 members of the club's Tech Committee have done a complete replacement of the radio equipment at the 146.62 repeater site. Included is a new Kenwood Repeater, controlled by an Arcom RC-210 controller. The link radio for the IRLP node was also changed to a Yaesu FT-7900 dual band. The main things you might notice when using the 146.62 repeater is that the tail tones sound different, Sometimes you will hear only one tone, and other times you might hear 2 or 3 tones. These combinations all have a meaning, but will not directly impact the operation of the repeater. There will be more info on the repeater's capabilities at the next club meeting. The biggest change is that the former IRLP simplex frequency of 147.57 has been decommissioned. In its place, you will now be able to work IRLP directly through the 146.62 repeater. The link port will be normally left in the "ON" mode, so that after identifying, simply enter the 4 digit IRLP code to contact the IRLP destination that you wish to contact. You will also hear calls from outside our area coming out directly over the 146.62 repeater. No CTCSS tones are required to access the repeater or the IRLP system. It is completely open. To hang up the IRLP system, touch tone "73" as you did in the past, and you will get the disconnect message. In the short term, the phone patch has not been enabled. We are waiting for the phone patch "module" to arrive from the Arcom company in Oregon at which time it will be installed and programmed. There may be some adjustment of audio levels to complete, so bear with us for a short time while any final adjustments and programming take place. Thanks to Neil VA7NL, Tom VE7ENP, John VE7JWS Alan VE7MET and Geoff VE7WAT for their efforts on this project. Comments you may have about this repeater may be sent to Geoff VE7WAT@telus.net
March 8, 2012
Jesse VE7LYD traveled up to Big White Mountain to troubleshoot the problems with the APRS digipeater and the 146.860 voice repeater. An intermittent fuse holder was replaced at the digipeater, bringing it back online for the first time since late December. The duplexer for the voice repeater was found to have two problems. The N connector was bad, and basically fell off into Jesse's hand. The duplexer measured between 15 and 20 dB of desense and the TX port loop is bent for reasons unknown. A replacement duplexer was located in the "can", and will be brought up the mountain in the near future. Many thanks to Jesse VE7LYD for all his work.
February 11, 2012
As you will all probably know, the Big White repeater has not been working for some time. Today, Steven VA7SLL, one of our newer HAMS, and a member of the Big White Ski Patrol, paid a visit to our repeater installation at Big White. He did some checking of cables and connectors, and all appeared OK. He and I did a voice check with Me going in through the Crystal link, and he standing inside the building near the repeater. All lights on the front of the repeater indicated normal operation. He and I were able to carry on a conversation just fine. I asked him to go outside the building, away from the repeater. Only a few feet away from the building, he was not able to hear the VHF transmitter transmit my signal. We are assuming that while he was in the building, he was able to receive the exciter of the transmitter, but once he got a short distance away, he could no longer hear it. This would indicate to me that the VHF "PA" is not functioning. He is bring the Kenwood portion of the repeater down, and will deliver it to me on Sunday or Monday. It is my plan to deliver it to Chris VE7EQN for diagnosis and repair. It may be something similar to what went wrong with the Dilworth repeater. Steven will take either this unit or another similar unit back up and re-install it when we are ready. Thanks for the great effort Steven
December 18, 2011
The Big White APRS digipeater has gone down again. Repairs will be made when conditions for access improve.
November 1, 2011
The Big White APRS digipeater has come back up, for reasons unknown. It started broadcasting beacons about 19:00 October 31; Halloween evening. The coverage area is large, and it's return to the air is welcome. The beacons appear to give the correct temperature, but voltage readings are 0.0 volts.
September 29, 2011
Yesterday Chris VE7EQN and I drove up to Big White Mountain to work on the faulty APRS digipeater. Borrowing wife Deb's Jeep (VE7SHE), we were able to make it almost the whole way, with just a short walk remaining. We had the SAR group as our backup, and expected we would be taking a quad ride part of the way up, but the road was in fine shape. Gary VE7GCP, Astrid VA7KNE, and Ron VA7OH unloaded their quads near the holding pond and followed us up. The circuit breakers in the power room were checked, and all seemed OK, so we proceeded up the lift tower to check on the radios etc. The power supply was on, the VHF rig powered on, but the TNC was down. Moving the power leads around proved the problem was in the power feed to the TNC; the barrel connector specifically. It had a cracked and intermittent positive connection. Having no spares, we then soldered the power directly to the motherboard of the TNC to solder pads for this purpose;
You see Chris holding the TNC after soldering. The equipment was put back together, and Mike VE7MMG was called via the Little White repeater to confirm proper operation. All was well! Except I had forgotten that the TNC was to be replaced with one given to me by Mike and pre-programmed, since the original TNC could not be programmed or accessed remotely. The new TNC replaced the old one, with power being applied via the solder pads as well.
Another test was done with Mike, and all seemed OK with the new unit.
When I got home and checked BGWHTE on aprs.fi, it showed that the last beacon was at 11:48 am, which would have been from the original TNC before it was replaced with the newly programmed one. None of my beacons from VE7JWS-12 were digied from Big White, but from VE7YLW-15 or VA7WS back in town. It appears that the new digi was not working properly after being installed, and this was missed. Perhaps the time delay involved in the aprs.fi refresh, as well as some incorrect analysis showed us that the new digi worked properly when in fact it didn't Perhaps the power was bopped off when closing the cabinet, and we weren't aware of it?? These questions will be answered during the next attempt at bringing this nice APRS digi back online. But it was a wonderful day for a drive, and we all enjoyed our time up on the hill.
August 21, 2011
Little White Report
Mike VE7FI and VE7MMG and Marie Morin went to Little White to service 146.820 noise. We also finished the painting of the comshell's 3rd coat of paint and Marie painted the inside with the left over white primer. VE7MMG did tests and found a loose connector from one of the jumpers between the duplexers and the receiver. We took down the antenna and dismantled it then reassembled it and this seamed to remedy the problem.
It is crucial that that antenna be replaced either by the same make and brand by a NEW one or something that has a better performance, the SWR was 12 to 1 before dismantling and 1.8 to 1 after, not good for an antenna. we did not find anything evident in the dismantling. I also recommend we change a few coaxes, from duplexers to antenna 20 feet one end Type N and whatever is needed at the antenna end, 2 jumpers between the duplexer and repeater with one end Type N and PL239 at the other "These are suspect and have adaptors at one end". The antenna for the digi/ beacon was tested with the antenna analyzer and has a SWR of 8 to 1, I brought it down to see if it can be rebuilt, I installed a rubber ducky temporarily, I recommend that a replacement antenna be brought up before winter.
Mike Morin VE7MMG
August 18, 2011
It started life as a DOG HOUSE. Actually, that is not quite true, but it would make a good one ! What was once a steel enclosure housing an electrical transformer, has been sitting in a grass and weed infested field waiting for someone to come along and give it a new purpose in life. Saturday, 4 members of the OCARC rescued the 4 X 4 X 4 foot steel box from the farmers field and relocated it to the safety of an OCARC storage facility. Actually, the previous owner advised he was moving to a rural area in the West Kootenays, and didn't want to take it with him. We decided that it might make an excellent enclosure for a mountain top repeater some day. It weighs about 400 pounds so is not likely to walk away any time soon.
July 23, 2011
Fellow Club Members
Through the efforts of Mike, VE7FI, we now have our entry card system in place and operational. Effective Oct 1, 2011, the current entry code for the club station will be changed. Access will now be limited to those members in good standing with current membership. An access swipe card will be provided to those members wishing them upon payment of a $10.00 refundable deposit, Associated with each card will be a personal pin number which one may use in place of a card. (No charge for the pin code.) The card and/or pin number will provide access through each of the two doors, but will not replace the current key pad for the internal alarm system as that is part of the city's alarm system which we do not have any control over. This alarm code will not be changed unless the city sees fit to do so. In order for Mike to set up the system, he has asked that each member wishing access to the club station provide him with a personal 4 digit pin number. He will program the system utilizing you personal pin number as a back up replacement for the card. He will be doing this at the July general meeting.
July 15, 2011
Update on 12 volt power system at club station; Final power distribution box and wiring has been completed. Battery disconnect switch / breaker box now installed. We have labeled the fuse values that are in use in the power pole breakout boxes, and there are spare fuses installed in the power pole outlets that are not currently in use. Stan VE7TTC can now document and label installation now that the project is complete.
Thanks to John VE7JWS, Darcy VE7DBI and Gord VE7GFH for assisting with the wrap up of this project yesterday. Thanks also to Ed VE7EWS for modifying the bakelite boxes to accommodate the breakers.
July 9, 2011
Today, Jesse VE7LYD and Jay VE7JID made the long hard trek to the top of Mt. Black Knight also known as Black Knight Mountain near Rutland, and replaced the failed VA7YLW-1 Digi. It failed last fall, but due to the hardships of the long Okanagan Winter, it couldn't be repaired until the deep snow pack recently melted. The Black Knight Digi VA7YLW-1 is now working well, with recent stations heard including VE7RPC - the Penticton Digi, and THYNNE the Mt. Thynne Digi on the Coquihalla Highway - approx. 118 km to the west. Good work Jesse and Jay. Many amateurs including those with the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue thank you for your efforts.
for the Tech Committee
July 7, 2011
The Big White Mountain Digipeater was returned to service today. Jesse VE7LYD and Mike VE7MMG replaced the faulty digipeater with a new one, while John VE7JWS tagged along to take pictures.
June 28, 2011
Two work parties took place at the Cedar Creek Club station this afternoon.
Gord VE7GFH and Hu VA7HR installed two more metal boxes under the eave of the upper roof to give us added capacity for additional lightning arrestors and additional coax connections into our shack. A second group - John VE7JWS, Geoff VE7WAT and me VE7MET completed the wiring and installation of the 12 volt power distribution system for the club shack.
Secondly, the Icom IC-2200H radio was installed. This radio was recently acquired along with a "D-Star chip" to give the club access to our new D-Star repeater which connects us to the rest of the world as well.
There is a brief instruction card there showing the currently installed D-Star channels and frequently used commands.
It is highly recommended that you contact either Ian VE7BST or myself Alan VE7MET for additional instructions before attempting use of this radio. It is not that complicated, but we can ease the pain of your learning curve with a little help.
June 27, 2011
Chris, Geoff and myself went up to Dilworth tonight to dig further into the problem. Chris could not find anything wrong generally with the setup so he pulled the repeater and found the output terminal of the PA looking a little corroded, pitted what ever you want to call it...but not shinny and smooth like would indicate a good connection. See picture. He fixed it and we hope the problem is solved.
June 12, 2011
There's lots of news :) I was going to save it for the meeting, but I'll fill you in.
The repeater hardware arrived and is now programmed and installed in the rack. Ethernet has been run from the rack to the 6th floor, and is now connected back to the gateway server and firewall server which is located in LM3 data center. The gateway server software is installed. The gateway is registered and is part of the D-Star network - it's visible on the D-Star pages. The 2" conduit has been installed across the roof and has been secured to small concrete blocks to lift it off the roof surface. Fred completed the tuning of the duplexer and finished modifications to the antenna brackets. Fred and I went on-site to deliver the duplexer and antenna mast on Saturday evening. The antenna mast assembly wouldn't fit in the elevator, so we had to carry it up 13 flights of stairs. The duplexer is installed in the rack in a temporary fashion until we can get some proper brackets. It's all wired up, and connected to a temporary 1/4 wave mag-mount on top of the rack, just for testing. If you're in range you may be able to tune up the repeater and listen. It's linked to REF001C at the moment just so there's some traffic and I can make sure that the data side of things is working fine. It's set for low power at the moment and the antenna is very poor. Nevertheless I can pick it up at home with my handheld. I can't key it up without an eternal antenna.
All we need now is an antenna install party and we should be good to go! Hopefully this will happen some time this week.
If you're interested, you can go ahead and register your callsign with the repeater - this is where we need to get registrations to meet our target. The URL is: https://gw.va7dig.com
There's a "Registration" link un the upper left corner.
You can only register each callsign once in the entire network, so if your callsign is registered somewhere else, you may want to attempt to get it removed from the other server before registering with our server. The system will email me when someone registers, and I'll log in and authorize them. Let me know if you have any questions. I'll compose another email with details about how to link, unlink, etc. as well as instructions on how to register properly. Otherwise, feel free to experiment.
May 18, 2011
As of yesterday afternoon - Tuesday May 17th, the 12 volt club station project is substantially complete and is in operation.
Details : VHF station #1 on the east wall is the Yaesu 7900 in the custom Samlex power supply / base that is all one nice tidy unit. This station was left as was found for now - plugged into 110V mains and was not switched over to the new 12V battery supply. All other VHF/UHF radios including those at Station #2, Station # 4 and 5, and those located on the main equipment rack for IRLP, APRS I-gate and Winlink are now operating off the new 12 volt system. This means that they will continue to operate un-interupted in the event of a commercial power failure. The computers used for IRLP, APRS I-gate and Winlink have also been plugged into a refurbished 110V UPS unit which Ian VE7BST has kindly refurbished with newer batteries and donated to the project. Given the rather large size and reserve capacity ( 200 Ah ) of the 12V battery being used for the 12 V system, it would be safe to say that the above mentioned radio equipment should be able to operate for many hours if not days without the aid of commercial power. The only minor task to be completed on this project is the labeling and documentation phase which I think Stan VE7TTC might do if we ask him nicely. At least 4 of the Samlex 1223 power supplies were previously used to power these radios and have now been removed from service and are available for other projects. Our thanks go to Geoff VE7WAT, John VE7JWS and Ian VE7BST for the considerable amount of time and expertise they donated to this project.
Honourable mention to Ed VE7EWS to his small contribution as well. I will bet that if you check the Club web site some day soon, you might just find that John has added some photos of this project on the Club station section.
Regards to all
March 22, 2011
Today March 22nd 2011, Fred and I went up to Big Whites Gem Lake to service the repeater and digi, we used the lift to access the site and this was a pleasure no scary ride with trucks.
Fred will fill you in on the variation in the duplexers, the band pass filter was in great condition. I did find one of the coax jumpers between the duplexer and band pass filter, the UHF connector the tip and braid was not soldered. I believe this is the intermittent cause. After reconnecting everything and testing with Gord GFH there was a loud hum in the background. After further testing we discovered that there must be a ground loop so I disconnected the ground from the UHF antenna and the audio cleared up. A future service call needs to happen and isolate our UHF antenna from Jessie's UHF antenna and re-grounding his, We can use a piece of ABS pipe around the mast where our UHF antenna is mounted. As for the digi, It was the barrel fuse holder that was defective. The spring was compressed and I extended the spring to make a tighter connection. The KPC3 started working. It did TX when powered up and the RX LED did come on when traffic was present on 144.39 but I did not see any TX from that traffic. Because it was not powered in the cold environment for a long period could the TNC have lost it's programming or part of it? I was inside the top drive while the lift was running and to my surprise their was a lot less vibration than what I was expecting, but it is a cold environment.
While in the village Fred did try the new IRLP node and the audio was very low and noisy to almost the point of unread ability. I even tried using the echo reflector with the same results. Fred thinks if the mike was left connected to the radio it would pick up the ambient noise.
March 13, 2011
I installed node 1172 at Big White today. It does a good job covering the village, but once you go down the top switchback it gets noisy. I snapped the mic in, and locked the doors, then said, crap, I hope the mic isn't hot when its on hook and the rear accessory port is used. Not sure if it is, does anyone know? I noticed it has some background noise in the audio and the Tx audio is a little down, not sure if that happened during the move? I was going to log into it and adjust the audio a little, but I didn't have the root password, so for another time. All in all seems to be working pretty good. Some pictures attached.
March 5, 2011
After a fairly lengthy outage, the Revelstoke Igate is back up and running today.
If you wish to monitor APRS traffic passing through Revelstoke, put the call sign VE7RBG-2 in the call sign box on your APRS.FI web page.
February 27, 2011
The new IRLP node for Big White is now assembled and ready for beta testing before being taken up the mountain. It's sitting on my bench in Kelowna, connected to an inside J-pole antenna, and an internet connection. No CTCSS tones are being used for access. The node is on 147.420 MHz. to keep it clear of other users, and to conform to the 2 meter bandplan. You're welcome to access and use this node, and provide any feedback.
February 15, 2011
Today, Mike VE7MMG, Tom VE7YHZ and myself spent a little time diagnosing and correcting a problem causing extensive noise and distortion on the outgoing voice signal of our IRLP node.
The problem turned out to be a simple one. The volume level on the Yaesu 7800 receive radio at the club station had been inadvertently adjusted to a LEVEL much too high. This was causing over deviation and an extremely distorted audio level going onto the internet. At the same time, the receive squelch level on this same radio was tightened up a little to reduce the noise accompanying the squelch tail.
After several tests, all appears well now.
January 20, 2011
A new Igate has been added by VA7WS, porting APRS packets heard around Kelowna to the T2 network on the internet.
John VE7JWS / VA7WS
January 18, 2011
While following Stan VE7TTC on APRS today as he drove up to Big White, I realized that none of his beacons were going through the Big White digipeater. On further investigation, it appears that it has not been working since January 13th, it's last beacon at 2023Z.
January 12, 2011
A replacement computer for the ailing HF Remote Computer was delivered to the site on Jan 7. It is awaiting final configuration setup by Mike VE7FI, and Ian VE7BST, before it is inserted in service.
Jan 16 Update; Hi guys.
Received an email from Ian this morning stating that he has replaced the old remote HF computer with the new one. We are just awaiting for Mike FI to test the new computer and to ensure all the programs needed are installed.
January 5, 2011
On Jan 3, 2011 the following computers were replaced with new hardware running XP Pro with all patches and fixes as of Jan 1, 2011.
WS #1 - located on the VHF Bench
WS #3 - Left hand HF bench and associated with the Yeasu FT-920
WS #4 - middle HF bench and associated with the Kenwood TS-2000
WS #5 - Right hand HF bench and associated with the Icom IC-751A
The CRT monitor associated with the remote HF computer has been replaced with a LCD panel.
The 2 CRT monitors associated with the IRLP, firewall/igate/APRS computers in the rack have been replaced with LCD panels.
The CRT sitting on the work bench has been removed.
For workstations #3 and #5, data and install programs (if any were found) were placed in My Documents sub directory WS #X.
WS #1 was a bare bones configuration and therefore nothing was saved.
WS #4 seemed to have the most data and HAM radio unique programs. The old computer is stored on top of the work bench and Ian has agreed to remove any data and programs from the old unit and complete the configuration of the new WS #4 computer.
The old WS #3 computer is up and running on the work bench - this computer may or may not removed in the near future.
Anyone planning any activities at Chute Lake and has the need of computer should go up to the site ahead of time to ensure the appropriate application program is installed and configured.
The current plan is completely decommission the old computers on Jan 31, 2011. Therefore if have you have any data or programs on the old computers, each member is responsible for the retrieval of the data and program.
Friday November 26, 2010
At the Club's monthly meeting last evening, there was a conversation amongst those present about the possibility of moving the Tuesday evening NET back to the 146.68 repeater for the winter. The reason would be to conserve battery power for the winter as little if any is being supplied by the solar panels this time of year.
It was agreed to leave the net on the Little White repeater for the time being, and to monitor the battery voltage as we go through the cold winter months. If the battery voltage falls below 12.3 volts according to our APRS tracker (VE7ROC) then we will probably make the decision to move the net to the146.68 repeater, which is a 110 volt powered repeater site.
A reminder to all who use the 146.82 Little White repeater during the winter months that reserve battery power is a limited resource, and if you are talking to another station that can be reached either on Simplex, or on a 110V powered repeater, then you should move to that frequency and reserve the battery powered machine for emergency use.
November 23, 2010
The latest "mini work party" took place this afternoon with a team of technical wizards working their magic at the Club station.
The three refurbished HF antennas were warmed up with electrical current from the Yaesu FT-920 transceiver, each being checked for SWR. They all came through with flying colours. We now have great working antennas for 10m, 15m, 20m and 40m.
We will be waiting for the re-installation of the 160m loop antenna before we will have coverage on 80m and 160m.
New or "new to us" antennas were connected to the APRS I-gate as well as to the Winlink radio and are now in service. The I-gate appears to be working well, and we will have to wait for Mike VE7FI to check out the Winlink performance with the new Diamond X-200 antenna. We also have 3 Yaesu 7800 dual band mobile/base radios and one Icom IC-228 VHF only mobile/base radio that are operational now on individual antennas so that we can communicate on or monitor multiple frequencies simultaneously during a race or in the event of an emergency.
Although the project is not quite complete, we now have a club station that is very useable, and among other uses, provides our members with an excellent opportunity to enjoy the hobby if they don't have a full featured station of their own.
November 19, 2010
The past two afternoons, Thursday and Friday, Chris EQN and myself were at the club station for appx. 3-4 hours each day completing the installation of coax and connectors. We now have 4 out of 5 runs on tower 2 ( the new tower ) completed, and 4 out of 5 runs on tower 1 completed at the roof level. Yes it was cold up there, but Chris was able to get 17 connectors installed over the two afternoons. He actually had to use a flashlight to get the last connection completed around 4:30 this afternoon. A big thanks to Chris for getting this part of the project complete. Hu still has in mind to get the 160 M wire loop antenna up. If the weather co-operates, he just might get it done in early December. Otherwise, at least we have a working station to get us through the winter.
73 and keep warm.
November 14, 2010;
A couple of changes were made today to two of our local digis.
At BIGWHT an error or typo in the location of the Lat and Long was corrected to get rid of the red flagged transmissions that were being rejected every 5th transmission. As well the call sign on the beacon was changed from VA7YLW-2 to the mountains new call of VE7RBG. At Crystal, the displayed call sign of VE7ROW was changed to KRYSTL. We are limited to 6 letters, and the name CRYSTL was already in use by another station in the Snoqualmie valley in Washington State. The beaconing rate was also reduced from every 50 seconds to every 5 minutes. This will reduce the amount of traffic from this high level digi that is being bounced around a rather large geographic area.
Thanks to Ian VE7BST for putting his knowledge and technology to work to make these changes.