The Mackay area multimode repeater is another step closer. This afternoon we commissioned the multihop microwave link that provides internet access to our remote repeater site. This microwave system links VK4RUS at Sarina beach Rd to VK4RSA Jordan Creek Sarina and provides internet access to both sites. The network access links DMR, P25, DSTAR and C4FM to internet reflectors and also allows us to remotely monitor system performance. Weather camera CCTV will be added in the coming weeks with both sites having a great view of the Sarina area. Local hams are reminded to program the new frequency into there radios 147.075MHz +600KHz.
New DVmega firmware now does more than just DSTAR. Shown here is the Raspberry pi along with the DVmega hotspot board. Shown on the left is Steve VK4SM’s device using the 70cm DVmega version while the other two are using the 2m/70cm version DVmega. This little setup now supports DSTAR, Yaesu C4FM and DMR. Working in a multimode fashion the system detects the current digital mode and switches into that mode for the duration of the QSO. After the QSO is finished it waits for 10secs then falls back into multimode scanning.
Get your radios programmed and ready to go for the new multimode repeater in the Mackay area! In the next few weeks we will be commissioning our first multimode repeater. VK4RSA 147.075 +600 will support DSTAR, P25, DMR and C4FM all together on the one frequency. More information will be posted shortly. This is a home brew repeater using a Tait TB8100, Odroid XU4 and MMDVM modem. These MMDVMs modems are a real game changer; everyone has their own favourite digital voice mode, and this has been both good and bad as differences of opinion have diverted the energy of volunteers to focus on the establishment of a single mode repeater that favours an individual or club bias towards a particular mode. Well, the days of setting up a stand alone DSTAR, Yaesu C4FM or DMR repeater are behind us. Let’s all direct our efforts to providing a service that works for everyone, let’s setup repeaters that will catch the interest of up and coming amateur radio operators and a younger crowd that wants to experiment with digital modes. Stand alone analogue repeaters have many listeners, but even if IRLP/ECHO are enabled, most of the time remain silent with CQ calls going unanswered. Now is the time for club members to start talking and having the discussions about how we can all make better use of our infrastructure and provide new services that might actually get young people interested in amateur radio. The price gap between analogue radios and digital radios is closing fast. Cheap digital radios can now be purchased online for under $100, therefore the cost of the radios should not be a barrier to moving into the digital world. It is no secret that the WIA has a dwindling membership base. Simply put, if we don’t get our act together and actually provide new and interesting services that younger people are interested in, then in 10 years from now amateur radio may not even be a hobby anymore. It will be something that one’s parent or grandparent did a long time ago that no one remembers much about anymore. The hardware is available, the opportunities are there, let’s start looking at how we can re-purpose silent repeater allocations or kickstart new services at existing sites, and generate some interest in a hobby we don’t want to fade into obscurity.
It is with much frustration that we have to report that our “Black Mountain, Mackay” Repeater Site has been broken into a few nights ago…. The door/lock has been busted open, and it’s unfortunate that a Set of 2metre Cavities have been STOLEN!!! Lucky enough for us, no other Radio / Repeater Equipment was Damaged or Stolen. We are and have taken action, police have attended the Scene and we have released an image of the Stolen Cavities…..
As most of you would be aware, these are a very expensive unit, and can be $3000-$4000 to replace. Please keep an eye out or ear out for this, maybe the culprits may approach someone to sell them or even take them to Scrap Metal merchants for Cash. We are currently circulating this info to Local Scrap Metal Merchants in Mackay District, to keep an eye out and to contact us and the Police, should they show up