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.